On the face of it Pittsburgh-headquartered food titan H J Heinz did not enjoy a good fiscal first quarter, net income decreasing by 9% to $194.8 million (€161.12m; £108.43m) compared with the same period last year when it notched $214m.

However, the comparable May-July period in 2003 included $27.2 million net income from the disposal of its North American tuna, pet food, private-label soup and baby food businesses to the Del Monte Foods Company.

In real terms, therefore, the current result had investors partying, not least because sales in the quarter rose 5.7% to $2 billion. The US and Canada led the sales surge, up year-on-year by 8.4% -- the first time in four consecutive quarters that sales in the region had risen.

Gloated Mavin Roffman of Pittsburgh-based asset management firm Roffman Miller, which owns stock in the food company: "The new low-carb line [Heinz] just introduced here and the new Ore-Ida brands are doing very well."

Data sourced from: New York Times; additional content by WARC staff