Analysts are upbeat on John Deere ($NYSE:DE) shares as the machinery maker is heading into its quarterly earnings call. Deere shares are up 14.5% and analysts are looking for EPS of $2.13, but it's not clear that even as the US-China trade war negotiations appear likely to carry into 2020, that Deere has had a great 2019. 

The good news for Deere investors is that it appears to have begun to recapture its momentum for hiring in China. After hitting a recent low, John Deere job postings rose slightly in recent weeks, perhaps a sign of optimism that the lingering beef between the US and China could finally be on the precipice of a resolution. 

And, it's unlikely that Deere is the only machinery maker hurting as a result of the lingering trade beef between US and Chinese officials. 

Citigroup analysts expressed "cautious optimism" in Deere in a November 25 analysts' note, and issued a 'Buy' rating for the stock, so they're still pretty sanguine on John Deere. However, they went on to say "visibility is especially low this year given the much delayed US corn harvest," and that "a new CEO may lead to a more conservative initial FY20" guidance for analysts. 

But the alternative data brings into question exactly how excited analysts should be for a company that has, globally, seen job postings decline more than 53% this year. 

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. 

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