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UPDATE 1-Sandvik order intake tops forecast as demand stays robust

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STOCKHOLM, April 18 (Reuters) - Swedish engineering group Sandvik reported first-quarter operating earnings just below market expectations on Thursday, but beat forecasts for order intake and said demand had remained solid in the quarter. Sandvik's shares were up 1.8 percent at 1025 GMT, after falling nearly 3 percent in earlier trade. Demand remained generally robust at a high level, implying somewhat lower growth rates, " Sandvik CEO Bjorn Rosengren said in a statement. "We remain focused on delivering strong margins also in a lower growth environment." Sandvik's metal-cutting tools are seen as a good indicator of industrial demand as they are shipped with short lead times to a wide range of industries, including engineering, automotive, aerospace and energy. Adjusted operating earnings at the metal-cutting tools and mining gear maker rose to 4.57 billion Swedish crowns ($491 million) from 4.27 billion in the year-earlier quarter, narrowly missing the 4.63 billion mean forecast in a poll of analysts. Sandvik's order intake grew to 27.9 billion crowns, up 6 percent on an underlying basis, and beating the 27.2 billion crown poll forecast. ($1 = 9.3060 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; Editing by Esha Vaish and Mark Potter)

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