General Electric Co said on Friday that third-quarter profit rose 13.8 percent, matching expectations, boosted by demand for heavy equipment like gas turbines and jet engines and strength at its financial units.

The conglomerate said earnings increased to $5.54 billion, or 54 cents per diluted share, from $4.87 billion, or 47 cents per diluted share, a year earlier.

Profit from continuing operations came to 50 cents per share, in line with analysts' expectations, according to Reuters Estimates.

GE, the second-largest U.S. company by market capitalization behind Exxon Mobil Corp, has experienced continued strong demand for its heavy equipment products in the United States and abroad.

Revenue came in at $42.53 billion, up 12.3 percent from $37.84 billion a year ago. Analysts, on average, expected $42.44 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

Because of the size and diversity of its operations, which range from manufacturing railroad locomotives to consumer lending, investors view GE as a bellwether of the U.S. economy.

GE said it expects to report fourth-quarter profit from continuing operations of 67 cents to 69 cents per share. Analysts look for 68 cents.

Our outlook for the remainder of the year is strong, said Jeff Immelt, GE's chairman and chief executive, in a statement. We have a better set of financial services businesses and a successful turnaround at NBC Universal, and we will have earnings acceleration in infrastructure.

The Fairfield, Connecticut-based company has put its WMC Mortgage unit, which made home loans to less creditworthy borrowers, on the block following a meltdown in the subprime mortgage lending market. Regulatory changes in Japan also prompted GE to put its Japanese consumer finance business up for sale.

After underperforming the major U.S. indexes for much of the past few years, GE shares have started to gain ground. So far this year they are up some 12 percent, roughly in line with the blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average and ahead of the 10 percent rise of the broad Standard & Poor's 500 index.