What happened

Shares of Air Products & Chemicals (NYSE:APD) fell more than 11% in early trading Thursday after the industrial gases producer reported a small earnings miss but beat on fiscal Q1 2021 sales. Analysts had forecast Air Products would earn $2.19 per share (adjusted) on sales of $2.35 billion. As it turned out, earnings were $2.12 and sales $2.4 billion.  

Air Products stock is down 4.4% as of 11:40 a.m. EST.

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Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Air Products reported earnings per share of $2.12, both pro forma and when calculated according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). These earnings declined 1% year over year whichever way you calculate them, instead of rising as analysts had hoped. Management blamed a "negative impact from COVID-19" of $0.10 to $0.15 per share for the decline, but nevertheless announced it was raising its quarterly dividend by 12% to $1.50 per share.  

Sales for the quarter climbed 5% year over year, 3 percentage points of which were due to currency rate fluctuations. Growth was flat in North America, but sales grew in both Europe and Asia.

Now what

Management did not provide guidance for the year ahead, aside from saying that "we remain confident in the profitable growth strategy we are executing." Analysts, meanwhile, continue to forecast a rebound in earnings this year, predicting full-year fiscal 2021 profits will rise 11% to $9.31 per share on 8% sales growth to $9.6 billion.  

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