Campbell's Lapping Up Soup Kitchen Surge

The soup kitchen is your own for now. But you’ll be sharing one soon enough.

Bloomberg: The recession will make 2009 “the year of condensed soup, driven by the backdrop of severe economic pressure on the consumer,” Mitchell Pinheiro, a Philadelphia-based analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, wrote in a note yesterday.

The appeal of a cheap meal is turning the world’s largest soupmaker, which says it sells to 85 per cent of U.S. households, into an outperformer in hard times. The shares led the 12- company Standard & Poor’s Packaged Foods Index over the past three months before today, and their 1.5 per cent gain this year beat the S&P 500 by 44 percentage points.

Camden, New Jersey-based Campbell is “acknowledged as a way to weather a recession,” said Edgar Roesch, a Soleil Securities Corp. analyst in New York who rates the shares a buy.

Campbell may outdistance General Mills Inc., maker of Progresso soup, in shipments in 2009, according to Terry Bivens, a JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst in New York.

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