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Valero Energy Shares Slide as Company Cuts Outlook

U.S. refiner Valero Energy said after markets closed Monday that its first quarter earnings will be sharply lower than last year on weak profits from gasoline production, as well as operating problems.

Its shares were down about 3 percent Tuesday.

The company expects net income for the quarter to be in the range of 10 cents to 35 cents a share. It earned $1.86 a share in the year ago period.

Valero said margins would be significantly lower than in 2007 for gasoline, petroleum coke, residual fuel oil and petrochemicals.

It said unplanned outages at its facilities, especially its Port Arthur, Aruba and Delaware City refineries, would reduce throughput margins by about $400 million.