Seeking Alpha has the full transcript of the Caterpillar (CAT) conference call; if you haven't seen it yet, head over to:
Caterpillar Inc. Q3 2007 Earnings Call Transcript http://seekingalpha.com/article/50598-caterpillar-inc-q3-2007-earnings-call-transcript
It is utterly sobering. It makes you wonder what other people are seeing when they claim the economy has little chance of a recession:
Caterpillar's CEO noted "This was the best quarter for sales and revenues ever, not just the best third quarter. In terms of profit per share, it was the best third quarter in our history and our second-best quarter of any quarter ever. . . The growth was driven by continued and significant strength in sales outside North America, continued strength in a number of key global end markets, like mining, oil and gas, and engines for electric power generation, marine, and industrial applications. Sales and revenues increased 36% in the Europe, Africa, Middle East region, 30% in Asia-Pacific, and 20% in Latin America."
So the following comments are not those of a CEO making excuses for poor performance:
"...sales and revenues in North America were down 11%. From an end market standpoint, inside North America, it is a very weak picture for many of the industries that we serve. U.S. housing is down and we expect it to continue its decline. Non-residential construction is weak. Coal mining and quarrying are down in the U.S. And on-highway truck engines are down significantly from last year and we do not see much sign of a major turnaround for awhile."
Housing is a drag on the U.S. economy, and the U.S. is a drag on the global economy . . .
via Dr. Duru