Chiquita Brands International Shares Plunged: What You Need to Know

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 banana-centric produce producer Chiquita Brands International (NYS: CQB) don't look so fresh today after falling as much as 21.7% on fairly average trading volume.

So what: Second-quarter sales fell 5% year over year and earnings dropped 18% despite a large tax-related boost. Salad sales were slow, though management expected as much because of growing competition from store-brand alternatives in this cash-strapped economy.

Now what: The market is taking this report as a uniquely Chiquitan problem as top competitors Dole Food (NAS: DOLE) and Fresh Del Monte Produce (NYS: FDP) saw much smaller drops today. Yes they fell, but so did most of the market, including 78% of the consumer noncyclical sector. Fellow Fool Alex Pape has put some Foolish cash into this stock but recently noted that he wasn't ready to buy any more despite low prices -- there are too many great value stocks around the agricultural industry. Will this drop change his mind or chase him further away? I can't say for sure, but would bet on an opportunistic buy here.

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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. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.

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