General Mills Inc. Second Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) will unveil its latest earnings on Tuesday, December 20, 2011. General Mills is a manufacturer and marketer of branded consumer foods sold through retail stores. It also supplies branded and unbranded food products to the food service and commercial baking industries.

General Mills, Inc. Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average estimate of analysts is for net income of 79 cents per share, a rise of 3.9% 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 80 cents. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved down. It has been unchanged at 79 cents during the last month. Analysts are projecting profit to rise by 5.2% versus last year to $2.61.

Past Earnings Performance: The company topped forecasts last quarter after being in line with estimates the quarter prior. In the first quarter, it reported profit of 64 cents per share versus a mean estimate of 62 cents. Two quarters ago, it reported net income of 52 cents per share.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: Analysts are projecting a rise of 13% in revenue from the year-earlier quarter to $4.6 billion.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts are bullish on this stock with 10 analysts rating it as a buy, one rating it as a sell and six rating it as a hold.

A Look Back: In the first quarter, profit fell 14.1% to $405.6 million (61 cents a share) from $472.1 million (70 cents a share) the year earlier, but exceeded analyst expectations. Revenue rose 8.9% to $3.85 billion from $3.53 billion.

Key Stats:

The decrease in profit in the first quarter broke a streak of three consecutive quarters of year-over-year profit increases. Net income rose 51.1% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, 17.9% in the third quarter of the last fiscal year and 8.6% in the second quarter of the last fiscal year.

Revenue has gone up for three straight quarters. It rose 1.8% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year from the year earlier and 0.5% in the third quarter of the last fiscal year.

Competitors to Watch: Ralcorp Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:RAH), Kellogg Company (NYSE:K), Kraft Foods Inc. (NYSE:KFT), ConAgra Foods, Inc. (NYSE:CAG), Diamond Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ:DMND), The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAIN), The Hershey Company (NYSE:HSY), Nestle SA Reg Shs. Ser. B Spons (NSRGY), TreeHouse Foods Inc. (NYSE:THS), Slancho AD Svishtov (SLR), and Pepsico Inc (NYSE:PEP).

Stock Price Performance: During September 20, 2011 to December 14, 2011, the stock price had risen $2.54 (6.8%) from $37.19 to $39.73. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between October 3, 2011 and October 11, 2011 when shares rose for seven-straight days, rising 6% (+$2.26) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between January 20, 2011 and February 1, 2011 when shares fell for nine-straight days, falling 6.8% (-$2.46) over that span. Shares are up $5.25 (+15.2%) year to date.

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

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