DuPont lowers 2011 earnings guidance

US chemicals giant, DuPont has lowered its 2011 earnings guidance after having issued a prior weakness warning in its fourth quarter.

Chief executive Ellen Kullman said the company was seeing slower growth in certain segments during the fourth quarter due to global economic uncertainty, which was contributing to ongoing conservative cash management in some supply chains.

Du Pont shares were down 5 per cent at $42.20 in premarket trading and as of Thursday's close, the stock was off 6.7 per cent year to date.

Cutting its 2011 guidance by 10 cents from its October forecast, the company said it was expecting $3.87 to $3.95 a share. This would still be an 18 per cent to 20 per cent increase from 2010 earnings. According to DuPont, it expected earnings growth in 2012 and would provide guidance for next year during its annual investor day, to be held Monday and Tuesday.

DuPont said demand had weakened in certain areas as its customers recently had relied rather heavily on working down their inventories than buying more products. The company said it was also under pressure due to weakness in consumer electronics, housing and construction. According to the company, demand in agriculture and food markets remained strong.

The company said, in October, it had warned its fourth quarter would be weighed down by slowing global growth and its fast-growing photovoltaic market had stalled while consumer electronics would be expected to hit their usual holiday peak.