The Real Cost of a Sweltering Summer

By Lewis Braham - 2012-07-19T00:21:34Z

Photograph by Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

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Cost to corporations

Higher prices for corn, which is used to make animal feed, sweeteners and ethanol, may mean higher meat costs for restaurants, including McDonald's Corp. and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Companies such as General Mills Inc. and Coca-Cola Co. could spend more on grain and sweeteners. A more immediate impact is being felt by such companies as Deere & Co. Deere, the largest maker of agricultural equipment, saw its stock fall on July 17 after JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded its shares and cut its 6-to-12 month price target to $78 from $98 on concerns that the drought could slow sales of tractors and combines.