Stocks to watch at the open

Caterpillar feels the crunch of a mining sector slowdown, while investors will home in on Wesfarmers' sales numbers.

Industrials

Bulldozer-maker Caterpillar’s outlook for the rest of the year does not bode well for industrial companies relying on the mining sector for contracts.

Caterpillar explained resource industries accounted for 75% of the decline in sales from the previous September quarter. There is little respite – Caterpillar is expecting resource industries to be down around 40% for the full year.

While earnings missed forecasts and analyst expectations, the forecast did the damage, sending Caterpillar down over 6%.

It will be interesting to see if Caterpillar dealer, Seven Group Holdings, can dust off the miserable forecast.

Wesfarmers (WES)

Wesfarmers is today reporting sales for the first quarter of this financial year.

The first half of this year has seen supermarket average sales grow at 3.6% year-on-year, seasonally adjusted. The final sales number for Coles will be used as a measure to gauge how the business is tracking against competitor Woolworths. If recent history is anything to go by, Coles should come out in front.

Beyond sales numbers, the market will be looking for operational improvements in the Coles business as the sector becomes increasingly competitive.

Across the discretionary side of Wesfarmers offering, it is expected Bunnings and Kmart will deliver sales growth, while Target will struggle as it undergoes restructuring.

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