Recent trading patterns in the stock of Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) have investors on high alert. The idea that stock performance can best be predicted by analyzing past trading data is a widely held view among financial professionals. In the case of CAT, the data could have some interesting implications for future performance. In the most recent quarter, institutional ownership decreased by a net of 4.51 million shares, or 1.09%.This is a bearish sign and indicates that institutions are feeling more pessimistic about the outlook for CAT overall.525 holders increased their positions, 511 decreased their positions, and 202 holders held their positions.
Among institutions that increased their positions, 116 were new positions. Among holders that decreased their positions, 58 sold out of the stock Caterpillar Inc.. Insider ownership during the latest quarter decreased by a net of 271629 shares, indicating that CAT’s key executives are feeling more bearish about the stock than they did three months ago. 3 or 42.86% of the trades during the past quarter were buys, and 4 or 57.14% were sells. This activity represents a continuation of a theme over the past twelve months. Insider ownership during the last year has decreased by a net of 434975 shares. 44.74% of insider trades in the last 12 months were buys, and 55.26% were sells.
Over the past year, the price of Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) has increased 47.02% while the S&P 500 has increased 19.49%. During the past 20 days, CAT has increased 7.50% while the broad market has increased 1.94%. CAT ‘s 20-day moving average currently sits below its 100-day moving average. This is a bearish signal that suggests the stock price might have farther to fall. CAT’s average trading volume during the past 20 days is higher than the average volume over the past 100 days, which could be an indication that investors are feeling more certain than usual about the direction of CAT’s future price movements.
Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) has a 20-day RSI of 77.41%. According to this momentum indicator, a reading above 70 suggests the stock is entering overbought territory and that the recent uptrend may be about to reverse. The MACD tells a similair story. CAT’s 9-day MACD currently sits below the 20-day MACD, indicating that CAT’s upside momentum has decreased during the last three weeks. This suggests that the trend might soon reverse. CAT’s average trading volatility during the past few weeks is -46.84% lower than the average volatility over the past 100 days. This means that the stock’s daily price swings have been less extreme in recent times compared to the past.
Analysts expect Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) to generate earnings per share of $5.22 in 2017. This works out to an increase of 52.63% compared to last year’s earnings. For comparison’s sake, analysts expect the S&P 500 to grow earnings by an average of 12% in 2017. The average investment rating for CAT on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being a strong sell and 5 being a strong buy) is a 3.61 or a Hold. Three months ago, analysts assigned CAT a 3.50 rating, which implies that analysts have become more optimistic about the outlook for the stock over the next year.