Keep holding these giant U.S. foodmakers

Article Excerpt

GENERAL MILLS INC. $42 (New York symbol GIS; Income-Growth Dividend Payer Portfolio, Consumer sector; Shares outstanding: 596.1 million; Market cap: $25.0 billion; Dividend yield: 4.7%; Dividend Sustainability Rating: Above Average; www.generalmills.com) is one of the world’s largest foodmakers. Its top brands include Big G (cereal), Green Giant (canned and frozen vegetables), Pillsbury (baking dough), Old El Paso (tacos), Progresso (soups and salads) and Yoplait (yogurt). General Mills has paid continuous dividends for 120 years. The current annual rate of $1.96 yields a high 4.7%. In May 2018, the company paid $7.8 billion for Blue Buffalo Pet Products. That firm makes pet foods using organic and natural ingredients. The purchase should help it offset sluggish demand for yogurt and cereals in the U.S. For General Mills’s fiscal 2019 first quarter, ended August 26, 2018, sales increased 8.6%, to $4.1 billion from $3.8 billion a year earlier. Earnings before unusual items rose 2.8%, to $427.6 million from $416.0 million. Earnings per share of $0.71 were unchanged from a..

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