Thursday, October 31, 2013

Is Target a Risky Investment?

With shares of Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT) trading at around $70.64, is TGT an OUTPERFORM, WAIT AND SEE or STAY AWAY? Let's analyze the stock with the relevant sections of our CHEAT SHEET investing framework:

C = Catalyst for the Stock's Movement

Target blamed the weather! While the weather might play a role in dampening expectations, it's rarely going to make a substantial impact on results. This is especially the case for Target, which is diversified enough in a geographical sense that weather shouldn't play a major player. Regardless of the excuse given, Target now expects comps to be flat for the quarter. Comps were originally expected to come in between flat and a 2 percent increase. Sales and earnings are also expected to come in slightly lower than expected. However, annual EPS is expected to grow 11.87 percent over the next five years. There are many other positives for Target as well, which include:

NEW! Discover a new stock idea each week for less than the cost of 1 trade. CLICK HERE for your Weekly Stock Cheat Sheets NOW! Consistent dividend increases Buying back $5 billion of shares over the next two years Analysts like the stock: 15 Buy, 10 Hold, 1 Sell Increase in online sales Growth in Canada Untapped growth potential on global basis Consistent improvements in revenue on annual basis Consistent improvements in earnings on annual basis Free cash flow expected to triple by 2015 Strong margins (compared to peers) Declining capital expenditures Remodeling 100 stores for improved customer experience and product placement

In regards to Target's online presence, it's a more popular site than many people would think. For example, it ranks #319 globally and #61 in the United States. That's a lot of traffic! However, over the past three months, pageviews have declined 32.99 percent, time-on-site has declined 5 percent, and the bounce rate has increased 9 percent. These aren't good numbers, but keep in mind that they're coming in after the holiday season.

For comparative purposes, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) is ranked #174 globally and #44 in the United States. Wal-Mart is way ahead globally, but Target has a chance to catch up domestically, which would be a considerable blow to Wal-Mart considering the ever-increasing trend of online shopping. Wal-Mart isn't one to sit around and hope for the best if things are going poorly. Therefore, Target might want to come up with a way to increase online traffic soon. Over the past three months for Wal-Mart, pageviews have declined 38.02 percent, time-on-site has declined 10 percent, and the bounce rate has increased 10 percent. Evidently, the poor numbers are likely an industry trend. Therefore, Wal-Mart might pick up the pace if Target does.

The chart below compares fundamentals for Target, Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST), and Wal-Mart. Target has a market cap of $45.34 billion, Costco has a market cap of $47.56 billion, and Wal-Mart has a market cap of $258.72 billion.




Trailing   P/E




Forward   P/E




Profit   Margin








Operating   Cash Flow

$5.32 Billion

 $3.34 Billion

  $25.59 Billion

Dividend   Yield

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Short   Position





Let's take a look at some more important numbers prior to forming an opinion on this stock.

E = Equity to Debt Ratio Is Weak

The debt-to-equity ratio for Target is weaker than the industry average of 0.70. It's also weaker than the debt-to-equity ratios for Costco and Wal-Mart. The debt-to-equity ratio for Target isn't terrible, and it won't be a big deal in this environment, but the only guarantee in the markets is change, and interest rates will eventually increase.



Long-Term Debt



$788.00 Million

$17.65 Billion



$5.65 Billion

$4.87 Billion



$7.81 Billion

$54.23 Billion


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T = Technicals Have Strong  

Target has underperformed its peers over one-year and three-year time frames, but it has been the best performer in this group so far this year.

1 Month


1 Year

3 Year

















At $70.64, Target is trading above all its averages.

50-Day   SMA


100-Day   SMA


200-Day   SMA



E = Earnings Have Been Solid             

Earnings and revenue have consistently improved on an annual basis. This is a great sign.






Revenue   ($)in   billions






Diluted   EPS ($)







When we look at the previous quarter on a year-over-year basis, we see an improvement in revenue and earnings. Revenue and earnings also improved on a sequential basis.






Revenue   ($)in   billions






Diluted   EPS ($)







Now let's take a look at the next page for the Trends and Conclusion. Is this stock an OUTPERFORM, a WAIT AND SEE, or a STAY AWAY?

T = Trends Do Not Support the Industry

Yes, gasoline prices have declined. This is a big plus, but there are still a lot of headwinds, including underemployment, increased taxes, and weak consumer sentiment. As a result, there was a 0.4 percent in decline in retail sales in March.

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Target has a lot going for it on a company-specific basis, but the performance of the stock market as a whole and simple logic don't match at the moment. There are many economic headwinds, and without central bank support and low interest rates, this market would be nowhere near where it's trading now. If a bear market were to present itself, then Wal-Mart would be a safer option than Target. In this environment, it would be very difficult for Target to meet expectations. Wal-Mart might also miss expectations, but it's a much bigger ship to turn. It would also potentially benefit from a weaker economy due to its reputation for steep discounts. The biggest competition for Wal-Mart in this environment would be dollar stores.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Can you retire worry-free on $1 million?

Q: Is it true that you need $1 million saved to live through your 80s? If you withdraw 5% a year, that's just $50,000 a year.

A: A $1 million retirement kitty may work for some, but not for others. It all hinges on how much your expenses are, and how much you withdraw each year.

The only way to figure out your expenses is, well, to figure out your expenses. If you can live on $50,000 a year after taxes and Social Security, then $1 million is a good amount.

Figuring out how much to withdraw is tricky as well. You're using the 5% rule of thumb. Like most rules of thumb, the 5% rule has many, many exceptions. Let's take a closer look.

INVESTING: 3%? 4%? 5%? How much to take for retirement

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The basic premise is that if you take a 5% initial withdrawal from your portfolio, you can increase that withdrawal by the amount of inflation each year without running out of money. It's an extremely conservative rule of thumb, because if you run out of money at 80, you have precious few ways to get more money.

How conservative is it? Suppose you started with $1 million, took out $50,000 at the beginning of each period, and earned 5% a year on your savings. Each year, you increased your withdrawal by 3% to offset inflation.

At the end of 20 years, you'd have about $430,000 left in your account, and your last withdrawal would have been $87,675 — which gives you some idea of how much inflation erodes your income.

Much of the calculation hinges on how much you earn, of course. You can't get a 5% return from bank CDs or money funds these days. In fact, if you earned just 1% a year on your portfolio — about what CDs pay now — you'd run out of money by year 17.

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For that reason, you need a mix of stocks, bonds and cash in your retirement portfolio. I! t's the only hope of getting a return of 5% or more over the long run. At current savings rates, your portfolio isn't going to outlive you.

You can also tweak your withdrawal rates, forgoing an inflation increase when your portfolio is down for the year –- or even a pay cut. But there's no single formula that will keep you from running out of money. In today's world, you have to manage your money just as carefully in retirement as you did while you were working.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Will Recent Earnings Send Nike on Another Run?

With shares of Nike (NYSE:NKE) trading around $73, is NKE an OUTPERFORM, WAIT AND SEE, or STAY AWAY? Let's analyze the stock with the relevant sections of our CHEAT SHEET investing framework:

T = Trends for a Stock’s Movement

Nike is engaged in the design, development, and worldwide marketing and selling of footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories, and services. The company sells its products to retail accounts through retail stores and Internet sales, and through a mix of independent distributors and licensees around the world. Nike focuses its product offerings in seven key categories: Running, Basketball, Soccer, Men's Training, Women's Training, Nike Sportswear, and Action Sports. It also markets products designed for kids, as well as for other athletic and recreational uses.

Nike shares are up this morning as Nike's fiscal first-quarter earnings topped expectations, posting a 34.4 percent growth to 86 cents a share. Analysts had estimated that figure would be 78 cents. Revenue grew 4.5 percent to $6.97 billion. Nike reported strong sales in the U.S. and internationally, but sales in China slipped. Basketball, running, soccer, and men's training equipment sold particularly well during the quarter.

T = Technicals on the Stock Chart Are Strong

Nike stock been surging higher in the last several years. The stock is currently trading at all-time high prices and looks poised to continue. Analyzing the price trend and its strength can be done using key simple moving averages. What are the key moving averages? The 50-day (pink), 100-day (blue), and 200-day (yellow) simple moving averages. As seen in the daily price chart below, Nike is trading above its rising key averages, which signal neutral to bullish price action in the near-term.


