5 Trending Stocks: Cisco Pops 7%, Viacom Surges 5%, and Merck Hikes Dividend

Shares of Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) popped 7% in early trading, after reporting results for its first quarter.  Net income for the networking and communication devices company fell to $1.78 billion (33 cents per share), compared to $1.93 billion (34 cents per share) a year earlier. This is a decline of 7.9% from the year earlier quarter.  Competitors include: Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and International Business Machine (NYSE:IBM).

Investing Insights: Cisco Earnings Recap: Revenues Rise, Share Buybacks were Solid

Kohl’s Corp (NYSE:KSS) is receiving 2% boost after reporting second quarter results.  Profits for the department-store chain increased by 20%.  The company also raised its full-year earnings forecast to $4.41 to $4.52 per share, compared to $4.34 to $4.49.  Competitors to watch include: JC Penny (NYSE:JCP) and Macy’s (NYSE:M).

Investing Insights: Kohls Corp Earnings Cheat Sheet: Another Quarter of Rising Profit

After reporting fiscal fourth-quarter earnings, shares of Viacom (NYSE:VIA) surged more than 5%.  The operator of channels such as MTV and Comedy Central reported a profit of $576 million ($1 per share), compared to $189 million (31 cents per share) last year.  Shares of CBS (NYSE:CBS) are also up nearly 3%.

Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM) is edging slightly higher early Thursday.  The auto company announced that production in North America will return to normal next week.  It will continue to cut back production in other markets due to the recent flooding in Thailand.  Shares of Ford (NYSE:F) and General Motors (NYSE:GM) are also trading higher.

Merck & Co (NYSE:MRK) is trading 2.4% higher after announcing a 10.5% dividend hike.  The company will raise its quarterly dividend from 38 cents per share to 42 cents per share.  It is Merck’s first dividend hike in 7 years.  Shareholders of record as of December 15 will be paid the dividend on January 9.  Shares of Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) and Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) are trading slightly higher.

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