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PhillyInc warms to Campbell Soup's quarterly results

The Camden food processor had higher sales and profits in its third quarter, led by growth in crackers and breads, not its namesake soup.

As we start the week before Memorial Day, more people are probably checking their grills to make sure they're ready to char dinner, not their soup pots.

However, Campbell Soup may stir some discussion today with its Q3 financial results. After all, sales rose 1 percent to $1.81B in the quarter, though not because we kept our soup spoons at the ready.

No, what led the Camden company's sales growth this quarter was a 10 percent rise in sales for its baking and snacking segment (think: Pepperidge Farm goldfish and Swirl breads). Campbell Soup even eked out a small profit increase to $187M, or 57 cents per share, from $168M, or 49 cents EPS, for last year's Q3.

In the big world outside Philadelphia, European debt concerns are apparently giving investors the jitters. European markets are down, and futures for the U.S. markets also indicate a lower open here. It's not any one thing in euroland: a volcano erupts in Iceland, Spain's ruling party loses big time in weekend elections, a change in the outlook on Italy's credit rating to negative by S&P. Let's see how investors U.S. react after what could be a 90- to 100-point drop in the Dow to start the week.

The price tag for reconstruction in Japan following the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crises: 10 trillion to 15 trillion yen (or $184B). Big number, but you'd think manageable for the world's 3rd-largest economy. However, Japan's public debt (at double its $5T economy) is the biggest among the industrialized economies. So it's not so easy to float billions more of that paper.

All's quiet on the economic statistics front today. That'll give me more time to check my Weber grill. (Did I clean out the charcoal from last September?)