General Mills Inc. reported Wednesday fiscal third-quarter earnings that rose to $361.7 million, or 59 cents a share, from $353.8 million, or 56 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share came to 65 cents, beating the FactSet consensus of 62 cents. Sales fell to $4 billion from $4.35 billion, just shy of the FactSet consensus of $4.08 billion, as better-than-expected sales in its U.S. retail business was offset by misses in international sales and its convenience stores and foodservice business. The packaged foods company, which brands include Cheerios, Pillsbury and Haagen-Dazs, affirmed its full-year growth outlook. "Our third-quarter financial results were in line with our expectations," said Chief Executive Ken Powell. "We reported a decline in net sales as anticipated, primarily reflecting the Green Giant divestiture and continued foreign exchange headwinds." The stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, had climbed 5.4% year to date, while the S&P 500 has ticked up 0.3%.
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