Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cheap Indian Drugs Spur Rare Congressional Bipartisanship

It looks as if we have a sighting of that rare Washington, D.C., unicorn: bipartisan agreement in the halls of Congress. Democrats and Republicans have united in defense of Big Pharma and are lobbying the Obama administration and State Department to pressure India's generic-drug policies.

In this video, health-care analyst David Williamson discusses what has Congress riled up, the importance of India as a growth driver for the pharma industry, and whether investors need to start taking precautions with their portfolios.

Rising health-care costs continue to be a hotly debated topic, and even legendary investor Warren Buffett called this trend "the tapeworm that's eating at American competitiveness." To learn more about what's happening to the health care system -- and how to potentially profit from this trend -- click here for free, immediate access.

Follow David on Twitter: @MotleyDavid.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

SkyWest: A Business Under Threat

It's no secret in the airline industry that 50-seat jets are on their way out. These little airplanes became very popular among U.S. carriers in the 1990s and early 2000s, as they are faster than turboprops and small enough to offer frequent service between hubs and small cities. However, they burn far more fuel per seat than larger regional jets and mainline aircraft, and also cost more per seat to maintain.

These were reasonable trade-offs in the 1990s, when jet fuel prices were well below $1 per gallon. In today's environment, when jet fuel routinely costs $3 per gallon, the additional fuel expense makes it uneconomic to fly these planes.

For that reason, Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL  ) announced a plan last year to reduce its 50-seat regional jet fleet to no more than 125 aircraft by the end of 2015, down from a high of 550 planes in 2008 and 2009. It is replacing that capacity with larger regional jets (mostly seating 76 passengers) and small mainline aircraft (110 seats). United Continental (NYSE: UAL  ) is also replacing many of its 50-seat jets with larger regional jets, although it remains well behind Delta in that process.

SkyWest: rolling with the punches
One of the big potential victims of this switch is regional carrier SkyWest (NASDAQ: SKYW  ) . Regional carriers fly regional jets and turboprops for legacy carriers, and SkyWest is the biggest player in this market. In fact, it is the largest operator of 50-seat (and smaller) regional jets in the world, with more than 500 such aircraft in service. With so much of its business tied to a disappearing market segment, it's clear that SkyWest is in a delicate situation.

It's particularly critical for SkyWest to adapt because while it does some flying for all of the legacy carriers, 97% of its capacity was allocated to United and Delta in 2012. Since both of these carriers are looking to dramatically slash their 50-seat jet fleets, SkyWest needs to move quickly into more stable market segments.

Moving up
SkyWest hopes to make the best of a bad situation by growing its fleet of large regional jets. The legacy carriers like these aircraft a lot more, because they have lower unit costs than 50-seat jets but are more comfortable for passengers and can accommodate a first-class cabin, which attracts business travelers. Since large regional jets provide higher value to the major airlines, they are willing to pay a premium for them, allowing the regional airlines to improve their operating margins.

Indeed, in the past year SkyWest has signed contracts with its top two customers, Delta and United, to operate large regional jets for them. However, other regional airlines may be positioned to gain share from SkyWest during the transition to large regional jets. For example, top competitor Republic Airways (NASDAQ: RJET  ) operates a similar number of large regional jets and turboprops as SkyWest; SkyWest currently has 185, versus 183 for Republic.

By contrast, Republic operates just 70 small regional jets, compared to SkyWest's more than 500. As a result, SkyWest is not likely to replicate its dominance of the 50-seat-jet market in the 70- to 76-seat-jet market. Moreover, since large regional jets have significantly more seats than the 50-seat jets they are replacing, airlines do not need as many of them. This means that SkyWest's fleet size will shrink dramatically, as will its need for pilots.

The company may be able to manage this downsizing through attrition, as the major airlines (which offer higher pay than regional airlines) have begun hiring again. However, it remains a significant potential risk factor to be aware of.

Long period of transition
SkyWest's heavy reliance on 50-seat jets means that it is a business facing significant threats. While the company has long-term contracts to fly these small planes for major airlines (primarily United and Delta), in some cases the contracts end before the aircraft are scheduled to be retired or returned to the lessor. This creates a risk of future write-downs if SkyWest is unable to dispose of these unwanted assets. Moreover, while the company dominated the 50-seat regional airline business, it is unlikely to replicate that dominance in the large regional jet category.

Republic Airways, which has lower exposure to the 50-seat-jet market, therefore seems like a safer bet for investors. Although, SkyWest does have the ability to manage this transition to make the best of the situation. In a companion piece that I will publish later this week, I will assess some of SkyWest's opportunities to fly into a better future.

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Best New Companies To Invest In 2014

With the speculation over changes in Fed policy driving a lot of the activity in the market these days, it's important for investors to know how rising interest rates will affect various companies. With the Big Four banks -- Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) , Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) , JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM  ) , and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC  ) -- being the most visible in the market, the coming normalization of interest rates is sure to drive changes going forward.

In the video below, Motley Fool contributor Jessica Alling discusses high-level changes the banks might face and how long-term investors should be approaching the oncoming transition.

