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News Breaks
June 18, 2014
11:26 EDTSJM, KRFT, DF, THS, CAGConAgra 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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October 4, 2015
18:51 EDTCAGConAgra CEO targeting supply chain efficiency, WSJ says
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October 2, 2015
10:00 EDTTHSOn The Fly: Analyst Upgrade Summary
Today's noteworthy upgrades include: Alexion (ALXN) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley... BlackRock (BLK) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS... Dunkin' Brands (DNKN) upgraded to Outperform from Underperform at CLSA... EnPro (NPO) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Sidoti... Finish Line (FINL) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at Goldman... FutureFuel (FF) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Roth Capital... Google (GOOG) upgraded to Outperform from Perform at Oppenheimer... Johnson Controls (JCI) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Nomura... Kennametal (KMT) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at BofA/Merrill... Lufthansa (DLAKY) upgraded to Buy from Hold at HSBC... Martin Marietta (MLM) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Longbow... Northern Trust (NTRS) upgraded to Neutral from Sell at UBS... PMC-Sierra (PMCS) upgraded to Positive from Neutral at Susquehanna... Pfizer (PFE) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley... Realogy (RLGY) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citi... Sarepta (SRPT) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Wedbush... Summit Materials (SUM) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman... TreeHouse (THS) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill... Vertex (VRTX) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley.
08:01 EDTCAG, THSCiti likes TreeHouse with or without ConAgra unit deal
Citi analyst David Driscoll believes TreeHouse (THS) is a "compelling" investment with or without the acquisition of ConAgra's (CAG) $4B Private Brands unit. Investors are waiting to see if TreeHouse will acquire the unit, the analyst tells investors in a research note. Driscoll sees TreeHouse as the most logical buyer but sees "strong" organic growth for the company regardless. He keeps a Buy rating on TreeHouse with an $86 price target.
07:39 EDTTHSTreeHouse upgraded to Buy, revisions are over, says BofA/Merrill
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07:07 EDTTHSTreeHouse upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BofA/Merrill
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October 1, 2015
19:24 EDTCAGVornado leases 168,000 sq ft at theMART in Chicago to ConAgra
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08:00 EDTCAGConAgra says restructuring to result in elimination of approx. 1,500 jobs
07:34 EDTCAGConAgra relocates headquarters to Chicago
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07:34 EDTCAGConAgra announces $300M efficiency plan
ConAgra announced restructuring plans to improve profitability, advance its growth agenda and unlock shareholder value. ConAgra Foods expects to realize at least $300M of efficiency benefits within the next three years through a combination of reductions in SG&A and enhancements to trade spend processes and tools. Cost savings of approximately $200M are expected to be derived from a combination of lower headcount and non-headcount costs which will be achieved by aggressively embracing zero-based budgeting, simplifying organizational structure by increasing spans of control and reducing layers, and outsourcing technology and back office functions to improve scalability. Additionally, the company expects to realize approximately $100M of efficiency benefits from enhancements to trade spend processes and tools. The company expects the plan to provide a modest benefit to fiscal year 2016 earnings. More than half the savings are anticipated to be realized by the end of fiscal year 2017 with the balance achieved in fiscal year 2018. These savings are in addition to the approximately $150M in cost reductions achieved by the company over the past two years and are expected to enhance the company's cost-competitiveness, margins and agility, while also providing fuel for future brand-building and innovation initiatives. The restructuring is expected to result in the elimination of approximately 1,500 positions or approximately 30% of the company's global office-based workforce, and excludes any impact from the planned divestiture of the private label operations. Plant positions will not be eliminated in connection with this restructuring. ConAgra Foods estimates it will incur total non-recurring charges of approximately $345 million, substantially all of which are expected to be cash charges, over the next two to three years in connection with the restructuring.
September 30, 2015
07:44 EDTDFTyson Foods valuation multiples 'remain compressed,' says JPMorgan
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September 29, 2015
12:26 EDTCAGConAgra names David Biegger as Chief Supply Chain Officer
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September 28, 2015
15:57 EDTTHS, CAGConAgra private label unit bid on by TreeHouse, dealReporter says
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September 25, 2015
16:43 EDTSJMKKR no longer holds stake in Smucker, lost right to designate board observer
On September 21, The J. M. Smucker Company (SJM) entered into an underwriting agreement, dated as of September 21, with Blue Holdings and Morgan Stanley with respect to a registered underwritten public offering of 8.28M shares of the company's common shares, to be sold by the selling shareholder. The common shares sold by the selling shareholder represent 100% of the ownership interests attributable to affiliates of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR). The secondary offering was completed on September 25. Upon completion of the secondary offering, KKR ceased to be the beneficial owner of any of the common shares and lost its right to designate a board observer.
