What happened 

Shares of Caterpillar (CAT -0.39%) were soaring today after the company reported better-than-expected third-quarter results that beat analysts' top- and bottom-line consensus estimates. 

As a result, the industrial stock jumped by 9.7% as of 10:46 a.m. ET. 

So what 

The construction and mining equipment maker released its third-quarter results today, with total revenue increasing 21% from the year-ago quarter to $15 billion -- compared to Wall Street's consensus average of $14.3 billion.  

A person with a hard hat on.

Image source: Getty Images.

Caterpillar's bottom line also impressed investors, as the company's non-GAAP (adjusted) earnings per share of $3.95 jumped 46% from the year-ago quarter and outpaced analysts' consensus estimate of $3.16. 

Caterpillar's management said that the sales increase in the quarter "was primarily due to favorable price realization and higher sales volume."

Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby said in a press release that the company had another quarter of double-digit top-line growth and that Caterpillar "continued to see healthy demand across most of our end markets during the third quarter." 

Another highlight from the quarter was Caterpillar's operating margin increasing to 16.2%, up from 13.4% in the year-ago quarter.

Now what

Investors were clearly happy Caterpillar beat analysts' consensus estimates, especially at a time when many investors are growing increasingly concerned about the economy. 

Along those lines, Caterpillar's stock may have received an extra boost today after the release of the latest economic data, which shows that U.S. GDP grew by 2.6% in the third quarter, better than economists' expectation of 2.3% growth. 

That helped ease investors' fears of a recession and caused market indexes to rise today, which likely provided an extra jolt to Caterpillar's stock on an already good day.