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Deere Tops Q2 Profit Forecast, Warns on '20 Equipment Sales

Heavy equipment make John Deere said full-year sales are likely to fall sharply as demand tumbles amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Deere & Co.  (DE)  posted stronger-than-expected second-quarter earnings Friday but warned that full-year sales are likely to fall sharply as the global coronavirus pandemic saps demand for agricultural and industrial equipment. 

Deere said diluted earnings for the three months ending on May 3, the group's fiscal second quarter, were pegged at $2.11 per share, down 40% from the same period last year. Group net sales and revenues, Deere said, fell 18% to $9.253 billion, firmly ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $7.7 billion.

Looking into the end of the 2020 fiscal year, Deer said it sees worldwide agriculture and turf equipment sales falling between 10% to 15%, with net income in the region of $1.6 billion to $2 billion. Construction and forestry equipment sales, Deere said, are likely to slump by as much as 40%.  

"John Deere’s foremost priority in confronting the coronavirus crisis has been to safeguard the health and well-being of employees while fulfilling its obligation as an essential business serving customers throughout the world,” said CEO John May. “We’ve had good success in these areas thanks to the proactive measures we have taken to keep employees safe and our production facilities and parts distribution centers operational."

"At the same time, the company has reached out to our local communities to help those in need as a result of the pandemic," he added. "Deere and its employees have provided generous support to area food banks and other organizations offering assistance during this difficult time.”

Deere shares were marked 1.4% higher in pre-market trading immediately following the earnings release to indicate an opening bell price of $144.85 each.