By Bob Tita
Sales of Caterpillar Inc.'s (CAT) construction and mining equipment fell 4% world-wide in the three months to the end of January, as sales in North America and Asia continued to weaken.
Retail sales for the world's largest seller of bulldozers, excavators and wheel loaders turned negative during the December three-month period for the first time in 30 months amid tougher year-earlier comparisons and rising inventories of unsold equipment.
World-wide dealer-reported machinery sales dropped 1% from a year earlier during the December period, after rising 5% during November.
January sales in North America, the Peoria, Ill., company's largest geographic market, dropped 11% from a year ago; December-period sales slipped 6% after increasing 3% for the November period.
In Asia, where a dismal market for construction equipment in China and falling demand for mining equipment have weighed on results for months, January sales dropped 12%, following a 7% reduction in December. Sales were up 2% during the November period.
January-period sales were up 3% in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, after a 4% increase during the December period. Meanwhile, in Latin America, sales rose 3% during the January period, following a 14% increase in December.
Sales of Caterpillar's engines sank 7% during January after being down 2% in December and up 1% in November.
Write to Bob Tita at email@example.com.
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