Shares of ConAgra Foods, Inc. (CAG - Analyst Report) hit a new 52-week high of $36.71 on Jul 11 and eventually closed at $36.62, on the back of strong earnings results. The company currently has a market capitalization of $15.32 billion.
Year-to-date, share prices have recorded a healthy return of 23.5%. The company’s long-term estimated EPS growth rate is 9.2%. Average volume of shares traded over the last three months came in at approximately 3,766K.
ConAgra reported strong earnings for fiscal fourth quarter of 2013, with a significant improvement in top as well as bottom line. ConAgra’s earnings of 60 cents grew 17.6% year over year, while revenue jumped 33.7% year over year to $4.6 billion.
The Consumer Foods segment and the recently acquired Ralcorp have both contributed enormously to the company’s success. Once Ralcorp is fully integrated, it is expected to drive synergies further. In view of the same, ConAgra now expects annual cost synergy to increase to $300 million by 2017, against its previous expectations of $225 million.
The Consumer Foods segment will help ConAgra in the long term largely due to organic growth backed by new product launches. For these product launches ConAgra intends to spend heavily on advertising campaigns.
Moreover, in March this year, ConAgra entered into an agreement to form a new joint venture, Ardent Mills, which is expected to be operational later this year. The contributions from the new mill will be used to repay the debt raised for the Ralcorp acquisition.
Other Stocks to Consider
ConAgra currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other stocks to watch out for in the industry are B&G Foods Inc. (BGS - Snapshot Report) and Flowers Foods, Inc. (FLO - Snapshot Report) , each carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Campbell Soup Company (CPB - Analyst Report) carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) also warrants a look.