ConAgra Foods Sees Unusually High Options Volume (CAG)

ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE:CAG) was the target of some unusual options trading activity on Tuesday. Investors acquired 11,263 put options on the stock. This is an increase of approximately 334% compared to the typical volume of 2,596 put options.

CAG has been the topic of a number of recent analyst reports. BidaskClub cut 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 restated an “overweight” rating and set a $42.00 target price (down previously from $44.00) on shares of ConAgra Foods in a research note on Wednesday, June 28th. UBS AG cut shares of ConAgra Foods from a “neutral” rating to a “sell” rating and reduced their price objective for the company from $38.00 to $35.00 in a research report 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 company a “hold” rating in a research report on Saturday, July 1st. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have assigned a hold rating and eight have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $42.72.

In other news, Director Ruth Ann Marshall sold 6,046 shares of the firm’s 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 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 SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Director Stephen G. Butler sold 5,848 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, July 3rd. The stock was 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 bought and sold shares of the stock. Sfmg LLC boosted its position in shares of ConAgra Foods by 0.4% in the first quarter. Sfmg LLC now owns 12,754 shares of the company’s stock worth $514,000 after buying an additional 50 shares in the last quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN boosted its position in ConAgra Foods by 30.3% in the first quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 7,336,632 shares of the company’s stock valued at $295,959,000 after buying an additional 1,706,553 shares during the period. Korea Investment CORP boosted its position in ConAgra Foods by 10.8% in the first quarter. Korea Investment CORP now owns 767,072 shares of the company’s stock valued at $30,944,000 after buying an additional 74,909 shares during the period. Geode Capital Management LLC boosted its position in ConAgra Foods by 12.3% in the first quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 4,266,630 shares of the company’s stock valued at $171,882,000 after buying an additional 467,789 shares during the period. Finally, Meyer Handelman Co. boosted its position in ConAgra Foods by 0.6% in the first quarter. Meyer Handelman Co. now owns 647,583 shares of the company’s stock valued at $26,123,000 after buying an additional 3,800 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 77.64% of the company’s stock.

Shares of ConAgra Foods (CAG) traded up 0.337% during mid-day trading on Tuesday, hitting $34.285. 2,168,441 shares of the stock were exchanged. The company has a 50-day moving average price of $35.37 and a 200-day moving average price of $38.52. The stock has a market cap of $14.28 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.483 and a beta of 0.32. ConAgra Foods has a 12 month low of $32.93 and a 12 month high of $48.86.

ConAgra Foods (NYSE:CAG) last released its earnings results on Thursday, June 29th. The company reported $0.37 EPS for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.37. The company had revenue of $1.86 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.86 billion. ConAgra Foods had a return on equity of 20.29% and a net margin of 7.43%. ConAgra Foods’s quarterly revenue was down 9.3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.52 EPS. Equities analysts expect that ConAgra Foods will post $1.86 earnings per share for the current year.

ConAgra Foods announced that its board has approved a stock repurchase plan on Thursday, June 29th that allows the company to repurchase $1.00 billion in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to repurchase up to 6.5% of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are often an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its shares are undervalued.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, August 31st. Stockholders of record on Monday, July 31st will be given a dividend of $0.2125 per share. This represents a $0.85 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.49%. This is a boost from ConAgra Foods’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.20. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, July 27th. ConAgra Foods’s dividend payout ratio is presently 57.82%.

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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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