Last up is Deere (DE), the $32 billion tractor maker. Deere is a powerhouse in the agricultural and construction equipment industries. How many other equipment makers can sell hats with their logo to suburban kids? That brand value extends to Deere's core customers too. The firm has a reputation for building premium, quality equipment with an eye to the future.
For instance, Deere was one of the first tractor makers that offered GPS-powered field marking on its heavy equipment. That positioning helps Deere command higher prices than peers. And it's helped the firm command more than 50% of North America's agricultural market. Deere's machines aren't cheap -- far from it -- so it's used its captive finance arm much like automakers do, financing farmers' livelihoods at better rates than they'd find elsewhere. That huge financial exposure scared off a lot of investors during the Great Recession, but the combination of better underwriting standards that peers and the stellar value of the firm's collateral (its own machines) means that credit risks are overstated.
Growth in emerging markets is a big opportunity for Deere in the years ahead. As more countries adopt Western ag techniques, Deere's positioning as a high-end tractor maker should capture significant sales. Meanwhile, management has had shareholders in mind too. The firm returned a 7.11% shareholder yield to investors last year, far more than the dividend reveals.To see these names in action, check out the Shareholder Yield Stocks portfolio on Stockpickr. -- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.
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