Xerox warns as business slowdown worsens

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Xerox (XRX) sells copiers and printers used in the smallest business and the largest. Its least expensive machines sell for $549, which means that, on a lease, they only cost $20 or $30 a month. At the higher end of its product line, it markets a $17,995 super work station.

So, it says something about the very broad business economy when Xerox reports that its business is falling apart.

According to a release from the company today, "Due to the increasingly more challenging global economic environment, Xerox Corporation today lowered its first-quarter 2009 earnings expectations to a range of 3 cents to 5 cents per share from a range of 16 cents to 20 cents per share." More stunning than that, Xerox said its revenue dropped 18 percent for the first two months of the year. Five percent of that was due to currency exchange rates.

The news is especially hard for Xerox shareholders. The company has been in the midst of an "on again, off again" turnaround under CEO Anne Mulcahy. Recently, the trend has been off again. The firm's shares trade at $5.34, near a 52-week low, and down from a period high of $16.

And the stock almost certainly has further to fall.

Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.

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