US industrial conglomerate General Electric said today that its profit fell 10% in the first quarter.

But the firm managed to beat Wall Street expectations.

GE, a diversified group with energy, industrial and finance operations, reported $3.034 billion profit for the first three months of 2011, compared with $3.358 billion in the year-ago period.

Earnings per share of 34 cent were one cent higher than the average analyst estimate.

Revenue also came in stronger than expected, at $35.182 billion, an 8% year-over-year fall.

Industrial revenues were up 14% in growth markets, driven by double-digit growth in Australia, Canada, China, Russia, Latin America, and Sub-Saharan Africa, the company said in a statement. The industrial segment in the US posted a strong 17% rise.

The Connecticut-based GE confirmed its outlook for the full year, saying it is "on track to deliver double-digit earnings growth in 2012 for both industrial businesses and GE Capital," its financial subsidiary that had dragged down earnings during the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

GE Capital had an operating profit of $1.8 billion, flat from a year ago, while industrial businesses generated a 10% jump, to $3.3 billion.

GE also said it had booked record first-quarter infrastructure orders of $23.1 billion, up 20%.

The multinational conglomerate, seen as a bellwether of the global economy with businesses including aircraft engines, wind turbines, energy, home appliances and finance, said it was optimistic about growth.

"We see encouraging leading indicators driven by global growth. Our strategy to invest in technology and global growth platforms continues to produce results," GE chairman and chief executive Jeff Immelt said.