Friday, May 31, 2013

Hot Valued Stocks To Watch Right Now

LONDON -- Ace City investor Neil Woodford, who manages more than 拢20 billion of investors' money, has thrashed the market over the last five, 10 and 15 years. And he has done it again this year.

The master investor's Edinburgh Investment Trust has just announced its annual results. The fund delivered a 20.1% return for shareholders over its latest financial year, compared with a 16.8% gain by the FTSE All-Share index.

Woodford told us that while the market as a whole is no longer as cheap as it was, "some high quality, dependable growth companies remain significantly undervalued." He added that he remains convinced by "their potential to deliver attractive positive returns over the medium/long term, regardless of the economic headwinds we expect to prevail."

Blue chip Imperial Tobacco (LSE: IMT  ) (NASDAQOTH: ITYBY  ) and midcap defense firm Chemring (LSE: CHG  ) are two companies in which Woodford sees significant value. I'll tell you what he has to say about them in a minute.

Hot Valued Stocks To Watch Right Now: Schlumberger N.V.(SLB)

Schlumberger Limited, together with its subsidiaries, supplies technology, integrated project management, and information solutions to the oil and gas exploration and production industries worldwide. The company?s Oilfield Services segment provides exploration and production services; wireline technology that offers open-hole and cased-hole services; supplies engineering support, directional-drilling, measurement-while-drilling, and logging-while-drilling services; and testing services. This segment also offers well services; supplies well completion services and equipment; artificial lift; data and consulting services; geo services; and information solutions, such as consulting, software, information management system, and IT infrastructure services that support oil and gas industry. Its WesternGeco segment provides reservoir imaging, monitoring, and development services; and operates data processing centers and multiclient seismic library. This segment also offers variou s services include 3D and time-lapse (4D) seismic surveys to multi-component surveys for delineating prospects and reservoir management. The company?s M-I SWACO segment supplies drilling fluid systems to improve drilling performance; fluid systems and specialty tools to optimize wellbore productivity; production technology solutions to maximize production rates; and environmental solutions that manages waste volumes generated in drilling and production operations. Its Smith Oilfield segment designs, manufactures, and markets drill bits and borehole enlargement tools; and supplies drilling tools and services, tubular, completion services, and other related downhole solutions. The company?s Distribution segment markets pipes, valves, and fittings, as well as mill, safety, and other maintenance products. This segment also provides warehouse management, vendor integration, and inventory management services. Schlumberger Limited was founded in 1927 and is based in Houston, Texas.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Rebecca Lipman]

     Together with its subsidiaries, supplies technology, integrated project management, and information solutions to the oil and gas exploration and production industries worldwide. Market cap of $91.49B. EPS growth (5-year CAGR) at 24%. According to Morgan Stanley: "Thanks to an estimated $1 billion investment per year in R&D, Schlumberger has what we consider the most advanced technology portfolio in the industry."

  • [By Michael]

    Schlumberger Limited (NYSE: SLB): Cramer also had more than $100,000 invested in SLB. As of Feb. 15, his charitable trust owns 1,300 shares for a total of about $100,724. SLB is also quite popular among hedge funds. At the end of last September, there were 42 hedge funds with SLB positions in their 13F portfolios. Ken Fisher was the most bullish hedge fund manager about SLB -- Fisher Asset Management had nearly $500 million invested in SLB at the end of the third quarter. Jim Simons’ Renaissance Technologies also invested nearly $200 million in this stock.

    Schlumberger has reasonable debt levels, growing net income and revenue, and healthy cash flow from operations. It is relatively expensive compared with its competitors though. SLB has a forward P/E ratio of 13.6. Its expected annual EPS growth rate is 21.82% on the average for the next five years, which means that its P/E ratio for 2014 will be around 9.2. This is quite low compared with the market, but not so versus its peers.

  • [By Robert Holmes]

     Schlumberger has the most potential upside of any stock in this group of 50 that also makes the firm's Best Ideas list. Analyst Ole Slorer says Schlumberger has "what we consider the most advanced technology portfolio in the industry."

    "Its fundamentals are impressive, with what we think are some of the best field personnel, a pristine service and performance reputation, and leading market share in most of its product lines," Slorer writes.

    Though Slorer's price target is 42% above current levels, his most bullish scenario for Schlumberger over the next year would see shares climb a whopping 116%. On the downside, his most bearish scenario for the company would see shares slide 38% over the next 12 months.

  • [By Lowell]

    Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB) is a premier supplier of technology and oil-well services and equipment. S&P has upgraded SLB to a “buy,” and Credit Suisse upgraded it to an “outperform” rating because the company exceeded recent earnings forecasts and increased its view of future earnings for 2011. SLB’s fundamental target is $117 and is based on earnings estimates of $3.85 for 2011, $5.40 for 2012, and $6.05 for 2013.

    Technically SLB may become the object of profit-taking following a recent run to over $95. Positions are recommended at around $85 with a target of $115 before December 2011, assuming a breakout through a triple-top at $95.

Hot Valued Stocks To Watch Right Now: Caterpillar Inc.(CAT)

Caterpillar Inc. manufactures and sells construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives worldwide. It operates through three lines of businesses: Machinery, Engines, and Financial Products. The Machinery business offers construction, mining, and forestry machinery, including track and wheel tractors, track and wheel loaders, pipelayers, motor graders, wheel tractor-scrapers, track and wheel excavators, backhoe loaders, log skidders, log loaders, off-highway trucks, articulated trucks, paving products, skid steer loaders, underground mining equipment, tunnel boring equipment, and related parts. It also manufactures diesel-electric locomotives; and manufactures and services rail-related products and logistics services for other companies. The Engines business provides diesel, heavy fuel, and natural gas reciprocating engines for Caterpillar machinery, electric power generation systems, marine, petrol eum, construction, industrial, agricultural, and other applications. It offers industrial turbines and turbine-related services for oil and gas, and power generation applications. This business also remanufactures Caterpillar engines, machines, and engine components; and offers remanufacturing services for other companies. The Financial Products business provides retail and wholesale financing alternatives for Caterpillar machinery and engines, solar gas turbines, and other equipment and marine vessels, as well as offers loans and various forms of insurance to customers and dealers. It also offers financing for vehicles, power generation facilities, and marine vessels. The company markets its products directly, as well as through its distribution centers, dealers, and distributors. It was formerly known as Caterpillar Tractor Co. and changed its name to Caterpillar Inc. in 1986. Caterpillar Inc. was founded in 1925 and is headquartered in Peoria, Illinois.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Roberto Pedone]

    Caterpillar (CAT) is staging a textbook breakout in May. Shares of heavy equipment maker haven't exactly been kind to investors year-to-date; CAT has barely broken even during a time when the broad market has been in a historic rally. But a textbook breakout should change that.

    CAT started forming an inverse head and shoulders pattern back in early April. The inverse head and shoulders is formed by two swing lows that bottom out around the same level (the shoulders), separated by a lower low called the head; the buy signal comes on the breakout above the pattern's "neckline" level, which was just below $86 for CAT. That puts this stock's upside target right around $92.

    Even though CAT has nearly hit its upside target already (the post-breakout buying has been very quick), the longer-term implication for investors is a break of the downtrend that had been haranguing shares this year. Now, with that downtrend broken, CAT should have more room to move higher. I'd just expect some consolidation first.

  • [By Jim Cramer,TheStreet]

    Caterpillar (CAT) could be a monster in 2011, especially with the integration of Bucyrus International (BUCY), which I think will turn out to be a fantastic acquisition.

    Current earnings-per-share estimates of about $6 are, I think, way too low. I see this stock going to $120 in the next year. Too gutsy? Ask yourself what happens if the United States comes back as a growth nation? Right now almost all of the growth is overseas.

    Still a fantastic mineral play and a terrific call on world growth.

  • [By Dave Friedman]

    The shares closed at $91.37, up $1.56, or 1.74%, on the day. They have traded in a 52-week range of $63.34 to $116.55. Volume today was 10,450,473 shares, against a 3-month average volume of 9,960,260 shares. Its market capitalization is $59.03billion, its trailing P/E is 15.11, its trailing earnings are $6.05 per share, and it pays a dividend of $1.84 per share, for a dividend yield of 2.00%. About the company: Caterpillar Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets construction, mining, agricultural, and forestry machinery. The Company also manufactures engines and other related parts for its equipment, and offers financing and insurance. Caterpillar distributes its products through a worldwide organization of dealers.

  • [By Jim Cramer]

    this stock could be a monster in 2011, especially with the integration of Bucyrus (BUCY), which I think will turn out to be a fantastic acquisition. Estimates, currently showing EPS at about $6, I think are way, way too low. I see this stock going to $120 in the next year. Too gutsy? Ask yourself what happens if the United States comes back as a growth nation. Right now almost all of the growth is overseas. Still a fantastic mineral play and a terrific call on world growth.

