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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Caterpillar reports increased sales, demand in first quarter

Caterpillar’s first-quarter sales climbed on strong demand for construction equipment despite supply chain challenges that continue to plague businesses ranging from car and phone makers to grocery stores.

And the Deerfield, Illinois, manufacturer is not immune to surging inflation that has run up costs for both consumer and companies across the globe.

Costs and expenses jumped 13% from last year to $11.73 billion. The company said rising manufacturing expenses primarily reflected more expensive material and freight costs.

The company’s operating profit margin was 13.7% for the first quarter of 2022, compared with 15.3% for the first quarter of 2021.

The company also noted slowing sales in China due to COVID-19 and weakening residential construction.

Shares of Caterpillar Inc. slid 5% Thursday.

Overall sales rose 14% to $13.59 billion, topping the $13.5 billion that analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research were looking for. Higher prices also fueled revenue numbers.

Fewer Americans file for unemployment benefits

WASHINGTON – The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell again last week with numbers still at historically low levels.

Jobless claims in the U.S. declined by 5,000 to 180,000 for the week ending April 23, the Labor Department reported Thursday. First-time applications generally reflect the number of layoffs.

The four-week average for claims, which evens out the weekly ups and downs, rose slightly to 179,750 from 177,500 the previous week.

The total number of Americans collecting jobless benefits for the week ending April 16 inched down by 1,000 from the previous week, to 1,408,000. That’s the fewest since February 21, 1970.

American workers are experiencing extraordinary job security two years after the coronavirus pandemic plunged the economy into a brief but devastating recession.

Weekly applications for unemployment aid have been consistently below the pre-pandemic level of 225,000 for most of this year, even as the overall economy contracted.

Apple tops analysts’ predictions on results

SAN RAMON, Calif. – Apple on Thursday reported quarterly results that topped analysts’ profit projections despite supply shortages, economic fallout from the Russia-Ukraine war and a growth slowdown from the huge sales lift that technology products and service got from pandemic restrictions.

The results for the January-March period drew a picture of a still-expanding empire generating massive profits that have yielded the firm a $2.7 trillion market value – the largest among U.S. companies.

Apple announced a 5% increase in its quarterly dividend, which has been steadily rising since the company revived the payment a decade ago.

Effective May 12, Apple’s new quarterly dividend will stand at 23 cents per share – more than doubling from 10 years ago.

Even so, Apple is facing some of the same challenges confronting many other major technology companies.

After enjoying a pandemic-driven boom, it’s becoming tougher to deliver the same levels of spectacular growth that drove tech-company stock prices to record highs. The crisis continues to fade away and growth on a year-to-year basis has become harder to maintain.

Apple’s most recent quarter illustrated the high hurdles the Cupertino, California, company is now trying to clear. Revenue for the period totaled $97.3 billion, yet it was only 9% higher than the same time last year.

It marked the first time in the past six quarters that Apple hasn’t produced double-digit gains in year-over-year revenue growth. But the number exceeded the average revenue estimate of $94 billion among analysts surveyed by FactSet Research.

Quarterly profit came in at $25 billion, or $1.52 per share, a 6% increase from the same time last year. Analysts had predicted earnings per share of $1.42.

From wire reports