Caterpillar Inc reported a 58 percent rise in quarterly earnings that far exceeded Wall Street expectations on Thursday due to increased global demand for construction machinery and mining equipment.

The world's largest heavy machinery maker said net income for the fourth quarter was $1.55 billion, or $2.32 per share, compared with $968 billion, or $1.47 per share, a year ago. That result was 59 cents above the analysts' average estimate of $1.73 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales rose 35 percent to $17.24 billion, above Wall Street estimates of $16.05 billion.

The performance caps a record year of profits and revenue for the company as it recorded surging sales in most markets around the world.

Peoria, Illinois-based Caterpillar forecast 2012 earnings above current Wall Street estimates.

(Reporting By John Stoll; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)