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Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) was upgraded by Zacks from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday, Stock Ratings reports. The firm currently has a $97.00 price target on the stock. Zacks‘ target price suggests a potential upside of 6.08% from the stock’s previous close.

Zacks‘ analyst wrote, “Caterpillar’s third-quarter revenues declined 18% year over year to $13.4 billion, while earnings per share slumped 43% to $1.45. Caterpillar will benefit from its focus on cost-cutting initiatives given the challenging end markets, increased share in the Chinese excavator market and share repurchases. However, fourth-quarter earnings per share are expected to be affected by higher costs. Furthermore, a declining backlog, the European debt crisis and the uncertainty in the non-residential construction markets remain concerns for the mining equipment behemoth. We have upgraded our recommendation on Caterpillar from Underperform to Neutral with a target price of $97.00.”

Shares of Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) traded down 0.62% on Friday, hitting $91.44. 6,833,391 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. Caterpillar has a one year low of $79.49 and a one year high of $99.70. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $88.21 and a 200-day moving average of $85.3. The company has a market cap of $58.188 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.54. Caterpillar also was the target of some unusual options trading activity on Wednesday. Stock traders purchased 19,628 put options on the stock. This is an increase of approximately 124% compared to the typical volume of 8,768 put options.

Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 23rd. The company reported $1.45 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the analysts’ consensus estimate of $1.71 by $0.26. The company had revenue of $13.42 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $14.49 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $2.54 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was down 18.4% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts predict that Caterpillar will post $5.50 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which is scheduled for Thursday, February 20th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, January 21st will be given a dividend of 0.60 per share. This represents a $2.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.62%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, January 16th.

Several other analysts have also recently commented on the stock. Analysts at Barclays raised their price target on shares of Caterpillar from $95.00 to $104.00 in a research note to investors on Monday. They now have an “overweight” rating on the stock. Separately, analysts at UBS AG reiterated a “neutral” rating on shares of Caterpillar in a research note to investors on Monday. They now have a $94.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $84.00. Finally, analysts at TheStreet reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Caterpillar in a research note to investors on Thursday, January 9th. Sixteen analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Caterpillar currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $92.95.

Caterpillar Inc (NYSE:CAT) is a manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives.

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