(Source: Thinkorswim)

Taking a look at the implied volatility (red) and implied volatility skew levels of Nike options may help determine if investors are bullish, neutral, or bearish.

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Implied Volatility (IV)

30-Day IV Percentile

90-Day IV Percentile

Nike Options




What does this mean? This means that investors or traders are buying a small amount of call and put options contracts as compared to the last 30 and 90 trading days.

Put IV Skew

Call IV Skew

October Options



November Options



As of today, there is an average demand from call buyers or sellers and low demand by put buyers or high demand by put sellers, all neutral to bullish over the next two months. To summarize, investors are buying a small amount of call and put option contracts and are leaning neutral to bullish over the next two months.

On the next page, let’s take a look at the earnings and revenue growth rates and the conclusion.

E = Earnings Are Increasing Quarter-Over-Quarter

Rising stock prices are often strongly correlated with rising earnings and revenue growth rates. Also, the last four quarterly earnings announcement reactions help gauge investor sentiment on Nike’s stock. What do the last four quarterly earnings and revenue growth (Y-O-Y) figures for Nike look like and more importantly, how did the markets like these numbers?

2013 Q2

2013 Q1

2012 Q4

2012 Q3

Earnings Growth (Y-O-Y)





Revenue Growth (Y-O-Y)





Earnings Reaction





Nike has seen increasing earnings and revenue figures over the last four quarters. From these numbers, the markets have been excited about Nike’s recent earnings announcements.

* As of this writing

P = Average Relative Performance Versus Peers and Sector

How has Nike stock done relative to its peers, Under Armour (NYSE:UA), Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX), Deckers Outdoor (NASDAQ:DECK), and sector?


Under Armour




Year-to-Date Return






Nike has been an average relative performer, year-to-date.


Nike provides athletes and beginners alike with athletic and fitness footwear, apparel, and related products. The company has just announced earnings that have really pleased the markets. The stock has been flying higher in recent years and is now trading near all time high prices. Over the last four quarters, earnings and revenues have been rising, which has left investors excited about the company. Relative to its peers and sector, Nike has been a year-to-date performance leader. Look for Nike to continue to OUTPERFORM.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Chipotle Climbs 2% as Morgan Stanley Sees More Traffic, Higher Prices

Chiptole Mexican Grill (CMG) has gained nearly 41% this year, double the S&P 500′s 20.5% return. It trades at 32 times forward earnings, again, more than twice the S&P 500′s 15. And Morgan Stanley says now is time to start feeling optimistic about the Mexican food purveyor.


Morgan Stanley’s John Glass and Jack Bartlett explain why:

Most recently, our AlphaWise consumer survey shows CMG has best in class value scores, a strong indicator of future traffic gains. This also provides headroom for pricing, which we still believe is 5% lower than peers on core items. Pricing will likely be increased early in '14. Finally, we see the debate shifting on CMG as it increasingly articulates its vision of developing additional concepts (ShopHouse may just be the beginning), significantly expanding the total addressable market and supporting the multiple…While valuation is not the most compelling selling point now, historically owning best-in-class growth has rewarded LT shareholders.

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As a result they upgraded Chipotle to Overweight from Neutral,  increased their earnings estimates for 2014 and 2015, and raised their price target to $485.

At the same time they downgraded Panera Bread (PNRA) to Equal Weight from Overweight on concerns that consumers believe it’s expensive. They write:

In downgrading PNRA, we acknowledge that while the brand scores exceptionally high on a number of key brand attributes, value is a key shortcoming and may limit SSS growth moving forward. This, combined with recent weaker traffic trends YTD, slower catering growth and planned 2H13 investment spending, compels us to lower our investment rating one notch…

3 in 10 of consumers cite high prices as the reason for poor perceived value, we think impacting frequency. Consumers also say PNRA has increased prices faster than other brands.

Chipotle has gained 2.1% to $427.90, the second best performer in the S&P 500, while Panera has dropped 2.8% to $159.47, and underperforming Jack in the Box (JACK), which has dipped 0.3% to $39.98, Krispy Kreme (KKD), which has fallen 2% to $19.43, and Starbucks (SBUX), which is off 0.5% at $76.98.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bernanke's Comments Send Stocks Higher

Although investors were confused by the Federal Reserve's meeting minutes yesterday, they understood the chairman loud and clear when he spoke at a press conference yesterday after the markets closed. Ben Bernanke told investors that the Fed will continue its monetary policies for the foreseeable future. Those comments have given investors the confidence they need to continue pushing stocks higher. 

As of 12:55 p.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is up 130 points, or 0.85%, while the S&P 500 is 1.02% higher and the Nasdaq has climbed 1.3%. Currently, all but two of the Dow's 30 components are higher, so let's look at the broader indexes to find the companies missing out on the rally.

Shares of BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY  ) are flat after news broke last night that two key executives had left the company: Marc Gingras, who started social-calendar company, which Blackberry bought in 2011, and T. A. McCann, who started a contact management company call Gist, which Blackberry also purchased in 2011. Just a few days ago, Blackberry announced plans to cut its workforce, so I suppose these two men did the company a favor by leaving on their own. Nevertheless, the departures are not a good sign for shareholders.

Shares of TripAdvisor (NASDAQ: TRIP  ) are down 2.3% today on news that Susquehanna has initiated coverage on the company at "negative." Furthermore, the firm gave a "positive" rating while slapping a "neutral" rating on Expedia and Orbitz, which means it's not the industry itself that concerns Susquehanna, but rather something specific to TripAdvisor.  

Lastly, shares of PriceSmart (NASDAQ: PSMT  ) are down 2.4%. The retailer posted earnings after the closing bell yesterday, missing expectations for earnings per share but beating on revenue. Analysts had expected revenue of $569 million and EPS of $0.64, but revenue of $572 million and EPS of $0.61 weren't enough to impress investors. Furthermore, the company increased sales on a year-over year basis by more than 12%, but some of those gains were likely due to the increased store count. 

To learn about two retailers with especially good prospects, take a look at The Motley Fool's special free report: "The Death of Wal-Mart: The Real Cash Kings Changing the Face of Retail." In it, you'll see how these two cash kings are able to consistently outperform and how they're planning to ride the waves of retail's changing tide. You can access it by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Is Google Still a Buy Near $1,000?

After its recent earnings blowout, shares of search giant Google (NASDAQ: GOOG  ) are back to defying gravity (and handily outpacing the market).

However, upon examining Google's pricing over the last year, it becomes apparent just how lumpy those returns have been. Google nearly doubled the Nasdaq's return in the first half of last year, only to see the market play catch-up in the months prior to Google's earnings bonanza. As a result of the resurgent bullishness surrounding the search kingpin, Google's shares are now trading around $1,000 for the first time in its history, with its growth drivers in mobile still firing on all cylinders.

Of course, this benefits current shareholders -- but the flip side is that Google's now markedly more expensive than it was mere months ago. So with Google near fresh all-time highs, is there still an opportunity for investors interested in Google shares? Fool contributor Andrew Tonner explains why he still likes Google over the long term in the video below.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Can Verizon Fix Obamacare's Sign-Up Problems Alone?

An all too common sight on -- cryptic error messages with no easy way out. Will Verizon be able to plug all the holes in this floundering design? Source: Author.

The government is off to a rocky start with the sign-up system for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Setting up a robust online framework to get millions of Americans on board with health insurance may have been more than its in-house staff and contractors could handle. To turn the troubled site around, the feds reached out to a Dow Jones (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) member with plenty of online experience. Now it's up to Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) to make this essential part of Obamacare actually work.

Verizon was recently called in to fix the troubled sign-up site, according to a report in USA Today. The appointment has not been made official quite yet, but the Obama administration has openly admitted that it needs some high-powered IT help.

