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Caterpillar reports slowdown in sales

NEW YORK (AP) -- Caterpillar Inc. said Wednesday that global sales of its heavy equipment fell 13 percent for the three-month rolling period that ended in February, hurt by a steep drop in Asia Pacific demand.

That followed a 4 percent decrease for the three months that ended in January and a 1 percent slide for the three months that ended in December, the company said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Asia Pacific sales dropped 26 percent in the recent period, while North American sales fell 12 percent. The only region to post an increase was Latin America, where sales rose 3 percent.

The figures are reported in constant dollars and are based on unit sales as reported mainly by dealers.

Global sales of power systems, or big engines, fell 7 percent for the three-month period ended in February, matching a 7 percent drop for the three-month period that ended in January. Power system sales edged down 2 percent for the three months that ended in December.

Caterpillar, the world's largest maker of construction and mining equipment, warned in January that its 2013 profit could shrink if the global economy doesn't pick up in the second half of the year, noting that mining companies and builders remained cautious about buying new equipment.

Shares of Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar's fell $1.45 to $86.82 in afternoon trading after dropping as low as $86.42 earlier in the session.