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Caterpillar Retail Sales Drop Slows on Latin America Gain

Caterpillar Inc., the world’s largest maker of construction and mining equipment, said global retail sales declined at a slower pace as Latin America improved.

Total machine retail sales fell 9 percent in the three months through April from a year ago, smaller than the 11 percent drop in the quarter through March, the Peoria, Illinois-based company said today in a filing.

Retail machine sales fell in every region except Latin America, where they increased 28 percent, more than double the gain for the period through March, according to the filing.

Construction and infrastructure projects in Brazil, which will host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, drove the gains in Latin America, said Larry De Maria, a New York-based analyst for William Blair & Co. De Maria, who has a buy rating on the shares, commented in an e-mail today.

North American machine retail sales dropped 18 percent from a year ago in the rolling three-month period, Caterpillar said. The region likely “underperformed” because of wet, cold weather, De Maria said.

The weather in North America has delayed crop planting and slowed construction, Moline, Illinois-based Deere & Co. said May 15. Deere competes with Caterpillar in the manufacturing and sale of construction machinery.

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