Shares of Monsanto Co. surged 1.5% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the agricultural services company beat profit and sales expectations, and provided an upbeat outlook. Net earnings for the quarter to Feb. 28 rose to $1.37 billion, or $3.09 a share, from $1.06 billion, or $2.41 a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share came to $3.19, above the FactSet consensus of $2.79. Revenue increased to $5.07 billion from $4.53 billion, beating the FactSet consensus of $4.73 billion, as corn seed, soybean seed and cotton seed sales all rose more than expected. Monsanto said it now expects fiscal 2017 adjusted EPS to be "at the high end" of its $4.50-to-$4.90 guidance range. "While we're increasing confidence in the outlook for the rest of the year, our emphasis at Monsanto is where it has always been - on bringing innovation to growers," said Chief Executive Hugh Grant. The stock has rallied 8.6% year to date through Tuesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 5.4%.
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