Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) share price is down year-to-date and up 9% in the past year. The stock enjoyed a post-pandemic run but the past eight months have been disappointing for investors. CAT stock is trending among retail investors, is now the time to buy?
What is Caterpillar?
Caterpillar Inc. is an American Fortune 100 corporation and is the world's largest construction-equipment manufacturer.
The company designs, develops, engineers, manufactures, markets, and sells construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives. Caterpillar products also include financial and insurance offerings via a worldwide dealer network.
Caterpillar was founded on April 15, 1925, and is headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois. CAT first began trading in 1984.
How does Caterpillar make money?
Caterpillar makes money selling and renting its construction equipment and branded merchandise. It also makes money from licensing agreements.
CAT Financial Overview and Metrics
Caterpillar’s current price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) is 17, which is far above the industry average of 1.
Return-on-Equity (ROE) in 2021 (40%), was double 2020’s (20%) but slightly below results in 2018 (44%) and 2019 (42%).
Short-term debt fell between June and September 2021, but long-term debt rose.
Dividend Yield: 2.2%
Total Debt: $37.7bn
Cash and Short-Term Investments: $9.2bn
In Q4, Caterpillar beat Wall Street estimates with a revenue increase of more than 20% but current quarter operating margins will likely be hit by higher production and labour costs. The company plans to raise prices again this year, after twice raising last year, to alleviate some of its soaring costs.
Q4 earnings highlights:
Q4 profit of $2.12bn (up from $780m in Q420).
$3.91 profit per share (up from $1.42 in Q420).
$2.69 adjusted profit per share beating analyst estimates of $2.26 a share.
CAT Stock: $267 Price Target from Evercore ISI
Analyst David Raso from Evercore ISI reiterated his price target of $267 on 31 January with a ‘Buy’ rating on CAT stock. Analyst outlook is mixed but FactSet consensus has an Overweight rating on the stock.
Is CAT a good investment?
Caterpillar is a strong company with a recognisable brand and reputation for quality. It continues to seek growth opportunities and its dividend gives long-term investors incentive to hold CAT stock.
However, inflation continues to cause investor concern and a company like Caterpillar could be subject to considerable cost pressures in a high inflationary environment. Supply chain challenges continue to pose a problem in the near-term and the CAT share price may well be overvalued even at its current price.