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Best New Companies To Invest In 2014: Pearson(PSON.L)

Pearson plc engages in education, business information, and consumer publishing businesses worldwide. The company?s North American Education segment provides higher education services, such as higher education publishing; MyLab digital learning, homework, and assessment programs; and LearningStudio, a suite of learning management technologies, including eCollege and Fronter. This segment also offers assessment and information services; school curriculum services consisting of school publishing; enVisionMATH, a digital math curriculum; America's Choice school reform services; online learning platform for teachers and students; Poptropica video game; digital programs, such as digits, a digital middle school math?s program; Writing Coach, a blended print and online program; and Online Learning Exchange, a personalized digital learning program. Its International Education segment provides educational content, assessment, technologies, and related services to educational inst itutions. This segment offers spoken English training for adults, as well as provides eCollege and Fronter learning management systems. It also offers MyLab digital learning, homework, and assessment programs. The company?s Professional segment focuses on publishing, training, testing, and certification for professionals. Its Financial Times group segment provides business and financial news, data, comment, and analysis in print and online formats to the international business community. Its products include Financial Times newspaper; Website; financial magazines and online services; and Mergermarket, which provides forward-looking insights and intelligence to businesses and financial institutions. The company?s Penguin Group segment engages in book publishing business, under the Hamish Hamilton, Putnam, Berkley, Viking, Dorling Kindersley, Puffin, and Ladybird imprints. It also offers ebooks. The company was founded in 1844 and is headquartered in London, the Unite d Kingdom.

Best New Companies To Invest In 2014: Northrock Resources Inc (NRK.V)

Bama Gold Corp., an exploration stage company, engages in the acquisition, exploration, and development of mineral properties in Canada. It holds interest in the Turner Lake Gold property that consists of the HA 1-4 mineral claims, which cover an area of approximately 29 sq km located near Bathurst Inlet, Nunavut. The company was formerly known as Northrock Resources Inc. and changed its name to Bama Gold Corp. in December 2011. Bama Gold Corp. was incorporated in 2008 and is based in Vancouver, Canada.

5 Best Gold Stocks To Watch For 2014: First Defiance Financial Corp.(FDEF)

First Defiance Financial Corp. operates as the holding company for First Federal Bank of the Midwest that provides financial services to communities based in northwest Ohio, northeast Indiana, and southeastern Michigan. The company offers various deposit products, such as checking accounts, money market accounts, regular savings accounts, term certificate accounts, non-interest-bearing demand deposits, interest bearing demand deposits, time deposits, and certificates of deposit. It also provides residential real estate, non-residential real estate, construction, commercial, home equity and improvement, mobile home, and consumer loans. In addition, the company offers depository, trust, and wealth management services, as well as online banking services. Additionally, First Defiance Financial Corp., through its other subsidiary, First Insurance & Investments, Inc., operates as an insurance agency that offers property and casualty insurance, life insurance, and group health in surance products in the Defiance, Archbold, Bryan, and Bowling Green areas in Ohio. It operates 33 full service branches in northwest Ohio; southeast Michigan; and northeast Indiana. The company was founded in 1935 and is headquartered in Defiance, Ohio.

Best Insurance Companies To Watch In Right Now

The following video is from Thursday's MarketFoolery podcast, in which host Chris Hill, along with analysts Dave Meier, Matt Koppenheffer and Isaac Pino, discuss the top business and investing stories of the day.

With storms bearing down on the eastern half of the United States, the question is raised: Which companies benefit from severe weather? In this installment of MarketFoolery, the guys share why weather is a double-edged sword for the insurance industry and why companies like Home Depot (NYSE: HD  ) and Lowe's (NYSE: LOW  ) will be among those benefiting from this long-term trend.

Are home improvement stocks the only way to play the recovery?
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Best Insurance Companies To Watch In Right Now: AmTrust Financial Services Inc (AFSI)

Amtrust Financial Services, Inc., incorporated on November 7, 1990, is a holding company. The Company is a multinational specialty property and casualty insurer focused on generating consistent underwriting profits. The Company operates in four business segments: small commercial business, specialty program and personal lines reinsurance. The Company transacts business through 11 insurance company subsidiaries: Technology Insurance Company, Inc. (TIC), Rochdale Insurance Company (RIC), Wesco Insurance Company (WIC), Associated Industries Insurance Company, Inc. (AIIC), Milwaukee Casualty Insurance Company (MCIC), Security National Insurance Company (SNIC), AmTrust Insurance Company of Kansas, Inc. (AICK) and AmTrust Lloyd�� Insurance Company of Texas (ALIC). In January 2013, the Company acquired First Nonprofit Companies, Inc. In February 2013, the Company's subsidiary acquired Car Care Plan (Holdings) Limited (CCPH) from Ally Insurance Holdings, Inc.

Small Commercial Business

Small Commercial Business segment provides workers��compensation to small businesses that operate in low and medium hazard classes, such as restaurants, retail stores, physicians and other professional offices, and commercial package and other property and casualty insurance products to small businesses. The Company is authorized to write its Small Commercial Business products in all 50 states. The Company distributes its policies through a network of over 8,100 select retail and wholesale agents who are paid commissions based on the annual policy premiums written. Commercial package products provide a range of insurance to small businesses, including commercial property, general liability, inland marine, automobile, workers��compensation, and umbrella coverage.

