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Stocks Slide - Is It Cat Or Ben?

Stocks lower midday, the Caterpillar conference call is the likely culprit. While some may feel that Mr. Bernanke bears some of the blame for the markets coming off their highs (he emphasized the "slow recovery"), most traders put the blame on Caterpillar's rather poor conference call, which began at 11 AM ET.

Here are some highlights from the conference and documents released at that time:

1) Third quarter will be "very tough" for sales and profits

2) May lose money in the third quarter--estimates are for 17 cent gain raised upper level of guidance

3) Planning "significant" rolling shutdowns of its factories during the third quarter

4) Retail sales of machines for all geographices, except Asia, deteriorated in June

5) June retail sales of machines down 47 percent worldwide

Caterpillar moved from $41 to about $38 during the conference call; the Dow went from up 60 to flat.

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