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Smithfield Foods Stock Declines Due to Corn Prices

by 5m Editor
30 June 2008, at 11:53am

US - Smithfield Foods Inc.'s stock declined to a 4.5 year low, because of soaring corn prices and the Midwest floods.

By the end of the week, the shares had stabilized, but analysts said the stock's fate remains intertwined with that of the primary ingredient used to feed Smithfield's hogs, reports Wisconcin Ag Connection.

Smithfield's shares sank to $23.13 at the end of trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. That was down more than 27 percent from its $31.78 close on May 29, less than a month before. The stock hadn't sunk so low since January 2004 . It picked up on Thursday and closed at $23.97 Friday.

Not coincidentally, corn prices hit record levels midweek, topping $7 a bushel.

That's up 20 percent in the past month and more than 80 percent over the past year, said Vic Lespinasse , a Chicago trader who operates GrainAnalyst.com.

"The problem for Smithfield and virtually all companies involved in the raising of beef, chicken and pork," said Steve Marascia , an analyst with Anderson & Strudwick in Richmond, "is that rising corn prices will directly impact earnings to the downside."

Smithfield, the world's largest hog processor and producer, acknowledged the issue two weeks ago . The company reported that fourth-quarter income fell 94 percent, or nearly $35 million , driven down by a $129 million loss in hog production.

View the Wisconsin Ag Connection story by clicking here.

5m Editor