(Bloomberg) -- Caterpillar Inc. reported fourth-quarter earnings that topped analysts’ estimates as surging demand and higher prices for the company’s diggers, bulldozers and trucks muted the impact of rising raw-materials costs.

The producer of construction and mining equipment reported adjusted quarterly earnings of $2.69 a share, compared with the $2.27 per share average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose 23% to $13.8 billion. 

 “Amid ongoing supply chain constraints, our team continues to execute our strategy for long-term profitable growth while striving to meet customer demand.” Chief Executive Officer Jim Umpleby said Friday in a statement. 

The report from Caterpillar, considered an economic bellwether, comes as worries over inflation mount, with the prospect of interest-rate hikes from the Federal Reserve and some other central banks. The company said Friday it anticipates higher prices to offset manufacturing cost increases in 2022.

It also said it expects “headwinds” to adjusted operating profit margin in the first quarter compared with a year earlier. 

While Caterpillar said late last year that supply-chain snags will make it more difficult to meet customer demand, analysts see mining orders continuing to improve after years of low investment by customers in the industry that is an important source of profit for Caterpillar.

Caterpillar shares rose 14% last year and have posted three consecutive annual gains. 

The earnings were announced before the start of regular trading in New York. Caterpillar shares slipped 0.4% at 6:44 a.m.



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