NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

Caterpillar

(CAT) - Get Report

, the construction and mining equipment maker,

handily beat expectations Thursday.

The company's fourth-quarter earnings, excluding items, came in at $2.32 a share, while analysts expected a profit of $1.73 a share.

Caterpillar reported record revenue of $17.24 billion, higher than the forecast for $16.05 billion. In the year-earlier fourth quarter, Caterpillar earned $968 million, or $1.47 a share, on revenue of $12.8 billion.

For 2012, Caterpillar expects earnings of $9.25 a share on revenue of $68 billion to $72 billion.

Shares were jumping 3.2% to $112.49 in premarket trading Thursday.

Telco giant

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

beat sales estimates as sales of the iPhone soared to a record high. The company gained 717,000 subscribers on monthly contracts, while iPhone activations soared to 7.6 million.

Earnings fell to 42 cents a share, shy of the forecast for 43 cents. However, sales rose 3.6% to $32.5 billion, beating expectations of $31.95 billion.

AT&T withdrew its $39 billion proposal to buy

T-Mobile USA

in December after regulators said the deal would decrease competition in the sector.

Shares were dropping 1.5% to $29.75.

Diversified manufacturer

3M

(MMM) - Get Report

beat Wall Street expectations , reporting earnings of $1.35 a share on revenue of $7.1 billion. The company was expected by analysts to earn $1.31 a share in the fourth quarter on revenue of $7.09 billion.

The company also affirmed its 2012 forecast for earnings ranging between $6.25 and $6.50 a share. Shares were up 1% to $87.36.

The world's largest cell phone maker by volume,

Nokia

(NOK) - Get Report

, recorded its third straight loss in the December quarter. The company said it lost €1.07 billion ($1.38 billion), with sales dropping 21%. The company sold a total of 113.5 million devices, down from 123.7 million a year earlier.

Lockheed Martin

(LMT) - Get Report

earned $683 million, or $2.09 a share, in the fourth quarter, down from $961 million a year earlier. Revenue came in at $12.21 billion, down 4.3% from a year earlier.

Analysts forecast profit of $1.94 a share on revenue of $12.1 billion.

While sales fell at the company, year-end backlog increased to a record $80.7 billion. The defense contractor has struggled due to budget cuts in Washington, cutting thousands of jobs last year to rein in costs. The company also saw weaker results from its space and electronics systems businesses.

Higher costs caused

Colgate-Palmolive

(CL) - Get Report

to post a drop of almost 6% in net income during the fourth quarter. The company reported earnings of $1.21 a share, or $590 million, missing the $1.29 a share forecast.

Revenue also came in lower at $4.17 billion; analysts were looking for $4.19 billion. Sales in Latin America and India helped offset some of the weakness in the U.S. market.

Colgate said it still expects double-digit growth for 2012 although growth will be on a currency-neutral basis.

Netflix

(NFLX) - Get Report

, the DVD-by-mail and online streaming entertainment content subscription company

handily beat Wall Street's consensus profit view

.

Netflix earned 73 cents a share in its fiscal fourth quarter

, topping the average analysts' view of 55 cents a share.

For the first quarter, Netflix said it expects to post a loss of between 16 cents and 49 cents a share on revenue between $842 million and $877 million. Wall Street analysts polled by Thomson Reuters forecast a loss of 30 cents a share on $847.8 million in revenue.

SanDisk

(SNDK)

posted above-consensus fourth-quarter profit.

The company reported a non-GAAP profit of $317 million, or $1.29 a share, for the three months ended Dec. 31 on revenue of $1.58 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of $1.26 a share on revenue of $1.57 billion.

Wall Street may be disappointed with the slightness of

SanDisk's beat

as the company had delivered upside surprises of 12% and 14% in the two preceding quarters.

Shares were falling 8.3% to $48.

Starbucks

(SBUX) - Get Report

, the coffee retailer, posts results after the market closes Thursday. Analysts see fiscal first-quarter earnings of 49 cents a share on revenue of $3.29 billion.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel and Chao Deng

>To contact the writer of this article, click here:

Joseph Woelfel

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