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Food Stocks Lined Up for Earnings This Week: CPB, HRL, FLO

The Q1 earnings season is on the verge of closure, with reports for 91.8% of the S&P 500 companies already out as of Friday the 13th (per the latest Zacks Earnings Trend). The outcome of the Q1 season is pretty clear and surprisingly positive, as a major chunk of these companies delivered earnings beat. The higher beat ratio in the quarter was primarily a result of a substantial fall in estimates to easy-to-beat levels in the early part of the earnings cycle, owing to the global macroeconomic concerns.

Among the 16 Zacks sectors, the Consumer Staples sector looks attractive as it is expected to witness 2.5% earnings growth in Q1. Though revenue is anticipated to slide 4.1%, it marks an improvement from a 7.9% slump witnessed in the preceding quarter.

Per the latest report, out of 87.5% of the S&P 500 Consumer Staple stocks that have reported results so far, 85.7% beat earnings and 67.9% surpassed revenue estimates. Also, 2.2% of these companies saw their earnings improve year over year, while 5.5% recorded a slowdown in revenues, primarily on account of the foreign currency fluctuations.

Within the Consumer Staples, the food industry saw biggies like Kellogg Company K, The Hershey Company HSY and Dean Foods Company DF post better-than-expected earnings, backed by robust cost savings. However, Archer Daniels Midland Company ADM was unable to battle the challenging currency environment and thus, continued with its dismal earnings trend.

Apart from the weakening currencies, economic slowdown in many emerging countries remains a hurdle for international sales and profits for many food stocks. So, let’s see what’s in the cards for these food stocks queued up for earnings releases this week.

Campbell Soup Company CPB is slated to release third-quarter fiscal 2016 results on May 20, before the opening bell. While this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company’s earnings were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate last quarter, it has an average positive surprise of 12.2% over the trailing four quarters. Nonetheless, the company’s current Earnings ESP of 0.00% makes surprise prediction difficult.

Campbell’s quarterly results have been solid for a while now, highlighting its inherent strength. Also, the implementation of its portfolio reorganization and cost-cutting initiatives is likely to continue enhancing overall execution and boost financial results. However, adverse currency movements, which weighed on Campbell’s top line in the preceding quarter, are expected to linger in fiscal 2016 and impact results. (Read more: Campbell Soup Q3 Earnings: Is a Surprise in Store?)

Another company lined up to report results is Austin, MN-based Hormel Foods Corporation HRL. It is scheduled to release second-quarter fiscal 2016 financial numbers before the opening bell on May 18. Encouragingly, the stock surpassed earnings estimates thrice in the trailing four quarters, and delivered in line results once, leading to an average positive surprise of approximately 8.7%. Further, the company, which had a Zacks Rank #2 earlier, now carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and boasts an Earnings ESP of +5.26%. This calls for a likely beat in the to-be reported quarter.

Hormel Foods’ 5 and 10 rules, business goals that strive to achieve 5% annual top-line and 10% annual bottom-line growth, have acted as key growth catalysts for the company over the past few quarters. Its diverse business portfolio, which includes both protein centric and packaged foods, together with its dominant presence in the retail and foodservice channels, have given a solid boost to its financials in the past and are expected to continue doing so. In addition, the company’s strategies to lower input costs and cost-saving programs have allowed it to reap significant benefits. (Read more: Hormel Foods Poised to Beat Q2 Earnings: Here's Why)

Finally, let’s take a look at Flowers Foods, Inc. FLO, one of the largest producers and marketers of frozen and non-frozen bakery and dessert products in the U.S., which is set to report first-quarter 2016 results on May 18. In the trailing four quarters, this Thomasville, GA-based company underperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by an average of 6.5%.

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Flowers Foods is likely to beat earnings estimates this quarter. This is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 or 3 for this to happen. Flowers Foods has an Earnings ESP of 0.00% as the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate both stand at 29 cents. The company carries a Zacks Rank #2, which increases the predictive power of ESP. However, its ESP of 0.00% makes surprise prediction difficult.

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HERSHEY CO/THE (HSY): Free Stock Analysis Report
DEAN FOODS CO (DF): Free Stock Analysis Report
HORMEL FOODS CP (HRL): Free Stock Analysis Report
CAMPBELL SOUP (CPB): Free Stock Analysis Report
KELLOGG CO (K): Free Stock Analysis Report
FLOWERS FOODS (FLO): Free Stock Analysis Report
ARCHER DANIELS (ADM): Free Stock Analysis Report
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