There wasn't a lot to complain about in Monsanto's
Sales were up more than 26% year over year, thanks to increased sales of seeds and Roundup. Seed sales, led by soybean and cotton seeds, were up 20% year over year. Corn seed sales ramped up as well, helping Monsanto pick up market share for the seventh straight year in the space it shares with rivals like Syngenta
The bottom line looked impressive, too, with Monsanto's income up 42% over the year-ago quarter. Some of that was because of a reduced tax burden, but expanding operating margins also helped the bottom line grow faster than the top line. The results led Monsanto to raise its full-year profit target to $3.40, excluding extras.
So what was the bad news? Revenue wasn't quite as high as analysts had expected, although the bottom line did just fine. The other issue seems to be with margins in the seed business, which slipped a little. Monsanto is expecting margins to bounce back next year as sales of higher-margin biotech seeds pick up.
Investors certainly have a reason to be jittery. At least some of Monsanto's gains have come from the commodities bull market, which has allowed it and other agricultural companies like fertilizer producers Mosaic