UPDATE 1-Deere posts higher quarterly profit
CHICAGO, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Deere & Co reported a higher quarterly profit on Wednesday as strong sales of its tractors and harvesters to farmers in North and South America offset the construction industry's continued weak demand for earth-moving equipment.
The company, the world's largest maker of agricultural equipment, said earnings rose to $996.5 million, or $2.56 a share, in the third quarter ended July 31 from $788 million, or $1.98 a share, a year earlier.
Total sales, including revenue from the company's financial services unit, rose 4 percent to $10 billion.
Shares of Deere rose 1.3 percent to $85 in trading before the market opened.
In a statement, Chief Executive Officer Samuel Allen said the nearly 30 percent jump in earnings per share reflected "considerable strength in the farm sector, especially in North and South America."
Earlier this year, the Moline, Illinois-based company lowered its outlook for full-year revenue, saying a cooler-than-normal spring in North America had depressed sales. Some analysts worried the softness was a sign of a new normal as corn prices have retreated from the all-time highs they hit last summer.
Deere's latest results appeared to allay those fears, at least for now. But Allen said the company was continuing to keep "a close watch on costs and assets."
Deere said sales of equipment to farmers rose 8 percent during the quarter. Sales of construction and forestry equipment fell 11 percent.