Campbell Soup Co. reported a fiscal second-quarter profit that fell to $312 million, or 66 cents a share, from $361 million, or 74 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. The results matched the FactSet consensus analyst estimate for per-share earnings of 66 cents. Sales declined 2% to $2.23 billion, which was in line with the FactSet consensus, as improved volume and higher selling prices was offset by increased promotional spending. Gross margin declined 3.1 percentage points to 32.6%, hurt by higher costs and promotional spending. For 2015, the soups, simple meals and snacks company expects sales in the range of up 1% to down 1% from 2014, and adjusted per-share earnings of $2.32 to $2.38, compared with the FactSet consensus estimates of a decline of 1.3% and $2.39, respectively. The stock, which was still inactive in premarket trade, has advanced 5.8% over the past three months, outperforming the S&P 500's 2.3% gain.
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