United Parcel Service

(UPS) - Get Report

lowered its first-quarter earnings estimates Thursday, citing the slowing economy, harsh weather conditions, the weakness of the euro, softening cargo revenue and high utility costs.

For the first quarter, which ends this month, UPS expects to earn 49 cents to 51 cents a share, down from 56 cents a share in the year-ago period. Analysts surveyed by

Thomson Financial/First Call

-- formerly known as First Call/Thomson Financial -- expect the Atlanta-based company to earn 57 cents.

UPS projected earnings of 55 cents to 60 cents a share for the second quarter. The company had a profit of 60 cents in the same quarter one year ago. Analysts expect the company to earn 64 cents a share.

Yesterday, rival


(FDX) - Get Report

posted third-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street's estimates by a penny and projected that fourth-quarter earnings would be essentially unchanged from a year ago.

In recent

New York Stock Exchange

trading, shares of UPS lost $1.85, or 3.2%, to $55.85, while FedEx, which is based in Memphis, Tenn., lost $2.10, or 4.9%, to $40.50.