Ingersoll Rand Plc cut its profit forecast for the rest of the year Friday, blaming weak demand in North America for residential heating and cooling systems and commercial security products.
The warning, which sent Ingersoll shares down 16 percent to its lowest level in more than two years, came as Wall Street is getting nervous that corporate profit growth may be slowing.
Analysts, on average, look for the companies that make up the widely-watched Standard & Poor's 500 index to report 13.5 percent earnings growth in the third quarter, which ends Friday. That's down from 17 percent growth they had expected as of July 1.
The cut could be the start of a wave of earnings warnings in the industrial sector, which is grappling with weak demand in the United States and Europe, one analyst warned.
"My feeling is this is the first of many in the industrial space in the next couple of weeks," said Eric Landry, an analyst at Morningstar in Chicago.
Ingersoll, which makes cooling systems, air compressors and security technology including Schlage locks, said it expects third-quarter earnings from continuing operations to come to 77 cents to 80 cents per share, down from a prior forecast of 85 cents to 95 cents per share. It expects to report third-quarter revenue of $3.9 to $3.95 billion, down from its prior forecast of $4.05 billion to $4.15 billion.
Analysts were expecting the company to post a profit of 91 cents a share for the third quarter, before special items, on revenue of $3.91 billion.
For the year, it expects earnings of $2.70 to $2.80 per share, down from its prior forecast of $2.90 to $3.10 per share.
Analysts on average were expecting the company to post a full-year profit of $2.96 a share, before special items, on revenue of $14.8 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The news did not catch investors entirely unawares. Nomura analyst Shannon O'Callaghan earlier this month cut his third-quarter forecasts on a range of big industrials, including Ingersoll, but also General Electric, SPX and 3M, warning that he expected forecast cuts.
Ingersoll's outlook excludes impairment charges, but includes about 7 cents per share from Hussmann.
In August, Ingersoll said it would sell a 60 percent stake in its Hussmann stationary refrigerated display case business to private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice for about $370 million.
But not all the news from the sector has been as bleak lately. Last week Honeywell International Inc said its third-quarter earnings would likely come in at the high end of its forecast range of 96 cents to $1.01 per share.
Ingersoll's shares were down $5.12 at $26.84 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
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