The Company maintains Small Commercial Business property and casualty claims operations in several of its domestic offices and the commercial package claims operation is separated into four processing units: casualty, propert! y, cost-containment/recovery and a fast-track physical damage unit. As of December 31, 2012, its Small Commercial Business property and casualty claims were approximately 61% automobile and 13% property and inland marine with the remaining 26% involving general liability and umbrella losses.

Specialty Risk and Extended Warranty

The Company��Specialty Risk and Extended Warranty segment provides coverage for consumer and commercial goods and custom designed coverages, such as accidental damage plans and payment protection plans offered in connection with the sale of consumer and commercial goods in the United States and Europe, and certain niche property, casualty and specialty liability risks in the United States and Europe, including general liability, employers��liability and professional and medical liability. specialty risk business primarily covers, such as legal expenses in the event of unsuccessful litigation; property damage for residential properties; home emergency repairs caused by incidents affecting systems, such as plumbing, wiring or central heating; latent defects that materialize on real property after building or completion; payment protection to insureds if they become unable to meet financial obligations under finance contracts; guaranteed asset protection (GAP) to cover the difference between an insurer�� settlement and the asset value in the event of a total loss, and general liability, employers��liability, public liability, negligence of advisors and liability of health care providers and medical facilities.

The Company's extended warranty business covers selected consumer and commercial goods and other risks, including personal computers; consumer electronics, such as televisions and home theater components; consumer appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines; automobiles (excluding liability coverage); furniture, and heavy equipment. The Company also serve as a third party administrator to provide claims handling and ca! ll center! services to the consumer products and automotive industries in the United States and Canada. It underwrites the specialty risk coverage on a coverage plan-level basis, which involves substantial data collection and actuarial analysis, as well as analysis of applicable laws governing policy coverage language and exclusions.

Specialty Program

The Company�� Specialty Program segment provides workers��compensation, package products, general liability, commercial auto liability, excess and surplus lines programs and other specialty commercial property and casualty insurance to a narrowly defined, homogeneous group of small and middle market companies. The type of risk covered by this segment is similar to the type of risk in Small Commercial Business but also covers, to a small extent, certain higher risk businesses. The coverage is offered through accounts with various agents to multiple insureds. Policyholders in this segment primarily include industries, such as retail, wholesale, service operations, artisan contracting, trucking, light and medium manufacturing, habitational and professional employer organizations. As of December 31, 2012, the Company underwrote 77 programs through 44 independent wholesale and managing general agents. Workers��compensation insurance consists approximately 33% of this business during the year ended December 31, 2012.

Personal Lines Reinsurance

The Company�� Personal Lines Reinsurance Segment has a 20% participation in the Personal Lines Quota Share, by which it receive 10% of the net premiums of the personal lines business. The Personal Lines Quota Share provides that the reinsurers, severally, in accordance with their participation percentages, will receive 50% of the net premium of the GMACI Insurers and assume 50% of the related net losses.

Best Insurance Companies To Watch In Right Now: Iamgold Corporation(IAG)

IAMGOLD Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the exploration, development, and production of mineral resource properties worldwide. It primarily explores for gold, silver, zinc, copper, niobium, diamonds, and other metals. The company holds interests in eight operating gold mines, a niobium producer, a diamond royalty, and exploration and development projects located in Africa and the Americas. Its advanced exploration and development projects include the Westwood project in Canada; and the Quimsacocha project, which consists of 3 mining concessions covering an aggregate area of approximately 8,030 hectares in Ecuador. The company was formerly known as IAMGOLD International African Mining Gold Corporation and changed its name to IAMGOLD Corporation in June 1997. IAMGOLD Corporation was founded in 1990 and is based in Toronto, Canada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Christopher Barker]

    Although I have not shed my long-standing contention that Yamana Gold offers one of the more deeply discounted vehicles for long-term gold exposure, lately my outlook for IAMGOLD has turned particularly bullish. With a looming spin-off of a 10% to 20% stake in the company's reliably profitable Niobec niobium mine, and the recent sale of its interest in a pair of high-cost gold operations in Ghana for $667 million, IAMGOLD finds itself in terrific financial shape to execute an aggressive $1.2 billion expansion imitative at existing operations.

    Considering the $1.6 billion net asset value (after tax) that IAMGOLD recently assessed for the Niobec mine alone, and a presumed hoard of more than $1.2 billion (in cash, cash equivalents, and gold bullion held for investment), at a market capitalization of $6.9 billion I find extreme comfort in the market's resulting valuation for IAMGOLD's 15.2 million ounces of attributable gold reserves.

Best Safest Companies To Invest In Right Now: 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.

