But chairman and chief executive Doug Oberhelman boosted investors’ hopes by saying that the mining sector has hit bottom and that production was expected to ramp up in the second quarter, based on lower inventories in China and the United States.
The Illinois-based company said that it now expects to report a 2013 profit of $7 per share on sales of $57bn (£37.3bn) to $61bn. That was down from a previously estimated profit of between $7 and $9 a share on sales of $60bn to $68bn.
The news came as the company, the world’s largest maker of construction and mining equipment, reported a weaker-than-expected first-quarter profit.
Caterpillar said it earned a profit of $880m, or $1.31 a share, down from $1.59bn, or $2.37 a share, in the year-ago quarter.