Caterpillar Q1 Profit Up 29% in the U.S. image

Caterpillar, the world’s largest maker of construction equipment, declared first-quarter profit up 29%.

The company’s first-quarter profit rose 29%, as U.S. builders replaced old gear and global demand for mining equipment boomed. Caterpillar generated $1.59 billion net income, up from $1.23 billion net income in 2011, and its revenue grew 23% to $15.98 billion from $12.95 billion in 2011.

“They still reported a big number but lower than expected on near-term softness in China and Brazil,” Larry De Maria, a New York-based analyst for William Blair & Co. who recommends buying the shares, said in an interview. “There was no change to the top-line guidance. People want to see the whole thing.”

Caterpillar declared that it expects sales in developing countries in 2012 to be lower than anticipated, a reversal after last year’s growth in Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region passed North America, helping to drive record revenue and profit. The company predicts the global economy will continue to improve and average 3% growth in 2012, with the U.S. economy reaching similar growth levels and much of Europe reaching little or no economic growth for 2012.