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Mohawk raises caution flag on heels of 4Q loss

CALHOUN, Ga. — Fourth-quarter profits dipped by 3.1 percent at Mohawk Industries Inc., and the giant carpet and home fashions producer cautioned that earnings through the first half of 2001 could fall sharply from year-ago levels.

With the U.S. economy slowing down and costs climbing sharply higher, Mohawk said first-quarter profits will fall short of year-ago levels by 15 percent to 20 percent. And though business is expected to pick up steam during the second quarter, earnings will still drop off about five to 10 percent, the company forecast.

With natural gas and higher utility costs putting pressure on the bottom line, along with raw material costs, fourth-quarter profits slipped modestly, to $39.3 million from $40.2 million last year.

Sales advanced by 3.1 percent, to $799.4 million from $775.5 million, most of the gain stemming from internal growth. Sales resulting from the fourth-quarter acquisition of the Crown Crafts woven products division will have a greater impact on the current first quarter.

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