ConAgra easily topped most expectations for the third quarter and shares rose sharply in premarket trading Thursday in a down day for U.S. markets.

The maker of Chef Boyardee, Hebrew National hot dogs and other packaged foods earned $204.6 million, or 46 cents per share. That compares with loss of $954.1 million, or $2.21 per share, a year earlier.

The prior-year period was weighed down by hefty impairment charge.

Removing one-time gains and costs, earnings came to 68 cents per share, which was a dime better than Wall Street had expected, according to a survey of industry analysts by Zacks Investment Research forecast.

Revenue for the Omaha, Nebraska, company was $2.92 billion, also topping expectations.

Shares rose almost 3 percent to $46.70 before the opening bell.

Sales for the commercial foods unit climbed 6 percent, while sales for the consumer foods segment dipped 2 percent.

ConAgra anticipates full-year adjusted earnings in the range of $2.05 to $2.07 per share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet predict $2.25 per share.

The company also announced that it will pay a dividend of 25 cents per share on June 1 to shareholders of record on April 29.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on CAG at http://www.zacks.com/ap/CAG

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Keywords: ConAgra Foods, Earnings Report