One wouldn't know it by looking at CAT stock, which has gone very much nowhere in the past 5 years thanks to just one thing - an exponential increase in the company's share buybacks...
... but the company's publicly disclosed monthly retail sales have just one message for anyone who follows them: forget recession, there is a global depression going on.
And it is not just in China as many would like to scapegoat: in June, in addition to a -19% drop in Asia Pacific (following a 30% Y/Y plunge a year ago, which in turn followed a 21% drop in 2013), US retail sales posted their first Y/Y decline since February, dropping by 5%.
But the real depression is in Latin America, where CAT retail sales plummeted by a whopping 50%: the most in reported history, and follow an 18% drop from a year earlier.
Summarizing it all, after an increasingly shallower series of dead CAT bounces in the past year, first thanks to Latin America, and then the US, global retail sales just dropped by 14% - marching the biggest Y/Y decline since the financial crisis.
And the cherry on top: there has now been an unprecedented 31 consecutive months of CAT retail sales declines. This compares to "only" 19 during the near systemic collapse in 2008.
In other words, if global demand for heavy industrial machinery, as opposed to unemployed millennials' demands for $0.99 Apple apps, is any indication of the true underlying economy, forget recession: the world is now in a second great depression which is getting worse by the month.