Caterpillar today beat analysts' estimates for first-quarter profit on higher sales of its construction and mining equipment in its biggest market North America. 

The heavy-duty equipment maker is a bellwether for economic activity whose results often influence global stock market sentiment.

It also raised its full-year profit forecast as it booked a tax gain in the first quarter stemming from President Donald Trump's tax reforms. 

The latest quarter results come off a disappointing showing in the fourth quarter, which was hit by a sharp slowdown in China. 

Sales in North America rose 7%, driven by a 13% rise in sales of construction equipment. 

The company reported an adjusted profit of $2.94 per share in the first quarter, compared with $2.82 a share, last year. Analysts on average had expected earnings of $2.85 a share. 

Total sales and revenue rose about 5% to $13.5 billion. 

The company said it now expects 2019 profit of $12.06 per share to $13.06 per share, compared with $11.75 to $12.75 per share forecast earlier.