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ConAgra Foods Inc. reports first-quarter results

21 September 2009 1,443 views No Comment

PORTLAND, Ore. — ConAgra Foods Inc. reports earnings for its fiscal first quarter on Tuesday before the market opens. The following is a summary of key developments and analyst opinion related to the period.

OVERVIEW: ConAgra Foods ( CAG – news – people ), like many food companies, has seen the benefit of consumers eating at home more often and lower commodity prices for food ingredients.

Omaha, Neb.-based ConAgra, which produces brands like Banquet, Chef Boyardee and Hebrew National, has seen its consumer food business hold strong during the recession because of these trends. But its bottom line may suffer for the quarter by comparison to the prior year because of the benefit of selling its commodity trading business.

Analysts, however, are expecting a strong operational performance from the company.

BY THE NUMBERS: Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the company to earn 34 cents per share on revenue of $3.1 billion. Analyst estimates typically exclude one-time items.

ANALYST TAKE: UBS ( UBS – news – people ) Investment Research analyst David Palmer said the company is proving to be one of the stronger in the category, despite promotional activity among packaged foods company.

Palmer noted that ConAgra’s frozen entrees have staged a sort of rebound over recent months with stronger volume and sales figures, showing gains in market share.

Deutsche Bank ( DB – news – people ) Securities analyst Eric Katzman maintained a “hold” rating on ConAgra shares, due to concerns about some of its lesser-ranked brands and challenges in its commercial food business. But in a note to investors, he commended ConAgra for its solid balance sheet and high dividend yield, among other strengths.

WHAT’S AHEAD: ConAgra will hold its annual meeting Friday in Omaha.

STOCK PERFORMANCE: Shares of ConAgra rose nearly 8 percent in the quarter and have risen more than 12 percent in the past 52 weeks.

(This version CORRECTS annual meeting to Omaha sted Chicago)
Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

By SARAH SKIDMORE

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