— THE QUOTE: "Market conditions have been very challenging, indeed more challenging than we had expected due to a combination of factors, not least the still unresolved crisis in the eurozone," CEO Lakshmi Mittal said in a statement.
— WHY IT'S IMPORTANT: Caterpillar is the world's largest maker of mining and construction equipment.
— WHAT THE NUMBERS SAID: Caterpillar's second-quarter profit soared 67 percent to $1.7 billion, or $2.54 per share. That's up from $1.02 billion net income, or $1.52 per share, a year ago. North America was a bright spot. Sales in Europe decelerated from month to month.
— WHAT THE EARNINGS SAID ABOUT THE ECONOMY: Caterpillar's results suggest the economy may be doing better than most people realize. Sales were up in every region of the world. The biggest improvement came in North America, where construction firms were upgrading their aging equipment. Caterpillar executives predict the global economy is bound to grow in 2013 because interest-rate actions by several countries will take effect and questions about U.S. fiscal policy will be resolved by the election.
— WHAT THE EXPERTS SAID: Analysts praised Caterpillar's solid second-quarter results, but they said the company faces some economic headwinds through the rest of 2012 because of slower growth in China, Europe's debt problems and uncertainty about the U.S. economy.
— THE QUOTE: Speaking about the economy, Chief Financial Officer Ed Rapp said: "It's better than what you read in the newspapers."
AP Business Writers Samantha Bomkamp and Candice Choi in New York and Josh Funk in Omaha, Neb., contributed to this report.
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