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Deere blames escalating trade war for worsening outlook

Key Points
  • Deere reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit and cut its full-year outlook.
  • An escalating trade war between the U.S. and China threatens to hit U.S. exports of key commodities, hurting farm incomes and demand for Deere's equipment.
  • Deere said it now expects full year equipment sales to rise by 5%, compared with a 7% rise, it had previously expected.
A John Deere excavator on display at the CONEXPO show in Las Vegas.
Michael Newberg | CNBC

Deere on Friday missed quarterly profit estimates for the fifth-straight quarter and cut its full-year outlook, as an escalating U.S.-China trade war threatens to further hit farm incomes and demand for Deere's equipment.

Shares of Deere, known for its trademark green tractors and harvesting combines, fell 4% to $140 in premarket trading.

U.S. agricultural exports are likely to suffer, as the world's two largest economies level escalating tariffs on each other's imports in the midst of negotiations.

Earlier this week, soybean futures fell to their lowest in more than 10 years, which is squeezing U.S. farmers whose incomes have already been under pressure from a global grain glut. 

China, the world's top importer of soybean, bought about $12 billion worth of U.S. soy in 2017, but mostly shifted purchases to Brazil last year because of the trade fight, leaving U.S. farmers with surplus produce.

"Ongoing concerns about export-market access, near-term demand for commodities such as soybeans, and a delayed planting season in much of North America are causing farmers to become much more cautious about making major purchases," Chief Executive Officer Samuel Allen said in a statement.

Deere, which gets nearly 60% of its sales from the United States and Canada, said it now expects full year equipment sales to rise by 5%, compared with a 7% rise, it had previously expected.

The company lowered its fiscal 2019 profit outlook to $3.3 billion, from its prior forecast of $3.6 billion.

"The lower forecast is partly a result of actions we are taking to prudently manage field inventories, which will cause production levels to be below retail sales in the second half of the year," said Allen.

Some U.S. company executives have warned that costs related to the latest round of tariffs on goods from China will be passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices.

Walmart Inc on Thursday said that prices for U.S. shoppers will rise due to higher tariffs on goods from China.

Net income attributable to Deere fell 6.1% to $1.14 billion, or $3.52 per share, in the second quarter ended April 28, missing analysts' estimates of $3.62 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Net sales rose 5.4% to $10.27 billion, and were above the Wall Street's estimate of $10.19 billion.

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Tech

Pinterest shares plunge 15% after first earnings report on a weak outlook

Key Points
  • Pinterest shares fell 15% Thursday after the company released its first-quarter 2019 earnings report, its first report as a public company.
  • The company reported a loss per share of 32 cents, excluding certain items.
  • Pinterest reported $201.9 million in revenue for the quarter compared to estimates of $200.6 million, according to Refinitiv.