4 Consumer Stock Stories for Savvy Thursday Investment Shopping

Priceline.com Inc. (NASDAQ:PCLN): Closing price $969.79

Priceline.com, a part of The Priceline Group, announced Thursday the debut of Priceline Sponsored Listings, to provide hotels the ability to bid in real-time to reach key consumers at the point of purchase. Powered by HookLogic, the new auction-based pay-per-click program enables hotels to advertise to in-market travelers and assess the success of their campaigns immediately. Developed on a real-time analytics platform, Priceline Sponsored Listings shows participating hotels exactly the cost to fill each room.

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Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE:YUM): Closing price $72.39

On Thursday, Fitch Ratings said that it will withdraw the ratings on Yum! Brands, Inc. on October 14, for “business reasons.” At this time, Fitch rates Yum! as follows: Long-term issuer default rating ‘BBB’; Senior unsecured notes ‘BBB’; and Short-term IDR ‘F2′. The rating outlook is Stable. The announcement said that, “Fitch reserves the right in its sole discretion to withdraw or maintain any rating at any time for any reason it deems sufficient.”

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT): Closing price $73.91

In a move that could have significant ramifications for his political career, District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray vetoed a bill on Thursday that would require Wal-Mart and other large retailers to pay their employees a minimum of $12.50 an hour, referring to it as a “job killer” that would not help the goal of a living wage for DC workers.

Supporters — among which include unions, clergy, and other labor advocates — said that Wal-Mart could afford the higher wages, while opponents charged that the bill unfairly singled out certain businesses and would have a negative effect on economic development. Gray noted that Wal-Mart had said that it “would not build a store in the District if this bill becomes law,” Gray observed, citing Target, Home Depot, Wegmans, and others.

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The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (NASDAQ:GT): Closing price $21.77

Analyst Rod Lache at Deutsche Bank, in a report published on Thursday, reiterated a Buy on Goodyear and raised his price target from $21 to $23. In the report, Deutsche Bank noted that, “Based on discussions with industry  contacts, we would not be surprised to see another quarter of below average  volume performance, which  would be consistent with GT’s strategy of prioritizing profitability over  volume. Feedback from industry contacts suggests intense price competition at the low end of the tire market. The good news is that Goodyear appears to be above the fray (at the high end). And we believe that the company’s strategy will pay dividends in an industry recovery.”

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