What's wrong?
"Some have had trouble creating accounts and logging in to the site, while others have received confusing error messages or had to wait for slow page loads or forms that failed to respond in a timely fashion," says an official blog post on the site, a front for the Health and Human Services department. "We are committed to doing better. [Our] team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the team and help improve"

My own experience with the site confirms the need for tech assistance. suffers from confusing design, frustrating procedures, slow response times, and too many errors to list. I changed my password at one point, logged in once with the new credentials, and was then thrown back to the old password again for any future log-ins.

The error my penguin contemplates above is the result of clicking on the "verify identity" link -- a necessary step that currently leads to a nonexistent page.

Verizon is not bad choice for this consulting deal, given the company's wealth of experience in computer networking. The company just hired data security expert Eddie Schwartz from storage giant EMC (NYSE: EMC  ) , and his expertise might come in handy for the project as well.

But I do believe that Obama's crew needs experts from fields where Verizon is not known for its prowess.

Calling all the experts
Obama could give Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) a call to help out with the site's user interface. Microsoft would probably have to tap people from its gaming division to get the job done, as the Xbox Kinect shows a far deeper understanding of usability issues than the twice-botched Windows 8 platform does.

To get a better handle on data collection and management, I can't think of a better contractor than IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) . Big Blue has specialized in exactly that kind of work for decades and is currently in the process of diving even deeper into big data.

Put these three Dow companies together, and you might just have the silver bullet to kill Obamacare's biggest threat right now. Verizon smooths out the site's massive networking performance issues, IBM puts together a better data-collection process, and Microsoft's Xbox guys put a user-friendly face on it all.

That's one possible version of how this IT drama needs to play out behind the scenes, sooner rather than later. If nobody can sign up for insurance under the new system, then the whole government shutdown was over a purely academic nonissue in the first place. And I'd like to see my insurance options one of these days, rather than just another error message.

What's really at stake here?
Health care as we know it is about to change, but only if the government can make its sign-up procedures work. Do you know how the changes in the health care law will affect you and your portfolio? If not, we're here to help: The Motley Fool has compiled a special new report filled with "Everything You Need to Know About Obamacare." This report is a free offer from us to help you get educated on this important subject. Please click here to access your free copy.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Google Updates Satellite Imagery

Google  (NASDAQ: GOOG  ) has added new satellite images to make Maps more accurate and comprehensive, the company announced this week.

Working with data from the U.S. Geological Survey and NASA's Landsat 7
satellite, Google has sifted through mountains of data to identify and "stitch" the new images together on Maps. While in the past Google relied on one picture to create an image, Google says it now uses thousands of images together to get rid of any clouds and other atmospheric effects. Users can see these clear, high-definition images when they use Maps's satellite view or Google Earth.

Google has also refreshed some of its images from around the world. As areas have changed over the past few years, Google has updated its images to ensure users have a "current" image of places from central Africa to Saudi Arabia.

This is Google's second mapping announcement in recent months. Last month, the company unveiled its Earth Engine time-lapse imagery of the earth from 1984-2012. Google used the same technological process here to create the new Map images.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Has Marine Products Made You Any Real Money?

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 Marine Products (NYSE: MPX  ) , 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, Marine Products generated $8.7 million cash while it booked net income of $6.8 million. That means it turned 5.6% of its revenue into FCF. That sounds OK.

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 Marine Products 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 6.1% of operating cash flow, Marine Products'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 13.3% of cash flow from operations. Overall, the biggest drag on FCF also came from other operating activities (which can include deferred income taxes, pension charges, and other one-off items) which represented 7.1% 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.

Looking for alternatives to Marine Products? It takes more than great companies to build a fortune for the future. Learn the basic financial habits of millionaires next door and get focused stock ideas in our free report, "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich." 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 Marine Products to My Watchlist.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Best High Tech Companies To Buy Right Now

After being a big part of the problem for gold, the U.S. Federal Reserve and its chairman, Ben Bernanke, are finally becoming a part of the solution. On Wednesday, Bernanke made clear that the growing concern in the precious metals markets that quantitative easing would begin to taper off were unfounded. Combined with positive comments from miners,�including Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM  ) and Gold Fields (NYSE: GFI  ) , the result was a major surge for gold during Thursday's trading session. Making the move all the more interesting is the fact that the miners are outperforming the commodity, an unusual occurrence over the course of this year.

The Fed
On July 10, the Fed minutes were released showing the intense divide which still remains among the central bank's senior officials:�"Others were concerned that stating an intention to slow the pace of asset purchases, even if the intention were conditional on the economy developing about in line with the Committee's expectations, might be misinterpreted as signaling an end to the addition of policy accommodation or even be seen as the initial step toward exit from the Committee's highly accommodative policy stance."

Best High Tech Companies To Buy Right Now: Sonic Corp.(SONC)

Sonic Corp. operates and franchises a chain of quick-service drive-in restaurants in the United States. As of October 03, 2011, the company operated and franchised approximately 3,500 drive-ins. It also leases signs and real estate. The company was founded in 1953 and is headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Best High Tech Companies To Buy Right Now: Pretium Resources Inc (PVG)

Pretium Resources Inc. is an exploration and development company. The Company is engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of precious metal resource properties in the Americas. Its projects include the Brucejack Project and the Snowfield Project, which are advanced-stage exploration projects located in northwestern British Columbia. The Brucejack Project is a gold-silver exploration project consisted of six mineral claims totaling 3,199.28 hectares in area. As of December 31, 2011, the Brucejack Report was consisted of eight different zones on the West Zone, Bridge Zone, Low Grade Halo Zone, Shore Zone, Galena Hill Zone, Gossan Hill Zone, SG Zone and Valley of Kings (VOK) Zone. As of December 31, 2011, the Company had 100% interest in the Snowfield Project. The Snowfield Project also contains molybdenum and rhenium. The Company�� subsidiaries include Pretium Exploration Inc. and 0890696 B.C. Ltd. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Hebba Investments]

    Therefore the situation is still very bullish for investors in physical gold and the gold ETFs (GLD, CEF, and PHYS). Investors interested in leveraging this situation into higher potential profits may also consider buying gold miners such as Randgold (GOLD), Goldcorp (GG), Yamana Gold (AUY), and any of the other gold miners. Finally, those willing to shoulder much larger risks may consider some of the exploration and micro-cap companies that offer significant profits at a high risk such as Chesapeake Gold (CHPGF.PK), Pretium Resources (PVG), Western Copper (WRN), or any other of the junior exploration companies. Though investors should keep in mind that gold mining companies and explorers do not always rise with a rising gold price - do your research before you invest in the miners.

Top 5 Undervalued Stocks To Buy Right Now: Synnex Corporation(SNX)

SYNNEX Corporation provides distribution and business process outsourcing (BPO) services to resellers, retailers, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) worldwide. The company operates in two segments, Distribution Services and Global Business Services (GBS). The Distribution Services segment distributes information technology (IT) products, including IT systems, peripherals, system components, software, networking equipment, consumer electronics, and complementary products in the United States, Canada, Japan, and Mexico. This segment also offers contract assembly services, such as systems design, build-to-order, configure-to-order, and assembly capabilities; value-added services comprising kitting, reconfiguration, asset tagging, and hard drive imaging for government and healthcare sectors; and specialized services in print management, renewals, and networking. The GBS segment offers a range of BPO services, including customer management, renewals management, back of fice processing, and IT outsourcing on a global platform comprising technical support, demand generation, and marketing and administration services through voice, chat, Web, email, digital print, and social media. SYNNEX Corporation also provides logistics services, such as outsourced fulfillment, virtual distribution and direct ship to end-users; financing services consisting of net terms, third party leasing, floor plan financing, letters of credit backed financing, and arrangements; marketing services comprising direct mail, external media advertising, reseller product training, targeted telemarketing campaigns, national and regional trade shows, database analysis, print on demand services, and Web-based marketing; and online and technical support services. The company was formerly known as SYNNEX Information Technologies, Inc. and changed its name to SYNNEX Corporation in October 2003. SYNNEX Corporation was founded in 1980 is headquartered in Fremont, California.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Seth Jayson]

    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 SYNNEX (NYSE: SNX  ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.

