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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Deere falls as profit outlook disappoints on sales worries

Kevin Klein, who farms near Sprague, Washington, guides his late-model John Deere combine through his fields on July 28, 2021.  (Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVI)
By Michael Hirtzer Bloomberg

Deere & Co. shares slid the most since April after the company forecast smaller-than-expected profit next year, with slowing equipment demand from farmers starting to weigh on the world’s largest tractor maker.

Net income for the fiscal year will be between $7.75 billion and $8.25 billion, Deere said Wednesday after reporting fourth-quarter earnings that beat analyst estimates.

Its full-year outlook came in well below estimates compiled by Bloomberg of $9.32 billion, prompting the stock to drop as much as 6.7%.

Declining crop prices have hit machinery makers in recent months, with farmers less willing to buy new equipment for planting and harvesting.

While demand for new tractors remains elevated, there are concerns that production of farm equipment could start outstripping demand.

Rival farm machinery maker CNH Industrial NV recently said it was reducing salaried workers with equipment sales slumping.

Seed maker Corteva Inc. has also warned of a slowdown in demand from farmers, particularly in Brazil.

Deere on Wednesday said net sales next year could drop 15% to 20% in its largest segment of production and precision agriculture.

“Deere’s widely disappointing 2024 guidance suggests a weaker ag-equipment market than we previously contemplated,” Bloomberg Intelligence’s Christopher Ciolino said in a note.

“While our end markets will fluctuate, we remain focused on disciplined execution and strategically investing in solutions that drive customer value,” Deere Chief Executive Officer John May said in a statement.

Machinery demand has softened, especially in Brazil, where farmers harvested the country’s biggest soybean and corn crops.

The large hauls meant farmers were getting lower prices for their crops even as equipment and seeds costs kept rising.