Heavy equipment maker Deere (DE) is another firm that's benefitting from economic tailwinds right now. The company makes machines used in everything from construction to agriculture, a market that got hit hard in the recession as investments in capital-intense equipment dropped off. Now, though, the firm's push toward international exposure is paying off at the same time domestic sales heat up again.
Behind Deere's success is a major brand that's recognized the world around. After all, how many other tractor makers sell their logo apparel to people who've never sat in a combine? That brand reputation has helped Deere capture around 50% of the North American agriculture market, and as agriculture and infrastructure spending perks up in emerging markets like India and China, Deere should be able to grow its share of those attractive markets as well.While price point has historically been the stumbling block (Deere's advanced ag machinery isn't cheap), abundant credit and attractive cost-benefit tradeoffs are changing Deere's emerging markets business for the better. Management increased the firm's dividend by 12.2% on Leap Day, to 46 cents per share. Even though Deere's 1.97% dividend yield doesn't exactly qualify the firm for core-holding status, income investors shouldn't ignore this stock for its dividend alone. After all, investors who bought shares back in 2010 are looking at a cost yield of 3.7% right now. As long as dividend hikes keep coming, new investors should be targeting a similar outcome. Deere shows up on a list of Industrial Stocks Bought and Sold by Hedge Funds in the fourth quarter, and it was highlighted in "7 Stocks Set to Rise Above $100 in 2012." Follow @stockpickr
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