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Hormel Profit Climbs

Shares rise 3%.

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Hormel Foods

(HRL) - Get Free Report

said its fourth-quarter profit rose 9.5% from the year-ago period, on improved sales.

The Austin, Minn.-based company earned $90 million, or 64 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $82.2 million, or 59 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 63 cents a share in the most recent quarter.

Fourth-quarter revenue rose 5.4% from a year ago to $1.56 billion as against analysts' expectation of $1.55 billion.

The company expects to earn 52 cents to 58 cents a share in the first quarter and $2.15 a share to $2.25 a share for the full year 2007. Analysts expect earnings of 51 cents a share for the first quarter and $2.19 a share for the full year.

"Heading into the fourth quarter, we were facing difficult comparisons because of the exceptional results delivered by Jennie-O Turkey Store last year. While our turkey business fell short of last year's results, the strength of our other businesses more than offset the shortfall. Our strategy to create a faster-growing, better-balanced and more diversified business continues to deliver results," the company said.

Shares rose $1.15 to $37.84.

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