Caterpillar (CAT) earnings Q1 2020


An employee assembles an excavator at the Caterpillar Inc. manufacturing facility in Victoria, Texas.

Callaghan O’Hare | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Caterpillar experienced a sales drop in the first quarter as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted demand for construction and mining.

The industrial giant on Tuesday reported revenues of $10.6 billion in the first quarter, a 21% decrease compared with $13.5 billion in the first quarter of 2019. The decline was due to lower sales volume driven by “lower end user demand” and the impact from changes in dealer inventories, the company said.

Shares of Caterpillar rose about 0.7% in premarket trading on Tuesday following the quarterly results.

Wall Street was anticipating earnings per share of $1.69 on revenue of $10.916 billion, based on Refinitiv consensus estimates. It’s difficult to compare reported earnings to analysts’ estimates for Caterpillar’s first quarter, however, as the pandemic continues to hit global economies and makes earnings impact difficult to assess.

Shares of Caterpillar tumbled 22% this year as it experienced a drop in machine sales amid the coronavirus-triggered shutdowns. In February, Caterpillar said its machine sales dropped 11% on a rolling three-month period, its biggest decline since the end of 2016.

Morgan Stanley on Monday downgraded the heavy equipment maker to underweight from equal weight, saying it sees a possible multi-year downturn in non-residential construction.

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