When it comes to agricultural equipment, it's hard to find a better-known name than Deere (NYSE: DE ) . With its trademark green-and-yellow tractors and other farm machinery, the company has made the most of its John Deere brand, but after a run-up that sent John Deere stock close to all-time record highs earlier this year, investors wonder if recent weakness in the commodities sector could point to a reversal of fortune for the company.
Recovering from bad weather
Last year, the worst news for Deere came from the weather. Bad drought conditions throughout much of the U.S. led to two consecutive earnings misses during the July and October quarters, as many farmers found themselves without any crops to harvest and therefore didn't need to order equipment from Deere.
Since then, Deere has responded with more positive earnings results in the past two quarters. Yet even in its most recent report, Deere reduced its guidance for full-year-revenue growth by a percentage point, with expectations of just 5% growth in sales for the year.
The Toro Company (Toro), incorporated on November 7, 1983, designs, manufactures, and markets professional turf maintenance equipment and services, turf irrigation systems, agricultural micro-irrigation systems, landscaping equipment and lighting, and residential yard and snow removal products. The Company operates in three business segments: Professional, Residential, and Distribution. Its products are advertised and sold at the retail level under the names of Toro, Exmark, Irritrol, Hayter, Pope, Lawn-Boy and Lawn Genie. In October 2013, the Company acquired Xiamen Xiangfeng Water Saving Equipment Co., Ltd.
The Company designs professional turf, landscape, and agricultural products and markets them worldwide through a network of distributors and dealers, as well as directly to Government customers, rental companies, and retailers. These channel partners then sell its products to professional users engaged in creating and renovating landscapes, irrigating turf and agricultural fields, and maintaining turf, such as golf courses, sports fields, municipal properties, and residential and commercial landscapes.
Landscape Contractor Market
The Company market products to landscape contractors under the Toro and Exmark brands. Products for the landscape contractor market include zero-turn radius riding mowers, heavy-duty walk behind mowers, mid-size walk behind mowers, stand-on mowers, and turf renovation and tree care equipment. It also offers some products with electronic fuel injection engine options. In fiscal 2013, it enhanced its line of Toro Z Master Commercial 3000 Series mowers, featuring its TURBO FORCE cutting deck, integrated pump, and wheel motors designed for professional results, performance, and dependability. In addition, in fiscal 2013, it introduced the new Exmark Vantage X-Series stand-on mower.
Sports Fields and Grounds Market
Products for the sports fields and grounds market include riding rotar! y mowers and attachments, aerators, and debris management products, which include versatile debris vacuums, blowers, and sweepers. Other products include multipurpose vehicles, such as the Toro Workman, that can be used for turf maintenance, towing, and industrial hauling. These products are sold through distributors, who then sell to owners and/or managers of sports fields, Governmental properties, and residential and commercial landscapes.
Golf Course Market
The Company�� products for the golf course market include large reel and rotary riding products for fairway, rough and trim cutting; riding and walking mowers for putting greens and specialty areas; greens rollers; turf sprayer equipment; utility vehicles; aeration equipment; and bunker maintenance equipment. In fiscal 2013, it introduced the Reelmaster 3550-D, which features a productive 82 inch cutting width, enhanced ground-following capability with turf-friendly tires, and three-wheel drive system designed for traction in hilly and wet conditions. In addition, in fiscal 2013, it began offering versions of its golf products which are compliant with Tier 4 diesel engine emission requirements. It also manufacture and market underground irrigation systems for the golf course market, including sprinkler heads, controllers, turf sensors, and electric, battery-operated, and hydraulic valves. Its 835S/855S Series golf sprinklers are equipped with a unique TruJectory feature that provides enhanced water distribution control. Its Turf Guard wireless soil monitoring systems are designed to measure soil moisture, salinity, and temperature through buried wireless sensors that communicate through an Internet server for processing and presentation to a user through the Web.
