Sanderson Farms Inc. said Tuesday it had net income of $50.9 million, or $2.27 a share, in its fiscal third quarter, down from $76.1 million, or $3.30 a share, in the year-earlier period. Sales fell to $739.9 million from $768.4 million a year ago. The FactSet consensus was for EPS of $2.81 and sales of $759 million. "Market prices for most products produced at our big bird deboning plants were significantly lower during the quarter when compared to last year's third fiscal quarter," Chief Executive Joe Sanderson said in a statement. "Bulk leg quarter prices remain under pressure as a result of weak export demand affected by export bans related to the discovery of avian influenza in the United States, a relatively strong United States dollar and lower oil revenue in countries with oil- based economies." Boneless breast meat prices fell 25.4% in the quarter, while the average market price of bulk leg quarters was down 47.8% and jumbo wing prices were higher by 29.5%, he said. Shares were not yet active in premarket trade, but are down 20% in the year to date, while the S&P 500 has lost 8%.
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