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Trending: Disney Gets Chinese Nod for Fox Deal analyzes the search patterns of our visitors each week. By sharing these trends with our readers, we hope to provide insights into what the financial world is concerned about and how to position your portfolio.

PepsiCo was first in the list this week as the company posted an earnings beat last month, in what was the last quarter at the helm for CEO Indra Nooyi. The Walt Disney Company received the green light for its transformative acquisition of Fox. Gas and electric utility firm Southern Company was third in the list, while Walmart traded down despite strong earnings.

Be sure to check out our previous edition of trends here.

PepsiCo Beats Estimates in Nooyi’s Last Quarter

PepsiCo (PEP ) CEO left the company in October with a bang, as the company posted its biggest quarterly increase in sales of North American beverages in two years. Indra Nooyi relinquished the top management role after 12 years and was replaced by company veteran Ramon Laguarta. Nooyi will remain as chairperson.

PepsiCo saw its viewership rise 30% for the week, as the company’s stock weathered the mini-storm in the markets, in no small part thanks to strong earnings. Organic revenues grew by 4.9% in the third quarter, although a strong dollar negatively impacted earnings. As a result, the company lifted its full-year organic growth target to at least 3%, up from the 2.3% it predicted previously.

The namesake brand, along with Mountain Dew and Gatorade, was among the brands that posted the biggest growth, thanks to a stronger advertising effort.

Shares in the company have dipped 1% over the past five days but remain up around 4% for the rolling month. The S&P 500 tumbled around 2.3% last week, showcasing PepsiCo’s defense characteristics in times of turbulence. PepsiCo yields an annual dividend of 3.2% on a payout ratio of more than 65%. The company goes ex-dividend on December 6.

You can use the Dividend Screener tool explore dividend-paying securities that fit your investment criteria.

Pepsi price chart

Walt Disney on Track to Close Fox Deal Early

Walt Disney (DIS)’s viewership rose 28% in the past week, not far from PepsiCo. The company hit the headlines of late, after Chinese regulators greenlighted its $71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox.

The nod from the Chinese regulators comes after European regulators and the U.S. approved the deal conditionally. The European Union asked Disney to sell some of the channels it controls, while the U.S. ordered it to sell some of Fox’s regional sports networks. Disney, which has seen its stock advance more than 5% this year, will now own a series of characters and franchises, including X-Men, Avatar, Toy Story and Mickey Mouse.

Disney also wanted to get its hands on European media group Sky but lost the bidding war with Comcast (CMCSA ), which initially had competed for Fox as well. Now the two companies are set to continue their global competition between themselves and strong insurgents like Netflix (NFLX) and Amazon (AMZN).

Click here to read more about the bidding war between Comcast and Disney for Sky’s assets.

Disney pays an annual dividend of 1.5% and its payout ratio is 24.3%.

DIS price chart

Southern & Co.

Southern & Co. (SO ) is trending third this week with a rise in viewership of 14%. America’s second-largest gas and electric utility company has reported strong earnings for the third quarter despite disruption from hurricane Michael in October. The company reported a profit of $1.17 billion, or $1.14 per share, compared with $1.07 billion in the same period last year. Revenues, however, dropped to $6.16 billion from $6.20 billion last year.

Southern CEO Thomas Fanning has struck an upbeat tone following the strong quarter, saying the company’s retail sales have not been as strong in a long time. He said tax cuts and energy reform had a positive impact on the firm, but trade war worries risk disrupting the company’s operations.

Southern stock has declined 3.3% this week, extending year-to-date losses to 5%. The company’s dividend yields a strong 5.3% on a payout ratio of 80%.

Check out our complete list of Best Dividend Stocks.

Southern Company price chart


Giant retailer Walmart (WMT ) reported yet another strong quarter, in a sign that U.S. consumer sentiment is in a good place. Walmart’s stock, however, has not posted the best results in the past five days, as it has been entrapped in the market sell-off.

Walmart beat earnings expectations for the third quarter, with profit coming in at $1.08 per share against $1.01 expected. The retailer’s revenues of $124.9 billion missed forecasts by around $500 million.

Walmart’s stock has been beaten up recently along with other retailers, including Costco (COST ) and Target (TGT ). Walmart shares have tumbled 5.5% for the past week, bringing year-to-date performance into negative territory, down 1%.

Walmart has a dividend yield of 2.2% and it pays nearly 43% of its earnings to shareholders. The retailer goes ex-dividend on December 6.

WMT price chart

The Bottom Line

PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi left her position on a high note after the beverage giant posted better-than-expected earnings. Walt Disney has received the green light for its acquisition of Fox in China, setting off fierce competition with Comcast and insurgents Netflix and Amazon. Southern & Co. and Walmart reported solid quarterly results, but both companies saw their stocks underperform over the past week.

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