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Food Stocks Reporting Q1 Earnings This Week; HSY, MDLZ, MJN

The Q1 results that have been announced so far have been better than expected. Many companies have been able to report earnings and sales surprises, thereby limiting the downward estimate revisions for the next quarter as well as the full year.

Among these, food/beverage giant PepsiCo, Inc.’s PEP stellar Q1 results – reported last week – has shifted focus to food companies.

The last year was more or less a mixed one for packaged food companies. The top line of most of these firms remained challenged due to soft global retail and consumer demand amid evolving consumer tastes. Moreover, weakening international currencies, economic slowdown in many emerging countries, political and social unrest in some regions hurt international sales and profits. However, the domestic business did relatively well in 2015 supported by an improving economic and consumer spending environment.

Moreover, lower commodity costs than last year, price increases, and cost savings and productivity gains from their restructuring programs have kept the bottom line afloat.

These companies have also started being more innovative in their product lines – removing artificial flavors and colors from their products and using simpler ingredients in their food – to meet demanding consumer preferences. Importantly, some of these companies have been acquiring complementary brands and companies to strengthen their portfolio.

We believe that these efforts should cushion these companies from growing international headwinds as well as enable them to cater to widely varying consumer tastes in 2016 and beyond.

Three food companies, The Hershey Company HSY, Mondelez International, Inc. MDLZ and Mead Johnson Nutrition Company MJN are set to report their quarterly results this week. Will these food companies repeat Pepsi’s performance? Let’s have a look at what might be in store for them.

The Hershey Company

The Hershey, PA-based, chocolate company is set to report Q1 results on Apr 26, before the market opens. Last quarter, the company delivered a positive earnings surprise of 2.86%.The company has an http://www.zacks.com/earnings/earnings-surprise-predictions/">Earnings ESP of +2.86% and a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter is pegged at $1.05 per share.

The company delivered positive earnings surprises in three of the past four quarters with an average surprise of 1.88%.

Hershey’s sales were tepid in 2015 due to broader macroeconomic weakness and slowing chocolate category trends. However, Hershey has been investing in core brands in the U.S. as well as key international markets, with focus on diversification of its snack items. The company has also been working to improve sales trends in China. This could lead to improved sales trends in Q1. Moreover, margins are expected to rise further supported by price increase, supply chain savings and productivity gains. (Read more: Hershey Likely to Top Q1 Earnings: Will Stock Gain?)

Mondelez International

The Deerfield, IL-based global snacks company will report Q1 results on Apr 27. Mondelez posted a negative earnings surprise of 6.12% in its last reported quarter.  For Q1, the company has an Earnings ESP of 0.00% and a Zacks Rank #3. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter is pegged at 40 cents.

The company surpassed earnings estimates in three of the last four quarters with an average surprise of 8.22%.

After weak results in 2014, the company witnessed better-than-expected organic sales trends in 2015 backed by marketing support funded by cost savings from its $3.5 billion restructuring plan. Moreover, cost savings and productivity gains helped the company to maintain strong margins. We expect to see continued improvement in sales trends and higher margins in Q1. (Read more: Will Q1 Earnings Hold a Surprise for Mondelez Stock?)

Mead Johnson Nutrition Company 

Mead Johnson is a global leader in pediatric nutrition. The company delivered a positive earnings surprise of 6.85% in the fourth quarter 2015.  For Q1, the company has an Earnings ESP of 0.00% and a Zacks Rank #3. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter is pegged at 84 cents.

Mead Johnson delivered positive earnings surprises in two of the past four quarters, with an average beat of 1.12%.

Mead Johnson expects to witness a gradual, sequential improvement in sales on a constant currency basis in Q1. However, when compared with the results of the first half of 2015, the company does not expect positive revenue growth in the first half of 2016. Also, currency headwinds will continue to hurt sales. Nonetheless, lower dairy costs are anticipated to benefit margins. (Read more: Mead Johnson Q1 Earnings: A Beat in the Cards?)

Our previous article shows that Mead Johnson is likely to beat earnings this quarter. However, estimates changed thereafter and we are no longer confident about an earnings beat.

Don’t miss out on our full earnings release articles for these stocks, as the actual results might hold some surprises!

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PEPSICO INC (PEP): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
HERSHEY CO/THE (HSY): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
MEAD JOHNSON NU (MJN): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
MONDELEZ INTL (MDLZ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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