ConAgra Surges on Good-News Bonanza

Shares of foods giant ConAgra (NYSE:CAG) were surging almost 8% Thursday morning after reporting earnings that more than doubled, an upbeat outlook and a freshened-up dividend.

For its fiscal first quarter, ConAgra earned $250 million (61 cents per share), or roughly 170% better than its $93.8 million (22 cents) earned a year ago. Backing out significant gains attributed to hedging strategies, acquisitions of Bertolli and P.F. Chang’s Home Menu frozen meals and other factors, earnings of 44 cents still beat Wall Street estimates of 35 cents.

Revenues gained 7% to $3.31 billion, also topping analyst estimates for $3.245 billion. The company saw improvements in both its consumer and commercial foods units.

ConAgra also improved its full-year guidance, expecting earnings to range from $2.03 to $2.06 per share, up from $1.95 to $1.99 per share.

Lastly, CAG announced it would increase its quarterly payout from 24 cents per share to 25 cents per share beginning in December. As of early Thursday prices, ConAgra would yield roughly 3.6%.

ConAgra’s results come a day after sectormate General Mills (NYSE:GIS) put out its own pleasing report.

— Kyle Woodley, InvestorPlace Assistant Editor

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