John Deere, Farmers Show Signs of Stability

Tariffs have clobbered exports of soybeans and other commodities, hurting farmers and farming equipment manufacturers.

In this Sept. 10, 2019, file photo a John Deere tractor is on display at the Husker Harvest Days farm show in Grand Island, Neb. Deere & Co. reports earns on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020.
In this Sept. 10, 2019, file photo a John Deere tractor is on display at the Husker Harvest Days farm show in Grand Island, Neb. Deere & Co. reports earns on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020.
Associated Press

Deere had a surprisingly strong first quarter after an extended period in which it was bruised by the ongoing trade war between the United States and China.

“Farmer confidence, though still subdued, has improved due in part to hopes for a relaxation of trade tensions and higher agricultural exports,” CEO John May said in a prepared statement Friday.

China announced Friday that it suspended more punitive tariffs on imports of U.S. industrial goods in response to a truce in its trade war with Washington. Under their “Phase 1” agreement signed in January, Washington agreed to cancel additional tariff hikes and Beijing committed to buy more American farm exports.

China's retaliatory tariffs have clobbered exports of soybeans and other commodities, hurting farmers, and in turn, farming equipment manufacturers.

Deere, based in Moline, Illinois, has posted three consecutive quarters of falling profits and slowing sales growth with trade tensions between the world's two largest economies ongoing.

For the three months ended Feb. 2, Deere & Co. earned $517 million, or $1.63 per share. The per-share earnings easily beat the $1.28 that industry analysts had expected, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research, and it topped last year's quarterly profit of $498 million, or $1.54 per share.

Adjusted revenue —which excludes financial services revenue— was $6.53 billion, also beating Wall Street's estimate of $6.2 billion.

The quarterly performance is in contrast to a year ago, when Deere cautioned on anxious farmers and rising costs.

Looking ahead, the companystill foresees fiscal 2020 earnings of $2.7 billion to $3.1 billion,unchanged from its previous guidance.

Shares of Deere & Co. jumped more than 6% at the opening bell.

More in Home