Top 5 Healthcare Technology Companies To Invest In 2014: Tupperware Corporation(TUP)

Tupperware Brands Corporation operates as a direct seller of various products across a range of brands and categories through an independent sales force. The company engages in the manufacture and sale of kitchen and home products, and beauty and personal care products. It offers preparation, storage, and serving solutions for the kitchen and home, as well as kitchen cookware and tools, children?s educational toys, microwave products, and gifts under the Tupperware brand name primarily in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Asia Pacific, and North America. The company provides beauty and personal care products, which include skin care products, cosmetics, bath and body care, toiletries, fragrances, nutritional products, apparel, and related products principally in Mexico, South Africa, the Philippines, Australia, and Uruguay. It offers beauty and personal care products under the Armand Dupree, Avroy Shlain, BeautiControl, Fuller, NaturCare, Nutrimetics, Nuvo, and Swissgar de brand names. The company sells its Tupperware products directly to distributors, directors, managers, and dealers; and beauty products primarily through consultants and directors. As of December 26, 2009, the Tupperware distribution system had approximately 1,800 distributors, 61,300 managers, and 1.3 million dealers; and the sales force representing the Beauty businesses approximately 1.1 million. The company was formerly known as Tupperware Corporation and changed its name to Tupperware Brands Corporation in December 2005. The company was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Orlando, Florida.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Sam Collins]

    Household name Tupperware Brands Corp. (NYSE:TUP) is a global direct seller of products with multiple brands through an independent sales force of 2.4 million people. Its product line focuses on kitchen storage and serving solutions, as well as personal-care products. Over 60% of sales in 2011 are expected to come from Europe and Asia, and the stock has appeal as an emerging markets story.

    S&P estimates that 2011 earnings will increase to $4.54 versus $3.53 in 2010, and it increased its rating to a “five-star strong buy” with a recently revised 12-month target of $81, up from $73. The 2005 purchase of Sara Lee’s (NYSE:SLE) direct-sales business, which has a high growth rate, should be a long-term benefit. TUP’s annual dividend yield is 1.92%.

    Technically TUP had a pullback following a new high at over $70 and is currently oversold. Buy TUP at the current market price with a trading target of $70, but longer term a much higher target will likely be attained.

Hot Valued Stocks To Watch Right Now: Dollar Tree Inc.(DLTR)

Dollar Tree, Inc. operates discount variety stores in the United States and Canada. Its stores offer merchandise primarily at the fixed price of $1.00. The company operates its stores under the names of Dollar Tree, Deal$, Dollar Tree Deal$, Dollar Giant, and Dollar Bills. Its stores offer consumable merchandise, including candy and food, and health and beauty care, as well as household consumables, such as paper, plastics, household chemicals, in select stores, and frozen and refrigerated food; variety merchandise, which includes toys, durable housewares, gifts, party goods, greeting cards, softlines, and other items; and seasonal goods, such as Easter, Halloween, and Christmas merchandise. As of April 30, 2011, it operated 4,089 stores in 48 states and the District of Columbia, as well as 88 stores in Canada. The company was founded in 1986 and is based in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Sam Collins]

    Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR) is a leading operator of discount variety stores. The stock has hugged its 50-day moving average since mid-February. But a recent minor revision of earnings for this year by several analysts and the recent market sell-off have resulted in a fall from its high of the year at over $70 to under $66. However, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) increased its price target to $73 from $69.

    Technically DLTR is oversold, according to MACD. A break below its 50-day moving average could result in a pullback to $64, but positions could be taken at the current market price. The trading target for DLTR is $72.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Why Kongzhong's Earnings Are Outstanding

Although business headlines still tout earnings numbers, many investors have moved past net earnings as a measure of a company's economic output. That's because earnings are very often less trustworthy than cash flow, since earnings are more open to manipulation based on dubious judgment calls.

Earnings' unreliability is one of the reasons Foolish investors often flip straight past the income statement to check the cash flow statement. In general, by taking a close look at the cash moving in and out of the business, you can better understand whether the last batch of earnings brought money into the company, or merely disguised a cash gusher with a pretty headline.

Calling all cash flows
When you are trying to buy the market's best stocks, it's worth checking up on your companies' free cash flow once a quarter or so, to see whether it bears any relationship to the net income in the headlines. That's what we do with this series. Today, we're checking in on Kongzhong (Nasdaq: KONG  ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Data is current as of last fully reported fiscal quarter. Dollar values in millions. FCF = free cash flow. FY = fiscal year. TTM = trailing 12 months.

Over the past 12 months, Kongzhong generated $44.9 million cash while it booked net income of $25.7 million. That means it turned 24.4% of its revenue into FCF. That sounds pretty impressive.

All cash is not equal
Unfortunately, the cash flow statement isn't immune from nonsense, either. That's why it pays to take a close look at the components of cash flow from operations, to make sure that the cash flows are of high quality. What does that mean? To me, it means they need to be real and replicable in the upcoming quarters, rather than being offset by continual cash outflows that don't appear on the income statement (such as major capital expenditures).

For instance, cash flow based on cash net income and adjustments for non-cash income-statement expenses (like depreciation) is generally favorable. An increase in cash flow based on stiffing your suppliers (by increasing accounts payable for the short term) or shortchanging Uncle Sam on taxes will come back to bite investors later. The same goes for decreasing accounts receivable; this is good to see, but it's ordinary in recessionary times, and you can only increase collections so much. Finally, adding stock-based compensation expense back to cash flows is questionable when a company hands out a lot of equity to employees and uses cash in later periods to buy back those shares.

So how does the cash flow at Kongzhong look? Take a peek at the chart below, which flags questionable cash flow sources with a red bar.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Data is current as of last fully reported fiscal quarter. Dollar values in millions. TTM = trailing 12 months.

When I say "questionable cash flow sources," I mean items such as changes in taxes payable, tax benefits from stock options, and asset sales, among others. That's not to say that companies booking these as sources of cash flow are weak, or are engaging in any sort of wrongdoing, or that everything that comes up questionable in my graph is automatically bad news. But whenever a company is getting more than, say, 10% of its cash from operations from these dubious sources, investors ought to make sure to refer to the filings and dig in.

With questionable cash flows amounting to only 8.2% of operating cash flow, Kongzhong's cash flows look clean. Within the questionable cash flow figure plotted in the TTM period above, stock-based compensation and related tax benefits provided the biggest boost, at 8.2% of cash flow from operations. Overall, the biggest drag on FCF came from changes in accounts receivable, which represented 8.0% of cash from operations.

A Foolish final thought
Most investors don't keep tabs on their companies' cash flow. I think that's a mistake. If you take the time to read past the headlines and crack a filing now and then, you're in a much better position to spot potential trouble early. Better yet, you'll improve your odds of finding the underappreciated home-run stocks that provide the market's best returns.

Software and computerized services are being consumed in radically different ways, on new and increasingly mobile devices. Many old leaders will be left behind. Whether or not Kongzhong makes the coming cut, you should check out the company that Motley Fool analysts expect to lead the pack in "The Next Trillion-dollar Revolution." Click here for instant access to this free report.

We can help you keep tabs on your companies with My Watchlist, our free, personalized stock tracking service.

Add Kongzhong to My Watchlist.

Seeking Ideas on the Ground in Taiwan

The following commentary was originally posted on, the website of Motley Fool Asset Management, LLC, on May 8, 2013. With permission, we're reproducing it here in its original form

"To understand is difficult. To act is easy."
-- Attributed to Sun Yat-sen

It was just another day at the office. I took the subway downtown, bought a cup of coffee at Starbucks, and walked the remaining few blocks to work. The security guard greeted me from the front desk as I walked onto the elevator. It was just another day -- except I wasn't heading into Fool HQ in Alexandria, Va. -- I was heading to my temporary desk in Taipei, Taiwan.

I'm halfway through a 10-week stay in Taiwan, which is quite unusual for me. I feel like less of a Wandering Fool and more of a Lingering Fool. A typical business trip involves a few days at a hotel, meetings with high-interest companies, and perhaps a few minutes to enjoy the culture of a particular city. In the years since Motley Fool Asset Management first launched the Independence Fund, I have taken several trips, and written about a few of them here, but I've never had much time to experience the daily life in another city.

My not-so-glamorous job
Visiting companies is great. Talking to management adds value to our investment process. But it's not my entire job.

Most of what I do -- probably more than 95% of my time -- is sitting at a computer and reading. Then I think about what I've read, perhaps build an Excel spreadsheet -- and then read some more. On a daily basis, it may appear that all the hours I spend working are producing no tangible output. I really must thank Bill Mann and Motley Fool Asset Management for allowing me to behave in this manner. As Warren Buffett has said numerous times, knowledge is cumulative. The more threads I can pull, the more time I can spend learning, the better decisions I can make for shareholders now and in the years to come. But I really do spend countless hours staring at my computer screen.

And so now I am sitting in Taiwan. On a typical day, you will find me at a desk reading exactly the same materials I would have read back in Virginia. The Internet has made gathering information a bit too easy; there is no shortage of material available for my perusal, and I spend most of the day sifting through it.

And then I step outside.

I wander around the markets in Taipei, observing which goods are most popular, which selling techniques seem to be most effective. I sample the foods and talk to the vendors. I go out for coffee and listen to complaints about corporate bureaucracy. I go to the pub and listen to an American businessman pine for the multinational contract he is about to sign. I don't necessarily know what conclusions this information will help me reach, but I continue to store it away in my mind, collecting knowledge about various topics as an investor collects a diverse basket of stocks.

Enough of that; tell us about Taipei
Taipei is an efficient city. As you walk down the street, looking into shops that spill onto the sidewalks, it is difficult to find any wasted space. The city is home to more than 2 million people, but the metropolitan area is closer to 7 million. The subway linking everything is among the most efficient I have seen, and a high-speed train connects the entire country, enabling you to travel from Taipei to Kaohsiung in about two hours. And when you venture outside the city, you will be treated to natural surroundings whose splendor is difficult to overstate.

