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ConAgra Rated 'Delicious' as Profits Widen

Besides, from an operational standpoint, management has met or beaten its targets where it matters the most. Despite a 4% decline in second-quarter volume, management still grew operating income by 9% -- helped by better cost management, as evidenced by the 13% reduction in corporate expenses. So while concerns about organic growth many linger, it's broadly overdone. And I think upcoming earnings will reflect this.


The company will announce fiscal third-quarter results April 3 before the market opens. The Street is looking for earnings of 57 cents per share on revenue of $3.88 billion. With four consecutive quarters of beating analysts' estimates, investors should expect another solid report. To what extent there's organic growth improvement remains to be seen. But it won't matter if the share price goes up.

Bottom Line

It's hard not to like the long-term direction of the company. However, if there is a risk here, it's the fact that the Street loves this company a bit too much. In other words, given that the stock is already at its 52-week high, ConAgra is already expected to do great things. That said, relative to Heinz (HNZ), which still trades at a premium to ConAgra, there is still quite a bit of value here.

At the time of publication, the author held no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Richard Saintvilus is a private investor with an information technology and engineering background and the founder and producer of the investor Web site Saint's Sense. He has been investing and trading for over 15 years. He employs conservative strategies in assessing equities and appraising value while minimizing downside risk. His decisions are based in part on management, growth prospects, return on equity and price-to-earnings as well as macroeconomic factors. He is an investor who seeks opportunities whether on the long or short side and believes in changing positions as information changes.
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