The Glenview, Ill.-based company said it expects to earn 58 to 62 cents per diluted share in the quarter ended Feb. 28, down from 72 cents a year ago and below the 67 cents forecast by analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial. For the fiscal year, it expects to earn $3.15 a share, unchanged from the previous year and below the $3.29 projected in a First Call survey.
Analysts said the announcement, given Illinois Tool's diverse products, demonstrates the economic slowdown is broadly based.
Illinois Tool had lowered its first-quarter earnings estimate on Jan. 30, when it reported year-end results, to between 66 cents and 71 cents because of the slowing economy.
On Monday, it cut that projection again, citing a 1 percent drop in first-quarter revenue. While acquisitions boosted sales by 8 percent, its base business declined 5 percent and currency translation trimmed 4 percent.
Analysts noted the company's international businesses continue to do well. Sales of its engineered products rose 22 percent internationally but fell 3 percent in North America. Sales of specialty products increased 17 percent internationally but were unchanged in North America. In addition, sales of consumer products slid 6 percent.