There are plenty of tourist activities in Taipei. There is the world's fourth tallest building, Taipei 101; a bevy of temples and parks; the Taipei Zoo; and a few of the world's most famous night markets.

Also, the food is pretty good.

As much as I enjoyed seeing those sites, I learned to appreciate the city after I settled in and experienced the daily life. Many office workers are at their desks from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; if their bosses work late, they will typically stay as well, whether there are tasks to complete or not. The freedom I am given to set my own hours is unheard of among Taiwanese workers -- to be fair, it is unusual even by American standards.

Learning as I go
One of the misperceptions I had a month ago is that America is a better place for fostering entrepreneurship. It turns out there are plenty of entrepreneurs in Taiwan. But instead of launching tech start-ups or seeking venture capital, they manage to open a restaurant, a food stall, or a boutique shop. The people I see at these stores work incredibly long hours and are dedicated to their craft. So entrepreneurs do exist, but it seems more difficult to go from moderate success to the exponential success that we have seen from companies like Google and Facebook in the U.S. Perhaps the opportunity is there, and I must keep searching.

Luckily, I have a few more weeks to explore.

A visitor's guide
Taipei is a fun city in which to wander aimlessly, letting serendipity be your guide. But if you want a few pointers, here's a start:

Best restaurant: Din Tai Fung. Most famous for its xiao long bao, or soup dumplings. There are now several locations in Taiwan, as well as in many other cities around the world. Best foreign restaurant: Persian Heaven. Featuring Iranian cuisine. No. 6 Nanjing East Road Section 5, Songshan District. Best snack: Bubble tea. This drink is now available worldwide, but it originated in Taiwan. Best shopping: Shida Night Market. You'll also do well with the Shilin Night Market, which is one of the largest of its kind in the world, but Shida has plenty of recent college grads trying to create a niche for themselves. During the day, the Ximending neighborhood is also good for people-watching. Best view of the city: Maokong Gondola. Yes, the observation deck at Taipei 101 is worth a visit, but if you take public transit out to the zoo, you can ride a glass-bottomed gondola up into the mountains for less than $2. At the top, you'll be treated to winding paths through tea plantations. Best libations: This is difficult to find since there is no exterior signage, but if you like whiskey, then the MoD Public Bar is an absolute must. Amazing selection, and the prices can't be beat. No. 40, Alley 4, Lane 345, Ren'ai Road Section 4, Da'an District.

Editor's note: Tony Arsta is not able to engage in discussion on the boards or in the comments section below. Tony does not own shares of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool recommends Facebook, Google, and Starbucks. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook, Google, and Starbucks. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Microsoft Catches a Wave, and the First Shot in the Software Patent Wars

On this day in economic and business history ...

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) CEO Bill Gates has a great track record of anticipating computing trends. He founded Microsoft to provide a programming language for the primitive Altair 8800, a direct predecessor to the PC. The launch of the PC put Microsoft and its DOS operating system at the crossroads of the greatest technological proliferation since the 1920s, but it might never have been possible without a combination of great timing and incredible luck. However, by 1995, Gates began to realize that Microsoft would miss the boat on the next major computing revolution, and that possibility might pose the greatest threat to his company's long-term survival.

On May 26, 1995, Gates sent his top lieutenants a long memo that would become known as "The Internet Tidal Wave." In this memo, he laid out what was happening and why it was so important that Microsoft not miss the wave. Here are a few of the more pertinent excerpts:

Our vision for the last 20 years can be summarized in a succinct way. We saw that exponential improvements in computer capabilities would make great software quite valuable. Our response was to build an organization to deliver the best software products. In the next 20 years the improvement in computer power will be outpaced by the exponential improvements in communications networks. ...

Now I assign the Internet the highest level of importance. In this memo I want to make clear that our focus on the Internet is crucial to every part of our business. The Internet is the most important single development to come along since the IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) PC was introduced in 1981. It is even more important than the arrival of the graphical user interface (GUI). ...

Most important is that the Internet has bootstrapped itself as a place to publish content. It has enough users that it is benefiting from the positive feedback loop of the more users it gets, the more content it gets, and the more content it gets, the more users it gets. ...

I think that virtually every PC will be used to connect to the Internet and that the Internet will help keep PC purchasing very healthy for many years to come. ...

The On-line services business and the Internet have merged. What I mean by this is that every On-line service has to simply be a place on the Internet with extra value added. ... The amount of free information available today on the Internet is quite amazing. Although there is room to use brand names and quality to differentiate from free content, this will not be easy and it puts a lot of pressure to figure out how to get advertiser funding. Even the CD-ROM business will be dramatically affected by the Internet. Encyclopedia Brittanica is offering their content on a subscription basis. ...

Once a format gets established it is extremely difficult for another format to come along and even become equally popular. ...

A new competitor "born" on the Internet is Netscape. Their browser is dominant, with 70% usage share, allowing them to determine which network extensions will catch on. They are pursuing a multi-platform strategy where they move the key API into the client to commoditize the underlying operating system. They have attracted a number of public network operators to use their platform to offer information and directory services. We have to match and beat their offerings including working with MCI, newspapers, and others who are considering their products.

This memo reached the public during Microsoft's antitrust case, which had been instigated by (among other Microsoft competitors) Netscape. Though nothing in the memo implies underhanded tactics were to be wielded against the browser upstart, it still cast Gates and Microsoft in a negative light in the press.

Microsoft did manage to gain significant early browser share as a result of its intensified (and occasionally underhanded) Internet focus, and the company now earns roughly a quarter of its revenue from Internet-related products and services (primarily in the server market). However, Microsoft has yet to move beyond Windows and Office, the two key products that Gates feared might become obsolete if they failed to gain a significant role in enabling Internet use. Its direct forays into online dominance -- MSN and the Bing search engine -- have produced disappointing results.

Coding new protections
A different sort of tidal wave began rising on May 26, 1981. That day, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded programmer and attorney Satiya Pal Asija the first software patent in the United States. Asija had originally programmed a natural-language interface called Swift-Answer all the way back in 1969, when IBM mainframes were still the norm and the minicomputer era was only starting to gain steam. At the time, software was ruled unpatentable, but Asija took this as a challenge to be overcome, in this case via legal training. He attended law school, specializing in (what else?) patent law, and filed his patent shortly after attaining the bar in 1974.

The reversal of a Supreme Court decision against software patents began a monumental shift in the relationship between software companies and their software just at the moment that consumer computing was about to explode in popularity. By this point, Swift-Answer was essentially obsolete (the computers it was written for were largely obsolete, too), but the floodgates had been opened, and there would be no stopping the software patent flood, nor the later flood of that most reviled of enterprise, the patent troll. The USPTO issued approximately 40,000 software patents two decades after Asija's patent, and many of these patents now represent extremely lucrative sources of revenue for their filers. Unfortunately for innovators, much of that lucrative potential is tapped in the courtroom -- more than 5,000 software-patent infringement lawsuits are now filed in American courts each year.

Today, IBM and Microsoft have the two largest software-heavy patent hoards in the United States. IBM was granted 6,500 patents, and Microsoft 2,600, in 2012. Interestingly, many of the top U.S. patent-holding companies aren't U.S. companies -- only three of the top 10 companies by 2012 patent grants (General Electric is the third) are based in the United States, and the rest are all Asian consumer-electronics companies. However, all four of the Dow Jones Industrial Average's (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) computing-focused companies rank among the top patent holders (if slightly further down on the list). In addition to IBM and Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC  ) are also beneficiaries of software patents, despite their hardware focus. The former company gained 1,400 patents in 2012, and the latter gained 1,300. These computing companies are patent heavyweights compared with the pharmaceutical industry -- the largest patent trove granted in that industry would barely equal half that earned by HP or Intel.

It's been a frustrating path for Microsoft investors, who've watched the company fail to capitalize on the incredible growth in mobile over the past decade. However, with the release of its own tablet, along with the widely anticipated Windows 8 operating system, the company is looking to make a splash in this booming market. In a new premium report on Microsoft, a Motley Fool analyst explains that while the opportunity is huge, so are the challenges. The report includes regular updates as key events occur, so make sure to claim a copy of this report now by clicking here.

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More Expert Advice from The Motley Fool
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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Best Defensive Companies To Watch For 2014

Dominant online music streaming service�Pandora� (NYSE: P  ) recently announced a new "Pandora Premieres" station, which promises to allow users to listen to new albums before they go on sale. That includes both paying subscribers and ad-supported (free) users.

The move could be a possible defensive play at differentiating Pandora's service, seeing as how�Google� (NASDAQ: GOOG  ) just launched its own Play Music All Access streaming service. Furthermore,�Apple� (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) is also expected to jump in with some type of "iRadio" service once it gets the licensing deals worked out with record labels.

In the video below, Fool contributor Evan Niu, CFA, talks about how much danger Pandora is in.

Five enter, one leaves
It's incredible to think just how much of our digital and technological lives are almost entirely shaped and molded by just a handful of companies. Find out "Who Will Win the War Between the 5 Biggest Tech Stocks?" in The Motley Fool's latest free report, which details the knock-down, drag-out battle being waged by the five kings of tech. Click here to keep reading.