Best Insurance Companies To Watch In Right Now: American International Group Inc.(AIG)

American International Group, Inc. is an international insurance organization. The company operates property and casualty insurance networks worldwide and conducts activities in the U.S. life insurance and retirement services industry. It also involves in commercial aircraft leasing and residential mortgage guaranty insurance businesses. The company, through Chartis Inc., provides various property and casualty insurance products under commercial and consumer categories worldwide. These products include surplus lines, executive liability/directors? and officers? liability, employment practices, excess casualty, and travel/assistance lines. American International Group, through SunAmerica Financial Group, offers a suite of life insurance and retirement products and services, including term life, universal life, accident and health, fixed and variable deferred annuities, fixed payout annuities, mutual funds, and financial planning products and services to individuals and grou ps in the United States. The company, through International Lease Finance Corporation, operates as an aircraft lessor that acquires commercial jet aircraft from various manufacturers and other parties, and leases those aircraft to airlines worldwide. It also sells aircraft from its fleet to other leasing companies, financial services companies, and airlines, as well as provides management services to third-party owners of aircraft portfolios. American International Group, through United Guaranty Corporation, issues residential mortgage guaranty insurance that covers mortgage lenders from the first loss for credit defaults on high loan-to-value conventional first-lien mortgages for the purchase or refinance of one- to four-family residences in the U.S. and internationally. The company was founded in 1967 and is based in New York, New York.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Andrew Feinberg]

    52-Week High: $37.67

    52-Week Low: $22.19

    Annual Revenue: $70.6 billion

    Projected 2013 Earnings Growth: -17.7% 

    When American International Group (symbol: AIG) announced strong third-quarter results, CEO Robert Benmosche said the insurer might not buy back any more AIG shares held by the U.S., as it had earlier said it might. The stock sank on the news, but investors missed the bigger picture. AIG trades at about 50% of its book value of $69 per share, while its peers typically trade at about book value. AIG could eventually earn $6 per share and trade at, or close to, its rising book value.

  • [By James K. Glassman]

    When American International Group (symbol: AIG) announced strong third-quarter results, CEO Robert Benmosche said the insurer might not buy back any more AIG shares held by the U.S., as it had earlier said it might. The stock sank on the news, but investors missed the bigger picture. AIG trades at about 50% of its book value of $69 per share, while its peers typically trade at about book value. AIG could eventually earn $6 per share and trade at, or close to, its rising book value.

  • [By Dennis Slothower]

    American International Group is starting to look dirt cheap to this humble investment pro on a price to book value and price to cash flow basis. It is nice to know that I am not alone in my view as FAIRX has a 10% weighting in the name. AIG has grown book value to over $85 billion today from around $55 billion in 2008 while sporting a market cap of just $65 billion. Morningstar lists AIG's forward P/E ratio at 10X and the stock makes up nearly 10% of Fairholme's flagship mutual fund run by Bruce Berkowitz, arguably the king of Value Investing in today's market.

    AIG covered calls are an interesting approach, as the May $35 calls can be sold against the stock for around 3.5% in monthly yield while allowing for meaningful appreciation in stock price over that period of time. Investors may also consider selling the January 2012 $35 put options instead of buying the stock directly for $5.2, although they will not be able to participate in the dividend yield. Personally, I think a "buy and hold", or a hedged position versus a short in the Russell 2000 makes a lot of sense given the margin of safety at AIG.

  • [By Paul]

    American International Group, Inc. (NYSE:AIG): Up 2.68% to $22.19. American International Group, Inc. is a holding company which, through its subsidiaries provides a varied range of insurance and insurance-related activities in the United States and abroad. The Company’s main activities include both general insurance and life insurance & retirement services operations as well as financial services and asset management.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

This Nat-Gas Bonanza Might Be Too Late to Save Cyprus

Cyprus is moving ahead with its plan to become one of Europe's rare bright spots in a nat-gas boom that's largely passed it by. Earlier this week, the bailed-out island nation's Cabinet moved ahead with a preliminary agreement to allow Noble Energy (NYSE: NBL  ) and its Israeli partner Delek Drilling (and its subsidiary Avner Oil Exploration) to build a natural gas processing and export facility to take advantage of the major offshore discovery Noble revealed in late 2011. The $13.4 billion plant (roughly the cost of Cyprus' bailout) would be operational by 2020 to handle an estimated 7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas that Noble discovered two years ago.

Will it be enough to revive Cyprus and move Europe along the path to energy independence? On its own, probably not -- but it's a pretty good start.

The cache under Cyprus
Before this discovery, Cyprus didn't even register on the charts of the world's most gas-rich nations. The European Union borders on some of the richest -- Russia and Iran had the two largest national nat-gas reserves in the world in 2011 -- but the EU itself had approximately 175 trillion cubic feet beneath its member nations at the end of 2011.

Seven trillion cubic feet of nat gas is enough to rank Cyprus in a tie with Britain for third among EU member nations, behind only Norway's 73 trillion cubic feet and the Netherlands' 39 trillion cubic feet of reserves. That number could grow quite a bit larger after more exploration, as the Cypriot state oil and gas agency estimates that there may be up to 60 trillion cubic feet of nat gas in its territorial waters. More importantly to Cyprus, its tiny population relative to the rest of the EU's producer nations means that there's a greater potential for liquefied natural gas export, and thus a greater long-term net economic benefit, than there might be for either the Netherlands or Norway, both of which have about 20 years of production left at current extraction rates.

