Quick -- can you name some companies that the media seems to love? I suspect that Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and General Motors (NYSE:GM) wouldn't be on your list. But according to a recent Delahaye Index release from business-research firm Cision, they should be. Each quarter, Cision assesses news coverage to see which companies have benefited the most from positive coverage. Here are its recent top seven companies, along with their year-to-date returns.

Company

Return (YTD) 

General Motors

(8.8%)

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

12.2%

News Corp. (NYSE:NWS)

(5.3%)

Ford (NYSE:F)

(5.9%)

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

26.5%

Wal-Mart

0.8%

Disney (NYSE:DIS)

(5.7%)

Source: Morningstar. Through Nov. 27.

Can such a list help you pinpoint some great investments? Well, it might, but be careful. These stocks tend to be hit-or-miss; some have dramatically outperformed the S&P's 2.4% return, while others have fallen well short. In other words, the positive press may have already worked much of its magic for some companies, while others have yet to surge.

You can find plenty of opinions on these companies right here in Fooldom -- both in our regular articles and in the predictions and comments in our Motley Fool CAPS service, which includes more than 75,000 participants. Consider News Corp., for example. Cision cited the company's bid for Dow Jones as its main reason for inclusion on the list. At CAPS, participants are also bullish, with fully 96% of our best stock predictors expecting outperformance from the company. Many CAPS players cited the company's Myspace.com property, and its massive potential, along with News Corp.'s plans to beef up advertising for it.

Ford is not so universally loved, though. At CAPS, only 47% of nearly 600 All-Star participants are bullish on the company. Cision cited Ford's "positive media attention on environmental issues and product coverage as well as favorable financial coverage," but CAPS participants express concern about Ford's reliance on gas-guzzling SUVs for profits, along with its union and pension problems. The company isn't completely out of favor, though. In writing about Ford last month, Fool Rich Duprey opined that its weak financial position might help it better negotiate with unions.

So keep your eyes open as you encounter the media's coverage of companies. Remember that when the press is writing positively about a company, solid stock performance may follow. Just do your due diligence first, since some positive press is simply overblown.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Wal-Mart and Microsoft. Intel, Microsoft and Wal-Mart are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Disney is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Try any of our investing services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.