Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) reported earnings on April 25. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended March 31 (Q1), Caterpillar met expectations on revenues and beat expectations on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue expanded significantly and GAAP earnings per share expanded significantly.

Gross margins shrank, operating margins increased, and net margins improved.

Revenue details
Caterpillar recorded revenue of $15.98 billion. The 11 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ expected sales of $16.22 billion on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were 23% higher than the prior-year quarter's $12.95 billion.

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Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

EPS details
EPS came in at $2.37. The 16 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ forecast $2.15 per share. GAAP EPS of $2.37 for Q1 were 29% higher than the prior-year quarter's $1.84 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 28.4%, 10 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 14.5%, 50 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 9.9%, 40 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $17.68 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $2.33.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $71.45 billion. The average EPS estimate is $9.55.

Investor sentiment
Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Caterpillar is outperform, with an average price target of $130.

Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor of Motley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.