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6 Agricultural Stocks Poised to Ride Food Prices Higher

6 agricultural stocks poised to ride food prices higher:

5/9/2021 9:09:00 PM

6 agricultural stocks poised to ride food prices higher:

Prices of corn, wheat, and other agricultural commodities have been soaring. Yet some agricultural stocks have not been keeping pace. That’s created a buying...

Corn prices are up 57% in 2021, while soybean and wheat are up 22% and 20%, respectively. That’s good news for farmers, who will earn more from their crops and can spend more to maximize output.You wouldn’t know it from recent trading. Corteva (ticker: CTVA) and FMC (FMC), makers of crop inputs like pesticides, herbicides and seeds, reported earnings this past week. Corteva shares fell 4.2% the day it reported, while FMC dropped 3.6%. The earnings were fine—both companies beat—but neither company materially boosted full-year earnings guidance even though crop prices are up. That was a disappointment.

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Investors shouldn’t fret. Normally, agricultural commodity prices are driven by supply, not demand, as is the case with most other commodities. Demand for food is usually very stable, but supply can fluctuate widely with the weather.This time may be different. Supply is growing. But there is a new source of demand. China is importing vast amounts of corn, some 32 million metric tons in 2020 and 2021, almost as much as the country imported during the previous 20 years.

Read More Trader China’s population is eating more meat, which means more corn and soy for animal feed. That should give investors confidence commodity prices can remain elevated for the next couple of years. If that’s the case, ag stocks don’t look all that expensive. Deere (DE) and Corteva trade for about 21 times estimated 2021 earnings, in line with the S&P 500. AGCO (AGCO) and FMC trade at 16 and 15 times estimated 2022 earnings, respectively. Fertilizer producers Mosaic (MOS) and Nutrien (NTR) trade at 19 and 15 times, respectively.

Those multiples probably won’t be going any higher, but investors don’t need them to. Expanding earnings are all that’s needed to drive their shares higher. Read more: MarketWatch »

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