How to buy Caterpillar shares | CAT historical share price and analysis

How to buy Caterpillar shares

Own Caterpillar shares in just a few minutes.

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Caterpillar Inc is a farm & heavy construction machinery business with stocks listed in the US. Caterpillar shares (CAT) are listed on the NYSE and all prices are listed in US Dollars. Its last market close was US$221.82 – an increase of 4.25% over the previous week. Here's how to invest if you're based in Australia.

How to buy shares in Caterpillar

  1. Compare share trading platforms. To buy shares in a US company from Australia you'll need to find a trading platform that offers access to US stock markets. If you're just starting out, look for a platform with low brokerage and foreign exchange fees.
  2. Open and fund your brokerage account. Complete an application with your personal and financial details, like your ID and tax file number. Fund your account with a bank transfer, credit card or debit card.
  3. Search for Caterpillar. Find the share by name or ticker symbol: CAT. Research its history to confirm it's a solid investment against your financial goals.
  4. Purchase now or later. Buy today with a market order or use a limit order to delay your purchase until Caterpillar reaches your desired price. To spread out your risk, look into dollar-cost averaging, which smooths out buying at consistent intervals and amounts.
  5. Decide on how many to buy. At last close price of US$221.82, weigh your budget against a diversified portfolio that can minimise risk through the market's ups and downs. You may be able to buy a fractional share of Caterpillar, depending on your broker.
  6. Check in on your investment. Congratulations, you own a part of Caterpillar. Optimise your portfolio by tracking how your stock — and even the business — performs with an eye on the long term. You may be eligible for dividends and shareholder voting rights on directors and management that can affect your stock.

Caterpillar share price

Use our graph to track the performance of CAT stocks over time.

Caterpillar shares at a glance

Information last updated 2021-04-08.
52-week rangeUS$98.3478 - US$237.78
50-day moving average US$222.3668
200-day moving average US$186.402
Target priceUS$215.48
PE ratio 42.1996
Dividend yield US$4.12 (1.79%)
Earnings per share (TTM) US$5.46

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Is it a good time to buy Caterpillar stock?

The technical analysis gauge below displays real-time ratings for the timeframes you select. This is not a recommendation, however. It represents a technical analysis based on the most popular technical indicators: Moving Averages, Oscillators and Pivots. Finder might not concur and takes no responsibility.

Caterpillar price performance over time

Historical closes compared with the last close of $221.82

1 week (2021-04-05) -5.09%
1 month (2021-03-12) -3.14%
3 months (2021-01-13) 13.24%
6 months (2020-10-13) 36.82%
1 year (2020-04-13) 94.34%
2 years (2019-04-12) 57.10%
3 years (2018-04-13) 47.65%
5 years (2016-04-13) 180.32%

Is Caterpillar under- or over-valued?

Valuing Caterpillar stock is incredibly difficult, and any metric has to be viewed as part of a bigger picture of Caterpillar's overall performance. However, analysts commonly use some key metrics to help gauge the value of a stock.

Caterpillar's P/E ratio

Caterpillar's current share price divided by its per-share earnings (EPS) over a 12-month period gives a "trailing price/earnings ratio" of roughly 42x. In other words, Caterpillar shares trade at around 42x recent earnings.

That's relatively high compared to, say, the trailing 12-month P/E ratio for the NASDAQ 100 at the end of 2019 (27.29). The high P/E ratio could mean that investors are optimistic about the outlook for the shares or simply that they're over-valued.

Caterpillar's PEG ratio

Caterpillar's "price/earnings-to-growth ratio" can be calculated by dividing its P/E ratio by its growth – to give 2.0334. A low ratio can be interpreted as meaning the shares offer better value, while a higher ratio can be interpreted as meaning the shares offer worse value.

The PEG ratio provides a broader view than just the P/E ratio, as it gives more insight into Caterpillar's future profitability. By accounting for growth, it could also help you if you're comparing the share prices of multiple high-growth companies.

Caterpillar's EBITDA

Caterpillar's EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) is US$7.3 billion (£5.3 billion).

The EBITDA is a measure of a Caterpillar's overall financial performance and is widely used to measure a its profitability.

Caterpillar financials

Revenue TTM US$41.7 billion
Operating margin TTM 11.87%
Gross profit TTM US$10.1 billion
Return on assets TTM 3.95%
Return on equity TTM 20.02%
Profit margin 7.18%
Book value 28.115
Market capitalisation US$125.8 billion

TTM: trailing 12 months

Shorting Caterpillar shares

There are currently 6.6 million Caterpillar shares held short by investors – that's known as Caterpillar's "short interest". This figure is 24.4% up from 5.3 million last month.

There are a few different ways that this level of interest in shorting Caterpillar shares can be evaluated.

Caterpillar's "short interest ratio" (SIR)

Caterpillar's "short interest ratio" (SIR) is the quantity of Caterpillar shares currently shorted divided by the average quantity of Caterpillar shares traded daily (recently around 3.6 million). Caterpillar's SIR currently stands at 1.84. In other words for every 100,000 Caterpillar shares traded daily on the market, roughly 1840 shares are currently held short.

However Caterpillar's short interest can also be evaluated against the total number of Caterpillar shares, or, against the total number of tradable Caterpillar shares (the shares that aren't held by "insiders" or major long-term shareholders – also known as the "float"). In this case Caterpillar's short interest could be expressed as 0.01% of the outstanding shares (for every 100,000 Caterpillar shares in existence, roughly 10 shares are currently held short) or 0.0121% of the tradable shares (for every 100,000 tradable Caterpillar shares, roughly 12 shares are currently held short).

