NEW YORK – Tyson Foods Inc. was upgraded on the afternoon of March 24 by BB&T Capital Markets, which stated the company will benefit from growth in the already strong demand for pork and beef exports, according to The Associated Press.

The stock was raised by BB&T to "Buy" from "Hold" and it introduced a $23 target price for the shares. BB&T further predicted strong profit margins for pork and beef will last because of export demand and a relatively stable domestic market.

Although the cost of raising livestock is high, meat prices have increased faster, pointed out Heather Jones, BB&T analyst. There's more certainty about sustained export demand because of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, a major importer of pork and beef, plus feed contamination and food inflation in China, she added. Those factors should help boost Tyson earnings to more than $2 per share for both 2011 and 2012, Jones said.