Residential/Commercial Irrigation and Lighting Market
Turf irrigation products marketed under the Toro and Irritrol brands include rotors; sprinkler bodies and nozzles; plastic and brass valves; drip tubing and subsurface irrigation; ! electric ! and hydraulic control devices; and wired and wireless rain, freeze, and climate sensors. These products are designed to be used in residential and commercial turf irrigation systems that are installed into new systems or used to replace or retrofit existing systems. Most of the product lines are designed for underground automatic irrigation. Electric and hydraulic controllers activate valves and sprinkler bodies and nozzles in a typical irrigation system. Its retail irrigation products are marketed under the Toro and Lawn Genie brand names. These products are designed for homeowner installation and include sprinkler heads, valves, timers, and drip irrigation systems. Its ECXTRA sprinkler timers can be used with a home computer and its Scheduling Advisor recommends the proper watering schedule based on the local weather, plant type, and sprinkler. It manufactures and market lighting products under the Unique Lighting Systems brand name.
Products for the micro-irrigation market include products that regulate the flow of water for drip irrigation, including Aqua-Traxx PBX drip tape, Aqua-Traxx PC (pressure-compensating) drip tape, Blue Stripe polyethylene tubing, BlueLine drip line, and NGE emitters, all used in agriculture, mining, and landscape applications. In addition to these products, it offers control devices and connection options. These products are sold primarily through dealers and distributors who then sell to end users for use primarily in vegetable fields, fruit and nut orchards, vineyards, landscapes, and mines. In fiscal 2013, it expanded its product offering of the Neptune thinwall dripline into the North America market, featuring a medium-durability dripline that enables growers to install a subsurface drip irrigation system designed to last for up to ten years and to allow growers of medium-length crops to adopt drip irrigation. In addition, in fiscal 2013, it introduced AquaFlow 3.2 Drip Irrigation Design Software, a new software packag! e used to! help design drip irrigation systems.
Rental and Construction Market
The Company offers over 35 attachments for our compact utility loaders, including trenchers, augers, vibratory plows, and backhoes. In fiscal 2013, it launched the STX-38 Stump Grinder featuring high maneuverability and hydraulic sweep control. Products for the rental market include compact utility loaders, walk-behind trenchers, stump grinders, and turf renovation products, many of which are also sold to landscape contractors. Its presence in the construction market is driven by an equipment line of vibratory plows, trenchers, and horizontal directional drills, all of which are used in the installation, repair, and replacement of underground utilities with minimal impact on surrounding landscapes or structures. In fiscal 2013, it introduced the Toro Pro Sneak Vibratory Plow that delivers consistent and powerful plowing in a compact, maneuverable package.
The Company markets its residential products to homeowners through a variety of distribution channels, including outdoor power equipment dealers, hardware retailers, home centers, mass retailers, and over the Internet. These products are sold mainly in North America, Europe, and Australia, with the exception of snow removal products that are sold primarily in North America and Europe.
Walk Power Mower Products
The Company manufactures and markets a number of walk power mower models under its Toro and Lawn-Boy brand names, as well as the Pope brand in Australia and the Hayter brand in the United Kingdom. Toro also offers a line of rear-roller walk power mowers, a design that provides a striped finish, for the United Kingdom market.
The Company manufactures and markets riding products under the Toro brand name worldwide and under the Hayter brand name in the United Kingdom. Riding products primarily consist of zero-turn radius mowers. Lawn and garden tra! ctor mode! ls are sold worldwide. In addition, its rear engine and direct-collect riding mowers are manufactured and sold in the European market. A number of models are available with a variety of engines, decks, transmissions, and accessories.
Home Solutions Products
Toro designs and markets home solutions products under the Toro and Pope brand names, including electric and battery-operated grass trimmers, electric blower-vacuums, electric blowers, and electric snow throwers. In Australia, the Company also designs and markets underground and hose-end retail irrigation products under the Pope brand name.
