Automotive interiors giant Lear ( LEA) forecast worldwide vehicle sales in 2005 that are little changed from last year, and said its earnings will probably trail analyst estimates.

The company also raised its dividend by 25%.

For the current calendar year, Lear expects to earn $5 to $6 a share on sales of $17.6 billion to $18.0 billion. Analysts were forecasting earnings of $6.10 a share on sales of $17.9 billion, according to Thomson First Call.

The company estimated vehicle production of 15.7 to 16.0 million units in North America and 18.3 to 18.6 million units in Europe.

The company raised its quarterly dividend by 5 cents to 25 cents. The stock closed Wednesday at $57.55, giving it a yield of about 1.7% using the new dividend.

Lear shares fell 35 cents, or 0.6%, to $57.15 in Thursday's premarket session.

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