NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of ConAgra (CAG - Get Report) were gaining in mid-morning trading on Friday as the stock's rating was raised to "outperform" from "sector perform" at RBC Capital Markets.
The firm also upped its price target to $54 from $50 on shares of the Chicago-based packaged food company.
RBC said the upgrade is based on ConAgra's new pure-play consumer focus, margin opportunities and possible M&A upside.
Additionally, if the company's Lamb Weston frozen potato unit is successfully spun off in November, "the new ConAgra would have considerable flexibility to significantly transform its portfolio," the firm said.
"In our view, ConAgra's lack of shareholder protection, pure-play aspirations, and a projected low level of leverage post-spin all point to a major acquisition near term," RBC noted.
The firm added that branded food company Pinnacle Foods (PF) could be a likely acquisition target.
"We believe ConAgra and Pinnacle synergies would be among the highest in U.S. food," RBC noted.
Separately, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author.
TheStreet Ratings rated this stock as a "buy" with a ratings score of B+.
The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share and compelling growth in net income. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.
You can view the full analysis from the report here: CAG