It didn't take long after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A ) (NYSE: BRK-B ) welcomed four former AIG (NYSE: AIG ) executives into the fold that it introduced a new, specialty insurance arm to the world.
Based in Boston, Mass., the new entity will sell�commercial insurance products encompassing property & casualty, as well as professional liability insurance. The public got some insight into Buffett's plan when the AIG crew came on board, but the Oracle had been planning this move for some time, telling Bloomberg�right before Berkshire's annual meeting, "We would like to get into the commercial-insurance business very big time."
Insurance is in Buffett's blood
It's no secret that Buffett has a soft spot in his heart for the insurance industry. His company currently owns GEICO Insurance and reinsurer General Re, and he can thank the insurance industry for much of his success: For while there is no doubt that Buffett is a premium investor, the insurance industry has provided him with the fodder needed to grow his empire.
Top Defensive Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Sprint Corp (S&LS)
Sprint Corporation, incorporated on May 10, 2012, offers a range of wireless and wireline communications services to consumers, businesses and government users. On July 10, 2013, the Company, SoftBank Corp. and Sprint Nextel Corporation (Sprint Nextel) completed the merger. In the Merger, Sprint Corporation was merged into Sprint Nextel, New Sprint became the parent company of Sprint Nextel, with Sprint Nextel becoming its direct wholly owned subsidiary, and Sprint Nextel changed its name to Sprint Communications, Inc.
The Company develops, engineers and deploys technologies, including the first wireless fourth generation (4G) service from a national carrier in the United States; offering mobile data services, prepaid brands, including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities, and a global Tier 1 Internet Service. The Company also offers unlimited data services.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Holly LaFon]
Since Wilmers & Co. took over M&T Bank in 1983 the bank has acquired 23 banks and Savings and Loans (S&Ls) ��expanding from a single state to seven ��and assets have grown from $2 billion to $110 billion. M&T's branch count has grown from 60 to over 870. The bank currently boasts a customer base of over 2 million retail household customers and nearly 220,000 commercial customers.
Top 10 Consumer Service Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Mining Minerals of Mexico Corp (WIIM)
Mining Minerals of Mexico, Corp., formerly Cal Alta Auto Glass, Inc., incorporated on October 14, 1999, specializes in the repair and replacement of damaged glass windows on automobiles, including recreational vehicles (RVs) and Motorhomes. The Company uses only factory-authorized glass. It specializes in all foreign and domestic makes and models.
The Company uses other equipment manufacturer (O.E.M.)-rated adhesives and rust inhibiting primer's (manufactured by Dow Automotive). Based in Canada, it has two Auto Glass facilities servicing its customers. The Company stocks its own windshields at each of its locations throughout Calgary.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Peter Graham]
Small cap mining stocks International Star Inc (OTCMKTS: ILST) and Mining Minerals of Mexico Corp (OTCMKTS: WIIM) sank 13.33% and 24.9%, respectively, today, with at least one of these small cap stocks being the subject of paid promotions or investor relations type of activities while the other has had no news since last summer. So should you dig into these small cap mining stocks which just dug a hole for investors and traders alike? Here is a closer look to help you decide:
Top 10 Consumer Service Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. (NM)
Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. operates as a seaborne shipping and logistics company. It focuses on the transportation and transshipment of dry bulk commodities, including iron ore, coal, fertilizers, and grains. The company controls a fleet of 31 owned vessels and 26 chartered-in vessels totaling 5.8 million dwt. Its owned fleet comprises 14 Ultra Handymax, 11 Capesize, 1 Handysize, and 3 Panamax vessels, as well as 2 Panamax vessels under construction; and chartered-in vessels consists of 8 Capesize, 11 Panamax, 1 Handysize, and 6 Ultra Handymax vessels under long-term time charters. The company also engages in port terminal, river barge, and coastal cabotage operations; and charters its vessels under medium to long-term charters to trading houses, producers, and government-owned entities. In addition, it engages in operating ports and transfer station terminals; and handles vessels, barges, and push boats, as well as operates upriver transport facilities in the Hidrovia region. Further, the company engages in the transportation and handling of liquid cargoes through the ownership, operation, and trading of tanker vessels. It has operations primarily in North America, Europe, Asia, and South America. The company is headquartered in Piraeus, Greece.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Nickey Friedman]
Navios Maritime Holdings (NYSE: NM ) has two operating segments: shipping and logistics. Analysts have already begun to raise their profit estimates for 2014, currently at $0.11 EPS up from $0.01 a week ago. Expect that number to continue to rise dramatically. Navios pays a $0.06 per share quarterly dividend and trades around 40% below its book value. It used to trade as high as $17 back in 2007.
