In a further sign the manufacturing sector is reacting to persistent slowing in demand,

Deere

(DE) - Get Report

said Wednesday it is scaling back production, as customers have become more cautious in making purchases.

The manufacturer of tractors, construction and farming equipment also said it expects second-quarter earnings to fall short of year-ago levels, when the company earned 87 cents a share, as well as miss the current 15-broker

First Call/Thomson Financial

estimate of 96 cents a share.

Products primarily affected, according to a company press release, are construction and grounds-care equipment and large farm tractors. The company said a reduction in demand, as well as weather, played a part in the lowered estimates.

Overall, the company now expects its sales, without acquisitions, to be flat for the quarter and up 4% for the year -- down from the previous estimates of 5% and 6% growth. The company said it is "targeting higher earnings for the year, though attainment may prove challenging." The current First Call estimate for 2001 is $2.36 a share, compared with actual earnings of $2.06 in 2000.

Deere's shares closed at $40.33 Tuesday.