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Select Harvests Limited shares rocket: Should you buy them?

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Earlier today Select Harvests Limited (ASX: SHV) released an overseas investor presentation and the market reaction to it has been incredibly bullish. The share price of the almond producer at one stage jumped over 7.5% to $6.85, bringing its return in May to around 35%.

In the presentation it advised that it has increased its full year production volume estimate from 13,700 to 14,000 tonnes. It also explained that around 40% of its crop has been processed and the company is pleased with its quality.

This is finally some good news for investors who have seen the share price drop by over 34% in the last 12 months, despite the strong returns investors have seen in May. The swinging share price is largely the result of the rise and fall of almond prices.

Just 12 months ago a kilo of almonds was fetching $13.49, whereas in April almonds were fetching just $6.86 per kilo. This drop meant almonds were back around May 2013 price levels after an incredible rally in prices came to an abrupt end.

As the price of almonds shot up, so too did the number of almond producers looking to cash in on the demand. This ultimately led to an oversupply and rapid drop in prices. The good news for Select Harvests is that almond prices may have found their bottom.

It has been reported that US almond prices have shown further increases over the last month on strong demand against limited offers, according to data from Primex International Trading Corporation.

However, I wouldn’t get my hopes up on prices reaching anywhere near $13.49 per kilo again any time soon. This rise came about due to exceptional circumstances which saw a four-year drought in California hit production levels. With drought conditions alleviating, conditions should be better for normalised production moving forward.

Still, if almond prices have bottomed then Select Harvest could be good value trading at just over 7x trailing earnings. Although it is a great company and good value, I still believe it is a reasonably high risk investment due to its reliance on commodity prices.

In many respects it is no different to Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM) and Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) which rise and fall on gold and iron price fluctuations, respectively. For this reason, I’m going to sit this one out.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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