Call To The Floor: General Mills Profits Surge

Rising popularity of cereal -- especially among those looking for a cheap meal -- combined with plunging ingredient costs helped General Mills boost second-quarter profits 50 percent.

On Thursday after the bell, the maker of Cheerios, as well as Progresso soup Yoplait yogurt and many other products said profit rose to $565.5 million, or $1.66 a share, in the fiscal second quarter ended November 29, from $378.2 million, or $1.09 a share, a year earlier.

The consumer staples giant also increased its full-year earnings guidance for the second time in three months.

The strong results largely stem from more people eating at home to save money in this rough economy. However, the company’s focus on improved margins, cost cutting and new products that can command higher prices also helped lift profits.

"They are one of the standouts in the packaged food industry," Morningstar analyst Erin Swanson says. "They have been a very efficient operator."

What else must you know about this company before you trade its stock? Find out from CEO Kendall Powell.


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