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) --



was the best-performing stock in the

S&P 500

intraday Wednesday.

The S&P 500 was falling 15.75 points, or 1.18%, to 1,316.67.

Shares of Monsanto rose 3.08% to $77.05. The seed company raised its fiscal 2012 guidance on Wednesday following strong third-quarter sales.

The company lifted 2012 earnings guidance Wednesday to between $3.73 a share and $3.78 a share on an as-reported basis. It said back in April that it expected 2012 profit of between $3.45 a share and $3.50 a share.

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Monsanto trades at an estimated price-to-earnings ratio for next year of 18.65 times; the average for farming and fishing companies is 16.7.

Twelve of the 22 analysts who cover Monsanto rated it buy; nine analysts gave the stock a hold rating and one rated it sell.

The stock has gained 9.98% year to date.

-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian

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Alexandra Zendrian