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Smithfield Posts Disappointing 4Q Profit: Ahead of the Ticker

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Meat producer Smithfield Foods (SFD) reported disappointing fourth-quarter earnings on Friday on higher input costs and expenses and shrinking margins.

The company said fiscal fourth-quarter profit fell 63%, just one week after agreeing to an acquisition by China's Shanghui International.

Smithfield said it earned $29.7 million, or 21 cents a share, for the quarter, compared with a profit of $79.5 million, or 49 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts had been looking for earnings of 43 cents.

Weighing down results was Smithfield's 6% jump in input costs and a 10% increase in expenses, leading gross margins to shrink to 8.5% from 10.7%.

Sales beat analysts' expectations, however, rising 3.5% to $3.32 billion. Analysts had estimated sales of $3.27 billion.

"Fiscal 2013 was a challenging year in hog production with higher grain prices due to last summer's drought and, more recently, export market disruptions," CEO C. Larry Pope said in a statement.

Smithfield said it expects the deal with Shanghui to close in the second half of the year. It is subject to regulatory approval.

Boeing (BA - Get Report) is reportedly readying a launch of a new expanded 787 Dreamliner.

According to speculation, which was first reported on by The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, the new 787-10 is a larger version of Boeing's Dreamliner with many of the same features, but will have longer fuselage and be able to seat 323 passengers. Rumors say the new jet may be announced as early as next week at the Paris Airshow.

Singapore Airlines recently committed to buy the new version of the 787 if Boeing builds it.

The news comes as the new Airbus A350 made its maiden flight. The Boeing 787-10 would compete with the Airbus A350.

Pandora Media (P - Get Report) has been sued by Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) over licensing fees.

The suit comes after Pandora rejected BMI's request for the Internet radio company to pay higher licensing fees. BMI argued in the lawsuit, filed in federal court on Thursday, that it was seeking higher fees "consistent with market rates to reflect the explosive growth of the Internet music streaming marketplace."
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