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Caterpillar sees steady growth

(Reuters) - Caterpillar Inc said its machine sales rose 30 percent in November compared with a year earlier as growth continued at the pace seen in September and October.

The world's largest maker of construction machinery on Monday reported substantial increases in three of the four major regions in which it does business -- North America, Europe and Asia. Growth in Latin America continued to slow.

North America represented Caterpillar's strongest region of growth, increasing 41 percent after gains of 38 percent in October and 26 percent in September.

Latin American sales were up 8 percent after gains of 16 percent and 33 percent in the prior two months.

The Caterpillar report came as Illinois Tool Works Inc reported a slowdown in its organic growth rate in November. The Glenview, Illinois, company said organic revenue -- excluding currency translation and acquisitions -- grew 4 percent in the three months ended November 30, down from 7 percent in the three months ended October 31.

ITW makes a variety of products, from auto components to construction supplies to industrial packaging.

Caterpillar reports machine and engine sales on a monthly basis. Sales of reciprocating and turbine engines climbed 15 percent in November compared with a year earlier, led by the petroleum and electric power segments.

Caterpillar shares were up 1 percent at $88.21 in afternoon trading. The gains came despite wide weakness in the market, led by slumping financial stocks.

In a note to investors, Jefferies & Co equity analyst Stephen Volkmann said Caterpillar's November retail showing "fits in with our view that the industrial recovery continues despite macro worries and that Caterpillar results are likely to be better than expected.

(Reporting By D. John Stoll; editing by John Wallace)

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