After years of struggling, Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) - Get Report has finally found its groove. Shares are up almost 50% over the past 12 months and roughly double where Caterpillar stock traded at the beginning of 2016. As the global economy continues to recover, so too does Caterpillar's earnings.
Helping pad those gains was a recent investor day meeting last Tuesday. This meeting gave investors and analysts even more confidence in the stock, as Caterpillar went on to hit new 52-week highs last week.
The analysts have been getting on board, too. Some, like Stifel's Stanley Elliott, said he was encouraged by the meeting, but wishes he came away with more specifics. He maintained his hold rating and $125 price target, which implies minimal upside from current levels.
However, others are more positive. Last Thursday, BMO Capital analyst Joel Tiss maintained his outperform rating, but raised his price target from $130 to $150. Should Caterpillar stock get to Tiss' price target, it would register a 25% gain. That's not including the 2.6% dividend yield Caterpillar pays out.
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Tiss argues that Caterpillar can deliver robust earnings, and believes that its focus on improving the customer experience should pay off down the road.
Then there's UBS analyst Steven Fisher, who upgraded the stock to buy from neutral and bumped his price target to $140 from $116. The target implies about 16.5% upside from current levels. Fisher says a reacceleration in non-residential construction should help drive growth in the fourth quarter and 2018. Earnings and cash should continue to grow at a healthy pace.
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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author had no positions in the stocks mentioned.