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Branded foods and meat manufacturer, Hormel Foods Corporation (HRL - Analyst Report), attained a 52-week high of $39.51 on Mar 13, as it gained momentum after increasing its earnings outlook for fiscal 2013, despite sluggish first-quarter results announced on Feb 21, 2013. Hormel has generated a return of approximately 26.3% year-to-date.

This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company’s long-term estimated earnings per share growth rate is 9.00%. Average volume of shares traded over the last three months came in at approximately 813K.

Fiscal 2013 Guidance Upped

Hormel raised its guidance for fiscal 2013, despite announcing sluggish first-quarter results in late February.

The company’s earnings per share of 48 cents were in line with the year-ago earnings, while it lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a cent. Also, sales for the quarter improved year over year but missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate. An increase in revenues across most of its segments was offset by an escalation in costs of raw materials, which pulled down the earnings.

However, management raised its earnings estimates for fiscal 2013 on the back of increased contribution from most of its segments and the company’s cost control initiatives. Earnings are now expected to range within $1.93–$2.03, up from the previously announced range of $1.90–$2.00.

Management expects Grocery Products, Specialty Foods and All Other segments to continue prospering in the coming quarters. However, Refrigerated Foods segment, which is going through difficult times at present, is expected to improve in the future while Jennie-O Turkey will continue to face headwinds.

Estimates were mostly revised upward for fiscal 2013 and 2014 after the guidance increase. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2013 rose almost 0.5% to $1.98 while that for fiscal 2014 increased 2.3% to $2.23, over the past 30 days.

Other Stocks to Consider

Other stocks worth a look in the meat products industry are Hillshire Brands Company (HSH - Snapshot Report), holding a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy),  along with Pilgrim's Pride Corporation (PPC - Snapshot Report) and Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN - Analyst Report), both of which hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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