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Tickers in this Article: MON
When Monsanto (NYSE:MON) releases its first quarter earnings on Tuesday, January 8, 2013, it is expected to report earnings that are up 56.5% from a year ago. The consensus estimate is 36 cents per share, up from earnings of 23 cents per share a year ago.

In most situations, when earnings do not meet analyst estimates, a business' stock price will tend to drop. On the other hand, when actual earnings beat estimates by a significant amount, the share price will likely surge. SEE: Can Earnings Guidance Accurately Predict The Future?

What to Expect: For the fiscal year, analysts are projecting earnings of $4.38 per share.

Revenue is expected to exceed last year's figure of $2.44 billion by 8.2% and come in at $2.64 billion for the quarter. The anticipated revenue for the fiscal year is $14.6 billion.

Company Performance: Revenue fell year-over-year in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year after an increase in the previous quarter. It fell 7.2% to $2.11 billion in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year following a 17.5% increase in the third quarter of the last fiscal year.

MON's P/E ratio is 25.0. A simple P/E ratio can reveal the stock's real market value and show how the valuation compares to its industry group or a benchmark like the S&P 500 Index. A high P/E ratio indicates a stock that is expensive, while a low P/E ratio indicates a stock that is cheap. SEE: Can Investors Trust the P/E Ratio?

The stock price has risen from $91.16 on October 5, 2012 to $96.15 over the past quarter. The price is within 23 cents of its 52-week high of $96.38, which was set on January 2, 2013. Monsanto's best recent streak was when its price gained $3.26 per share between November 19, 2012 and November 30, 2012.

The Competition: Monsanto manufactures agricultural products. Most analysts (11 of 17) rate Monsanto a buy. The rating has remained steadfast for the past three months.

The company's closest competitor in the chemical manufacturing industry is Syngenta (SYT). Analysts are more optimistic about Monsanto than about Syngenta. Only four out of six analysts rate the latter a buy.

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