FedEx Corp on Wednesday reported a larger fourth-quarter loss, due to charges at two units that have been hit by the recession, but gave a low outlook for the current quarter, citing the continued downturn and rising fuel prices.

The package delivery company said that it expects earnings per share in the current quarter in a range between 30 cents to 45 cents. Analysts had predicted earnings per share for the quarter of 70 cents.

FedEx predicted the next two quarters will be extremely difficult, but said the worst of the downturn appears to be over.

Memphis-based FedEx reported a loss for the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter, ending May 31, of $876 million, or $2.82 a share, compared with a loss of $241 million, or 78 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding those charges, the company reported a net profit of 64 cents.

Wall Street analysts, on average, had expected earnings per share for the quarter of 51 cents, according to Reuters Estimates.

Like its main rival, United Parcel Service Inc , FedEx is considered a bellwether of U.S. economic activity.

As the U.S. recession has dragged on, package volumes at both companies have suffered.

In pre-market trade FedEx shares were down nearly 3 percent at $50.00.

(Reporting by Nick Carey; Editing by Brian Moss)