Caterpillar earnings: Sunny days ahead

Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), which in April reported its first quarterly loss in 17 years, added to the growing optimism about the economy by posting better-than-expected third quarter results Tuesday and forecasting earnings that surpassed even the most bullish estimates.

Net income at the world's largest heavy equipment maker fell to $404 million, or 64 cents a share, down from $868 million, or $1.39 a share, a year earlier. Revenue fell 44 percent to $7.3 billion. Profit beat analysts' expectations by 6 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters. Shares of the Illinois-based company rose in early trading.