Best High Tech Companies To Buy Right Now: UniTek Global Services Inc.(UNTK)

UniTek Global Services, Inc. provides outsourced infrastructure and technical services to the wireless and wireline telecommunications, satellite television, and broadband cable industries in the United States and Canada. Its services include network engineering and design services for underground plant construction, aerial infrastructure, and multi-dwelling content delivery; and construction and project management services for the cable and wireline telecommunication industries, which comprise systems engineering, aerial and underground construction, regular maintenance of the distribution facilities and networks, emergency services for accidents or storm damage, routine replacements, and upgrades of network overhauls. The company?s services also include comprehensive installation and fulfillment services that comprise residential and commercial installation, warehousing/logistics, call centers, inventory management, customer service compliance, fleet management, and ris k and safety related services. In addition, it offers wireless telecommunication infrastructure services, which include communications infrastructure equipment construction and installation; radio frequency and network design, and engineering; radio transmission base station installation and modification; in-building network design, engineering, and construction; and site acquisition services. Further, the company provides systems integration services for communications projects for transportation, public safety, entertainment, hospitality, and enterprise-grade commercial real estate projects. UniTek Global Services, Inc. was founded in 2004 and is headquartered in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By CRWE]

    UniTek Global Services, Inc. (Nasdaq:UNTK), a premier provider of permanently outsourced infrastructure services to the telecommunications, broadband cable, wireless, two-way radio, transportation, public safety and satellite industries, reported that Chief Financial Officer and Co-Manager of the Interim Office of the CEO, Ronald J. Lejman, will present at the Credit Suisse Engineering & Construction Conference on Thursday, June 7th at 1:55 p.m. Eastern time.

  • [By Laura Brodbeck]


    Earnings Expected From: Accretive Health, Inc (NYSE: AH), Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON), UniTek Global Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: UNTK) Economic Releases Expected: Eurozone interest rate decision and PPI data, US National Employment Report, British construction PMI


Best High Tech Companies To Buy Right Now: Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust(RPT)

Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust, a real estate investment trust (REIT), engages in the ownership, development, acquisition, management, and leasing of community shopping centers, single tenant retail properties, and one regional mall in the Midwestern, Southeastern, and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. As of December 31, 2007, the company owned interests in 89 shopping centers, which included 65 community centers, 21 power centers, 2 single tenant retail properties, and 1 enclosed regional mall. Ramco-Gershenson Properties has elected to be a taxable REIT for federal income tax purposes. As a REIT, it would not be subject to federal income taxes, if it distributes approximately 90% of its taxable income to its shareholders. The company was founded in 1988 and is based in Farmington Hills, Michigan with additional office in Boca Raton, Florida.

Best High Tech Companies To Buy Right Now: Anworth Mortgage Asset Corporation (ANH)

Anworth Mortgage Asset Corporation operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT) in the United States. It invests primarily in the United States agency mortgage-backed securities (agency MBS) guaranteed by the United States government, including pass-through certificates, collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs), and other types of MBS, such as mortgage derivative securities and mortgage warehouse participations, as well as in other mortgage related assets. The company's agency MBS portfolio includes adjustable-rate agency MBS, hybrid adjustable-rate agency MBS, fixed-rate Agency MBS, and agency floating-rate CMOs. It also invests in non-agency mortgage-backed securities comprising floating-rate CMOs. The company qualifies as a REIT for federal income tax purposes. As a REIT it would not be subject to federal corporate income taxes if it distributes at least 90% of its taxable income to its stockholders. Anworth Mortgage Asset Corporation was founded in 1997 and is b ased in Santa Monica, California.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By alicet236]

    Anworth Mortgage Asset Corporation (ANH) Reached the Five-Year Low of $4.47

    The prices of Anworth Mortgage Asset Corporation (ANH) shares have declined to close to the five-year low of $4.47, which is 49.3% off the five-year high of $8.340. Anworth Mortgage Asset Corporation is owned by one Guru we are tracking. Among them, one added to his positions during the past quarter. Two reduced their positions. Anworth Mortgage Asset Corporation has a market cap of $639.1 million; its shares were traded at around $4.47 with a P/E ratio of 7.10 and P/S ratio of 5.96. The dividend yield of Anworth Mortgage Asset Corporation stocks is 12.80%.

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Externally managed real estate investment trust Anworth Mortgage Asset (NYSE: ANH  ) announced yesterday that it is increasing the conversion rate on its�6.25% Series B cumulative convertible preferred stock from�3.8695�shares of its common stock to 3.9202 shares effective July 9.

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Externally managed REIT�Anworth Mortgage Asset (NYSE: ANH  ) announced yesterday its second-quarter dividend of $0.15 per share, the same rate it's paid for the past three quarters after cutting the payout 17% from $0.18 per share. The quarter before that, the REIT had cut the dividend 14% more.

Friday, October 18, 2013

5 stocks that could hike their dividends

yield sign

Investors often chase stocks with the highest dividend yield. They should look for companies that can steadily boost their payouts.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) One of the most powerful ways to invest over the long-term is a buy-and-hold strategy that focuses on stocks that pay big dividends -- especially at a time like this when many bonds still have puny yields.

Dividend stocks are great because in addition to profiting from any upward moves in the stock price, the quarterly payouts sweeten the pot. Many investors also prefer to reinvest their dividends to buy more shares instead of taking the cash -- which can help the value of their portfolio grow further.

But investors who simply chase the stocks with the biggest dividend yields -- which is the annual payment divided by the stock price -- often get burned when dividends are cut or eliminated.

That's why you need to look for companies that have sustainable and growing dividends.

Here's how to find them.

It helps to focus on rock-solid companies have very reliable cash flow. A simple screen to run on any potential investment is the percentage of profits returned to shareholders via dividends, or the dividend payout ratio. Simply divide annual dividends by the earnings per share and that tells you how much of the company's cash is going to investors and how much is going elsewhere.

A payout ratio that's too high may not give a company a lot of wiggle room to increase the dividend if earnings growth is sluggish. Take a look at Verizon (VZ, Fortune 500), for example. It pays $2.12 in annual dividends. That's a hefty 76% of projected earnings per share of $2.79 this year, according to estimates by Capital IQ.

Verizon's dividend yield is a very solid 4.5%. But the dividend itself has only increased by 37% over the past ten years. That's ! much lower than the dividend growth rates for other blue chips like Johnson & Johnson (JNJ, Fortune 500) and McDonald's (MCD, Fortune 500). And their payout ratios are lower than Verizon's.

Here are five more stable companies with low payout ratios, which should mean they can keep raising their dividends at an above-average clip for years to come.

• Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) -- yield of 2.4%, payout ratio of 28%

• Cisco (CSCO, Fortune 500) -- yield of 3%, payout ratio of 32%

• Exxon Mobil (XOM, Fortune 500) -- yield of 2.9%, payout ratio of 33%

• Comcast (CMCSA, Fortune 500) -- yield of 1.6%, payout ratio of 32%

• Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500) -- yield of 2.5%, payout ratio of 36%

Of course, a lot more goes into buying a stock than a low payout ratio. And none of these companies are guaranteed to increase their dividends -- especially in uncertain times.

But a company that has enough profits to use for dividend payments -- or for simply growing the business -- is never a bad investment. The best companies are able to do both.

Jeff Reeves is the editor of and the author of "The Frugal Investor's Guide to Finding Great Stocks." Write him at or follow him on Twitter @JeffReevesIP.

As of this writing, Reeves did not own any of the stocks named here. To top of page

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Goldman Sachs Sees Japan Stocks Extending Rally on Wages

Japanese stocks will extend a world-beating rally as surging corporate earnings result in higher wages, supporting shares that benefit from domestic spending, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

The Topix index will climb to 1,250 in three months, an 8.7 percent gain from yesterday's close, said Kathy Matsui, chief Japan strategist at the New York-based bank. She expects the gauge to reach 1,300 in six months and 1,400 in a year -- a level unseen since June 2008 -- as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's policies spur inflation, putting pressure on companies to boost dividends and salaries.

"The next big catalyst for reflation is when profit growth translates into higher incomes," Matsui said in an interview in Tokyo on Oct. 7. "We have to wait a little while as wages won't rise overnight. But at the end of the day, one of the key transmission mechanisms of reflation to households is via higher incomes."

