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Weir Group first half hit by tough North America market

(Reuters) - Engineering company Weir Group Plc <WEIR.L> on Tuesday reported a 22% fall in like-for-like profit in the first half of the year, while forecasting full-year oil and gas profit at the lower end of its target range as orders in North America slowed.

Shares of the FTSE 250 company fell 3.2% as of 0800 GMT after the company also reported a 7% drop in like-for-like orders.

Weir, which makes equipment used in mining as well as in energy industries, said the drop in oil and gas orders was due to excess capacity in the North American pressure pumping market.

Operating profit for the first half of 2019 was 172 million pounds and total orders were 1.42 billion pounds, with oil and gas orders down 27%.

The company had previously forecast oil and gas operating profit in the range of 55 million pounds to 95 million pounds for the year.

"Bottom line is that we view the guidance message as in line with expectations given increasingly cautious newsflow from the U.S. shale sector already being factored into expectations," Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a note.

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Anil D'Silva)