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PepsiCo, LendingClub, Tempur Sealy and More Are Turning Heads This Morning

All three major indexes are lower this morning after today’s jobless claims report. Although the report was better than the mid-point of analysts’ expectations, the report wasn’t good enough to prevent some traders from taking profits off the table, as the S&P and Dow near all-time highs. Among the stocks in the spotlight today are PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP), LendingClub Corp (NYSE:LC), Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:VOD), United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL), and Tempur Sealy International Inc (NYSE:TPX). In this article we’ll report on why these stocks are in the news and see how the elite funds that are tracked by Insider Monkey are positioned in them.

We believe that imitating hedge funds and other large institutional investors can be helpful in identifying stocks capable of outperforming the broader market. Through extensive research that covered portfolios of several hundred large investors between 1999 and 2012, we determined that following the small-cap stocks that large money managers are collectively bullish on, can generate monthly returns nearly 1.0 percentage points above the market (see the details here).


PepsiCo Tries To Amp Up Diet Pepsi Sales

According to the Wall Street Journal, PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP) is considering making changes to its flagship Diet Pepsi drink. Sales of the diet brand fell by 12% year-over-year in the United States over the last 12 weeks ended in mid-May and it seems that Pepsi’s previous adjustment of introducing aspartame-free Diet Pepsi was not enough to cut the bleeding. One of the changes PepsiCo is considering is finding a way to bring back aspartame in certain versions of Diet Pepsi. Ken Fisher‘s Fisher Asset Management was a major shareholder of PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP) at the end of May.

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LendingClub Suffers Website Outage

LendingClub Corp (NYSE:LC)‘s website was down briefly on Wednesday after the company ran into some problems with its data center operations. Fortunately the online peer-to-peer lender’s website is now back. Shares of the company are down by 1.3% this morning and have fallen sharply this year after its former CEO Renaud Laplanche resigned due to an internal probe over loan disclosures. Of the 766 elite funds that we track, 23 of them owned $358.84 million in LendingClub Corp (NYSE:LC) shares on March 31, versus 18 funds with $348.04 million in holdings on December 31.

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On the next page we check in on Vodafone Group Plc (ADR), United Continental Holdings, and Tempur Sealy, and see why they’re trending this morning.

Vodafone Gains Control of Sky Network in New Zealand

Telecom giant Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:VOD) is trending after it agreed to merge its New Zealand division with Sky Network. The combination will amount to a $2.4 billion merger that could yield substantial synergies and help Vodafone gain more exposure to online video and TV. When all is said and done, Vodafone will have a 51% stake in the combination. Jim Simons‘ Renaissance Technologies was long almost 2.00 million shares of Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (NASDAQ:VOD) at the end of March.

United Continental Reports Critical Metric

United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL) disclosed that its revenue passenger miles retreated by 0.5% year-over-year in May, hampered by the strong dollar and low energy prices, which negatively affected United’s oil sector customers. Capacity was up by 0.9% and the company’s load factor for the month fell by 140 basis points to 82.5%. United expects second quarter consolidated passenger unit revenue to retreat by 6.5%-to-8.5%. Shares of United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL) are nevertheless up by 1.6%, mainly due to the lower crude spot prices today. Cliff Asness‘ AQR Capital Management owned more than 5.00 million United Continental shares as of the latest 13F reporting period.

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Tempur Sealy Ups Its Buyback Authorization

Tempur Sealy International Inc (NYSE:TPX)’s board of directors raised the company’s buyback authorization by $200 million to $205 million, noting the authorization bump was consistent with the company’s long-term strategy of returning excess cash to shareholders when appropriate. Despite the good news, shares of Tempur Sealy International Inc (NYSE:TPX) are 3.2% lower as the broader market weakness weighs on demand. 33 top funds in our system owned $1.21 billion worth of Tempur Sealy shares at the end of March.

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Disclosure: None

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