STOCKS NEWS EUROPE-Cookson hit hard after profit warning

Shares in Cookson slide as much as 18 percent to a year low and lead FTSE mid-cap fallers after the group warns on full-year profits due to tough trading at its ceramics division.

The stock is the most heavily traded of the mid-caps, at nearly 3-1/2 times its 90-day daily average after the opening two hours, against 15 percent for the broader index.

The unit is suffering from a downturn in global steel production, a slowdown in its foundry castings end markets, such as heavy trucks and wind turbines, and a very depressed solar industry.

Morgan Crucible , which also makes industrial ceramics, was dragged 8 percent lower.

Oriel Securities analyst Harry Philips takes his full-year operating profit forecast down to 255 million pounds ($412.92 million), from his current 284 million pounds, which drops through to pretax profit of 228 million pounds.

Analysts had been expecting headline pretax profit of 248 million pounds, according a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S survey.

"Not great but not a repeat of 2008," Philips says. "In a patchy environment, there will be pluses and minuses and this is evident within Cookson's own portfolio today."

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