ConAgra Foods , the parent of such familiar brand names as Healthy Choice and Hunt's, visited the earnings confessional earlier this morning. The firm's first-quarter net income rose about 5% to $175.4 million, or 36 cents per share, topping year-ago results of $166.7 million. Excluding all items, including restructuring charges, CAG would have banked 34 cents per share, a nickel above Wall Street's consensus estimate.
Revenue rose 9.9% during the latest reporting period to $2.96 billion, above analysts' sales outlook of $2.79 billion. Sales for consumer foods - CAG's largest division - rose 3% to $1.57 billion. Excluding the Peter Pan peanut-butter recall that occurred earlier this year, sales would have been 6% higher. Food and ingredients revenue rose 11%.
Looking ahead, ConAgra reiterated its fiscal 2008 outlook originally vocalized in June. Estimates are in-line with Wall Street's view of $1.48 per share.
Out of the gate, the stock is little changed, though it has moved higher this week after a test of support at its colliding 10-week and 20-week moving averages. CAG is coming up on the 27 level, which has acted as powerful resistance this year. The shares have been unable to make a solid break through this threshold since early 2005, when the 27 mark was initially breached. The stock is trading, however, above the 25 strike, which is home to peak call open interest in the September, October, and December series.