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Deere Easily Beats Targets

Shares are rising.
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Farm-equipment seller


(DE) - Get Deere & Company Report

saw its shares rise after the company exceeded analysts' profit and sales estimates for the fourth quarter.

The company earned $422.1 million, or $1.88 a share, for the quarter ended Oct. 31, compared with $277.3 million, or $1.20 a share, for the same period last year.

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Worldwide net sales for the fourth quarter increased 20% year over year to $6.14 billion. Wall Street was looking for a profit of $1.55 a share and a top line of about $5.8 billion.

Shares of Deere were advancing 1.7% to $147.50 in premarket trading Wednesday.

"Deere's continuing strong performance reflects improving execution of our plans to create a fundamentally more profitable, resilient business," said Robert W. Lane, chairman and chief executive, in a prepared statement. "As a result, the company has delivered four successive years of record results, and done so in the face of mixed market conditions."

In fiscal 2007, Deere said, it benefited from an improving global farm economy but saw weakening in the construction, forestry, commercial and consumer sectors, chiefly as a result of the U.S. housing downturn.

Company equipment sales are projected to increase by about 12% for fiscal 2008 and to be up roughly 25% for the first quarter. Deere is expecting net income of around $2.1 billion for the full year and about $325 million for the first quarter. In the just-completed year, Deere earned $1.8 billion.