After a shocking guidance downgrade that sent Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) shares tumbling last month, all eyes are on what the heavy-equipment manufacturer will report in its upcoming third-quarter earnings release. Estimates are low, with analysts projecting Caterpillar's earnings per share to slump by half on a nearly 18% drop in revenue.

But for a cyclical company like Caterpillar, the story goes well beyond its top and bottom lines. There are three key areas that you cannot miss in its earnings report if you want a better idea about where the company, and its stock, could be headed. Take a look at the slideshow below to learn what they are.

3 Things You Can't Miss in Caterpillar's Upcoming Earnings Report from The Motley Fool.