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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
June 26, 2014
09:50 EDTCAGConAgra sees Consumer Foods' volumes getting sequentially better in FY15
says FY14 "not what we wanted." Says has started making changes to Healthy Choice, Chef Boyardee, Orville Redenbacher to improve performance, sees better overall performance on top and bottom line from this trio in FY15. Says has discontinued a number of Healthy Choice slow-moving SKUs, sees better volume performance for brand in Q2. Says eliminating easy open lid on Chef Boyardee cans "was a mistake." Expects profit to improve in Private Brands in FY15. Sees margins improving beginning in 2H. Says has begun closure of three plants as part of network optimization plan. Says profit performance for Private Brands will not be as strong as originally expected for the next several years. Sees upside coming from international foods business. Says has "rewired" organization to get sharper and faster in execution. Says should generate $300M by FY17 from the Ralcorp transaction. Regarding Ralcorp, says "We knew there would be work to do," but says "underestimated the degree of difficulty and the amount of time it would take." Says committed to saving $100M in SG&A costs by end of FY16, projects to be ahead of schedule in FY15. Comments made on the Q4 earnings conference call.
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July 1, 2015
06:38 EDTCAGConAgra upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at BofA/Merrill
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June 30, 2015
13:50 EDTCAGTreeHouse tie-up with Ralcorp could be accretive by over $1 to EPS, says BB&T
BB&T noted that it has expected ConAgra (CAG) to announce plans to exit its private label business for some time and repeated its view that TreeHouse (THS) would be a logical buyer. The firm believes that a potential tie-up with Ralcorp could be accretive by "well over" $1 to TreeHouse EPS if synergies are as large as expected, but noted that its price target and rating on the stock are under review following today's rally in the stock. BB&T has a Buy rating and $86 price target on TreeHouse Foods.
12:57 EDTCAGOn The Fly: Top stock stories at midday
Stocks on Wall Street were mixed at midday as headlines about Greece once again dominate the news flow. Hopes that Greece may still reach a last-minute deal with its creditors were attributed for the market's early bounce, though optimism and the averages have been dropping as the day continues. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., Case-Shiller 20-city composite home price index for April rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.3% month over month, versus the consensus forecast for an increase of 0.8%. The Chicago PMI jumped 3.2 points to 49.4 in June, though that was below the expected reading of 50.0. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index rose to 101.4 in June from a revised 94.6 reading for May, beating expectations for a reading of 97.4. In Europe, Greece's government submitted a proposal for a deal with the eurozone bailout fund to cover its debt repayments due between 2015 and 2017. Jeroen Dijsselbloem said eurozone finance ministers will discuss the Greek request in a conference call tonight, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly said that no new negotiations should take place before Greek holds its scheduled referendum. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of Pentair (PNR) advanced 5.5% after activist investor Nelson Peltz's Trian Group confirmed it has taken a 7.24% stake in the company. Trian noted it has met with the company’s senior management and communicated its view that the company can create significant value for its shareholders by facilitating "prudent industry consolidation" through accretive mergers and acquisitions as well as by making other changes, such as communicating its results as "cash" EPS... Another company in the sights of an activist, ConAgra (CAG), rose 1.5% after reporting first quarter results that were roughly in-line with expectations while also announcing that plans to exit Private Brands operations. ConAgra CEO Sean Connolly said during the associated call that he wants "constructive conversation" with Jana Partners, which reported earlier this month that it has taken a 7.2% stake in the packaged foods company and is prepared to seek three ConAgra board seats, if necessary, to help the board evaluate and address opportunities for shareholder value creation. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Juno Therapeutics (JUNO), which jumped 19% after the company announced a ten-year global collaboration for the development and commercialization of immunotherapies with Celgene (CELG). As part of the deal, Celgene will make an initial payment of approximately $1B, which includes the purchase of approximately 9.1M shares of Juno stock at $93 per share. Also higher was TreeHouse Foods (THS), which gained 9% after peer ConAgra announced plans to exit its private brands operations. Among the noteworthy losers was Apollo Education (APOL), which dropped 16.5% and was downgraded at Bank of America Merrill Lynch after the for-profit education company reported higher than expected Q3 earnings but lowered its fiscal 2015 guidance. Also lower were shares of Tuesday Morning (TUES), which fell 13% after announcing that its CFO Jeffrey Boyer has resigned his position to take the same role with Pier 1 Imports (PIR). INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was down 3.77, or 0.02%, to 17,592.58, the Nasdaq was up 11.24, or 0.23%, to 4,969.71, and the S&P 500 was flat near 2,057.81.
