ConAgra Foods Inc. Second Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component ConAgra Foods, Inc. (NYSE:CAG) will unveil its latest earnings on Tuesday, December 20, 2011. ConAgra Foods supplies frozen potato products, as well as other food products, to restaurants and commercial customers.

ConAgra Foods, Inc. Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for profit of 43 cents per share, a decline of 4.4% from the company’s actual earnings for the same quarter a year ago. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved down from 46 cents. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved down. It has been unchanged at 43 cents during the last month. For the year, analysts are projecting net income of $1.79 per share, a rise of 2.3% from last year.

Past Earnings Performance: The company has missed estimates in the last two quarters. In the first quarter, it missed the mark by 2 cents as a result of reporting profit of 29 cents against an estimate of net income of 31 cents per share. In the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, the company fell short of forecasts by one cent.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: On average, analysts predict $3.32 billion in revenue this quarter, a rise of 5.1% from the year ago quarter. Analysts are forecasting total revenue of $12.98 billion for the year, a rise of 5.5% from last year’s revenue of $12.3 billion.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts seem relatively indifferent about ConAgra Foods with eight of 12 analysts surveyed maintaining a hold rating.

A Look Back: In the first quarter, profit fell 41.7% to $85.3 million (20 cents a share) from $146.4 million (33 cents a share) the year earlier, missing analyst expectations. Revenue rose 9% to $3.07 billion from $2.82 billion.

Key Stats:

Revenue has gone up for three straight quarters. It rose 11.3% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year from the year earlier and 1.9% in the third quarter of the last fiscal year.

The decrease in profit in the first quarter came after net income rose in the previous quarter. In the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, net income rose more than twofold.

Competitors to Watch: General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS), TreeHouse Foods Inc. (NYSE:THS), Lancaster Colony Corp. (NASDAQ:LANC), Kraft Foods Inc. (NYSE:KFT), J&J Snack Foods Corp. (NASDAQ:JJSF), Seneca Foods Corporation (NASDAQ:SENEB), The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAIN), H.J. Heinz Company (NYSE:HNZ), The J.M. Smucker Company (NYSE:SJM), and Ralcorp Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:RAH).

Stock Price Performance: During September 20, 2011 to December 14, 2011, the stock price had risen $2.49 (10.9%) from $22.77 to $25.26. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between November 1, 2011 and November 8, 2011 when shares rose for six-straight days, rising 3.2% (+80 cents) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between July 26, 2011 and August 4, 2011 when shares fell for eight-straight days, falling 7.7% (-$1.99) over that span. Shares are up $3.52 (+16.2%) year to date.

(Company fundamentals by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)

Investing Insights: Here’s Why Chipotle’s Stock Keeps Winning.