Wednesday, July 31, 2013

GEO Group Hits Estimates in Solid Quarter

GEO Group (NYSE: GEO  ) reported earnings on May 8. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended March 31 (Q1), GEO Group met expectations on revenues and met expectations on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue shrank. Non-GAAP earnings per share grew significantly. GAAP earnings per share increased significantly.

Gross margins expanded, operating margins contracted, net margins grew.

Revenue details
GEO Group tallied revenue of $377.0 million. The four analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ expected to see sales of $379.4 million on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were 6.0% lower than the prior-year quarter's $401.3 million.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

EPS details
EPS came in at $0.38. The five earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ averaged $0.38 per share. Non-GAAP EPS of $0.38 for Q1 were 23% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.31 per share. GAAP EPS of $0.33 for Q1 were 38% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.24 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 25.5%, 140 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 10.9%, 60 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 6.2%, 250 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. (Margins calculated in GAAP terms.)

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $383.7 million. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.42.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $1.53 billion. The average EPS estimate is $1.72.

Investor sentiment

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on GEO Group is outperform, with an average price target of $40.33.

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Add GEO Group to My Watchlist.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

3 Reasons You Shouldn't Give Up On This Bank

While bank stocks like Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) and Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) are climbing higher in 2013, shares of U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB  ) have lagged behind. Are investors better off allocating funds to the other banks that have been on a run, and ditching U.S. Bancorp?

In this video, Motley Fool banking analysts David Hanson and Matt Koppenheffer give investors three reasons the Minneapolis-based bank may still be a great long-term holding.

With big finance firms still trading at deep discounts to their historic norms, investors everywhere are wondering if this is the new normal, or whether finance stocks are a screaming buy today. The answer depends on the company, so to help figure out whether U.S. Bancorp is a buy today, I invite you to read our premium research report on the company today. Click here now for instant access!

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More Expert Advice from The Motley Fool
The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for the next year. Find out which stock in our brand-new free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2013." I invite you to take a copy, free for a limited time. Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Why Zillow Is Poised to Pull Back

Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, online real estate marketplace operator Zillow (NASDAQ: Z  ) has received a distressing two-star ranking.

With that in mind, let's take a closer look at Zillow and see what CAPS investors are saying about the stock right now.

Zillow facts

Headquarters (founded)

Seattle (2004)

Market Cap

$2.6 billion


Internet software and services

Trailing-12-Month Revenue

$133.0 million


Co-Founder/Chairman Richard Barton

CEO Spencer Rascoff

Trailing-12-Month Return on Equity



$179.1 million / $0


Market Leader


Sources: S&P Capital IQ and Motley Fool CAPS.

On CAPS, 34% of the 517 members who have rated Zillow believe the stock will underperform the S&P 500 going forward.

Just last week, one of those Fools, All-Star JakilaTheHun, wroted that the Zillow bear case all boiled down to price:

Complete insane at nearly 20x revenues. Zillow is a rapidly growing firm and may have a bright future, but too many investors misunderstand the dynamics with the company. Zillow is not like LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD  ) or Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX  ) . LNKD and NFLX both have high operating leverage, which means that for every dollar of incremental revenue, a very large chunk of that goes to profit. Z is closer to the other end of the spectrum, as it has to spend a considerable amount of money to generate each incremental dollar of revenue.

Given the dynamics with Z, it should sell closer to 3x-5x revenues. That's assuming you buy into the thesis that it's a high-growth company with a good future in the industry (which I think is reasonable, but it's still not a given). That would put its valuation closer to $15-$25; quite a bit below the current price of $75. I think Zillow is extremely overvalued right now.

While you can certainly make quick gains in hot Internet stocks, the best investing approach is to choose great companies and stick with them for the long term. The Motley Fool's free report, "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich," names stocks that could help you build long-term wealth and retire well, along with some winning wealth-building strategies that every investor should be aware of. Click here now to keep reading.

Take-Two Interactive Floats Convertible Senior Notes Issue

Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ: TTWO  ) is looking to expand its capital base by $250 million. This comes in the form of an issue of five-year convertible senior notes in an underwritten public flotation. Additionally, the company's underwriters have been granted a 30-day purchase option for up to an additional $37.5 million worth of notes to cover over-allotments.

The notes will pay out interest on a semi-annual basis, at an annual rate of 1%. Their maturity date is July 1, 2018, and they will be convertible (at certain times, given certain conditions, until January 1, 2018) at an initial rate of 46.4727 shares of the firm's common stock per $1,000 principal amount of the notes. This represents a conversion price of $21.52 per share.

Take-Two said it plans to use some of the proceeds of the issue to redeem or pay the cash portion of an outstanding convertible notes issue maturing next year. The remaining funds will be utilized for "general corporate purposes," including potential acquisitions, debt retirement, and share repurchases.

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The joint book-running managers of the offering are JPMorgan Chase's J.P. Morgan, Barclays, and the Securities arm of Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC  ) . The issue is expected to close on June 18.

Currently, Take-Two has around 86.4 million shares outstanding. Those shares currently trade at $15.50 apiece.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Famed Short Seller Hates Caterpillar, I Don't

Back in January, we wrote about why we thought Caterpillar (CAT) was a solid investment opportunity. Since then the stock is down 15% and famed short seller Jim Chanos has announced he's short the stock. Chanos thinks the company has too much exposure to the wrong products at the wrong place in the cycle.

Chanos got a big win when CAT announced 2Q EPS. The numbers proved dismal and yet another downward guidance was made. However, we are taking the longer view, i.e. out to 2015, and believe that the stock is offering investors impressive upside.

2Q Earnings

EPS of $1.45 compared to $2.52 for the same period last yearEPS was 14% below consensusRevenues were down 16% year over yearCut its 2013 revenue guidance from $57B-$61B to $56B-$58BFull year 2013 EPS guidance was down to $6.50 from $7.00


Construction Industries saw sales down only 9% year over year. The big tailwind for this segment going forward should be a rise in U.S. residential and nonresidential construction. Meanwhile, Brazil has solid demand thanks to World Cup and the Olympics, where the country is building out infrastructure. CAT is also seeing improvement in China, as the money supply increasing has boosted infrastructure spending. Resource Industries is the real problem child for the company. Sales were down 34% year over year, with sales down in every region, and being down the most in its Asia-Pacific region. 2013 mining segment revenues are expected to be down big given major mining companies are planning to continue their CapEx cuts. Power Systems is one of its underrated segments. Sales were down 4.5% year over year. Asia-Pacific experienced solid growth thanks to strong drilling activity in Australia. Some of the best opportunities lie in offshore drilling in Brazil, the Middle East and Latin America.

Let's dig into some numbers...

CAT is trading well below some of its major equipment peers.

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What's more is that the stock is trading at a steep discount on a P/E basis (at 11x) to its five-year 19x average. While we don't see CAT returning to the 19x earnings anytime soon, we do feel that the stock shouldn't be trading at 9x 2015E EPS (more on this later).

Despite the recent setbacks, CAT still has a return on invested capital that's very close to pre-crisis levels.

We think the free cash flow rebounds for the company, where it's currently trading at 8.6x FCF.

The big driver for the rebounding of FCF should be a rebound in sales. Although we see its operating margin further contracting for fiscal 2013, we expect a steady rebound. Based on our 2015E EPS of $9.12, the company is trading at a mere 9x earnings and a 5.25x EV/EBITDA multiple

(click to enlarge)

We see CAT's EBITDA margin reaching 16% in 2015, which is still well below the near 17.5% in 2012. The reason for the contraction is the fundamental shift from a resource-heavy revenue stream to more construction. Outlined below are the key sales drivers.

Note that we see construction revenues going from 31% of total revenues in 2012 to 38% in 2012, while resource revenues go from 34% of total revenues in 2012 to 24% 2015.

Behind the revenue mixes is distinct sales growth. Highlighted above, in yellow, is where we see construction overtaking resource, while resource revenues should see an over 30% revenue decline in 2013 (highlighted in green).

Diggin! g even de! eper, we believe the biggest fall in revenues for the resource industry will be tied to the Asia-Pacific region (highlighted in yellow below). Meanwhile, the only areas of growth we see for 2013 will come from the construction segment of North America and the power systems segment in Asia (highlighted in green).

(click to enlarge)

All in all / Valuation

In the end, we're still very long CAT. The balance sheet is in good shape, with a rising cash balance, now over $6 billion. We like the 2% plus dividend. As far as valuation goes, our quick thesis includes the fact that CAT trades at less than 10x earnings, compared to the peer average of 12.6x and the broader industry average of 17x. Placing a more appropriate 13x P/E on our 2015 EPS estimates suggest upside of nearly 45% at a $120 price target.

Source: Famed Short Seller Hates Caterpillar, I Don't

Disclosure: I am long CAT. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article. (More...)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Barnes & Noble Stock Fizzles as Nook Buyout Rumor Fades

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: After gaining 24% last Thursday, Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS  ) shares were down as much as 13% today after a new report seemed to kill the rumor that sent the stock soaring, which was that Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) was aiming to buy the entire Nook e-reader division.

So what: The blog TechCrunch had said last week that Microsoft was gearing up to buy the e-reader for $1.7 billion, but today business news site Insider Monkey said, "Nothing imminent is happening," quoting "a highly placed source." Shares of the bookseller bounced off their session low, but still finished down 9.5%. Microsoft shares, meanwhile, gained on the news, finishing up 1%.

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Now what: I had suggested last week that the rumor-driven pop in Barnes & Noble's stock was a good time to sell not only because rumors can be dangerous and often never come true but also because the book retailer is essentially just a dusty skeleton without the Nook. If TechCrunch's rumors are true, the value of the Nook would top Barnes & Noble's entire market cap by 36%. In other words, Microsoft could buy the whole company for less than its supposed offer, pending board approval, and shutter the stores. Of course, the cash infusion would be nice if the deal actually went through, but without the Nook there's little to expect from the bookseller's future. Brick-and-mortar book sales are dying, and analysts see significant losses for the company both this year and next. Those are two bright red flags.

Don't miss the next episode in this developing story, so add Barnes & Noble to your Watchlist by clicking right here.

More Expert Advice from The Motley Fool
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Friday, July 26, 2013

Is Panera Bread a Buy After a Sell-Off?

