Though he can't say whether the U.S. economy will dip into a brief recession this year, Caterpillar CEO Jim Owens said he believes recent actions by Congress and the Federal Reserve will lead to renewed growth by 2009. Though Caterpillar's 2007 sales decreased $3.5 billion in North America, worldwide demand produced record numbers for the company. Caterpillar says it will invest $2 billion over five years to build new plants in developing countries, with special focus on small and medium-sized equipment.

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