Deere Net Jumps 4 Percent

Deere & Co., the world’s largest manufacturer of agricultural equipment, issued its fiscal first-quarter results Wednesday, posting a 4 percent surge in earnings versus the year-ago quarter. Despite beating Wall Street estimates, the company’s sales growth fell short of some analysts’ expectations, causing shares to dip about 4 percent amid a broad decline in industrial stocks, making the sector the owrst performer on the S&P 500.

In the three months ended December 31st, Deere’s earnings totaled $532.9 million, or $1.30 per share, up slightly from its earnings of $513.7 million, or $1.20 per share, in the same period a year earlier. Overall revenue, meanwhile surged 11 percent to $6.77 billion, mainly due to increased demand in emerging markets like Brazil and India. Deere maintained its forecast for equipment sales growth of 15 percent in fiscal 2012, but raised its forecast for earnings from an initially predicted $3.2 billion to $3.275 billion.

A spokesman for the Moline, Illinois-based company said that the outlook would have been higher, but the company is expecting to lose about $100 million this year based on currency exchange rates. Without the exchange rate losses, the spokesman noted, sales growth would likely have reached 19 percent. Economists in a recent Bloomberg survey predicted Deere would post earnings of $1.23 per share on revenue of $6.56 billion.

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