It’s the guidance that counts.
Before the opening bell, Caterpiller (CAT) reported second quarter earnings of 72 cents a share, a whopping 50 cents a share above the Wall Street conesnsus of 22 cents. Like many other companies this quarter reporting better than expected earnings, Caterpillar disappointed on revenue. Revenue for the quarter came in at just $7.98 billion, well below the $8.86 billion Wall Street was expecting, and a huge 42% drop from revenue in the second quarter of 2008.
But it was the company’s guidance for the full year that sent the stock soaring this morning–up 11% from yesterday’s close as of 10:40 a.m. ET on Tuesday.
Caterpillar told Wall Street that it now expects full year 2009 earnings of $1.15 to $2.25 a share. That’s a very wide spread, reflecting that many uncertainties that still surround the pace of the global economic recovery. But even the low end of that range–at $1.15 a share–is well above the $1.02 that Wall Street analysts had been projecting for the company before this quarter’s earnings report. Revenue, Caterpillar said, would be $32 billion to $36 billion. That’s in-line with current Wall Street projections of $34.86 billion.