ConAgra jumped 4% on Tuesday after beating Wall Street expectations for its fiscal second quarter. ConAgra reported a net income decline of 15% from the year-ago period. However, earnings of 47 cents per share, excluding one-time items, still were four cents higher than anticipated.
ConAgra saw a sales increase of 16% in its commercial foods segment, mostly on the strength of price hikes, and it also maintained current guidance for the fiscal year, with growth still expected in the low- to mid-single digits.
General Mills’ report wasn’t nearly as positive — net income fell 27%, with adjusted earnings of 76 cents per share coming in under Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S forecasts calling for 79 cents. CEO Don Mulligan said the acquisition of Yoplait took a toll on gross margins. The company did maintain guidance at EPS of $2.59 to $2.61. GIS shares dipped less than 1% on the news.
General Mills was in a minority of declining stocks Tuesday, as a better-than-expected report on U.S. housing starts sparked the markets to life, sending the Dow Jones up more than 335 points in a pre-Christmas rally that especially shone on the banking and tech sectors. Big winners included Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH, +9.23%) and Juniper Networks (NASDAQ:JNPR, +8.94%) as well as ING (NYSE:ING, +8.51%) and Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB, +7.96%).
CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS) rode both market positivity and upbeat expectations for 2012 to a nearly 9% climb Tuesday. CVS said its pharmacy benefits management business would end a two-year period of consecutive declines, and it updated its forecast for 2012 adjusted earnings per share to $3.15-$3.25, up 13% to 16% over last year. CVS also said it would boost its dividend by 30%, from 12.5 cents to 16.25 cents.
Also Tuesday, Japan announced it would buy 42 F-35 jets from American defense contractor Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT), which beat out Boeing (NYSE:BA) and a joint venture of EADS, Alenia Aeronautica and BAE Systems. News of the $7 billion deal sent LMT shares up more than 2% by Tuesday’s close.Three Up
As of this writing, Kyle Woodley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned stocks. Check out our list of previous IP Market Recaps.