NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Sanderson Farms (SAFM) - Get Report shares are down 2.2% to $82.64 in afternoon trading on Thursday after the poultry producer reported its second quarter earnings results before the opening bell today.

The Laurel, MS-based company reported second quarter net income of $71.2 million, or $3.13 per share on an adjusted basis on revenue that increased 8.5% year over year to $716.6 million.

Analysts on average were expecting the company to report earnings of $3.32 per share on revenue of $727.3 million.

The country's third largest poultry producer did not comment on the impact that the avian flu outbreak has had on its sales even as countries like Mexico and China have resorted to banning U.S. imports of the food.

Last year exports to countries, including Mexico, the largest purchaser of U.S. chicken, accounted for about 10% of the company's revenue, according to Reuters

"Demand for chicken remains strong from our retail grocery store customers and, for the first time since 2008, we are able to say demand at food service has improved," said CEO Joe F. Sanderson. "Traffic and same store sales at food service establishments has improved across most all segments of the industry, aided by lower gasoline prices and improving macroeconomic factors. Our profitability for the second quarter also benefited from lower feed costs."

TheStreet Ratings team rates SANDERSON FARMS INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate SANDERSON FARMS INC (SAFM) a BUY. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

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