Construction equipment makers' earnings plunge

Construction equipment sales down, manufacturers report losses.
Construction equipment sales down, manufacturers report losses.
Two of the largest construction equipment manufacturers reported earnings this week showing losses for the second quarter, reflecting the poor state of the global economy and weakness in the housing and construction markets.

Today, a major construction equipment maker reported a loss of $67 million compared to a $347 million net income from the second quarter of 2008. The company reported a drop in sales of 32 percent. As of the second quarter, it had cut 7 percent of its workforce and expects to cut a total of 10 percent to 12 percent of workers by the end of the year, according to MarketWatch.

Yesterday, the world's biggest maker of mining and construction equipment also reported a second quarter loss, with earnings per share for the quarter falling 59 percent from a year ago. However, the company beat expectations and raised its earnings outlook for fiscal year 2009, MarketWatch reported.

Many analysts are looking to earnings reports from equipment manufacturers as a bellwether of the global economy. Declining demand for construction, mining and farm equipment due to the financial crisis has hurt manufacturers.

Deere & Company, the world's biggest manufacturer of farm equipment, reports its quarterly earnings on August 19.