Caterpillar Inc. (IW 500/21), the world's top construction-equipment maker, reported its best third quarter ever but lowered its full-year forecast, citing global uncertainties.
Net earnings leaped 49% from a year ago to $1.7 billion, or $2.54 per share, beating analysts' expectations.
Revenue rose 5% to $16.4 billion, missing Wall Street estimates of $16.8 billion.
Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman said the company "is focused on finishing 2012 as the best year for sales and profit in our history."
Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar, considered a bellwether of the global economy, said it is continuing to see the impact of "economic and geopolitical headwinds facing the world," he said.
"Despite the turbulence in the global economy, we continue to track toward our goals on cost control, margin improvement, product quality, safety and better product availability for our customers."
Caterpillar lowered its full-year sales and revenues forecast to about $66 billion, from a previous outlook of $68 billion to $70 billion. The company said it expects profits between $9 and $9.25 per share, down from a prior estimate of about $9.60.
"As we've moved through the year, we've seen continued economic weakening and uncertainty. It's definitely impacting our business with dealers intending to lower inventories and mining customers delaying some projects and reducing orders," Oberhelman said.
"While there's reason for optimism, and we're not expecting a global recession in 2013, we are prepared and stand ready to take action no matter what happens to the global economy," he added.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012