Diversified U.S. manufacturer SPX Corp slashed its 2009 profit forecast by about 18 percent, warning that it expects revenue to be weaker than forecast as a global downturn hurts demand for its products.

Its shares fell 17 percent.

The company, which makes products ranging from cooling towers used in power plants to tools for repairing cars, said on Monday it now expects to report profit from continuing operations of $4.40 to $4.80 per share this year, down from a prior forecast of $5.40 to $5.80 per share.

Analysts had looked for profit of $5.11 per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

At the midpoint of those two ranges, that represents an 18 percent lowering of the forecast.

The cuts likely reflected the company having made overly optimistic assumptions about its businesses, particularly its flow control unit, which sells equipment used in oil and gas production, analysts said.

We had been concerned that the expectation for modest core growth in Flow was too aggressive on the back of the extremely weak backlog trends, wrote Deutsche Bank analyst Nigel Coe, in a note to clients.

Charlotte, North Carolina-based SPX looks for full year revenue to decline 12 percent to 16 percent, a deeper drop than its prior forecast of revenue flat to down 5 percent.

Demand in our short-cycle flow technology end markets has been lower than our expectations, said Chris Kearney, chief executive of SPX. Sales in our tools and diagnostics business have been lower than expected due to the continued stress being experienced by global vehicle manufacturers and their dealer service networks.

The company plans to take another $10 million in restructuring costs this year, bringing its total restructuring charges for the year to $75 million.

SPX said it expects to report first-quarter profit from continuing operations at the low end of its prior forecast of 75 cents to 85 cents per share.

Analysts, on average, had forecast first-quarter profit of 76 cents per share.

SPX shares fell $9.06 to $44.57 on the New York Stock Exchange. They are down about 50 percent over the past year, while the Standard & Poor's midcap capital goods industry index <.4GSPIC> is down 39 percent over that timeframe.

(Reporting by Scott Malone, editing by Dave Zimmerman)