Caterpillar Slices Guidance Again After Weak Earnings


Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) reported second-quarter 2013 results before markets opened this morning. The heavy equipment firm posted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.45 on revenues of $14.62 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $2.54 on revenues of $17.37 billion. Second-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $1.70 and $14.92 billion in revenues.

For the full year, Caterpillar lowered its forecast revenues from $57 billion to $61 billion to a new range of $56 billion to $58 billion. The company's EPS forecast of $7.00 was reeled in as well, to $6.50 "at the middle of the sales and revenues outlook range." The company already had cut guidance at the end of the first quarter.

The current consensus estimate for $6.84 in EPS on revenues of $58.67 billion in revenues likely will take another hit today, as will the company's share price.

The company's CEO said:

The $1 billion reduction in dealer machine inventory was more than we previously expected and was negative to our sales and profit in the quarter. While dealer machine inventory is low by historic standards, dealers are utilizing inventory from our product distribution centers and are positioned to reduce inventory even further. As a result, we expect dealer machine inventory to decline about $1.5 to $2 billion in the second half of 2013 and end the year about $3.5 billion lower than year-end 2012. That means that we are underselling end-user demand this year, and it sets us up for better sales in 2014.

The company tried to sweeten the pill by saying it would buy back $1 billion worth of shares in the third quarter from the $2.7 billion remaining in its stock repurchase program. That is always good for management, but probably will not make shareholders forget the poor quarterly show.

Caterpillar's shares are down about 1.4% in premarket trading, at $84.36 in a 52-week range of $78.79 to $99.70. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $96.40 before today's report.

Filed under: Industrials Tagged: CAT

Originally published