Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) Jumps on Q3 EPS Beat

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Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON) shares jumped in Wednesday’s pre-market session, after the maker of fertilizer and other agricultural products reported fiscal Q3 earnings above analysts’ expectations despite weaker-than-expected revenue, and boosted its 2014 guidance to the upper half of its prior forecast. 

MON was up 7.3% at $129.38 in recent pre-market trading, setting the stock up to post a fresh record high above its 52-week high of $123.99 if the gain is sustained in the regular session. 

For the quarter ended May 31, net income attributable to the company slipped to $858 million, or $1.62 per share, from $909 million, or $1.68 per share, a year earlier. The prior-year earnings were $1.66 per share when excluding discontinued operations. Analysts polled by Capital IQ were looking for earnings of $1.55 per share for the latest quarter. Total net sales edged up 0.05% to $4.25 billion, but were below analysts’ mean estimate of $4.4 billion. Gross profit margin edged up to 55% from 53%. 

The company raised its full-year guidance to the upper half of its previous forecast, now seeing 2014 EPS from continuing operations of $5.10 to $5.20. Previously, it expected $5.00 to $5.20. It also increased its full-year free-cash-flow outlook to the upper half of previous guidance, now predicting $700 million to $800 million. Previously, it expected $600 million to $800 million. 

For the full year, Monsanto (NYSE:MON) said it continues to forecast its Seeds and Genomics segment will drive the majority of gross profit growth, noting the segment is on track for revenue growth and margin expansion, supported by performance across the portfolio.

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