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April 25 (Reuters) - Whirlpool Corp on Friday reported quarterly results below analysts' expectations as currency and other headwinds in Latin America and Asia offset a modest sales increase in North America and Europe.
The news sent Whirlpool's shares down nearly 2 percent.
The world's largest maker of home appliances reported a first-quarter net profit of $160 million, or $2.02 per share, down from $252 million, or $3.12 a share, a year earlier.
Excluding a tax credit last year and restructuring costs this year, Whirlpool said it had earned $2.20 a share, up from $1.97.
But even by that measure, the results were disappointing. Analysts on average had expected the Benton Harbor, Michigan-based company to report a profit of $2.33 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
"Sales in Asia were on the underwhelming side, mirroring the data that has been piling up from the region," said Brian Sozzi, chief executive officer of Belus Capital Advisors.
He added that results from North America, while positive, were a "rude awakening" that the stuttering recovery of the U.S. housing market would require Whirlpool to spend more on marketing to move its products.
The company, which sells its washers and dryers, stoves, and refrigerators under brand names including Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid and Jenn-Air, said sales rose 4.7 percent to $4.4 billion, slightly higher than the $4.3 billion analysts had expected.
Whirlpool said sales rose 4 percent in North America and by a similar rate in Europe.
Sales increased in Latin America and Asia, too, but higher material costs and currency swings hurt profitability in those regions, Whirlpool said.
The company said it expected full-year industry unit shipments to be up 5 percent to 7 percent in North America, flat to up 2 percent in Europe, flat in South America and flat to up 3 percent in Asia.
Whirlpool kept its full-year earnings forecast unchanged, saying it expected to report net income of $11.05 to $11.55 a share and a profit of $12.00 to $12.50 from ongoing businesses.
In early trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Whirlpool shares were down 1.8 percent at $151.83.
(Reporting by James B. Kelleher in Detroit; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)