Investors weren't too happy with Panera Bread's (NASDAQ: PNRA  ) second-quarter results on Tuesday. Heading into the report, the company undoubtedly faced tough expectations. Now, with shares down about 10%, is this a buying opportunity?

A mixed bag
I was watching three metrics in particular on Tuesday: comps, store openings, and revenue growth. Here's how each metric fared.

Comps: Company-owned comparable net bakery-cafe sales were up 3.8%, year over year. Last quarter, comps were up 3.3%. After adjusting for a 100-150 basis points of unfavorable weather impact last quarter, however, comps this quarter actually fell sequentially, from about 4.3%-4.8%, to 3.8% -- a disappointing (or at least unexciting) and meaningful decline.

Notably, however, comps often tend to fluctuate from quarter to quarter, making year-over-year comps a tough metric to put a finger on. Zooming out a few quarters, therefore, provides a better look at overall trends.

Source: Quarterly SEC filings for quarters shown.

Adjusting for the company's second-quarter unfavorable weather impact on comps, the first quarter marks a new low for Panera Bread -- definitely not a good sign.

But is Panera Bread to blame for weakening comps? Not necessarily. In other words the decline isn't likely due to poor (or less efficient) execution on Panera Bread's part. Weakening comps is a phenomenon shared by many restaurant operators lately. The operating environment, overall, is simply becoming more challenging. Problems range from aggressive promotion from competitors, to frugal consumer spending, to increasingly more competition from the emergence of industry participants in the fast-casual category.

Whether or not it's a company- or an industry-specific problem, a tougher operating environment is never good. Even worse, the only force that may subside in this operating environment could be frugal spending. But betting on that would be mere speculation.

Store openings: Panera Bread had excellent news to report as far as store openings go. Unfortunately, this news seemed to get buried in some of the less fortunate metrics. The company's system-wide bakery-cafe count increased to 1,708, up 35 from last quarter. That's a nice addition compared to the company's growth of 21 stores last quarter. Even better, management went out of its way to inform shareholders that it expects "to be at or above the high-end of target range of 115 to 125" new bakery-cafe openings for FY 2013.

Revenue growth: Revenue was up just 11% from the year-ago quarter, a growth rate slightly lower than last quarter's 13% year-over-year growth rate. Once again, this is reflective of the company's increasingly challenging operating environment.

Undervalued or not?
Though the results definitely echo the challenges that many restaurant operators are facing today, were Panera Bread's results bad enough to merit a 10% sell-off?

Let's add some perspective by comparing Panera Bread to fast-casual peer Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG  ) .




Price/Operating Cash Flow

Panera Bread








Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Yes, Chipotle is growing more rapidly than Panera Bread. Its revenue was up 18.2% from the year-ago quarter in Chipotle's most recent quarterly results. Comps for Chipotle look a bit tastier, too: up 4.5% (after adjustments for a quarter with one fewer day than the year-ago quarter).

But Chipotle's growth story comes at a significant price to investors. Measured by price-to-sales, price-to-earnings, and price-to-operating cash flow, Chipotle is significantly more expensive than Panera Bread.

Even if Chipotle's laser-focused business model makes the burrito maker more competitive than Panera Bread in a tougher operating environment, Panera Bread's reasonable price (now even more reasonable thanks to a sell-off) makes the baker seem like the safer bet for investors bullish on fast-casual concepts.

However, even after the sell-off, fast-casual is still a costly business to get into. I'm not quite ready to fork out the premium required to buy Panera Bread shares at this point, but I could be underestimating fast-casual and health-food trends in general.

It's not cheap enough for me to buy, but I'm adding Panera Bread to my watchlist.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Grocery store chain SUPERVALU (NYSE: SVU  ) has appointed Bruce Besanko to be its new executive vice president and chief financial officer, effective as of Aug. 7.

His new role will consist of leading a team of close to 700 finance professionals, as well as overseeing all of the company's financial activities. Besanko succeeds Sherry Smith, who had held the role since 2010.

Previously, Besanko acted as the chief administrative officer, executive vice president of finance, and chief financial officer for OfficeMax. During this time he worked with Sam Duncan, SUPERVALU's current CEO, and both witnessed what Duncan in today's press release called a "successful turnaround at OfficeMax." Duncan praised Besanko's "talent, financial acumen, commitment to success and overall work ethic."

Besanko earned a bachelor of science degree in psychology from the University of Cincinnati and holds a master of business administration degree in finance and strategy from the University of Chicago. he also served in the U.S. Air Force for 26 years, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

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Since the beginning of 2013, SUPERVALU's stock price has risen 212%. On the morning of this announcement, its price per share rose from $7.80 to $7.93.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

10 Best Blue Chip Stocks To Watch Right Now

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is a gold mine for long-term investors. It's particularly juicy if you're looking for high-quality income stocks, as these proven blue chips tend to deliver both high yields and reliable dividend growth. But there are stragglers in every herd, including this elite collection. Let me point out the three worst dividend stocks on the Dow today.

AA Dividend data by YCharts.

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) is a horrible income stock right now, any way you slice it. No other Dow stock even comes close to its feeble 0.3% yield. Annual payouts have plunged 97% over the last decade, and regulators keep a heavy foot on B of A's throat to prevent the troubled bank from over-stretching its financial reserves. That financial crisis in 2008 wrought devastation on Bank of America's dividend appeal.

10 Best Blue Chip Stocks To Watch Right Now: Apple Inc.(AAPL)

Apple Inc., together with subsidiaries, designs, manufactures, and markets personal computers, mobile communication and media devices, and portable digital music players, as well as sells related software, services, peripherals, networking solutions, and third-party digital content and applications worldwide. The company sells its products worldwide through its online stores, retail stores, direct sales force, third-party wholesalers, resellers, and value-added resellers. In addition, it sells third-party Mac, iPhone, iPad, and iPod compatible products, including application software, printers, storage devices, speakers, headphones, and other accessories and peripherals through its online and retail stores; and digital content and applications through the iTunes Store. The company sells its products to consumer, small and mid-sized business, education, enterprise, government, and creative markets. As of September 25, 2010, it had 317 retail stores, including 233 stores in the United States and 84 stores internationally. The company, formerly known as Apple Computer, Inc., was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in Cupertino, California.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Kevin M. O'Brien]

    Apple Inc. (AAPL) will reach $500.00/share at some point in 2012. I view Apple as trading at an extreme discount right now. I am expecting to see a run-up in price ahead of the company's next earnings call on January 17, 2012. I am also expecting that this earnings release is going to be absolutely fantastic. It would be a wise choice to block out all the negative rumors and sentiment surrounding Apple right now. This is a stock that is so attractively priced right now that it will not stay at this level for very long. Check back with me after January 17th next year.

10 Best Blue Chip Stocks To Watch Right Now: McDonald's Corporation(MCD)

McDonald?s Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a worldwide foodservice retailer. It franchises and operates McDonald?s restaurants that offer various food items, soft drinks, coffee, and other beverages. As of December 31, 2009, the company operated 32,478 restaurants in 117 countries, of which 26,216 were operated by franchisees; and 6,262 were operated by the company. McDonald?s Corporation was founded in 1948 and is based in Oak Brook, Illinois.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By JON C. OGG]

    McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE: MCD) is at $85.08 and analysts have a consensus price target objective of $97.68.  It carries a 2.9% dividend yield and the stock is down 5% from its 52-week high.  McDonald’s trades at close to 6-times book value, but its return on equity is 37%.  S&P carries an “A” local long-term rating on the Golden Arches.  In the “you gotta eat somewhere” theory, McDonald’s seems to keep winning over and over and its shares and same-store sales keep rising handily.

  • [By ETF_Authority]

    McDonald’s Corporation (MCD), together with its subsidiaries, operates as a foodservice retailer worldwide. The company has raised distributions for 35 years in a row. The 10 year annual dividend growth rate is 26.50%/year. The last dividend increase was 14.75% to 70 cents/share. Analysts are expecting that McDonald's will earn $5.73/share in 2012. I expect that the quarterly dividend will reach 77 cents/share in 2012. Yield: 2.80%

  • [By Jeff Reeves]

    McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) isn’t quite as dramatic as Apple when it comes to stock performance. The company has “only” doubled since 2007 and “only” tripled since 2005 — compared with 330% gains since 2007 and 900% gains since 2005 for Apple.

    But you have to admit, those gains still are incredibly impressive — especially for a mammoth blue chip like McDonald’s that is dominant worldwide.

    Also worth consideration is the fact that, since 2007, McDonald’s has paid dividends totaling $9.26 per share. Since McDonald’s stock was trading around $45 four years ago, that means on top of doubling your money via the share appreciation, you would have gotten back about 20% of your initial investment via dividends alone. Or if you reinvested those funds, you really could have supercharged your returns even more.

    Looking forward, McDonald’s shows no signs of slowing down. It has surpassed analysts’ expectations in?four of its past five earnings reports, most recently with second-quarter numbers boasting a 15% increase in profits. While its revenue has risen at a modest 3.6% annual rate during the past five years, net income has surged at a 14.6% annual rate — proving MCD can maintain margins and grow profits even if sales don’t soar.

    McDonald’s, like Apple, knows how to deliver small-cap gains despite its blue-chip size. That makes this pick a keeper.

10 Best Stocks To Watch Right Now: International Business Machines Corporation(IBM)

International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) provides information technology (IT) products and services worldwide. Its Global Technology Services segment provides IT infrastructure and business process services, including strategic outsourcing, process, integrated technology, and maintenance services, as well as technology-based support services. The company?s Global Business Services segment offers consulting and systems integration, and application management services. Its Software segment offers middleware and operating systems software, such as WebSphere software to integrate and manage business processes; information management software for database and enterprise content management, information integration, data warehousing, business analytics and intelligence, performance management, and predictive analytics; Tivoli software for identity management, data security, storage management, and datacenter automation; Lotus software for collaboration, messaging, and so cial networking; rational software to support software development for IT and embedded systems; business intelligence software, which provides querying and forecasting tools; SPSS predictive analytics software to predict outcomes and act on that insight; and operating systems software. Its Systems and Technology segment provides computing and storage solutions, including servers, disk and tape storage systems and software, point-of-sale retail systems, and microelectronics. The company?s Global Financing segment provides lease and loan financing to end users and internal clients; commercial financing to dealers and remarketers of IT products; and remanufacturing and remarketing services. It serves financial services, public, industrial, distribution, communications, and general business sectors. The company was formerly known as Computing-Tabulating-Recording Co. and changed its name to International Business Machines Corporation in 1924. IBM was founded in 1910 and is based in Armonk, New York.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Jim Cramer]

    When this company talked about lofty EPS for 2015, initially the street was skeptical especially after IBM reported a blah quarter soon after the expectations were laid out. I now think the company has $20 earnings per share capabilities out three years and that $13 is doable for 2011. You keep the multiple the same and you get a $169 stock. I think it does just that. This one's cheap, way too cheap and it will be cheap next year, too, but on a bigger earnings base which is how it can get to my price target.

