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Deere plunges with high farming costs denting gear demand

UPDATED: Fri., May 20, 2022

A Deere & Co. excavator is shown at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Ky., on Feb. 18. Deere stock fell as much as 11% Friday.  (Bloomberg)
A Deere & Co. excavator is shown at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Ky., on Feb. 18. Deere stock fell as much as 11% Friday. (Bloomberg)
By Joe Deaux Bloomberg

Deere & Co. plunged after the world’s largest manufacturer of agricultural equipment posted disappointing quarterly sales and said higher farming costs are denting demand.

Despite record crop prices, disruption caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has elevated the cost of fuel and fertilizer, limiting farmers’ spending power.

Surging diesel prices mean some farmers are paying twice as much as they did a year ago to fill up their tractors.

The costs of weedkillers, insecticides and nitrogen fertilizer are also up.

Deere stock fell as much 11% Friday as the company became the latest big U.S. corporate name to warn on the effects of inflation and supply chain issues.

Walmart, Target and Cisco Systems this week cut their profit forecasts, stoking a selloff across the stock market.

“It’s definitely not a market to release an earnings miss even as there’s a lot of good things the company has to say right now,” Matt Arnold, an analyst at Edward Jones, said in a phone call.

Many U.S. farmers are poised for another year of profit as war and global weather challenges have extended the 2021 crop price rally.

Deere forecast 2022 net income between $7 billion and $7.4 billion, above analysts’ average estimate of $6.99 billion and up from a prior range of $6.7 billion to $7.1 billion.

The company also said it suffered from higher production costs as supply chain snags continue to hound the manufacturer.

“The problem is more around supply chain constraints,” Stephen Volkmann, an analyst at Jefferies, said in a phone interview.

“The good news is they can sell whatever they can make, but the bad news is they’re constrained on what they can make.”

The company also cited impairments related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It told investors in March that it halted shipments of its equipment to Russia.

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