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Caterpillar Reports Healthy Earnings Report
USAgNet - 01/30/2013

Caterpillar shares rose 3% early Monday to the highest level since last May after it reported fourth quarter results and said it reduced inventory by $2 billion during the quarter, easing an inventory glut. But shares lost much of the initial gain later in the morning because it also said in the report, which came before the market opened, that fourth quarter earnings per share and revenue both fell from the same quarter last year, and prospects for this year are uncertain.

The world's largest construction equipment maker was hurt during the quarter by weak demand among its dealers for its bulldozers, tractors and other machines.

Caterpillar's fourth quarter EPS slid 37% from same quarter last year to $1.46, missing Wall Street's target by 23 cents. It was the company's first miss since the second quarter of 2011.

Sales dipped 6.7% to $16.08 billion, slightly below forecasts. Shares were up 1.26% at 96.76 in late Monday morning trading.

The equipment giant's stock price crossed above its 200-day average at the beginning of January, and it's now trading well above both 50-day and 200-day averages.

Cat and CNH Global, a Netherlands-based maker of backhoes, tractors and other gear, led a broad rally in the equipment industry in early January after Congress reached a deal to temporarily avert the fiscal cliff.

Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman said soft global economic growth led the company to focus in mid-2012 on reducing inventory, and it cut its warehoused stock by $2 billion in the fourth quarter.

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