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CAT reports first loss since '92, slashes forecast

Caterpillar Inc, the world's largest maker of construction and mining equipment, reported its first quarterly loss in 17 years, pulled into the red by more than half a billion dollars in charges from its wave of recession-triggered layoffs.

The company also slashed its full-year earnings and sales forecast, sending its shares lower in early trading.

Caterpillar, which has eliminated about 25,000 full-time and contract positions over the past few months, posted a first-quarter loss of $112 million, or 19 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $922 million, or $1.45 a share.

Sales fell 22% to $9.2 billion.

Caterpillar said it now expected full-year earnings of $1.25 a share, before restructuring costs, on sales of $31.5 billion to $38.5 billion. Three months ago, the company forecast profit of $2.50 a share, before restructuring, on sales of $36 billion to $44 billion.

Shares of Caterpillar were down 4.2 percent at $29.20 in trading before the market opened. (Reuters)