A Caterpillar Inc. 12M Motor Grader is displayed for sale at the Whayne Supply Co. dealership in Lexington, Kentucky, U.S. Oct. 17, 2016.
Luke Sharrett—Bloomberg/Getty Images

It's a good day for the world's largest construction and mining equipment maker.

By Reuters
July 25, 2017

Caterpillar‘s cat results smashed expectations and the company raised its full-year forecast for the second time, underscoring strength across its businesses and a steady recovery in demand from China.

Shares of the world’s largest construction and mining equipment maker rose 5% in early trading on Tuesday to touch a five-year high.

Caterpillar‘s strong results are the clearest indication yet that the company is turning a corner after weak commodity prices and global economic uncertainty hit demand for its iconic yellow earth-moving equipment in the past few years.

JPMorgan Securities analyst Ann Duignan called the results a solid “beat and raise” even as expectations were high coming into the quarter.

Sales rose at all three of its main businesses, with the resource industries unit, which makes mining equipment, reporting the biggest jump compared with a year earlier.

While acknowledging that markets remain challenged, Chief Executive Jim Umpleby said “construction in China and gas compression in North America were highlights in the quarter.”

Total sales rose 9.6% to $11.33 billion and handily beat analysts’ average estimate of $10.93 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales from Asia Pacific, Caterpillar‘s third-biggest market, jumped 23% in the quarter, boosted by an increase in construction equipment sales in China.

Demand for construction equipment in China is gaining momentum after bottoming out last year, driven by a Beijing-backed infrastructure push, a housing boom and increased investment linked to China’s modern-day “Silk Road.”

Sales in North America, its biggest market, were up 7%, largely due to improving demand from the mining and energy industries as commodity prices increase.

Caterpillar said prices will need to stabilize at “these higher levels” to drive long-term demand for equipment.

The company said it now expects 2017 adjusted earnings of about $5 per share, up from the $3.75 it had previously forecast.

The company lifted its full-year sales and revenue forecast to a range of $42 billion to $44 billion, from its previous forecast of $38 billion to $41 billion.

Net income rose about 46% to $802 million. Excluding items, Caterpillar earned $1.49 per share, handsomely beating the average estimate of $1.26 per share.

Caterpillar‘s shares were up 4.9% at $113.42. Up to Monday’s close the stock had gained 16.6% this year, outperforming the Dow’s 9% rise.

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