Pilgrim's Pride Shares Popped: What You Need to Know

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of chicken-coop champion Pilgrim's Pride (NYS: PPC) took flight today, gaining as much as 11.4% on fairly heavy volume. Who says domestic poultry can't fly?

So what: A USDA poultry and egg market update filed last night showed broiler-chicken prices ticking up after about two months of trending down. To make the good news even better, corn prices are falling due to a bountiful harvest. Good thing they don't raise them chickens on drought-damaged peanuts, right?

Now what: Food production is a tough, low-margin business, but Pilgrim's and Tyson Foods (NYS: TSN) know how to take risk out of their business models. Through sensible hedging of corn and other vital supplies, they show positive EBITDA profits while Sanderson Farms (NAS: SAFM) operates at negative gross margins -- and commands a price-to-sales ratio about four times the size of Pilgrim's Pride. Either Sanderson is overvalued or Pilgrim's is selling for peanuts (pun intended) -- and quite possibly both are true.

Interested in more information about Pilgrim's Pride? Add it toMy Watchlist.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio, follow him on Twitter or Google+, or peruse our Foolish disclosure policy.

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