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Samsung's Q4 profits hit by slowing mobile sales growth

SEOUL--Quarterly earnings at Samsung Electronics Co. fell for the first time in two years as sales of smartphones and tablets slowed in developed countries.

The South Korean company Tuesday estimated an operating profit of 8.3 trillion won (US$7.8 billion) for the final three months of 2013, a 6 percent decline over a year earlier. The result was lower than forecast by analysts and an 18 percent drop from the third quarter. Sales rose 5 percent to 59 trillion won (US$55.4 billion).

Since the last quarter of 2011, Samsung's operating income has increased every quarter, peaking at 10.2 trillion won in the July-September period. The fourth quarter performance shows that explosive growth in Samsung's lucrative mobile device business has come to a halt.

It will release its net profit result for the fourth quarter later this month.

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