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First-Quarter Earnings Tumble on Continued Weak Demand

10:15 AM MDT | April 24, 2009 | NANCY SEEWALD AND ROBERT WESTERVELT

Basic and diversified chemical makers posted huge earnings declines in the first quarter on continued economic weakness, although most firms beat modest expectations. Sales volumes did pick up somewhat in March, but producers remain cautious. Air Products and DuPont lowered their full-year earnings expectations. DuPont reported net income of $488 million (54 cts/share), down 59% compared with the year-ago period, but 2 cts/share higher than the consensus of analysts’ estimates as reported by Thomson Reuters (New York). Sales fell 20%, to $6.9 billion...

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