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News in brief

February 20, 2021 at 1:40 a.m.

Tyson exec moving to Keurig Dr Pepper

Justin Whitmore, a Tyson Foods executive, will become Keurig Dr Pepper's chief strategy officer effective March 1.

He will join the executive leadership team and be responsible for enterprise strategy work, such as mergers, acquisitions and corporate partnerships, the U.S. beverage company announced.

Keurig Dr Pepper is known for its namesake brands as well as Canada Dry, Snapple and more than 120 others.

Whitmore has a record of delivering transformative results and "we're excited to welcome him," Chairman and Chief Executive Bob Gamgort said in a statement.

Whitmore oversaw Tyson's alternative proteins business and was previously executive vice president of corporate strategy and chief sustainability officer -- a role that was given to John R. Tyson.

Whitmore has been recognized by CNN as one of the top 20 business leaders and by Savoy magazine as one of the Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America.

-- Nathan Owens

Deere shares surge on farming outlook

Deere & Co. on Friday lifted its earnings guidance above analyst estimates, with elevated crop prices and an improving farm economy signaling a record windfall for the biggest maker of agricultural machinery. Shares surged to an all-time high.

After a trade war and pandemic disruptions, Deere is betting that American farmers are finally ready to overhaul aging fleets as grain prices reach multiyear highs and agricultural profits soar amid a flood of government aid. Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago economist David Oppedahl called the agricultural outlook "the rosiest in years" based on a survey of bankers.

Deere is in "early days in terms of seeing some of this demand pick-up," executives said on a conference call with analysts and investors. Orders into the fourth quarter are "a good indicator of the replacement demand that we've been expecting."

Net income for fiscal 2021 is forecast at $4.6 billion to $5 billion, the Moline, Ill.-based producer said in a statement Friday. That compares with the $3.6 billion to $4 billion that Deere forecast in November, and the $4.06 billion average of analysts' estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

For the fiscal year ended in November, net income was $2.75 billion.

Deere shares rose $28.81, or 9.6% to close Friday at $329.06.

-- Bloomberg News (WPNS)

State stocks rise to finish the week

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Friday at 539.73, up 5.24.

Bank OZK shares rose 3.9%. Shares of Murphy Oil Corp. rose 3.8%.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

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