Shares of Monsanto are soaring on Wednesday after the world's largest seed company reported a 6% drop in quarterly profit but issued a bullish fiscal-year outlook.Monsanto said it earned $858 million, or $1.62 a share, in the third quarter, down from a year ago but still topping analyst expectations of $1.56 a share, according to Thomson Reuters. The company also raised the low end of its full-year earnings outlook to $5.10 a share from $5 a share. Monsanto, which said it plans to double earnings over the next five years, also announced a $10 billion share buyback plan. In a research note, Morgan Stanley analyst Vincent Andrews wrote, "The announcement of significant balance sheet optimization" should lead to share price out-performance both today and going forward.
"While the opportunity today is not as robust as it was when the stock traded at $48, it should still be a substantial creator of shareholder value." Andrews calls Monsanto "the most visible and attractive long-term growth story across the Chemicals sector." He has an Overweight rating on the stock. At last check, shares of Monsanto were climbing more than 5% to $126.77. In New York, I'm Brittany Umar for TheStreet. -- Written by Brittany Umar in New York.
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