Deere Grows 1Q Profits 5%, Tops Views

Deere (NYSE:DE) beat the Street on Wednesday with a 5% bump in fiscal first-quarter profits amid stronger equipment sales.

Shares of the world’s largest farm-equipment maker advanced more than 1% on the stronger-than-expected results.

Deere said it earned $681.1 million, or $1.81 a share, last quarter, compared with a profit if $649.7 million, or $1.65 a share, a year earlier. Analysts had called for EPS of just $1.52.

Global sales, including finance revenue, ticked up 3% to $7.65 billion. Equipment sales  increased 2.3% to $6.95 billion, exceeding consensus calls for $6.62 billion.

"With another record quarter, John Deere has started 2014 on a strong note," Deere CEO  Samuel Allen said in a statement.

Looking ahead, Deere maintained its fiscal 2014 guidance, calling for net income of about $3.3 billion on a 3% drop in equipment sales. Wall Street is anticipating net income of $3.14 billion for the full year.

For the fiscal second quarter, management sees equipment sales slumping 6% year-over-year.

"Even in the face of moderating demand for agricultural equipment, Deere is well-positioned to deliver solid performance," Allen said.

Moline, Ill.-based Deere saw its shares gain 1.65% to $88.90 ahead of Wednesday’s opening bell.