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Whirlpool Sales Fall Short

Guidance also disappoints.
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Whirlpool's

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fourth-quarter profits exceeded estimates, but the top line, despite climbing 25%, was a bit shy of Wall Street's consensus forecast.

Additionally, the earnings outlook for 2007 disappointed investors, and shares of Whirlpool were falling 3% to $92.08.

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The appliance maker said its sales rose to $4.95 billion from $3.95 billion in the same period a year earlier, primarily because of the Maytag acquisition and strong international growth. The Thomson Financial projection was $5.09 billion.

Earnings from continuing operations for the company's fourth quarter were $133 million, or $1.67 a share, topping estimates by 23 cents. After all items were accounted for, Whirlpool earned $109 million, or $1.37 a share, compared with $126 million and $1.83 a share in the 2005 fourth quarter.

For this year, Whirlpool expects a profit from continuing operations of $8 to $8.50 a share. On average, analysts are looking for $8.46.