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Shares of

Pitney Bowes


plummeted more than 30% in the wake of its third-quarter earnings warning, which the company blamed on slower sales and weakness in foreign currencies.

Pitney Bowes shares recently traded at $25.25, down $10.38, on very heavy volume. The stock has traded as low as $24 after opening the day at $27.50.

The messaging and technology company issued an earnings warning after the market closed Wednesday, forecasting third-quarter earnings of about 62 cents to 63 cents a share. The

First Call/Thomson Financial

consensus poll of nine analysts was looking for earnings of 65 cents a share for the third quarter. In the third quarter last year, Pitney Bowes earned 58 cents a share.

The company also lowered its full-year EPS estimate to between $2.44 and $2.48 a share before items, compared with the nine-analyst consensus earnings estimate of $2.58 a share. In the year ended Dec. 31, 1999, the company earned $659.2 million, or $2.42 a share.

The company expects to report third-quarter earnings Oct. 17.