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Caterpillar profit climbs 49%

NEW YORK (MarketWatch)
Caterpillar Inc. said Monday its third-quarter profit rose 49% to $1.7 billion, or $2.54 a share, from $1.14 billion, or $1.71 a share, in the year-ago period
The latest quarter included a pre-tax gain of $273 million, which the company had previously announced
Total sales and revenue at the maker of bulldozers rose 6% to $16.45 billion
Wall Street analysts expected Caterpillar to earn $2.21 a share on revenue of $16.6 billion, according to a survey by FactSet
Caterpillar said it now expects 2012 earnings of $9 to $9.25 a share, below its earlier estimate of about $9.60 a share
Revenue for 2012 is estimated at $66 billion, below its earlier range of $68 to $70 billion Caterpillar cited "global economic conditions that are weaker than we had previously expected." Caterpillar said it's not expected a global recession in 2013

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Caterpillar Inc.'s /quotes/zigman/221644/quotes/nls/cat CAT +1.00% third-quarter earnings rose 49% as the construction and mining equipment maker benefited from an asset-sale gain and posted continued revenue growth.

However, the company lowered its 2012 outlook amid weaker-than-expected global economic conditions. The company now expects per-share earnings of $9 to $9.25 on revenue of about $66 billion, compared with its prior estimate for earnings of about $9.60 and revenue of $68 billion to $70 billion.

For next year, Caterpillar expects sales and revenue to be about the same as 2012, plus or minus 5%. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters recently expected per-share profit growth of 6% and revenue growth of 4%.

As the world's largest manufacturer of bulldozers, excavators and other construction machinery, Caterpillar is closely watched as a gauge of the strength of the global economy.

Caterpillar and some of its rivals were expected to acknowledge that some customers are canceling or postponing orders amid uncertainty about government policy, Europe's financial crisis and slowing growth in China.

"We are taking a pragmatic view of 2013--we're not expecting rapid growth, and we're not predicting a global recession," said Chairman and Chief Executive Doug Oberhelman. "While machine deliveries to end users have continued to hold up, our sales will probably remain relatively weak early in 2013 as dealers are likely to continue reducing inventories. When expected dealer inventory reductions level off, and easing actions by central banks and governments around the world begin to improve economic growth, we expect our business will begin to improve."

Caterpillar reported a profit of $1.7 billion, or $2.54 a share, up from $1.14 billion, or $1.71 a share, a year earlier. The latest period included a $273 million gain from the sale of its third-party logistics business.

Revenue increased 4.6% to $16.45 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters most recently projected earnings of $2.22 on revenue of $16.77 billion.

Operating margin rose to 15.8% from 11.2%.