Why Dean Foods' Shares Soared

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What: Shares of dairy giant Dean Foods (NYS: DF) were flying high today, gaining as much as 13% in intraday trading after the company reported first-quarter results.

So what: Growth across the business along with tight expense controls led Dean to a quarter that has investors jumping for joy today. Total sales were up 6.7% from a year ago as the company's WhiteWave-Alpro segment chipped in a 13% year-over-year, top-line gain. The profit performance was even better, as adjusted operating income jumped 42% and earnings per share more than doubled to $0.31. Both revenue and earnings topped analysts' expectations.


Now what: According to Dean's management, the good times are set to continue. In the company's press release, CEO Gregg Engles quipped, "Given our significant momentum in the first quarter, the cautious optimism that we expressed last quarter has turned less cautious." That more optimistic view led Dean's management team to boost its full-year, earnings-per-share outlook to a range of $1.10-$1.20 from a previous range of $0.87-$0.95. Analysts had been looking for 2012 EPS of $0.95.

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At the time this article was published The Motley Fool owns shares of Dean Foods. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not have a financial interest in any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or Facebook. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.

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