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GE cuts profit guidance

New York, Oct. 10 (Reuters): General Electric Co. cut its fourth-quarter earnings guidance Friday, blaming weak demand for gas turbines and higher costs at its plastics arm.

The conglomerate reported third-quarter earnings of $4 billion, or 40 cents per share, down from $4.1 billion, or 41 cents per share, in the same quarter of 2002.

Revenue for the company, which makes power plant turbines, jet engines and medical equipment and provides financial services, came in at $33.4 billion, up 2 per cent from the third quarter of last year.

A decline in sales of large gas turbines in the United States and lower non-cash earnings from US pension plans weighed on the results.

For the fourth quarter, the company said it expected to post earnings within a range of 45 cents to 47 cents per share, up about 45 per cent from last year. GE had previously forecast fourth-quarter earnings of 46 to 49 cents a share.

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