Construction-equipment maker and economic bellwether Caterpillar said Friday that it expects resilient overseas economies to drive strong...

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Construction-equipment maker and economic bellwether Caterpillar said Friday that it expects resilient overseas economies to drive strong sales and profit growth this year, even as the United States teeters on the brink of recession.

The company said its fourth-quarter earnings rose 11 percent on strong international sales, helped along by a weak U.S. dollar that makes American products more affordable.

Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar’s earnings report followed similar, good-news, bad-news reports from other major manufacturers this month, all of them struggling at home but riding a wave of growth abroad.

The company earned $975 million, or $1.50 per share, compared with $882 million, or $1.32 per share a year earlier.

Revenue rose 10 percent to $12.14 billion from $11 billion from the same period last year.

Analysts were expecting a profit of $1.50 per share on revenue of $11.79 billion, according to a poll by Thomson Financial.

Shares of Caterpillar, one of the 30 Dow industrials, rose 68 cents, or 1 percent, to close at $65.93 Friday.

Petroleum markets

Oil futures up; pump prices fall

Oil futures jumped back above $90 a barrel Friday, adding to the previous session’s sharp gains on a view that the recession worries that pulled prices lower in recent weeks may have been overblown.

At the pump, meanwhile, gas prices fell below $3 for the first time in weeks.

Energy investors were heartened by recent moves by the Federal Reserve and Congress to shore up the economy, which could prevent oil demand from slowing as much as many had feared.

Light, sweet crude for March delivery rose $1.30 to settle at $90.71 on the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) after rising as high as $91.38.

While oil prices are on the rebound, gas prices slid 0.8 cent Friday to a national average of $2.998 a gallon, their first dip below $3 in weeks. Retail prices tend to lag the futures market, meaning that if oil prices continue to rise, gas prices may halt their decline and move back above $3.

Honeywell

Earnings climb on strong units

Diversified manufacturer Honeywell International reported a 17.8 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit while recording growth in all four of its business segments. Its stock rose almost 4 percent Friday.

The company late Thursday said it earned $689 million, or 91 cents per share, for the three months that ended Dec. 31, up from $585 million, or 72 cents per share, a year earlier.

Shares of Honeywell, a Dow industrial stock, rose $2.05, or 3.7 percent, to $58.25 Friday.

Compiled from The Associated Press