Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. said today that its first-quarter profit increased on higher sales and improved prices.
The Deerfield, Illinois-based company posted first-quarter earnings of $1.88 billion, or $3.25 a share. That was up from $1.67 billion, or $2.74 a share, during 2018’s first three months.
The $3.25 figure was a company record for the first quarter. That previous record was the $2.74 figure from 2018. Revenue for quarter advanced to $13.5 billion from $12.9 billion a year earlier.
The news wasn’t all good, however, Caterpillar said revenue in its construction business in Asia fell 4 percent. China is an important market for the company. Caterpillar also said its manufacturing costs rose in part because of tariffs. The United States and China are negotiating conflicts that led to a trade war. The U.S. also has trade tensions with European and other Asian nations.
Jim Umpleby, Caterpillar’s CEO, said in a statement the overall results stemmed from “executing our strategy for profitable growth by investing in services, expanding our offerings and improving operational excellence.”
Caterpillar is a barometer of manufacturing generally. It produces mining trucks, earth-moving machines and other heavy equipment. The company operates worldwide and is subject to the ups and downs of major global economies, including China’s.
The heavy equipment maker also boosted its 2019 per-share profit forecast to a range of $12.06 to $13.06. Caterpillar made the revision after receiving a first-quarter tax credit of $178 million, or 31 cents a share.