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