Noble and Delek control the current find, but there are several other promising blocks leased to France's Total (NYSE: TOT  ) and Italy's Eni (NYSE: E  ) , both of which could also participate in developing the export terminal. This would be a more lucrative proposition for Cyprus than it might be in the U.S., because present nat-gas prices in the EU are more than four times as high as they are in the United States:

European Union Natural Gas Import Price Chart

European Union Natural Gas Import Price data by YCharts

This price represents a million BTU, which is roughly equivalent to 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas. At current prices, the raw EU import value of Cyprus' proven reserves, largely controlled by Noble, is about $86 billion, or more than 3.5 times its national GDP. But it will take time for this potential to become reality -- the International Energy Agency's best-case scenario doesn't expect more than $3 billion in economic benefit by 2020, with about a third of that in tax revenue. That's a long time to wait for a country already headed toward a depression in a region that's been rather economically unforgiving over the past few years.

The end result could be a bonanza for Noble that comes too late to revive a floundering Cypriot economy. The country's best bet for the near term might be to front-load the return on this and future discoveries, but that might be dangerous for both the nation and its principal corporate energy partners if the situation winds up destabilizing, as it has been in Greece of late.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

10 Best Asian Stocks To Watch For 2014

LONDON -- Stock index futures at 7 a.m. EDT indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) may open down by 0.76% this morning, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) may open 0.91% lower. CNN's Fear & Greed Index has slipped back to 39, or "fear," after rising into "neutral" territory for a brief period yesterday.

European markets slid lower this morning, echoing the overnight moves of Asian stock markets, which closed lower after the Bank of Japan failed to announce any additional monetary-stimulus measures. The BoJ's official statement said that "Japan's economy has been picking up," but investors were disappointed, and Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed down by 1.45% earlier today. At 7:45 a.m. EDT, the FTSE 100 and Germany's DAX were both down by 1.6%. In Germany today, a court case began to determine the legality of the European Central Bank's bond-buying program, which has yet to be used but whose existence is credited with helping to stabilize markets last year.

10 Best Asian Stocks To Watch For 2014: 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.

10 Best Asian Stocks To Watch For 2014: 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.

10 Best Quality Stocks To Own For 2014: Marvell Technology Group Ltd.(MRVL)

Marvell Technology Group Ltd. designs, develops, and markets analog, mixed-signal, digital signal processing, and embedded and standalone ARM-based microprocessor integrated circuits. It offers mobile and wireless products, including communications processors, applications processors, and standalone wireless products, as well as combination devices, which incorporate wireless, Bluetooth, and FM radio capability. The company also provides storage products comprising tape drive controllers, read channel, hard disk controllers, solid-state drive controllers, hybrid drive controllers, and storage-system products for hard disk drives, tape drive electronics, optical disk drives, solid-state flash drives, hybrid drives, and storage subsystems technology. In addition, it offers networking, such as switching products that enable voice, video, and data traffic to be carried through the network for the enterprise networking, carrier access, and small office/home office/residential n etworking markets; communications controller and embedded processor products; and enterprise transceiver and Ethernet connectivity products. Further, the company provides printing ASIC products; digital video processing products; and power management and green technology products, such as DSP switcher integrated regulators, analog switching regulators, and mixed-signal light-emitting diode drivers. It operates in the United States, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. The company was founded in 1995 and is based in Hamilton, Bermuda.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Nelson]

    Nomura Equity Research chip analyst Romit Shah today reiterates a Neutral rating on shares of chip maker Marvell Technology Group (MRVL), though he sounds fairly enthusiastic about the company’s prospects for next year based on the company’s newly unveiled cellular modem device for so-called LTE networks for fourth-generation (4G) wireless.

    Marvell yesterday said that its “PXA1801” is the first single semiconductor to support multiple flavors of LTE (frequency division duplexing and time division duplexing) as well as existing “HSPA+” 3G and 4G networking standards, and the “CDMA” standard used by non-GSM carriers, such as Verizon Communications (VZ), not to mention the “TD-SCDMA” standard that was developed by the China for use on its networks.

    Shah writes that, “Marvell is ahead of competition (ST-Ericsson and Broadcom (BRCM)) in bringing an integrated TD LTE modem to the market and seems to have narrowed the gap with Qualcomm (QCOM) in LTE leadership. In addition, we believe, this product launch would help Marvell in maintaining its leadership in the China’s growing TD-SCDMA opportunity.” The LTE baseband market is expected to rise from 8 million or so units this year to 50 million in 2013, notes Shah, citing Gartner data. That market may be worth $1 billion to $1.5 billion by 2014, he thinks.

    Marvell shares are down 12 cents, or 0.9%, today at $13.38.

