Large manufacturers see signs of recovery

Large manufacturing companies such as Caterpillar Inc., Peoria, Ill., and Whirlpool Corp., Benton Harbor, Mich., posted strong results Monday, highlighting optimism among manufacturers, according to The Wall Street Journal. Manufacturers say inventory reductions in the U.S., Japan and Europe are slowing and customer orders are becoming more significant.

Caterpillar, the world’s largest construction equipment manufacturer, reports that exports of mining equipment and machinery have strengthened faster than expected, and the company has raised its 2010 sales outlook; March sales were the highest since 2008.

Caterpillar posted a first-quarter profit of $233 million, or 36 cents per share, compared with a loss one year ago of $112 million, or 19 cents per share. Revenue fell 11 percent to $8.24 billion.

The company also raised its full-year 2010 profit outlook to between $2.50 and $3.25 per share on revenue of between $38 billion and $42 billion. It also says it is rehiring laid-off workers to meet export demand.

Appliance manufacturer Whirlpool posted first-quarter earnings of $164 million, or $2.13 per share, compared with $68 million, or 91 cents per share, one year ago. Sales increased 20 percent to $4.27 billion.

The trade group Manufacturers Alliance reported a sharp increase in its composite index of shipments, backlogs, inventories and profit margins this month. The index reached 78 percent, which is the highest level since June 2004; it was at 57 percent in December 2009.

Date : 4/29/2010