Abe's efforts to reignite growth through monetary easing and fiscal stimulus have mostly benefited investors and large manufacturers as the yen weakened, boosting overseas profits and driving the biggest stock-market rally in four decades. Getting businesses to start distributing their swelling earnings and near-record cash through higher wages will be key to sustaining a rebound in the world's third-largest economy.

Regular salaries excluding overtime and bonuses fell 0.4 percent in August from a year earlier, a 15th straight drop, government data showed on Oct. 1.

Stock Gains

The Topix surged 34 percent this year through yesterday, handing investors the biggest gain among 24 developed markets tracked by Bloomberg. The gauge added 5.3 percent in the three months through September, bringing its four-quarter gain to 62 percent, the steepest rally since the period ended March 1973.

Earnings per share at Topix member firms will increase 35 percent in the next year, estimates compiled by Bloomberg show.

Companies in domestic-oriented industries such as real estate, infrastructure and housing are likely to boost full-year profit forecasts after reporting first-half results, giving them more scope to increase wages, Matsui said, declining to name specific businesses. The mid-year earnings season for many companies on the Topix is scheduled to start later this month.

"I think it will be a pretty decent set of results, but more important than the results themselves is how they will impact companies' guidance for the full year," Matsui said. "We have been more overweight domestic reflation sectors than exporters."

Inflation Target

The Bank of Japan is seeking to spur inflation by targeting an annual 60 trillion to 70 trillion yen expansion in the monetary base.

Japanese businesses kept some 220 trillion yen ($2.3 trillion) in cash on their balance sheets as of the end of June, according to data compiled by the central bank. Price gains in the nation accelerated to the fastest pace since 2008 in August on higher energy costs, data showed Sept. 27.

"While BOJ policies are important, from here on, in my view it's less about what the BOJ does next," Goldman's Matsui said. "It's more about what private companies will do to share the fruits of reflation with the rest of society through wages and investment."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Twitter Picking NYSE Bolsters Big Board’s Web-IPO Allure

Twitter Inc.'s decision to list on the New York Stock Exchange is a victory for the Big Board that opens the door for more Internet listings.

Twitter, which announced the decision in a regulatory filing yesterday, joins Pandora Media Inc., LinkedIn Corp. and Yelp Inc. as Internet companies that chose the NYSE since 2011. While Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. scored a coup by landing the Facebook Inc. (FB) initial public offering in 2012, its reputation was tarnished by a software malfunction that delayed trading for the social network. Competition for IPOs is critical for both exchanges, which get about a fifth of revenue from listing fees.

"Companies like to list where other, similar companies are listed," Richard Kline, a Menlo Park, California-based partner at the Goodwin Procter law firm who focuses on technology company funding, said in a phone interview. "Anybody associated with the offering will get an uplift from it, and next time they meet with a company's board they can say 'we won Twitter.'"

Twitter also said in the filing that its revenue more than doubled to $168.6 million in the third quarter. Twitter will probably start a roadshow with bankers to promote the deal in the last week of October, said people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the details aren't public.

'Decisive Win'

"This is a decisive win for the NYSE," the exchange operator said in a statement over e-mail. "We are grateful for Twitter's confidence in our platform and look forward to partnering with them."

Choosing NYSE rather than Nasdaq highlights the different paths that Twitter, a microblogging website whose users communicate in 140-character posts known as tweets, and Facebook have taken to go public. Facebook chose Morgan Stanley for its listing, while Twitter picked Goldman Sachs Group Inc. as the lead underwriter and kept a low profile during the process.

The Twitter offering, which seeks to raise more than $1 billion according to the people familiar with the matter, will probably be one of the year's largest. Twitter is fairly valued at about $12.8 billion, based on the value of its common stock at $20.62 a share as of August, according to a regulatory filing. There are 620 million shares outstanding, people with knowledge of the matter have said.

Listings Scorecard

"All of us at Nasdaq wish Twitter well as they pursue their initial public offering," Nasdaq OMX spokesman Rob Madden said.

The 25 technology and Internet IPOs through Sept. 24 had raised about $3.84 billion, according to data from Dealogic.

The competition between NYSE and Nasdaq in this area has become increasingly fierce.

From 2001 through 2010, Nasdaq won 261 technology and Internet IPOs and NYSE scored about a third as many. Since the start of 2011 through Sept. 24, NYSE won 50 such listings that raised $9.38 billion, according to Dealogic, while Nasdaq secured 55 and raised $25.63 billion. That figure includes the $16 billion raised by Facebook and $805 million by Groupon Inc.

Oracle Corp., the software maker with a market valuation of more than $150 billion, moved its listing to NYSE from Nasdaq in July, the biggest company to ever switch from one exchange to the other.

Confidential Filing

Twitter said in a Sept. 12 tweet that it had confidentially filed for an IPO with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Twitter filed confidentially under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups, or JOBS, Act, allowing the company to keep its financial data under wraps until three weeks before marketing the offering to investors.

The news set off the competition for the right to host its market debut. Bloomberg News reported on Sept. 24 that Twitter was leaning toward NYSE, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Facebook's decision to list on Nasdaq was considered a win for that exchange, with Nasdaq's stock rising 1.2 percent the day after the news was made public. The start of trading on May 18, 2012, went wrong when a software bug caused its delay and prevented some orders from going through. Nasdaq paid $10 million to settle regulatory charges that the error violated securities laws.

'Third Inning'

"Nasdaq won Facebook, NYSE won LinkedIn, and Groupon went to Nasdaq," Adam Sussman, director of research at Tabb Group LLC, said in a phone interview. "In terms of social-media company listings, we're in the third inning. And with Twitter going to NYSE, I think we can say it's a tie."

While there are 13 exchanges among the 50-some venues that trade stocks in the U.S., NYSE and Nasdaq are currently the only two that list companies.

Listing fees and related services made up about a fifth of 2012 net revenue for both exchanges. At NYSE, that amounted to $448 million of its $2.32 billion in revenue. For Nasdaq, fee-related sales contributed $375 million of the company's $1.66 billion in net revenue.

As the primary market for a company's stock listing, an exchange is responsible for providing the rest of the market data such as bids and offers and the price at which shares change hands. It was Nasdaq's quote dissemination service, known as the SIP, that crashed on Aug. 22, causing the halt in its listed stocks that lasted more than three hours.

Lister's Duties

Primary exchanges often also perform some investor relations roles for their listed companies.

The company's home exchange is also a factor in closing auctions as mutual funds and other money managers typically require the closing price on the listing exchange as the stock's price of record. Volume on both NYSE and Nasdaq jumps in the final minutes of each trading session as millions of buy and sell orders are routed their way.

Sussman said that during the regular course of trading, where a company lists is of less importance thanks to the market fragmentation of the past decade that's seen the U.S. stock market grow to more than 50 venues across the country. Over the past 20 days, half of all trades in Facebook shares have taken place off-exchange, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The share of the stock's trades on the Nasdaq Stock Market was about 22 percent.

"Regardless of which exchange Twitter decided to list on, it's likely a good portion of the secondary trading won't occur at that exchange," he said. "While it's a win, and a highly publicized win, it means less today than it did 10 years ago."

Monday, October 14, 2013

Hot Dividend Stocks To Watch For 2014

Frontier Communications Corporation (FTR), at its current price, is one of the best buying opportunities the market has to offer. This stock is such a good buying opportunity for a number of reasons including:

A Piotroski F Score of 8 that is the second highest out of 111 companies in the Communication Services sector with a market cap greater than $50 million.It passing our Next Generation High Potential Stock Screener that has highly outperformed the market in the pastA very competitive dividend that has provided shareholders with over an 8% yieldA significant drop in share price over the past 5 years that makes FTR highly undervalued

Frontier Communications Corporation, according to our data from AAII, is a "Communications company providing services primarily to rural areas and small and medium-sized towns and cities in the United States." The main services offered are Internet, phone, TV (provided by DISH), and protection and online security for residential and commercial customers. As of now its services are offered in 27 states with most of those states being in the Northeast and Western United States.

