Caterpillar's August Retail Sales Extend Growth Trajectory

Paul Ausick

Industrial giant Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) reported August retail sales Friday morning in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Total global machine retail sales rose 23% year over year, while energy and transportation sales were up 16% compared with August 2017.

Caterpillar reports machine sales in two segments: resource industries and construction industries. Resource industry sales rose 35% worldwide year over year in August, and construction industry sales rose 21%.

The energy and transportation segment includes products like turbines and locomotives for industries such as oil and gas production and power generation. Caterpillar’s global energy and transportation sales rose 16% compared with last August.

By region, North American sales rose the most, up 29% year over year in August, followed by Asia/Pacific (28%), Latin America (18%) and Europe/Africa/Middle East (9%).

The single biggest increase in August sales came in the company’s Asia/Pacific region, where sales of resource industry (chiefly mining) products rose 77% year over year. The second-largest sales increase also came in sales of resource industry equipment, a 43% sales jump in Latin America.

Sales fell in just one division of the energy and transportation segment. Industrial equipment sales slipped 8%, the fourth consecutive month to post a year-over-year decline.

The company’s sales in its resource and construction segments have been higher in every month this year than they were in the comparable months in 2017. The energy and transportation segment has struggled, especially in the industrial group, where sales have been lower in four months, flat in another and up just 1% in another. The transportation group has posted gains in only two of the first eight months of 2018, including a gain of 10% in August.

Caterpillar stock traded up about 1% just before noon Friday at $147.10, in a 52-week range of $120.31 to $173.24. The consensus 12-month price target is $166.52.