Feb 20, 10:27 AM EST

Deere profit drops, but tops Street 1Q forecasts

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MOLINE, Ill. (AP) -- Deere's first-quarter profit declined, reflecting softer demand for agricultural machinery. Its performance topped analysts' expectations, but its 2015 guidance appeared to disappoint.

The company said that falling farm incomes and lower commodity prices are putting pressure on demand for agricultural machinery, particularly larger models.

Shares slipped in morning trading Friday.

The Moline, Illinois-based company earned $386.8 million, or $1.12 per share, for the three months ended Jan. 31. A year earlier it earned $681.1 million, or $1.81 per share.

The results still beat Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 83 cents per share.

"Deere's first-quarter performance reflected sluggish conditions in the global farm sector, which reduced demand for agricultural machinery, particularly larger models, and led to lower sales and income," Chairman and CEO Samuel Allen said in a statement on Friday.

Revenue totaled $5.61 billion, also beating Wall Street's view. Analysts expected $5.43 billion, according to Zacks.

Agriculture and turf sales dropped 27 percent mostly on lower shipment volumes, unfavorable foreign currency translation and the previously announced sales of John Deere Landscapes and John Deere Water.

Construction and forestry sales climbed 13 percent primarily due to increased shipment volumes.

Going forward, Deere & Co. anticipates fiscal 2015 earnings of about $1.8 billion.

It foresees company equipment sales falling approximately 17 percent for the year and dropping about 19 percent for the second quarter when compared with the prior-year periods. Deere said that it expects worldwide sales of agriculture and turf equipment to decline by about 23 percent in fiscal 2015.

Deere expects worldwide sales of construction and forestry equipment to be up by about 5 percent in 2015.

The company's stock declined 44 cents to $91.27 in morning trading Friday. Its shares have risen more than 7 percent over the past year.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap ) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on DE at http://www.zacks.com/ap/DE

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Keywords: Deere, Earnings Report

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