The world economy is slowly but surely getting better. The latest sign? Strong earnings from heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT), which delivered numbers exceeding analysts’ expectations.

Caterpillar not only reported stronger earnings in the first quarter, it said the global economy is “definitely improving” and raised its earnings and sales forecasts for the entire year. The company sees particular strength in Latin America and Asia, and credits those economies with most of the growth. Caterpillar also has noticed strength in the global mining and energy sectors. iShares Dow Jones U.S. Industrial (NYSEArca: IYJ) is up 0.6% so far today; Caterpillar is 2.6%. [Top ETFs to Play Industrial Activity.]

Confidence in Greek debt is on its way to the tank, which is having the usual ripple effect on the euro. The multi-country currency is down nearly 0.5% today as investors wonder what the impact of a Greek default would mean. WisdomTree Dreyfus Euro (NYSEArca: EU) is down 0.4% today. [Dollar Bears and Bulls: What the Next Move May Be.]

Merger talks between United Airlines (NASDAQ: UAUA) and Continental (NYSE: CAL) have all but stalled after the two airlines couldn’t agree on a price. Most other parts of the merger had been agreed upon, but if the airlines can’t agree on a price, the deal could go kaput. Claymore/NYSE Arca Airlines (NYSEArca: FAA) is flat this morning. [Iceland Volcano Puts Airline ETF on Uncertain Ground.]

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Lydon serves as an independent trustee of certain mutual funds and ETFs that are managed by Guggenheim Investments; however, any opinions or forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Mr. Lydon and not those of Guggenheim Funds, Guggenheim Investments, Guggenheim Specialized Products, LLC or any of their affiliates. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.