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Caterpillar Is My Annuity

NEW YORK (TheStreet) --I'm reasonably certain that no one on Caterpillar's (CAT) board of directors thinks of it as an annuity company, but I do. I'm certain the company's heavy equipment is excellent but its unintentional by-products are even better.

I can't think of a company in the past year that has been disparaged more than has Caterpillar.

It's CEO, Douglas Oberhelm, has been frequently suggested as a leading candidate for "Worst CEO of 2013," collected by TheStreet's Herb Greenberg.

Famed short-seller Jim Chanos called Caterpillar his "short of the year." Whether Chanos' thesis is correct or not, he certainly helped place a near-term upper limit on Caterpillar shares. 

It's not easy keeping a low profile when you're a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Index, which spent much of the year hitting new record highs while your share price languished. But while "Type A" personalities require a stock that is firing on all cylinders, I prefer one that has settled into mediocrity and knows how to tread in place.

That's Caterpillar.

Let's look at the simple 2013 year-to-date statistics. While the DJIA has advanced 20.2%, Caterpillar has fallen 4%, but only down 2.1% if you plow dividends back into the equation. Unfortunately for those 2013 Caterpillar statistics, the company advanced a dividend payment from 2013 to 2012 in order to take advantage of a lower tax environment.

CAT Chart
data by YCharts

While no one really cares about the sum of the absolute value of share price moves, Caterpillar would be worshiped if they did.

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