Garmin ( GRMN) lost ground Wednesday after the company missed analysts first-quarter earnings targets amid the global economic downturn.

The Cayman Islands-based digital-navigation device maker posted net income of $147.8 million, or 67 cents a share, rising from $139.9 million, or 64 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Excluding items, Garmin said profit increased to 69 cents a share from 59 cents a year ago. Analysts, though, were looking for a profit of 75 cents a share, according to Thomson Financial.

Garmin's revenue for the first quarter jumped 35% to $664 million from the year-ago quarter, but also fell short of Wall Street's target of $705 million. Revenue from North America, Garmin's largest market, surged 27% to $411 million.

Shares of Garmin were dropping 12% to $40.80. The company's stock has fallen more than 50% in 2008.

"We are pleased with our performance in the first quarter, particularly given the general slowdown in the global economy," said CEO Min Kao. "While the first quarter is typically our slowest quarter, we were nonetheless able to achieve healthy growth in each of our business segments and each geographic area."

Looking ahead, Garmin said it remains optimistic about the long-term success of its business, but noted, as have many companies, that economic sluggishness will require watching. "We will continue to monitor the economic climate closely," Garmin said.

Garmin said it intends to provide a formal update to its fiscal 2008 financial expectations during the earnings conference call later Wednesday. During its last conference call, the company said that for the full year, it expects earnings per share to top $4.40 and for revenue to exceed $4.5 billion. Analysts currently expect full-year earnings of $4.42 a share on $4.40 billion in revenue.

Nokia ( NOK), which is buying digital-map maker Navteq ( NVT), added 0.7%. Navteq was unchanged in early trading.

Among other widely followed tech and gadget stocks, Google ( GOOG) was tacking on 0.5%, and Apple ( AAPL) was up 0.8%. Intel ( INTC) was higher by 0.3%.

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