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Rockwell Automation CEO explains how Trump's trade war with China is impacting his 116-year-old business

Brian Sozzi
Editor-at-Large

Rockwell Automation (ROK) makes some cool automation machines for the biggest businesses in the world.

But despite these pricey machines helping to extract a good bit productivity for customers, even the 116-year old Rockwell Automation isn’t immune to the uncertainty stemming from President Trump’s bruising trade war with China. Rockwell Automation CEO Blake Moret — also a long-time member of the influential Business Roundtable — says certain customers have delayed projects due to the trade uncertainty.

“The cumulative effect of the uncertainty that has been in place over trade for a while now has caused customers in certain industries that we serve to delay their capital expenditures,” Moret told Yahoo Finance.

Rockwell Automation touches a host of critical industries, namely automotive, entertainment, infrastructure and food and beverage. Moret points to the oil and gas and life sciences industries as continuing to perform well in spite of global trade concerns.

KIEV, UKRAINE - 2019/01/01: In this photo illustration, the Rockwell Automation Company logo seen displayed on a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The company will release its fiscal fourth quarter earnings sometime in October. In many respects, Rockwell Automation’s investors have already been guided to a slower pace of growth ahead.

In July, Rockwell Automation cut its full-year organic sales growth to 1.5% from 3.7% to 5.3% previously. Full-year earnings guidance was taken down to $8.50 to $8.70 a share from $8.85 to $9.15 a share.

To help cushion the blow from slowing sales, Rockwell unveiled a $1 billion stock repurchase program.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSozzi

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