  • [By Peter Hughes]

    International Business Machines (IBM) -- our aggressive pick for the year -- is one of the world's most dominant technology companies, with annual revenues of $105 billion and net income of $16 billion.

  • [By Louis Navellier]

    IBM (NYSE:IBM) is an international IT company made famous by its line of personal computers and various IT services. A year-to-date gain of 18% shows IBM stock has a lot to offer.

  • [By Paul]

    IBM. Emerging markets are a big growth driver for this computer systems and software provider. Not only that, Resendes says, IBM has "a bullet-proof balance sheet that will allow it to weather the current storm and position it for superior growth and profitability in the long term." He thinks the stock, which recently traded at $93, is worth $120 a share: ''There are some obvious companies that offer much bigger discounts, but you have to incorporate the safety factor. You're getting a premium company here that's a good spot to be in within the tech space."

10 Best Blue Chip Stocks To Watch Right Now: Chevron Corporation(CVX)

Chevron Corporation, through its subsidiaries, engages in petroleum, chemicals, mining, power generation, and energy operations worldwide. It operates in two segments, Upstream and Downstream. The Upstream segment involves in the exploration, development, and production of crude oil and natural gas; processing, liquefaction, transportation, and regasification associated with liquefied natural gas; transportation of crude oil through pipelines; and transportation, storage, and marketing of natural gas, as well as holds interest in a gas-to-liquids project. The Downstream segment engages in the refining of crude oil into petroleum products; marketing of crude oil and refined products primarily under the Chevron, Texaco, and Caltex brand names; transportation of crude oil and refined products by pipeline, marine vessel, motor equipment, and rail car; and manufacture and marketing of commodity petrochemicals, plastics for industrial uses, and fuel and lubricant additives. It a lso produces and markets coal and molybdenum; and holds interests in 13 power assets with a total operating capacity of approximately 3,100 megawatts, as well as involves in cash management and debt financing activities, insurance operations, real estate activities, energy services, and alternative fuels and technology business. Chevron Corporation has a joint venture agreement with China National Petroleum Corporation. The company was formerly known as ChevronTexaco Corp. and changed its name to Chevron Corporation in May 2005. Chevron Corporation was founded in 1879 and is based in San Ramon, California.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Louis Navellier]

    Chevron (NYSE:CVX) provides support to its subsidiaries in the following fields: petroleum operations, chemicals operations, mining operations, power generation and energy services. While many stocks on the NYSE have underperformed in 2011, Chevron stock is up 8% year to date.

10 Best Blue Chip Stocks To Watch Right Now: Colgate-Palmolive Company(CL)

Colgate-Palmolive Company, together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and markets consumer products worldwide. It offers oral care products, including toothpaste, toothbrushes, and mouth rinses, as well as dental floss and pharmaceutical products for dentists and other oral health professionals; personal care products, such as liquid hand soap, shower gels, bar soaps, deodorants, antiperspirants, shampoos, and conditioners; and home care products comprising laundry and dishwashing detergents, fabric conditioners, household cleaners, bleaches, dishwashing liquids, and oil soaps. The company offers its oral, personal, and home care products under the Colgate Total, Colgate Max Fresh, Colgate 360 Advisors' Opinion:

  • [By Hesler]

    Colgate-Palmolive Company(NYSE: CL), together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and markets consumer products worldwide. This dividend champion has raised distributions for 48 years in a row and currently yields 2.80%.

  • [By ChuckCarlson]

    Colgate-Palmolive Company (CL), together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and markets consumer products worldwide. The company has raised distributions for 48 years in a row. The 10 year annual dividend growth rate is 12.40%/year. The last dividend increase was 9.40% to 58 cents/share. Analysts are expecting that Colgate Palmolive will earn $5.52/share in 2012. I expect that the quarterly dividend will be raised to 64 cents/share in 2012. Yield: 2.60%

  • [By Louis Navellier]

    Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE:CL) is a staple of consumer products, selling its oral, personal, home care and pet nutrition products in over 200 countries. A nice year-to-date return of 16% has helped keep Colgate stock holders happy all year.

10 Best Blue Chip Stocks To Watch Right Now: Visa Inc.(V)

Visa Inc., a payments technology company, engages in the operation of retail electronic payments network worldwide. It facilitates commerce through the transfer of value and information among financial institutions, merchants, consumers, businesses, and government entities. The company owns and operates VisaNet, a global processing platform that provides transaction processing services. It also offers a range of payments platforms, which enable credit, charge, deferred debit, debit, and prepaid payments, as well as cash access for consumers, businesses, and government entities. The company provides its payment platforms under the Visa, Visa Electron, PLUS, and Interlink brand names. In addition, it offers value-added services, including risk management, issuer processing, loyalty, dispute management, value-added information, and CyberSource-branded services. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Jeff Reeves]

    Despite a very rough 2011 so far, payment processor Visa (NYSE:V) is right there beside Apple with gains of nearly 30% since the first of the year. Visa stock continues to set 52-week highs and is within striking distance of new all-time highs above $97.

    Visa doesn’t have quite the track record of many blue chips, having only gone public in 2008. However, there are some big reasons to expect that the recent growth is not just a flash in the pan.

    For starters, the demographic trends are hard to ignore. The percentage of cashless transactions continues to rise. Despite rapid growth from fees for payment processing, 40% of all transactions in the U.S. still are done with cash or paper checks. That’s to say nothing of rapid growth of debit and credit card business in emerging markets. Visa’s logo is everywhere and will only be accepted in more places as the months go by.

    And don’t forget, Visa is not a financial stock. Service fees account for more than one-third of revenue — meaning the stock is little more than a toll-taker on the road between a merchant and a customer’s checking account. It is not exposed to bad debt the way financial stocks like Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and others are.

    Visa has seen year-over-year earnings growth every single quarter since going public, and it should keep up that growth. Additionally, revenue was up 17% from fiscal 2009 to fiscal 2010 and is forecast to jump another 12% in fiscal 2011.

    There is big growth to be had at Visa. It might not be Apple, but its strong growth potential and dominant brand make it a go-to stock for large-cap investors.

  • [By Charles Sizemore]

    One of the “big picture” economic themes that I expect to play out over 2011 and beyond is the secular shift to a global cashless society.?Though the process is well on its way in the U.S. and Europe, roughly 40% of all transactions are still made with cash and paper checks according to Barron’s.

    This means that even in “boring” developed markets, there is ample room for growth in electronic payments. And there is no better company to benefit from this trend than credit card giant Visa (NYSE: V).

  • [By Robert Holmes]

    Company Profile: Visa is the global credit card company.

    Share Price: $95.69 (Dec. 6)

    2011 Return: 36%

    Investment Thesis: "Visa is well-positioned to continue to capitalize on the electronic payments secular growth trend," William Blair analysts write of Visa, noting that secular growth of electronic payments is expected to average 10% to 12% globally over the next several years.

    The analysts also say that Visa also enjoys very high incremental margins, which contributes to the company's attractive margin profile (59% in fiscal 2011) and strong free cash flow.

    "Visa has a strong balance sheet and generates strong cash flow," the analysts write. "Visa had about $4.1 billion of cash and investments, $2.9 billion of litigation reserves, and no debt on its balance sheet as of Sept. 30, 2011. Guidance calls for more than $4 billion of free cash flow in fiscal 2012."

10 Best Blue Chip Stocks To Watch Right Now: Philip Morris International Inc(PM)

Philip Morris International Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products in markets outside of the United States. Its international product brand line comprises Marlboro, Merit, Parliament, Virginia Slims, L&M, Chesterfield, Bond Street, Lark, Muratti, Next, Philip Morris, and Red & White. The company also offers its products under the A Mild, Dji Sam Soe, and A Hijau in Indonesia; Diana in Italy; Optima and Apollo-Soyuz in the Russian Federation; Morven Gold in Pakistan; Boston in Colombia; Belmont, Canadian Classics, and Number 7 in Canada; Best and Classic in Serbia; f6 in Germany; Delicados in Mexico; Assos in Greece; and Petra in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It operates primarily in the European Union, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Canada, and Latin America. The company is based in New York, New York.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Louis Navellier]

    Philip Morris International (NYSE:PM) is involved with the manufacture and sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products in over 180 countries across the globe. Year to date, PM stock is up 16%, compared to a loss of nearly 2% for the Dow Jones.

  • [By Fitz Gerald]

    Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE: PM), through its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products in markets outside of the United States. The company has raised dividends every year since it was spun-off from Altria (MO) in 2008 and yields 3.70%.

Monday, July 22, 2013

5 Best Heal Care Stocks To Own Right Now

This morning, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) moved as high as 155 points before starting its descent and ending the day down 80 points, or 0.52%. The other two major indexes also followed a similar path and both ended the day in the red. The S&P 500 lost 0.83% while the Nasdaq closed the day down 1.11%.

One catalyst for the move higher this morning was news that existing home sales in April rose higher by 0.6%, average time on market fell during the month, and prices increased. It was also reported that applications for mortgages and refinancing dropped for the second week in a row, which is clearly not a good sign.

But the real reason stocks fell today came from Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve. In his testimony in front of Congress this morning, he hinted that the Fed's bond-buying program may soon begin to slow. And while investors didn't like hearing that from the Fed chairman, they really didn't like reading it in the Fed's last meeting minutes, which were released this afternoon, that a number of Fed members pushed for a slowdown at the last meeting. Investors' fears that the days of cheap money and Fed-induced stock market rally may be coming to an end sent stocks falling.