Gas Snow Removal Products
The Company manufactures and markets a range of gas-powered single-stage and two-stage snow thrower models. Single-stage snow throwers are walk behind units with lightweight two- and four-cycle gasoline engines. Its two-stage snow throwers are designed for large areas of deep, heavy snow and use four-cycle engines. The Company�� two-stage snow throwers include a line of models featuring the Power Max auger system and the Quick Stick chute control technology.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Seth Jayson]
There's no foolproof way to know the future for Toro (NYSE: TTC ) or any other company. However, certain clues may help you see potential stumbles before they happen -- and before your stock craters as a result.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Still, shares of Deere have gained 0.2% to $86.08, perhaps thanks to Toro (TTC), which has risen 1.8% to $62.34 after beating earnings forecasts by four cents today.
- [By Charles Sizemore]
Stuart Varney took it a step further, mentioning Toro Company (TTC), the maker of many of the snow blowers that have become a common sight across much of America this year. I agreed, adding that Toro is a major manufacturer of lawn and turf maintenance equipment — and because virtually every lawn, park and golf course in America has suffered damage this year, and Toro is well positioned to profit from the repairs.
Hot Machinery Companies To Buy Right Now: Kadant Inc (KAI)
Kadant Inc., incorporated in November 1991, is a supplier of equipment used in the global papermaking and paper recycling industries and a manufacturer of granules made from papermaking byproducts. Through its Papermaking Systems segment, the Company develops, manufactures and markets a range of equipment and products for the global papermaking, paper recycling, and process industries. Through its Fiber-based Products business, the Company manufacture and sell granules derived from pulp fiber for use as carriers for agricultural, home lawn and garden, and professional lawn, turf and ornamental applications, as well as for oil and grease absorption. Its Papermaking Systems segment consists of product lines, such as stock-preparation, fluid-handling, doctoring and water-management. On May 27, 2011, its subsidiary, Kadant Johnson Europe B.V., acquired all the interests in m-clean papertech holding AB. In April 2013, it completed the acquisition of Companhia Brasileira de Tecnologia Industrial (CBTI).
The Company�� customer base includes major global paper manufacturers and with its equipment found in most of pulp and paper mills. The Company manufactures its products in nine countries in Europe, North and South America and Asia. It develop, manufacture and market complete custom-engineered systems and equipment, as well as standard individual components, for pulping, de-inking, screening, cleaning, and refining recycled and virgin fibers for preparation for entry into the paper machine. Its principal stock-preparation products include recycling and approach flow systems and Virgin pulping process equipment.
The Company develop, manufacture and market rotary joints, precision unions, steam and condensate systems, components, and controls used primarily in the dryer section of the papermaking process and during the production of corrugated boxboard, metals, plastics, rubber, textiles, chemicals and food. Its principal fluid-handling systems include rotary joints, siphons, turbul! ator bars, and engineered steam and condensate systems. Its mechanical devices, used with rotating shafts, allow the transfer of pressurized fluid from a stationary source into and out of rotating machinery for heating, cooling, or the transfer of fluid power. Its devices, installed primarily inside the rotating cylinders of paper machines, are used to remove condensate from the drying cylinders through rotary joints located on either end of the cylinder. Its steel or stainless steel axial bars, installed on the inside of cylinders, are used to induce turbulence in the condensate layer to improve the uniformity and rate of heat transfer through the cylinders. Its steam systems control the flow of steam from the boiler to the paper drying cylinders, collect condensed steam, and return it to the boiler to improve energy efficiency during the paper drying process.
