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Caterpillar Rolls

The tractor giant blows out the fourth quarter.
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Caterpillar (CAT) - Get Caterpillar Inc. Report blew out its fourth quarter and boosted 2006 guidance.

The Peoria, Ill., tractor company made $846 million, or $1.20 a share, up from the year-ago $551 million, or 77 cents a share. Revenue rose to $9.66 billion from $8.58 billion a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were looking for a $1.10-a-share profit on sales of $9.14 billion.

"2005 was an incredibly strong year for us," said CEO Jim Owens. "With the surge in customer demand and production, our employees, suppliers and dealers have responded in spectacular fashion to help us realize the opportunity. We should celebrate our 2005 accomplishments, knowing Caterpillar is extremely well-positioned going forward."

In 2006, the company expects sales and revenue of about $40 billion and profit per share between $4.65 and $5.00. Analysts were looking for a $4.78-a-share profit on sales of $38 billion.

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"2006 should be another year of excellent growth for Caterpillar," Owens said. "Most of the industries we serve are strong, and the fundamental economic picture remains positive. Our emphasis is on execution with 6 Sigma as we implement our new strategy to achieve our 2010 goals, with even greater focus on improving employee safety, product quality and product availability."