10:50 EDTCAGTreeHouse, Post rise after ConAgra plans exit from private brands
Two food companies, TreeHouse Foods (THS) and Post Holdings (POST), are trading higher after peer ConAgra (CAG) announced plans to exit its private brands operations. According to a Reuters report from earlier, KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Akshay Jagdale mentioned in a note that TreeHouse and Post could be potential acquirers of the ConAgra division. Shares of Post Holdings rose 2.8% and Treehouse Foods advanced 9% in morning trading.
10:18 EDTCAGConAgra CEO says he wants 'constructive conversation' with Jana
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10:04 EDTCAGConAgra expects additional divestitures as it refines asset mix
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09:59 EDTCAGConAgra says SG&A and paying down debt will always be company priority
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09:41 EDTCAGConAgra 'not in position' to give comparable FY16 EPS due to divestiture
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07:35 EDTCAGConAgra says to take 'more aggressive approach' to cost reduction
Sees "prudent" divestitures and acquisitions.
07:34 EDTCAGConAgra sees Q1 adjusted EPS 'roughly in line' with year-ago
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07:34 EDTCAGConAgra reports Q4 Consumer Foods segment sales approx. $1.9B
Sales for the Commercial Foods segment were $1.2B and operating profit was $154M, as reported, ahead of prior year amounts. Sales for the Private Brands segment were $1B, down slightly. The company estimates that the extra week favorably impacted sales and volume by approximately 7%.
07:32 EDTCAGConAgra sees Q1 'unaffected by outcome' of Private Brands review
The company will offer details on full-year fiscal 2016 expected EPS, as well as long-term financial guidance, at an investor event likely to be scheduled for the fall of 2015. This event will be scheduled after the company completes its assessment of strategic alternatives for the Private Brands operations, and determines SG&A reduction targets and investment needs for the remainder of the company. With regard to first quarter of fiscal 2016, which the company expects to be unaffected by the outcome of the review of strategic alternatives for the Private Brands operations, the company expects EPS, adjusted for items impacting comparability, to be roughly in line with comparable year-ago amounts. With regard to plans for the rest of the company, the company’s new focus will be on: Productivity, notably within SG&A, but also in terms of supply chain and trade spending. The company sees significant margin potential through these initiatives. Driving profitable growth in the Consumer Foods segment and at Lamb Weston potato operations -- within the Commercial Foods segment. This will involve further portfolio segmentation, and investing behind the highest-potential categories in a disciplined manner. Investment may include marketing, infrastructure, innovation, and acquired businesses. The company expects some additional divestitures as it continues to refine the asset mix. Balanced capital allocation that includes growing the dividend over time, increasing share repurchases, and having an investment-grade balance sheet. Financial expectations and operating details regarding the above will be shared as part of the investor event later this year.
07:32 EDTCAGConAgra plans to exit Private Brands operations
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07:31 EDTCAGConAgra reports Q4 adjusted EPS 59c, consensus 59c
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June 29, 2015
13:56 EDTCAGConAgra technical comments ahead of earnings
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12:59 EDTCAGConAgra July volatility increases into Q4 and outlook
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06:36 EDTCAGConAgra CEO Connolly to discuss strategy at earnings conference call, WSJ says
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June 26, 2015
07:25 EDTCAGConAgra July volatility elevated into Q4 and outlook
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June 22, 2015
10:00 EDTCAGOn The Fly: Analyst Upgrade Summary
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07:38 EDTCAGConAgra upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
JPMorgan upgraded ConAgra to Overweight citing an attractive risk/reward profile following the activist stake by JANA Partners. The firm is confident the company will undergo changes, which it believes could include a breakup. It raised its price target for shares to $52 from $39.
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