5 Best Heal Care Stocks To Own Right Now: NVE Corporation(NVEC)

NVE Corporation engages in the development and sale of devices that use spintronics, a nanotechnology that relies on electron spin to acquire, store, and transmit information. It manufactures high-performance spintronic products, including sensors and couplers used to acquire and transmit data. The company?s products comprise standard sensors to detect the presence of a magnet or metallic material to determine position or speed; and custom and medical sensors primarily for medical devices to replace electromechanical magnetic switches. It also offers spintronic couplers, including passive-input couplers, digital-input couplers, and isolated network couplers in various series. In addition, the company licenses the spintronic magnetoresistive random access memory technology, as well as provides contract research and development services. NVE Corporation sells its products through distributors, principally in the United States, Europe, and Asia. The company was founded in 19 82 and is headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

5 Best Heal Care Stocks To Own Right Now: Casual Male Retail Group Inc.(CMRG)

Casual Male Retail Group, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a specialty retailer of men?s apparel in the United States, Canada, and Europe. It operates its stores under the Casual Male XL, Casual Male XL Outlets, Destination XL, Rochester Clothing, B & T Factory Direct, Shoes XL, and Living XL trade names. The company?s retail stores offer a range of basic sportswear, casual apparel, and dress wear and accessories, as well as a line of its private label collections, such as Harbor Bay, 626 Blue-Vintage Surplus, Synrgy, Oak Hill, and True Nation; casual clothing for the big and tall customers; loungewear, dress shirts, suits, and jeans wear; and luxury-oriented menswear. As of July 25, 2011, it operated 454 Casual Male XL retail and outlet stores, 15 Rochester Clothing stores, and 5 Destination XL stores. The company also operates a direct business, Shoes XL, which includes the selling men?s footwear; and Living XL catalogs, speciali zing in selling select lifestyle products, such as chairs, outdoor accessories, and travel accessories, as well as bed and bath, and fitness equipment; and online stores for Casual Male XL and Rochester Clothing brands in the European countries, including the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands. In addition, it offers a selection of apparel, from branded manufacturers, such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Robert Graham, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Ermenegildo Zegna, Cutter and Buck, Tommy Bahama, and Paul & Shark. The company was formerly known as Designs, Inc. and changed its name to Casual Male Retail Group, Inc. in August 2002 as a result of the acquisition of Casual Male business from Casual Male Corp. Casual Male Retail Group, Inc. was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in Canton, Massachusetts.

Top Stocks To Watch Right Now: A-sonic Aerospace Limited (A53.SI)

A-Sonic Aerospace Limited, an investment holding company, engages in aerospace engineering and logistics businesses. It supplies aircraft systems and components to airlines and aviation maintenance repair organizations, as well as offers retrofit solutions and aircraft maintenance management services; and provides academic and technical education relating to logistics, transportation, and commerce to industrial and commercial enterprises. The company also engages in the purchase, sale, and lease of aircraft. In addition, it provides supply chain management services; logistic solutions, including international and domestic multi-modal transportation, freight forwarding, warehousing, distribution, and customs clearance; airport ground services for cargo, as well as specialized active and passive packaging solutions; and air cargo management services. Further, the company acts as an air cargo general sales agent for various international airlines. It operates in Asia, sub-con tinent India, the Americas, and Europe. The company is based in Singapore.

5 Best Heal Care Stocks To Own Right Now: GeoGlobal Resources Inc. (GGR)

GeoGlobal Resources Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the exploration and development of oil and natural gas reserves in India, Israel, and Colombia. It has activities in four geological basins located offshore and onshore in India; one geological basin located offshore in Israel; and one geological basin located onshore in Colombia. The company has exploration rights pursuant to PSCs with the government of India are located in the Krishna Godavari Basin offshore and onshore in the State of Andhra Pradesh in south eastern India; the Cambay Basin onshore in the State of Gujarat in western India; the Deccan Syneclise Basin onshore in the State of Maharashtra in west central India; and the Bikaner-Nagaur Basin onshore in the State of Rajasthan in north western India. It also has exploration rights pursuant to licenses located in the Levantine Basin located off the coast of Israel. As of December 31, 2011, the company had interests in approximately 1,609,645 net acres . GeoGlobal Resources Inc. was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in Calgary, Canada.

5 Best Heal Care Stocks To Own Right Now: Citizens & Northern Corp(CZNC)

Citizens & Northern Corporation operates as the holding for Citizens & Northern Bank, which provides various banking and mortgage products and services to individual and corporate customers in north central Pennsylvania and southern New York. Its deposit products include various checking accounts, passbook and statement savings, money market accounts, interest checking accounts, individual retirement accounts, and certificates of deposits, as well as non-insured Repo Sweep accounts. The company?s loan portfolio comprises mortgage loans, commercial loans, and consumer loans, as well as specialized instruments, such as commercial letters-of-credit. It also provides trust and financial management services, including administration of trusts and estates, retirement plans, and other employee benefit plans; investment management services; and various personal and commercial insurance products, as well as mutual funds, annuities, educational savings accounts, and other investmen t products through registered agents. As of April 20, 2011, the company operates 26 full service offices in Tioga, Bradford, Sullivan, Lycoming, Potter, Cameron, and McKean counties in Pennsylvania; and Steuben and Allegany counties in New York. Citizens & Northern Corporation was founded in 1971 and is based in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Best Financial Companies To Own In Right Now

Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index headed for its biggest gain in nine months, amid signs the Japanese and U.S. economies are improving and assurances on stimulus efforts by the Federal Reserve.

Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), the world�� biggest carmaker, rose 1.5 percent, pacing gains among Japanese exporters as the yen weakened. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Japan�� No. 1 lender, climbed 4.1 percent after the nation�� industrial output and retail sales beat expectations. China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd., the largest mainland property company traded in Hong Kong, rose 4.6 percent on speculation the government will remove a ban on refinancing for real-estate development.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 2 percent to 130.84 as of 5:29 p.m. in Tokyo, heading for its biggest advance since Sept. 14, a day after Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke unveiled a third round of quantitative easing to boost the U.S. economy. The gauge is headed for a second month of losses and its first quarterly slump in a year after China�� money-market rates surged to a record and Bernanke said this month policy makers may start dialing down U.S. stimulus.

Best Financial Companies To Own In Right Now: ING Groep NV (ING)

ING Groep N.V. (ING), incorporated in 1991, is a global financial institution offering banking, investments, life insurance and retirement services to meet the needs of the customers. The Company�� segments include banking and insurance. Banking segment includes retail Netherlands, retail Belgium, ING direct, retail central Europe (CE), retail Asia, commercial banking (excluding real estate), ING real estate and corporate line banking. Insurance segment includes insurance Benelux, insurance central and rest of Europe (CRE), insurance United States (US), Insurance US closed block VA, insurance Asia/Pacific, ING investment management (IM) and corporate line insurance. In February 2011, the Company divested its real estate investment operation ING Real Estate Investment Management (ING REIM) to CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. In June 2011, the Company sold Clarion Partners. In July 2011, ING announced the completion of the sale of Clarion Real Estate Securities. During the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company divested its interests in ING Car Lease and ING IM Philippines. In February 2012, Capital One Financial Corp. acquired ING Direct business in the United States from the Company.

In June 2011, ING had completed the sale of its interest in China�� Pacific Antai Life Insurance Company Ltd. In June 2011, ING announced the completion of the sale of real estate investment manager of its United States operations, Clarion Partners, to Clarion Partners management in partnership with Lightyear Capital LLC. In October 2011, ING announced that it had completed the sale of REIM�� Asian and European operations to CBRE Group Inc. In December 2011 ING completed the sale of its Latin American pensions, life insurance and investment management operations.

Retail Netherlands

Retail Banking reaches its individual customers through Internet banking, telephone, call centers, mailings and branches. Using direct marketing methods, it is a provider of current account services an! d payments systems to provide other financial services, such as savings accounts, mortgage loans, consumer loans, credit card services, investment and insurance products. Mortgages are offered through a tied agents sale force and direct and intermediary channels. ING Bank Netherlands operates through a branch network of approximately 280 branches. It offers a range of commercial banking activities and also life and non-life insurance products. It also sells mortgages through the intermediary channel.

Retail Belgium

ING Belgium provides banking, insurance (life, non-life) and asset management products and services to meet the needs of individuals, families, companies and institutions through a network of local head offices, 773 branches and direct banking channels (automated branches, home banking services and call centers). ING Belgium also operates a second network, Record Bank, which provides a range of banking products through independent banking agents and credit products through a multitude of channels (agents, brokers, vendors).

ING Direct

ING Direct offers a range of financial products, such as savings, mortgages, retail investment products, payment accounts and consumer lending products. It operates in Canada, Spain, Australia, France, Italy, Germany, Austria and the United Kingdom. In June 2011, ING Group announced the sale of ING Direct USA to Capital One Financial Corporation.

Retail Central Europe

Retail Central Europe has a presence in Poland, and Romania and Turkey. ING in Poland is an Internet bank. During 2011, ING Bank Turkey launched the Orange account, the variable savings product. ING in Turkey also launched a mobile phone banking application. ING Bank Romania carried out its Internet banking site, Home��ank. In September 2011, a mobile version of the Home��ank Website was introduced.

Retail Asia

Retail Banking has a presence in Asian markets of India, China and Thailand. As o! f Decembe! r 31, 2011, the Company had 44% interest in ING Vysya and 30% interest in TMB Bank in Thailand. Bank of Beijing (BoB), in which ING has the largest single interest (16.07%) is a commercial bank in China. ING provides principally risk management and retail banking to BoB.

Commercial Banking

ING Commercial Banking supports the banking needs of its corporate and institutional clients to invest both retail and commercial bank customer deposits. It is a commercial bank in its home markets in the Benelux, as well as in Germany, Central and Eastern Europe. In addition to the banking services of lending, payments and cash management and treasury, it also provides solutions in other areas, including specialized and trade finance, derivatives, corporate finance, debt and equity capital markets, leasing, factoring and supply chain finance. Payments and Cash Management (PCM) and General Lending are its some of the product lines. Structured Finance (SF) is a specialist commercial lending business, providing loans to support capital intensive investments and working capital. It is managed in three groups: the Energy, Transport and Infrastructure Group; the Specialized Financing Group; and International Trade and Export Finance. Leasing and Factoring (L&F) provides financial and operating leasing services for a range of equipment, as well as receivables financing and other factoring solutions for commercial banking clients. The Financial Markets (FM) is the global business unit that manages ING�� financial markets trading and non-trading activities. FM is managed along three business lines: ALCO manages the interest rates exposures arising from the traditional banking activities, Strategic Trading Platform incorporates the primary proprietary risk taking units, and Clients and Products is the primary customer trading facilitation business line.

