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Associated Press

Caterpillar released earnings Thursday, missing analysts' revenue expectations and reducing its outlook for profits in 2017. The firm's struggles call into question investor enthusiasm for the U.S. economy following the election.

During a call with analysts, CEO Jim Umpleby said that slow growth in places like Brazil and China cut into profits last year, and that he doesn't expect any returns from U.S. infrastructure spending until at least 2018. As a net exporter, the firm is optimistic about border adjusted tax reform, though a projected stronger dollar would mitigate the effects.

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Data: Money.net; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Ronnie Moas of Standpoint Research placed a sell rating on the stock, arguing its rise in recent months puts too much faith in the Trump Administration's ability to execute priorities, without factoring in a backlash from trading partners.

Economic risk abounds: A delay or watering down of infrastructure spending, a hastening of the decline in China's economy, or the escalation of trade could hit American profits and deflate investor optimism.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
3 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.