Caterpillar Becomes Golden Child for Analysts Ahead of Earnings

Caterpillar Inc.’s been locked in battle with Boeing Co. for the title of best stock on the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the past three months. For analysts, the winner is a lot clearer.

Shares in the maker of those iconic yellow machines are up 23 percent versus Boeing’s 24 percent gain -- both about three times more than the Dow’s return.

But Caterpillar is head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to improvements in earnings expectations, as Chinese construction soars and mining recovers. Analysts have ratcheted up their forecasts for this year by 23 percent in the past three months. That compares with a 6.8 percent improvement for Boeing, while estimates are little changed for the index.

The world’s biggest machinery maker will shed more light on just how much rosier its outlook is getting when it reports earnings before the start of regular trading Tuesday. Boeing reports a day later.

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