Shares of Deere & Co. surged 2.4% in premarket trade Wednesday toward a 15-month high, after the agricultural and construction equipment maker beat fiscal fourth-quarter profit and sales expectations. Earnings for the quarter to Oct. 31 fell to $285.3 million, or 90 cents a share, from $351.2 million, or $1.08 a share, in the same period a year ago. The FactSet consensus for earnings per share was 40 cents. Total revenue declined to $6.52 billion from $6.72 billion, but was above the FactSet consensus of $6.16 billion, as equipment sales fell 5%. Both agriculture and turf and construction and forestry sales fell 5%, but beat expectations. Looking ahead, the company expects equipment sales to slip 4% in the first quarter 1% for fiscal 2017. "The company in 2016 had one of its ten-best years in both sales and earnings, a noteworthy achievement in light of the difficult business climate," said Chief Executive Samuel Allen. "Deere's performance benefited from the adept execution of its operating plans and disciplined cost management as well as the impact of a broad product portfolio." The stock has soared 21% year to date through Tuesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 7.8%.
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