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Below are the top five companies in the Agricultural Products industry as measured by recent relative performance. This analysis was compiled based on recent trading activity indicating these stocks have the potential to outperform. Relatively Good Performance Detected in Shares of Fresh Del Monte Produce (NYSE:FDP) in the Agricultural Products Industry.

Fresh Del Monte Produce ranks first with a recent gain of 1.17%; Darling International (NYSE:DAR) ranks second with a recent gain of 0.57%; and Bunge (NYSE:BG) ranks third with a recent gain of 0.54%. Archer-Daniels-Midland (NYSE:ADM) follows with a loss of 0.71% and Corn Products International (CPO) rounds out the top five with a loss of 0.94%. Some of the companies have recent analyst comments and positive catalysts for future growth.

Below is a table with detailed statistics regarding each company's current performance information followed by a brief review of each company, a summary of current analysts' estimates and up/downgrade activity followed by a chart of the company's key statistics and current performance.

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Company Briefs

Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc., together with its subsidiaries, produces, transports, sources, markets, and distributes fresh and fresh-cut fruit and vegetables worldwide.

In the past 52 weeks, shares of Fresh Del Monte Produce have traded between a low of $19.23 and a high of $28.60 and were recently at $25.85, which is 34% above that low price. In recent trading sessions, the 50-day moving average (MA) has remained constant, while the 200-day MA has risen 0.4%.

Fresh Del Monte Produce recently reported financial results for the quarter ended April 1, 2011. The Company reported earnings per diluted share of $0.93 in the first quarter of 2011, compared with earnings per diluted share of $0.57 in the first quarter of 2010. Excluding asset impairment and other charges, the Company reported earnings per diluted share of $0.96 for the first quarter of 2011 compared with earnings per diluted share of $0.61 in the first quarter of 2010.

The company is trading significantly below analysts' estimates. CHKP has a median price target of $60 by 17 brokers and a high target of $62. The last up/downgrade activity was on Jan. 6, when Macquarie downgraded the company from Outperform to Neutral.

The company is trading below analysts' estimates. FDP has a median price target of $28 by four brokers and a high target of $31. The last up/downgrade activity was on Dec 27, 2010, Standpoint Research downgraded the company from Buy to Hold.

Darling International Inc. provides rendering, recycling, and recovery solutions to the food industry worldwide. It operates in two segments, Rendering and Restaurant Services. Randy Stuewe - Darling International Inc., Chairman and CEO recently stated regarding Q1 results:

During the quarter, we completed our road show and follow-on offering, amended our credit agreement by adding both capacity and improved pricing, and we received the conditional commitment from the Department of Energy to fund our joint venture with Valero. Furthermore with commodity winds at our back, and strong raw material tonnage, we posted stellar results on many fronts. The 13-week contribution from the Griffin acquisition, coupled with higher finish prices for fats and bakery products, propelled net income to $46.6 million, or $0.43 per share, on sales of approximately $439.9 million. Our integration strategy is also progressing well, which I will cover in more detail later here in my comments.

The company is trading significantly below analysts' estimates. DAR has a median price target of $20.50 by eight brokers and a high target of $22. The last up/downgrade activity was on May 16, 2011, when Morgan Joseph upgraded the company from Hold to Buy.

Bunge Limited engages in the agriculture and food businesses in approximately 30 countries. It buys, sells, stores, and transports oilseeds and grains; processes oilseeds to make protein meal for animal feed, and edible oil products for commercial customers and consumers; produces sugar and ethanol from sugarcane; mills wheat and corn to make ingredients used by food companies; and sells fertilizer in North and South America.

Bunge Limited recently announced that its Board of Directors has approved an 8.7% increase in the company's regular quarterly cash dividend, from $0.23 to $0.25 per common share. The new dividend is payable on September 2, 2011, to shareholders of record on August 16, 2011.

The company also declared a quarterly cash dividend of $1.21875 per share on its 4.875% cumulative convertible perpetual preference shares, payable on September 1, 2011, to shareholders of record on August 15, 2011.

The company is trading significantly below analysts' estimates. BG has a median price target of $80 by 10 brokers and a high target of $88. The last up/downgrade activity was on Mar 23, 2011, when Deutsche Bank upgraded the company from Hold to Buy.

Archer Daniels Midland Company procures, transports, stores, processes, and merchandises agricultural commodities and products in the United States and internationally.

Archer Daniels Midland recently reported third-quarter net earnings of $ 578 million and quarterly segment operating profit of $ 1.0 billion for the quarter ended March 31, 2011, up $ 157 million and $ 310 million, respectively, from the same period one year earlier. 2011 First Quarter Highlights:

  • ADM earned $ 0.86 diluted EPS, a 32 percent increase versus last year’s $ 0.65 third quarter.
  • Segment operating profit of $ 1.0 billion was up 45 percent from the same period last year.
  • Oilseeds processing profit increased $ 107 million due to favorable ownership, strong North American results and the reversal of mark-to-market timing effects.
  • Corn processing profit increased $ 100 million on favorable ownership and good volumes for sweeteners, starches and lysine.
  • Agricultural Services profit increased $ 6 million, in line with the prior year’s results, amid challenging and volatile global markets.

The company is trading significantly below analysts' estimates. ADM has a median price target of $40 by 13 brokers and a high target of $45. The last up/downgrade activity was on Mar 22, 2011, when Stifel Nicolaus initiated coverage on the company with a Buy rating.

Corn Products International, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells various food ingredients to food and industrial customers in North America, South America, Asia, and Africa.

Corn Products recently provided an overview of its strategic initiatives, business plans and financial performance during Deutsche Bank's eighth annual Global Consumer Conference, held in Paris. Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Ilene Gordon discussed Corn Products International's Strategic Blueprint designed to create shareholder value through operating excellence, organic growth, a broader product portfolio and continued geographic expansion.

She also discussed Corn Products' plans for growing its presence in priority food, brewery, beverage, confectionary, pharmaceutical and personal care market segments, and updated the audience on the integration of National Starch, which Corn Products acquired last year, giving the Company a larger profile of specialty starches. She also provided an overview of the Company's operations and market presence in its European, Middle Eastern and African region.

The company is trading significantly below analysts' estimates. CPO has a median price target of $65 by seven brokers and a high target of $70. The last up/downgrade activity was on Dec 16, 2010, when Jefferies initiated coverage on the company with a Hold rating.

Disclaimer: Information was gathered from CNBC, Yahoo Finance and respective company websites. Based on the current market conditions I would suggest scaling in to any position to reduce risk. I believe these stocks have substantial upside potential and provide a significant opportunity for long term investors. Please use this as a starting point for your own due diligence.

Source: Top 5 Agricultural Stocks by Relative Performance Poised to Break Out