City angst as Nokia cuts global handset sales targets

Finnish mobile giant warns that its Q1 sales were down 12 percent compared to last year. Investors fear the mobile market may be in for a tougher year than had been expected

Investors have reacted badly to the news that Nokia, the world's largest mobile phone maker, has warned that global handset sales this year will be lower than it had earlier forecast.

The company announced on Thursday morning that its sales in the first quarter of this year were down 12 percent compared to a year ago. It also cut its full-year sales growth prediction from 15 percent to between 4 and 9 percent.

Nokia said that it now expected that between 400 million and 420 million handsets will be sold globally in 2002, down from its earlier target of 440 million.

Nokia's sales in the first three months of this year totalled £4.3bn, compared to £4.9bn in Q1 2001.

As the mobile handset market leader, Nokia was expected to make a more positive announcement, and shares in the Finnish firm quickly dropped by around 6 percent. Shares in rival mobile maker Ericsson also fell. Analysts are concerned that the mobile market may be facing a tougher 2002 than previously expected.

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