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Caterpillar says global sales of its heavy equipment grew 35% in July even though last year's numbers were strong.

The world's largest maker of mining and construction equipment provided an update on sales Thursday in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In the same period last year, Caterpillar reported a 32% increase in sales.

Jefferies & Co. analyst Stephen Volkmann said in a research note the new figures suggest Caterpillar's profits will be stronger than expected.

Caterpillar said the strongest regions for equipment sales in July were Latin America and Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Both those regions reported sales increases of more than 50%.

Caterpillar's sales figures are considered an indicator of the health of the economy, so they are watched closely.

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