Real Estate

During 2011, Real Estate Finance (REF) maintained its credit portfolio. Real Estate Development (ING RED) and! Real Est! ate Investment Management (ING REIM) has a controlled wind down of activities.

Insurance Benelux

Duirng 2011, Nationale-Nederlanden introduced bank pension savings products and annuities. ING Life Belgium introduced a new Universal Life product. Nationale-Nederlanden also received a license from the Dutch Central Bank to launch a defined contribution DC company pension product PPI in Europe. NN Services introduced a processing and information technology system (business process management layer) for several legacy lines of retail Life businesses. NN Services IT manages all the closed book business of Nationale-Nederlanden. ING�� life insurance products in the Benelux consist of a range of traditional, unit-linked and variable annuity policies written for both individual and group customers. ING is also a provider of (re-insured) company pension plans in the Netherlands.

NG Benelux��non-life products, mainly in the Netherlands, include coverage for both individual and commercial/group clients for fire, motor, disability, transport and third party liability. Nationale-Nederlanden has also a central product manufacturing service for property and casualty insurance, which has developed products for ING Bank in Belgium and ING Bank in the Netherlands. ING offers a range of disability insurance products and complementary services for employers and self-employed professionals (such as dentists and general practitioners).

Insurance Central and Rest of Europe

Insurance Central and Rest of Europe has life insurance companies in Hungary, Poland, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Spain and Turkey. It has pension funds in Poland, Hungary, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Bulgaria, Romania and in Turkey. ING offers a range of individual endowment, unit linked, term and whole life insurance policies designed to meet specific customer needs. It also has employee benefits products, as well as pension funds, that manage individu! al retire! ment accounts for individuals. The latter comprise both mandatory and voluntary retirement savings.

Insurance United States (Excluding US Closed Block Va)

ING Insurance US offers retirement services (primarily defined contribution plans), life insurance, fixed annuities, employee benefits, mutual funds, and broker-dealer services in the United States. ING Insurance US operates four businesses: Retirement Plans, Individual Retirement, Individual Life and Employee Benefits. ING Insurance US�� Retirement Plans business is a contribution providers, which offers a range of retirement solutions to all sizes and types of employers, including businesses for-profit ranging from start-ups to large corporations, public and private school systems, higher education institutions, state and local governments, hospitals and healthcare facilities, and not-for-profit organizations. ING Insurance US�� Retirement Plans business is a provider of defined contribution (DC) retirement plans in the United States based on assets under management and administration.

Insurance US Closed Block Va

ING US Closed Block VA consists of variable annuities issued in the United States that are primarily owned by individuals and were designed to address the demand for tax-advantaged savings, retirement planning, and wealth-protection. These annuity contracts were sold in the United States, primarily through independent third party distributors, including wirehouses and securities firms, independent planners and agents and banks.

Insurance Asia/Pacific

ING Insurance Asia/Pacific (IAP) is a provider of life insurance products and services. It is a life insurer in the region, with nine life operations in eight markets. IAP has ip operations in Japan and South Korea, operates a nt business in Malaysia, and is well in China, Hong Kong, Macau, India and Thailand. In April 2011, IAP, together with Public Bank Berhad and Public Islamic Bank Berhad, launched a joint ! venture i! n Malaysia, ING PUBLIC Takaful Ehsan Berhad, which will develop Takaful insurance products. In June 2011, IAP completed the sale of its 50% interest in Pacific-Antai Life Insurance Company Limited (PALIC).

The business units of IAP offer select types of life insurance, wealth management, and retail products and services. These include annuities, endowment, disability/morbidity insurance, unit linked/universal life, whole e, participating life, group life, accident and health, term life and employee benefits. In Hong Kong non-life insurance products (including medical, motor, fire, marine, personal accident and general liability) are also offered.

Insurance Latin America

ING completed the sale of its pensions, life insurance and investment management operations on December 29, 2011. These operations were in Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay.

ING Investment Management

ING IM is an investment manager of ING Group with activities in Europe, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. In October 2011, ING IM sold ING IM Australia. ING IM provides a range of actively-managed strategies, investment vehicles and advisory services in all major asset classes and investment styles. It delivers a range of investment strategies and services to ING�� global network of businesses and third-party clients.

Best Financial Companies To Own In Right Now: MFA Financial Inc (MFA)

MFA Financial, Inc., incorporated on July 24, 1997, is engaged in the business of investing, on a leveraged basis, in residential Agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and Non-Agency MBS. Its business objective is to generate net income for distribution to its stockholders resulting from the difference between the interest and other income it earn on its investments and the interest expense it pays on the borrowings, which it uses to finance its leveraged investments and its operating costs. Its operating policies require that at least 50% of its investment portfolio consist of ARM-MBS, which are either Agency MBS or rated in two rating categories by at least one of rating agency, such as Moody�� Investors Services, Inc., Standard & Poor�� Corporation (S&P) or Fitch, Inc. The remainder of its assets may consist of direct or indirect investments in other types of MBS and residential mortgage loans; other mortgage and real estate-related debt and equity; and other yield instruments.

The mortgages collateralizing the Company�� MBS portfolio are Hybrids, ARMs and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. The Hybrids collateralizing its MBS typically have fixed-rate periods ranging from three to 10 years. Interest rates on the mortgage loans collateralizing its ARM-MBS reset based on specific index rates, which include London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) or the one-year constant maturity treasury (CMT) rate. The mortgages collateralizing its ARM-MBS have interim and lifetime caps on interest rate adjustments. The Company�� Non-Agency MBS have been at discounts to face/par value.

10 Best Stocks To Watch Right Now: Taylor Capital Group Inc.(TAYC)

Taylor Capital Group, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for Cole Taylor Bank that provides a range of commercial banking products and services primarily to closely-held commercial customers and their owner operators in the Chicago area. It offers various deposit products, including checking, savings, and money market accounts, as well as time deposits, and other deposit and credit services to commercial clients and community-based customers, including individuals and small local businesses. The company?s commercial lending activities primarily consist of providing loans for working capital and business expansion or acquisition; owner-occupied commercial real estate financing; revolving lines of credit; and stand-by and commercial letters of credit. It also originates and sells mortgage loans. In addition, the company provides treasury cash management services, including repurchase agreements, Internet balance reporting, remote deposit capture, positive pay, automa ted clearing house products, imaged lock-box processing, controlled disbursement, and account reconciliation services to commercial clients; and investment management and brokerage services. Further, it offers asset-based financing, including revolving lines of credit supported by receivables and inventory; and term loans supported by equipment and real estate. The company?s target commercial lending customers include businesses engaged in various industries, such as manufacturing, wholesale and retail distribution, transportation, construction contracting, and professional services. It operates through nine banking centers in the Chicago area. The company was founded in 1929 and is headquartered in Rosemont, Illinois.

Best Financial Companies To Own In Right Now: Washington Banking Company(WBCO)

Washington Banking Company operates as the bank holding company for Whidbey Island Bank that provides community commercial banking services in northwestern Washington. Its deposit products include interest-bearing demand and money market accounts, saving deposits, time deposits, NOW accounts, and noninterest-bearing demand deposits. The company?s portfolio of loans comprises secured and unsecured commercial loans for working capital and expansion; real estate mortgage loans, including one-to-four family residential and commercial real estate loans; and real estate construction loans, such as commercial real estate, one-to-four family residential construction, and speculative construction loans. Its consumer loan portfolio include automobile loans, boat and recreational vehicle financing, home equity and home improvement loans, and other secured and unsecured personal loans, as well as SBA guaranteed loans for small and medium sized businesses. In addition, the company pro vides non-deposit managed investment products and services, and sweep investment options. As of December 31, 2010, it operated 30 branches in 6 counties located in northwestern Washington. The company was founded in 1996 and is based in Oak Harbor, Washington.

Best Gold Stocks To Watch For 2014

Millions of investors have turned to dividend stocks to provide income, and they can ill-afford to have those stocks cut their payouts right now. Yet in one sector, things look particularly dangerous for dividend investors right now.

In the following video, Fool markets analyst Mike Klesta talks with Fool contributor Dan Caplinger about this dangerous sector. As Dan notes, with large drops in revenue expected in the current quarter, several companies in the industry have already been forced to cut their dividends dramatically, and further cuts could come in the near future if prospects for the industry don't rebound quickly. Dan concludes with some guidance on what to look for in assessing whether the industry can avoid further problems down the road and how price increases in ETFs SPDR Gold (NYSEMKT: GLD  ) and iShares Silver (NYSEMKT: SLV  ) could help companies sustain their dividends.

Best Gold Stocks To Watch For 2014: KOFAX PLC ORD GBP0.025(KFX.L)

Kofax plc develops and markets capture driven business process automation solutions worldwide. The company provides enterprise software solutions, such as Kofax Capture for capturing documents from paper and electronic sources; Kofax Transformation Modules to classify and separate documents, and extract and validate information; Kofax e-Transactions to send and receive electronic invoices without paper; Kofax Front Office Server that triggers back office business processes from front office equipment; and Kofax Monitor to monitor and analyze the performance of capture systems. It also offers Kofax Communication Server, which enables the automated exchange of business critical information linking devices, including MFPs, fax, phone systems, and email and SMS, as well as applications comprising ERP and CRM systems, and Kofax Capture; Kofax Express that captures paper documents into archives; and Kofax VRS Elite, a scanner that automatically examines documents and applies the correct settings to deliver scanned images. In addition, the company provides Atalasoft DotImage SDK, a photo and document imaging toolkit for the Microsoft .NET platform that enables image scanning, viewing, annotation, compression, and processing for customized desktop or Web applications; MarkView for Accounts Payable, which is used for transaction processing; MarkView AP Advisor to control financial functions; and SupplierExpress that processes invoice capture and entry, as well as professional, training, and support services. Further, it offers industry solutions for banking, mortgage processing, insurance, government, business process outsourcing, and health care segments; Microsoft Sharepoint solutions; business processes, such as invoice processing, digital mailroom, and medical claims processing; and resources, including case studies, white papers, customers, blogs, webinars, newsletter, and video testimonials. Kofax plc was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in Irvine, California.

