January 29, 2008 / 3:08 PM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 1-Paccar quarterly profit drops

(Adds, share activity, other details)

CHICAGO, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Paccar Inc (PCAR.O), the No. 2 U.S. maker of heavy trucks, said on Tuesday that its quarterly earnings fell a greater-than-expected 31 percent, pulled down by weakness in North America and a big jump in research and development spending.

The news sent the company’s shares down 5 percent in early trading.

Paccar reported a fourth-quarter profit of $261.1 million, or 71 cents a share, down from $380.5 million, or $1.01 a share, last year.

Revenue of the Bellevue, Washington-based company fell 11 percent to $3.76 billion.

Paccar blamed the slide on several factors, including a weak truck market in the United States and Canada, where tough new clean-air rules that took effect in 2007 and increased the price of engines and trucks -- coupled with a weaker freight market -- have kept fleet owners out of showrooms.

The company also said that higher commodity prices, and higher expenses associated with long-term strategic projects, also weighed on its results.

Peter Nesvold, an analyst at Bear Stearns, said a good chunk of the latter costs was driven by a doubling of quarterly R&D to $92.1 million in the latest quarter, up from $44.4 million last year.

Paccar shares were down $2.41 at $45.76 on Nasdaq. (Reporting by James B. Kelleher, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

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