United Parcel Service Inc reported Tuesday that its first quarter profit plunged 56 percent, with results coming in below the average of analysts’ estimates.

UPS cited weak demand in shipping during the current economic downturn.

First quarter net profit fell to $401 million, or 52 cents per share, from $0.87 per share during same period last year. Revenue slid 14 percent to $10.9 billion from $12.68 billion a year ago.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of 56 cents per share on revenue of $11.4 billion.

Things are down -- we knew they'd be down, David Campbell, an analyst at Thompson Davis & Co. told Bloomberg.

The world's largest package delivery leader in supply chain and freight services also said second quarter earnings will be down as it struggles in the current financial crisis.

We don't have a unique telescope to the future on the U.S. economy ... but we don't think it's going to get much worse, Chief Financial Officer Kurt Kuehn told Reuters.

It expects earnings per share in the second quarter with a range of 45 cents to 55 cents compared with analysts’ estimates of 65 cents per share.

Shares of UPS fell $1.44, or 2.63 to $53.31 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.