Conagra Brands (CAG) Given Buy Rating at Jefferies Group
“CAG’s 3Q EBIT was slightly below consensus & 2018 EBIT guidance was unchanged. Results/guidance is much better than feared especially considering the significant guide down by GIS yesterday. Sales were generally in-line despite greater than expected retailer inventory reductions, which is encouraging. Gross margins were lower than expected driven by higher input costs and growth-related investments both of which we view as transitory. FY18 EPS guidance raised and implies 4Q sales and EBIT above consensus. EPS guidance was raised to a range of $2.03 to $2.05 from a range of $1.95 to $2.02. Sales and margin guidance is unchanged and previous guidance already included the benefit from tax reform. Interest expense is coming in well below initial guidance and points to strong cash flow generation. Relative to consensus, new guidance implies 4Q18 sales 4% above, EBIT 2% above and EPS 18% above.”,” the firm’s analyst wrote.
Other analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Conagra Brands from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $40.00 price target on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, November 22nd. UBS raised shares of Conagra Brands from a sell rating to a neutral rating and boosted their price target for the company from $33.00 to $37.00 in a research report on Tuesday, December 12th. Stifel Nicolaus boosted their price target on shares of Conagra Brands from $38.00 to $42.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Saturday, December 30th. Sanford C. Bernstein raised shares of Conagra Brands from an underperform rating to a market perform rating in a research report on Thursday, December 14th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group set a $40.00 price target on shares of Conagra Brands and gave the company a hold rating in a research report on Monday, December 25th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and six have issued a buy rating to the company. Conagra Brands currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $41.67.
Conagra Brands (NYSE:CAG) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, March 22nd. The company reported $0.61 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.56 by $0.05. The business had revenue of $1.99 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $2 billion. Conagra Brands had a net margin of 9.04% and a return on equity of 19.58%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up .7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.48 earnings per share. analysts expect that Conagra Brands will post 1.98 earnings per share for the current year.
In related news, Director Joie A. Gregor sold 5,250 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, December 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $38.04, for a total transaction of $199,710.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Also, SVP Robert G. Wise sold 23,170 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, January 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $37.87, for a total transaction of $877,447.90. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 51,859 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,963,900.33. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 33,670 shares of company stock valued at $1,276,868. 0.79% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
A number of hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Bank of New York Mellon Corp grew its stake in Conagra Brands by 19.5% in the 4th quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 9,376,444 shares of the company’s stock worth $353,210,000 after buying an additional 1,528,107 shares in the last quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC grew its stake in Conagra Brands by 4.6% in the 4th quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 5,120,436 shares of the company’s stock worth $192,547,000 after buying an additional 225,403 shares in the last quarter. Valueinvest Asset Management S.A. grew its stake in Conagra Brands by 3.3% in the 4th quarter. Valueinvest Asset Management S.A. now owns 4,742,450 shares of the company’s stock worth $178,648,000 after buying an additional 151,300 shares in the last quarter. Jennison Associates LLC grew its stake in Conagra Brands by 1.4% in the 4th quarter. Jennison Associates LLC now owns 3,604,098 shares of the company’s stock worth $135,766,000 after buying an additional 50,034 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Teachers Advisors LLC grew its stake in Conagra Brands by 0.8% in the 4th quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 3,127,997 shares of the company’s stock worth $117,832,000 after buying an additional 26,304 shares in the last quarter. 79.87% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
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About Conagra Brands
Conagra Brands, Inc, formerly ConAgra Foods, Inc, operates as a packaged food company. The Company operates through two segments: Consumer Foods and Commercial Foods. The Company sells branded and customized food products, as well as commercially branded foods. It also supplies vegetable, spice and grain products to a range of restaurants, foodservice operators and commercial customers.
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