General Mills, J M Smucker, Conagra Brands Downgraded

General Mills, J M Smucker, and Conagra Brands received bearish analyst attention ahead of today's open

by Josh Selway

Published on Mar 21, 2017 at 10:20 AM

Analysts are weighing in on packaged food stocks General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS)J M Smucker Co (NYSE:SJM), and Conagra Brands Inc (NYSE:CAG). Here's a quick roundup of today's bearish brokerage notes on GIS, SJM, and CAG shares.

General Mills Revenue Falls Once Again

GIS is up 0.4% this morning at $60.52, even after the company reported its seventh consecutive quarter of declining revenue, with weakness in yogurt sales weighing on results once again. In response, Bernstein downgraded GIS to "underperform" from "market perform." Speaking of packaged food stocks in general, the brokerage firm said consumers are favoring "fresher foods." The stock traded as high as $72.95 back in July, but has largely been losing steam ever since. And although the $59-$60 range has served as support over the past year, most analysts remain bearish. At the moment, just two of 11 covering brokerage firms recommend buying General Mills, Inc.

J M Smucker Breaches Key Trendline

Bernstein also weighed in on SJM, downgrading the stock to "underperform" from "market perform." The shares have so far lost 1.6% to trade at $136.34, and are on pace for the first close below the 50-day moving average since Jan. 9. Meanwhile, options volume has been light on an absolute basis, but those speculating on J M Smucker Co have preferred puts over calls. For instance, the shares have a put/call volume ratio of 1.26 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), which tops 73% of the past year's readings. 

Conagra Stock Hit With Rare Downgrade

Another stock in Bernstein's crosshairs was CAG, which also received a downgrade to "underperform" from "market perform." Still, at $40.87, the stock has actually been a strong performer on the charts over the past year, gaining 22%, and touching a record high of $41.68 earlier this month. The vast majority of analysts, for the time being, disagree with Bernstein. Specifically, 70% of the brokerage firms covering Conagra Brands recommend buying the stock. 

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