Corning shares fall amid worry about lower prices for flat-screen glass

Shares of industrial materials maker Corning Inc. fell nearly 5 percent Wednesday amid concern about a projected first-quarter drop in prices for its ultra-thin glass used in flat-screen computers and televisions.

The company, which specializes in fiber-optic and glass products, said late Tuesday it earned $163 million, or 11 cents a share in the October-to-December period, compared with a loss of $29 million, or 2 cents a share, in last year's fourth quarter.

Sales rose 26 percent to $1.033 billion from $820 million a year ago and topped its third-quarter revenues of $1.06 million. The company hasn't recorded $1 billion in sales in successive quarters since being hit hard by the telecommunications industry's slump in 2001.

Excluding one-time restructuring and asbestos litigation charges totaling $14 million, or 1 cent a share, Corning earned $177 million, or 12 cents a share. That matched the consensus forecast among analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Analysts, however, were worried about a projected 5 percent erosion in prices for liquid-crystal-display glass in the first quarter and its effect on the company's overall earnings.

"The leverage in Corning's display business becomes less clear and concern about capacity increases," Lehman Brothers said in an earnings review report Wednesday.

Corning shares fell 56 cents, or 4.9 percent, to close at $10.95 in Wednesday trading on the New York Stock Exchange _ in the lower half of their 52-week range of $9.29 to $13.44.

The company said it expects first quarter earnings of 11 cents to 13 cents a share before extraordinary items on sales of $980 million to $1.03 billion. Analysts were expecting quarterly profits of 12 cents per share on sales of $1.025 billion.

600450 Corning shares fall amid worry about lower prices for flat-screen glass
Date: 28 January 2005

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