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Ceres rises as analyst looks to sweet sorghum crop

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Ceres Inc. rose Thursday after a Raymond James analyst said he expects the stock to trade higher after the agricultural biotechnology company reports important crop data in the next few weeks.

THE SPARK: Ceres is scheduled to report its fiscal third-quarter results in July. Analyst Pavel Molchanov said that at that time, or possibly earlier, the company will disclose yields for its sweet sorghum crops. He expects strong results that will boost the stock.

"This is the key commercialization milestone that the market has been waiting for," Molchanov said. He rates the shares "Outperform" with a price target of $7.

THE BIG PICTURE: Ceres, based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., develops and sells crops used to make renewable bioenergy. The company went public in February 2012 and said its results that year were hurt by a drought in Brazil. However this year it says its products have been planted at more mills and on more land than compared to its competitors.

Analyst Molchanov said the weather has been much better this year. "Management also pointed out in April that early indications point to Ceres' hybrids performing better than those of the competition," he wrote.

SHARE ACTION: Up 34 cents, or 8.7 percent, to $4.24 in afternoon trading. The stock has lost two-thirds of its value since the IPO, which priced at $13 per share.