16:35 EDTCAGStocks end week lower as biotechs sink, Volkswagen crashes
Stocks ended the week lower after concerns about drug prices were reignited, sinking biotech stocks, an emissions scandal engulfed Volkswagen (VLKAY), dragging down shares of automakers and their suppliers, and Caterpillar (CAT) announced that it may eliminate as many as 10,000 jobs in the next three years as commodity prices continue to slump. MACRO NEWS: Following the Federal Reserve's decision last week to wait before raising rates, the central bank made a concerted effort to give the market more clarity this week. Over last weekend, three Federal Reserve officials - San Francisco Fed President John Williams, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker - all argued that an interest-rate increase is still warranted this year. Then, on Thursday night, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said during a speech at UMass Amherst that the central bank remains inclined to hike rates this year. Yellen's remarks were incrementally hawkish, but welcomed by the market, since they helped clarify the message the Fed delivered a week ago... In the U.S., Markit's flash manufacturing purchasing manager's index was flat at 53.0 in September, which was slightly better than the expectation for it to dip to 52.8. Durable goods orders for August declined 2.0%, versus expectations for a drop of 2.3%. When transportation items were removed, the core reading was breakeven, versus expectations for a rise of 0.1%. The third estimate of second quarter GDP showed the economy grew 3.9% quarter-over-quarter, versus expectations for the GDP growth estimate to stay at 3.7%. Personal consumption in Q2 is now believed to have grown 3.6%, up from the prior estimate of 3.1%. The final University of Michigan consumer sentiment reading for September came in at 87.2, which was down from August's 91.9 but above the expected 86.2 reading... The Asian Development Bank cut its growth forecast for the region, citing a weaker outlook for China and India and a delayed recovery in the world's advanced economies. The bank now sees the Chinese economy growing 6.8% this year and 6.7% next year, down from its previous forecasts of 7.2% and 7%, respectively. Markit's flash manufacturing PMI for China fell to 47.0 in September from 47.3 last month. Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unveiled new economic targets, including a goal for a 20% increase in the target size of the Japanese economy to 600T yen, though he gave no timeframe for achieving this aspiration... In Europe, Markit's composite PMI for the eurozone came in at 53.9 in the first look for September, down from 54.3 in August and below expectations for a reading of 54.1. COMPANY NEWS: Biotech stocks declined after privately-held Turing Pharmaceuticals made headlines by enacting a 5,000% price increase on its treatment for toxoplasmosis, reigniting a debate around drug prices that previously embroiled costly Hepatitis C drugs including AbbVie's (ABBV) Viekira Pak and Gilead's (GILD) Sovaldi and Harvoni. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sent the debate to center stage by criticizing the "outrageous" prices of specialty drugs and laying out a plan to tackle "price gouging" in the specialty drug market. The NASDAQ Biotechnology index fell roughly xxx% for the week amid the attention paid to Turing's drug and Clinton's response... Volkswagen (VLKAY) shares trading in New York fell sharply to begin the week and ended the week far from where they'd been last Friday before the EPA said it found manipulations that violate U.S. environmental standards while testing certain of the automaker's diesel cars. The EPA said Volkswagen may face civil penalties of $37,500 for each vehicle not in compliance with federal clean air rules, which could total as much as $18B, according to Reuters. In the wake of the scandal, Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn resigned, with the company's supervisory board subsequently praising the decision and selecting Matthias Mueller, the former head of Porsche (POAHY), as Winterkorn's successor as the company's new CEO... Caterpillar (CAT) shares dropped after the heavy machinery maker announced plans for job cuts and lowered its revenue guidance for this year and next. Caterpillar said that it would lay off 4,000-5,000 of its employees between now and the end of 2016 and could lay off up to 10,000 employees by 2018. Caterpillar cut its fiscal year 2015 revenue forecast by $1B and said its sees its fiscal year 2016 revenue to be 5% below this year, adding that it expects revenue declines in all three large segments next year... Online and mobile deal provider Groupon (GRPN) said it plans to cut 1,100 jobs relating primarily to the company's international operations... Nike jumped after the athletic gear giant reported better than expected earnings and futures orders, prompting numerous price target hikes and at least one upgrade at Street research firms. Among other companies reporting earnings this week, BlackBerry (BBRY), ConAgra (CAG), Carnival (CCL), and CarMax (KMX) fell immediately following their quarterly reports... Apple (AAPL), which has previously been reported to be working on an electric car via its "Project Titan," is speeding up those efforts and setting 2019 as a target to ship its first vehicle, according to The Wall Street Journal... Against the backdrop of China's President Xi Jinping visiting the U.S., Boeing (BA) announced deals to sell 300 planes to three Chinese companies and set up an aircraft factory in in the Asian nation, while Cisco (CSCO) announced a partnership with Chinese server maker Inspur Group... Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs (GS) Chairman and CEO, disclosed that he was diagnosed with lymphoma. "Fortunately, my form of lymphoma is highly curable and my doctors' and my own expectation is that I will be cured," Blankfein stated in an open letter that was shared by the bank... GoPro (GPRO) finished the week about xxx% lower after Barron's contended in a feature article last weekend that the company's stock could plunge another 30% to $25 as Apple, Sony (SNE) and others pressure the company's "one-hit wonder" products... On the M&A front, Atmel (ATML) agreed to be acquired by German chipmaker Dialog Semiconductor in a deal valued at roughly $4.6B and Starwood Waypoint (SWAY) announced a stock-for-stock merger agreement with Colony American Homes. INDEXES: The Dow lost about 0.43% to close at 16,314.67, the S&P 500 fell about 1.35% to close at 1,931.34, and the Nasdaq declined about 2.89% to close at 4,686.50.

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