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Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), Deere & Company (DE): Which Machines Can Make You Rich?

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Amidst a difficult macroeconomic climate, is Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) still the right construction stock? How is Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI) able to withstand a decline in mining output? Should you invest money in farmland equipment instead, to reap the rewards of a bonus crop? In this article you will find the answers for these questions.

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT)

Recent events

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) relies heavily on the growth prospects of China. For the last four months, China’s growth has failed to meet analyst expectations, causing Caterpillar’s retail sales in the Asia/Pacific region to fall by an estimated 23%.

This also marked the company’s first quarterly earnings with a decline. The company’s earnings from the oil sector were also in the negative. The global slowdown is hurting the construction-equipment maker adversely. As the stock price declines, the company has approved a stock buyback worth $1 billion. Being the largest provider of construction and mining equipment, Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) relies on a derived demand to supply its machinery.

The global economy has failed to pick up despite numerous attempts by policymakers and bankers across the world. Unless there is increased consumption, investment or government demand in the system, construction companies like Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) stand to suffer as their sales will plummet.

Bumper crop ahead

Deere & Company (NYSE:DE) is having to face tumultuous weather conditions and continuously stern opposition from lower demand in the international market. Last year, the drought lifted commodity prices while crop insurance helped guarantee farmer income despite low yields, giving them more money to spend. This time however, things can be very different – in its last quarterly earnings, Deere & Company (NYSE:DE)’s profits rose 2.7%.

The company’s equipment sales are expected to grow another 5% in the remainder of 2013, which would further add to the impressive financials of the farmland-machinery manufacturer. In the U.S., a bumper crop is expected in 2013, which would continue to increase the purchasing power of farmers and inadvertently increase demand for farmland machinery.

Solid demand

Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI) provides industrial and mining equipment along with the sale of large engines to manufacturers. Unlike Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT), the majority of the company’s revenue comes from sales in the U.S. In fact, only 6% of its revenue comes from China, which make it much less vulnerable to shocks from the developing country.

That being said, the company has been witnessing a quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year decline in its engine sales and other products. However, its overall demand remains strong as it does not sell vehicles itself but provides engines to a lot of truck makers. As long as there is strong demand from the truck manufacturers, Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI) will maintain a positive outlook.

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