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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
June 18, 2014
11:26 EDTTHS, CAG, SJM, KRFT, DFConAgra sinks after cutting EPS outlook for Q4
Shares of packaged foods company ConAgra (CAG) are sinking after the company lowered its fourth quarter adjusted earnings per share outlook below prior expectations. WHAT'S NEW: This morning, ConAgra cut its Q4 adjusted EPS view to approximately 55c compared to its prior view of slightly in excess of 60c per share. The consensus forecast of analysts for Q4 EPS prior to the report was 62c. The lower-than-expected comparable EPS is largely the result of a 7% quarterly volume decline for the Consumer Foods segment, as well as weak profits for the Private Brands segment. Gary Rodkin, CEO of ConAgra Foods, commented," We are disappointed with the Consumer Foods volume performance, which negatively impacted comparable EPS. As we have communicated, we are in the process of improving product mix and promotion strategies in the Consumer Foods segment for better results and greater effectiveness, and we expect our volume performance to improve in fiscal 2015 as a result of this. Given the profit challenges in our Private Brands segment, we are also focused on margin improvement initiatives to offset the impact of pricing concessions. Even though our earnings are below expectations, we exceeded our fiscal 2014 operating cash flow and debt reduction targets." WHAT'S NOTABLE: For FY15, the company expects a year of "'stabilization and recovery" that delivers mid-single-digit comparable EPS growth. The company expects that comparable EPS growth in fiscal 2016 and 2017 will accelerate to a high-single-digit rate as the company benefits from stronger underlying operations, generates sizable productivity and administrative savings and continues to realize substantial synergies from the Ralcorp transaction. The company, which remains committed to a strong dividend policy in the future, plans to continue its current $1.00 per share annual dividend payment. ConAgra said its current profit projections for the Private Brands segment are below original plans for the next several years. ANALYST REACTION: This morning, KeyBanc downgraded ConAgra to Hold from Buy. PRICE ACTION: In late morning trading, ConAgra fell $2.25, or about 7%, to $30.60 on nearly twice its average daily trading volume. Including today's pull back, the stock is down approximately 11% over the past 12 months. OTHERS TO WATCH: Shares of ConAgra peer Dean Foods (DF) are down about 2%, while Kraft Foods (KRFT) is down modestly. The J.M. Smucker Company (SJM) is virtually unchanged and TreeHouse Foods (THS) is down over 1.3%.
News For CAG;DF;SJM;THS;KRFT From The Last 14 Days
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May 28, 2015
18:17 EDTTHSAmazon plans to offer its own brand of grocery items, WSJ says
Amazon (AMZN) plans to expand its private-label Element brand to include grocery items such as cereal, baby food, and milk, reports The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter. The Journal notes that earlier this month, the company applied for trademarks for over 24 categories under the Elements brand, including water, pasta, coffee, and soup. Sources said Amazon has approached certain private-label food makers -- including TreeHouse Foods (THS) -- regarding partnerships. Reference Link
11:47 EDTTHSTreeHouse management to meet with William Blair
Meetings to be held in Canada June 2-3 hosted by William Blair.
07:29 EDTTHSCitigroup to hold a conference
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May 27, 2015
16:13 EDTSJMDunkin' Brands, J.M. Smucker and Keurig Green Mountain launch K-Cup pod
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May 26, 2015
20:51 EDTTHSCitigroup to hold a conference
Global Consumer Conference is being held in New York on May 27-28.
May 20, 2015
14:48 EDTDFDean Foods CEO says milk prices should stay 'pretty benign'
Gregg Tanner is speaking on CNBC.