Best Defensive Companies To Watch For 2014: Central European Media Enterprises Ltd.(CETV)

Central European Media Enterprises Ltd., a media and entertainment company, operates broadcast, content, and new media businesses in central and eastern Europe. The company operates in three segments: Broadcast, Media Pro Entertainment, and New Media. The Broadcast segment operates 30 television channels reaching an aggregate of approximately 49 million people primarily in 6 countries. It operates television channels, including BTV, BTV CINEMA, BTV COMEDY, RING.BG, BTV ACTION, and BTV LADY, a female-oriented cable channel in Bulgaria; NOVA TV, DOMA, and NOVA WORLD in Croatia; TV NOVA, NOVA CINEMA, NOVA SPORT, and MTV CZECH in the Czech Republic; PRO TV, PRO TV INTERNATIONAL, ACASA, PRO CINEMA, MTV ROMANIA, PRO TV CHISINAU, and SPORT.RO in Romania; TV MARK�A and DOMA in the Slovak Republic; POP TV, KANAL A, and POP BRIO in Slovenia, as well as various radio channels in Bulgaria. The Media Pro Entertainment segment develops, produces, and distributes content for its own te levision channels, as well as to third parties through the theatrical and home video operations; sells DVD and Blu Ray discs to wholesale and retail clients; and distributes theatrical, home entertainment, digital, and television film rights. It also owns and operates 16 cinema screens in Romania. The New Media segment offers television content; and operates various news portals, niche Websites, and television-related Websites. Central European Media Enterprises Ltd. was founded in 1994 and is based in Hamilton, Bermuda.

Best Defensive Companies To Watch For 2014: Ansell Capital Corp (ACP.V)

Ansell Capital Corp. engages in the acquisition, exploration, and development of mineral properties. It primarily explores for gold, silver, copper, and other metals. The company holds interests in the Kuyakuz Mountain project located in British Columbia, Canada; and the Charlotte property located in the Yukon Territory, Canada. It also holds an option agreement to acquire a 100% interest in the Dal, the Discovery Creek, and the Etzel properties located in the Yukon Territory, Canada. Ansell Capital Corp. was incorporated in 2006 and is based in West Vancouver, Canada.

5 Best Energy Stocks To Own Right Now: Symmetry Medical Inc (SMA)

Symmetry Medical Inc. designs, develops, and produces implants and related surgical instruments and cases to orthopedic device manufacturers worldwide. It offers orthopedic implants that are used in reconstructive surgeries to replace or repair hips, knees, and other joints, such as shoulders, ankles, and elbows; trauma implant systems, which are used primarily to reattach or stabilize damaged bone or tissue while the body heals; and spinal implant systems, including plates and screws used by orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons in the treatment of degenerative diseases, deformities, and injuries in various regions of the spine. The company also provides surgical instruments, such as knee cutting blocks, osteotome revision systems, reamers, and retractors used in hip, knee, and shoulder reconstruction procedures, as well as in spinal, trauma, and other implant procedures. In addition, it produces a range of plastic, metal, and hybrid orthopedic cases to store, transport, and arrange surgical instruments and related implant systems, and other medical devices for orthopedic device manufacturers; endoscopy cases for endoscope sterilization; dental cases used in dental implant and general dental procedures; sterilization containers for the sterilization of various surgical instruments; and other cases for arthroscopy, osteobiologic, cardiovascular, ophthalmology, and diagnostic imaging, as well as ear, nose, and throat procedures. Further, the company engages in the design, engineering, and manufacturing of aerospace products comprising net shaped aerofoils and non-rotating aircraft engine forgings produced for the aerospace customers; and offers aerospace machining capabilities. The company was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in Warsaw, Indiana.

Monday, May 27, 2013

This Hedge Fund Star Just Dumped Microsoft to Load Up on Apple

Few hedge fund managers garner the type of attention that David Einhorn does just by opening his mouth. The Greenlight Capital manager's name has even become a verb. No investor wants his stocks to get "Einhorned," which is what happens when Einhorn takes a publicly bearish stance against a company, typically preceded by a short position.

Einhorn also has no qualms about criticizing companies that he's bullish on and has sizable stakes in, famously bashing Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) CEO Steve Ballmer in 2011. Just Einhorn's suggestion that Ballmer should step down sparked a rally. A few months ago, Einhorn also launched a legal assault on Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) over its capital allocation policy, even though the Mac maker remains one of his top picks.

Well, Einhorn just dumped a major chunk of his Microsoft position while loading up on Apple in the first quarter. Greenlight has filed its most recent 13F disclosure, which can be compared with the previous one.


Q4 2012 Shares

Q1 2013 Shares



10.8 million

6.1 million

4.75 million sold


1.3 million

2.4 million

1.1 million bought

Source: SEC filings. Figures may not sum due to rounding.

Those figures translate into a 44% reduction in Greenlight's Microsoft position, accompanied by an 84% boost in the Apple bet, not including the call options that he was holding at the end of Q4.

We can't know for sure at what prices these trades took place, but Einhorn has partially missed out on Microsoft's major rally this quarter that was sparked in April by ValueAct taking a nearly $2 billion position. Apple, on the other hand, is down marginally quarter to date.


Quarter-to-Date Performance Through Yesterday's Close





 Source: Nasdaq.

So far, Einhorn's move has been mistimed, but we're only talking about six weeks of performance. The switch hasn't paid off yet.

There's no doubt that Apple is at the center of technology's largest revolution ever, and that longtime shareholders have been handsomely rewarded with over 1,000% gains. However, there is a debate raging as to whether Apple remains a buy. Eric Bleeker, The Motley Fool's senior technology analyst and managing bureau chief, is prepared to fill you in on reasons to buy and sell Apple and the opportunities left for the company (and your portfolio) going forward. To get instant access to his latest thinking on Apple, simply click here now.

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Tidewater Q4 Trounces Estimates

Tidewater (NYSE: TDW  ) results for Q4 and fiscal 2013 have been released. For the quarter, revenues totaled $328 million, up from the $289 million in the same period the previous year. Net profit was significantly higher, at $46.6 million ($0.95 per diluted share) from Q4 2012's $33.6 million ($0.66).  

For the most recent quarter, analysts had expected revenue of $318 million and EPS of $0.61.

For the full year, top line was $1.24 billion, which topped the 2012 figure of $1.07 billion. Net profit was notably more robust, at $150.8 million ($3.03 per diluted share) for the year against 2012's $87.4 million ($1.70).

In terms of operations, the company's average total vessel count of 265 was unchanged on a year-over-year basis in Q4 2013. Vessel utilization, however, increased to 69.4% from Q4 2012's 65.4%. Average day rates were also up, standing at $16,378 for the most recent quarter compared to $14,140 in the year-ago period.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

There's Nothing Fishy About SeaWorld

There's some good news for consumer-facing companies. Folks apparently are willing to pay up to have a good time.

SeaWorld Entertainment (NYSE: SEAS  ) posted its first quarterly results since going public last month, reporting that revenue rose at a healthy 12% clip.

It's not the turnstile clicks driving the gain, though attendance did clock in 2% higher than it did a year earlier. The real driver here was a 10% surge in per-capita spending. Higher admission prices, and a 6% uptick in in-park spending, helped drive SeaWorld's top line higher.

Things weren't as exciting on the bottom line, though SeaWorld's net loss did narrow slightly for the period. Adjusted EBITDA was also positive after clocking in flat a year earlier.

If anything, the only real disappointment here was the mere 2% increase in theme park attendance. SeaWorld had the benefit of Easter falling in March this year. The Easter holiday fell into April -- SeaWorld's second quarter -- last year.

The overall surge in guest spending naturally bodes well for regional amusement park operators Cedar Fair and Six Flags, which are just kicking off their operating calendars at their seasonal attractions. Most of SeaWorld's parks are open year round.

The year-round operations in touristy areas isn't necessarily a ticket to industry-envying margins. SeaWorld's guidance for all of 2013 calls for adjusted EBITDA in the range of $430 million to $440 million, on $1.46 billion to $1.49 billion in revenue. This translates into adjusted EBITDA margins of 28.9% to 30.1%. Stack that up to Cedar Fair's earlier guidance of 35.9% to 36.7% in adjusted EBITDA margins -- or the 35.8% in adjusted EBITDA margins at Six Flags over the past four quarters -- and SeaWorld may come off as a slacker.

However, SeaWorld is growing faster than the two regional giants. SeaWorld grew its revenue by 11% in 2011, and another 7% in 2012. Six Flags and Cedar Fair haven't posted better than 6% growth in either year.

SeaWorld has also clearly resonated with investors since going public at $27 a share last month. Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX  ) may be kicking itself for selling 16 million shares in the IPO at a discount to today's market price, but the private equity firm isn't so dumb. Blackstone still has a controlling interest in the theme park operator.

It's shaping up to be a strong summer season for the amusement park industry. Gas prices have fallen since spiking earlier this year. Consumers are feeling somewhat confident about the economy's direction. Now that we have confirmation that guests are willing to pay up to get into parks, and spending even more money once they get inside, it's shaping up to be a summer of fun for all of the publicly traded chains.

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Top 10 High Dividend Companies To Own For 2014

Finding high-quality dividend stocks doesn't have to be difficult or time consuming. By looking for stocks with underlying financial strength and reliable payouts, even beginning investors can unlock exceptional returns for years on end. Today, let's look at two dividend stocks with low risk and high dividend growth -- an ideal combination for even the most novel investor.

1. PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP  )
Not only are Pepsi and its Frito-Lay business some of the most recognizable brands in the world, but the stock is also a dividend aristocrat. The S&P 500's Dividend Aristocrats list measures the performance of the top blue-chip companies that have consecutively raised their dividends for at least the part 25 years -- although in Pepsi's case, it just celebrated its 41st straight year of dividend increases. The company recently grew its dividend by 6% to an annual payout of $2.27 per share.

Top 10 High Dividend Companies To Own For 2014: Sycamore Networks Inc.(SCMR)

Sycamore Networks, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the development and marketing of intelligent bandwidth management solutions worldwide. It provides SN 16000 and SN 9000 optical switches that enable bandwidth management in regional and core optical networks; SILVX network management system, which offers comprehensive performance management services; DNX cross-connect platforms for traffic aggregation and grooming handle narrowband to broadband switching and transport; and ENvision Plus network management software for path protection and disaster recovery. The company also provides IAB-3000 integrated access bank and SPS-1000 signaling process systems, which support voice and data integration at end-user sites and in telemetry applications; and DNX-1u access gateways for improving site visibility and control. In addition, it develops and markets IQstream mobile broadband optimization solutions to help operators in reducing congestion in mobile access netwo rks. Further, the company offers post-sales customer support services, such as network planning and deployment, logistics, product training, software updates, online technical assistance, and maintenance contracts. It sells its products to wireline and wireless network service providers, utility companies, large enterprises, multiple systems operators, and government entities through its direct sales force. Sycamore Networks, Inc. was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Chelmsford, Massachusetts.

Top 10 High Dividend Companies To Own For 2014: Indigo Exploration Inc (IXI.V)

Indigo Exploration Inc., an exploration stage company, engages in the acquisition, exploration, and development of base and precious metal properties primarily in western Africa. It holds interest in the Burkina Faso property, which consists of five gold exploration permits, including Kodyel, Tordo, Lati, Loto, and Moule located in the Birimian Greenstone belts. The company was incorporated in 2008 and is based in Vancouver, Canada.

5 Best Shipping Stocks To Own For 2014: NovaBay Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NBY)

NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company, engages in the development of various product candidates for the therapeutic needs of the anti-infective market. Its products include Aganocide compounds comprising NVC-422 that are synthetic molecules for the treatment of impetigo and adenoviral conjunctivitis, as well as for reducing the incidence of urinary catheter blockage and encrustation, and the associated urinary tract infections. The company is also involved in developing NeutroPhase, a solution for cleansing and debriding wounds. It has collaboration and license agreement with Galderma S.A. to develop and commercialize its Aganocide compounds, which covers acne, impetigo, and other dermatological conditions. The company was formerly known as NovaCal Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and changed its name to NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in February 2007. NovaBay Pharmaceuticals, Inc. was incorporated in 2000 and is based in Emeryville, California.

Top 10 High Dividend Companies To Own For 2014: Cobalt Coal Corp (CBT.V)

Cobalt Coal Ltd. engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, and operation of coal properties in West Virginia, the United States. The company produces metallurgical coal, which is used in the production of steel. It owns and operates two coal projects, The Westchester Coal Mine and The Westchester Expansion. The company was formerly known as Cobalt Coal Corp. and changed its name to Cobalt Coal Ltd. in June 2011. Cobalt Coal Ltd. is headquartered in Calgary, Canada.

Top 10 High Dividend Companies To Own For 2014: Tassal Group Ltd(TGR.AX)

Tassal Group Limited engages inn the hatching, farming, processing, marketing, and sale of Atlantic salmon products in Australia. The company offers fresh, smoked, frozen, canned, hot smoked, and smallgoods range of salmons. It offers its products through salmon shops in Kew and Salamanca. Tassal Group Limited was founded in 1986 and is based in Hobart, Australia.

Top 10 High Dividend Companies To Own For 2014: Chemtura Corp. (CHMT)

Chemtura Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and sale of specialty chemical solutions and consumer products worldwide. The company's Consumer Products segment provides recreational water purification products, such as sanitizers, algaecides, biocides, oxidizers, pH balancers, mineral balancers, and other specialty chemicals and accessories; and specialty and multi-purpose cleaners. Its Industrial Performance Products segment products include petroleum additives that offer detergency, friction modification, and corrosion protection in automotive lubricants, greases, refrigeration, and turbine lubricants; castable urethane prepolymers, which provide abrasion resistance and durability; and polyurethane dispersions and urethane prepolymers used in various coatings. This segment also offers plastic antioxidants additives that inhibit the degradation of polymers caused by air and heat during manufacture and use; UV stabilizers additives for pr otecting materials against ultra-violet light; and rubber additives products, which protect elastomers and rubber compounds. The company's Chemtura AgroSolutions segment produces seed treatments, fungicides, miticides, insecticides, growth regulants, and herbicides. Its Industrial Engineered Products segment offers flame retardants, bromine and bromine intermediates, catalyst components, fumigants, and surface treatments and completion fluids for oil and gas extraction. The company has a strategic alliance with Isagro S.p.A. It serves various industries, such as agriculture, automotive, building and construction, electronics, lubricants, packaging, plastics, pool and spa chemicals, and transportation. Chemtura Corporation was founded in 1900 and is based in Middlebury, Connecticut.

Top 10 High Dividend Companies To Own For 2014: Champion Industries Inc.(CHMP)

Champion Industries, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a commercial printer, business forms manufacturer, and office products and office furniture supplier in regional markets east of the Mississippi river in the United States. The company is involved in printing business cards, letterheads, and envelopes, as well as one, two, or three color brochures; process color manufacturing brochures, posters, advertising sheets, and catalogues; die cutting and foil stamping; forms printing of roll-to-roll computer forms, checks, invoices, and purchase orders, as well as forms in single-part, multi-part, continuous, and snap-out formats; tag and label manufacturing; and Web printing of brochures and catalogs. It also provides bindery services, including trimming, collating, folding, and stitching of the final product; and output solutions, such as print on demand, inserting, and mailing services. In addition, the company offers supplies, such as file folders, paper pr oducts, pens and pencils, computer paper and laser cartridges; furniture, including budget and middle price range desks, chairs, file cabinets, and computer furniture; and design services, such as space planning, purchasing and installation of office furniture, and management of design projects. Further, it publishes The Herald-Dispatch, a daily newspaper in Huntington, West Virginia; the Putnam Herald in Putnam County, West Virginia; and the Lawrence Herald in Lawrence County, Ohio. The company offers its products through sales force, wholesalers' national catalogs, and Internet to manufacturers, institutions, financial services companies, and professional firms. Champion Industries, Inc. was founded in 1992 and is headquartered in Huntington, West Virginia.

Top 10 High Dividend Companies To Own For 2014: Dendreon Corporation(DNDN)

Dendreon Corporation, a biotechnology company, engages in the discovery, development, and commercialization of therapeutics to enhance cancer treatment options for patients. The company offers active cellular immunotherapy and small molecule product candidates to treat various cancers. Its product candidates comprise Provenge (sipuleucel-T), an active cellular immunotherapy for the treatment of metastatic, castrate-resistant prostate cancer; DN24-02, an investigational active immunotherapy for the treatment of patients with bladder, breast, ovarian, and other solid tumors expressing HER2/neu; and TRPM8, a small molecule agonist to transient receptor potential ion channel, for multiple cancers. The company also has a range of products in preclinical studies, which include Carcinoembryonic antigen for the treatment of lung, colon, and breast cancer; and Carbonic AnhydraseIX for the treatment of kidney cancer. Dendreon Corporation was founded in 1992 and is headquartered in S eattle, Washington.

Top 10 High Dividend Companies To Own For 2014: Capital City Bank Group(CCBG)

Capital City Bank Group, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for Capital City Bank that provides commercial and retail banking products and services. Its deposit products include negotiable order of withdrawal accounts, money market accounts, checking and savings accounts, and time deposits. The company offers financing for commercial business properties, equipment, inventories, and accounts receivable, as well as commercial leasing and letters of credit; commercial and residential real estate lending; retail credit products, including personal loans, automobile loans, boat/recreational vehicle loans, home equity loans, and credit card programs; and tax-exempt loans, lines of credit, and term loans. It also provides treasury management services, merchant credit card transaction processing services, automated teller machines (ATMs), debit/credit cards, night deposit services, safe deposit facilities, PC/Internet banking, and mobile banking services. In addition, the c ompany offers asset management, trust, mortgage banking, merchant services, and data processing services, as well as securities brokerage services, including U.S. government bonds, tax-free municipal bonds, stocks, mutual funds, unit investment trusts, annuities, life insurance, and long-term health care. It serves individuals, corporations, and other business clients, including commercial developers and investors, residential builders and developers, community developers, state and local governments, public schools and colleges, charities, and membership and not-for-profit associations. As of January 27, 2012, the company operated 70 banking offices and 79 ATMs in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. Capital City Bank Group, Inc. was founded in 1895 and is headquartered in Tallahassee, Florida.

Top 10 High Dividend Companies To Own For 2014: Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd (FRFHF)

Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (Fairfax) is a financial services holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, is principally engaged in property and casualty insurance and reinsurance and the associated investment management. The Company�� segments consist of Insurance, Reinsurance, Insurance and Reinsurance Other, Runoff, and Corporate and Other. On December 22, 2011, the Company completed the acquisition of 75% interests in Sporting Life Inc. On August 16, 2011, the Company acquired William Ashley China Corporation. On March 24, 2011, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Fairfax completed the acquisition of The Pacific Insurance Berhad. On February 9, 2011, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Fairfax completed the acquisition of First Mercury Financial Corporation. In October 2012, its RiverStone runoff subsidiary acquired all the outstanding shares of Brit Insurance Limited.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Pentagon Orders $382.5 Million Worth of ATVs From Polaris

The Department of Defense awarded a total of 16 contracts to its favored contracts Tuesday, worth a combined $2.7 billion. One award, however, stood out from the pack both for its sheer size and the unusual identity of the recipient: Polaris Industries (NYSE: PII  ) , a company better known for its snowmobiles and ATVs than for its military hardware.

