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Caterpillar Retail Sales Jump in August

Caterpillar reports another month of rising global retail sales, with its still-depressed North American market showing its steepest uptick since the recession began.
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PEORIA, Illinois (TheStreet) -- Caterpillar (CAT) - Get Caterpillar Inc. Report released another round of monthly sales figures that showed quickening year-over-year growth.

For the period between July 10 and August 10, worldwide sales to retail end users of its core heavy equipment rose 37% from a year ago. That represents a quickening over the prior several months: in July, June and May, global sales grew 32%, 22% and 11%, respectively. Up until May, the metric had declined for 17 straight months.

The all-important but still-depressed North American region saw its steepest uptick since the recession began, rising 40%, outstripping the speed of growth in Caterpillar's hot spot, China.

In its Asia-Pacific region, sales increased by 32% in August, according to Caterpillar's figures. Latin America saw growth of 57% and Europe and the Middle East 26%.

Caterpillar never comments on the numbers, or "dealer stats," as it calls them, which are percentage comparisons rather than actual dollar figures, broken down by region and segment. The data represents retail sales of Caterpillar machines, rather than factory sales.

Caterpillar shares were down slightly in Friday morning action, changing hands at $71.86, down 0.2% from the previous close. Investors have since August been baking this accelerated growth into Caterpillar stock, which closed in this week on its 52-week high, $72.83.

-- Written by Scott Eden in New York

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