NEW YORK ( Market Bulls) -- In the U.S., last year's drought conditions reached their worst levels in more than 50 years, with more than one-third of the country categorized as "severe" or worse by the National Drought Mitigation Center.
These conditions led to sharp increases in global crop prices. Soybeans rallied 40% in early in the year and wheat prices rose by nearly 50% during the same period. In the fall of 2012, prices eased after crops were harvested. But many of the most commonly used commodities in this space remain at elevated levels.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization expects global wheat supplies to fall to 661 million tons this year, which is below average global consumption levels for wheat (roughly 685 million tons). The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts food prices as a whole will rise by 3.5% to 4% in 2013. Wheat prices globally have risen to their highest levels in four years and are vulnerable to further increases if adverse weather conditions return.
Thus, the underlying bullish scenario continues and there are still opportunities for investors looking to capitalize on companies that are in a position to cash in on these market changes. Here, we will look at some of the best examples.Archer Daniels Midland (ADM - Get Report) sells agricultural products to an international consumer base, and offers a dividend yield of 2.4%. With a P/E under 16, the stock has seen a 22.8% rally year to date but is still well below its 2008 highs, creating the potential for further gains as most of its production assets continue to meet demand.
Mosaic Co. (MOS - Get Report) produces phosphate and potash crop nutrients. With its P/E of 13.6, the stock has experienced much more subdued gains this year (3.3%). Wall Street price targets are seen just below $85 (which is a massive 46% above current levels), creating excellent opportunity for a investors with a one-year time horizon. Traditional favorite General Mills (GIS - Get Report) is another option for those focused on dividends. General Mills has increased its dividend by 65% in the last five years, shows institutional ownership of 70%, and offers a forward yield of 3.2%. The stock has seen a substantial run so far this year but can still be viewed as a viable option for those with multi-year investment horizons.