Cat Is Purring, But They're Hissing On The Floor

These are the glory days for Caterpillar Inc. After recession-plagued years in 1991 and 1992, U.S. demand for its giant earth-moving equipment is soaring, and Europe may soon rebound, too. A $1.8 billion modernization program has the company churning out excavators and bulldozers faster than ever, while a reorganization has held down costs. The result: Cat's earnings should climb 16% this year, to $760 million, as sales rise 7%, to $12 billion, predicts Smith Barney Shearson Inc. analyst Tobias M. Levkovich. He and other Wall Street analysts are bullish on the stock, which they predict could hit 150 next year, vs. 112 today.

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