Shares of Pilgrim's Pride Corporation (PPC - Analyst Report), a meat products company, scaled a new 52-week high of $30.30 on Jul 10. This marks a nominal increase from the previous high of $29.95 hit a day earlier.
Pilgrim’s Pride closed yesterday’s trading session at $30.03, reflecting a solid year to date return of 88.3%. An average quarterly surprise of 16.9% for the trailing 12-month period indicates further upside potential for the company.
Pilgrim’s Pride has been gaining a growth momentum since the announcement of its plans to acquire peer firm The Hillshire Brands Company . However, the proposed $7.7 billion acquisition was revoked later as Pilgrim’s Pride lost the race to Tyson Foods, Inc. (TSN - Analyst Report). But notwithstanding the final outcome, the proposal to acquire such a big-ticket player increases shareholders’ confidence on the stock.
The company is currently experiencing a hike in the demand for chicken products, especially tenders, small whole chickens and boneless, skinless breast portions. Moreover, boneless dark meat consumption has grown in the U.S. over the past year. Additionally, as the industry is facing low supply and high demand issue, the prices of most of the chicken products are on a rise.
Exiting first-quarter 2014, Pilgrim’s Pride had a significant cash balance of $515 million. The company has been recording substantial hikes in earnings over the past quarters. Earnings came in at 38 cents per share, soaring 81% year over year backed by lower cost of sales in the quarter.
In the past seven days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings increased 9.8% to 67 cents per share for second quarter of 2014, while it increased 6.8% for the full year to $2.05.
Other Stocks to Consider
With a market capitalization of $7.8 billion, Pilgrim’s Pride sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Another stock worth considering in the industry is Sanderson Farms, Inc. (SAFM - Snapshot Report), sporting the same rank as Pilgrim’s Pride.