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Wall Street Edges Up on Stable Interest Rates

- By Omar Venerio

U.S. stocks were in positive territory on Thursday after the Federal Reserve left rates unchanged on Wednesday. Similarly, the Bank of England left rates unchanged. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.81% to 25,953, the S&P 500 index gained 0.88% to 2,849 and the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1.06% to 7,811.

Shares Conagra Brands Inc. (CAG) climbed 11% on Thursday morning after the company announced third-quarter results. Revenue grew 36.2% from the prior-year quarter to $2.71 billion, falling $40 million short of expectations. The packaged foods company reported earnings of 51 cents per share, topping analysts' estimates by 2 cents.


"Our Legacy Conagra business generated solid growth during the third quarter and delivered strong performance in our domestic retail segments," President and CEO Sean Connolly said. "We saw continued improvement in consumption trends and base sales velocity, and organic net sales grew nearly two percent during the quarter. Our brand building and innovation actions over the past several years have resulted in strong growth in our frozen and snacks portfolios, and we remain focused on applying this disciplined approach across our portfolio."

During the quarter, the gross profit grew 25.6% to $752 million and the adjusted gross profit climbed 30.5% to $781 million, or 28.9% of net sales. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization advanced 35.9% to $554 million due to the addition of Pinnacle's operating profit and growth in Legacy Conagra's operating profit.

Looking ahead to fiscal 2019, the company expects organic net sales growth of about 1%, with adjusted diluted earnings per share between $2.03 and $2.08.

Gainers

  • Micron Technology Inc. (MU)
  • Western Digital Corp. (WDC)
  • Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI)
  • Electronic Arts Inc. (EA)



Losers

  • Mattel Inc. (MAT)
  • KeyCorp (KEY)
  • National-Oilwell Varco Inc. (NOV)



Global markets

The main European stock markets were mixed. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.88% and France's CAC 40 swelled 0.48%, but Germany's Dax lost 0.42% and Spain's IBEX 35 dipped 0.24%.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 0.20%, India's BSE Sensex advanced 0.06%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.85% and China's Shanghai Composite rose 0.35%.

Disclosure: The author holds no positions in any stocks mentioned.

This article first appeared on GuruFocus.