Specifically, the Pentagon awarded Polaris' specialized Polaris Defense subsidiary a $382.5 million maximum value, fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment contract. This contract is stated to be for the purchase of "fire and emergency vehicles" for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and federal civilian agencies, and has a May 17, 2018, performance completion date.

This is a sizable award for the specialist in small, off-road vehicles. The contract amounts to more than 11.5% of the sales revenue Polaris generates in an ordinary year -- and even spread over five years, as the contract terms specify, the contract should ensure more than 2% of Polaris' revenue stream for each year it's in effect.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Best European Stocks To Own Right Now

LONDON -- Stock index futures at 7 a.m. EDT indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) may open up by 0.29% this morning, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) may open 0.26% higher. The Dow closed at a new record high of 14,673.46 yesterday, but the CNN Fear & Greed Index remained almost unmoved at 53, or "neutral."

European markets moved strongly higher this morning after Chinese import and export figures beat analysts' forecasts. Imports rose by 14.1% in March, while exports rose by 10%, boosting trade hopes for European companies. At 7:20 a.m. EDT, the German DAX was up 1.16%, and the French CAC 40 was 1.18% higher. In London, the FTSE 100 was up 0.76%, helped by a strong showing from mining firms and financial stocks, which collectively make up the majority of the index's capitalization.

Best European Stocks To Own Right Now: BP p.l.c.(BP)

BP p.l.c. provides fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, retail services, and petrochemicals products. Its Exploration and Production segment engages in the oil and natural gas exploration, field development, and production; midstream transportation, and storage and processing; and marketing and trading of natural gas, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), and power and natural gas liquids (NGL). This segment has exploration and production activities in Angola, Azerbaijan, Canada, Egypt, Norway, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as in Asia, Australasia, South America, North Africa, and the Middle East. This segment also owns and manages crude oil and natural gas pipelines; processing facilities and export terminals; and LNG processing and transportation, as well as NGL extraction facilities. BP p.l.c. has interests in the Trans-Alaska pipeline system, the Forties pipeline system, the Central Area transmission sys tem pipeline, the South Caucasus Pipeline, and Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, as well as in LNG plants located in Trinidad, Indonesia, and Australia. The company?s Refining and Marketing segment involves in the supply and trading, refining, manufacturing, marketing, and transportation of crude oil, petroleum, and petrochemicals products and related services to wholesale and retail customers primarily under the BP, Castrol, ARCO, and Aral brands. Its Other Businesses and Corporate segment produces and markets rolled aluminum products, as well as generates energy through wind, solar, biofuels, hydrogen, and carbon capture and storage sources; and engages in shipping activities. The company was founded in 1889 and is headquartered in London, the United Kingdom.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Dave Friedman]

    Institutional investors bought 48,831,370 shares and sold 48,563,350 shares, for a net of 268,020 shares. This net represents 0.00% of common shares outstanding. The number of shares outstanding is 18,785,912,000. The shares recently traded at $38.19 and the company’s market capitalization is $119,161,700,000.00. About the company: BP plc is an oil and petrochemicals company. The Company explores for and produces oil and natural gas, refines, markets, and supplies petroleum products, generates solar energy, and manufactures and markets chemicals. BP’s chemicals include terephthalic acid, acetic acid, acrylonitrile, ethylene and polyethylene.

  • [By Rahemtulla]

    Among the stocks that Bolton favors are Spain's Telefonica (TEF), which has a 7% 2009 yield and 3.8 times dividend cover, and BP, the British oil producer, which has a 6.9% yield and 2.8 times cover. Falling oil prices are an issue for BP, but he thinks it will try to avoid a dividend cut, owing to bad memories of a prior cut in the 1990s.

  • [By Kennedy]

    BP plc (NYSE:BP): Up 0.36% to $35.86. BP plc is an oil and petrochemicals company. The Company explores for and produces oil and natural gas, refines, markets, and supplies petroleum products, generates solar energy, and manufactures and markets chemicals. BP’s chemicals include terephthalic acid, acetic acid, acrylonitrile, ethylene and polyethylene.

Best European Stocks To Own Right Now: Flamel Technologies S.A.(FLML)

Flamel Technologies S.A., a biopharmaceutical company, engages in the development and commercialization of controlled-release therapeutic products based on its proprietary polymer based technology in the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States, France, and Europe. The company develops nanogel Medusa technology, which is intended to provide controlled release following injection of therapeutic proteins, peptides, and other molecules; a microparticle adaptation of the Medusa platform that is intended for use in the delivery of smaller proteins and peptides; and Micropump technology, a microparticle technology for oral administration of small molecule drugs with applications in controlled-release, taste-masking, and bioavailability enhancement; and Trigger-Lock technology, an adaptation based on Micropump technology, which is intended to minimize the misuse and abuse of medications subject to abuse. Its principal product based on Micropump technology is Coreg CR, which is intended for the treatment of moderate to severe heart failure and left ventricular dysfunction following myocardial infarction. The company?s products under development based upon Medusa technology include Interferon-alpha, a naturally occurring protein that the body uses for the treatment of Hepatitis C virus and as a immune response; and FT-105, an injectable insulin formulation for diabetic patients. Its products based on its Micropump technology comprise LiquiTime for the elderly and pediatric patient patients, or others who have difficulty swallowing. The company has strategic alliance with Baxter International, Inc.; GlaxoSmithKline; Merck Serono; and Pfizer Inc, as well as has a joint development agreement with Digna Biotech, S.L. Flamel Technologies S.A. was founded in 1990 and is headquartered in Venissieux, France.

Top 10 Canadian Companies To Own In Right Now: 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.

Best European Stocks To Own Right Now: Nuveen Select Tax Free Income Portfolio(NXP)

Nuveen Select Tax-Free Income Portfolio is an exchange traded fund launched by Nuveen Investments, Inc. It is managed by Nuveen Asset Management Inc. The fund invests in the fixed income markets of the United States. It primarily invests in long-term municipal obligations with investment-grade ratings (Baa and BBB or better). Nuveen Select Tax-Free Income Portfolio was formed on March 19, 1992 and is domiciled in United States.

Best European Stocks To Own Right Now: British American Tobacco Industries p.l.c.(BTI)

British American Tobacco p.l.c., through its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture, distribution, and sale of tobacco products. The company offers cigars, cigarettes, smokeless snus, roll-your-own, and pipe tobacco products under the Dunhill, Kent, Lucky Strike, Pall Mall, Vogue, Viceroy, Kool, Rothmans, Peter Stuyvesant, Benson & Hedges, and State Express 555 brand names. It has operations in the Asia-Pacific, the Americas, eastern and western Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The company was founded in 1902 and is headquartered in London, the United Kingdom. British American Tobacco p.l.c. operates independently of Remgro Ltd. as of November 03, 2008.

Best European Stocks To Own Right Now: Aercap Holdings N.V. (AER)

AerCap Holdings N.V., through its subsidiaries, operates as an integrated aviation company worldwide. It engages in leasing and trading aircraft and engines; and selling parts. The company also provides aircraft management services, as well as aircraft and limited engine MRO services, and aircraft disassembly services through its repair stations. In addition, it offers aircraft services, including remarketing aircraft; collecting rental and maintenance payments, monitoring aircraft maintenance, monitoring and enforcing contract compliance, and accepting delivery and redelivery of aircraft; conducting ongoing lessee financial performance reviews; inspecting the leased aircraft; coordinating technical modifications to aircraft to meet new lessee requirements; conducting restructurings negotiations in connection with lease defaults; repossessing aircraft; arranging and monitoring insurance coverage; registering and de-registering aircraft; arranging for aircraft and aircraft engine valuations; and providing market research. The company?s management services include leasing and remarketing, cash management and treasury, technical advisory, and accounting and administrative services. As of March 31, 2011, it owned 272 aircraft and 95 engines, which it leased under operating leases to 118 lessees in 53 countries. The company was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in Schiphol, the Netherlands.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

BMW's Sales Continue to Shine

The 2014 3 Series GT is one of several new models coming from BMW soon. Photo credit: BMW

The economy may not be great, but things are definitely looking up for some folks. The latest sign: Luxury car sales are booming.

BMW (NASDAQOTH: BAMXF  ) said on Monday that last month was its best April ever. The German luxury-car giant said that worldwide sales in April for its three auto brands were up 6.8% over year-ago totals.

For the year, BMW's total auto sales are up 5.7% to an all-time high.

You may think that luxury-car sales gains don't matter to normal folks. But luxury cars are very profitable products, and companies like BMW can represent intriguing investments. Read on.

Relatively small sales lead to huge profits
BMW makes and sells three brands of vehicles: Mini, BMW, and Rolls-Royce. Most of the cars it sells around the world are BMWs, but Mini represents an important chunk of the business. (Rolls-Royce sales are tiny, but the profit per car sold is believed to be very high.)

