In a further indication of the stress rippling through the construction and mining sectors, Caterpillar reported its biggest decline in global machine sales since the end of 2016.
The report underlines how the coronavirus outbreak is putting a drag on the industries that Caterpillar supplies. Fears about the virus’s impact on global growth have helped send shares of the economic bellwether down 38% this year, off to its worst start since 2009.
But Umpleby didn’t offer much detail on how the worldwide move to stamp out the virus will change prospects for the business.
In February, Caterpillar said its machine sales dropped 11% on a rolling three-month period. Isolating the Asia-Pacific region, the sales fell 17%, the largest drop in four years.
Oil and gas retail sales fell 3%, marking a sixth straight month of declines in the segment. CFO Andrew Bonfield said Wednesday that oil-market tumult from the past week will impact the oil and gas business, but said that it’s still too early to tell how strong that may be.
Caterpillar fell 8.4% to $92.26 Thursday in New York, the lowest close since March 2017.