NEW YORK (
) -- A roster of large cap stocks hit fresh annual share price heights in the trading week ended Sept. 10, and
asked readers to vote on
. Readers overwhelmingly tapped
Philip Morris International
as the blue chip to outpace the group but
Companhia de Bebidas das Americas
, a Brazilian beer brewer known simply as AmBev, came out ahead.
Some 45% of readers had predicted that Philip Morris would outpace the group, while just 3.1% of voters correctly picked AmBev to outperform this past week.
came in second place, with 28% of the votes. Next was
, with 6% of the votes,
British American Tobacco
AmBev shares traded up 4.1% this week, closing Friday at $120.08.
Earlier this month, Brazil reported a better-than-expected second quarter GDP growth of 8.8% year-over-year and a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 5.1%, outstripping expectations.
The strong growth rate prompted Roubini Global Economics to revise its 2010 growth forecast to 7.5% from 7.25% to 7.75%. However, growth has cooled from 9% year over year and 11.3% SAAR during the first quarter of 2010.
According to the Brazilian Central Bank, the country will record economic growth of 6.3% this year and 4.5% in 2011. Playing host to the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, private and public sector spending in Brazil is bound accelerate beginning this year.
Meanwhile, Philip Morris,
's top pick for the week, gained 1% over the past five trading sessions, to close Friday at $55.12.
The cigarette maker recently raised its quarterly dividend by 10.3% to 64 cents per share. It will be payable Oct. 8 to shareholders of record on Sept. 24. That brings the stock's dividend yield to 4.7% as of Friday's closing price of $54.60.
McDonald's closed the week down by 0.9% at $74.32.
and price target of $75 per share, noting its stock already priced in potential earnings growth.
hit fresh heights again this week, adding 2% to close at $25.28 on Friday.
Vodafone is the second-largest cellular service provider in India and crossed 100 million subscribers during April. India is an important market for Vodafone as it accounts for around 7% of the group's revenue share.
British American Tobacco added 1.6% in the past week, finishing Friday's session at $73.90.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
recently upgraded its rating on British American's stock to buy from neutral, noting the maker of Dunhill, Kent, Lucky Strike and Pall Mall cigarettes should be able to deliver total shareholder returns of 14% per year over time.
"Further cost savings potential and emerging market exposure (estimated at 60% of sales) enhance British American Tobacco's medium-term growth prospects," the equity research firm noted. "Clearly, British American Tobacco's relative share price performance will be impacted in the short term by sector rotation into or out of defensive sectors."
Anheuser-Busch Inbev gained 1% in the past five trading sessions to close Friday at $55.36.
The beer behemoth recently got an initial rating of overweight by HSBC Securities. Jefferies initiated coverage of the Budweiser maker with a buy rating. "The No. 1 global brewer with dominant profit pool share should see continued opportunity to leverage its scale both locally and from its core international brands," the research firm noted. "Unrivaled management track record suggests upside to current $2.25 billion cost saving target and value creation through further M&A potential."
There was also speculation swirling that Anheuser-Busch may be looking to acquire
Craft Brewers Alliance
( HOOK), a small-cap brewer of Widmer Brothers, Red Hook, Kona Brewing and Goose Island beers.
American depositary receipts of Colombian oil and gas company Ecopetrol lost 5.2% this past week, closing Friday at $39.31.
The Colombian government revised the results of a June auction of rights to seek oil and gas at certain areas in the country, and granted the state-controlled Ecopetrol rights to seek oil and gas from an additional field, bringing its won bids to 15, from the 14 it had won in June, the
Wall Street Journal
ADRs of Cnooc Limited rose 2.8% last week, closing Friday at $186.74.
The Hong Kong-based investment holding company and
were bidding for stakes in assets owned by
OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes
in a potential $7 billion deal, according to a report in
. OGX was considering selling stakes in some of its oil blocks after discovering several deposits of hydrocarbon in recent months.
ADRs of Novo Nordisk saw its share price bid up 1.1% last week to close Friday at $93.09. The Danish health care company recently said the United Kingdom National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommended the daily use of one of its diabetes drugs, Victoza.
Finally, Ntt DoCoMo fell 0.5% in the past five sessions to close Friday at $17.17.
A Japanese government advisory panel recently said it favored a team led by NTT DoCoMo, a mobile telecommunication services provider owned by Tokyo-based
Nippon Telegraph & Telephone
, over one led by
to operate the island nation's next-generation mobile broadcasting service. The decision ended a prolonged battle between Japan's two biggest wireless carriers, the
-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.
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