U.S. Markets closed

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Kraft Foods Group, Mondelez International, Hain Celestial Group, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and United Natural Foods

Zacks Equity Research

For Immediate Release
Chicago, IL – December 19, 2013 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include the Kraft Foods Group, Inc. ( KRFT- Free Report), Mondelez International Inc. ( MDLZ- Free Report), The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. ( HAIN- Free Report), Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. ( GMCR- Free Report) and United Natural Foods, Inc. ( UNFI- Free Report).
Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free .

Here are highlights from Wednesday’s Analyst Blog:

Kraft Announces $3B Share Buyback
The board of directors at Kraft Foods Group, Inc. ( KRFT- Free Report) recently authorized a $3 billion share buyback program — the first since it separated from Mondelez International Inc. ( MDLZ- Free Report) and became an independent company in October last year.

The share repurchase program has no expiration date. Also, the quarterly dividend of 52.5 cents per share will be paid on Jan 17, 2014, to shareholders of record as on Dec 27, 2013.

At the time of separation from Mondelez, Kraft’s management announced its aim to generate significant cash. The consumer food company is targeting to “put dollars in shareholders' pockets, not margins”. Free cash flow is expected to be at least 85% of the net income in the long term which will be used mainly to pay steady, incremental dividends targeted to grow consistently in the mid single-digit range. The company expects to end 2013 with free cash flow of $1.2 billion.

Though Kraft is focusing on building shareholders’ value through share buybacks and regular dividend payments, it has been struggling with its top line. Sales were significantly weak in the last reported quarter (third-quarter 2013). Several of the company’s product categories witnessed softness in the quarter due to consumption weakness and increased competitive activity.

In fact, Kraft missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for both revenues and earnings in the third quarter. Though the new aggressive share buyback plan will boost earnings in the future quarters, we believe the top line will continue to struggle.

Kraft carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Overall, we are encouraged by Kraft’s aggressive cost reduction and efficiency-improvement initiatives which provide more cash to invest in innovation, brand building and marketing initiatives. However, despite Kraft’s cost-saving efforts consistently boosting earnings, it needs to show sustained improvement in the top line.

Other better-ranked stocks in the food industry include The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. ( HAIN- Free Report), Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. ( GMCR- Free Report) and United Natural Foods, Inc. ( UNFI- Free Report). All the three companies carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

Zacks "Profit from the Pros" e-mail newsletter provides highlights of the latest analysis from Zacks Equity Research. Subscribe to this free newsletter today.

About Zacks

Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978. The later formation of the Zacks Rank, a proprietary stock picking system; continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros.  In short, it's your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros.
Get the full Report on KRFT - FREE
Get the full Report on MDLZ - FREE
Get the full Report on HAIN - FREE
Get the full Report on GMCR - FREE
Get the full Report on UNFI - FREE
Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/zacksresearch

Join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Zacks-Investment-Research/57553657748?ref=ts

Zacks Investment Research is under common control with affiliated entities (including a broker-dealer and an investment adviser), which may engage in transactions involving the foregoing securities for the clients of such affiliates.
Media Contact
Zacks Investment Research
800-767-3771 ext. 9339
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

Read the analyst report on KRFT

Read the analyst report on MDLZ

Read the analyst report on HAIN

Read the analyst report on GMCR

Read the analyst report on UNFI

Zacks Investment Research