The Andersons' Shares Jumped: 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 mini-conglomerate The Andersons (NAS: ANDE) jumped as much as 10.1% over the weekend on heavy trading volume.

So what: The U.S. Agriculture Department just changed its methodology for setting insurance rates on corn and soy crops, which will help The Andersons' grain-marketing operations in 2012. This is the same piece of news that lifted stodgy Archer Daniels Midland (NYS: ADM) to a 4% weekend jump.

Now what: The Andersons doesn't live and die by grain sales alone, of course. Like Otter Tail (NAS: OTTR) , this small cap has expanded into a surprising range of loosely related industries such as railcar rentals, crop nutrients, and a chain of specialty food stores. However, fellow Fool Jacob Roche looks at this diversified business model and sees the company riding sector effects more than executing on a solid plan. Jacob doesn't like that at all. Moreover, Otter Tail's utility services power a much fatter dividend payout than The Andersons' corn crops do. If you're choosing between these two micro-conglomerates, I think the scales tip pretty clearly in Otter Tail's favor.

Interested in more info about The Andersons? Add it to My Watchlist.

At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorAnders Bylundholds no position in any of the companies mentioned.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Otter Tail. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinion, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Check outAnders' holdings and bio, or follow him onTwitterandGoogle+. We have adisclosure policy.

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