ACQUISITION WOES: Caterpillar's fourth quarter profit was less than half as big as a year earlier because of weak demand and a deal for a Chinese mine equipment supplier. That deal turned out to be overpriced due to what Caterpillar is now calling accounting misconduct previous to the acquisition.
SLOWDOWN: Caterpillar slowed production in the second half of the year, especially in the final quarter. That hurt profits because even though production was slower, some expenses remained steady.
WHAT'S NEXT: That remains cloudy. Caterpillar said 2013 could either be a record year or a tough one, depending on which way the economy turns.