Caterpillar reported a jump in second-quarter profits Friday driven by higher sales across its divisions, but said customers in major industries were still avoiding new investments.

The company's results showed the benefits of the recovery in the global economy from the depths of the Covid-19 pandemic, led by construction profits, which nearly doubled in the quarter.

"We're encouraged by higher sales and revenues across all regions and in our three primary segments, which reflect continued improvement in our end markets," said Chief Executive Jim Umpleby.

But Umpleby did not provide profit-per-share forecasts, citing the "highly fluid environment" in a conference call with analysts.

Umpleby said that key clients were holding back on big capital spending initiatives that drive demand for Caterpillar's industrial machines.

Caterpillar reported higher earnings but said customers in the oil and mining industries were holding off on major new investment Caterpillar reported higher earnings but said customers in the oil and mining industries were holding off on major new investment Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / SCOTT OLSON

 

While there has been a "steady improvement in mining," companies overall "continue to display capital discipline," Umpleby said.

Regarding oil and gas, "we do feel good about a gradual turn in that business. Oil prices are supportive of investment," Umpleby said. "But again, our customers are displaying that capital discipline."

The IMF earlier this week reiterated its forecast for six percent global growth in 2021, but warned that developing countries were falling behind in the push to vaccinate their populations against Covid-19.

Economists have also expressed worries the Delta variant and other Covid-19 strands could slow the global rebound.

Earnings for the second quarter came in at $1.4 billion, up from $458 million in the year-ago period. Revenues rose 28.9 percent to $12.9 billion.

Shares fell 3.8 percent to $204.57 in midday trading.