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Rockwell International

(ROK) - Get Rockwell Automation Inc. Report

announced fourth-quarter earnings Wednesday that missed analysts' expectations by a penny.

The electronic controls and communications company reported net income of $145 million, or 78 cents a share, compared with $152 million, or 78 cents a share, a year ago. Twelve analysts polled by

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expected the company to earn 79 cents a share for the quarter.

Sales for the quarter came in at $1.89 billion, down 2.1% from the year-ago period.

During fiscal 2000, Rockwell generated a free cash flow of $659 million, while continuing to spend $474 million for product research and development and $315 million for capital expenditures, the company said.

Despite difficult market conditions in the quarter, the company said it continues to generate strong cash flow and is prepared to enter fiscal 2001 with "substantial financial flexibility for growth investments including strategic acquisitions and new product development.''