The American manufacturer of construction machinery, equipment and materials Caterpillar took advantage of an increase in demand to post better-than-expected sales in the first quarter. According to an earnings release on Thursday, the Deerfield, Ill.-based group made $13.6 billion in revenue between January and March, more than the $13.4 billion expected by the market. The company’s three main divisions (construction, industrial resources, energy and transportation) all saw their sales increase. Net profit was $1.5 billion. Reported per share and excluding exceptional items, the benchmark on Wall Street, earnings were $2.9, above forecasts. Sales increased in all regions except Asia-Pacific, as health restrictions imposed in China cut into the group’s turnover.
Caterpillar said its revenue rose on higher sales volumes due to stronger demand for its equipment and services and price increases. Despite these good figures, the action of the group, which is part of the Dow Jones, fell about 5% at the start of the session on Wall Street. This decline seemed to be explained, among other things, by the increase of $1.3 billion in inventories at resellers, larger than the increase of $700 million observed in the first quarter of 2021. This increase may be interpreted as an early sign of a slowdown in demand due to inflation. Caterpillar is often considered a barometer of the health of the US and global economy, with its various businesses highly dependent on market conditions.