Well, nothing ran like a Deere, once upon a time. 

John Deere job postings slid nearly 50% from their 2019 peak (see below), until mid-February, a signal that the equipment manufacturer's bounce-back from the US-China Trade War is being held back in 2020, likely due to a confluence of challenges. In the past, Thinknum Alternative Data has tracked Deere job postings in China, which plummeted in 2019

Today, the data is little changed, signifying Deere's hiring activity in China either never picked up post-Trade War resolution, or, like so many other American companies, the exit from the tariff beef was just an entrance into the Coronavirus outbreak.  

Deere's headaches are coming from a lot of places right now. For one, big dairy is going under. And, small dairy is struggling too. But not everyone is ready to write off Deere.

When Citigroup analyst Timothy Thein kicked Deere's tires in a February 19 research note, he pointed out "investor concerns about the health of the US farm sector" and noted that US operations, for Deere, are "where the greatest perceived risks lie." 

Still, he's hanging in there, with a 'Buy' rating, so perhaps a slimmed-down Deere will escape the shorts hunters when it announces earnings Friday, February 21. Nevertheless, analysts tracked by Zacks Investment Research have dialed back their earnings expectations to EPS $1.28. 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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