The BMW brand sold 130,598 vehicles around the world in April, up 7.5%. BMW's compact 3 Series and midsized 5 Series sedans accounted for the bulk of that volume, with nearly 70,000 sales between them.

The 3 Series is BMW's best seller, and BMW executives often say that it's their company's most important product. It's the car most often sold to first-time BMW owners, and the company depends on it to build long-lasting owner loyalty.

Mini sales were much smaller, at 24,581 for the month. The Mini is a niche product, but it's valuable to BMW for more than its contribution to the company's bottom line. Mini helps BMW increase its total small-car sales without diluting the BMW brand, which helps it meet some countries' fuel-economy regulations.

BMW also makes and sells premium-priced motorcycles, of course. Its two-wheeled division is called BMW Motorrad, and it had its most successful month ever in April, with sales up 11.5% over year-ago totals – another luxury line that is seeing good gains recently.

And Rolls-Royce? BMW didn't give an official sales number for the stately British brand, but a little subtraction suggests that 240 Rolls-Royces were sold during the month.

Strong results as BMW invests to keep pace with rivals
Earlier in May, BMW reported a $2.69 billion first-quarter profit that blew away analyst estimates. That's despite total sales that are significantly less than those of mass-market automakers like Ford (NYSE: F  ) , which made $1.6 billion in the first quarter. The company reiterated its previous guidance, saying that 2013's full-year pre-tax profit would roughly match last year's despite worsening market conditions in Europe, BMW's home base.

How will they manage that? Rising demand in the U.S. and China, and a slew of new products. BMW is planning to launch 25 new or overhauled products by the end of next year, including 10 that represent new niches for BMW.

Competition will be fierce, though. German arch-rivals Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen's (NASDAQOTH: VLKAY  ) Audi brand are both investing heavily in new products and factories as well. And BMW is facing stiff competition in some parts of the world from Toyota's (NYSE: TM  ) luxury Lexus brand, as well as increasing pressure from GM's (NYSE: GM  ) Cadillac, which is in the midst of a major overhaul.

Still, BMW's new products should continue to keep the German luxury giant on track.

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Top 5 Supermarket Stocks To Watch For 2014

LONDON -- Unilever (LSE: ULVR  ) (NYSE: UL  ) is an Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant. The company was formed in 1930 and today employs more than 100,000 people. It is the seventh-largest company in the FTSE 100 by market capitalization.

The largest part of Unilever is its personal-care business, owning brands such as Brylcreem, Lynx, Dove, and Timotei. Second is the foods division: Hellmann's, Knorr, and Pot Noodle are all Unilever brands. Then there are household products such as Persil, Cif, and Domestos.

These brands are a crucial part of Unilever's success. For supermarkets, they are must-stock products. This helps to secure favourable terms for Unilever.

For consumers, Unilever's brands are well known and loved. This makes it very difficult and expensive for other products to compete.

Top 5 Supermarket Stocks To Watch For 2014: Almost Family Inc(AFAM)

Almost Family, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides home health services. The company operates in two segments, Visiting Nurse Services and Personal Care Services. The Visiting Nurse Services segment provides a range of Medicare-certified home health nursing services to patients in need of recuperative care, following a period of hospitalization or care in another type of inpatient facility. It also offers special clinically-based protocols, including frail elderly care management, optimum balance, cardiocare, orthopedic, and urology programs. This segment provides its services to patients in lieu of additional care in other settings, such as long term acute care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, or skilled nursing facilities. The Personal Care Services segment provides services, such as personal care, medication management, meal preparation, caregiver respite, and homemaking services in patients? homes primarily on an as-needed and hourly basis. Th e company offers its services through its service locations in Florida, Kentucky, Ohio, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Missouri, Alabama, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. It operates approximately 47 Medicare-certified home health agencies with a total of 106 locations, as well as operates 60 personal care locations. Almost Family, Inc. was founded in 1976 and is based in Louisville, Kentucky.

Top 5 Supermarket Stocks To Watch For 2014: LandMark White Ltd(LMW.AX)

LandMark White Limited operates as a valuation and property consultancy company in Australia. The company primarily focuses on commercial, industrial, residential, retail, special use, and tourism and leisure properties. It provides valuation services for mortgage security, ownership restructuring, rating objections and appeals, rental assessments and determination, purchase and sale, and asset value. The company offers reports, which consist of executive summary detailing the property and business; site appraisal related to land particulars, improvements, market comments, income analysis, sales evidence, and rationale; and valuation reporting summing up the analysis. LandMark White Limited also provides advisory services, including mortgagee and receiver services and strategic asset reviews based on market intelligence from an independent base. It serves trading banks, lending institutions, developers, ASX listed and unlisted property trusts, government, liquidators and a dministrators, lawyers, accountants, and private investors. LandMark White Limited was incorporated in 2002 and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Best Up And Coming Stocks To Buy For 2014: TUI TRAVEL PLC ORD GBP0.10(TT.L)

TUI Travel PLC operates as an international leisure travel company. It provides distribution, tour operating, and airlines services; and destination services to tour operators, travel agencies, corporate clients, and direct to the consumer, which include hotel accommodation, transfers, excursions, round trips, organizing meetings, incentives, conferences and events, and cruise handling. It also engages in marine, adventure, ski, student, and sport trips; and marine charter business. The company is headquartered in Crawley, the United Kingdom. TUI Travel PLC operates as a subsidiary of TUI AG.

Top 5 Supermarket Stocks To Watch For 2014: California First National Bancorp(CFNB)

California First National Bancorp operates as the holding company for California First National Bank and California First Leasing Corp. that provide leasing and banking services in the United States. It leases and finances capital assets used by businesses and organizations, including computer systems and networks; automated manufacturing and distribution management systems, production systems, printing presses, and warehouse distribution systems; digital private branch equipment and switching equipment, voice over Internet protocol systems, wireless networks, and satellite tracking systems; retail point-of-sale and inventory tracking systems; and other electronic equipment, such as ultrasound and medical imaging systems, computer-based patient monitoring systems, testing equipment, and copying equipment. The company also leases non-high technology property, including oil and gas production equipment, machine tools, school buses, trucks, exercise equipment, and office and dormitory furniture; and re-markets leased assets at lease expiration. In addition, it provides deposit products, such as interest-bearing checking accounts, savings accounts, and three month to three year certificates of deposits. California First National Bancorp gathers deposits through the Internet, direct mail, telephone campaigns, and print advertisements. Further, it offers business loans to fund the purchase of assets leased by third parties; and commercial loans to businesses that include commercial loan syndications, commercial real estate loans, and revolving lines of credit. The company serves middle-market companies and corporations, private and state-related educational institutions, municipalities, and other not-for-profit organizations and institutions, as well as individuals. California First National Bancorp was founded in 1977 and is headquartered in Orange County, California.

Top 5 Supermarket Stocks To Watch For 2014: MFRI Inc.(MFRI)

MFRI, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and sale of piping systems, filtration products, and industrial process cooling equipment. The company?s Piping Systems segment engineers, designs, manufactures, and sells specialty piping leak detection and location systems. This segment?s piping systems include industrial and secondary containment piping systems for transporting chemicals, hazardous fluids, and petroleum products; insulated and jacketed district heating and cooling piping systems; and oil and gas gathering flow and long lines. MFRI?s Filtration Products segment manufactures and sells various filter elements for cartridge collectors and baghouse air filtration and particulate collection systems; markets air filtration related products and accessories; and provides maintenance services comprising dust collector inspection, filter cleaning, and filter replacement. This segment?s products and services are used primarily by operators o f utility and industrial coal-fired boilers; incinerators and cogeneration plants; and producers of metals, cement, and chemicals. Its Industrial Process Cooling Equipment segment engineers, designs, manufactures, and sells cooling and temperature control equipment, such as chillers; cooling towers; plant circulating assemblies; hot water, hot oil, and negative pressure temperature controllers; water treatment equipment; specialty cooling devices for printing presses and ink management; and replacement parts and various accessories for industrial applications. This segment offers its products primarily to the thermoplastics processing and the printing industries. The company also involves in the installation of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. It sells its products in the United States, the Middle East, Europe, India, Canada, other Asian countries, Mexico, South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and Africa. MFRI, Inc. was founded in 1989 and is base d in Niles, Illinois.

Profit From The Death Of Cable With This Market Leader

Innovation is a wonderful thing. Without it, products would never get better. Services would never improve.

That's exactly what Henry Ford was talking about in one of his most famous quotes: "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) is a great example of this dynamic. Before the iPod came along, music lovers were still carrying around racks of CDs that were cumbersome and susceptible to scratches. The iPod not only gave Apple a market-changing product -- and sent its shares rocketing higher -- it also enriched the listening experience with a more user-friendly device.


But now, more than 10 years after Apple changed the landscape of consumer electronics, that same cycle of innovation is repeating itself in a different segment of the market.

Traditional cable companies are going the way of the dodo bird.

Under a barrage of competition from new-media companies such as Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Hulu, consumers are increasingly spurning the traditional cable model in favor of less expensive alternatives that offer more interactivity and customized content. That's why Comcast (NYSE: CVV) lost more than 2 million subscribers from 2009 to the end of 2012, suffering from notoriously poor customer service, high prices and limited content.

But while many innovative media companies will benefit from this ongoing migration from traditional cable, there is one that stands out. The company is already cashing in on the trend, lifting its share price to a market-beating 36% gain in just the past year. Take a look:

DirecTV (NYSE: DTV) is a leading provider of satellite television, video and broadband services in North and Latin America. With a market cap of $38 billion, DirecTV is hardly a startup, but there are a number of reasons this company still has so much upside.