  • [By Dave Friedman]

    On 3/31/11 Maverick Capital reported holding 25,919,357 shares with a market value of $403,046,006. This comprised 4.28% of the total portfolio. On 6/30/11, Maverick Capital held 29,710,907 shares with a market value of $438,830,110. This comprised 4.29% of the total portfolio. The net change in shares for this position over the two quarters is 3,791,550. About the company: Marvell Technology Group Ltd. designs, develops, and markets integrated circuits for communications-related markets. The Company’s products provide the interface between analog signals and the digital information used in computing and communications systems. Marvell’s technology is applied to the broadband data communications market.

10 Best Asian Stocks To Watch For 2014: (POSC)

Positron Corporation operates as a molecular imaging company providing nuclear medicine technologies and services that are used in the field of nuclear cardiology. The company, through its proprietary PET imaging systems and radiopharmaceutical solutions, enables healthcare providers to accurately diagnose disease, and improve patient outcomes while practicing cost effective medicine. Its proprietary product lines and services include the Attrius, a dedicated PET imaging system; PosiStar, a clinical, technical, and service customer care plan; and PosiRx, a system that automates the elution, preparation, and dispensing processes for radiopharmaceutical agents used in molecular imaging. The company was founded in 1983 and is headquartered in Fishers, Indiana.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Dennis Slothower]

    Positron Corp. (OTC: POSC)is up 2.50% to $0.0410 on volume of over 518K shares. POSC, a molecular imaging company specializing in the field of nuclear cardiology, announced that it will beexhibitingat the European Society of Cardiology International Conference. (OTC:POSC), (POSC)

10 Best Asian Stocks To Watch For 2014: SDL PLC(SDL.L)

SDL plc provides global information management software and services to multinational businesses. Its Web content management, ecommerce, structured content and language technologies, and language services are used for content creation, management, translation, and publishing. The company operates through three segments: Language Services, Language Technologies, and Content Management Technologies. The Language Services segment provides translation services to customer?s multilingual content in multiple languages. The Language Technologies segment engages in the sale of enterprise, desktop, and statistical machine translation technology developed to help automate and manage multilingual assets, as well as provides associated consultancy and other services. The Content Management Technologies segment involves in the sale of content management technologies developed to help automate and manage content to deliver an interactive and personalized customer experience in multiple languages across Websites, documentation, and channels. The company serves aerospace, automotive, chemicals, oil and gas, electronics and high technology, fast moving consumer goods, finance, industrial goods, IT consulting, life science, media and publishing, public sector, services, software, telecoms, travel and tourism, and translation industries. SDL plc has a strategic partnership with Sapient. The company was founded in 1992 and is based in Maidenhead, the United Kingdom.

10 Best Asian Stocks To Watch For 2014: Tower Financial Corporation(TOFC)

Tower Financial Corporation operates as the holding company for Tower Bank & Trust that provides commercial and consumer banking services in the metropolitan areas of Fort Wayne, Allen County, and Warsaw, Indiana. It accepts various deposits, which include checking, savings, and money market accounts, as well as certificates of deposit and direct deposit services. The company?s loan portfolio comprises secured and unsecured commercial loans; commercial real estate loans; fixed rate, long-term residential mortgage loans, and construction loans; and personal loans and lines of credit to consumers for various purposes, such as the purchase of automobiles, boats, and other recreational vehicles, as well as to make home improvements and personal investments. In addition, it offers investment management and trust services, including estate planning and money management; traditional revocable trusts; irrevocable trusts; charitable trusts; estate administration; guardianship admi nistration; IRA administration; personal and institutional investment management; custodial services; and investment brokerage services. Further, the company provides securities and insurance brokerage services. It operates with six Allen County locations and one Warsaw location. The company was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

10 Best Asian Stocks To Watch For 2014: KB Home (KBH)

KB Home is a homebuilding company. The Company constructs and sells homes through its operating divisions under the name KB Home. The Company operates in nine states and 32 markets, including California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Texas, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia. The Company organizes its homebuilding operations into four segments: West Coast, Southwest, Central and Southeast. In July 2012, it acquired land within the Elworthy Ranch property in the town of Danville. In September 2012, it acquired Mason Ranch, which is a 330-acre land asset in Cedar Park/Leander West, submarkets in metropolitan Austin. In December 2012, the Company acquired 65 lots in Fuquay-Varina, N.C.


The Company�� homebuilding operations offers a variety of homes designed primarily for first-time, move-up and active adult homebuyers, including attached and detached single-family homes, townhomes and condominiums. It offers homes in development communities, at urban in-fill locations and as part of mixed-use projects. During the fiscal year ended, November 30, 2011 (fiscal 2011), the Company, through its homebuilding segment, delivered 5,812 homes. During fiscal 2011, homebuilding operations accounted for 99.2% of the total revenues.

