Companies that produce pork or beef will likely outpace chicken producers, Cowen & Co. said Tuesday, with prices for the latter falling even as feed costs rise.
THE OPINION: Analyst Colin Guheen said pork processors should experience a soft landing as record margins on their products begin to fade. The analyst also said the hog producer Smithfield Foods, Inc., based in Smithfield, Va., has the right initiatives in place to grow its business into a focus on packaged meats.
"We continue to believe (Smithfield's) transition away from the more commoditized fresh pork business into the more stable packaged meats business will benefit profitability and should be a catalyst for multiple expansion," Guheen wrote. The analyst rates shares of Smithfield "outperform."
Guheen sees mixed results for the chicken market, with breast prices falling and dark meat cuts rising. Corn prices are up 65 percent year over year, and the analyst expects corn to continue being a challenge to depressed margins. Guheen rates Tyson shares "neutral."
THE STOCKS: Smithfield shares fell 20 cents to $20.78 in afternoon trading, while shares of Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson dropped more than 2 percent, or 39 cents, to $16.70. Broader trading indexes like the Dow Jones Industrial average fell nearly 2 percent.