12:01 EDTCAGConAgra announces resolution related to 2007 voluntary peanut butter recall
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08:18 EDTKRFTKeurig Green Mountain downgraded at Argus on 2.0 brewer challenges
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May 19, 2015
12:47 EDTKRFTEarnings Watch: Target sees FY15 adjusted EPS $4.45-$4.65, 2%-3% sales growth
Target (TGT) is scheduled to report first quarter results before the market open on Wednesday, May 20, with a conference call scheduled for 10:30 am ET. Target offers merchandise at discounted prices through its retail stores and online business. EXPECTATIONS: Analysts are looking for earnings per share of $1.03 on revenue of $17.09B, according to First Call. The consensus range for EPS is 85c-$1.09 on revenue of $16.98B-$17.25B. LAST QUARTER: Target reported fourth quarter adjusted EPS of $1.50 on revenue of $21.75B, beating analysts' estimates for $1.46 and $21.63B, respectively. The company said comparable sales increased 3.8% in Q4, reflecting a 3.2% increase in comparable transactions. Target said digital channel sales contributed 0.9 percentage points to SSS growth. Target forecast Q1 adjusted EPS 95c-$1.05, SSS up about 2% and said its top priority is to drive digital sales growth. The company said it could be in a position to revisit stock buybacks later this year and noted that its workers' wages are "competitive." NEWS: At its Financial Community Meeting on March 3, Target forecast fiscal year 2015 adjusted EPS $4.45-$4.65, against estimates at that time for $4.50, on sales growth of 2%-3% for the fiscal year. The company also forecast 10% annual EPS growth for 2016 and beyond, as well as 5%-10% annual dividend growth. Target forecast $2B in savings in expenses and cost of goods over the next two years and 9.5%-10% EBITDA margins over the next five years. As for share repurchases, Target sees $2B this year, and said it continues to support the dividend and repurchase "billions." Looking to FY15, Target forecast FY15 capital expenditures of $2.1B and sees expected CapEx of $2B-$2.5B over the next five years. Target said its gross margin rate of 29.5% is "achievable." Target said it would focus on categories including style, baby, kids and wellness. As part of its $2B cost savings plan, Target said it will cut "several thousand jobs." Target said in a filing that on March 10, the company notified approximately 1,700 employees whose employment will be terminated as part of an overall plan to transform Targetís business. The company said it expects to incur severance costs of $10M. During the quarter, Target said it planned to raise its minimum pay for all workers to at least $9 an hour starting in April, according to The Wall Street Journal, and agreed to pay $10M to settle a class action lawsuit related to its 2013 data breach, Reuters reported. Target reached a settlement with MasterCard (MA) to resolve claims by MasterCard and its issuers related to the retailerís 2013 data breach. Under the agreement, Target will make available up to $19M in alternative recovery offers to eligible banks and credit unions across the globe. Target Canada said it would close the last 133 retail stores by April 12. Target also announced plans to sell its Target Commercial Interiors subsidiary to Omni Workspace. The retailer launched the Lilly Pulitzer for Target collection in April, which rendered its website inaccessible for short time after it was overwhelmed by customer traffic, The WSJ said. The WSJ also reported that, according to sources, Target gave notice to Campbell Soup (CPB), General Mills (GIS), Kellogg (K), Kraft Foods (KRFT) and others that it will reduce their presence in Target circulars and in-store advertisements. STREET RESEARCH: Following Target's analyst meeting, Wells Fargo said it thinks the company's operating plan sets the stage for the company to potentially beat expectations in 2015 and beyond. The firm believes that"outsized digital growth" or new products could enable Target's results to beat expectations. Piper Jaffray views Target's long term earnings algorithm, which is based on a 1% store comp and 40% growth in digital sales annually, as realistic and the company's capital deployment as encouraging. BofA/Merrill upgraded Target to Buy from Neutral in April and increased its price target to $92 from $86. The firm believes Target is well positioned to benefit from an improving middle-income core customer base. The firm said customers are responding well to improved assortment and merchandising and expects Target to continue to see increased spending at stores and online as customers trade-up to more expensive items. PRICE ACTION: Target shares are up over 1.6% over the past three months. In early afternoon trading ahead of Wednesday's earnings report, shares are down 0.51% to $77.96.
May 17, 2015
19:11 EDTKRFTTarget to reduce advertising space for certain large brands, WSJ says
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May 15, 2015
12:13 EDTSJMThird Point gives quarterly update on stakes
NEW STAKES: Yum! Brands (YUM), NXP Semiconductors (NXPI), FedEx (FDX), McKesson (MCK), and J M Smucker (SJM). INCREASED STAKES: Actavis (ACT), Roper Technologies (ROP), Delta Air Lines (DAL), and FleetCor Technologies (FLT). DECREASED STAKES: Ally Financial (ALLY), Amgen (AMGN), Phillips 66 (PSX), eBay (EBAY), and Anheuser Busch Inbev SA (BUD). LIQUIDATED STAKES: Alibaba Group (BABA), Citigroup (C), EMC Corporation (EMC), Anglo American (AAL), and Williams Companies (WMB).

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