Caterpillar Forecasts Fall Short as Demand Slump Persists – by Joe Deaux (Bloomberg News – January 26, 2017)

Caterpillar Inc. forecast 2017 revenue and earnings that trailed analysts’ estimates as signs of a recovery in mining and energy have yet to translate into a rebound in demand for the company’s signature yellow machines.

Revenue will be in a range of $36 billion to $39 billion, with a midpoint of $37.5 billion, the Peoria, Illinois-based company said in a statement Thursday.

That is less than the $38.1 billion average of 16 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg, and indicates annual revenue may fall for a fifth consecutive year. Earnings excluding restructuring costs will be $2.90 a share at the midpoint, compared with the analysts’ estimate of $3.08.

The company said the availability of used construction equipment will weigh on sales in 2017, and it expects capital spending among miners to be flat. In December, Caterpillar said analysts were overestimating its earnings prospects amid continued weakness in some markets.

Any benefit from U.S. President Donald Trump’s infrastructure-spending plan and tax reforms probably wouldn’t be seen until some time in 2018, the company said Thursday.

The lowered outlook “is happening because business still stinks,” Stephen Volkmann, a New York-based analyst for Jefferies LLC, said in a telephone interview. “The recovery is certainly not happening yet.”

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