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Caterpillar Exceeds Wall Street's Expectations in 4th Quarter

Investors are taking Caterpillar's fourth-quarter earnings report as a positive sign for heavy industry.

The company reported fourth-quarter sales and revenues of $11.2 billion, or $2.12 profit per share. Barron's reports most analysts expected earnings per share closer to $1.50.

Caterpillar shares were up about 3.5% before markets opened Friday morning.

Sales and revenues were down 15% compared with 2019's fourth-quarter earnings, as Caterpillar continues to navigate through the pandemic economy.

Full-year sales and revenues were $41.7 billion. That's a 22% decrease from 2019's $53.8 billion full-year earnings.

"Our fourth-quarter and full-year results reflect the team's agility in a challenging environment while executing our strategy for long-term profitable growth," Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby said in a statement. "We achieved the adjusted operating profit margin established during our 2019 Investor Day while continuing to invest in products and services. We are well positioned for the future and will emerge from the pandemic as an even stronger company."

The Deerfield-based company moved its world headquarters out of Peoria in 2017, but the earthmoving giant remains the Peoria region's single largest employer.

The company didn't provide any forward looking guidance to 2021 expectations, in keeping with the company's modus operandi during the pandemic.

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