Deere, a renowned company, is set to release its fiscal third-quarter earnings on Friday morning. While investors eagerly await the current results, their main focus lies in determining whether the period of increased demand for agricultural equipment has come to an end.
Wall Street analysts estimate that Deere will report earnings of $8.22 per share for the quarter ending in June, with equipment sales reaching $14.1 billion. These figures surpass the previous year's earnings of $6.16 per share from equipment sales amounting to $13 billion.
Despite the positive developments, concerns about the peak of the agricultural business cycle have emerged. Baird analyst Mig Dobre expressed his growing caution regarding Agricultural Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), which includes companies like Deere, in a recent report.
Dobre points out that dealers are currently restocking their inventory, which is beneficial for immediate performance. However, this trend may negatively impact future results as fully stocked dealers are less likely to place new orders.
Challenges on the Horizon
Another reason for apprehension stems from the falling U.S. farm income caused by moderating crop prices. This decrease limits farmers' purchasing power and reduces flexibility in acquiring new equipment. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) predicts a net farm income of approximately $151 billion in 2023, representing a 20% decline compared to 2022.
Furthermore, Dobre anticipates a moderation in the pricing strength of used agricultural equipment, while costs for new machinery catch up to their prices. Despite an expected beat in earnings for Deere's fiscal third quarter, Dobre acknowledges that a more challenging period may lie ahead for the company over the next nine to twelve months.
While Deere's upcoming earnings report will be essential in gauging its performance, investors are eagerly awaiting insights into the future of the agricultural equipment market.
Deere Stock: Analysts Remain Positive With a Price Target of $445
The stock of Deere continues to receive positive ratings from analysts, with a target price of $445. While the overall sentiment on Wall Street remains optimistic, recent ratings indicate a slight cause for concern. Currently, 69% of analysts covering Deere shares have a Buy rating, surpassing the average Buy-rating ratio of stocks in the S&P 500, which stands at around 55%. It is worth noting that just four months ago, that figure was even higher at 73%.
Despite the slight decrease in analyst ratings, the average price target has increased by approximately $6 over the past four months, now reaching $456 per share. This uptick in target prices followed Deere's fiscal second-quarter report in May, where the company raised its financial guidance. For fiscal year 2023, Deere forecasts net income between $9.25 billion and $9.5 billion, an improvement from the previous expectations of $8.75 billion to $9.25 billion. The positive outlook contributed to a significant beat in Wall Street estimates, with Deere exceeding expectations by roughly $300 million.
Since the release of their quarterly results, Deere stock has risen by about 13%, outperforming the broader S&P 500 index, which only saw a 4% increase during the same period. To maintain this upward trajectory, another strong performance and positive guidance may be necessary, considering the ongoing concerns surrounding the agricultural business cycle.
Deere's management has scheduled a conference call on Friday at 10 a.m. Eastern time to discuss these results and provide further insights.