(HSC) - Get Report

lowered its guidance for the first quarter, largely as a result of softness in the steel industry and a steep decline in manufacturing.

The industrial services company expects to post first-quarter earnings of 38 cents to 40 cents a share. The current consensus estimate posted on

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Thomson Financial/First Call

by four analysts is 45 cents a share. In the year-ago quarter, Harsco earned 50 cents.

The company hasn't abandoned its goal of 10% earnings-per-share growth in 2001. Though Harsco said it would record unexpected earnings contributions in the following quarters from three businesses that were to be sold in the first half of the year, the company didn't issue further guidelines.

Harsco picked up 20 cents, or 0.8%, to $24.85 in recent trading on the

New York Stock Exchange