Caterpillar revenue and guidance fall short as earnings handily beat estimates

A Caterpillar 953C track loader moves soil to a dump truck as contractors work during the construction of residential housing in the Norton Commons subdivision in Louisville, Kentucky.
Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Caterpillar delivered quarterly earnings that topped Wall Street's expectations on Thursday, but its revenue and guidance fell short of forecasts.

The manufacturer of construction and mining equipment reported adjusted earnings of 83 cents a share, matching results in the year-earlier period. Revenue fell to $9.57 billion from $11.03 billion.

Shares were lower before the bell.

Analysts expected Caterpillar to report fourth-quarter earnings of 66 cents per share on revenue of $9.84 billion, according to a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate.

It also lowered its guidance for 2017 sales and revenue from about $38 billion to a range of $36 billion to $39 billion. It expects adjusted profit of $2.90 a share, falling short of analyst estimates of $3.04 per share.

"Our results for the fourth quarter, while slightly better than expected, continued to reflect pressure in many of our end markets from weak economic conditions around much of the world," said Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby in a release.

The company's stock is up 16 percent since President Donald Trump won the Nov. 8 election. During his campaign, Trump vowed to spend more on infrastructure.

Looking ahead, Caterpillar sees early indications of a modest recovery in several of its businesses, including signs that mining-related sales may have bottomed and rebounding sales in China.

Additionally, it noted the prospects for tax reform and increased infrastructure spending in the U.S. — two top-priority initiatives of Trump's — are "encouraging." While these proposed changes would likely be a "solid positive" for Caterpillar, it does not expect to see a meaningful impact until next year.

— CNBC's Berkeley Lovelace contributed to this report.