Hot Dividend Stocks To Watch For 2014: TotalFinaElf S.A.(TOT)

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

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Dan Carroll]

    Outside the defense sector, Chevron's (NYSE: CVX  ) among the only Dow stocks making any headway today: The oil giant's shares are up about 0.2%. Chevron agreed to sell its retail network in Egypt to French competitor Total (NYSE: TOT  ) in a deal announced by the latter today. With more than 1.4 million tons of annual sales in a network consisting�of 66 service stations and other assorted infrastructure, it's a big move for Total as it looks to develop its reach outside of Europe.

  • [By Tyler Crowe]

    Whenever a business takes on a higher-risk project, it is always hoping for higher rewards. Based on the riskier projects that Total (NYSE: TOT  ) has taken on recently, the company must be expecting big rewards. Not only is it trying to navigate the murky political waters of shale drilling in Europe, but it is also trying to explore some parts of the world where estimates for oil and gas are few and far between.�

  • [By David Smith]

    Bowing out of Egypt
    It's also noteworthy that Egypt shares a western border with Libya, which is a significant producer, but where chaos and contretemps also reign. Is it any wonder, then, that Chevron (NYSE: CVX  ) announced on Tuesday that it will unload its Egyptian downstream operations, including 66 service stations and a couple of oil depots, to Total (NYSE: TOT  ) ? The French company is also buying the retail assets in the land of the Sphinx from Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-B  ) . Perhaps it knows something of which the rest of us are unaware.

  • [By Arjun Sreekumar]

    Chevron is Angola LNG's biggest shareholder, commanding a 36.4% stake, followed by Sonangol, which has a 22.8% interest in the project. BP (NYSE: BP  ) , Total (NYSE: TOT  ) , and Italy's Eni account for the balance, each holding 13.6%.

Hot Dividend Stocks To Watch For 2014: Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings(LH)

Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings operates as an independent clinical laboratory company in the United States. The company offers a range of testing services used by the medical profession in routine testing, patient diagnosis, and in the monitoring and treatment of disease, as well as specialty testing services. Its routine tests include blood chemistry analyses, urinalyses, blood cell counts, thyroid tests, Pap tests, HIV tests, microbiology cultures and procedures, and alcohol and other substance-abuse tests. The company?s specialty tests and related services comprise viral load measurements, genotyping and phenotyping, and host genetic factors for managing and treating HIV infections; cytogenetic, molecular cytogenetic, biochemical, and molecular genetic tests for diagnostic genetics; oncology tests for diagnosing and monitoring certain cancers and treatments; clinical trials testing for pharmaceutical companies, which conducts clinical research trials on diag nostic assays; forensic identity testing used in criminal proceedings and parentage evaluation services, as well as testing services in reconstruction cases; allergy testing; and occupational testing for the detection of drug and alcohol abuse. Its customers include independent physicians and physician groups, hospitals, managed care organizations, governmental agencies, employers, pharmaceutical companies, and other independent clinical laboratories. The company operates a network of 51 primary laboratories and approximately 1,700 patient service centers. In addition, it delivers a co-branded electronic health records Lite solution for physician practices. The company works with university, hospital, and academic institutions, such as Duke University, The Johns Hopkins University, the University of Minnesota, and Yale University to license and commercialize new diagnostic tests. Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings was founded in 1971 and is headquartered in Burlingto n, North Carolina.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Daniel Lauchheimer]

    EXAS began their pivotal DeeP-C trial earlier this year, with 10,000 patients enrolled around the USA. Success in this trial formed a pivotal fulcrum for EXAS -- success would mean commercialization, and revenue, but failure means, well failure. In April, EXAS submitted the final module of this trial, and it reported significantly worse results than expected causing the company to sink 40%. Additionally, as reported in a detailed five part series, Seeking Alpha Contributor Alpha Exposure reported on the inflated numbers both in terms of scientific research data and market projections -- yet another reason to give investors pause before they decide to invest in EXAS. Additionally, EXAS has not formed a meaningful partnership with other molecular diagnostic companies. True, it formed a partnership with LabCorp (LH), but this partnership doesn't focus on the heart of EXAS product (and thus provide it with a measure of validation), but on a commercialization post approval.

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings (NYSE: LH  ) reported earnings on July 19. Here are the numbers you need to know.

    The 10-second takeaway
    For the quarter ended June 30 (Q2), Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings met expectations on revenues and met expectations on earnings per share.

Top Warren Buffett Stocks To Buy For 2014: Cincinnati Financial Corporation(CINF)

Cincinnati Financial Corporation engages in the property casualty insurance business in the United States. Its Commercial Lines Property Casualty Insurance segment provides coverage for commercial casualty, commercial property, commercial auto, and workers? compensation. It also offers specialty packages, including coverages for property, liability, and business interruption for specific industry classes, such as artisan contractors, dentists, or street businesses. In addition, this segment provides contract and commercial surety bonds, fidelity bonds, and director and officer liability insurance, as well as machinery and equipment coverage. The company?s Personal Lines Property Casualty Insurance segment offers coverage for personal auto and homeowners, as well as other insurance products, such as dwelling fire, inland marine, personal umbrella liability, and watercraft coverages to individuals. Cincinnati Financial?s Excess and Surplus Lines Property Casualty Insurance s egment offers commercial casualty insurance that covers businesses for third-party liability from accidents occurring on their premises or arising out of their operations, including products and completed operations; and commercial property insurance, which insures loss or damage to buildings, inventory, equipment, and business income from causes of loss, such as fire, wind, hail, water, theft, and vandalism. The company?s Life Insurance segment provides term insurance; universal life insurance; whole life insurance; and worksite products, which include term, whole life, universal life, and disability insurance offered to employees through their employer. This segment also markets disability income insurance, deferred annuities, and immediate annuities. Its Investment segment invests in fixed-maturity investments, equity investments, and short-term investments. Cincinnati also offers commercial leasing and financing services. The company was founded in 1950 and is headquarte red in Fairfield, Ohio.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Dividends4Life]

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  • [By Insider Monkey]

    Cincinnati Financial (CINF), lastly, is an under-covered insurance company that has grown dividends in 53 straight years. The stock pays a yield of 3.5% at a modest payout of 47% of earnings, and in 2013, it has appreciated by more than 20%. Three Cincinnati Financial insiders-one director, a senior VP and the company's CFO-have bought shares in the past six months. CFO Michael Sewell initiated the biggest transaction of the bunch when he bought $147K worth of the stock in the last few days of July.

Hot Dividend Stocks To Watch For 2014: The Cushing MLP Total Return Fund(SRV)

Cushing MLP Total Return Fund is a closed-end mutual fund launched by Swank Capital, LLC. The fund is managed by Swank Energy Income Advisors L.P. It invests in the public equity and fixed income markets across the globe with a focus in United States. The fund typically invests in MLPs, Other Natural Resource Companies, and global commodities. It primarily invests in the securities of MLPs, other equity securities, debt securities, and securities of non-U.S. issuers employing a fundamental analysis. Cushing MLP Total Return Fund was formed on May 23, 2007 and is domiciled in Dallas.

Hot Dividend Stocks To Watch For 2014: Tyco International Ltd.(Switzerland)

Tyco International Ltd. provides security products and services, fire protection and detection products and services, valves and controls, and other industrial products worldwide. The company?s Tyco Security Solutions segment designs, sells, installs, services, and monitors electronic security, productivity, and lifestyle enhancement systems for residential, commercial, industrial, and governmental customers. This segment also designs, manufactures, and sells security products, including intrusion, security, access control, electronic article surveillance, and video management systems. Its Tyco Fire Protection segment designs, manufactures, sells, installs, and services fire detection and fire suppression systems, and building and life safety products for commercial, industrial, and governmental customers. The company?s Tyco Flow Control segment designs, manufactures, sells, and services valves, pipes, fittings, valve automation, and heat tracing products for general proce ss, energy, and mining markets, as well as the water and wastewater markets. Tyco International Ltd. was founded in 1960 and is based in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

J.B. Hunt, PCA are among Monday’s stocks to watch

Bloomberg/file 2012 Enlarge Image A truck carries a J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. intermodal container enters the U.S. from Mexico at San Diego.

