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Caterpillar 2Q Profit Falls 43 Pct; Cuts Outlook

By TOM KRISHER

A global mining industry slump cut into second-quarter earnings at Caterpillar Inc. as companies spent less on equipment and dealers cut inventories more than Caterpillar expected.

The world's largest maker of construction and mining equipment posted a 43 percent slide in earnings and cut its profit and revenue outlook for the year.

Caterpillar reported earnings of $960 million, or $1.45 per share, compared with $1.7 billion, or $2.54 per share a year ago. Revenue slid 15.8 percent to $14.63 billion.

That was well short of Wall Street's expectations. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected a profit of $1.69 per share on revenue of $15.09 billion.

The company said dealers cut inventories by $1 billion as the global mining industry slowed. Growth especially slowed in China.

Shares of Caterpillar Inc. fell $2.06, or 2.4 percent, to $83.46 in afternoon trading.

Caterpillar also said it had currency translation and hedging losses during the quarter.

CEO Doug Oberhelman predicted improved profits during the second half of the year as the company takes further cost-cutting measures.

Caterpillar still cut its full-year profit outlook from about $7 per share to $6.50. And revenue is now expected to come in between $56 billion and $58 billion, down from previous guidance of $57 billion to $61 billion.

Dealers, Oberhelman said, used inventory from Caterpillar's product distribution during the quarter rather than stocking their own businesses. Company inventory also dropped by $1.2 billion.

Dealers are positioned to cut inventory even further, and the company expects it to fall by $1.5 billion to $2 billion in the second half, Oberhelman said.

"That means we are underselling end-user demand this year, and it sets us up for better sales in 2014," he said.

Caterpillar, which has seen its share price decline 7 percent this year, repurchased $1 billion worth of stock in the second quarter, and based on strong cash flow, it expects to buy another $1 billion worth in the third quarter.

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