Dean Foods' Stock Drops After Profit Miss, Downbeat Outlook

By Tomi Kilgore Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Shares of Dean Foods Co. slumped 2.2% in premarket trade Thursday, after the food and milk processing company missed fourth-quarter profit expectations and provided a downbeat outlook. Earnings rose to $32.8 million, or 36 cents a share, from $18.5 million, or 20 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share came to 38 cents, below the FactSet consensus of 41 cents. Revenue of $2.02 billion matched the year ago revenue and the FactSet consensus. Total volume across all products declined 0.8% to 653 million gallons, but the company's share of U.S. fluid milk volumes increased by 0.1%. Looking ahead, the company expects first-quarter adjusted EPS of 12 cents to 20 cents, below the FactSet consensus of 40 cents, and projects 2017 adjusted EPS of $1.35 to $1.55, below expectations of $1.57. "In the first quarter, we expect dairy commodity inflation of nearly 20% and a roughly 1% decline in total volume performance versus prior year," said Chief Executive Ralph Scozzafava. The stock has lost 2.4% over the past 12 months through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has climbed 24%.

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