Farm equipment company Deere & Co. said Friday it had net income of $511.6 million, or $1.53 a share, in its fiscal third quarter ended July 31, down from $850.7 million, or $2.33 a share, in the year-earlier period. Sales fell 20% to $7.594 billion. The FactSet consensus was for EPS of $1.44 and sales of $7.146 billion. The numbers "reflected the continuing impact of the downturn in the farm economy as well as lower demand for construction equipment," Chief Executive Samuel Allen said in a statement. Looking ahead, the company is expecting fourth-quarter equipment sales to fall about 24%. Full-year net profit is forecast at $1.8 billion. "We believe our steady investment in new products and geographies will make Deere the provider of choice for a growing global customer base and that the impact of these actions will become increasingly clear when our end markets recover," said Allen. Shares fell about 1.6% in premarket trade, but are up 2.5% in the year so far, while the S&P 500 has lost 1.1%.
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