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Mead Johnson Declines Most Since December on Cut Forecast

Mead Johnson Nutrition Co., the world’s largest standalone baby formula maker, plunged the most in 10 months after the company reduced its earnings forecast for the year.

Mead Johnson fell 8.6 percent to $63.53 at the close of trading in New York, its largest decline since December and lowest level since April 2011. The shares of the Glenview, Illinois-based company have declined 7.6 percent this year.

Full-year earnings are expected to be $2.91 to $2.96 a share, Mead Johnson said in a statement today. It had earlier forecast earnings of $2.95 to $3.05. Fewer births in the U.S. this year and reduced consumption of its product contributed to the lower earnings forecast, Mead Johnson said. The company also said “unfounded media reports” in December linking its formula to contamination led to a market share decline that the company is still recovering from.

Last year retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. pulled Mead Johnson’s Enfamil nutrition formula from shelves after regulators said a Missouri infant who had been infected with the bacterium Cronobacter and died had used the product. Regulators later said they didn’t find any evidence of contamination occurring during manufacturing or shipping of the formula.

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