Industrial materials giant

Rohm & Haas

(ROH)

lowered guidance for the fourth quarter and said it would take a one-time charge, citing soft demand in some of its key businesses and a less favorable sales mix.

The Philadelphia-based company estimated earnings from continuing operations, excluding unusual items, at 21 cents to 24 cents a share, compared with the 28 cents a share it earned in the year-ago quarter. Wall Street analysts, on average, were expecting the company to earn 40 cents a share, according to research firm Thomson Financial/First Call. Total revenue for the quarter is expected to be 4% to 5% higher than the $14.3 billion it recorded last year.

"The largest impacts on earnings expectations for the fourth quarter are a less favorable sales mix, particularly in the higher-margin coatings and electronic materials businesses, along with the resulting unfavorable plant manufacturing variances, which together represent approximately 7 cents to 8 cents a share," the company said in a prepared statement.

Looking forward, the company said it expects modest economic growth with a recovery in the electronic market in the second half of the year. Sales comparisons are expected to be strong from the start of 2003 and continue throughout the year. The company also said it will no longer report earnings from continuing operations, outside of unusual items, opting instead to post results in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.

The shares were recently down 75 cents, or 2.2%, at $33.40 on the

New York Stock Exchange.