The Company develop, manufacture and market a range of doctoring systems and related consumables that continuously clean rolls to keep paper machines running efficiently; doctor blades made of a variety of materials to perform functions, including cleaning, creping, web removal, flaking, and the application of coatings, and profiling systems that control moisture, Web curl, and gloss during paper converting. Its principal doctoring products include doctor systems and holders, profiling systems and doctor blades. Its doctor systems clean papermaking rolls to maintain the operation of paper machines and other equipment by placing a blade against the roll at a constant and uniform pressure. A doctor system consists of the structure supporting the blade and the blade holder. It offers profiling systems that control moisture, Web curl, and gloss during paper converting. It manufacture doctor and scraper blades made of a variety of materials, including metal, bi-metal, or synthetic materials that perform a variety of functions, including cleaning, creping, Web removal, flaking and the application of coatings.
The Company devel! ops, manu! facture and markets water-management systems and equipment used to continuously clean paper machine fabrics and rolls, drain water from pulp mixtures, form the sheet or Web, and filter the process water for reuse. Its principal water-management systems include shower and fabric-conditioning systems, formation systems, and water-filtration systems. Its shower and fabric-conditioning systems assist in the removal of contaminants that collect on paper machine fabrics used to convey the paper Web through the forming, pressing and drying sections of the paper machine. A typical paper machine has between 3 and 12 fabrics. It supplies structures that drain, purify, and recycle process water from the pulp mixture during paper sheet and Web formation. It offer a variety of filtration systems and strainers that remove contaminants from process water before reuse and recover reusable fiber for recycling back into the pulp mixture.
The Company competes with Voith Paper GmbH, Metso Corporation, Maschinenfabrik Andritz AG, Deublin Company, Barco Company, Christian Maier GmbH & Co. KG, Duff-Norton Company, Joh. Clouth GmbH & Co. KG, Bonetti, S.p.A., Metso Corporation and IBS-Paper Performance Group.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Seth Jayson]
Calling all cash flows
When you are trying to buy the market's best stocks, it's worth checking up on your companies' free cash flow once a quarter or so, to see whether it bears any relationship to the net income in the headlines. That's what we do with this series. Today, we're checking in on Kadant (NYSE: KAI ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.
Hot Machinery Companies To Buy Right Now: Blount International Inc (BLT)
Blount International, Inc. (Blount) is a global industrial company. The Company designs, manufactures, and markets equipment, replacement and component parts, and accessories for professionals and consumers. The Company operates in two segments: Forestry, Lawn, and Garden (FLAG) segment and Farm, Ranch, and Agriculture (FRAG). It also manufactures and markets such items to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) under private label brand names. The Company specializes in manufacturing cutting parts and equipment used in forestry, lawn and garden; farming, ranching, and agricultural, and construction applications. Blount also purchases products manufactured by other suppliers that are aligned with the markets it serves and markets them, under one of its brands, through its global sales and distribution network. Its products are sold in over 115 countries and approximately 63% of the Company�� sales were made outside of the United States during the year ended December 31, 2011. It has manufacturing operations in the United States, Brazil, Canada, China, France, and Mexico. In addition, it operates marketing, sales, and distribution centers in Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.
On March 1, 2011, through its indirect wholly owned subsidiary Blount Netherlands B.V. (Blount B.V.), the Company acquired KOX GmbH and related companies (collectively KOX), a Germany-based direct-to-customer distributor of forestry-related replacement parts and accessories, primarily serving professional loggers and consumers in Europe. On August 5, 2011, through Blount Holdings France SAS, it acquired Finalame SA, which included PBL SAS and related companies (collectively PBL). On September 7, 2011, through its indirect wholly owned subsidiary SP Companies, Inc., the Company acquired GenWoods HoldCo, LLC and its wholly owned subsidiary, Woods Equipment Company (collectively Woods/TISCO). Woods/TISCO is a manufacturer and marketer of tractor attachments, implements, and replacement parts, primarily for! the agriculture, ground maintenance, and construction end markets.
