Deere (DE), the world’s biggest maker of farm machinery, is signaling that the worst is over in for its industry even as the U.S. Department of Agriculture is projecting another down year for farm incomes.
In fiscal first quarter earnings reported today Deere said earnings climb to 61 cents a share. That was down from 80 cents a share a year ago but above Wall Street projections of 55 cents a share. Revenue fell 1.5% year over year to $4.7 billion, but that still beat the Wall Street consensus of $4.63 billion.
Encouragingly, Deere raised its guidance for the second quarter to project a 1% increase in revenue, above current expectations. For the full fiscal year through October Deer raised its revenue guidance to 4% growth from a previous projection of 1% growth. Sales of Deere’s agricultural equipment will rise by 3% in the fiscal year. (North American tractor inventories have declined 13% since April, Bloomberg calculates.) Sales of construction and forestry equipment will climb 7%.
The earnings beat this quarter came from continued cost cutting and the company’s ability to raise prices.
Earlier this month the Department of Agriculture had forecast that American farm incomes will fall for a fourth year in 2017 to their lowest level since the financial crisis. The decline would be the longest streak in 40 years.
Deere is a member of my long-term 50 Stocks portfolio. Shares of Deere are up 5.4% in 2017 and 37% for the last 12 months. The trailing 12-month price to earnings ratio is 23.7. The shares pay a 2.2% dividend.