Sunday, June 22, 2014

Why Deere is a Better Value Than Caterpillar

Investors often obsess over the short-term profitability of an equity, rather than considering the bigger picture of how the stock will work in their portfolios over the longvterm. Such thoughts spring to mind when I consider buying Deere & Company instead of a peer like Caterpillar . In short, Deere is facing a number of short-term negatives, but there is a growing case for buying the stock as a long-term hold.

Caterpillar and Deere, a tale of two markets
Any analysis of these two stocks will show that they tend to be highly correlated, but that doesn't mean they will be so in the future. Simply put, Caterpillar is much more of a play on construction and resources, with the two segments combining to generate 58% of product revenue in its first quarter. Meanwhile, Deere is more focused on agriculture and turf, which made up 83% of its machinery sales in its recent second quarter.

While, construction, mining and agriculture tend to be cyclical industries, there is no specific reason why they must all operate within the same cycle. However, investors don't always see it that way. Indeed, Deere and Caterpillar are often seen as de-facto plays on global growth, and in particular in China.

The idea being that the growing middle class in emerging markets will create more food demand, particularly for protein, which in turn demands more feed production. Meanwhile, the same growing middle class will demand more construction activity and therefore mining materials.