UPDATE 2-ConAgra quarterly revenue shy of estimates

* EPS $0.44 vs Wall St $0.44 view

* Sees 2010 EPS on track for $1.73 ex-items

* Shares down 1.3 percent
(Adds details on consumer foods business)

CHICAGO, March 25 (BestGrowthStock) – ConAgra Foods Inc (CAG.N: )
posted an unexpected dip in quarterly revenue on Thursday as
its commercial foods business passed on lower costs for wheat.

The company’s shares fell even though profit met
expectations. ConAgra’s key consumer foods segment showed 3
percent volume growth, helped by sales of products that
consumers embraced during the recession, such as Banquet frozen
dinners and Chef Boyardee pasta.

In recent years, the company has sold off commodity trading
and other operations to focus on product development and
marketing of brands like Healthy Choice and Marie Callender’s

That investment has helped lift sales in the once moribund
consumer foods business, which makes up more than two-thirds of
the company’s sales.

Sales in that unit rose 2 percent in the quarter.

ConAgra said profit rose to $228.7 million, or 51 cents a
share, in the third quarter ended on Feb. 28 from $193.12
million, or 43 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, earnings were 44 cents a share,
matching the analysts’ average estimate, according to Thomson
Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales fell 1 percent to $3.10 billion, as the company’s
flour milling operation passed on lower prices to customers.
Analysts on average forecast $3.15 billion.

For the year, ConAgra still expects earnings of $1.73 cents
a share, excluding one-time items.

ConAgra shares were down 1.3 percent at $25.75 in trading
before the market opened.

Stock Market Analysis

(Reporting by Brad Dorfman; Editing by Derek Caney and Lisa
Von Ahn)

UPDATE 2-ConAgra quarterly revenue shy of estimates