Monsanto Shares Rise Sharply Following Q1 Results

Monsanto Company (MON) posted adjusted first quarter earnings of $0.02 per share on $1.8 billion in sales, matching Wall Street’s expectations for what is traditionally a very weak quarter for the company.

Net income of $12 million reversed a $19 million loss during the same period last year, while sales rose 8% year-over-year.

After remaining flat during pre-market trading, shares of MON rose sharply to $72.48 (+4.85%) in the first hour of today’s session. At that level, the stock carries a 1.55% dividend yield.

The company maintained its full-year earnings guidance of $2.72 to $2.82 per share, while the average analyst is currently expecting $2.79 per share. Monsanto bags most of its profits during its second and third quarters, and 2011 should be no different. An executive said on today’s earnings conference call that the company expects, “effectively all of our earnings will be in the second and third quarters,” with Q2 as its biggest quarter and Q3 pulling in the biggest year-over-year growth.

Monsanto gave shareholders a 5.66% dividend hike last year, its tenth since it began returning cash to shareholders in January 2001. The company has more than quadrupled its dividend rate since making its first payout.

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