As Caterpillar's stock continues to soar, its operations continue to decline.
While Caterpillar's CEO may have resigned recently, admitting that he misjudged the business strategy, and even the company issued a press release cautioning the market may have gotten ahead of itself, CAT stock does not appear to be bothered, soaring over 12% since the Trump presidential victory, and continues to trade near multi-year highs on hopes a Trump's infrastructure push would make excavators great again. For now, however, the woes at the heavy industrial manufacturer continue, with yet another month of declining global sales.
To be sure, there was a glimmer of hope for CAT out of Asia, where retail sales continued the rebound after posting positive gains in the prior four month and now rising 19% in December, the biggest annual gain since August 2012. This however was offset by continuing declines in North America, the EAME and Latin America regions, which declined by 12%, 21%, and 34%.
But it is on a global blended basis, where the headwinds facing CAT refuse to go away, and after the latest, December, decline in retail sales of -12%, we find that the company has not reported a single monthly uptick in sales for record 49 consecutive months, or just over 4 straight years, a period which is now 2.5x longer than the far more acute 19 month drop observed during the post-financial crisis period.