A fter a few rocky quarters, earnings growth is heating up again forCampbell Soup ( CPB ). On Tuesday, Campbell delivered earnings of 95 cents a share for its fiscal Q1 of 2016 -- up 22% from a year earlier and the firm's biggest gain in three years. In the four quarters prior, profit went from falling 13% to rising 18%.
Q1's sales, however, were down 2% to $2.20 billion, hurt in part by currency headwinds. Campbell's top line has now fallen for four straight periods. Revenue was higher in only one of its three operating segments. Sales at its Campbell Fresh division, which includes juices, smoothies, dips, salsas and refrigerated soups, rose 8%. But sales at its Americas Simple Meals and Beverages and its Global Biscuits and Snacks units fell 2% and 6%, respectively.
For its full fiscal 2016, Campbell expects sales to be flat to down 1% due to currency translations. Previously, the company expected sales to be flat to up 1%. Adjusted earnings are slated to rise 4%-7%, or to $2.75-$2.83 a share. Current consensus estimates call for $2.63 a share, up 5%.
Earlier this month, Campbell declared a quarterly dividend of 31.2 cents a share to be paid Feb. 1 to shareholders of record Jan. 11. It last announced a dividend hike in September 2013. Campbell, which was founded in 1869, has paid shareholders dividends since going public in 1954.
On an annual basis, Campbell pays nearly $1.25 a share, which works out to a yield of about 2.4%. Its yield is on the lower end of the 17 companies in the Food-Packaged industry group that do pay dividends.B&G Foods ( BGS ) andKraft Heinz ( KHC ) have the highest yields at around 3.8% and 3.1%, respectively.
On Tuesday, the stock gapped above its 50-day line and edged past a 52.47 buy point from a flat base intraday but lost some steam by the close. It gave a better showing Wednesday and touched its highest levels since January 1999.