Four plays on global agriculture

These stocks are poised to benefit from rising long-term demand.

By TheStockAdvisors Oct 6, 2011 12:43PM
by Elliott Gue, Personal Finance

As household incomes increase in emerging markets, consumers are shifting their diets from rice and other basic grains to meat and fresh produce.

This change in appetites translates into rapid demand growth for agricultural commodities over the long term. Here's a quartet of agricultural names that stand a good chance of outperforming.

Growth Portfolio holding Deere & Co. (DE) is the world’s leading manufacturer of big-ticket agricultural equipment, from tractors to combines and harvesters.

The company’s profits hinge on farms’ cash receipts: Farmers are more likely to upgrade equipment or purchase expensive items when their incomes are on the rise.

The US Dept of Agriculture estimates that the income farms reap from row crops such as corn, wheat and cotton will reach a record $206 billion in 2011.

Management plans to grow overseas sales so that business outside of North America accounts for more than 50 percent of the company’s revenue--up from about 40 percent in 2010.

Deere & Co. should be able to reach this goal within eight years. The firm continues to expand aggressively in Brazil and other South American markets, as well as Russia and India.

Buy Deere & Co. up to 100 if you’re a long-term investor seeking growth at a reasonable price.

Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT) is the world’s preeminent potash producer and a leading provider of phosphate- and nitrogen-based fertilizers.

Proper fertilization can increase crop yields dramatically. In fact, estimates attribute as much as 40 percent of the global harvest to fertilizer use.

Demand for potash tends to increase as farmers seek to boost crop yields and take advantage of higher prices for agricultural commodities.

Potash Corp of Saskatchewan, a new addition to the Growth Portfolio, rates a buy under USD65.

Growth Portfolio holding Monsanto (MON) has faced a number of headwinds in recent years, including the erosion of its Roundup herbicide business by generic competition.

Nevertheless, the company’s seeds and genomics business--which accounts for about three-quarters of the firm’s annual revenue--should continue to benefit from a robust pipeline of innovative products and rising demand for yield-enhancing crop technologies.

With an industry-leading pipeline of genetically-modified seeds and rising demand for the firm’s higher-margin products, Monsanto rates a buy under 80.

Bunge (BG), one of the world’s largest agribusiness concerns, acts as a middleman between farmers and food companies.

The firm buys, stores, transports, processes and sells a number of agricultural commodities, including corn, wheat, sugar and soybeans.

The company benefits from tight global supplies of key agricultural commodities because regional shortages and rising prices drive demand for grain and oilseed imports. Bunge continues to expand its global operations to take advantage of these opportunities.

Bunge remains one of the best long-term plays on growing demand for agricultural products and international trade. Buy Bunge under 75.

TheStockAdvisors.com is a free website that highlights stock recommendations and market commentary from leading financial newsletter advisers.
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