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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
June 18, 2014
11:26 EDTCAG, DF, SJM, THS, KRFTConAgra 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 22, 2014
10:09 EDTDFOn The Fly: Analyst Upgrade Summary
Today's noteworthy upgrades include: AOL (AOL) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Evercore... ARM Holdings (ARMH) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS... American Assets Trust (AAT) upgraded to Buy from Hold at MLV & Co.... American Midstream Partners (AMID) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Ladenburg... BancorpSouth (BXS) upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan... Chesapeake (CHK) upgraded at UBS... Chuy's (CHUY) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Stifel... Dean Foods (DF) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley... East West Bancorp (EWBC) upgraded at BMO Capital... El Paso Electric (EE) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Ladenburg... Generac (GNRC) upgraded to Buy from Hold at KeyBanc... Gold Fields (GFI) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at HSBC... Harmony Gold (HMY) upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at HSBC... Hess Corp. (HES) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at UBS... Hovnanian (HOV) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at JMP Securities... Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at BTIG... OMV AG (OMVKY) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse... Seaspan (SSW) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse... Sibanye Gold (SBGL) upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at HSBC... Smith & Nephew (SNN) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Barclays... Southwestern Energy (SWN) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Maxim... Steel Dynamics (STLD) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie... Steris (STE) upgraded to Strong Buy from Market Perform at Raymond James... Tesoro Logistics (TLLP) upgraded to Strong Buy from Outperform at Raymond James... Texas Instruments (TXN) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Bernstein... Twitter (TWTR) upgraded to Hold from Sell at Hudson Square... Vanguard Natural (VNR) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Wunderlich... Volaris (VLRS) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank... Wilshire Bancorp (WIBC) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Macquarie... Yahoo (YHOO) upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at FBR Capital.
06:24 EDTDFDean Foods upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley
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October 17, 2014
17:16 EDTSJMJ.M. Smucker authorizes 5M additional share repurchases
The Board increased the company's share repurchase authorization by 5M common shares. Therefore, the company has a total of approximately 10M common shares available for repurchase under its Board authorizations. Future share repurchases will occur at management's discretion, and there is no guarantee as to the exact number of shares that will be repurchased.
October 15, 2014
10:02 EDTTHSOn The Fly: Analyst Downgrade Summary
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07:29 EDTTHSTreeHouse Foods downgraded at KeyBanc
As previously reported, KeyBanc downgraded TreeHouse Foods (THS) to Underweight from Hold. The firm's checks indicate TreeHouse is losing shares within the private label single-serve beverage category to Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR). KeyBanc expects share losses to be more evident as "Keurig Brewed" private label product becomes more available at key retailers and partnerships are announced. The analyst lowered TreeHouse's FY15 EPS estimate to $4.08 from $4.24, vs. consensus of $4.30.
06:09 EDTTHSTreeHouse Foods downgraded to Underweight from Hold at KeyBanc
October 14, 2014
13:46 EDTCAGConAgra reaffirms guidance, sees Q2 EPS in-line with year ago
ConAgra Foods said it expects to affirm its previously announced FY15 guidance of diluted earnings per share to show a mid-single digit rate of growth over comparable FY14 when meeting with investors today. It adds the remaining EPS growth in FY15 is expected to occur in the second half of the fiscal year. Comparable EPS for Q2 is expected to be in line with year-ago amounts given the "strong comparable EPS performance" in the second quarter of last year. The company reaffirms its operating cash flow, debt reduction, and dividend guidance.
11:25 EDTCAGCargill to distribute certain ConAgra foods in Brazil
Cargill and ConAgra Foods are pleased to announce a partnership to bring the Huntís line of condiments and ACT II microwave popcorn to Brazil. In the past three years the condiments market has grown 4.5% a year; the main product in this category is tomato ketchup, which accounts for about 93% of this market. In Brazil, the microwave popcorn market has considerable growth potential as a result of strong sales of microwave ovens to the countryís new middle class in recent decades.

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