updated 1/27/2010 8:56:08 AM ET 2010-01-27T13:56:08

Caterpillar, the world's biggest mining and construction equipment company, says fourth-quarter profit was dragged down by the sluggish economy, though it expects 2010 sales and revenues to grow as much as 25 percent.

Caterpillar's results are considered an indicator of global economic health because of its broad reach and diverse product line.

The company said Wednesday it is seeing growth in China and other developing countries even as North America, Europe and Japan rebound more slowly.

Earnings slid 65 percent to $232 million, or 36 cents per share. Removing redundancy costs, profit was 41 cents per share, beating analysts' 28-cents-per-share estimate.

Revenue fell 39 percent to $7.9 billion.

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