Can Deere Grow Faster in 2013?


As 2013 begins, now's a good time to look at the future prospects for the stocks you own. If you don't know where a company's headed in the next year and beyond, then it's impossible to make an informed decision about whether you should add the stock to your portfolio -- or sell it if you already own it.

Today, I'll look at Deere (NYS: DE) . The agricultural equipment giant harvested some nice gains in 2012, as the sector retained its strength on the back of farmers flush with cash from relatively high crop prices. But can Deere find new ways to grow? Below, you'll learn more about its prospects for 2013.

Stats on Deere

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Source: Yahoo Finance.

Will Deere shoot up in 2013?
Analysts see the good times continuing for Deere, albeit perhaps not at the pace that investors have gotten used to enjoying. The target stock price is a bit more than 5% above current share-price levels, but the prospects for earnings growth in excess of that rate both this year and next point to the potential for better gains if multiples don't contract as much as expected.

Deere has a very strong position in selling agricultural equipment. As long as world demand for food remains on the rise with overall population growth, Deere stands to get at least its fair share of business from hungry nations seeking to improve farm yields. Yet the company is also sounding a note of caution, as it sees revenue gains slowing in 2013 despite efforts from China and Europe to fire up their ailing economies.

By focusing largely on agricultural equipment, Deere remains somewhat insulated from wider trends in the construction equipment industry. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as Caterpillar (NYS: CAT) has given investors pause by giving somewhat pessimistic guidance for 2013 revenue. Still, with Deere already dominating the ag space, it will eventually need to diversify into more all-purpose industrial equipment in order to seek new growth opportunities. Such a move will open Deere up to competition not just from the well-established Caterpillar but also mining specialist Joy Global (NYS: JOY) and new industry entrant General Electric (NYS: GE) .

For Deere in 2013, a lot will depend on how the weather behaves after a dreadful 2012 for U.S. crops. If a new, prolonged Dust Bowl period is beginning, it could spell a big problem for Deere's future domestically.

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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool owns shares of General Electric and Joy Global. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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