Shares of Caterpillar Inc. rallied 1.4% in morning trade toward a 2-year high, after the maker of earth-moving equipment reported that the pace of decline in retail sales has slowed across industries. For the rolling three-month period through December, global total machines sales fell 10%, compared with a 17% decline through November. The decline in North America slowed to 14% from 19% through November, while the increase in Asia/Pacific sales improved to 19% from 11%. In resource industries, the global sales decline was 10%, compared with 24% through November, while the fall in construction industries sales was 12%, compared with 15% through November. The total decline in energy and transportation retail sales was 22%, but better than the 25% through November. The stock has soared 68% over the past 12 months, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has climbed 26%.
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