Caterpillar earnings top expectations, but CEO warns about 'global economic uncertainty'

Caterpillar on Friday reported a revenue miss in the fourth quarter, citing “global economic uncertainty.”

The industrial giant’s quarterly earnings came in at $2.63 per share adjusted, compared with an estimate of $2.37 in a Refinitiv survey of analysts. Revenue fell 8% year over year to $13.144 billion, below the estimate of $13.412 billion.

Chairman and CEO Jim Umpleby noted persisting risks around the world that weighed on the company’s revenue.

“We expect continued global economic uncertainty to pressure sales to users in 2020 and cause dealers to further reduce inventories,” Umpleby said in a statement. “We have improved our lead times and remain prepared to respond quickly to any positive or negative changes in customer demand.”

The heavy equipment maker also issued weaker-than-expected guidance for full-year 2020, projecting earnings per share of $8.50 to $10 versus $10.63 that the Street was looking for.

The heavy machinery manufacturer’s stock dipped more than 1% on Friday. Caterpillar shares have fallen nearly 10% in January alone, following a 16% gain last year.

At the height of the U.S.-China trade war last year, Caterpillar’s profits took a big hit from higher material costs, including tariffs.


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