Hershey Misses Profit Expectations, Cuts Outlook

Hershey Co. reported third-quarter profit that missed expectations, cut its full-year earnings outlook and provided a downbeat outlook for 2015. Net earnings for the quarter ended Sept. 28 slipped to $223.7 million, or $1 a share, from $233 million, or $1.03 a share, in the year-earlier period. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted per-share earnings were $1.05, below the FactSet consensus analyst estimate of $1.08. Revenue rose to $1.96 billion from last year's $1.85 billion, in line with analyst forecasts of $1.97 billion, with the company saying Halloween seasonal orders were slightly ahead of estimates. Hershey cut its 2014 outlook for adjusted earnings per share to a range of $4.01-$4.03 from $4.05 to $4.13. Hershey also now targets 2015 adjusted per-share earnings of $4.37 to $4.47, below analyst projections of $4.48. The stock, which closed Tuesday at a 3 1/2-month high, was still untraded in Wednesday's premarket. It has slipped 1.7% so far this year through Tuesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 7.4%.

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