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Ashland trading lower after preliminary Q1 profits disappoint

Ashland (ASH) shares are trading lower after the company released preliminary Q1 EPS results that were weaker than analyst estimates. The specialty chemical maker reported preliminary Q1 adjusted ex-items EPS of $1.12, well below the analyst consensus of $1.39, and revenue of $1.9B, which met analyst expectations. Ashland CEO James J. O'Brien noted that Q1 is the company's seasonally weakest period of the year and that Q1 results reflect soft demand in some key markets and regions. He added that the results included $31M in losses on straight guar, primarily reflecting a discrete write-down of inventory to current market value as contributing to the Q1 disappointment. Ashland shares are trading down $5.98, or 6.99%, to $79.55 in early afternoon trading.