Earnings for Caterpillar Drop as Mining Orders Shrink

Caterpillar, Inc. the largest maker of construction and mining equipment in the world reported its sales and earnings for the first quarter on Monday. The company’s results fell short of estimates by Wall Street, as orders slowed down from mining companies.

Caterpillar’s net income dropped to just below $880 million, which was equivalent to $1.31 per share. Last year during the same quarter, income was $1.59 billion with a per share rate of $2.37, said the Peoria, Illinois based company.

Analysts had estimated that profit, excluding any one time charges would be 7 cents higher per share at $1.38. Sales for the quarter fell to $13.2 billion. Last year during the first quarter, sales were $16 billion and analysts had estimated they would reach $13.7 billion during the quarter.

Caterpillar forecasted earnings for 2013 of $7 per share, compared with a projection in January of $7 to $9 per share. Sales, said Caterpillar would be between $57 billion and $61 billion, compared to a January forecast of between $60 billion and $68 billion. Analyst had estimated a per share profit over $7.70 per share.

Globally capital expenditures in mining are expected to decline by 20% during 2013 from a peak experienced last year. In 2014 and 2015, the slide in expenditures is expected to be 5% according to a report released by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The largest miner in the world, BHP Billiton Ltd. and its competitors have cut costs as prices and demand for metals has declined, while stockpiles are increasing amid a lower demand from China, the world’s second largest economy and the top user of metals.