The Corn Is High for Monsanto

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Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) reported second-quarter fiscal 2013 results before markets opened this morning. The fertilizer and seed maker reported adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $2.73 on revenue of $5.47 billion. In the same period a year ago, Monsanto reported adjusted diluted EPS of $2.28 on revenue of $4.75 billion. Second-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $2.58 and $5.27 billion in revenue.

On a GAAP basis, diluted second-quarter EPS totaled $2.74.

Monsanto’s chairman/CEO said:

Our performance underscores our expectation for a third consecutive year of strong earnings growth and reinforces our opportunities for the future as well. As we move into the second half of the year, we are thankful for the opportunity to serve our customers and continue to earn their business as a leader in this dynamic industry.

Monsanto once again raised its full-year EPS guidance. The old range, announced at the end of the first quarter, had been $4.30 to $4.40. The new range is $4.40 to $4.50, which includes adjustments.

At the end of the first quarter, the company noted that its 2013 EPS estimate did not include an expected $0.20 to $0.25 contribution from its Roundup Ready seed business in Brazil. Monsanto did not include such a statement in this release, so if the Brazilian contribution has been folded in, the new EPS guidance is actually weaker than it was a quarter ago. Perhaps the conference call will sort this out.

Monsanto’s shares are up about 1.2% in premarket trading this morning, at $105.23 in a 52-week range of $69.70 to $106.61. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $109.30 before today’s report.