Caterpillar reports 3Q results

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Caterpillar this week announced a third-quarter profit of 64 cents per share, down 75 cents per share from the third quarter of 2008. Sales and revenues of $7.3 billion were down 44 percent from $12.98 billion in the third quarter of 2008.

Third-quarter profit of $404 million was down $464 million from $868 million in the third quarter of 2008.

The decline was primarily because of significantly lower sales volume, the company said.

"We believe the third quarter marked the low point for Caterpillar sales and revenues in what has been the toughest recession since the 1930s. We are seeing encouraging signs that indicate a recovery may be under way," chairman and CEO Jim Owens said in a statement. "However, the world economy is still facing significant challenges. There is uncertainty about the timing and strength of recovery."

Caterpillar expects 2009 sales and revenues of $32 to $33 billion. The 2009 profit outlook range has improved to $1.10 to $1.30 per share compared to the previous range of 40 cents to $1.50 per share.

The preliminary outlook for 2010 sales and revenues is an increase of 10 to 25 percent from the midpoint of the 2009 outlook range, in part driven by the end of dealer inventory reductions that significantly impacted sales in 2009.

"While 2010 will still be a difficult year, we expect improvement in our top line from the lows of 2009, and it's critical that we manage on the way up as well as we did in the face of declining volume. As a result, we've already started planning for an upturn. When it comes, it can come quickly and we, our dealers and our suppliers will be prepared," Owens said.

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