Caterpillar Inc.'s stock surged 4.3% in premarket trade Thursday, after the heavy equipment maker reported first-quarter profit and sales that were well above expectations, and raised its full-year earnings outlook. The company said net earnings for the latest quarter rose to $1.11 billion, or $1.81 a share, from $922 million, or $1.44 a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding one-time restructing costs, EPS was $1.86. The adjusted EPS figure included a 14-cent gain from the sale of its stake in logisitics company. The results beat the FactSet EPS consensus of $1.35. Revenue fell 4% to $12.7 billion, amid continued weakness in its mining and construction business, but beat the FactSet consensus of $12.4 billion. Caterpillar affirmed its full-year revenue outlook of $50 billion, but raised its EPS view to a range of $4.70 to $5 from $4.60 to $4.75. "Our focus on operational improvement, including lean manufacturing and cost management, is helping in what is a tough time for some of our important cyclical businesses," said Chief Executive Doug Oberhelman. The stock has dropped 7.3% year to date through Wednesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 1.2%.
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