(By Balachander) Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) shares retreated 1.19 percent in premarket trading after the maker of construction and mining equipment reduced its earnings forecast that also trailed market expectations. The company's quarterly revenue also missed consensus.
The company cited the downward revision to a decline in demand and dealers order rates substantially below machine deliveries to end users. Dealers have substantially lowered order rates to reduce inventories going forward, it said.
Earnings were $1.7 billion or $2.54 per share for the third quarter, compared with $1.14 billion or $1.71 per share in the same period last year. Quarterly results included a pre-tax gain of $273 million from the sale of a majority interest in the company's third party logistics business.
Wall Street analysts, on average, expected EPS of $2.23 for the three months ended September.
Sales and revenue grew 5 percent to $16.44 billion, yet missed Wall Street expectations of a growth of 6.80 percent.
At the end of the third quarter, the backlog was $23.1 billion, a decline of $5.1 billion from the end of the second quarter of 2012.
For the full year 2012, the company now expects earnings per share (EPS) between $9.00 and $9.25, down from prior expectations of around $9.60. Revenue is currently projected to be roughly $66 billion from between $68 billion and $70 billion projected earlier. Analysts expect EPS of $9.41 on revenue of $67.76 billion.
Caterpillar said the rate of improvement in dealer machine deliveries to end users is lower than its expectations. The company also said it is lowering production levels until inventories and order rates from dealers move back in line with dealer deliveries to end users.
The company forecasts 2013 sales and revenue to be about the same as 2012 in a range of up 5 percent to down 5 percent.
The stock, which has been trading between $78.25 and $116.95 over the past year, closed Friday's regular trading at $83.86.