Highlighting the depth of the pain, Caterpillar set an unpleasant record today.
Caterpillar Inc., the world's largest maker of bulldozers and excavators, posted its first quarterly net loss in 16 years and said full-year profit and sales will trail its previous forecast amid a global recession.
The first-quarter net loss of $112 million, or 19 cents a share, compares with net income of $922 million, or $1.45, a year earlier, the Peoria, Illinois-based company said in a statement today. Revenue fell 22 percent to $9.23 billion.
This is worrisome. Caterpillar is in some sense a bellwether firm with very long cycles. Any extended weakness here is suggestive, at least to the extent anything is anymore, of longer-term headaches. Caterpillar benefited disproportionately from the cheap global credit that financed many global Caterpillar customers into shiny new development programs and Caterpillar gear. Now that the party is over it may be a long wait before things return to "agri-normal."
Caterpillar Has First Loss in 16 Years, Cuts Forecast [Bloomberg]