Caterpillar Takes the Fed Off the Table

Take heart from its its lousy showing. Together with Wal-Mart, it could hold off more tightening.
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This column was originally published on RealMoney on Oct. 20 at 9:51 a.m. EDT. It's being republished as a bonus for TheStreet.com readers.

The economy is slowing for

Caterpillar

(CAT) - Get Report

. It isn't slowing for

Deere

(DE) - Get Report

,

CSX

(CSX) - Get Report

,

Union Pacific

(UNP) - Get Report

,

Continental Air

(CAL) - Get Report

, every retailer, and almost every tech company.

But because we are so overbought, for the morning Caterpillar will trump all of that good news and send people to buy defensive names such as

UnitedHealth

(UNH) - Get Report

,

Schering-Plough

(SGP)

and

Altria

(MO) - Get Report

. (Those buys will be futile, by the way, because of options pressure.)

To me, this is all nutty. Caterpillar's important; it led the

Dow

up. But if you are like me, Caterpillar is the answer, like

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

, to the single biggest question on earth: Is the

Federal Reserve

done tightening?

Caterpillar and Wal-Mart are so visible that they could, in the Fed mindset, hold off the next tightening. I can't tell you how many companies, from

Washington Mutual

(WM) - Get Report

to

Toll

(TOL) - Get Report

, from

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

to

Fortune Brands

(FO)

, need that to happen.

So before you bail on Caterpillar -- which is like bailing on Wal-Mart, in my opinion -- take heart that today, the Fed is off the table.

Random musings:

College students, listen up!

RealMoney

is offering you something special... a free subscription through May 31, 2007. The only requirement: You must have an email address that ends in .edu. Email

collegetour@thestreet.com

to accept my personal invitation to come read my blog every day, plus all the other writers on that great site. Pass it on!

At the time of publication, Cramer was long UnitedHealth Group, Schering-Plough and Altria.

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