- The Washington Times - Monday, March 30, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks of heavy machinery manufacturers tumbled Monday as crane maker Manitowoc Co. retracted its full-year guidance and the broader market fell on fresh challenges for General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC.

Manitowoc also predicted first-quarter earnings per share from continuing operations would be at least 50 percent below current Wall Street estimates. The company cited continued decline in demand for its cranes.

The Manitowoc, Wis.-based company also said it would sell its ice machine business for $160 millions. Baird analyst Robert F. McCarthy had expected the unit to fetch $200 million.

Manitowoc also warned that because of the lower-than-expected sale price, there is an increased chance the company could violate certain debt agreements during the second half of the year.

Manitowoc shares plunged $1.49, or 32.3 percent, to $3.12 in midday trading. The stock has ranged from $2.34 to $45.47 over the past year.

Meanwhile, Credit Suisse analyst Jamie Cook lowered his 2009 and 2010 estimates on Deere & Co. on his “more cautious view of farm equipment demand globally.” The analyst cited South America and Eastern Europe as regions where “the global financial crisis continues to restrict access to credit for farmers.”

Deere shares fell $2.73, or 7.8 percent, to $32.34. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $24.51 to $94.89.

Meanwhile the White House rejected turnaround plans from General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, sending the broader market lower.

Shares of mining equipment maker Bucyrus International Inc. declined $1.36, or 8.3 percent, to $14.95. Joy Global Inc. gave up $2.25, or 9.6 percent, to $21.20 and Caterpillar Inc. slid $2.86, or 9.4 percent, to $27.49.

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