Monsanto moves higher as profit improves on strong soybean seed sales

Monsanto (MON+0.8% premarket after reporting a 13% Y/Y gain in FQ2 earnings, thanks to continued strength in its soybean seed sales as well as improved margins.

Confirms earlier guidance for FY 2014, seeing EPS of $5.00-$5.20 vs. $5.25 analyst consensus estimate; expects a strong H2 of its fiscal year, with a significantly smaller loss in its Q4 than in recent years.

Total Seeds and Genomics sales rose 6.9% to $4.65B; growth in the segment represents nearly 80% of MON's overall gross profit increase in the quarter.

Corn seed and traits sales, which account for most of the segment's revenue, rose 4.1%, while soybean seed and traits sales jumped 21%.

Sales in the agricultural productivity business, which consists of crop-protection products and herbicide, grew 5.2% to $1.18B.

Gross margin grew to 59.1% from 56.1%, as product costs edged down 0.7%.

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