Prudential Ups Premium Standard Farms

Analyst John McMillin says hog prices may remain firm for the near future

Prudential raised its investment recommendation on Premium Standard Farms (PORK ) to overweight from neutral.

Analyst John McMillin cited the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Quarterly Hogs & Pigs Report, which showed a less than 1% increase year over year in breeding inventory and an unchanged total inventory number. He believes limited expansion bodes well for vertically integrated pork processors, and suggests hog prices may remain firm for the near future. McMillin thinks pork exports also continue to benefit from Japan's ban on U.S. beef. He raised his target to $20 from $16. His fiscal year 2006 (ending March) earnings per share estimate moved to $2.13 from $1.77, and his 2007 estimate to $1.74 from $1.65.

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