Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), the largest maker of construction and mining equipment, said global machinery retail sales rose 13 percent in the three months through August from a year earlier on Asian and North American gains.
Sales increased 24 percent in North America and 27 percent in the Asia-Pacific region, the Peoria, Illinois-based company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today. Sales dropped 5 percent in Latin American and were unchanged in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
While global growth slowed from the 14 percent gain reported for the three months through July, it was “a little better” than expected given macroeconomic concerns and Caterpillar’s plans to temporarily idle an Illinois factory, Stephen Volkmann, an analyst at Jefferies & Co. in New York, said today in a report.
Caterpillar said last month that it shut its main Chinese excavator plant in China for much of July after an increase in inventories there. The mining industry this year has cut billions of dollars of planned capital expenditure after prices slumped for commodities such as iron or e and coal.
“Sales through August are holding up reasonably well, particularly in North America,” said Eli Lustgarten, an analyst for Longbow Research in Independence, Ohio, who has a hold rating on the shares. Sales growth may begin to “plateau,” he said in a telephone interview.
Caterpillar plans to idle a component plant in East Peoria, Illinois, for a week around Thanksgiving and for a week around Christmas to check rising inventory, Jim Dugan, a company spokesman, said in an e-mail today.
In Caterpillar’s power systems business, electrical power and industrial retail sales fell 3 percent and 16 percent respectively in the three months through August. Transportation was up 9 percent and petroleum climbed 14 percent.
Caterpillar fell 0.9 percent to $91.72 at the close in New York.
The shares fell because “there is some nervousness” given Caterpillar’s plans to adjust production in Illinois and ahead of its presentation on Sept. 24 at the MINExpo mining exhibition in Las Vegas, Lustgarten said.
Each month Caterpillar releases retail sales provided by dealers for machines and power systems on a rolling three-month basis.
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