Healthcare products maker

Hospira

(HSP)

said its third-quarter earnings fell 6.5% from the year-ago period.

The company earned $55.9 million, or 35 cents the share, in the quarter, compared with $59.9 million, or 37 cents a share, a year ago. Adjusted for items, earnings were 45 cents a share in the most recent quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were estimating earnings of 45 cents a share.

Third-quarter revenue fell 1.5% from a year ago to $646.6 million as against analysts' estimate of $673.9 million.

The company expects to earn $1.55 to $1.60 a share for 2006, on sales growth of about 1% to 2%. Adjusted earnings are expected to be $1.97 to $2.02 a share. Analysts are expecting earnings of $1.97 a share.

Third-quarter gross profit fell 3.8% from a year ago to $219 million and gross margin declined 80 basis points to 33.9%. Operating income for the quarter fell 21.4% to $79.1 million and operating margin dropped 310 basis points to 12.2%.

The company's shares fell $3.52 to $34.24.

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