Friday, August 21, 2009
3, Issue #80
missed it because it's so common, so obvious,
that many people don't give it a second thought.
But a group of in-the-know investors have pulled
in about +30% on this investment in just a few
And we expect
these gains are just the beginning. You can
still join us for the gains ahead -- now's your
Get the name of it now.
Wall Street just doesn't
understand Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE).
No surprise there: There's a Rolls-Royce dealer a few minutes
from the stock exchange, but the nearest John Deere dealer is
more than 50 miles away, and it mostly sells lawn tractors. The
massive heavy-duty agricultural equipment, the large tractors
and combines that are Deere's main source of revenue is used in
the area of the country that Wall Street tends to fly over.
This goes a long way toward explaining why Wall Street tends to
get it wrong when it comes to Deere. It has no frame of
reference for the company, which began manufacturing farm
equipment in Illinois in 1837.
In the 172 years since, the company has built a unparalleled
reputation for quality: Loyal customers have rewarded the
company with a 50% market share. My dad still has my
great-grandfather's 1941 Model A John Deere in the shop at his
farm. Grandpa Ted used it for 30 years, and it still runs
perfectly today. That's on par with the aforementioned
So when Deere reported earnings, it came as no surprise to me
that Wall Street focused on the wrong things:
* Revenue was down, mostly on a -47% drop in construction
* Deere's outlook for 2009 suggests the worst sales
downturn in 50 years.
* Net earnings slipped -27% in the third quarter.
This news caused a predictable result. Shares fell. But that's
wrong, wrong, wrong.
What these pin-striped finance geeks need isn't a weekend in the
Hamptons, they need to get on their jets and head to Kansas,
Indiana or Iowa. A few hours swathing hay or planting wheat
would do them a lot of good.
When they've breathed enough fresh air to clear their heads,
they'll realize the truth about Deere. They'll learn to focus on
the right things when they value the company. When that happens,
the shares will be poised to deliver serious gains.
Here are six things to help them get started:
1. Deere has an unconquerable moat.
A farmer would rather keep a older piece of Deere equipment
running than to buy from another manufacturer. Deere's "green
iron" is not only extremely well made, but the company
continually advances agricultural technology. Better technology
means more efficiency and greater production, and that puts
money in farmer's pockets. These purchases are supported by the
best dealer network in the business. Excellent service minimizes
downtime during critical harvesting and planting seasons.
2. Deere's Farm Business is Key, Not Construction.
Deere's most critical business segment isn't the construction
equipment that hurt it in this quarter -- it's the agricultural
equipment that powers its results every other quarter.
Agricultural equipment makes up 59.2% of revenue. Ag and credit
together make up 79.3% of operating profits.
3. Deere has a strong financial footing.
Assets outweigh debt nearly three to one. It has plenty of cash
on hand and no short-term debt. Deere has more than enough
resources to take care of the portion of its $13.9 billion in
debt that's coming due. No one needed to bail out Deere when
times got tough.
trial of our live e-mini futures trading room.
4. Deere's performance has
And not just by a little. The 17 analysts Bloomberg polled
expected Deere to turn in earnings of 56 cents a share. It
earned 99 cents a share. As I said, this is a hard company
for Wall Street to understand. Deere has exceeded
expectations in 13 of the past 18 quarters.
5. Deere has managed well during the downturn.
Let's make sure we're clear: Deere didn't lose any money.
The company earned $420 million in its third-quarter. Its
net margin was 7.1%, a level of profitability that exceeds
260 out of the 500 companies that make up the S&P. Among the
most promising signs: Margins on ag equipment came in at
10.3%, a clear sign that Deere doesn't have to cut prices to
6. Deere has a bright, "green" future.
Emerging markets, where Deere's ag sales dropped, will
rebound with the global economy. So will the U.S.
construction-equipment market. And the biofuel boom will
cause greater demand for the crops that can be used for
biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol, which could move
unproductive acres into production, sparking a demand for
more tractors, swathers, balers and planters.
The key to looking at Deere is to take the long view, not to
overreact to short-term results. Don't worry about what
happened, or even about what's happening. Focus on the
future, not on the crop you just cut, but on the one you
just planted. Deere has $3 billion in inventory ready to
meet the demand that the recovery will bring.
With all that in mind, the inevitable conclusion is that
Deere, at current prices, is a steal of a buy for long-term
investors who are willing to bet that the world will
continue to need the food farmers grow.
Many Happy Returns,
-- Andy Obermueller
Chief Investment Strategist
Which of these asset classes has trounced the +11%
return of the S&P 500, shining with a robust +21% gain
in the first half of 2009?
Blue Chip Stocks
(Please click on one the
links above. After you make your choice, we'll show you
the correct answer on our web site.)
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