This morning, St. Louis-based biotech firm Monsanto raised its ongoing earnings estimate for 2007 from a range between $1.75 to $1.80 per share to $2 per share. The company benefited from better-than-expected pricing on its Round Up herbicide product line. Including certain items, 2007 full-year earnings are expected to come in at $1.79 per share.
Due to Monsanto's $1.5-billion acquisition of Delta and Pine Land Co. and its $317-million sale of Stoneville and NexGen, the company now expects its 2007 free cash flow will be a use of $60 million, compared to previous estimates of $200 million to $250 million.
This morning, the shares of Monsanto are up nearly 4%. While option traders are already in the bullish camp for MON its Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio of 0.59 is lower than 80% of other such readings taken during the past year the stock does have a small accumulation of short interest to help fuel its gains. At MON's average daily volume, it would take more than 2 days to repurchase all the 9.51 million shares shorted.