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Shares of FedEx plunged more than 10 percent on Wednesday after the delivery company slashed its profit forecast, citing numerous trouble spots in the global economy.
Executives listed a panoply of vulnerable markets: China, which has been hit by its trade fight with the United States; Britain, which has slowed sharply since July amid the Brexit morass; and other weak links in Europe, including Italy, France and Belgium – the latter two both slowed by ‘yellow vest protests.’
FedEx trimmed its projection for adjusted earnings to a range of $15.50 to $16.60 per share from the prior $17.20 to $17.80 per share. 
‘While the US economy remains solid, our international business weakened during the quarter, especially in Europe,’ said FedEx Chief Executive Frederick Smith.
‘We are taking action to mitigate the impact of this trend through new cost-reduction initiatives.’
The company, which in July reported having 227,000 employees, announced it would undertake a voluntary buyout program in the United States that might be expanded to international regions. It also plans international delivery capacity reductions.
On a conference call with analysts, executives signaled they could trim their capital spending and slow or suspend future share repurchases after spending some $11.6 billion on buybacks over the last five and a half years.
FedEx’s downcast outlook comes as leading economists have lowered their predictions for global growth in 2019, with some also citing the risks of a recession by 2020.
A key drag has been the ongoing US-China trade clash, prompting an analyst on Tuesday night’s call to question whether the tariff ceasefire announced at a meeting  this month between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump had led to ‘meaningful improvement’ in 2019 expectations.
‘At this point, given what we know, we’re assuming that the current softness that we’re seeing continues into the New Year,’ said Rajesh Subramaniam, chief marketing officer at FedEx. ‘If that changes, we will update you in our next quarterly call.’
Shares of FedEx fell 10.3 percent to $166.03 in late-morning trading.