Caterpillar cuts earnings forecast

Heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar has cut its earnings forecast for 2015 as mining companies scale back expansions and shelve major projects.

Bloomberg reports Caterpillar has cut its guidance from $15-$20 a share over the next three years to $12-$18.

Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman said while there would be "modest global economic growth" over the next few years the slowdown in commodity prices and lower demand from China would hit the company's bottom line.

According to Bloomberg Chinese excavator sales have fallen 36 per cent this year, and some manufacturing plants in the United States and China have been idle.

Last year Caterpillar banked on rising demand from the mining industry for 2012 and made an $8.8 billion acquisition of equipment manufacturer Bucyrus.

At the start of the year Caterpillar posted record profit for the fourth quarter of 2011, with earnings up 60 per cent to $1.55 billion.

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