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WW Grainger 4Q adj. profit misses Street's view

CHICAGO (AP) -- W.W. Grainger Inc.'s fourth-quarter net income was nearly flat, as higher costs offset improved sales in the U.S.

Adjusted profit missed estimates, and the seller of power tools and other industrial equipment lowered its 2014 forecasts mostly due to the softer Canadian dollar and the sale of some direct marketing specialty brands.

The stock fell in Friday afternoon trading.

For the period ended Dec. 31, Grainger earned $156.7 million, or $2.20 per share, compared with $156.3 million, or $2.17 per share, a year earlier.

Removing restructuring and impairment charges, earnings were $2.59 per share, up from $2.42 a year earlier.

Revenue increased 7 percent to $2.38 billion from $2.23 billion.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected earnings of $2.63 per share and revenue of $2.37 billion.

U.S. sales rose 10 percent, while Canadian sales dipped 3 percent. Sales for other businesses, which include operations mostly in Asia, Europe and Latin America, increased 3 percent.

Full-year net income climbed to $797 million, or $11.13 per share, from $689.9 million, or $9.52 per share, in 2012. Adjusted earnings were $11.52 per share.

Annual revenue rose 6 percent to $9.44 billion from $8.95 billion.

Looking ahead, Grainger now expects full-year earnings of $12.10 to $12.85 per share. Its prior outlook was for $12.25 and $13 per share. Revenue is now anticipated to rise 5 to 9 percent, versus its prior range of 6 to 10 percent.

Analysts expect full-year earnings of $12.96 per share and revenue of $10.2 billion, which implies growth of 8.1 percent over 2013.

Grainger's stock fell $10.36, or 4 percent, to $246.30.