— Motorola Inc. warned Thursday that fourth-quarter sales and earnings will fall below expectations, citing slowing growth in the worldwide semiconductor industry and continuing problems with cell phone profitability.

The company's second profit warning in two months sent its stock skidding to a 14-month low on the New York Stock Exchange.

After quickly plunging 11 percent, shares in the Schaumburg, Ill.-based firm recovered slightly but were still down $1.12, or 6 percent, at $16.68 by midmorning.

Motorola said fourth-quarter sales are now expected to be $10 billion, down from the $10.5 billion projected in guidance the company gave in October. Per-share earnings are now anticipated to be 15 cents, scaled back from 27 cents.

Sales in the first quarter of 2001 will be even lower at $8.8 billion, the company said, with full-year earnings for next year now expected to be lower than the previously forecast $44 billion.

Word of the glum outlook comes eight weeks after Motorola said orders for cell phones had dropped 23 percent in the third quarter and acknowledged that the falloff in phone growth would crimp its earnings for the rest of this year and next.

It also follows by one day the company's announcement that it will outsource more of its cell-phone production, resulting in the elimination of 2,800 jobs in Iowa, Florida and Ireland.

Motorola maintained that it still expects to gain its full share of the robust growth anticipated in the global market for mobile phones. It said benefits from its cost-reduction plan should be evident by the middle of next year, when it thinks the semiconductor industry's inventory slump should also be over.

"Even though it is necessary to reduce our expectations for sales and earnings in the short term, we continue to believe that tremendous long-term opportunity exists . . . for wireless, broadband and Internet markets," said Robert Growney, president and chief operating officer.

Motorola last year lost its spot as the world's No. 1 cell-phone manufacturer to Finland's Nokia.