Top 10 Consumer Service Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Westar Energy Inc.(WR)
Westar Energy, Inc., an electric utility company, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. It produces electricity through various sources, including coal, wind, nuclear, natural gas, oil, and diesel. As of October 26, 2011, it served approximately 687,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in Kansas; and had approximately 7,100 megawatts of generating capacity, as well as operated and coordinated approximately 34,000 miles of electric distribution and transmission lines. Westar Energy, Inc. also engages in energy marketing, and in the purchase and sale of electricity. It serves public streets, highways, electric cooperatives, municipalities, and other electric utilities in central and northeastern Kansas, including the cities of Topeka, Lawrence, Manhattan, Salina, and Hutchinson. The company was founded in 1924 and is headquartered in Topeka, Kansas.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Now don’t misunderstand. Gordon isn’t telling investors to avoid all regulated utilities. He has some favorites, including American Electric Power (AEP), Dominion Resources (D), ITC Holdings (ITC), Pinnacle West Capital (PNW) and Westar Energy (WR).
- [By Brian Pacampara]
Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, electric utility Westar Energy (NYSE: WR ) has earned a respected four-star ranking.
Top 10 Consumer Service Stocks To Invest In Right Now: GasLog Ltd (GLOG)
GasLog Ltd. (GasLog), incorporated on July 16, 2003, is an owner, operator and manager of liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers. The Company is a holding company. Its subsidiaries conduct all of its operations and own all of its operating assets, including its ships. The Company operates in two segments: vessel ownership and vessel management. In the vessel ownership segment, the services provided primarily consist of chartering out company-owned LNG carriers, and in the vessel management segment the services provided consist of LNG carrier technical management services, as well as LNG carrier construction supervision services and other vessel management services provided to the Company�� vessel ownership segment and to external third parties.
In February 2011, GasLog Carriers Ltd. established two vessel-owning companies, GAS-five Ltd. and GAS-six Ltd. In March 2011, GasLog Carriers Ltd. established two vessel-owning companies, GAS-seven Ltd. and GAS-eight Ltd. In June 2011, GasLog Carriers Ltd. established two additional vessel-owning companies, GAS-nine Ltd. and GAS-ten Ltd. In June 2011, Ceres Shipping Ltd. (Ceres Shipping) transferred its interest in GasLog Ltd. to Blenheim Holdings Ltd. (Blenheim Holdings). In June 2011, an entity jointly owned by the Livanos and Radziwill families (Joint Venture Partner) sold its 49% interest in GAS-three Ltd., GAS-four Ltd., GAS-five Ltd. and GAS-six Ltd. to Ceres Shipping. Ceres Shipping contributed the 49% interest in GAS-three Ltd., GAS-four Ltd., GAS-five Ltd. and GAS-six Ltd. to Blenheim Holdings, who in turn contributed the 49% interest in these four vessel-owning companies to GasLog Ltd., which contributed the same to GasLog Carriers Ltd. As of December 31, 2011, the Company owned 100% interest in GAS-three Ltd., GAS-four Ltd., GAS-five Ltd. and GAS-six Ltd. On July 11, 2011 and September 5, 2011, the Company transferred its interest of two dormant subsidiaries, GasLog Holdings Limited and GasLog Services Limited, respectively, to Ceres Shi! pping.
As of December 31, 2011, the Company�� owned fleet consisted of 10 wholly owned LNG carriers. As of December 31, 2011, the Company managed and operated 14 LNG carriers, which included its owned ships, as well as 11 ships owned or leased by BG Group plc (BG Group), a participant in the worldwide energy and natural gas markets, and one additional LNG carrier in which it had a 25% interest. As of December 31, 2011, the Company owned a 25% interest in Egypt LNG Shipping Ltd. (Egypt LNG), whose principal asset is the LNG carrier Methane Nile Eagle. The Company�� owned fleet includes the GasLog Savannah, the GasLog Singapore, four LNG carriers on order at Samsung Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (Samsung Heavy Industries) in South Korea, two LNG carriers on order at Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea, and two LNG carriers on order at Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea.
The Company�� wholly owned subsidiary, GasLog LNG Services Ltd., (GasLog LNG Services) handles the technical management of its fleet. Through GasLog LNG Services, it provides technical ship management services for 12 LNG carriers owned by third parties in addition to management of the two LNG carriers operating in its owned fleet. The Company provides the services of its owned ships under time charters. The Company�� subsidiaries include GasLog Investments Ltd., GasLog Monaco S.A.M., Ceres LNG Employee Incentive Scheme Ltd., GasLog Carriers Ltd., GAS-one Ltd., GAS-two Ltd., GAS-three Ltd., GAS-four Ltd., GasLog Shipping Company Ltd., GasLog Shipping Limited and Egypt LNG Shipping Ltd.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Rich Duprey]
LNG carrier owner-operator GasLog (NYSE: GLOG ) will pay a second-quarter dividend of $0.11 per share, the same rate it's paid for the last two quarters after initiating its dividend payment, the company announced today.
