DEERFIELD — Retail sales of machinery made by Caterpillar Inc. grew worldwide by 25 percent for the three month period that ended in June, setting the stage for another profitable quarterly earnings report next week.
The upward trajectory of retail sales has continued since the world's largest manufacturer of earth moving equipment snapped out of an unprecedented four-year downturn in sales at the end of 2016.
The company, one of Decatur's largest employers, reported record profits in the first quarter of the year, with improved margins on year-over-year revenue growth of 31 percent. Executives cautioned, however, that such high levels of profitability likely would not be repeated for the rest of the year.
Caterpillar will release its second quarter earnings report Monday morning.
The rolling three-month retail sales report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday showed double-digit growth in every machinery category except mining equipment in Asia and the Pacific, which posted an increase of 1 percent.
That region, which includes China, has been a critical component of Caterpillar sales, buoying overall figures when other regions posted steep declines and leading the rebound into positive territory across the board.
The value of the company on the New York Stock Exchange has generally followed suit, topping out at a historic high of more than $170 per share at the beginning of the year before falling back over the last few months.
The stock's decline — shares of Caterpillar closed at $142.56 on Friday, more than 16 percent off from the historic high — has coincided with aggressive actions on international trade by the Trump administration, particularly on raw materials such as steel and aluminum that are essential to heavy equipment manufacturers.
Tariffs imposed by the United States on other imported goods also have been met with equivalent retaliatory measures on American exports around the world, raising costs for Caterpillar, which generates more than half of its revenue outside the country.