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updated: 7/25/2017 10:43 AM

Small parts give Caterpillar big 2Q earnings boost

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  • A Caterpillar excavator is on a housing construction site in North Andover, Mass. The Peoria-based heavy equipment manufacturer recorded a very strong second quarter with demand beginning to rise.

    A Caterpillar excavator is on a housing construction site in North Andover, Mass. The Peoria-based heavy equipment manufacturer recorded a very strong second quarter with demand beginning to rise.
    Associated Press photo

  • A Caterpillar excavator is on a housing construction site in North Andover, Mass. The Peoria-based heavy equipment manufacturer recorded a very strong second quarter with demand beginning to rise.

    A Caterpillar excavator is on a housing construction site in North Andover, Mass. The Peoria-based heavy equipment manufacturer recorded a very strong second quarter with demand beginning to rise.
    Associated Press photo

  • Caterpillar loaders are parked in Middleton, Mass. The Peoria-based heavy equipment manufacturer recorded a very strong second quarter with demand beginning to rise.

    Caterpillar loaders are parked in Middleton, Mass. The Peoria-based heavy equipment manufacturer recorded a very strong second quarter with demand beginning to rise.
    Associated Press photo

  • A Caterpillar sign at a dealer in Miami. The Peoria-based heavy equipment manufacturer recorded a very strong second quarter with demand beginning to rise.

    A Caterpillar sign at a dealer in Miami. The Peoria-based heavy equipment manufacturer recorded a very strong second quarter with demand beginning to rise.
    Associated Press photo

 
 

Small parts are giving a big boost to Caterpillar's efforts to shake a four-year slump in sales of its giant yellow machines.

Shares surged to a five-year high Tuesday after the heavy-equipment maker boosted its 2017 sales and earnings outlook. The Peoria-based company's projected 2017 revenue tops analysts' estimates and would mark the first increase in annual sales since 2012. Second-quarter revenue and earnings exceeded estimates.

While sales gains in the second-quarter were driven by construction in China, demand for aftermarket parts is accelerating in mining and energy, the company said. That signals orders in those industries could be on the cusp of a rebound as older equipment wears out. Caterpillar, which said in May it was feeling better about the global economy, said Tuesday that "mining and oil-related activities have come off of recent lows."

"The aftermarket parts increases mean they'll have more equipment demand to follow, so that piece hasn't even kicked in yet," said Karen Ubelhart, a New York-based analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. "Caterpillar is saying that the recovery is happening, that they have a lot of confidence. Dealers are clearly feeling better, and that's telling you that customers are starting to buy."

Caterpillar rose as much as 5.1 percent to $113.69 in New York, the highest since March 2012. The stock climbed about 16 percent in the second quarter, the second-best performance in the Dow Jones industrial average.

The company on Tuesday reported second-quarter earnings of $1.49 a share, beating the $1.25 average of 15 analysts' estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales in the quarter were $11.33 billion, topping the $10.89 billion estimate.

Caterpillar projected 2017 revenue in the range of $42 billion to $44 billion, higher than the $38 billion to $41 billion it projected in April.

"While a number of our end markets remain challenged, construction in China and gas compression in North America were highlights in the quarter," Caterpillar Chief Executive Officer Jim Umpleby said in a statement Tuesday. "Mining and oil-related activities have come off of recent lows, and we are seeing improving demand for construction in most regions."

Caterpillar announced earlier this year it will move its headquarters from Peoria to Deerfield.

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