Cal-Maine Profit, Sales Lag Estimates

By Ciara LinnaneMarketWatch Pulse

Cal-Maine Foods Inc. said Monday it had net income of $46.1 million, or 95 cents a share, in its fiscal fourth quarter, compared with $31.5 million, or 65 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Sales came to $403 million, up from $371.6 million. The FactSet consensus was for EPS of $1.04 and sales of $420 million. Chief Executive Dolph Baker said total dozen shell eggs sold rose 6.2%, while average selling prices were up 2.6% from the year-earlier quarter.The recent outbreak of avian flu in the upper Midwestern U.S. have reduced the national flock by more than 40 million laying hens and pullets, or 13% of the total, he said. There have been no positive tests for the disease at any of the Cal-Maine Foods locations, but the company has increased biosecurity measures at every location. "We are also working closely with the egg industry associations and government health officials to identify ways to mitigate the risk of future outbreaks," he said. Shares were down 0.2% in premarket trade, but are up 38% in the year so far, while the S&P 500 has gained 3.3%.

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