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Eaton profit falls 5 percent, misses Wall Street estimates

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. manufacturer Eaton Corp reported lower-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, as weaker results in units that supply auto, plane and truck industries offset strength in electrical businesses, and the company said its markets are growing more slowly than it had expected.

The maker of electrical and hydraulic systems reported its net earnings fell 5 percent to $345 million, or $1.02 per share, compared with $365 million, or $1.07 per share, a year ago.

Excluding acquisition charges, operating earnings of $1.07 were 2 cent below average analyst estimates, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales fell 4 percent to $3.95 billion.

Profit was up in Eaton's U.S. and international electrical businesses, helped by construction activity, but fell in Eaton's aerospace, auto and truck segments and Eaton cut its forecast of truck production in North America.

Cleveland-based Eaton said Chinese and European economies were "subdued" and U.S. industrial markets slowed partly because of worries about the coming "fiscal cliff," when government spending cuts could tip the economy back into recession. Some customers are delaying purchases of hydraulics used in construction machinery, especially in the United States and China.

The company's $11.8 billion purchase of electrical products maker Cooper Industries is still pending some regulatory approvals but is expected to close before the end of the year. Most of the combined company's sales will come from electrical markets, which Eaton said are holding up well during a period of otherwise soft demand. (Reporting By Nick Zieminski in New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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