Diversified chemicals manufacturer and Dow-30 component DuPont (DD- Free DuPont Stock Report) has reported its first-quarter results, sending its shares off slightly on the news. The company posted revenues and share earnings of $10.1 billion and $1.58, respectively, for the March period. The top line declined slightly, on a year-over-year basis, but share net was a little higher. DuPont benefited from healthy volume growth in markets in Europe and Asia, though volume in the Americas was constrained by a reduction in planted area and the impact of harsh weather, which resulted in lower sales and greater operating costs.

The Performance Chemicals unit posted lower operating earnings, due mainly to reduced prices in fluoroproducts and greater raw material and energy costs. Performance at the Agriculture business was hurt by a lower planted area for corn in the Americas, and a decline in herbicide volumes in North America. This was partly offset by pricing gains in seeds, greater insecticide volumes in Latin America, and lower input costs. Meanwhile, the Electronics & Communications business benefited from greater sales volumes in photovoltaic markets. Elsewhere, the Industrial Biosciences line gained from increased demand for enzymes for ethanol production and lower costs. The Nutrition & Health and Safety & Protection lines also posted nice growth in operating earnings, aided by productivity gains.

Looking forward, we envision a solid performance in the coming quarters, and a healthy advance in sales and share earnings for DuPont in the current year. The Electronics & Communications and Industrial Biosciences business should continue to post strong growth in operating earnings. Moreover, the Agriculture and Nutrition & Health segments should be able to capitalize on increasing demand for more nutritious, safe, and affordable food. We expect total sales of $37 billion for full-year 2014, an increase of around 4%. DuPont has reaffirmed its bottom-line guidance of $4.20 to $4.45 for the year. Our share-net estimate of $4.30 lies near the midpoint of this range.

About The Company: Du Pont is engaged in science and technology in a range of disciplines, including high performance materials, electronics, safety and security, and biotechnology. The company operates on a global scale, manufacturing a wide range of products for distribution and sale to many different markets, including automotive, construction, agricultural, medical, protective apparel, electronics and nutrition.

At the time of this article’s writing, the author did not have positions in any of the companies mentioned.