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Shares Of Ag Equipment, Supply Makers Fall

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) ¿ Investors sold shares of several farm equipment makers Wednesday after the group logged large gains since March, analysts said, with one analyst saying there is some concern that projected low prices in the upcoming crop season could hurt equipment sales.

Caterpillar Inc., Deere & Co. and AGCO Corp. have risen as much as 74 percent since early March and shares of CNH Global NV more than doubled in the same period. Wednesday, the companies' shares were down between 3 percent and 5 percent as the broader market sank by about 2 percent.

"These stocks had pretty big runs so there's some profit taking," said Eli Lustgarten, an analyst at Longbow Research.

In addition to cashing in on recent gains, investors are also expressing "general fear of a continued economic slowdown," Gabelli & Co. analyst Heiko Ihle said.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture report issued Tuesday on world agricultural supply and demand estimates for the 2009-2010 crop year shows that crop supplies will be ample, resulting in some commodity prices that will be between flat and down from the previous year. If farmers bring in less revenue they are less likely to buy as much new equipment.

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