Corning

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shares plummeted Tuesday after the company withdrew its previously disclosed guidance for the fourth quarter and 2009 due to weakened retail demand for LCD televisions and desktop monitors.

Shares of the Corning, N.Y., glass and ceramics products maker were dropping $1.51, or 16.8%, to $7.50.

"Demand in our wholly owned display glass business has dropped more precipitously than we expected just a few weeks ago," said Corning CFO Jim Flaws during a technology conference in New York. "As a result, since the display business is a significant contributor to our overall results, we are unable to offer revised guidance for the fourth quarter or for 2009 at this time."

Flaws said that fourth-quarter sales are expected to be below the company's projected range of $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion, and that earnings per share will be at the low end or below the forecast of 20 cents to 28 cents.

Corning will make further LCD glass-manufacturing capacity reductions in the fourth quarter, Flaws said, with a resulting impact on gross margins in the Display Technologies segment and the company overall. Corning expects to incur restructuring charges in both the fourth quarter and in the first half of next year as it adjusts its capacity and fixed cost structure to reflect the lower demand.

The company's decision to pull its guidance doesn't come as a complete surprise. During the third quarter, Corning said its display business was seeing signs of slowness.

"We believe that worsening economic conditions are now affecting retail demand for several of our businesses and that this economic decline may be accelerating in the fourth quarter," said CEO Wendell Weeks at the time.

Corning plans to update investors on the business environment on Dec. 10 at another technology conference in San Francisco.