Deere & Co. (DE) - Get Report posted modestly stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings Wednesday but cautioned that construction and agricultural equipment sales in the coming financial year are likely to decline sharply as trade uncertainty hammers demand.
Deere said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in October, the company's fiscal fourth quarter, came in at $2.14 per share, down 11.6% from the same period last year but one penny ahead of the Street consensus forecast. Group worldwide net revenues, Deere said, rose 5% to $9.896 billion, well ahead of analysts' forecast of an $8.43 billion tally.
Looking into the 2020 fiscal year, however, Deere said it sees agricultural equipment sales falling between 5% and 10% from the 2019 tally of $23.666 billion and construction equipment sales falling as much as 15%.
"John Deere's performance reflected continued uncertainties in the agricultural sector," said CEO John May. "Lingering trade tensions coupled with a year of difficult growing and harvesting conditions have caused many farmers to become cautious about making major investments in new equipment."
"Additionally, financial services results have come under pressure due to operating-lease losses," he added. "At the same time, general economic conditions have remained favorable. This has supported demand for smaller equipment and led to solid results for Deere's construction and forestry business, which had a record year for sales and operating profit."
Deere shares were marked 4.5% lower at the start of trading Wednesday following the earnings release to change hands at $168.72 each, a move that would trim the stock's year-to-date gain to around 14.5%.