Whirlpool Plummets After Forecast Sparks Fears About Industry

  • Company blames slump on sluggish U.S. demand and Brexit
  • Home-improvement chains also slip following Whirlpool’s report

Whirlpool Corp. shares tumbled the most in more than a year after the appliance giant cut its annual profit forecast, hurt by sluggish sales in the U.S. and Brexit-inspired turmoil in the U.K.

Following disappointing third-quarter results, the company now expects earnings of $14 to $14.25 a share this year. Whirlpool had previously forecast a range as high as $14.75. The outlook contributed to broader concerns about the home-improvement industry, with shares of Home Depot Inc., Lowe’s Cos. and Sherwin-Williams Co. also declining.

Whirlpool, which sells appliances under brands such as KitchenAid and Maytag, cited a “challenging” environment in the U.S. for hampering sales. The U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union -- and subsequent impact on the pound -- also took a toll on results, the Benton Harbor, Michigan-based company said.

The shares plunged as much as 11 percent to $151.38, their worst intraday decline since October 2015. They had been up 16 percent this year through Monday’s close.

Shares of Home Depot, the largest home-improvement chain, dropped as much as 2.8 percent to $124.14. Lowe’s, its main competitor, declined as much as 3.5 percent to $68.47.

Whirlpool posted earnings of $3.66 a share in the third quarter, missing the $3.86 projected by analysts. Sales fell to $5.25 billion, compared with an average estimate of $5.32 billion.

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