Deere & Co posted higher-than-expected quarterly earnings on cost-cutting and strength at its finance arm and flagship farm equipment division, sending its shares up 8 percent.

Profitability in farm equipment was especially impressive, with Deere reporting margins of nearly 10 percent -- three times what investors were expecting, according to Eli Lustgarten, an analyst at Longbow Securities.

It looks like brilliant profitability in ag in a relatively weak market, Lustgarten said. It's a combination of restructuring, it's a combination of operating efficiency, it's execution. And brilliant ag margins.

Deere, the world's largest maker of tractors and harvesters, reported a fiscal first-quarter net profit of $243.2 million, or 57 cents a share, up from $203.9 million, or 48 cents a share, a year earlier.

Revenue fell 6 percent to $4.84 billion.

Analysts, on average, expected the Moline, Illinois-based company to earn 19 cents a share on sales of $4.12 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net income at the company's financial services arm nearly doubled to $85.1 million, from $46.8 million last year, as the spread between Deere's borrowing costs and the interest it charges customers widened.

Deere shares were up $4.31 at $58.09 in premarket trading.

(Reporting by James B. Kelleher; Editing by Derek Caney and John Wallace)