Commodities & Metals

Food Processing Stocks With Most Upside (ADM, BG, TSN, SFD, CPO, CAG, KFT, SLE, GIS, K)

The companies we’re looking at today run the gamut from large farm and food products producers to the packaged goods makers that make the products on store shelves. It’s a wide range, for sure, but all are exposed to both commodity prices on one end and on consumer purchasing on the other.

Large farm products companies like Archer Daniels Midland Co. (NYSE: ADM) and Bunge Ltd. (NYSE: BG) have watch corn and wheat prices decline by about -20% and -29% since peaks earlier this year. Fertilizer prices have risen and so have fuel prices. All have an impact on revenues and earnings.

Processing companies like Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN), Smithfield Foods, Inc. (NYSE: SFD), Corn Products International Inc. (NYSE: CPO), and ConAgra Foods, Inc. (NYSE: CAG) package private label foods, provide commercial food, and even offer some branded products. The diversity of their customers gives them a bit of a barrier against a collapse in one or another of their markets.

Packaged food giants like Kraft Inc. (NYSE: KFT), Sara Lee Corp. (NYSE: SLE), General Mills, Inc. (NYSE: GIS), and Kellogg Company (NYSE: K) are all household names and depend on strong brands to carry them through slow economic times.

Data from Yahoo! Finance, and current share prices gathered about noon today.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. (NYSE: ADM) has a median target price of $35.00 from 13 brokers. Shares are trading today at $28.88, for an implied gain of $6.12, or 21%. ADM’s forward P/E is 8.52 and the company pays a dividend yield of 2.3%. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $23.69-$38.02, and at today’s price that’s about 22% above its 52-week low and 24% below the 52-week high. This year’s wheat harvest looks to be on a near-record pace, and wheat prices are expected to fall to below $6/bushel by the end of the year from a current price of around $6.36.

Rising corn prices hit ADM hard in its most recent quarter, lowering profit in its biofuel (ethanol) division by -23% and in its sweetener and starches division by -81%. Corn prices are currently expected to remain about the same into next year, which won’t help ADM’s processing revenue. Fortunately for the company its trading profits will get a boost from the higher corn prices.

Bunge Ltd. (NYSE: BG) has a median target price of $74.00 from 11 brokers. Shares are trading today at $61.38, for an implied gain of $12.62, or 21%. Bunge’s forward P/E is 9.32 and the company pays a dividend yield of 1.6%. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $54.03-$76.13, and at today’s price that’s about 14% above its 52-week low and 19% below the 52-week high.

Bunge missed EPS estimates badly in its third quarter as the company ran afoul of volatility in the grain markets. The company painted a brighter picture for its fourth quarter, basing its view on the tightness of supply and the rising demand for food.

Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN) has a median target price of $23.00 from 15 brokers. Shares are trading today at $19.27, for an implied gain of $3.73, or 19%. Tyson’s forward P/E is 9.53 and the company pays a dividend yield of 0.8%. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $14.79-$20.12, and at today’s price that’s about 30% above its 52-week low and 4% below the 52-week high.

Tyson will report earnings for its fourth fiscal quarter on November 21st. The consensus EPS estimate is $0.32, half as much as the same period a year ago. Rising feed costs have hammered revenues and earnings this year, and Tyson and other chicken producers are trying to get its customers to share commodity price risk by taking shorter term contracts tied to the cost of feed grains.