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trade in Monday's session are J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., Packaging Corp. of America., and Brown & Brown Inc.

J.B. Hunt Transport (JBHT) is projected to report third-quarter earnings of 78 cents a share, according to a consensus survey by Thomson Reuters.

Click to Play No, please don't follow your passion

"Dilbert" creator Scott Adams on how to draw lessons, skills and ideas from failures, and why following your passion is asking for trouble. Photo: Scott Adams

"We would become more aggressive with J.B. Hunt on any material pullback as we believe its integrated multimodal service platform stands to benefit from increasing truck regulations," Chaz Jones, an analyst at Wunderlich Securities, said in a note.

PCA, the Packaging Corp. of America (PKG) , is likely to post third-quarter earnings of 89 cents a share. The company said last month it would buy Boise Inc. (BZ)  for $12.55 a share, or about $1.28 billion in total. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Lake Forest, Ill.-based PCA makes a wide line of linerboard and corrugated paper packaging products at four mills and 71 plants, according to its website.

Top Casino Companies To Invest In 2014

Brown & Brown (BRO)  is forecast to report earnings of 40 cents a share in the third quarter. In the second quarter, the insurer and the brokerage reported its profit jumped to 36 cents a share from 29 cents a year earlier.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Apple Inc. (AAPL): Jefferies Says Size Matters

Although Apple's (AAPL) iPhone 5S and 5C have only been available to iConsumers, Wall Street is moving on to iPhone 6, already. Wow, talk about a short shelf-life?!?

Jefferies analyst, Peter Misek upped his rating on the stock to a "Buy" from a "Hold" with a price-target of $600.

The analyst summarizes, "We spent last week in Asia meeting with Apple's suppliers who indicated a substantial shift in attitudes toward Apple. Despite still seeing risk to CQ4 and FY13 revs, we now believe better GMs will allow Apple to skate by until iPhone 6 launches with its 4.8" screen. We est ~50% of smartphone shipments have

>4" screens and that iPhone 6 will catalyze a large upgrade cycle. The stock is attractive based on the attitude change, FY15 revs >+15%, and valuation."

You can read the entire Apple Report here if you like.

Not so long ago, Misek was singing a different tune as he cut the tech giant's price target to $425 from $450 in Early September thanks to  problems with the production of the iPhone 5s' fingerprint sensors and a low yield rate.

This is how the Jefferies analyst gets to $600, "We derive our $600 PT (was $425) from a 11.5x multiple on our FY15 EPS vs. CY14 S&P 500 St P/E of ~12x. Risks: 1) Margin pressure. 2) Lower demand. 3) Product cycle execution."

Top Safest Stocks To Watch Right Now

A P/E of 11.5, eh; let's see… during the last five-years AAPL's average price-to-earnings ratio was 15.9 with a range of 9.32 to 23.34.  It's not the P/E that makes Misek's call aggressive, it is his estimate. An 11.5 P/E and $600 stock price work out to earnings per share of $52.17, which implies 21.35% earnings growth from 2014's consensus of $42.99.

Actually, the Jefferies analyst sees fiscal year 2015 earning for Apple ranging from $45 to $60 with his estimate at $52.34, which is essentially the mid-point.

It's our opinion that Apple would comm! and a higher multiple than 11.5 if earnings grew at more than 20%. Something closer to the five-year norm would seem reasonable to iStock.

Overall: Considering the trend towards larger screen smartphone screen sized, we agree that iPhone 6 will be more popular than 4 or 5 and all their variations. If Misek's profit-per-share scenario plays out, and none of the three risks hit the stock, then Apple (AAPL) is just as likely to test its all-time high as it is to hit $600, in our opinion.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Nomura Says to Sell Philip Morris International Now

Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE: PM) has experienced more than impressive growth in both its share price and its profits in the past four years. Lately its gains have petered out. The problem is that much of that growth has come from a few countries in Asia, and if one analyst report is accurate, there will be little to no growth from those areas ahead. Nomura Securities is downgrading Philip Morris to a Reduce rating from Neutral, but for all practical purposes it is a Sell rating. The firm’s $76 price target suggests downside of more than $10 ahead.

The three countries cited are Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines, all supposedly accounting for 60% of the profit growth. Now the analyst is modeling organic profit growth as being flat for the next two years. Lower growth in Indonesia and issues in the Philippines are two drivers. Japan is the largest market for Philip Morris in Asia, and the report says that the company is having trouble maintaining its recent gains in market share because of Japan Tobacco investing to recapture its lost share.

Part of the reason for downgrading the price target is a forward earnings multiple being 13.5 ahead, rather than up to 16, which certainly implies far lower growth and maybe no organic growth at all. While most of this downgrade report is dominated by Asia, Philip Morris is also among the tobacco players facing increasing pressure from Europe.

Top Low Price Stocks To Buy For 2014

Shares recently were trading at $86.16, against a 52-week trading range of $82.10 to $96.73. If that $76 price target is hit, more losses are coming along with a new 52-week low.

Be advised that the consensus analyst price target average is up around $96.00, some $20 higher than this new Sell rating is giving to Philip Morris International.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

3 Huge Tech Stocks on Traders' Radars

BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- Put down the 10-K filings and the stock screeners. It's time to take a break from the traditional methods of generating investment ideas. Instead, let the crowd do it for you.

>>5 Stocks Under $10 Set to Soar

From hedge funds to individual investors, scores of market participants are turning to social media to figure out which stocks are worth watching. It's a concept that's known as "crowdsourcing," and it uses the masses to identify emerging trends in the market.

Crowdsourcing has long been a popular tool for the advertising industry, but it also makes a lot of sense as an investment tool. After all, the market is completely driven by the supply and demand, so it can be valuable to see what names are trending among the crowd.

>>5 Big Trades to Take Now

While some fund managers are already trying to leverage social media resources like Twitter to find algorithmic trading opportunities, for most investors, crowdsourcing works best as a starting point for investors who want a starting point in their analysis. Today, we'll leverage the power of the crowd to take a look at some of the most active stocks on the market today.

These "most active" names are the most heavily-traded names on the market -- and often, uber-active names have some sort of a technical or fundamental catalyst driving investors' attention on shares. That's especially true now that earnings season is officially underway. And when there's a big catalyst, there's often a trading opportunity.

>>5 Short-Squeeze Stocks Ready to Pop

Without further ado, here's a look at today's stocks.


Nearest Resistance: $50

Nearest Support: $49

Catalyst: News Feed Ads, Downgrade

>>5 Stocks Set to Soar on Bullish Earnings

Everyone's favorite social networking stock, Facebook (FB) is slipping on high volume this afternoon following news that the firm will start introducing ads for apps to users' news feeds. Analysts are reacting anxiously over the news, spurring a downgrade from Pivotal Research. Despite the downward pressure on shares in today's session, this stock is hardly in make-or-break mode right now.

Facebook has shown some serious relative strength in the last few months, rallying to new all-time highs after posting impressive fundamental improvements earlier this summer. Now, shares are consolidating in a tight range between $49 and $50. I wouldn't recommend buying FB here until it can crack resistance at $50.


Nearest Resistance: $8

Nearest Support: $7.50

Catalyst: Cerberus Interest, Restructuring Costs

>>5 Stocks Insiders Love Right Now

2013 has been a rough year for BlackBerry (BBRY). Shares of the $4 billion handset maker have fallen more than 35% year-to-date, stomped down by horrendous market share losses that have left investors running scared. While recent interest from private equity firms has ensured that trading activity remains strong in BBRY right now, it hasn't spared shares from scraping along new lows. The latest rumors involve Cerberus Capital Management as a potential suitor for BlackBerry, but the news is doing little to stop selling after news that restricting costs had ballooned to $400 million.

From a technical standpoint, this chart is broken. Resistance at $8 is relatively weak, but support is even weaker -- lower ground looks likely in the interim. With so much headline risk surrounding a private equity buyout, there isn't a high-probability trade here.


