(Adds details on results, analysts estimates)
Feb 6 (Reuters) - Top U.S. grains merchant Archer Daniels Midland Co posted fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday that beat market estimates, helped by higher profit from its agricultural services and corn processing businesses.
ADM has been trying to boost earnings by investing in higher-margin businesses to support itself in a volatile commodity market affected by projections of massive grain inventories.
ADM, which buys, stores and trades commodity crops, said profit from its agricultural services business jumped nearly 23 percent to $301 million last quarter, helped by higher marketing and insurance income.
Profit from selling processed products such as sweeteners, starches and bioproducts rose 2.3 percent to $261 million.
Overall, net earnings rose to $788 million, or $1.39 per share, from $424 million, or 73 cents per share, a year earlier, also helped by a $249 million tax benefit.
Excluding items, ADM earned 82 cents per share, beating analysts' average estimate by 12 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
However, ADM's total revenue fell 2.6 percent to $16.07 billion in the three months ended Dec. 31, amid continued weak demand for U.S. grains.
ADM's results come amid media reports that the grain trader is in talks to buy smaller rival Bunge Ltd. ADM made no mention of such talks in its earnings statement. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)