Caterpillar Has Record Q3, but Lowers Outlook

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Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) this morning reported record third-quarter results that included a pretax gain of $273 million.

The Peoria, Ill.-based heavy equipment manufacturer posted adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $2.54 on revenues of $16.45 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $1.71 on revenues of $15.72 billion. Third-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $2.23 and $16.79 billion in revenues.

The company's chairman and CEO said:

[W]e had a record third quarter, and our entire organization is focused on finishing 2012 as the best year for sales and profit in our history. ... Despite the turbulence in the global economy, we continue to track toward our goals on cost control, margin improvement, product quality, safety and better product availability for our customers.

But the company lowered its full-year outlook to $66 billion in revenue and earnings in a range of $9.00 to $9.25 per share. That is down from revenues of $68 billion to $70 billion and a profit range with a mid point of $9.60. The Thomson Reuters consensus estimates call for EPS of $9.41 and $67.76 billion in revenues.

The CEO also said:

We are taking a pragmatic view of 2013 -- we're not expecting rapid growth, and we're not predicting a global recession. At this point, we expect 2013 sales will be similar overall to 2012, but with a slightly weaker first half and a slightly better second half.

Shares are down about 1.3% in premarket trading to $82.90. The 52-week range is $78.25 to $116.95, and the mean price target before today's report was $102.85.

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