Nearest Resistance: $34

Nearest Support: $32.50

Catalyst: Management Shakeup

>>5 Stocks in Breakout Territory With Big Volume

Microsoft (MSFT) is one of those perennial high-volume names that gets investor attention no matter what's going on in the broad market. But it's getting more attention than usual in today's market session thanks to uncertainty over management. With CEO Steve Ballmer's announced retirement creeping closer, the firm is looking for a replacement, and names such as Ford (F) CEO Alan Mulally are popping up. At the same time, an investor bid to remove Chairman Bill Gates from his role at Microsoft has been catching some attention of its own.

Failed execution has been a problem at Microsoft for a while now, and a major shift in management could change that (or make it much, much worse). But in the near-term, shares at least look constructive. Resistance is nearby at $34, and MSFT has been making higher lows. If you're looking for timing on this trade, you could do worse than buying a breakout through $34.

To see these stocks in action, check out the at Most-Active Stocks portfolio on Stockpickr.

-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.


>>4 Stocks Spiking on Unusual Volume

>>4 Stocks Under $10 to Watch for Breakouts

>>5 Trades to Take for October Gains

Follow Stockpickr on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

At the time of publication, a portfolio managed by the author was long TSLA.

Jonas Elmerraji, CMT, is a senior market analyst at Agora Financial in Baltimore and a contributor to

TheStreet. Before that, he managed a portfolio of stocks for an investment advisory returned 15% in 2008. He has been featured in Forbes , Investor's Business Daily, and on Jonas holds a degree in financial economics from UMBC and the Chartered Market Technician designation.

Follow Jonas on Twitter @JonasElmerraji

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Manufacturing at best pace since spring 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factory activity expanded last month at the fastest pace in 2 ½ years, an encouraging sign that manufacturing could lift economic growth and hiring in the coming months.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Tuesday that its manufacturing index rose in September to 56.2, the highest since April 2011. That's up from 55.7 in August and the fourth straight increase in the index. A reading above 50 indicates growth.

MERCK: Lays off thousands

TUESDAY: How markets are doing

JOBS REPORT: Delayed due to shutdown

Manufacturers added jobs last month at the fastest pace in more than a year and ramped up production, the survey showed. They also received new orders at a healthy pace, though slower than in August.

U.S. factories are showing signs of picking up after slumping earlier this year. A modest recovery in housing and strong auto sales are pushing up demand for steel and other metals, auto parts, furniture and appliances.

Economists said the strong figures suggest that the annual growth rate in the July-September quarter could be healthier than current forecasts of about 2%. The index has averaged 55.8 in the past three months, up from 50.2 in the April-June quarter.

And the strength at factories has the potential to set the stage for even faster growth in the October-December quarter. Some analysts are forecasting growth at an annual rate of up to 3%.

"Another stronger than expected showing," Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, a forecasting firm, said. "The data unambiguously point to a pick-up in the trend in manufacturing output growth."

Manufacturers also kept their stockpiles steady after cutting them for two months. Adding workers and keeping supplies on hand are signs of increased confidence and higher production ahead, economists noted.

Still, the growth at factories could be offset by the partial government shutdown that began Tuesday. ! Late Monday, Congress and the White House couldn't agree on a spending measure to keep the government open.

Bradley Holcomb, chairman of the ISM's survey committee, said that survey respondents weren't worried about a possible shutdown last month, but would likely begin to raise concerns if it lasted for long.

Most economists say that a shutdown of a just a few days would have little economic impact. But if dragged on for two weeks, it could shave about 0.3 percentage points from fourth-quarter growth.

Factories had been hampered by weak growth overseas that lowered demand for U.S. goods. But exports grew last month, though at a slower pace than August. Europe's economy is slowly recovering after an 18-month recession and Japan is also growing faster after two decades of stagnation.

Earlier this month, the Federal Reserve said manufacturers boosted their output in August by the most in eight years. The gains were driven by a robust month at auto plants.

Still, other data has been mixed. Companies placed only slightly more orders for long-lasting manufactured goods in August after a sharp fall in July. But demand for so-called core capital goods rose 1.5%, after falling 3.3% the previous month. Core capital goods are a good measure of businesses' confidence in the economy and include items that point to expansion, such as machinery and computers.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Carl Icahn’s dangerous dance with Apple

LONDON -- Carl Icahn is a tech investor's new best friend.

The crusty old raider, who has a stable of younger technology-minded money managers, has been pounding the table demanding Apple CEO Tim Cook buy back $150 billion in additional shares.

Apple already plans to buy back $100 billion in shares, including $16 billion worth last quarter. Icahn probably pounded the dinner table he and Cook shared recently for their much-reported bread-breaking at Icahn's New York apartment. Apple's cash stash currently sits at a whopping $42.68 billion.

Icahn says he has claimed a sizeable stake in Apple, and he wants Cook to take advantage of low interest rates to issue bonds to finance the additional buyback. While Icahn is wont to wax aimlessly on CNBC about what a great company Apple is and how loyal its customers are, the activist investor probably does not care less about Apple employees or the future of the Cupertino company. He's looking for a quick killing before he's on to the next thing, which is what he does. That's not to say that Apple – or other big tech names for that matter -- shouldn't return more cash to investors, whether in the form of dividends or buybacks. But Icahn's interest in Apple is no different than his previous investments in other tech giants, such as Motorola and Yahoo.

By the way, giving back cash doesn't always lift stock prices. Microsoft has given back almost $200 billion and its stock price has been mostly flat for more than a decade. Buybacks and dividend yields by the likes of Microsoft and Intel -- while hefty for tech companies -- still tend to lag below levels of other industrials of similar market-capitalization size, which isn't enough to move the needle for most investors because of the higher amount of risk inherent in the tech sector, says technology analyst Bill Whyman of ISI Group, a financial research boutique.

But that hasn't stopped tech companies -- especially more-established ones -- from increasing their willingness to part with som! e of their vast cash hordes. They are doing this by increasing their dividends and capital allocation plans. Tech companies now return about $130 billion a year to investors in the way of dividends and buybacks. As a result, tech's dividend payout ratio has jumped 14% and doubled in size over the past two years. What's more, the number of tech companies that pay dividends has jumped 55% in the past year alone, according to Whyman's calculations.

Despite the rising number of tech companies doling payouts, the aggregate amount of cash in the coffers of the tech sector hasn't been dampened, and in fact continues to climb, hitting $566 billion in June. That's 20% of the aggregate market cap for the entire tech industry, which is higher than other sector. Silicon Valley's penchant for socking away cash has long been a bone of contention among Wall Street money managers. Tech company CEOs have contended they need to be flush with cash in order to be able to invest in new technologies through acquisition. Competition and the next new thing can emerge quicker in tech than with other sectors, or so they argue.

Top 5 High Tech Companies To Watch In Right Now

While that mentality is changing, shareholder-friendly cash management hasn't necessarily spurred higher share prices for tech stocks. Even with increased cash return, tech's valuation continues to lag the S&P, and the amount by which has widened, Whyman says.

So will tech companies get rewarded for returning cash to shareholders and which ones?

Where cash return comes in the form of dividends -- as opposed to share buybacks -- Whyman thinks that there is potential for higher payout ratios and greater dividend yields from certain enterprise software companies that are more mature but carry lower risk. "This won't work for what we've called 'growth tech' but mature tech is transitioning from growth to value, and cash return is a! big part! of that story," Whyman argues.

Oracle, the business software maker, chip-designer Altera, and e-commerce giant eBay are among the tech companies that boast the best combination of high-quality cash return with the ability to increase payouts while facing relatively less secular risk, Whyman says.

Another group of big tech companies that are strong candidates for returning cash include storage giant EMC, Google and software outfit Adobe Systems. These companies enjoy strong businesses, which Whyman refers to as "firepower," as well as reasonably low secular risk.

The bond market seems to be betting that Icahn's buyback gambit isn't likely to succeed in the short-term, but that doesn't mean that more tech companies won't continue to increase their cash payouts to shareholders.

Table or no table.

Mark Veverka is a technology columnist with more than 25 years of financial journalism experience. He was previously a columnist at Barron's, The Wall Street Journal and the San Francisco Chronicle.