ADM Is a Bio-Player

August 3, 2006

by Stephen D. Simpson, CFA, Motley Fool

“I’m not a playa, I just crush a lot” — Big Punisher, “Still Not a Player”

Crushing is really what it’s all about for Archer Daniels Midland (NYSE: ADM) — crushing and processing oilseeds into vegetable oils and biodiesel, crushing and processing corn into high fructose sweeteners, starches, and ethanol. And better margins on crushing meant that ADM put some squeeze on expectations as well — while revenue growth wasn’t as strong as predicted, earnings were higher.

Revenue this quarter was up a whopping 1%. The real magic, then, was in the margins. Gross margins improved by about three full percentage points and that was enough to fuel more than a doubling of operating income as segment profits rose 82%. Speaking again of crushing, the crush margin jumped 25% from last year and that’s certainly a help. Read the rest of this entry »


CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Aug. 3, 2006– releases the latest Analyst Interview. Today’s interview is with senior analyst Jonathan Kolb, who discusses General Electric (NYSE: GE), Archer Daniels-Midland (NYSE: ADM), Evergreen Solar (Nasdaq: ESLR), Energy Conversion Devices (Nasdaq: ENER) and Pacific Ethanol (Nasdaq: PEIX). Read the rest of this entry »

by Alyce Lomax (TMF Lomax)
July 28, 2006

The Internet has proved to be a democratizing force, harnessing the power of community to help the everyman research topics of interest, find a new book that’s right up his alley, and even learn to be a better investor.

Take Wikipedia, for example, where users pool their collective expertise and help police content, resulting in an encyclopedia with more breadth, depth, and nimbleness than old-fashioned, print-anchored Britannica could hope to build. Companies that cull user recommendations and reviews such as Digg and even (Nasdaq: AMZN) seek to capitalize from the same spirit.

No crowd control in alternative energy
Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner, on other hand, is most interested in using community to help us all become better investors. Last February, he tried an experiment — tasking Motley Fool Rule Breakers members to help select the service’s next two stock picks. The only parameters: nominees had to be working in the field of alternative energy. That’s because David believes alternative energy is a disruptive technology on the brink of a 10-year bull-market run. Read the rest of this entry »

by Ben Lieberman, The Washington Times
July 30, 2006

Washington has embraced an alternative to $3-a-gallon gasoline — $4-a-gallon ethanol.
    That’s the cost of this federally mandated fuel additive, when you take everything into account. Ethanol, produced mostly from Midwestern corn, currently wholesales for more than $3 a gallon.
    And that’s the Midwest price — ethanol costs even more on the coasts because it can’t be sent through pipelines and thus is costlier to ship than gasoline. At these prices, adding even small amounts of ethanol to gas can boost pump prices by 20 cents per gallon or more. Read the rest of this entry »

Sector Preview: Ethanol

July 25, 2006

Analysts Look for Stronger 2Q Profit From Ethanol Producers on Stronger Demand

NEW YORK (AP) — Ethanol has been hot both on Wall Street and in Washington recently, and analysts are forecasting stronger second-quarter results from producers.With Congress pushing ethanol and other renewable fuels as a gasoline additive, the industry has a guaranteed demand floor for its cleaner-burning fuel. But some analysts worry whether the industry is overbuilding capacity, which could flood the market and depress ethanol prices. Read the rest of this entry »

by Christine Tierney, Detroit Free Press

Developing economies seeking to establish domestic car industries tend to focus on job creation first and worry about air pollution and other environmental issues later. That’s how the wealthiest countries also approached car-making at the outset a century ago.

But China appears to be an exception to that pattern. Its auto industry is just getting started, but Chinese authorities are already going for the best and newest fuel-saving technologies. That may benefit everyone by accelerating their development and commercialization.

When Chinese President Hu Jintao traveled to North America last September, he stopped in Vancouver to tour Ballard Power Systems’ (Nasdaq: BLDP) research and manufacturing facilities. Read the rest of this entry »

by Dan Bloom, Motley Fool

If you are like me, you have probably been amazed, and sometimes annoyed, by the proliferation of electronic devices throughout our society. Nearly everyone seems to own a mobile phone these days, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPLNews) iPods are ubiquitous, flat-screen TVs are soaring in popularity, and I seem to spend an hour every day turning off my 8-month-old son’s toys — in my opinion, he likes them just fine without the noise, although my wife disagrees. My perception, based on looking around, is that semiconductor sales over the past decade must have soared.Well, perceptions aren’t always reality, so I decided to hunt down the data and see what semiconductor revenues are actually doing. Since the industry is cyclical, it’s important to look at long-term trends rather than just what has happened in the past year or two. Read the rest of this entry »