Tyler Durden: Those who have been following Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) actual top-line performance know that things for the industrial bellwether have been going from bad to worse, with not only retail sales declining across the globe, as documented here previously, but with the current stretch of declining global retail sales now longer than during what was seen during the Great Recession.
And yet, moments ago, CAT, which is a major DJIA component, just reported blowaway EPS of $1.72, far above the $1.35 expected. How did it achieve this stunning number which has pushed DJIA futures higher by almost half a percent?
Simple: first there was the usual exclusions, with “restructuring costs” adding back some $0.09 to the bottom line number.
But the punchline was this: “In addition to the profit improvement, we have a strong balance sheet and through the first nine months of the year, we’ve had good cash flow. So far this year, we’ve returned value to our stockholders by repurchasing $4.2 billion of Caterpillar stock and raising our quarterly dividend by 17 percent,” Oberhelman said.”
And here is just how the surge in buyback activity looked in comparison to Q3 2013.