Caterpillar 4Q results mixed, 2015 outlook disappoints

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PEORIA — Caterpillar took a hit in the fourth quarter from restructuring costs and the heavy machinery maker issued a weak outlook for 2015, citing the tumbling price of commodities.

The company is cutting costs as it tries to offset problems that are out of its control, like the falling price for everything from copper to crude.

Caterpillar shares on Tuesday shed $6.18, or 7.2 percent, to $79.85.

A barrel of crude oil in the U.S. fell again Tuesday to around $45. That same barrel cost well above $100 just last summer.

Caterpillar earned $757 million, or $1.23 per share, for the three-month period. A year earlier the Peoria, Illinois, company earned $1 billion, or $1.54 per share.

Earnings were $1.35 per share with one-time restructuring costs removed, but that’s still well short of the $1.55 that Wall Street was looking for, according to a poll by Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue declined to $14.24 billion from $14.4 billion due to those declining commodity prices.

That was a little better than industry analysts had expected.

For the year, Caterpillar Inc. earned $3.7 billion, or $5.88 per share. That compares with $3.79 billion, or $5.75 per share, in the previous year.

Adjusted profit totaled $6.38 per share.

Annual revenue declined to $55.18 billion from $55.66 billion.

Caterpillar anticipates a 2015 adjusted profit of $4.75 per share on revenue of about $50 billion. Analysts surveyed by FactSet predict full-year earnings of $6.68 per share on revenue of $54.83 billion.

Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman cited declining oil prices, which have been halved since September.

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