Shares of Mondelez (MDLZ) - Get Mondelez International, Inc. Class A Report slid Wednesday, even as the foods company's third-quarter earnings beat analysts' expectations and the outlook strengthened.
Wall Street analysts focused on narrowed gross margin at the Deerfield, Ill., foods giant.
Mondelez earned $1.42 billion, or 98 cents a share, up from $1.19 billion, or 81 cents, in the year-earlier quarter.
Earnings per share adjusted for stock-based compensation and other special items hit 64 cents, up from 62 cents a share a year earlier and ahead of analysts' estimate of 60 cents.
Revenue registered $6.36 billion, up 1.1% from $6.29 billion a year earlier, and above analysts' forecast of $6.34 billion. Strength in emerging markets and higher prices helped drive the sales gain.
Given the results, the company now projects organic net revenue growth of more than 3.5% for all of 2019. In its second-quarter report it put this figure at 3%-plus.
And it pegs adjusted-EPS growth at 5% to 7% on a constant-currency basis. The earlier estimate was about 5%.
Mondelez stock traded at $52.19, down 1.2%.
Morningstar analyst Erin Lash struck a positive tone after the earnings report. "Mondelez's third-quarter results prove the merits of its strategic road map," she says.
"It's seeking to profitably grow sales by expanding the distribution of its fare, bolstering investments behind its local and global brands, and increasing the agility it employs to bring innovation to bear."
She puts the shares' fair value at $52 and rates them three stars, or fairly valued.
But she and three other analysts also noted that in the quarter gross-profit margin narrowed, particularly because of issues at the Brazil and Argentina operations.
They are Robert Moskow at Credit Suisse, who rates the stock outperform and trimmed his price target to $60 from $61; Dara Mohsenian at Morgan Stanley, who rates Mondelez overweight and pared the target to $60 from $62; and Ken Morgan at Morgan Stanley, who pegs it overweight with a $64 target.
This article is by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held a position in Mondelez.