Despite tough times, ADM earnings up

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Second-quarter profits are up 24 percent at Decatur-based Archer Daniels Midland.

Tuesday's results showed how one of the nation's largest grain exporters and ethanol makers can turn a profit by playing several sides of the agribusiness game. It made money from higher shipping costs, for example, even as demand sank for the grains it was shipping.

ADM says profit for the quarter ended Dec. 31 rose to $585 million, or 91 cents per share. That topped analysts' average earnings expectation of 68 cents per share, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.

While food prices remain historically high, global demand for commodities and crop-based fuels like ethanol fell sharply during the quarter. Chief Executive Patricia Woertz says the market for ethanol all but collapsed late last year and remains a challenge.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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