Tyson shares dive more than 7% after the company cuts profit outlook because of tariffs

  • The international food company now expects adjusted earnings for fiscal year 2018 at approximately $5.70 to $6.00, down from a range of $6.55 to $6.70.
  • "Changing global trade policies here and abroad, and the uncertainty of any resolution, have created a challenging market environment," said Tom Hayes, Tyson Foods president and chief executive officer.
Tyson foods move to sell antibiotic-free chickens.
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Tyson foods move to sell antibiotic-free chickens.

Shares of Tyson fell 7.6 percent to a 52-week low Monday after the food company cut its full-year guidance on trade worries related to the Trump administration's imposition of tariffs and a turbulent commodities market.

The international food company now expects adjusted earnings for fiscal year 2018 at approximately $5.70 to $6.00, down from a range of $6.55 to $6.70.

"The combination of changing global trade policies here and abroad, and the uncertainty of any resolution, have created a challenging market environment of increased volatility, lower prices and oversupply of protein," said Tom Hayes, Tyson Foods president and chief executive officer. "We will continue to watch these conditions carefully."

The company, which raises and processes chicken, pork, beef and prepared foods, detailed its reasons for providing investors with an update for the fiscal year in a press release dated July 30. According to the document, the primary drivers for the reduced guidance are:

  • "Uncertainty in trade policies and increased tariffs negatively impacting domestic and export prices - primarily chicken and pork"
  • "Increased volatility in the commodity markets resulting in a greater than expected increase in the domestic supply of proteins and lower sales prices"
  • "Sluggish domestic chicken demand due to such pricing of competing proteins"
  • "Pork margin compression driven by an imbalance in supply and demand"
  • "A benefit from tax reform of about $0.77 per share vs. a previous projection of $0.85 cents per share."

The United States has been embroiled in a growing tit-for-tat trade war in recent months as President Donald Trump's administration seeks to force economic partners like China, Mexico and the European Union into more favorable trade deals.

Following the White House's decision to slap duties on imported steel and aluminum, however, Mexico imposed a 10 percent tariff on chilled and frozen pork muscle cuts, which took effect June 5 and doubled to 20 percent earlier this month. Such tariffs have had a direct impact on the American agricultural sector as foreign governments take aim Republican-heavy electoral regions in an effort to pressure lawmakers into opposing Trump's actions.

China, meanwhile, started collecting an additional 25 percent import duty on $34 billion worth of U.S. goods in response to President Trump's actions against Beijing for intellectual property theft. The country's retaliatory measures include tariffs on soybeans, corn, wheat, cotton, whiskey and dairy. Nearly $20 billion in U.S. agricultural exports went to China last year, with the more than half of that amount coming from soybeans.

One in 4 hogs raised in the U.S. is sold overseas, and the Chinese are the world's top consumers of pork.