Best Gold Stocks To Watch For 2014: Stewart Enterprises Inc.(STEI)

Stewart Enterprises, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides funeral and cemetery products and services in the death care industry in the United States and Puerto Rico. The company also offers a range of funeral merchandise and services, as well as cemetery property, cremation, merchandise, and services. Its funeral homes provide various services and products, including the family consultation, removal and preparation of remains, usage of funeral home facilities for visitation, worship and funeral services, transportation services, flowers, and caskets. The company also sells cemetery property and related merchandise, which includes lots, lawn crypts, family and community mausoleums, monuments, markers, and burial vaults; and provides burial site openings and closings and inscriptions. In addition, it maintains cemetery grounds under cemetery perpetual care contracts and local laws. As of January 31, 2011, the company owned and operated 218 funeral homes and 141 cemeterie s. Stewart Enterprises, Inc. was founded in 1910 and is based in Jefferson, Louisiana.

Top Stocks To Watch Right Now: Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc.(PCRX)

Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company, engages in the development, commercialization, and manufacture of pharmaceutical products for use in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. The company develops pharmaceutical products based on its proprietary DepoFoam drug delivery technology. Its product portfolio includes EXPAREL, a long-acting non-opioid postsurgical analgesic for postsurgical pain management; DepoCyt for the treatment of lymphomatous meningitis, a cancer of the immune system; DepoDur for controlling post operative pain; DepoNSAID, which is in preclinical trials for the relief of acute pain; and DepoMethotrexate that is in preclinical trials for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis oncology. The company was formerly known as Pacira, Inc. and changed its name to Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in October 2010. Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc. was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

5 Best Energy Stocks To Invest In 2014

Five weeks ago, I outlined my plans to create a portfolio of 10 companies that all have one thing in common: They provide a basic need or deliver life's necessities. It's my contention that basic-needs companies can offer investors stability and growth throughout any market environment thanks to consistent demand, incredible pricing power, and delectable dividends. This portfolio, which I have dubbed the�Basic Needs Portfolio, will be pitted against the�S&P 500�over a period of three years with the expectation of outperformance for all 10 stocks. I'll be rolling out a new selection to this portfolio every week for the next five weeks.

You can review my previous four selections here:

Waste Management Intel NextEra Energy MasterCard

Today, I plan to introduce the fifth of 10 selections to the Basic Needs Portfolio: Chevron (NYSE: CVX  ) .

5 Best Energy Stocks To Invest In 2014: TotalFinaElf S.A.(TOT)

TOTAL S.A., together with its subsidiaries, operates as an integrated oil and gas company worldwide. The company operates through three segments: Upstream, Downstream, and Chemicals. The Upstream segment engages in the exploration, development, and production of oil and natural gas. It also involves in the transportation, trade, and marketing of natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG), as well as in LNG re-gasification and natural gas storage operations. In addition, this segment engages in the shipping and trade of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG); power generation from gas-fired power plants, nuclear, or renewable energies; production, trade, and marketing of coal, as well as in solar power systems and technology operations. As of December 31, 2010, it had combined proved reserves of 10,695 Mboe of oil and gas. The Downstream segment involves in refining, marketing, trading, and shipping crude oil and petroleum products. It also produces a range of specialty products, s uch as lubricants, LPG, jet fuel, special fluids, bitumen, marine fuels, and petrochemical feedstock. This segment holds interests in 24 refineries located in Europe, the United States, the French West Indies, Africa, and China, as well as operates a network of 17,490 service stations. The Chemicals segment produces base chemicals, including petrochemicals and fertilizers, as well as engages in rubber processing, resins, adhesives, and electroplating activities. TOTAL S.A. was founded in 1924 and is based in Paris, France.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Glenn]  

    TOT has a market capitalization of $130 billion. Its dividend yield last year of 5% is among the best in the industry. Current P/E ratio of 9.2 seems very attractive compared to the industry average of 12. The stock prices did not participate much in the recent bull market. While smaller sized competitors such as ConocoPhillips (COP), Marathon Oil Corporation (MRO) and Statoil ASA (STO) offered spectacular returns (ranging from 30% to 50%), Total’s return in 2010 was only 2%. One may find that the price will catch up with profits.

  • [By Dave Friedman]

    Institutional investors bought 15,892,820 shares and sold 13,997,360 shares, for a net of 1,895,460 shares. This net represents 0.08% of common shares outstanding. The number of shares outstanding is 2,234,829,040. The shares recently traded at $46.80 and the company’s market capitalization is $109,165,864,774.97. About the company: Total SA explores for, produces, refines, transports, and markets oil and natural gas. The Company also operates a chemical division which produces polypropylene, polyethylene, polystyrene, rubber, paint, ink, adhesives, and resins. Total operates gasoline filling stations in Europe, the United States, and Africa.

5 Best Energy Stocks To Invest In 2014: PetroChina Company Limited(PTR)

PetroChina Company Limited produces and distributes oil and gas in the People?s Republic of China. It operates in four segments: Exploration and Production, Refining and Chemicals, Marketing, and Natural Gas and Pipeline. The Exploration and Production segment explores, develops, produces, and markets crude oil and natural gas, oilsands, and coalbed methane. As of December 31, 2010, it had 11,278 million barrels of proved reserves of crude oil; and 65,503 billion cubic feet of proved reserves of natural gas. The Refining and Chemicals segment engages in the refining of crude oil and petroleum products; and production and marketing of petrochemical products, derivative petrochemical products, and other chemical products. This segment?s product line comprises processed crude oil, gasoline, kerosene, diesel, ethylene, synthetic resins, synthetic fiber materials, polymers, synthetic rubber, and urea. The Marketing segment involves in the marketing of refined products and tradi ng businesses. It operated 17,996 service stations. The Natural Gas and Pipeline segment engages in the transmission of natural gas, crude oil, and refined products; and the sale of natural gas. It had a total length of 56,840 kilometers (km) of oil and gas pipelines, including 32,801 km of natural gas pipelines, 14,782 km of crude oil pipelines, and 9,257 km of refined product pipelines. The company was founded in 1988 and is headquartered in Beijing, the People?s Republic of China. PetroChina Company Limited is a subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corporation.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Smith]  

    With a market capitalization of $260 billion, PetroChina is at the top of our list. The company has a regular dividend policy and last year's dividend yield was 3%. Its global competitors, such Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A), British Petrolum (BP), Chevron Corporation (CVX) and Exxon Mobil (XOM), are competing fiercely. Meanwhile, PetroChina has an almost monopolistic position in China. In the last 10 years, the stock price increased 10-fold, from $15 in 2001 to $150 in 2010. That's a 1000% return within the last 10 years excluding dividends.

5 Best Stocks For 2014: Archer Ltd (ARCHER)

Archer Ltd, formerly Seawell Limited is a Bermuda-based global oilfield service company. The Company provides drilling services, such as platform drilling, land drilling, modular rings, directional drilling, drill bits, tubular services, drilling and completion fluids, cementing tools, plugs and packers, underbalanced services, rentals and engineering. It specialises also in well services, such as wireline intervention, specialist intervention, frac valves, wireline logging, integrity diagnostics, imaging, production monitoring, coiled tubing, completion services and fishing. As of January 3, 2012, the Company's organizational structure centered on four geographic and strategic areas: North America (NAM), North Sea (NRS), Latin America (LAM) and Emerging Markets & Technologies (EMT). As of December 31, 2010, it was active through a number of subsidiaries, namely Seawell, Allis-Chalmers Energy, Gray Wireline, Rig Inspection Services and TecWel, among others.

5 Best Energy Stocks To Invest In 2014: GMX Resources Inc.(GMXR)

GMX Resources Inc. operates as an independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company primarily in the United States. It has interests in two oil shale resources, including the Williston Basin that targets the Bakken/Sanish-Three Forks in North Dakota/Montana; and the DJ Basin, which targets the Niobrara Formation in Wyoming. The company also holds interests in natural gas resources comprising the Haynesville/Bossier Formation and the Cotton Valley Sand Formation in the East Texas Basin. As of December 31, 2010, it had proved reserves of 319.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas equivalent; and 264 net producing wells in east Texas. The company was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Putnam]

    GMX Resources Inc. is a pure play independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company. The Company is focused on the development of Haynesville/Bossier Shale and Cotton Valley Sands in the Sabine Uplift of the Carthage, North Field of Harrison and Panola counties of East Texas. Its EPS forecast for the current year is 0.19 and next year is 0.55. According to consensus estimates, its topline is expected to grow 43.52% current year and 41.52% next year. It is trading at a forward P/E of 11.04. Out of 15 analysts covering the company, six are positive and have buy recommendations, two have sell ratings and seven have hold ratings.

5 Best Energy Stocks To Invest In 2014: Hanwha SolarOne Co. Ltd.(HSOL)

Hanwha Solarone Co., Ltd., an investment holding company, engages in the manufacture and sale of silicon ingots, silicon wafers, and PV cells and modules. The company also offers mono crystalline and multi crystalline silicon cells; and provides PV module processing services. It sells its products to solar power system integrators and distributors primarily in Germany, Italy, Australia, the United States, the Czech Republic, Spain, and China. The company was formerly known as Solarfun Power Holdings Co., Ltd. and changed its name to Hanwha SolarOne Co., Ltd. in December 2010. Hanwha Solarone Co., Ltd. was founded in 2004 and is based in Qidong, the People?s Republic of China.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Sherry Jim]

    Hanwha SolarOne Co., Ltd.(NASDAQ: HSOL) closing price in the stock market Tuesday, Jan. 3, was $1.06. HSOL is trading -15.30% below its 50 day moving average and -67.04% below its 200 day moving average. HSOL is -89.16% below its 52-week high of $9.78 and 16.48% above its 52-week low of $0.99. HSOL‘s PE ratio is 1.64 and its market cap is $89.18M.

    Hanwha SolarOne Co., Ltd. is an investment holding company which engages in the manufacture and sale of silicon ingots, silicon wafers, and PV cells and modules. HSOL also offers mono crystalline and multi crystalline silicon cells; and provides PV module processing services.