Forestry, Lawn, and Garden Segment
The FLAG segment, manufactures and markets cutting chain, guide bars, and drive sprockets for chain saw use, and lawnmower and edger blades for outdoor power equipment. The FLAG segment also purchases replacement parts and accessories from other manufacturers and markets them, primarily under its brands, to its FLAG customers through the Company�� global sales and distribution network. The FLAG segment includes the operations of the Company that has served the forestry, lawn, and garden markets, as well as Carlton, KOX, and a portion of the PBL business. Its Forestry Products are sold under the Oregon, Carlton, KOX, Tiger, and Windsor brands, as well as under private labels for some of its OEM customers. Manufactured product lines include a range of cutting chain, chain saw guide bars, and cutting chain drive sprockets used on portable gasoline and electric chain saws and on mechanical timber harvesting equipment. The Company also purchases and markets replacement parts and other accessories for the forestry market, including small chain saw engine replacement parts, safety equipment and clothing, lubricants, maintenance tools, hand tools, and other accessories used in forestry applications. In 2011, the Company marketed a line of cordless electric chain saws under the Oregon PowerNow brand.
Blount�� lawn and garden products are sold under the Oregon and PBL brand names, as well as private labels for some of its OEM customers. Manufactured product lines include lawnmower and edger cutting blades designed to fit a variety of machines and cutting conditions. It also purchases and markets various cutting attachments, replacement parts, and accessories for the lawn and garden market, such as cutting line for line trimmers, air filters, spark plugs, lubricants, wheels, belts, grass bags, maintenance tools, hand tools, and accessories to service the lawn and garde! n equipme! nt industry. Its FLAG products are sold under both its own brands and private labels to OEMs for use on new chain saws and lawn and garden equipment, and to professionals and consumers as replacement parts through distributors, dealers, direct sales companies, and mass merchants. During 2011, approximately 21% of the FLAG segment�� sales were to OEMs, with the remainder sold into the replacement market.
The Company competes with Ariens, Briggs & Stratton, Fisher Barton, Husqvarna, Jaekel, John Deere, MTD, Northern Tool, Rotary, Stens, Stihl and TriLink.
Farm, Ranch, and Agriculture Segment
The Company�� FRAG segment manufactures and markets attachments and implements for tractors in a variety of mowing, cutting, clearing, material handling, landscaping and grounds maintenance applications, as well as log splitters, post-hole diggers, self-propelled lawnmowers, attachments for off-highway construction equipment applications, and other general purpose tractor attachments. In addition, the FRAG segment manufactures a variety of attachment cutting blade parts. The FRAG segment also purchases replacement parts and accessories from other manufacturers that the Company markets to its FRAG customers through its sales and distribution network. The FRAG segment includes the operations of SpeeCo, Woods/TISCO, and a portion of the PBL business.
Its equipment and tractor attachment products are sold under the Alitec, CF, Gannon, Oregon, PowerPro, SpeeCo, WainRoy, and Woods brand names, as well as under private labels for some of its OEM and retail customers. Product lines include attachments for tractors in a variety of mowing, cutting, clearing, material handling, landscaping and grounds maintenance applications, as well as log splitters, post-hole diggers, self-propelled lawnmowers, snow blowers, attachments for off-highway construction equipment applications, and other general purpose tractor attachments. OEM and aftermarket parts are sold under the PBL, Sp! eeCo, TIS! CO, Tru-Power, Vintage Iron, and WoodsCare brand names, as well as under private labels for some of its OEM customers. The FRAG segment manufactures a variety of attachment cutting blade component parts sold to OEM customers for inclusion in original equipment, and as replacement parts. The FRAG segment also markets replacement parts and accessories purchased from other manufacturers, including tractor linkage, electrical, engine and hydraulic replacement parts, and other accessories used in the agriculture and construction equipment markets.
The Company competes with Alamo Group, Champion, Doosan, Dover, Great Plains, Hope Haven, John Deere, Koch Industries, MTD, Swisher, A&I, Herschel, Kondex, Rasspe, SMA and Sparex.
