Cargill second-quarter profit drops 13 percent amid commodities slump

(Reuters) by Karl Plume – Slumping commodities prices and weak demand in some markets took their toll on profits for global commodities trader Cargill Inc [CARG.UL] in the quarter ending Nov. 30, sending earnings and revenue down 13 percent and 10 percent, respectively. Privately held Cargill, celebrating its 150th birthday this year, is in the midst of a restructuring aimed at transforming the company to be more responsive to commodities market swings. In the latest of a growing list of weak earnings by agriculture-focused companies, Cargill’s lower results reported on Thursday suggest agribusiness rivals such as Archer Daniels Midland Co and Bunge Ltd are feeling similar pain, analysts said. Both rivals report quarterly results early next month. “Given the low crop prices, farmers are resistant to sell right away after the harvest. There are also some other issues around the devaluation in Argentina and obviously things are slow in Brazil,” said Moody’s analyst John Rogers. “It’s going to be a tough quarter for everyone.” Minnesota-based Cargill reported lower year-on-year results in each of its four of its business segments. Weak cattle feeding margins in North America and a thinned Australian cattle herd weighed down earnings from red meat, while the slumping

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