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General Mills Shares Jump

General Mills has reiterated its full-year earnings guidance of $2.46 to $2.48 a share after reporting first-quarter earnings per share matching results from the year ago period; shares jump.
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(General Mills story updated with analyst commentary and stock price change)
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- General Mills (GIS) - Get Free Report reiterated its full-year earnings guidance of $2.46 to $2.48 a share, representing growth of 7% to 8% from adjusted earnings of $2.30 a share in fiscal 2010, after the company reported first-quarter adjusted per-share earnings that were flat with a year earlier.

Analysts have been forecasting earnings of $2.48 a share for General Mills' next fiscal year.

Shares of General Mills stock have risen following this news, up 3% to $36.74.

The company said the global operating environment remains "quite challenging."

First-quarter net earnings attributable to General Mills were $472.1 million, up 12.2% from $420.6 million, while earnings per share were 70 cents vs. 62 cents a year earlier. Excluding items affecting comparability, earnings totaled 64 cents a share, matching results in the year-ago period.

Advertising and media expense grew 8% in the quarter.

Net sales grew 1.5% to $3.53 billion. During the quarter, pound volume contributed 2 points of net sales growth, while foreign currency translation reduced net sales growth by 1 point.

The Wall Street consensus estimate for the company's first quarter was earnings of 63 cents a share on revenue of $3.57 billion.

General Mills repurchased 21 million shares of common stock for a total of $788 million in the quarter.

In an investor note, Stifel Nicolaus analyst Christopher Growe said "given the fears going into this quarter, we believe this performance should be good for the stock today." Growe reiterated his buy rating an $40 price target on the stock.

"In our opinion, General Mills continues to execute well in advantaged categories positioning the company well for strong growth over the next year, all else being equal."

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-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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