Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Corn falls to one-month low - -A Reverse Commodity Play: General Mills (GIS)

With price declines at retail lagging commodity declines, somebody* is making that spread. The question I have is "Did GIS unwind the hedges they had in place on the ag up-move?".
From MarketWatch:
Corn futures fell Tuesday to the lowest in nearly one month, amid broad declines in commodities as crude oil dropped on expectations that OPEC will keep its production quotas unchanged.
December corn futures lost 10 cents, or 1.8%, to $5.39 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. It dropped to $5.32 earlier, the lowest since Aug. 12....MORE
From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
Amid turmoil, Big G still making dough
As other food companies feel the pain of rising costs, General Mills is chugging along.

It seems only logical that a food company such as General Mills would suffer in this year of rising food and energy costs.

Just as it costs more to heat your home and stock your pantry, it costs Big G more to make a Cheerio and to ship it to market. And yet, except for a slide late last year that lasted halfway into January, General Mills stock has gone on a healthy tear, now trading at all-time highs around $67 a share.

The stock is what long-term investors dream of: a largely unblemished upward climb over decades....

...And it's been buttressing strong growth at home with large jumps abroad. Its most recent fiscal year ended with sales of $13.65 billion, a 9.7 percent gain over the previous year. Earnings grew 13 percent, to $1.3 billion. And its international segment, although not the largest piece of the company, grew by 21 percent.

Citigroup, which has had a "buy" rating on General Mills shares since January, once again recommended the stock last month in a note covering some of the best performers in the food industry.

And Rick Shea, a former food company executive who runs Shea Marketing and Consulting in Chanhassen, said the company's struggles with ingredient costs and energy may be easing as commodity prices fall back from their highs....MORE

GIS was recently trading at $68.26 down 19 cents.

*For some reason I am reminded of a pretty good line that John Kennedy used to get cornhuskers in Nebraska to listen to the son of a multi-millionaire Boston stockbroker:

The American farmer is the only man in our economy
who buys everything he buys at retail, sells everything
he sells at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways.
-John F. Kennedy, 9-22-1960