DirecTV is aggressively pursuing the fast-growing streaming content market. The company recently released a video-streaming service called TV Everywhere, which also includes multi-stream capabilities gaining popularity on mobile devices. Mobile and streaming are red-hot markets, and DirecTV is moving aggressively to be a major player.

Latin America is also a big part of DirecTV's growth strategy. Unlike the highly saturated North American market, Latin American penetration rates for TV subscription services are much lower. DirecTV has launched a massive marketing campaign in Latin America to capitalize on its growing middle class. It's also offering a range of programming packages to cater to high- and lower-end consumers alike. In addition, DirecTV is working to build next-generation wireless broadband offerings and on-demand video services to the region.

DirecTV is focused on building a world-class infrastructure to support and deliver more content. The company is teaming with ViaSat and Hughes Network Systems to develop a nationwide satellite-broadband network capable of Internet speeds of more than 10 megabits per second. This advanced network is intended to support DirecTV's growing on-demand video streaming service while enabling it to deliver broadband services to rural areas. This creates another barrier to entry for potential competitors, one principle my colleague Elliott Gue mentions as being absolutely key in his Top 10 Stocks premium newsletter.

Analysts are bullish on DirecTV, calling for earnings growth of 7% this year and 21% in 2014. They also forecast annual earnings growth of 13% over the next five years, outpacing the industry estimate of 11%.

Risks to Consider: Although the on-demand video and streaming space is growing quickly, it is also extremely competitive, with a number of major players. DirecTV is well-positioned to capitalize on the bullish trend, but increased competition could threaten margin growth.

Action to Take --> Traditional cable companies continue to struggle and lose market share as demand for online and streaming content grows. That is creating a big opportunity for DirecTV, which is already a major player in multiple segments of the content market. But even though there are plenty of reasons to be bullish on DirecTV, shares still look undervalued, trading with a forward P/E (price-to-earnings) ratio of 13, a sharp discount to the 10-year average of 16.5. If DirecTV regains its average valuation in the past 10 years, shares could jump an additional 27%.

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Why Autodesk Shares Plunged

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: Shares of design software specialist Autodesk (NASDAQ: ADSK  ) sank 10% today after its quarterly results and outlook missed Wall Street expectations.

So what: Autodesk shares have rallied in recent months on optimism over improving sales, but a lackluster first-quarter -- adjusted EPS fell 10.6% on a 3% top-line drop -- coupled with downbeat guidance is forcing Mr. Market to sober up. Additionally, the bleak view is in stark contrast to the sunny outlook of rival Adobe Systems, suggesting that Autodesk's competitive position might be weakening.    

Now what: Management now sees second-quarter adjusted EPS of $0.39-$0.44 on revenue of $550 million-$570 million, versus the consensus of $0.51 and $597 million. "While our near-term targets are lower," said CFO Mark Hawkins, "we remain committed to driving long-term revenue growth and operating margin expansion as we balance our ongoing cost controls with key investments in our business." More important, with the stock now off about 20% from its 52-week highs and trading at a forward P/E of 15, Mr. Market might finally be offering a decent window to buy into those prospects.    

Interested in more info Autodesk? Add it to your watchlist.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Best Low Price Companies To Invest In Right Now

When sales don't work, there's always begging -- at least that's what J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP  ) seems to think with a new advertising campaign that pleads with shoppers to return to the department store.

Although I think former CEO Ron Johnson's idea to go with an everyday-low-pricing strategy wasn't a bad one, the outcome was disastrous. Shoppers fled to rivals Macy's�and Kohl's,�and Penney's earnings were a disaster as it lost $985 million in 2012.

The strategy shift was based on the premise that consumers were smart enough to see through the shenanigans of raising prices only to lower them for a "sale." Johnson thought shoppers would prefer being able to shop anytime in his store and get a low price every day. He was wrong.

So Johnson was unceremoniously ousted and Penney is back to playing the same game as everyone else. Now it's offering up a cloying mea culpa of sorts to customers: We changed, you didn't like it, so we changed back -- please, please, please come back to us!

Best Low Price Companies To Invest In Right Now: Petaquilla Mineral Com Npv(PTQ.TO)

Petaquilla Minerals Ltd., through its subsidiaries, engages in the acquisition, exploration, exploration management, and sale of mineral properties in the Republic of Panama. The company focuses on gold and silver mineralization, as well as other precious metal mineral deposits. It primarily holds 100% interests in the Molejon gold project in the district of Donoso, Province of Colon. The company was formerly known as Adrian Resources Ltd. and changed its name to Petaquilla Minerals Ltd. in October 2004 Petaquilla Minerals Ltd. was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.

Best Low Price Companies To Invest In Right Now: Viento Group Ltd(VIE.AX)

Viento Group Ltd. engages in the development, marketing, and management of property investment products in Australia. The company provides property investment syndicates and property investment funds. It also involves in the management of agribusiness investment products. It distributes investment products to both retail and institutional investors. The company was formerly known as WRF Securities Limited and changed its name to Viento Group Ltd. in November 2007. Viento Group is based in Melbourne, Australia.

Hot Prefered Companies To Own In Right Now: North Central Bancshares Inc.(FFFD)

North Central Bancshares, Inc. operates as the holding company for First Federal Savings Bank of Iowa that offers banking services in the central, north central, and southeastern parts of Iowa. The company offers various deposit products, including noninterest-bearing demand accounts, interest bearing accounts, savings accounts, money market savings, certificates of deposit, and individual retirement accounts. It also provides a loan portfolio of one-to-four family residential real estate loans, multifamily residential and commercial real estate loans, and construction and land development loans, as well as consumer loans, which consists primarily of one-to-four family second mortgage loans, including home equity lines of credit. In addition, the company offers real estate title abstracting services in Webster and Boone counties of Iowa. Further, it sells life insurance on mortgage loans, credit life and accident, and health insurance on consumer loans; and annuity product s, mutual funds, and other noninsured products. Additionally, the company engages in acquiring, developing, and managing low and moderate income housing for residents of the Fort Dodge area. It operates 10 branch offices in Fort Dodge, Nevada, Ames, Perry, Ankeny, Clive, West Des Moines, Burlington, and Mount Pleasant, Iowa. The company was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Best Low Price Companies To Invest In Right Now: RLI Corp. (RLI)

RLI Corp., through its subsidiaries, underwrites property and casualty insurance primarily in the United States. The company operates in three segments: Casualty, Property, and Surety. The Casualty segment provides general liability services consisting of coverage for third party liability of commercial insurers, including manufacturers, contractors, apartments, and mercantile; commercial and personal umbrella coverage; and commercial transportation that include automobile liability and physical damage insurance to local, intermediate, and long haul truckers, public transportation risks, and equipment dealers, as well as incidental and related insurance coverage. It also offers professional liability coverages, such as directors? and officers? liability insurance, employment practices liability, and other miscellaneous professional liability coverage; and specialty program coverages, such as commercial property, general liability, inland marine, and crime, as well as deduc tible buy-back. The Property segment offers property coverage that consists primarily of excess and surplus lines and specialty insurance, such as fire and earthquake. It also provides insurance for commercial and industrial risks, such as office buildings, apartments, condominiums, and certain industrial and mercantile structures, as well as writes boiler and machinery coverage; marine coverage, including hull, cargo, and protection and indemnity; homeowners and dwelling fire insurance; and property facultative reinsurance for insurance companies. The Surety segment specializes in writing small-to-large commercial and small contract surety coverages, as well as for the energy, petrochemical, and refining industries. It offers miscellaneous bonds, such as license and permit, notary, and court bonds; and fidelity and crime coverage for commercial insured and select financial institutions. RLI Corp. was founded in 1965 and is headquartered in Peoria, Illinois.

Best Low Price Companies To Invest In Right Now: PDF Solutions Inc.(PDFS)

PDF Solutions, Inc. provides infrastructure technologies and services for the design and manufacture of integrated circuits (IC) in Asia, the United States, and Europe. It offers manufacturing process solutions that include process research and development, and process integration and yield ramp; volume manufacturing solutions; and design-for-manufacturability (DFM) solutions, such as logic DFM, circuit level DFM, memory DFM, and pdBRIX Physical IP solutions. The company also offers characterization vehicle (CV) infrastructure, which includes CV test chips, pdCV analysis software, and pdFasTest electrical wafer test system; Yield Ramp Simulator software that analyzes an IC design to compute its systematic and random yield loss; and Circuit Surfer software, which estimates the parametric performance yield and manufacturability of analog/mixed-signal/RF blocks. In addition, it provides pdBRIX platform, which includes software for identifying and developing a set of physical IP building blocks that are tailored to a given manufacturing process and target product application; dataPOWER YMS platform that collects yield data, loads, and stores it in an integrated database and allows product engineers to identify and analyze production yield issues; FDC software, which provides fault detection and classification capabilities to identify sources of process variations and manufacturing excursions by monitoring equipment parameters; and YA-FDC service and software platform that allows online modeling to create real-time virtual measurements of final product attributes during processing. PDF Solutions sells its technologies and services through direct sales force, sales representatives, and strategic alliances to integrated device manufacturers, fabless semiconductor design companies, and foundries in the microprocessors, memory, graphics, image sensor solutions, and communications segments. The company was founded in 1992 and is headquartered in San Jo se, California.