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Profits crater for equipment maker Caterpillar as mining slumps

April 22, 2013|By Chad Terhune
  • Caterpillar Inc. cut its full-year sales and profit forecast amid a slowdown in orders for mining equipment.
Caterpillar Inc. cut its full-year sales and profit forecast amid a slowdown… (Yves Logghe / Associated…)

Heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. reported a 45% drop in first-quarter profit and cut its full-year outlook amid a slowdown in its mining business.

The Peoria, Ill., company said mining companies continue to reduce their spending and new equipment orders remain weak after a surge last year.

But Caterpillar said its sales in China increased in the quarter ended March 31, and that it's becoming more optimistic about the U.S. housing sector.

"What’s happening in our business and in the economy overall is a mixed picture," said Doug Oberhelman, Caterpillar's chairman and chief executive. "Conditions in the world economy seem relatively stable, and we continue to expect slow growth in 2013."

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The company said it expects world economic growth of about 2.5%, a small improvement from 2.3% last year.

Caterpillar reported first-quarter profit of $880 million, or $1.31 a share, compared with $1.6 billion, or $2.37 a share, from a year earlier. Revenue in the quarter declined 17% to $13.2 billion.

Shares of Caterpillar were off 60 cents, or less than 1%, to $79.83 in Monday trading.

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