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Why Viacom, E*TRADE, ConocoPhillips, and More Are Trending Thursday

The bull market is alive and well as the S&P 500 is in record territory while all three index futures are well in the green. Among the stocks traders are talking about today are E*TRADE Financial Corp (NASDAQ:ETFC), Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB), SUPERVALU INC. (NYSE:SVU), Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:NXST), and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP). In this article we’ll find out why each stock is in the spotlight this morning and see what elite funds think of the five stocks.

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E*TRADE On Watch Due to Harker Comments

Interest rate-sensitive stocks such as E*TRADE Financial Corp (NASDAQ:ETFC) are in the spotlight after Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Patrick Harker said that the U.S economy may need two interest rate hikes by the end of the year. Due to Britain’s vote to leave the EU last month and the political sensitivity of raising rates before an upcoming Presidential election, many traders had assumed that the Fed would keep interest rates lower for longer and only raise them once in 2016, in December. If the Fed raises them twice this year to avert higher inflation down the road, E*TRADE will benefit from higher interest income. 39 funds in our system owned shares of E*TRADE Financial Corp (NASDAQ:ETFC) at the end of March.

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Viacom Talking With Dalian Wanda Over Paramount

Traders are talking about Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB) today after Reuters reported that the media conglomerate has talked with Dalian Wanda Group about potentially selling the Chinese company a minority stake in Paramount Pictures. Although Paramount Pictures isn’t very profitable, it has iconic value and would be useful for Chinese companies in their push to improve the quality of their films. A partial sale of Paramount would unlock value for Viacom shares and provide it with capital to invest in other businesses. Although Viacom’s CEO might approve of the minority sale, it is unclear whether controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone and his daughter Shari Redstone will approve, however. The number of funds that we track with long positions in Viacom, Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAB) fell by six quarter-over-quarter to 42 as of the end of March.

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On the next page we’ll examine why SUPERVALU INC, Nexstar Broadcasting Group, and ConocoPhillips are making noise this morning.