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Trending: Exxon Mobil Shares Edge Higher Thanks to Oil Rally 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.

Oil has again trended this fortnight as it continued to rally on imbalances between demand and supply. Oil major Exxon Mobil has taken the second position in the list as its shares outperformed the broad market over the past month thanks to rising oil prices. First in the list is Retail Value, a real estate trust in liquidation that has been paying high dividends. Microsoft, which on Tuesday reported results for the fourth quarter, is third. The list is closed by consumer giant Coca-Cola.

Don’t forget to read our previous edition of trends here.

Retail Value

Retail Value (RVI), a real estate trust in liquidation, has taken the first position in the list with an advance in viewership of 53%. Retail Value has largely trended thanks to the bumper special dividends it has been paying of late as a result of cash proceeds from sales of properties.

The company announced its latest asset sale on December 15, 2021. It sold Willowbrook Plaza, a shopping center in Houston, Texas, for $37.1 million in cash. The net proceeds of around $35.7 million, along with the proceeds from the previously announced sale of Green Ridge Square, were used to pay a special cash dividend to common stockholders and to repurchase the remaining preferred stock.

Retail Value paid a dividend of $3.27 per share to shareholders on January 18.

Following this transaction, Retail Value has only one remaining asset, namely a shopping center in Gulfport, Mississippi, named Crossroads Center. Shares in Retail Value are trading at around $3.10 apiece, giving the company a market capitalization of $66 million.

Retail Value was spun off from Site Centers in 2018.




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Exxon Mobil

Exxon Mobil (XOM) has taken the second spot in the list with an increase in viewership of 9%. Exxon and the broader oil market have been trending for a while now, as oil prices continue to rally on strong demand and patchy supply. Oil prices have been hovering near seven-year highs.

Exxon stock has also posted strong performance. Over the past 30 days, Exxon shares rallied nearly 17%, while the S&P 500 has declined nearly 8% amid a broader market rout stemmed from expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates much earlier than expected.

Exxon has also received a boost after the company committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, becoming the last oil major to take the pledge. However, the company said the commitment does not include so-called Scope 3 emissions, the greenhouse gases emitted by Exxon’s customers. Exxon said it will work with its clients to reduce emissions as well.

Exxon, which has a market capitalization of $310 billion, pays out more than 60% of its earnings to shareholders via dividends. Its dividend yields 4.9%, slightly higher than the 4.2% for the energy sector.




Microsoft (MSFT) has placed third in the list with an advance in viewership of 5%. The company was in the news these days as it released another strong quarter of earnings and revenue growth, beating expectations. The technology juggernaut also forecasted revenue growth of 16%-18% for the current quarter, despite strong sales growth during the same period last year.

Microsoft has been benefiting from cloud adoption by many companies, a trend that intensified following the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, CEO Satya Nadella is betting on gaming to drive future growth, with Microsoft recently announcing its acquisition of Activision Blizzard for $75 billion. The move will help Microsoft boost the attractiveness of its game console Xbox and give it a leg up in the competition with Sony’s Playstation.

Shares in Microsoft closed down 2.7% on Tuesday but added 3.9% in pre-market trading Wednesday. Microsoft shares are down more than 15% from their peak reached late last year, amid worries that rising interest rates will hit demand both for Microsoft’s products and its shares.

Microsoft pays a dividend of $2.48 per share, amounting to a yield of 0.9%.



Coca Cola

Consumer giant Coca-Cola (MSFT) is last in the list, seeing a rise in viewership of 2%. As a consumer defensive stock, Coca-Cola has not suffered from the market rout stemmed from fears of higher interest rates. Shares in Coca Cola are up 2% over the past 30 days, while the S&P 500 Index declined 9%.

In addition to benefiting from a return to normalcy from the COVID-19 pandemic, Coca-Cola has been improving its gross margins as a result of a portfolio of products streamlining under CEO James Quincey.

Coca-Cola’s dividend yields 2.81% and it pays out 64% of its earnings to shareholders.



The Bottom Line

Liquidation real estate investment trust Retail Value has only one remaining property to sell. Retail Value has been returning all the proceeds from asset sales to shareholders. Exxon Mobil has outperformed the broad market indices as the oil major was boosted by strong oil prices and a commitment to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. Microsoft has released another strong report as the company looks to further pepper its growth prospects with the acquisition of gaming company Activision Blizzard. Coca Cola stock has fared well in the most recent market rout.

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