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Dow Chemical


lowered its forecast for the first quarter because higher natural gas prices are hurting the recently acquired

Union Carbide


The chemicals, plastics and agricultural products company closed the acquisition of Union Carbide earlier this month. The revision also takes into account the additional shares Dow issued to complete the merger.

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The company didn't give specifics, but said earnings will be lower than the range of 25 cents to 40 cents a share Dow gave in January. Eight analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

are expecting the company to earn 26 cents in the quarter.

Shares of Dow fell 4 cents, or 0.1%, to $31.40 in regular-session

New York Stock Exchange