Friday, July 19, 2013

CYS Loses, Now All Mortgage REITs Must Pay

Investors were bullish on CYS Investments (NYSE: CYS  ) early on Wednesday, apparently expecting great news from the mortgage REIT's second-quarter earnings report. Later in the day, their hopes were quashed, as CYS announced a loss of $402.3 million, or $2.32 per share, compared with a $17.7 million loss, or $0.10 per share, in the previous quarter. One year ago, CYS declared net income of $101.7 million, or $0.87 per share.

Second-quarter upset
As if that news wasn't bad enough, book value took a nasty hit, too. The drop from $12.87 at the end of March to $10.20 at the end of June was huge, even considering the $0.34 dividend paid on June 10. Earlier in the day, Deutsche Bank had downgraded a handful of mREITs, including Western Asset Mortgage (NYSE: WMC  ) , based on book value declines of up to 16% during the second quarter. CYS, even factoring in its payout, suffered a drop of closer to 19%.

That was a big loss, and the stock price immediately began to tumble. Approximately two hours before markets closed on Thursday, CYS had lost 4.33%. Not only that, but it was dragging fellows Annaly (NYSE: NLY  ) , American Capital Agency (NASDAQ: AGNC  ) , Armour Residential (NYSE: ARR  ) , and hybrid Two Harbors (NYSE: TWO  ) down, as well. Interestingly, Western Asset stayed green, despite its downgrade one day earlier.

Misjudgment on hedging?
On the earnings call, CEO Kevin E. Grant noted that volatility was high in the second quarter, and that the quick rise in interest rates took its toll. The consequent decrease in the values of legacy mortgage-backed securities was a blow to book value, though Grant thinks the market is presently baking in a Federal Reserve taper of quantitative easing regarding MBS pricing.

Grant noted that CYS kept itself on track by keeping liquidity high and leverage fairly low. He wasn't kidding: More than half of the loss came from net realized loss on investments as CYS sold off legacy MBSes. The total loss came to $211.4 million -- compared to a gain of $46.7 million in Q1 of this year. In the year-ago quarter, the gain was more than $61 million.

CYS notes that it had plenty of liquidity to meet margin calls, and it's not hard to see why. The trust sold off over 14% of its agency MBSes in Q2, ending that quarter with a $17.2 billion portfolio, compared with $20.1 billion at the end of the first quarter. The drop in values during the second quarter, naturally, led to that $211.4 million loss. Leverage was kept low, at 7.5 to 1, as well -- but the price was pretty high.

While the company does point out how volatile the MBS market became each time the Federal Reserve released minutes or commented on Federal Open Market Committee meetings, Grant also admits that the trust's hedging didn't work as well as he would have liked.

What this means for other mREITs
CYS is one of the first to announce earnings, so it is understandable that its report has garnered so much attention. While there is a very good chance other mREITs also experienced dents in book value, hedging behavior may be different at other companies. Just because CYS' hedges didn't work out as planned doesn't mean the same is true for Annaly, American Capital Agency, Armour, or Two Harbors.

Over the next few weeks, more trusts will reveal how Q2 treated them, and the sting will fade. By the close of business on Thursday, in fact, investors seemed to be relenting in their harsh treatment of CYS, which closed with only a share price drop of 1.57%.

The second quarter was a tough one, and doubtless mortgage REITs learned some valuable lessons. The winding down of QE3 must be done, and how these companies deal with that is something that mREIT investors should train a sharp eye upon.

Shrinking payouts may very well be in the future for mREIT investors, if only for a little while. Meanwhile, if you're on the lookout for high-yielding stocks, The Motley Fool has compiled a special free report outlining our nine top dependable dividend-paying stocks. It's called "Secure Your Future With 9 Rock-Solid Dividend Stocks." You can access your copy today at no cost! Just click here.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Initial Jobless Claims Drop 6.7%

Initial jobless claims fell back 6.7% to 334,000 for the week ending July 13, according to a Labor Department report released today.

After rising a revised 4.1% the previous week, analysts had expected a decline in initial claims. However, their 344,000 estimate proved too conservative for this week's drop.

Source: Author, data from Labor Department. 

From a more long-term perspective, a 1.5% decline in the four-week moving average to 346,000 initial claims nearly negates the previous week's 1.6% increase. Both the latest week's claims and the four-week average fall significantly below 400,000, a cutoff point that economists consider a sign of an improving labor market.

On a state-by-state basis, five states recorded a decrease of more than 1,000 initial claims for the week ending July 6 (most recent available data). New Jersey dropped the most (-4,370), citing fewer education and transportation & warehousing layoffs as its primary improvement push. California came in second with a 4,270 initial-claims reduction, mostly because of fewer services and manufacturing layoffs. 

For the same period, 15 states registered increases of more than 1,000 initial claims. As the Wall Street Journal previously alluded to, special factors such as auto sector retooling and the end of the academic year (i.e. teacher layoffs) could have introduced irregular data into this week's numbers. Manufacturing layoffs helped push Michigan's initial claims up 17,700, while transportation and educational service layoffs helped shoot New York's numbers up 15,160. For all states supplying a comment to the Labor Department, manufacturing and/or educational service layoffs were listed.

Monday, July 15, 2013

10 Best Dividend Stocks For 2014

LONDON -- Before I decide whether to buy a company's shares, I always like to look at two core financial ratios --�return on equity�and�net gearing.

These two ratios provide an indication of how successful a company is at generating profits using shareholders' funds and debt, and they have a strong influence on dividend payments and share-price growth.

Today, I'm going to take a look at cigarette giant�British American Tobacco (LSE: BATS  ) (NYSEMKT: BTI  ) �to see how attractive it looks on these two measures.

Return on equity
The return a company generates on its shareholders' funds is known as�return on equity, or ROE. ROE can be calculated by dividing a company's annual earnings by its equity (i.e., the difference between its total assets and its total liabilities) and is expressed as a percentage.

10 Best Dividend Stocks For 2014: Verizon Communications Inc.(VZ)

Verizon Communications Inc. provides communication services. The company operates through two segments, Domestic Wireless and Wireline. The Domestic Wireless segment offers wireless voice and data services; and sells equipment in the United States. The Wireline segment provides voice, Internet access, broadband video and data, Internet protocol network, network access, long distance, and other services in the United States and internationally. The company serves consumer, business, and government customers, as well as carriers. As of December 31, 2010, its network covered a population of approximately 292 million and provided service to a customer base of approximately 94.1 million. The company was formerly known as Bell Atlantic Corporation and changed its name to Verizon Communications Inc. in June 2000. Verizon Communications Inc. was founded in 1983 and is based in New York, New York.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Jim Cramer,TheStreet]

    This is the year for Verizon Communications (VZ). The iPhone is coming in the first quarter, which will lead to a growth spurt.

    The FIOS buildout is largely paid for, and now the company can reap the benefits. The company's half-owned portion of Verizon Wireless will be paying hefty dividends in 2011, and I think we will get a nice dividend boost.

    We're talking about $40 being reasonable, if conservative, giving this stock one of the best risk-reward profiles we've got in the Dow, or the S&P 500, for that matter.

    CEO Ivan Seidenberg has done a remarkable job turning this staid company into a growth vehicle with a nice dividend. It will be a core holding for many mutual funds.

  • [By Richard Young]

    While AT&T (NYSE:T) has been fighting, and losing, the battle to get T-Mobile’s spectrum, Verizon has been piecing together spectrum from far-flung sources, allowing it to expand its 4G LTE operations. Verizon recently purchased more spectrum from a business consortium, and this month VZ bought more spectrum, this time from Cox — a cable provider. Verizon is inking the deals it needs to keep expanding. The company’s stock yields 5.1% today and has broken out of recent resistance on my price chart.

10 Best Dividend Stocks For 2014: Amphenol Corporation(APH)

Amphenol Corporation engages in the design, manufacture, and marketing of electrical, electronic, and fiber optic connectors; interconnect systems; and coaxial and specialty cables worldwide. Its Interconnect Products and Assemblies segment produces connectors and connector assemblies primarily for the communications, aerospace, industrial, and automotive markets. This segment provides connector and cable assembly products used in communication applications; smart card acceptor and other interconnect devices used in mobile telephones; set top boxes to facilitate reading data from smart cards; fiber optic connectors used in fiber optic signal transmission; backplane and input/output connectors and assemblies used for servers and data storage devices and linking personal computers and peripheral equipment; sculptured flexible circuits used for integrating printed circuit boards; and hinge products used in mobile phone and other mobile communication devices. It also designs a nd produces radio frequency connector products and antennas used in telecommunications, computer and office equipment, instrumentation equipment, local area networks, and automotive electronics. The company?s Cable Products segment produces coaxial cable and connector products used in cable television systems, including full service cable television/telecommunication systems; radio frequency and fiber optic interconnect components for full service cable television/ telecommunication networks; and data cables and specialty cables used to connect internal components in systems with space and component configuration limitations. Amphenol Corporation markets its products directly, as well as through manufacturers? representatives and distributors to original equipment manufacturers, contract manufacturers, cable system operators, and telecommunication companies. The company was founded in 1932 and is headquartered in Wallingford, Connecticut.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Pat Racaniello]

    Amphenol Corp (APH) is our technology pick, a manufacturer of specialty cable and various connectors, including fiber optic ones, for use in electronic devices and the cable television industry. Near the lower band of the 52 week band ($40.44 - $59.11), the last traded price of $43.27 represents an excellent buy opportunity considering the stock is so far below the moving averages (50,100, 200).

    The main competition for companies such as Amphenol comes from Taiwanese component makers, that compete at a lower price. Amphenol has a solid market reputation and compared with Molex (MOLX), the free cash flow margin is far ahead at 10% compared to 5% for the latter. Price to earnings is on the industry mark at 14 times, but the concern lies in the dividend payout which is basically nothing (1.91) compared to the industry (26.91).

