What: Shares of Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE:ADM) have been on a roller coaster over the past month as earnings threw investors for a loop. Shares rose 10% in the month of October only to fall 7.7% so far in November.
So what: The rise in October was driven by the acquisition of savory flavor systems maker Eatem Foods Company. Competitor Cargill also reported a 20% increase in earnings during the third quarter, raising hope that Archer Daniels Midland's earnings would be strong as well.
But when third-quarter results were reported on Nov. 3, the company admitted to a 9% decline in revenue to $16.6 billion, and net income dropped 66% to $252 million, or $0.41 per share. Even after adjusting for one-time items, earnings of $0.60 per share were well lower than the $0.86 per share earned a year ago.
Management said that weak margins in ethanol hurt results, which may continue as demand for ethanol remains weak and oil prices remain low.
Now what: Archer Daniels Midland's pop in October seemed to be more speculation than anything else. But the reality was that earnings results are extremely poor and are heading lower.
I like the general stability the food business can provide long-term, but right now Archer Daniels Midland has too much exposure to the weakening ethanol market and the weak commodity market. Until those larger trends turn around I don't see much value in this stock, even with the recent share price discount.
Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.