Lexmark Issues Cautious Outlook

The company's earnings rise in the second quarter, but a shortfall is in the forecast.
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second-quarter earnings per share rose 16% thanks to strong laser and inkjet supply sales, but the printer maker warned that its third-quarter results will probably fall well short of Wall Street's estimates.

The company earned $101.7 million, or 77 cents a share, in the quarter ended June 30, compared with $89.1 million, or 67 cents a share, in the prior-year quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting 78 cents a share.

Sales were $1.12 billion, up 6%. The company said laser and inkjet supply sales were 56% of revenue at $630 million, up 11% from last year.

Lexmark's profit margin was 34%, compared with 32% last year. Operating expenses, however, increased to $244 million from $216 million last year. The company cited the strength of the euro vs. the U.S. dollar.

For the third quarter, the Lexington, Ky., company said it expects to see pricing competition and softness in consumer and corporate spending. Lexmark predicted earnings of 63 cents to 73 cents a share, compared with 70 cents a share in the year-ago quarter, but analysts are looking for 80 cents a share.

Revenue is expected to increase in the low- to mid-single digits. Analysts expect $1.12 billion. Sales were $1.06 billion in the prior-year quarter.

"As we look forward to the third quarter, we believe our extensive corporate and consumer product launches in the second quarter have put us in a good position for the second half of 2003," said Chief Executive Paul J. Curlander.

Shares of the company closed at $73.50 Friday on the

New York Stock Exchange