Wire and cable manufacturer Belden ( BWC) said it will lose money in the first quarter because of a revenue shortfall.

Belden now expects to lose 5 cents to 10 cents a share for the quarter ending March 31, compared with the consensus analyst estimate for a profit of 3 cents a share. Previously, the company had forecast earnings of 3 cents a share. The St. Louis-based company earned a penny a share in the first quarter of 2002.

The company now expects revenue of $195 million, compared with $207 million in the first quarter of 2002. Analysts forecast revenue of $196.5 million, on average.

"The higher level of uncertainty in the economy and world events appear to be causing our markets to become indecisive," said C. Baker Cunningham, president and chief executive of Belden. "Planned projects, including routine replacements and upgrades of systems, seem to be on hold until some of the outstanding issues become clearer. Furthermore, we find that distributors in our electronics markets have reduced their inventory from year-end, depressing our results further."

Belden will announce its first-quarter results April 24.