Shares of Air Products & Chemicals Inc. slumped 2.3% in premarket trading Monday, after the industrial gases company reported a fiscal second-quarter profit that came up short of expectations, while sales beat forecasts, as the COVID-19 pandemic and a severe winter storm in the U.S. Gulf Coast weighed on results. Net income for the quarter to March 31 was $473.1 million, or $2.13 a share, after earnings of $477.8 million, or $2.15 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding nonrecurring items, adjusted earnings per share rose 2% to $2.08, below the FactSet consensus of $2.12. The company said it estimates COVID-19 reduced adjusted EPS by 10 cents to 15 cents. “Adjusted EPS improved over the prior year, we continued to improve pricing, and we again generated strong cash flow,” said Chief Executive Seifi Ghasemi. Sales grew 12.9% to $2.50 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $2.34 billion, while cost of sales increased 19.5%. For 2021, the company expects adjusted EPS of $8.95 to $9.10, surrounding the FactSet consensus of $9.02. The stock has rallied 14.6% over the past three months through Friday, while the S&P 500 has gained 8.3%.

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