In October 2008, the month after Lehman failed and the Great Recession started, industrial bellwether Caterpillar underwent a series of 19 consecutive, record, declines in Global dealer retail sales declines, finally emerging from its unprecedented funk in May of 2010, just in time to celebrate the start of financial and economic Greece's collapse which ended with a sovereign default. Well, as of July 2014, that record is no longer valid, because starting with a -1% drop in Global retail sales in December 2012, CAT has now posted a new record of 20 consecutive global delaer retail sales declines, after a -9% Y/Y print for the month of July.
In other words, for Caterpillar, the Great Recovery is now worse than the Great Recession.
Of course, in a world in which fundamentals no longer matter, the stock price of CAT is just shy of its all time high.
Why? Because instead of investing in growing its business, R&D or its future, the company has redirected the bulk of its cash flow to do precisely what we said companies would do under ZIRP until such time as the Fed's despotic stranglehold on all assets finally ends: buying back its all stock with a relentless fervor, in fact, the higher the stock rises, the more CAT buys back.
Needless to say, all of this is assured a very happy ending.
Source: Retail Statistics