updated 9/28/2004 3:59:30 PM ET 2004-09-28T19:59:30

Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. on Tuesday raised its full-year sales expectations, as stronger demand in North and South America fueled a sharp increase in global machine and engine sales.

The company said it now anticipates 2004 sales in the range of $28.45 billion to $29.59 billion, 25 percent to 30 percent higher than last year's sales of $22.76 billion. Caterpillar previously expected a year-over-year sales increase of 25 percent.

Caterpillar also backed its forecast for full-year profits of $5.63 to $5.79 per share, an increase of 80 percent to 85 percent from income of $3.13 in 2003.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call predict Caterpillar will earn $5.64 per share on sales of $26.63 billion for the year.

Chief executive officer Jim Owens said in a statement that the company's 2005 sales are anticipated to grow 10 percent from 2004 results, with record earnings per share.

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