Why Deere Fell Short in Q1

Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE) released its fiscal first-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Friday. The firm posted $1.54 in earnings per share (EPS) and $6.94 billion in revenue, which compared with consensus estimates of $1.76 in EPS on revenue of $6.82 billion. The same period of last year reportedly had EPS of $1.35 and $5.97 billion in revenue.

In terms of its segments, Deere reported that Agriculture & Turf sales increased 10% year over year to $4.68 billion, while Construction & Forestry sales increased 31% to $2.26 billion.

Overall, Agriculture & Turf sales for the quarter increased due to higher shipment volumes and price realization, partially offset by the unfavorable effects of currency translation and higher warranty-related expenses. But Construction & Forestry sales were up for the quarter primarily due to the inclusion of Wirtgen for the full period versus one month in the first quarter of 2018.

Looking ahead to the 2019 fiscal full year, net sales and revenues are projected to increase by about 7%. Consensus estimates are calling for $11.47 in EPS and $35.8 billion in revenue for the year.

Samuel R. Allen, board chair and chief executive, commented:

Although Deere has continued to make solid progress on a number of fronts and reported higher earnings for the quarter, our results were hurt by higher costs for raw materials and logistics as well by customer concerns over tariffs and trade policies. These latter issues have weighed on market sentiment and caused farmers to become more cautious about making major purchases. At the same time, sales of John Deere construction and forestry machinery have continued at a strong pace. We believe cost pressures should abate as the year progresses and are hopeful we will soon have more clarity around trade issues. As a result, we remain cautiously optimistic about our prospects for the year ahead.

Shares of Deere closed Thursday at $162.42, in a 52-week range of $128.32 to $175.26. The consensus price target is $176.71. Following the announcement, the stock was down about 4% at $155.76 in early trading indications Friday.

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