CAT result hoses down economic growth expectations

James Gerrish

Market Matters

Overnight Caterpillar (CAT) shares tumbled around 10% at one stage before bouncing slightly, although they still closed well in the red - as we know an earnings outlook “miss” will do that. 

To be precise CAT disappointed investors by not increasing its 2018 earnings forecast, promoting fears that the heavy-duty equipment maker may be signaling a slowdown despite posting better-than-expected / best ever quarterly profits. 

Slowing global growth expectations

This is an interesting outcome when the overall US market is priced richly for ongoing growth. CAT is the largest mining equipment manufacturer in the world and investors have turned cautious due to China’s economic growth slowing to its weakest pace since the global financial crisis plus the International Monetary Fund cutting the global economic growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019. 

CAT has now corrected well over 30% since its March high and from a risk / reward perspective we could consider being a contrarian at current levels and buying the stock. 

However, just like the copper price CAT is often regarded as an economic bellwether so if the weakness does continue it will be a concerning indicator that all’s not well under the hood of the market. 

Opportunity knocks with BHP

The correlation between BHP, our key resources indicator, and CAT is fairly solid hence on this front we will remain patient with any BHP purchase, it may just slip in sympathy with CAT providing an opportunity closer to $31. 

Plus, for good measure comments from Saudi Arabia overnight sent oil tumbling 4%, not good news for BHP. 

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Portfolio Manager
Market Matters

James is Portfolio Manager & Primary Author at Market Matters, a daily investment report with over 2500 subscribers that offers real market insight. He is also Senior Portfolio Manager within Shaw and Partners heading up a team that manages...

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