Investors Buy Shares of ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE:CAG) on Weakness

Investors bought shares of ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE:CAG) on weakness during trading on Tuesday. $42.35 million flowed into the stock on the tick-up and $16.90 million flowed out of the stock on the tick-down, for a money net flow of $25.45 million into the stock. Of all stocks tracked, ConAgra Foods had the 21st highest net in-flow for the day. ConAgra Foods traded down ($0.41) for the day and closed at $33.83

Several equities analysts have recently issued reports on CAG shares. BidaskClub downgraded shares of ConAgra Foods from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, July 5th. J P Morgan Chase & Co reaffirmed an “overweight” rating and set a $42.00 price target (down previously from $44.00) on shares of ConAgra Foods in a research note on Wednesday, June 28th. UBS AG downgraded shares of ConAgra Foods from a “neutral” rating to a “sell” rating and dropped their price target for the company from $38.00 to $35.00 in a research note on Tuesday, April 25th. Jefferies Group LLC reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of ConAgra Foods in a research report on Friday, June 16th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group set a $39.00 price objective on shares of ConAgra Foods and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Saturday, July 1st. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and eight have assigned a buy rating to the stock. ConAgra Foods has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $42.72.

The firm has a market cap of $14.36 billion, a PE ratio of 23.60 and a beta of 0.32. The firm’s 50-day moving average price is $34.16 and its 200-day moving average price is $38.12.

ConAgra Foods (NYSE:CAG) last released its earnings results on Thursday, June 29th. The company reported $0.37 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.37. The firm had revenue of $1.86 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.86 billion. ConAgra Foods had a net margin of 7.43% and a return on equity of 20.29%. The company’s revenue was down 9.3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.52 EPS. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that ConAgra Foods Inc. will post $1.86 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, August 31st. Stockholders of record on Monday, July 31st will be given a $0.2125 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, July 27th. This is an increase from ConAgra Foods’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.20. This represents a $0.85 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.47%. ConAgra Foods’s dividend payout ratio is currently 57.82%.

ConAgra Foods announced that its Board of Directors has approved a stock buyback plan on Thursday, June 29th that permits the company to buyback $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization permits the company to purchase up to 6.5% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are generally a sign that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, Director Ruth Ann Marshall sold 6,046 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, July 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $33.22, for a total transaction of $200,848.12. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 89,260 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,965,217.20. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director Stephen G. Butler sold 5,848 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, July 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $35.80, for a total transaction of $209,358.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 0.58% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Toronto Dominion Bank increased its stake in shares of ConAgra Foods by 22.1% in the second quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 142,318 shares of the company’s stock valued at $5,088,000 after buying an additional 25,718 shares during the period. Archford Capital Strategies LLC boosted its position in ConAgra Foods by 2,028.5% in the second quarter. Archford Capital Strategies LLC now owns 23,414 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,483,000 after buying an additional 22,314 shares in the last quarter. Koch Industries Inc. boosted its position in ConAgra Foods by 6,018.5% in the second quarter. Koch Industries Inc. now owns 338,045 shares of the company’s stock valued at $329,000 after buying an additional 332,520 shares in the last quarter. Verition Fund Management LLC boosted its position in ConAgra Foods by 204.8% in the second quarter. Verition Fund Management LLC now owns 17,385 shares of the company’s stock valued at $622,000 after buying an additional 11,681 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Krilogy Financial LLC boosted its position in ConAgra Foods by 7.7% in the second quarter. Krilogy Financial LLC now owns 5,170 shares of the company’s stock valued at $185,000 after buying an additional 370 shares in the last quarter. 77.33% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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ConAgra Foods Company Profile

Conagra Brands, Inc, formerly ConAgra Foods, Inc, operates as a packaged food company. The Company operates through two segments: Consumer Foods and Commercial Foods. The Company sells branded and customized food products, as well as commercially branded foods. It also supplies vegetable, spice and grain products to a range of restaurants, foodservice operators and commercial customers.

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