Top 10 Consumer Service Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Ishares Msci Korea (EWY)
iShares MSCI South Korea Index Fund (the Fund) seeks to provide investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance of publicly traded securities in the aggregate in the South Korean market. The Fund's performance is measured by the MSCI Korea Index (the Index).
The Fund invests in a representative sample of securities in the Index, which has a similar investment profile as the Index. iShares MSCI South Korea Index Fund's investment advisor is Barclays Global Fund Advisors.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Benjamin Shepherd]
The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index (NYSE: EEM) seems to have halted its slide.� The index bottomed out year-to-date on February 3, when it was down 11.2 percent. Since then, it has gained 1.5 percent, but bargains in the emerging markets still abound.
As I discussed in �� Plan, Not a Panic��two weeks ago, emerging markets are in much better economic shape today than they were even just a few years ago, much less during the currency crisis that peaked in 1998. Foreign exchange reserves are generally much more robust, budget deficits are narrower if they exist at all and, so far at least, the full-blown currency war that many were predicting last year isn�� likely to breakout.
With rationality finally setting in, this is a terrific time to do a little bargain hunting in the emerging markets.
The most obvious play here is the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index itself. Covering China (18.8 percent of assets), South Korea (16 percent), Taiwan (12 percent) and Brazil (10.2 percent) with smaller positions spanning Asia and Europe, the fund is most exposed to any shift in sentiment.
The fund is currently trading at just 10.2 times forward one-year earnings, well below its average of about 18 times over the past two decades. On a price-to-sales basis it is even more attractive valued at just 1.03 times; the last time the index was this cheap on a sales basis was early 2009.
So while there are always dangers in trying to call a bottom to any market move, valuations alone are attractive enough to start pulling bargain hunters back in.
A broadly diversified play on an emerging market turnaround, iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index is a great buy up to 45, which leaves plenty of room to run back to the average.
For those who can tolerate a bit more risk, you can also drill down and make more country-specific bets.
At this point my favorite would be iShares MSCI South Korea Index Fund (NYSE: EWY).
- [By Jeff Reeves]
Of course, Samsung�� massive presence has weighed on the region lately. In the last 12 months, the iShares MSCI South Korea Index Fund (EWY) has declined about 4%, pretty much the same performance as Samsung�� stock.
Top 10 Consumer Service Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Lakeland Industries Inc (LAKE)
Lakeland Industries, Inc. (Lakeland), incorporated on April 30, 1986, manufactures and sells a line of safety garments and accessories for the industrial protective clothing markets. Lakeland�� product categories include limited use/disposable protective clothing, chemical protective suits, fire fighting and heat protective apparel, fire fighting and heat protective apparel, reusable woven garments, high visibility clothing and glove and sleeves. The Company�� industrial customers include integrated oil, chemical/petrochemical, utilities, automobile, steel, glass, construction, smelting, munition plants, janitorial, pharmaceutical, mortuaries and high technology electronics manufacturers, as well as scientific and medical laboratories. In addition, Lakeland supplies federal, state and local governmental agencies and departments, such as fire and law enforcement, airport crash rescue units, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and the Centers for Disease Control.
Limited Use/Disposable Protective Clothing
Lakeland manufactures a line of limited use/disposable protective garments, including coveralls, laboratory coats, shirts, pants, hoods, aprons, sleeves, arm guards, caps and smocks. Limited use garments can also be coated or laminated to splash protection against harmful inorganic acids, bases and other hazardous liquid and dry chemicals. Limited use garments are made from several nonwoven fabrics, which are made of spunlaced polyester, polypropylene, laminates, micropourous films and derivatives. Lakeland incorporates many seaming, heat sealing and taping techniques depending on the level of protection needed in the end uses application.
The users of these garments include integrated oil/petrochemical refineries, chemical plants and related installations, automotive manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, construction companies, coal, gas and oil power generation utilities and telephone utility companies, laboratories, mortuarie! s and governmental entities. The Company warehouses and sells its limited use/disposable garments primarily at its Decatur, Alabama and China manufacturing facilities and secondarily from warehouses in Hull, United Kingdom; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Toronto, Canada; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; Moscow, Russia; Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan; Las Vegas, Nevada, and Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania.
High-End Chemical Protective Suits
Lakeland manufactures and sells protective chemical suits and protective apparels from its CRFR, ChemMax 3, 4, Interceptor and other fabrics. These suits are worn by individuals on hazardous material teams and within general industry to provide protection from concentrated and lethal chemical and biological toxins, such as toxic wastes at super fund sites, toxic chemical spills or biological discharges, chemical or biological warfare weapons and chemicals and petro-chemicals present during the cleaning of refineries and nuclear facilities.
