Shares of Caterpillar (CAT) closed Friday at $93.01, down .47%. The minor dip put a tiny dash of cold water on the struggling heavy machinery company's stock, which has otherwise been on fire over the last couple of days. It jumped nearly 12 percent on the week as investors reacted to Donald Trump's upset victory in the presidential election.
Caterpillar has been struggling with a cratering mining business and a steady string of bad layoff news so far in 2016. The company had announced in September 2015 that it could cut more than 10,000 jobs through 2018 and employees in Belgium, Northern Ireland and Illinois have taken hits this year.
But as investors square up with the prospect of a Trump administration, a new narrative has developed that roughly goes as follows: President Trump will follow through on his campaign promise to make a massive infrastructure investment, which will lead to new construction jobs and an increased demand for heavy machinery. Heavy equipment stocks and copper have all made corresponding price moves.
Deutsche Bank bumped up its price target on the stock to $102 from $95 Friday, showing newfound confidence in the company and competitors like Deere & Co. (DE) and Oshkosh (OSK).
"We view Caterpillar as the best way to play a U.S. infrastructure stimulus, given its earthmoving focus and coal kicker. [A] shift away from renewable energy could benefit the mining business," analyst Nicole DeBlase wrote in a research note.
But questions remain as to exactly how much money Trump will ultimately commit to infrastructure spending if he gets a deal done - and how much Caterpillar stands to gain, for that matter.
Trump promised to commit $1 trillion to infrastructure over the next 10 years while delivering stump speeches on the campaign trail. However, his official transition website only promises a $550 billion investment - and no time frame to do so.
If and when an infrastructure deal gets done - DeBlase expected to see legislature passed in the spring of 2017 at the earliest -, it would take time for the commitment to manifest itself in equipment sales, perhaps 9-to-12 months, as she forecasted.
Furthermore, a deal might not have a tremendous impact on Caterpillar's bottom line. Construction equipment is only part of the company's business, which still draws heavily on mining equipment, engine and locomotive sales.
"It's a lot of wasted brainpower on something that makes a 1-to-2% difference in revenue," Morningstar analyst Kwame Webb said of the speculation over Caterpillar's role in a Trump-led infrastructure push in a phone interview.
A single bill likely won't make all of Caterpillar's problems go away.
"Broadly speaking, all of their businesses are down," Webb said. "Some (like mining) far more severely than others."CAT data by YCharts