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Trending: 3M Sales Buoyed by Strong Demand for N95 Masks

Dividend.com 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.

3M, which makes thousands of industrial products for everyday use, is first on the list as the company posted a rise in revenue thanks to solid demand for its N95 masks. British oil major BP is second in the list after the company said its electric chargers’ profitability is similar to that of its regular petrol stations. Semiconductor company Intel is third in the list as the company increased its dividend. Meanwhile, private equity group Blackstone reported a strong rise in distributable earnings.

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

3M

Industrial company 3M (MMM) has taken the first spot in the list with a solid advance in viewership of 71%. 3M, a diversified industrial conglomerate that makes over 60,000 products, reported a profit beat in the fourth quarter thanks to strong demand for a single product.

3M’s N95 masks were in high demand as the U.S. reported a rise in Omicron cases. Earnings per share of $2.31 were higher by 29 cents compared with analysts’ expectations. Meanwhile, revenues of $8.61 billion were just slightly higher versus last year and beat estimates by around $31 million. Another hit in the company’s portfolio this quarter was the Scotch products, which enjoyed high demand from households.

However, 3M said it expects demand for N95 masks to flounder in the coming quarters as the Omicron wave abates and restrictions to wear masks in public spaces are lifted.

3M shares fell more than 9% over the past 30 days, bringing 12-month losses to 11%.

3M pays an annual dividend of $5.92 per share, amounting to a yield of 3.6%. The company has paid dividends without interruption for more than 100 years. It has also announced dividend increases for 64 consecutive years.

3M

 
Source: Barchart.com

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BP

Oil major BP (BP) has taken the second place in the list this week with an advance in traffic of 51%. BP has trended thanks to high oil prices and its electric vehicle charging points, which are finally becoming as profitable as its traditional petrol fuel stations. BP’s shares have risen nearly 13% for the past month, extending 12-month gains to more than 51%.

Oil prices are hovering near multi-year highs thanks to strong demand and geopolitical uncertainty related to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Another boost for the company’s stock comes from disclosures that its EV charging points are reaching the same profitability as its petrol fuel stations.

BP has for years lost money on the business as it built the network, and only now sees the fruits from these investments. Unlike some of its peers, BP is focusing on high-speed chargers, which can charge an electric car to 80% in about 10 minutes. However, the installation of these structures requires large initial investments. The company plans to install over 70,000 EV charging points by 2030, from around 11,000 at the moment.

BP pays an annual dividend of $1.31 per share, yielding nearly 4%. The company has a payout ratio of 30%.

BP

 
Source: Barchart.com

Intel

Intel (INTC) has taken the third place in the list this fortnight, seeing its viewership increase 49%. Intel trended after increasing its quarterly dividend by 5% as it posted strong financial results. In the fourth quarter, Intel’s revenue of $20.5 billion were $1 billion higher compared to the same period last year. Meanwhile, net income was up $100 million to $.6 billion.

Intel is executing a new strategy under recently installed CEO Pat Gelsinger. It wants to focus on its core business of producing chips, and the company has made a series of steps towards that direction in the most recent quarter. INTC said it will float Mobileye, a subsidiary making driver-assistance systems that it bought for more than $15 billion in 2017. In addition, Gelsinger committed around $20 billion to build two new chip factories in Ohio.

Despite progress on the turnaround and strong demand for chips, investors remain skeptical of the stock. Shares are down 11% over the past 30 days, extending 12-month losses to more than 17%. The stock trades at a meager price to earnings multiple of 10.

Intel pays an annual dividend of $1.46 per share, yielding a little more than 3%.

INTC

 
Source: Barchart.com

Blackstone Group

Blackstone Group (BX) is last in the list with an increase in traffic of 49%, on par with Intel. Blackstone trended as its asset sales activity during the quarter prompted the payment of a record dividend to shareholders. The company’s dividend increased from $1.09 to $1.45 per share. Compared with the second quarter, Blackstone’s dividend more than doubled.

The strong distributable cash flows were possible due to strong M&A activity, as the private equity firm took advantage of rising corporate valuations to cash in on its investments. The firm generated around $21 billion from asset sales during the quarter, and it invested another $61 billion, mostly in real estate.

Blackstone’s assets under management rose to $881 billion from $730 billion three months earlier.

BX

 
Source: Barchart.com

The Bottom Line

3M shares were boosted by strong sales of COVID N95 masks. BP for the first time is seeing its sprawling EV-charger networks become as profitable as its traditional petrol fuel stations. Intel increased its dividend thanks to strong sales and earnings. Meanwhile, Blackstone’s distributable cash flow rose to a record, thanks to a buoyant M&A market.

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