Lakeland has also introduced two garments approved by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) for varying levels of protection, which include Interceptor, two multilayer films laminated on either side of durable nonwoven substrate, and ChemMax 4 is a multilayer barrier film laminated to a durable nonwoven substrate. Lakeland manufactures chemical protective clothing at its facilities in Decatur, Alabama, Mexico and China. Using fabrics, such as ChemMax 1, ChemMax 2, ChemMax 3, ChemMax 4 and Interceptor, Lakeland designs, cut, glue and /or sews the materials to meet customer purchase orders.
Fire Fighting and Heat Protective Apparel
The Company manufactures a line of products to protect individuals who work in heat environments. Lakeland's heat protective aluminized fire suit product lines include kiln entry suit, proximity suits and approach suits. Lakeland manufactures fire fighter protective apparel for domestic and foreign fires departments. Lakeland developed the 32-! inch coat! high back bib style (Battalion) bunker gear.
Gloves and Sleeve Products
The Company manufactures and sell glove and sleeve protective products made from Kevlar, a cut and heats resistant fiber produced by DuPont; Spectra, a cut resistant fiber made by Honeywell and its engineered yarns. Lakeland manufactures these string knit gloves primarily at its Mexican facility.
Reusable Woven Garments
Lakeland manufactures and markets a line of reusable and washable woven garments. The Company's product lines include electrostatic dissipative apparel, clean room apparel, flame resistant Nomex/FR Cotton coveralls/pants/jackets and cotton and polycotton coveralls, lab coats, pants and shirts. Lakeland manufactures and sells woven cloth garments at its facilities in China, Mexico and Decatur, Alabama.
High Visibility Clothing
Lakeland Reflective manufactures and markets a line of reflective apparel. The line includes vests, T-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, coats, raingear, jumpsuits, hats and gloves. Lakeland's domestic vest production occurs at Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania. Much of the manufacturing at this facility is focused on custom vest requirements. In addition to ANSI Reflective items, Lakeland Hi-Visibility manufactures Nomex and FR cotton garments which have reflective trim as a part of their design criteria. These garments are used in rescue operations, such as those encountered with a vehicular crash.
The Company competes with DuPont, Kimberly Clark, Ansell Edmont and Honeywell.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Heather Long]
On the flip side, Lakeland Industries (LAKE), a maker of hazmat suits -- soared nearly 50%.
But the tension is the market seems deeper than just Ebola or even ISIS. There's ongoing worry about how unhealthy Europe's economy is. There was little data out Monday, but more members of the Federal Reserve are starting to voice concern about what's going on around the globe.
- [By Geoff Gannon] ADDvantage (AEY). How you feel about how those companies use working capital has a lot to do with whether or not you like those stocks long-term.
Then there are companies that have increased working capital very, very fast over the last decade or so ��but they��e also increased sales at a startling clip.
Let�� look at where the difference between EBITDA and operating cash flow is coming from.
Cash flow from others as shown on GuruFocus�� 10-year financials page for Carbo ��I��l use this as a proxy for working capital changes ��was positive in only two years. And not by much. Usually, it�� been negative. Over the 10 years, that single line has added up to a negative $173 million. Wow.
Okay. Then there�� the difference between free cash flow and owner earnings. Owner earnings as you��l remember is Warren Buffett�� calculation of what a business could pay out to owners in cash at the end of the year ��if it stopped growing. But didn�� shrink. More on that later. For now, let�� look at the difference between Carbo�� depreciation and Carbo�� spending on property, plant and equipment.
Over the last 10 years, cap-ex has been: $546 million (or $425 million if you allow cap-ex to provide cash flow in certain years, this is a weird issue I don�� want to touch right now)
And over the last 10 years, depreciation has been: $201.52 million
That�� a big gap. We��e got some combination of Carbo underreporting economic depreciation by anywhere from $225 million to $350 million or so ��or we��e got Carbo investing something like $225 million to $350 million in growth.
Which is it?
Let�� check the growth angle first.
Over the last 10 years, Carbo has grown total sales by just under 18% a year. Now, I happen to know their new product development record had not been so hot during the 1990s or earlier part of the 2000s. For about 15 years they spent on R&D without
- [By Ben Levisohn]
What is Lakeland Industries (LAKE)?Lakeland Industries
I’m glad you asked. Lakeland gets more than 90% of its revenue from the manufacture and sale safety garments, and on Sept. 12, it reminded the world that it makes hazmat suits that can be used to stave off Ebola.
With the deadly virus having finally made its way to US shores, investors are paying attention again today, sending Lakeland’s shares soaring on high volume.
Shares of Lakeland have gained 8.6% to $7.55, well above its Sept. 12 closing price of $6.85 (though below its high of $9.40 touched on that day).
Lakeland joins Tekmira (TKMR) and other biotech stocks as those benefiting from the Ebola scare. Let’s hope it doesn’t last.