HOUSTON (AP) ¿ Natural gas transport and storage company Spectra Energy Corp. on Tuesday said its first-quarter net income fell 19 percent, as weaker commodity prices and exchange rates cut away at margins. Quarterly earnings fell to $298 million, or 47 cents per share, from $367 million, or 58 cents per share, in the prior-year period. Results include a nonrecurring $85 million gain at the field services business segment. Ongoing earnings totaled $210 million, or 33 cents per share, matching the consensus estimate, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Analysts typically exclude one-time items. Revenue slid 14 percent to $1.38 billion, down from $1.6 billion in the same period last year. Analysts forecast an average revenue of $1.45 billion. Despite commodity price deterioration and the Canadian exchange rate, Chief Executive Greg Ebel said he remains optimistic. "Our core, fee-based businesses ¿ which we expect will provide us with more than 80 percent of our earnings this year ¿ all performed very well during the quarter," he said. Shares of the company fell 4 cents to $15.42 in morning trading.
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