Concrete Cutting and Finishing Products
The Company operates a business in the specialized concrete cutting and finishing market. These products are sold primarily under the ICS brand. The principal product is a diamond-segmented chain, which is used on gasoline and hydraulic powered concrete cutting saws and equipment. It also markets and distributes gasoline and hydraulic powered concrete cutting chain saws to its customers, which include contactors, rental equipment companies, and construction equipment dealers primarily in the United States and Europe. The power heads for these saws are manufactured by a third party.
The Company competes with Husqvarna and Stihl.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Corinne Gretler]
BHP Billiton Ltd. (BLT) rose 4.1 percent to 1,950.5 pence after the world�� largest mining company upgraded its projection for full-year iron-ore production to 212 million tons from its earlier forecast of 207 million tons.
- [By Corinne Gretler]
BHP Billiton (BLT) dropped 3.4 percent to 1,779 pence. Output of iron ore, its biggest earner, was 40.2 million metric tons in the three months to March 31, missing the median estimate of 42.3 million tons in a Bloomberg survey.
Hot Machinery Companies To Buy Right Now: Caterpillar Inc.(CAT)
Caterpillar Inc. manufactures and sells construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives worldwide. It operates through three lines of businesses: Machinery, Engines, and Financial Products. The Machinery business offers construction, mining, and forestry machinery, including track and wheel tractors, track and wheel loaders, pipelayers, motor graders, wheel tractor-scrapers, track and wheel excavators, backhoe loaders, log skidders, log loaders, off-highway trucks, articulated trucks, paving products, skid steer loaders, underground mining equipment, tunnel boring equipment, and related parts. It also manufactures diesel-electric locomotives; and manufactures and services rail-related products and logistics services for other companies. The Engines business provides diesel, heavy fuel, and natural gas reciprocating engines for Caterpillar machinery, electric power generation systems, marine, petrol eum, construction, industrial, agricultural, and other applications. It offers industrial turbines and turbine-related services for oil and gas, and power generation applications. This business also remanufactures Caterpillar engines, machines, and engine components; and offers remanufacturing services for other companies. The Financial Products business provides retail and wholesale financing alternatives for Caterpillar machinery and engines, solar gas turbines, and other equipment and marine vessels, as well as offers loans and various forms of insurance to customers and dealers. It also offers financing for vehicles, power generation facilities, and marine vessels. The company markets its products directly, as well as through its distribution centers, dealers, and distributors. It was formerly known as Caterpillar Tractor Co. and changed its name to Caterpillar Inc. in 1986. Caterpillar Inc. was founded in 1925 and is headquartered in Peoria, Illinois.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By WALLSTCHEATSHEET]
Caterpillar provides essential industrial products that fuel infrastructure construction and mining projects in growing countries around the world. The stock has not made much progress in recent years and is now trading near the low end of a range that extends back a few years. Earnings and revenue figures have sent mixed signals to investors who have been pleased with recent earnings reports, regardless. Relative to its peers and sector, Caterpillar has trailed in year-to-date performance by a significant margin. WAIT AND SEE what Caterpillar does this coming quarter.
- [By Justin Loiseau]
Getting back to the Dow, Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) was among the index's worst performers yesterday. Shares dropped 1.56% as the company continued to reel from a sales and earnings miss earlier this week. Caterpillar openly admitted that its short-term growth is nothing to love (2% this year), but if other better-than-expected natural-resources reports are any evidence, this latest sell-off may simply be the result of over-optimists (read: "China alpha bulls") finally opting out. For mining companies and Caterpillar alike, investors will need to keep a close watch on commodities prices in the coming months, as well as global growth in key expansion areas like China.
- [By Dan Carroll]
Another manufacturer on the Dow is vaulting higher after Alcoa's earnings hit: Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) shares have gained 3.2% on the day to lead the index higher. Caterpillar has suffered many of the same problems as Alcoa, with waning demand -- particularly from China and Europe, which are experiencing an economic slowdown and a brutal recession, respectively -- hurting the company's near-term outlook. Caterpillar's expectations of firm Chinese growth look lackluster at best now.