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New Sell-Off Sinks Fluor Stock $6.75 a Share

March 15, 1997|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Fluor Corp.'s battered stock took another beating Friday, falling $6.75 a share in heavy trading to close at $57.75 on the New York Stock Exchange--its lowest price since November 1995. The sell-off came as two industry analysts issued reports downgrading previously bullish recommendations on Fluor's shares and suggesting that investors might want to hold off buying for awhile. Fluor officials in Irvine say analysts are concerned over the company's inability to answer questions about the future impact of cost overruns on two power plant projects and about the scope of its plan to slash $100 million from annual operating costs. As he has several times in recent weeks, Fluor Chairman Les McCraw told analysts Thursday at an investment conference that Fluor's earning power is intact, its markets are strong and it is winning new contracts at a record pace. But Fluor still is trying to determine whether there are more costs to account for in the power plant project overruns, he said. The company refuses to discuss particulars of its cost-cutting plan until it tells its employees. Investor relations director Lee Tashjian said the company remains puzzled over the cold shoulder the stock has received since Fluor reported its first-quarter results last month were up, but were below analysts' estimates. The stock plunged to $63 from $75 in one day.

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