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Mead Tops Lowered Estimates, but High Energy Costs Hurt Quarter

Mead

(MEA)

reported fourth-quarter earnings today that beat analysts' lowered estimates by 2 cents, despite a decline in income from the previous year.

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, Mead earned $18.7 million, or 19 cents a diluted share, excluding items, down from $39 million, or 38 cents a share, in the same period one year ago. Ten analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

expected the company to report 17 cents a share.

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Mead, a paper and wood products maker, cited the slowing economy, rising energy costs and the strong U.S. dollar as factors in the earnings decline, echoing the sentiments from

International Paper

(IP) - Get International Paper Company (IP) Report

earlier this week and

Georgia-Pacific

(GP)

this morning.

The company, which is based in Dayton, Ohio, posted fourth-quarter revenue of $1.04 billion, up from $998.6 million in the year-ago period.