Sysco Earnings Slip, Stock Rises

Houston-based Sysco Corp. (NYSE: SYY  ) shares were jumping in early Monday trading, up more than 5% at one point, following a fiscal Q1 2014 earnings report that showed the company beating earnings estimates and revenue expectations alike.

Q1 2014 revenues of $11.7 billion exceeded analysts' expected $11.6 billion, and were up 6% from last year's Q1. Earnings per share came in at $0.48, down 2% year over year, but they would have been $0.49 absent certain charges to earnings that are ordinarily excluded from analyst estimates. In this instance, analysts had anticipated that Sysco would report only $0.48 per share.

Adding color to the results, Sysco CEO Bill DeLaney noted in the company press release that the "market environment ... remains very challenging for many of our customers, especially those who operate in the casual dining restaurant segment." As for Sysco itself, DeLaney noted that the company posted "solid" sales growth but did particularly well in managing its expenses.

Operating expenses at the company, as a percentage of revenues, dropped roughly 50 basis points from last year's Q1, to just 13.5%. Operating profit margins at Sysco, however, were still down about 20 basis points at 4.1%, primarily as a result of weak gross margins.

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