Such a low SIR usually points to an optimistic outlook for the share price, with fewer people currently willing to bet against Caterpillar.

Find out more about how you can short Caterpillar stock.

Caterpillar's environmental, social and governance track record

Environmental, social and governance (known as ESG) criteria are a set of three factors used to measure the sustainability and social impact of companies like Caterpillar.

When it comes to ESG scores, lower is better, and lower scores are generally associated with lower risk for would-be investors.

Caterpillar's total ESG risk score

Total ESG risk: 40.85

Socially conscious investors use ESG scores to screen how an investment aligns with their worldview, and Caterpillar's overall score of 40.85 (as at 12/31/2018) is pretty weak – landing it in it in the 86th percentile of companies rated in the same sector.

ESG scores are increasingly used to estimate the level of risk a company like Caterpillar is exposed to within the areas of "environmental" (carbon footprint, resource use etc.), "social" (health and safety, human rights etc.), and "governance" (anti-corruption, tax transparency etc.).

Caterpillar's environmental score

Environmental score: 13.72/100

Caterpillar's environmental score of 13.72 puts it squarely in the 4th percentile of companies rated in the same sector. This could suggest that Caterpillar is a leader in its sector terms of its environmental impact, and exposed to a lower level of risk.

Caterpillar's social score

Social score: 21.74/100

Caterpillar's social score of 21.74 puts it squarely in the 4th percentile of companies rated in the same sector. This could suggest that Caterpillar is a leader in its sector when it comes to taking good care of its workforce and the communities it impacts.

Caterpillar's governance score

Governance score: 8.39/100

Caterpillar's governance score puts it squarely in the 4th percentile of companies rated in the same sector. That could suggest that Caterpillar is a leader in its sector when it comes to responsible management and strategy, and exposed to a lower level of risk.

Caterpillar's controversy score

Controversy score: 4/5

ESG scores also evaluate any incidences of controversy that a company has been involved in. Caterpillar scored a 4 out of 5 for controversy – the second-lowest score possible, reflecting that Caterpillar has a damaged public profile.

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) summary

Caterpillar Inc was last rated for ESG on: 2019-01-01.

Total ESG score 40.85
Total ESG percentile 86.14
Environmental score 13.72
Environmental score percentile 4
Social score 21.74
Social score percentile 4
Governance score 8.39
Governance score percentile 4
Level of controversy 4

Caterpillar share dividends

68%

Dividend payout ratio: 67.65% of net profits

Recently Caterpillar has paid out, on average, around 67.65% of net profits as dividends. That has enabled analysts to estimate a "forward annual dividend yield" of 1.79% of the current stock value. This means that over a year, based on recent payouts (which are sadly no guarantee of future payouts), Caterpillar shareholders could enjoy a 1.79% return on their shares, in the form of dividend payments. In Caterpillar's case, that would currently equate to about $4.12 per share.

Caterpillar's payout ratio would broadly be considered high, and as such this stock could appeal to those looking to generate an income. Bear in mind however that companies should normally also look to re-invest a decent amount of net profits to ensure future growth.

Caterpillar's most recent dividend payout was on 18 February 2021. The latest dividend was paid out to all shareholders who bought their shares by 18 January 2021 (the "ex-dividend date").

Have Caterpillar's shares ever split?

Caterpillar's shares were split on a 2:1 basis on 13 July 2005. So if you had owned 1 share the day before before the split, the next day you'd have owned 2 shares. This wouldn't directly have changed the overall worth of your Caterpillar shares – just the quantity. However, indirectly, the new 50% lower share price could have impacted the market appetite for Caterpillar shares which in turn could have impacted Caterpillar's share price.

Caterpillar share price volatility

Over the last 12 months, Caterpillar's shares have ranged in value from as little as US$98.3478 up to US$237.78. A popular way to gauge a stock's volatility is its "beta".

CAT.US volatility(beta: 0.94)Avg. volatility(beta: 1.00)LowHigh

Beta is a measure of a share's volatility in relation to the market. The market (NYSE average) beta is 1, while Caterpillar's is 0.9443. This would suggest that Caterpillar's shares are less volatile than average (for this exchange).

Caterpillar overview

Caterpillar Inc. manufactures and sells construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives worldwide. Its Construction Industries segment offers asphalt pavers, compactors, cold planers, motorgraders, pipelayers, road reclaimers, telehandlers, and utility vehicles; backhoe, compact track, multi-terrain, skid steer, and track-type loaders; forestry and wheel excavators; and site prep and track-type tractors. The company's Resource Industries segment provides electric rope and hydraulic shovels, draglines, rotary drills, hard rock vehicles, track-type tractors, mining trucks, longwall miners, wheel loaders, off-highway and articulated trucks, wheel tractor scrapers, wheel dozers, landfill and soil compactors, machinery components, autonomous ready vehicles and solutions, and select work tools. Its Energy & Transportation segment offers reciprocating engine powered generator sets; reciprocating engines and integrated systems for the power generation, marine, oil, and gas industries; turbines, centrifugal gas compressors, and related services; remanufactured reciprocating engines and components; and diesel-electric locomotives and components, and other rail-related products. The company's Financial Products segment provides operating and finance leases, installment sale contracts, working capital loans, and wholesale financing; and insurance and risk management, as well as other equipment-related loans. Its All Other Operating segment offers filters and fluids, undercarriage, ground engaging tools, fluid transfer products, precision seals, and rubber sealing and connecting components; parts distribution; integrated logistics solutions; portfolio management; brand management and marketing strategy; and digital investments services. The company was formerly known as Caterpillar Tractor Co. The company was founded in 1925 and is headquartered in Deerfield, Illinois.

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