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5 Food Stocks to Whet Investor Appetite

3. Smithfield Foods (SFD), along with subsidiaries, produces and markets a range of fresh meat and packaged meat products in the domestic and international markets.

Smithfield Foods maintains a positive outlook for fiscal year 2011 and expects to report $5.22 billion revenue with $1.66 earnings per share. For the fourth quarter 2011, analysts polled by Bloomberg estimate earnings per share to come in at 71 cents as compared to 18 cents recorded in the year ago period. Meanwhile, revenue is forecasted at $3.1 billion as compared to $2.9 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Going forward, the company plans to increase its stake in the Spanish firm Compofrio Food Group from the existing 37% to 50% of $715 million. The acquisition would give Smithfield a controlling stake in the Compofrio Group, which recorded total revenue of $2.6 billion in 2010, secure its position as a leading global packaged meats company, and drive sales through innovation and marketing of value-added products.

The company recently sold its Dalhart hog production facility for $33 million, in a bid to shed non-core assets and reduce its exposure to the commodity business.

Of the 17 analysts covering the stock, 59% a hold, whereas the rest rate a buy on it. The stock has no sell ratings. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the stock to gain 17.6% upside to $26 in value from current levels.

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