It really wasn't that long ago that a quick trip downtown brought you to a host of trade people – the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker - all nestled amongst each other on Main Street, rubbing elbows and sharing stories with each other on summer sidewalks.
Today, an easy way to find members of this group all together in one place is to check their ticker listings on the major indices. Butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers are still conducting business in the 21st century and some of them are major players in the world of business.
Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN) is one of the globe's largest processors and marketers of beef, chicken, pork and prepared foods. The company is the second-largest food production company in the Fortune 500. With approximately 115,000 employees at over 400 facilities and offices in the U.S. and worldwide, Tyson provides their products and services to customers across America and in more than 90 countries.
The Butcher element of the company encompasses Tyson Fresh Meats. This is a subsidiary of Tyson Foods, and the leading supplier of premium beef and pork in the world. Tyson Fresh Meats (Dakota Dunes, South Dakota) has 17 production sites throughout North America, and they employ almost 41,000 people.
Concerning their Beef segment, the company expects to see a reduction of industry fed cattle supplies of 2-3 percent in fiscal 2013 compared to fiscal 2012. Tyson expects that there may be periods of imbalance of fed cattle supply and demand. The company, in general, expects adequate supplies in regions where they operate their plants, and they are anticipating that beef exports will remain robust.
It's important for investors to note that Tyson believes their Beef segment will remain profitable for fiscal 2013. However, the company does say this profitability could be below their normalized range of 2.5 percent-4.5 percent. Moreover, Tyson anticipates a profitable Chicken segment, but they believe it could be below their normalized range of 5.0 percent-7.0 percent. Nevertheless, the company believes their Pork segment will be in or above their normalized range of 6.0 percent-8.0 percent profitability.
An investor must look at the effects of the drought of 2012 that hit the industry and how it now manifests itself in fewer grain supplies and higher grain costs. Increased costs and pressure to keep prices competitive can put a squeeze on companies like Tyson. Demand is something for investors to consider as well – will the trend to chicken and less red meat have legs (so-to-speak), and how will this impact Tyson's overall performance, especially as they actually believe that the Chicken segment could provide the aforementioned less profit?
A premier baker on the Main Street of the major indices is Panera Bread Co (NASDAQ:PNRA). This bread-baking company operates 1,625 company-owned and franchise-operated bakery-cafes in 44 states and in Ontario, Canada as of Sept. 25, 2012. They operate these under the Panera Bread®, Saint Louis Bread Co. ® and Paradise Bakery & Café® names.
The aroma of succulent profits wafted through the corridors of the company during their fiscal third quarter ended Sept. 25, 2012. Panera Bread reported net income of $37 million, or $1.24 per diluted share, for the fiscal third quarter. This is in comparison to net income of $29 million, or $0.97 per diluted share, for the fiscal third quarter ended Sept. 27, 2011. This represents a 28 percent year-over-year increase in diluted earnings per share.