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ConAgra Bumps Up Guidance

The food company cites a strong performance from its commodity-trading business.
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ConAgra

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boosted its earnings projection for the current fiscal year, citing better-than-expected results from its trading and merchandising segment.

For fiscal 2007, which ends this month, the packaged-food maker now expects earnings to be above its prior forecast of $1.28 to $1.33 a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial have an average estimate for earnings of $1.34 a share.

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ConAgra, the maker of products such as Chef Boyardee pasta and Hebrew National hot dogs, said its trading and merchandising division had a stronger-than-anticipated performance in the fourth quarter.

Trading and merchandising is a volatile business for the company, separate from its core food operations, that relates to trading agricultural and energy commodities.

Shares of ConAgra were rising 83 cents, or 3.2%, to $26.50 in after-hours trading.