Conagra Brands Inc. reported fiscal first-quarter net income of $329.0 million, or 67 cents per share, up from $173.8 million, or 36 cents per share last year. Adjusted EPS of 70 cents blew past the FactSet consensus of 57 cents. Sales of $2.68 billion were up from $2.39 billion last year and ahead of the FactSet consensus of $2.61 billion. Sales rose across all segments, except foodservice, which fell 21.8% to $195 million. Conagra brands include Dunkin Hines, Hunt’s and Vlasic. “Now that customers have begun rebuilding inventories and we have increased production capacity in certain areas of our business, we are selectively increasing our marketing support for the businesses where capacity permits,” said Sean Connolly, chief executive of Conagra, in a statement. Conagra raised its quarterly dividend 29% to $0.275 per share of common stock to be paid on Dec. 2, 2020 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on Nov. 2, 2020. For fiscal second quarter so far, Conagra says it’s seeing increased demand across retail segments and continued COVID-19-related foodservice declines. For the quarter, Conagra expects organic net sales growth of 6% to 8% and adjusted EPS of 70 cents to 74 cents. The FactSet consensus is for sales of $2.94 billion, suggesting 4.2% growth, and EPS of 72 cents. Conagra stock edged up 0.3% in Thursday premarket trading, and has gained 4.3% for the year to date. The S&P 500 index is up 4.1% for 2020 to date.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.
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