By Micah Maidenberg
Shares of Kellogg Co. (K) are shooting up in Wednesday trading, notching gains stronger than other packaged-food companies in a short session.
Kellogg's stock is up 6% midday to $56.64, more than triple the gains from General Mills, Hershey Co. (HSY) and Mondelez International.
The S&P 500 Packaged Foods & Meat index is up 1.9%, according to FactSet, while the broader benchmark S&P 500 is up 0.6%.
Kellogg's gains so far Wednesday have almost erased the stock's year-to-date decline.
It is unclear what is driving investor sentiment toward the Battle Creek, Mich.-based company, which has reported challenges in its cereal business and was dinged by a recall of its snack-bar brand during its first quarter.
On Tuesday, a columnist writing for MarketWatch, a sister publication of The Wall Street Journal, made a case for Kellogg pursuing an initial public offering for its MorningStar Farms brand. Sara Young, a top executive overseeing Kellogg's MorningStar Farms brand, told Brett Arends in the column said she was unaware of any plans by the company to spin off the business in a public offering.
Alternative meat has been an investor darling of late, with Beyond Meat shares soaring since its offering in May. Shares of Beyond are up about 1% on Wednesday.
Ms. Young also told MarketWatch that MorningStar serves more than 90 million pounds of food to consumers each year.
MarketWatch, in its report, estimated that the MorningStar brand generates about $450 million in sales annually.
"MorningStar Farms went through a bit of an overhaul a couple of years ago in portfolio, in packaging, and in food, and it's now focused on what it does best, grilling items," Kellogg CEO Steven Cahillane said at an investor conference in February.
Write to Micah Maidenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org