There was some hope last month that, after falling for two straight months at a -10% Y/Y pace, there would finally be some demand for the products of the one company that symbolizes (or at least used to) the strength of global industrial demand: Caterpillar, when it reported its first single-digit decline since July. Or, as the case may be weakness, because according to the just released November retail statistics, in the last month Caterpillar reverted to its double-digit declining ways, when not only did the dead cat bounce in the US end, with the Y/Y increase slumping back down to only 5% - the lowest since February 2014 - but the carnage in both Asia/Pac (i.e., China) and Latin America (i.e., Brazil) just got even worse, with retail sales crashing by 24% and 37% respectively.
And putting it in a bigger picture context, CAT's global sales have now declined for a record 24 consecutive months, thanks to the "Great Recovery." By comparison the number of months of consecutive declines during the great financial crisis? 19, which means that for CAT, the Great Recovery is now 25% worse than the Great Recession. And counting.
Luckily for holders of CAT stock (and the equity-linked compensation of its management), while the company can't "purchase" demand for its products and services, it sure can lever up its balance sheet and use the proceeds to purchases record amounts of stock.