ConAgra Foods' Stock Gains After Profit Beats Expectations

ConAgra Foods Inc.'s stock tacked on 0.6% in premarket trade Tuesday, after the packaged food company beat fiscal second-quarter profit expectations. For the quarter ended Nov. 29, earnings from continuing operations fell to $165.8 million, or 37 cents a share, from $218.7 million, or 49 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, such as restructuring charges, adjusted earnings per share came to 71 cents, above the FactSet consensus of 62 cents. Sales fell 1.4% to $3.09 billion, just below the FactSet consensus of $3.12 billion, as a 3% decline in consumer foods sales offset a 1% increase in commercial foods sales. For the current quarter, the company expects adjusted EPS to be "modestly higher" than a year ago, while the FactSet EPS consensus of 61 cents implies 3.4% growth. "Our team has been very productive in the first half of the fiscal year, with the divestiture of the private label operations, the rollout of our cost-reduction program, the relocation of our headquarters to Chicago, and the announcement of the plan to split into two companies," said Chief Executive Sean Connolly. The stock has climbed 13% year to date through Monday, while the S&P 500 has slipped 1.8%.

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