Financial Services

The financial services segment provides title and insurance services to its homebuyers. This segment also provided mortgage banking services to the Company�� homebuyers indirectly through KBA Mortgage, LLC (KBA Mortgage), a former unconsolidated joint venture of a subsidiary of ours and a subsidiary of Bank of America, N.A., from the venture�� formation until June 30, 2011, when it ceased offering mortgage banking services. Effective June 27, 2011, it entered into a marketing services agreement with MetLife Home Loans, a division of MetLife Bank, N.A. Under the agreement, MetLife Home Loans��personnel, located on site at several of its new home communities, can offer financing options and re! sidential consumer mortgage loan products to its homebuyers, and originate residential consumer mortgage loans for homebuyers who elect to use MetLife Home Loans. The Company�� homebuyers may also elect to use other providers of mortgage banking services. Its financial services operations accounted for 0.8% of the Company�� total revenues in fiscal 2011.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Michael Fowlkes]

    The housing market got hit especially hard during the recession, but we are seeing steady signs of improvement, and as a result homebuilders have been strong in 2012. All of the major homebuilders have been strong this year, and we expect to see this continue into 2013. KB Home stock has posted a very impressive 154% gain thus far in 2012.

    With the Federal Reserve’s plan to keep interest rates near zero through at least 2013, we expect to see the housing market continue to strengthen, and the demographic most likely to try to take advantage of the low interest rates is first-time buyers and those looking for entry level homes. This works to KB Home’s advantage since it caters to entry-level buyers. Its homes are typically cheaper than its competitors, and this has worked out great for the company over the last year. The company announced a surprising profit of 4 cents per sahre for its third quarter, versus estimates for a loss of 16 cents. Analysts are forecasting a profit of 6 cents during its current quarter. Our belief is that the housing market will continue to rebound in 2013, and KB Home will benefit as a result.

10 Best Asian Stocks To Watch For 2014: Westcore Energy Ltd (WTR.V)

Westcore Energy Ltd., an exploration stage company, engages in the acquisition, exploration, and development of coal properties in western Canada. The company holds a 75% interest in coal prospecting permits in the Hudson Bay North property located in Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan; a 75% interest in a quarry exploration permit in the Black Diamond property located in Manitoba; and a 60% interest in the Panther Coal property located in western Manitoba, Canada. The company was incorporated in 2007 and is headquartered in Calgary, Canada.

10 Best Asian Stocks To Watch For 2014: Franklin Electric Co. Inc.(FELE)

Franklin Electric Co., Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the design, manufacture, and distribution of groundwater and fuel pumping systems. It operates in two segments, Water Systems and Fueling Systems. The Water Systems segment provides motors, pumps, electronic controls, and related parts and equipment primarily for use in groundwater, wastewater, and fuel transfer applications. Its motors and pumps are used principally for pumping fresh water and wastewater in various residential, agricultural, and industrial applications. This segment also offers electronic drives and controls for the motors, which control functionality and provide protection from various hazards, such as electric surges, over-heating, or dry wells and tanks. The Fueling Systems segment provides pumps, pipe, sumps, fittings, vapor recovery components, electronic controls, monitoring devices, and related parts and equipment primarily for use in submersible fueling system applications. It also integrates and sells motors and electronic controls produced by the Water Systems segment. The company sells its products and related equipment to specialty distributors, original equipment manufacturers, industrial and petroleum equipment distributors, and oil and utility companies through its sales force and independent manufacturing representatives primarily in the United States, Europe, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, and China. Franklin Electric Co., Inc. was founded in 1944 and is headquartered in Bluffton, Indiana.

10 Best Asian Stocks To Watch For 2014: Pinnacle Financial Partners Inc.(PNFP)

Pinnacle Financial Partners, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for Pinnacle National Bank that provides commercial banking products and services to individuals, small-to medium-sized businesses, and professional entities in Tennessee. It offers various deposit products, including savings, checking, interest-bearing checking, money market, and certificate of deposit accounts. The company also offers commercial loans comprising equipment loans and working capital loans; commercial and residential real estate loans, and construction and development loans; and loans to individuals for personal, family, investment, and household purposes, including secured and unsecured installment and term loans, residential first mortgage loans, home equity loans, and home equity lines of credit. In addition, it provides various investment products, such as mutual funds, variable annuities, money market instruments, the United States treasury securities, bonds, fixed annuities, stocks , financial planning, asset management accounts, and listed options; fiduciary and investment management services for individual and commercial clients, including personal trust, endowments, foundations, individual retirement accounts, pensions, and custody services; investment advisory services; and insurance products primarily in the property and casualty area. Further, the company offers telephone and Internet banking, debit cards, automated teller machines, remote and direct deposit, and cash management services. As of January 17, 2012, it operated 29 offices in 8 Middle Tennessee counties and 3 offices in Knoxville. The company was founded in 2000 and is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Why Wells Fargo Is Bouncing Back Today

Expect the unexpected. That's the best advice I can give investors this Tuesday morning. One and a half hours into trading, Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC  ) is up a solid if not stellar 0.75%. Its Big Four peers are up even more. Has the global freak-out over last week's move by the Fed run its course, or is this merely a lull in the action?

This was no move
It's not even accurate to label what the Fed did "a move." Technically, there was no move. The third round of quantitative easing will continue as it has been since its inception last September. There was an announcement that the Fed might taper its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases beginning later this year if the economic data keeps trending in the right direction.

