Deere & Co.'s stock fell 3.4% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the farm equipment maker beat fiscal fourth-quarter profit and sales forecasts, but provided a downbeat outlook for equipment sales. For the quarter ended Oct. 31, the company reported earnings of $649.2 million, or $1.83 a share, down from $806.8 million, or $2.11 a share, in the year-earlier period, but above the FactSet consensus analyst estimate of $1.57. Revenue fell 5% to $8.97 billion, as equipment sales fell 7%, but topped analyst forecasts of $7.73 billion. For the current quarter, Deere expects equipment sales to fall 21%, on expectations of a continued pullback in the agricultural sector. "John Deere has completed another year of solid performance in spite of weaker conditions in the global farm sector, which caused sales and earnings to decline from the record totals of 2013," said Chief Executive Samuel Allen. "The slowdown has been most pronounced in the sale of large farm machinery, including many of our most profitable models." The stock has lost 3.9% so far this year through Tuesday, compared with a 12% gain in the S&P 500.
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