Caterpillar offers optimistic economic outlook

Caterpillar Inc., Peoria, Ill., the world's largest construction equipment manufacturer, believes its earnings will increase this year and Europe's financial crises will improve, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Caterpillar, which often is viewed as an economic bellwether, reported a 60 percent jump in fourth-quarter earnings in 2011. The company expects its earnings this year will rise 25 percent and there will be modest improvement in U.S. construction.

Caterpillar predicts sales this year will be in the range of $68 billion to $72 billion—up from a record $60.1 billion in 2011. During the fourth quarter of 2011, it reported an overall profit of $1.55 billion, which was up from $968 million in 2010.

The company says it is more optimistic than it was three months ago that there will not be a global recession this year and predicts Europe's conditions will improve by midyear.

Date : 1/30/2012