New year, same themes for farming stocks

It’s easy to obsess about the change in year but the stock market rolls on with the same themes and trends as 2007. Today’s earnings report from Monsanto (Symbol: MON), for example, shows the corn belt revival remains in full swing. The seed purveyor, which some fund managers view as more of a biotech-aggie hybrid now, said net income in its most recent quarter (ended November 30) almost tripled to $256 million and the company also raised its earnings outlook for the rest of the year. Shares of Monsanto, which more than doubled last year, rose another 8% after the report. My colleague Brian Hindo had a great piece in BW a few weeks back explaining some of what’s going right specifically for Monsanto. But the whole agricultural sector is booming, too, thanks to growing demand from China, India and biofuel makers around the globe. The Market Vectors Agribusiness Exchange-Traded Fund, with the world’s cutest symbol of “MOO,” gained more than 2% today as other ag stocks rallied on the Monsanto news. In this case, the trend remains your friend into a new year.

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