Rising Commodity Prices Lift Rural Stocks

Investors like what they see in rural companies that mine, grow or drill.

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Driven by higher prices for the raw stuff rural America produces, the Yonder 40 stock index jumped last week while the other major stock indexes slumped.

The Yonder 40, 40 stocks that represent the rural economy, increased 1.3 percent last week. The Dow Industrials and the S&P 500 both lost more than a point.

The Yonder 40 was driven up by mining and agriculture companies. Monsanto raised its full-year earnings forecast for the third time this year, and its stock rose close to 18 percent for the week. The Wall Street Journal reported that Monsanto was reaching profit margins of nearly 54 percent, which means that "farmers are prepared to pay higher premiums for (Monsanto's) genetically modified corn, soybean and other seeds."

A message from the Rural Assembly

ConAgra, the Nebraska packaged food company, was also up after reporting a 60 percent rise in net income for the quarter, its stock rising over 8 percent for the week. And Alico, a Florida-based ag company, was up over 4 percent.

Coal and other energy companies also rose last week, as investors rewarded companies that produced basic commodities. Peabody rose nearly 8 percent in the week. Penn Virginia rose over 12 percent. The coal mining and oil and gas firm Walter Industries was up over 16 percent and Cimarex rose 8 percent.

Results for the full Yonder 40 for the week ending March 28 can be found on the next page:

Yonder 40TickerPrice March 21Price Change 3/21 to 3/28Percent Change 3/21 to 3/28
Alico Inc.ALCO$44.31$1.824.3%
Andersons Inc.ANDE$43.12$0.842.0%
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp.BNI$91.99$0.380.4%
Berkshire HathawayBRKB$4,452.00$104.122.4%
Bassett FurnitureBSET$12.49$0.352.9%
Peabody Energy Corp.BTU$51.15$3.707.8%
Cabela's Inc.CAB$14.11-$0.96-6.4%
ConAgra Foods Inc.CAG$24.09$1.838.2%
Cato Corp. Cl ACTR$14.82-$1.75-10.6%
Citizens CommunicationsCZN$10.45-$0.37-3.4%
Deere & Co.DE$79.94$0.710.9%
Dean Foods Co.DF$20.00-$0.23-1.1%
DIRECTV GroupDTV$24.64$0.090.4%
Family Dollar Stores Inc.FDO$19.12-$1.38-6.7%
Fleetwood Enterprises Inc.FLE$4.43-$0.04-0.9%
FairPoint CommunicationsFRP$10.26$0.272.7%
Gaylord Entertainment Co.GET$29.45-$0.57-1.9%
Hormel FoodsHRL$41.62$0.741.8%
International Speedway Corp.ISCA$40.92$1.002.5%
Lee EnterprisesLEE$10.76-$0.38-3.4%
Mohawk Industries Inc.MHK$71.49-$3.57-4.8%
Monsanto Co.MON$114.30$17.1717.7%
Mine Safety Appliances Co.MSA$40.71-$1.38-3.3%
Southwest BancorpOKSB$17.21$0.130.8%
Plum Creek Timber REITPCL$40.16-$0.97-2.4%
Penn Virginia Corp.PVA$43.85$4.8612.5%
Ralcorp HoldingsRAH$57.26-$0.74-1.3%
Regions Financial Corp.RF$19.65-$2.07-9.5%
Sturm Ruger & Co.RGR$8.12$0.212.7%
Smithfield FoodsSFD$25.96-$0.60-2.3%
Skywest Inc.SKYW$21.12$0.211.0%
Southern Co.SO$35.37-$0.76-2.1%
Stage Stores Inc.SSI$15.87-$1.05-6.2%
Tractor Supply Co.TSCO$39.40-$1.82-4.4%
Tyson FoodsTSN$16.13-$0.76-4.5%
UST Inc.UST$55.42-$0.05-0.1%
Waddell & Reed Financial Inc.WDR$31.40-$2.44-7.2%
Walter IndustriesWLT$62.90$8.8016.3%
Wal-Mart StoresWMT$52.12-$1.11-2.1%
Cimarex EnergyXEC$54.95$4.188.2%

A message from the Rural Assembly

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