General Mills, Inc.
), a producer of branded consumer food recently reached a 52-week
high of $42.61 on Feb 7, 2013, on the back of strong second
General Mills' strong market share position in some leading food
categories, its growing international presence, strategic
acquisitions and focus on innovation and brand support, along
with the cost saving efforts are the drivers of the stock.
The company reported a strong second quarter fiscal 2013, beating
Zacks Consensus Estimates by 8.9%, on the back of recent
acquisitions, better-than-expected sales and profits in the U.S.
retail business and lower interest expenses and favorable
Revenues mostly benefited from acquisitions, mainly the
purchase of Brazilian food maker Yoki Alimentos (in August 2012)
and Yoplait Canada. The company has outpaced earnings estimates
in three out of the last four quarters.
The company upped its fiscal 2013 adjusted earnings guidance to a
range of $2.65-$2.67 from prior expectations of approximately
$2.65 a share. Both sales and operating profits are expected to
increase in the mid-single digit range.
Importantly, however, the guidance now includes the benefits
from the Yoki and Yoplait Canada acquisitions, which were
previously excluded from the outlook. The U.S. retail business is
expected to deliver low single-digit sales growth while operating
profit is expected to grow faster than sales.
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General Mills carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Other stocks worth a look in the industry are
Flowers Foods, Inc.
Inventure Foods, Inc.
J&J Snack Foods Corp.
), each holding a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).