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On Aug 29, Zacks Investment Research upgraded The Andersons Inc. (ANDE - Analyst Report) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

Share price and earnings estimates for Andersons have been trending upward on the back of strong second-quarter 2013 results reported on Aug 7. Moreover, shares of this diversified company, which operates in six different business segments ranging from buying, selling and storing grain to leasing railcars and running retail stores, attained its 52-week high of $67.66 on Aug 29. The long-term expected earnings growth rate for this stock is 12%.

Andersons reported second-quarter 2013 earnings of $1.57 per share, up 1%  from $1.56 per share earned in the year-ago quarter and beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.52 by 3%. The upbeat results were driven by record operating profit at the Ethanol and Rail Groups, and increased profit in the Retail Group. Andersons delivered positive earnings surprises in two of its last four quarters with an average beat of 48.13%.

In July, Andersons, in association with Lansing Trade Group, finalized the acquisition of Blenheim, Ontario-based Thompsons Limited, a grain and food-grade bean handler and agronomy input provider. Thompsons operates through 12 Andersons’ grain and nutrient businesses and is expected to be accretive to earnings for full year 2014.

In August, Andersons announced the acquisition of Kansas City, Miss.-based railcar repair and cleaning provider Mile Rail, LLC. The acquisition, which is expected to be finalized in the third quarter, is a strategic fit with Andersons’ Rail Group and is projected to increase its railcar repair revenues by 25%. Going forward, the Rail Group is expected to continue to perform well based on proficiently managed railcar portfolio.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased 1% to $4.13 per share over the last 30 days. For 2014, the Zacks Consensus Estimate moved north by 3% to $5.26 per share.

Other Stocks to Consider

Amira Nature Foods Ltd. (ANFI - Snapshot Report) and Pilgrim's Pride Corporation (PPC - Snapshot Report), both carrying a Zacks Rank #1, and Boulder Brands, Inc. (BDBD - Snapshot Report), with a  Zacks Rank #2(Buy), are performing well and are also worth considering.
 

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