Monsanto (MON) said earnings for its recently ended fiscal year will top targets, sending shares rising 3% early Monday.
The St. Louis-based company now estimates earnings of at least $2 a share, before one-time items, for the year ended Aug. 31. The company's most recent projection called for earnings of $1.75 to $1.80 a share -- a forecast that had already been raised from prior views.
Analysts polled by Thomson Financial projected earnings of $1.83 a share, before items, for the year.
Monsanto said its new estimate reflects a more favorable tax rate due to the resolution of several tax audits and the use of net loss carry forwards in Argentina.
In addition, the company said it has had continued strength in its corn business, with higher-than-expected sales of corn seeds in Brazil and Argentina. Monsanto's corn business has helped fuel results over the past year amid strong worldwide demand for corn-based ethanol.
Monsanto also said it was helped by better-than-expected pricing for its Roundup business, which helped offset flat sales of the agricultural herbicides.
Including all items, Monsanto estimates earnings of $1.79 a share for the year, compared with $1.25 in fiscal 2006.
Shares of Monsanto recently were up $2.40, or 3.3%, to $75.90, surpassing a 52-week high of $74.90 hit on Friday. The stock traded at a 52-week low of $42.75 last October.