ConAgra Foods (NYSE: CAG) issued Q1 numbers on Tuesday. The market wasn't too impressed by them, but they weren't bad, actually. Net sales were lackluster, I'll admit. They dropped about 3%. Earnings per share from continuing operations, on the other hand, really shined. They increased well over 60% to 38 cents. Net income from continuing operations on a dollar basis soared over 50%.
Even better, that 38-cents-per-share statistic was firmly ahead of Wall Street expectations. According to our earnings preview, analysts were looking for 34 cents per share.
Management said that it was off to a strong start to the fiscal year. I agree, actually. Obviously earnings releases are full of empty statements like that, but I thought the bottom-line profit growth was more than acceptable. Sales and volumes do need to be worked on, but shareholders should read the note regarding an accident at a Slim Jim plant. This did exert a slight negative effect. However, even with that taken into account, management should work harder to promote its brands.
If you're a long-term investor of ConAgra, you've got nothing to worry about, in my humble opinion. The company's products command a fair amount of consumer respect. Besides Slim Jim, ConAgra markets high-profile items such as Healthy Choice and Chef Boyardee. Like Kraft (NYSE: KFT) and Campbell Soup (NYSE: CPB), ConAgra owns some valuable trademarks.
As for trading concerns, ConAgra appears as if it will be heading higher. It's near a 52-week high, and the current dividend yield is attractive. Furthermore, this might be the kind of equity investors will stock up on (no pun intended) if we start to experience a correction. ConAgra lost roughly 1.5% of its value yesterday. Not such a big deal from my perspective. I still see upward momentum to the shares. As always, perform your own due diligence before investing.
Disclosure: I don't own any company mentioned; positions can change without notice.