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General Mills


is turning a neat trick for its fiscal third quarter. The food giant said it expects to beat the 14-broker

First Call/Thomson Financial

estimate for earnings of 36 cents a share. How? Most estimates take into account costs stemming from the company's planned acquisition of Pillsbury.

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Well, the Pillsbury acquisition hasn't closed, and therefore, "third quarter diluted

earnings per share will be significantly above that consensus estimate," the company said. The quarter ends Feb. 25.

General Mills is buying Pillsbury from