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The latest commentary from Caterpillar’s analyst meeting in New York does not seem to be in-line with recent economic data:

“We don’t think the world has ended,” said Oberhelman, who has been with Caterpillar since 1975. “We think there is going to be fantastic growth in our industry in the future.”

The sales figures Caterpillar released Thursday support Oberhelman’s positive view because global equipment sales increased 32 percent. And engine and turbine sales were up 5 percent overall. Caterpillar’s sales figures are considered an indicator of economic health because the company is the world’s largest maker of construction and mining equipment.

Oberhelman said he doesn’t agree with the negative outlook most people making predictions about the economy employ.

“There seems to be a doom and gloom out there in the punditry,” Oberhelman said. “We’re not seeing that.”

Caterpillar said equipment sales in the Asia Pacific region surged 41 percent in July, and North American sales improved 38 percent over last year.

And equipment sales were up in every region. The smallest increase came in Europe, Africa and the Middle East where sales still increased 19 percent.

Chief Financial Officer Ed Rapp says 2010 has been a year of recovery since the economy bottomed out in August or September, with the developing world leading the way in growth.

Rapp said that in past double-dip recessions, the first recession is usually a weak one and the central banks usually typically act prematurely to raise interest rates and scale back stimulus efforts. He said neither one of those applies to the current recession.

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