NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- When Caterpillar ( CAT) reports second-quarter results before the opening bell Thursday, investors will be looking for the industrial bellwether to tweak its guidance for 2010 in a positive direction.That's not exactly surprising. One of Caterpillar's chief global competitors, the Japanese giant Komatsu, made a similar move when it reported results last week, hiking its profit projections by 41% on the back of strong demand from China, a crucial region for Caterpillar as well, which has banked on expanding business in the People's Republic for much of its growth this year. (This despite widespread fears, and some evidence, that measures by the Chinese government to ease ecomonic expansion had taken hold in recent weeks.) Further supporting investors' confidence in a brigher EPS outlook, Caterpillar last month reported sales-growth figures for the three months between March and May, numbers that were widely viewed as evidence of the company's continued, if slow, recovery. In April, Caterpillar told Wall Street to expect 2010 earnings of $2.50 to $3.25 a share, and year-over-year revenue growth of 10% to 25% for 2010. Analysts say the company has done a good job managing costs coming out of the recession. Caterpillar's own profit projections for 2010 have thus been judged as conservative by sell-side analysts, who, as a group, believe the company will earn $3.29 a share for the full year.
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