Shares of ConAgra Foods, Inc. (CAG - Analyst Report) hit a new 52-week high of $36.10 on Apr 19 and eventually closed at $36.06. Shares of this food products company have been gaining momentum since it reported solid fiscal third quarter results on Apr 3.
Year-to-date, share prices have recorded a healthy return of 22.2%. The company’s long-term estimated EPS growth rate is 8.00%. Average volume of shares traded over the last three months came in at approximately 3,619K.
Solid Third Quarter Performance
ConAgra posted strong fiscal third quarter results beating the year-ago results in both revenues and earnings. The company’s earnings got a boost from the acquisitions undertaken by ConAgra.
ConAgra’s earnings of 55 cents in the quarter were 7.8% more than the earnings recorded in the year-ago quarter, primarily led by an increase in revenue. Revenue for the quarter grew 13.4% to $3,850.5 million, due to acquisitions.
ConAgra acquired the U.S. based private label food manufacturer, Ralcorp Holdings Inc. in Jan, which contributed roughly $292.0 million in sales and $22.0 million of operating profits in the quarter. Thus, ConAgra expects that earnings from Ralcorp will meet its expectations of 5 cents in fiscal 2013 and 25 cents in fiscal 2014.
Moreover, ConAgra’s earnings are also expected to enhance in the long term due to its recent agreement with CHS Inc. and privately owned Cargill Inc. to set up a new joint venture (a flour milling company) called Ardent Mills. This mill, subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to be operational by the late calendar year 2013.
The stock has gained continuous momentum following the string of positive events over the past 2-3 months. This is the fourth new high ConAgra has achieved since March this year, following the highs on Mar 28, Mar 20 and Mar 14.
Other Stocks to Consider:
ConAgra currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other stocks worth a look in the food industry are Flowers Foods Inc. (FLO - Snapshot Report) ; carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and Kellogg Company (K - Analyst Report) , carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).