Best Gas Utility Companies For 2014: Kraft Foods Inc.(KFT)

Kraft Foods Inc., together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and markets packaged food products worldwide. The company offers biscuits, including cookies, crackers, and salted snacks; confectionery products, such as chocolate, gum, and candy; beverages comprising coffee, packaged juice drinks, and powdered beverages; cheese products, including natural, processed, and cream cheeses; grocery items consisting of spoonable and pourable dressings, condiments, and desserts; and convenient meals, which comprise processed meats, packaged dinners, and lunch combinations. Its primary brand portfolio includes Oreo, Nabisco, and LU branded biscuits; Milka and Cadbury branded chocolates; Trident branded gum; Jacobs and Maxwell House branded coffees; Philadelphia branded cream cheeses; Kraft branded cheeses, dinners, and dressings; and Oscar Mayer branded meats. The company sells it products to supermarket chains, wholesalers, supercenters, club stores, mass merchandisers, distributor s, convenience stores, gasoline stations, drug stores, value stores, and retail food stores. Kraft Foods Inc. was founded in 2000 and is based in Northfield, Illinois.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Jim Cramer]

    This packaged food company just can't seem to do anything to boost its earnings power. CEO Irene Rosenfeld, who, along with J&J's William Weldon, resides on my Mad Money Wall of Shame, will be a hindrance to value. She managed to overpay for Cadbury, an acquisition that drew the wrath of the formerly patient Warren Buffett. If it didn't have a decent dividend, I think the stock would slink to $25. But, barring a firing of Rosenfeld for her subpar job, I think it can hang around $28. You don't want a slow-growing packaged goods story in a nascent expansion in the United States, and Kraft won't be able to buck that trend. A real disappointer.

  • [By Scott Rothbort]

    There is a special situation in the consumer staples sector that offers a unique opportunity in 2012. Just last year, Kraft Foods (KFT) purchased Cadbury, the U.K.-based confectionary company. At the time, Kraft Foods was forced to pay up for Cadbury, and I criticized CEO Irene Rosenfeld for the expensive price tag and the huge amount of debt -- about $9.5 billion -- that Kraft Foods would have to issue to finance that acquisition.

    Earlier this year, Kraft Foods, in a seeming about-face announcement, apparently bowing to pressure from activist investors, disclosed that the company would split into two companies. Sometime in 2012, Kraft Foods will split itself into separate grocery and snack companies.

    Recall that Kraft Foods was spun off from Altria (MO) in 2007. That spinoff helped to unlock the value of Altria but not Kraft Foods. The reason was that at the time Kraft Foods’ food/grocery business was not all that attractive. To some extent, that is still the case from a growth perspective. However, the new snack business will marry Cadbury with other popular and attractive Kraft Foods snacks, such as Oreo cookies and Trident gum

    The split will separate low-growth grocery brands from the high-growth snack brands. This will unlock the value of the snack business. Rosenfeld has decided to take over as CEO of the global snacks company, which sends an important message to investors.

    So, as a standalone company, Kraft Foods offer a compelling risk investment for 2012. However, once the spinoff takes place, I believe that the sum of the parts will be greater than the whole as it now exists.

10 Best Dividend Stocks For 2014: UMH Properties Inc.(UMH)

UMH Properties, Inc. (UMH) is a real estate investment trust. The firm engages in the ownership and operation of manufactured home communities. It leases manufactured home spaces to private manufactured home owners, as well as leases homes to residents. The firm invests in the real estate markets of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Tennessee. In addition, it invests in debt and equity securities of REITs. United Mobile Homes was incorporated in 1968. The company was formerly known as United Mobile Homes, Inc. UMH Properties is based in Freehold, New Jersey.

10 Best Dividend Stocks For 2014: McDonald's Corporation(MCD)

McDonald?s Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a worldwide foodservice retailer. It franchises and operates McDonald?s restaurants that offer various food items, soft drinks, coffee, and other beverages. As of December 31, 2009, the company operated 32,478 restaurants in 117 countries, of which 26,216 were operated by franchisees; and 6,262 were operated by the company. McDonald?s Corporation was founded in 1948 and is based in Oak Brook, Illinois.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By JON C. OGG]

    McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE: MCD) is at $85.08 and analysts have a consensus price target objective of $97.68.  It carries a 2.9% dividend yield and the stock is down 5% from its 52-week high.  McDonald’s trades at close to 6-times book value, but its return on equity is 37%.  S&P carries an “A” local long-term rating on the Golden Arches.  In the “you gotta eat somewhere” theory, McDonald’s seems to keep winning over and over and its shares and same-store sales keep rising handily.

  • [By ETF_Authority]

    McDonald’s Corporation (MCD), together with its subsidiaries, operates as a foodservice retailer worldwide. The company has raised distributions for 35 years in a row. The 10 year annual dividend growth rate is 26.50%/year. The last dividend increase was 14.75% to 70 cents/share. Analysts are expecting that McDonald's will earn $5.73/share in 2012. I expect that the quarterly dividend will reach 77 cents/share in 2012. Yield: 2.80%

  • [By Quickel]

    McDonald's, is just such a solid stock with the combination of growth, safety and income. We believe that MCD should be headed to $110 this year, which will not be as strong as some of our other targets. Yet, we also will be picking up a solid 2.8% yield that is attractive. Further, MCD has done a great job dealing with currency issues and has not seen a slowdown despite issues in Europe and China. We believe that MCD will continue to offer growth and value this year, and we like it to offset value and growth plays with income investing.

    Entry: $99.58

    Allocation: $2500

    Target: $105, $110

10 Best Dividend Stocks For 2014: Progress Energy Inc.(PGN)

Progress Energy, Inc., a utility holding company, engages in the generation, transmission, distribution, and sale of electricity in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. It uses coal, oil, hydroelectric, natural gas, and nuclear power to generate electricity. The company also engages in various alternative energy projects to generate electricity from swine waste and other plant or animal sources, biomass, solar, hydrogen, and landfill-gas technologies. Progress Energy serves various industries, including chemicals, textiles, paper, food, metals, wood products, rubber and plastics, and stone products, as well as phosphate rock mining and processing, electronics design and manufacturing, and citrus and other food processing. It has approximately 22,000 megawatts of regulated electric generation capacity and serves approximately 3.1 million retail electric customers, as well as other load-serving entities. The company was formerly known as CP&L Energy, Inc. Progress En ergy, Inc. was founded in 1925 and is headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina.

10 Best Dividend Stocks For 2014: Medallion Financial Corp.(TAXI)

Medallion Financial Corp., through its subsidiaries, operates as a specialty finance company in the United States. The company engages in originating, acquiring, and servicing loans that finance taxicab medallions and various types of commercial businesses. It offers commercial loans to finance the purchase of the equipment and related assets necessary to open a new business, or the purchase or improvement of an existing business; asset-based loans to small businesses; and secured mezzanine loans to businesses in various industries, including manufacturing and various service providers. The company also raises deposits; originates consumer loans for the purchase of recreational vehicles, boats, motorcycles, trailers, and hearing aids; and conducts other banking activities. In addition, it provides other debt, mezzanine, and equity investment capital to companies in various industries. The company was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in New York, New York.

10 Best Dividend Stocks For 2014: Sanofi(SNY)

sanofi-aventis engages in the discovery, development, and distribution of therapeutic solutions to improve the lives of everyone. The company offers a range of healthcare assets, including a broad-based product portfolio in prescription drugs, OTC/OTX, generics, vaccines, and animal health. It has a strategic alliance with Regulus Therapeutics Inc. to discover, develop, and commercialize micro-RNA therapeutics, initially in fibrosis. The company was founded in 1970 and is headquartered in Paris, France.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Michael]

    Sanofi is a global and diversified healthcare company. Cramer holds 2,600 shares of SNY stocks. SNY has a dividend yield of 5.40% and returned 7.19% since the beginning of this year. It has a market cap of $87.11B and a P/E ratio of 14.42. Ken Fisher invested nearly $600 million in SNY.

  • [By Dividend Stocks Online]

    Sanofi (SNY) has a market capitalization of $129.70 billion. The company employs 113,719 people, generates revenue of $47.297 billion and has a net income of $6.562 billion. The firm’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) amounts to $13.805 billion. The EBITDA margin is 29.19 percent (the operating margin is 16.18 percent and the net profit margin 13.87 percent). 

    Financial Analysis: The total debt represents 15.41 percent of the company’s assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 27.46 percent. Due to the financial situation, a return on equity of 10.42 percent was realized. Twelve trailing months earnings per share reached a value of $3.05. Last fiscal year, the company paid $1.79 in the form of dividends to shareholders. 

    Market Valuation: Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 16.07, the P/S ratio is 2.74 and the P/B ratio is finally 1.70. The dividend yield amounts to 3.46 percent and the beta ratio has a value of 0.91.

10 Best Dividend Stocks For 2014: Resource Capital Corp.(RSO)

Resource Capital Corp. operates as a specialty finance company that focuses primarily on commercial real estate and commercial finance in the United States. The company?s commercial real estate-related investments include first mortgage loans, first priority interests in first mortgage real estate loans, subordinate interests in first mortgage real estate loans, mezzanine loans, and commercial mortgage-backed securities. It also invests in commercial finance assets, including senior secured corporate loans, other asset-backed securities, equipment leases and notes, trust preferred securities, and debt tranches of collateralized debt and loan obligations. The company qualifies as a real estate investment trust (REIT) for federal income tax purposes. As a REIT, it is not subject to federal corporate income tax to the extent that it distributes 90% of its REIT taxable income. The company was founded in 2005 and is based in New York, New York.

10 Best Dividend Stocks For 2014: Quanex Building Products Corporation(NX)

Quanex Building Products Corporation provides engineered products and aluminum sheet products. Its Engineered Products segment produces window and door components for original equipment manufacturers that primarily serve the residential construction and remodeling markets. This segment?s products consist of insulating glass spacer/sealant systems, thin film solar panel sealants, window and patio door screens, aluminum cladding and other roll formed metal window components, thresholds and astragals, moldings, residential exterior products, engineered vinyl and composite patio doors, window profiles and custom window grilles, and trim and architectural moldings in various woods primarily for the home improvement and residential construction markets. The company?s Aluminum Sheet Products segment includes reducing reroll coil to specific gauge, annealing, slitting, and custom coating. This segment?s products are used in customer end-use applications comprising window screen fr ames and screens, exterior home trim, fascias, roof edgings, soffits, downspouts, and gutters in the building and construction markets, as well as capital goods and transportation markets. The company offers its products to original equipment manufacturers and distributors through direct and indirect sales groups primarily in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Asia, and Europe. Quanex Building Products Corporation is based in Houston, Texas.