Gain Boosts Deere Quarter

Sales rise2%.
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Deere's

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second-quarter earnings rose 23% from a year ago, lifted by a gain on the sale of the company's health care operations. Excluding those, earnings from continuing operations missed estimates.

Deere earned $745 million, or $3.13 a share, in the quarter, compared with earnings of $604 million, or $2.43 a share, a year ago. On a continuing-operations basis, Deere earned $517 million, or $2.17 a share, in the quarter, missing the Thomson First Call consensus estimate of $2.30 a share.

In February, Deere forecast earnings of $675 million to $700 million in the first quarter, down from its then-current guidance of $725 million to $750 million.

Deere's second-quarter sales rose 2% to $6.56 billion, while equipment sales were $6.03 billion in the quarter, missing the Thomson First Call consensus estimate of $6.36 billion.

For the current third quarter, Deere expects to earn $400 million to $425 million, reflecting a 15% decline in farm-machinery production in the U.S. and Canada during the period. Thomson First Call lists a third-quarter net income consensus of $433 million.