ConAgra Foods Inc. Third Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component ConAgra Foods, Inc. (NYSE:CAG) will unveil its latest earnings on Thursday, March 22, 2012. 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 analyst estimate is for profit of 50 cents per share, no change from the company’s actual earnings for the year-ago quarter. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved down from 55 cents. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved down. It also has dropped from 51 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: Last quarter, the company topped expectations by 5 cents, coming in at profit of 47 cents per share versus a mean estimate of net income of 42 cents per share. This followed two straight quarters of missing estimates.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: On average, analysts predict $3.35 billion in revenue this quarter, a rise of 6.3% from the year-ago quarter. Analysts are forecasting total revenue of $13.18 billion for the year, a rise of 7.2% from last year’s revenue of $12.3 billion.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts seem relatively indifferent about ConAgra Foods with eight of 11 analysts surveyed maintaining a hold rating.

A Look Back: In the second quarter, profit fell 14.5% to $171.8 million (41 cents a share) from $200.9 million (45 cents a share) the year earlier, but exceeded analyst expectations. Revenue rose 7.7% to $3.4 billion from $3.16 billion.

Key Stats:

For four quarters in a row, revenue has increased. Revenue rose 9% in the first quarter from the year earlier, climbed 11.3% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year from the year-ago quarter and 1.9% in the third quarter of the last fiscal year.

In each of the last two quarters, the company’s net income has fallen. Net income dropped 41.7% in the first quarter.

Stock Price Performance: Between December 19, 2011 and March 16, 2012, the stock price rose $1.48 (5.9%), from $24.95 to $26.43. 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, increasing 3.2% (+79 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, dropping 7.7% (-$1.97) over that span.

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

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