Tyson Foods Controversy Overshadow Attractive Stock Valuation

Tyson Foods stock remains unaffected by the recent lawsuit

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Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN) is one of the world’s largest food companies. The company produces and sells beef, pork, chicken, and other prepared foods, with subsidiaries including major food brands Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Ball Park, Wright Brand, Aidells, and State Fair.

Tyson Foods has been involved in various controversies related to the environment, animal welfare, and employee welfare over the years. Most recently, the company came under fire for not implementing recommended practices like social distancing, plexiglass barriers, and mandatory face masks to protect its workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was also reported that Tyson Foods plant managers were actually betting money on how many workers would contract COVID-19. Since then, TSN has been named in multiple lawsuits regarding its negligence in the spread of the virus amongst Tyson Foods employees.

A class-action lawsuit officially filed against Tyson Foods on Tuesday, Feb. 2, stated that twice as many Tyson Foods employees died after contracting COVID-19 than any other meat processing company. The lawsuit dropped just over a week ahead of TSN's first earnings report of 2021, which is slated for release on Thursday, February 11.

Tyson Foods stock has remained largely unaffected by this recent lawsuit. TSN actually closed out the trading day slightly higher on Wednesday. TSN is up 3% year-to-date, and has tacked over 50% from its March 18, five-year low of $42.57. However, TSN stock price is still down a significant 22% from its 52-week high of $83.49. 

Looking ahead to earnings next week, Tyson Foods has outperformed earnings expectations on three of its last four quarterly reports. For the fourth quarter of 2019, TSN beat analysts’ expectations by a margin of $0.01 and reported earnings of $1.66 per share. For the first quarter of 2020, Tyson Foods decreased its earnings per share (EPS) to $0.77 and missed expectations by $0.27. TSN reported an increased EPS to $1.40 for the second quarter of 2020 and surpassed expectations by a large margin of $0.46. In its most recent earnings report, Tyson Foods boosted its EPS to $1.95 and also beat earnings expectations by a massive margin of $0.76. Analysts project that TSN will report an EPS of $1.52 for the final quarter of 2020 next week.

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