Caterpillar Target Up on Infrastructure Stimulus Potential

UBS analyst Steven Fisher lifted his price target on construction-equipment maker Caterpillar to $180 from $130, affirming a neutral rating.
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Caterpillar  (CAT) - Get Report shares rose Tuesday after UBS analyst Steven Fisher boosted his share-price target on the construction equipment maker to $180 from $130, keeping his rating at neutral.

"We think there is a greater likelihood of infrastructure stimulus being implemented now than there has been over the past decade due to current macro and political conditions," he wrote in a commentary cited by MarketWatch.

"Historical moves [suggest Caterpillar] should outperform the broader market, as infrastructure optimism either translates into actual spending or a presumption of spending."

Caterpillar recently traded at $171.04, up 2.1%. The stock has gained 16% this year amid optimism for the construction industry going forward.

To be sure, Fisher said Caterpillar’s recent rise indicates investors already have priced in a hefty gain in U.S. construction machinery demand. 

More increases are possible, but a "lower stock-price entry point would better allow for several layers of uncertainty in the outlook," he said.

Jim Cramer is even more cautious. Caterpillar is “outrageously expensive,” he wrote on TheStreet.com Monday

"Here's a company with a CEO, Jim Umpleby, who is determined to get his stock higher and has succeeded spectacularly, giving you a 14% gain in the midst of one of the worst recessions in history,” Cramer said.

“Some of that gain comes from a decision to buy back stock aggressively -- more than 10% of the float. But a lot is just plain old multiple expansion. … This premier industrial is more levered to a faltering oil price than to the ascending China.”