Cat CEO: We won't be this strong for rest of 2015

CAT's big asset base protects currency exposure: CEO
CAT's big asset base protects currency exposure: CEO

Caterpillar on Thursday reported earnings and revenue that beat expectations, but CEO Doug Oberhelman warned: Don't expect a repeat.

Share prices of the heavy equipment maker were up more than 1 percent Thursday afternoon. (Get the latest quotes here.)

"We saw construction in the U.S. and North America up. And that's the bright spot we have right now," Oberhelman told CNBC. "It's fairly anemic but it's growing ... kind of quarter by quarter."

He said the U.S. economy was growing "fairly slowly" but steadily, while the rest of the world was struggling. "China is down significantly year over year. Brazil is weak economically. Europe is still kind of flat, but in our case, down year over year."

Caterpillar reported earnings of $1.86 a share, which included a 14 cent gain on an asset sale. So the adjusted earnings is $1.72 a share.

Revenue decreased to $12.7 billion from $13.24 billion a year ago.

Caterpillar's earnings soar
Caterpillar's earnings soar

Wall Street forecast Caterpillar would deliver quarterly adjusted earnings of $1.35 a share on $12.38 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

On CNBC's "Squawk Box," Oberhelman said he's pleased with the results, but warned: "We will not repeat this quarter the rest of the year because we're aimed at $50 billion in sales [for 2015] ... which is going to be a challenging year."

While that revenue projection remained unchanged, the company increased its guidance for earnings to $4.70 or $5 per share, excluding restructuring costs. The prior outlook was for $4.60 or $4.75 per share.

Shares of Caterpillar has had a bumpy ride this year—dropping nearly 7.3 percent as of Wednesday's close.