But that was enough to send global markets into a tizzy, and not just equity markets: Bond and commodities markets reacted sharply to the Fed's announcement, too. And just for good measure, a credit crunch in the world's other economic superpower, China, spurred investor fears of slower growth there or even outright financial instability, a la our own financial crisis.

Foolish bottom line
So, what's sending Wells Fargo, its peers, and even the broader markets so seemingly confidently into the green today?

First, the Chinese government has made assurances it will backstop any cash-starved banks. A statement from China's central bank, The People's Bank of China, read: "If banks have temporary shortages in their planned funding, the central bank will give them liquidity support." 

Second, there was some good news from the U.S. housing market. April's Case-Shiller index of home prices increased by 12.1% year over year. And being the country's largest provider of home mortgages, any news of continued recovery in the housing market is good news for Wells.

Third, it's just possible the Fed-generated freak-out is wearing itself out a bit, and we're seeing a general bounce-back. This may be a correction to the market's obvious overreaction last week, and if so, it's a welcome one. But I wouldn't count on the action being over just yet. I think this is a lull, and there's more volatility to come.

Still, investors should be happy to make back, at least temporarily, what they've lost over the last few days. And for Wells investors, that's not as much as the other big banks, thanks to its well-deserved reputation among the Big Four as banking's steady-Eddie. If you're invested in Wells, you already know what a solid, long-term investment it is, which might be all the more reason to buy more even more of Warren Buffet's favorite banking stock while it's on sale.  

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Monday, June 24, 2013

5 Best Trucking Stocks To Own Right Now

The Oklahoman reported last week about a movement out of Oklahoma City to get the United States Postal Service to switch from gasoline and diesel to natural-gas-powered vehicles. Natural gas is cheaper than either of those two fuels right now, which would be good for the USPS, but the real story here is in the power of demand. In this video, contributor Aimee Duffy takes a look at what would happen if the Post Office pursued this idea.

The movement toward alternative energy is gaining momentum. One potential opportunity in this field is Clean Energy Fuels, which focuses its natural gas efforts primarily on trucking and fleets. It's poised to make a big impact on an essential industry. Learn everything you need to know about Clean Energy Fuels in The Motley Fool's premium research report on the company. Just click here now to claim your copy today.

5 Best Trucking Stocks To Own Right Now: OBA Financial Services Inc.(OBAF)

OBA Financial Services, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for OBA Bank that provides financial services to individuals, families, and businesses in the United States. The company offers various deposit accounts, including statement savings accounts, certificates of deposit, money market accounts, commercial and regular checking accounts, and individual retirement accounts. Its loan portfolio comprises one- to four-family residential mortgage loans, commercial real estate loans, home equity loans and lines of credit, commercial business loans, construction loans, and consumer loans. The company provides its services through a main office and four full-service branches located in Montgomery County and Howard County, Maryland; and Washington, D.C. OBA Financial Services, Inc. was founded in 1861 and is headquartered in Germantown, Maryland.

5 Best Trucking Stocks To Own Right Now: ZAGG Incorporated(ZAGG)

ZAGG Incorporated, together with its subsidiaries, designs, manufactures, and distributes protective coverings, audio accessories, and power solutions for consumer electronics and hand-held devices under the invisibleSHIELD, ZAGGskins, ZAGGbuds, ZAGGsparq, and ZAGGmate brand names, primarily in the United States and Europe. Its invisibleSHIELD is a protective film covering designed for iPods, iPads, laptops, cell phones, digital cameras, watch faces, global positioning systems, personal digital assistants, MP3 players, watch faces, global positioning systems, gaming devices, and rotary blades of military helicopters. The company?s ZAGGaudio brand of electronics accessories and products primarily comprise ZAGGsmartbuds, a water resistant ear bud; ZAGGskins brand consists of high-resolution images with the scratch protection of ZAGG?s invisibleSHIELD; ZAGGsparq is a portable battery that recharges various USB-charged devices, including the Apple iPads and iPhones, cell phone s, handheld gaming systems, and digital cameras; ZAGG LEATHERskins are thin, pliable cases for personal electronics; and ZAGGmate products are protective cases for the Apple iPad. ZAGG Incorporated offers approximately 5,000 precision pre-cut designs of its products through online channels, big-box retailers, electronics specialty stores, resellers, college bookstores, Mac stores, and mall kiosks. The company is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Louis Navellier]

    Like the military-grade protective coverings it makes, nothing can scratch Zagg Inc. (NASDAQ:ZAGG). Of course, as Zagg is a household name in protecting our precious gadgets, its products are a hot commodity. Just like in the case with JAZZ, earlier this month some investors locked in gains on ZAGG’s tremendous run, causing the stock to dip. But, those investors are now kicking themselves for jumping the gun because since dropping on Aug. 8, ZAGG has surged 26%! With more than 5,000 designs available of its patented invisibleSHIELD alone, Zagg’s products are hot. Earlier this month, Zagg announced that its wireless device accessories will be distributed through U.S. Cellular locations, which is the sixth-largest wireless company in the U.S. The company also is on pace to post record full-year earnings this year.

  • [By Roberto Pedone]

    One stock that's setting up to break out is Zagg(ZAGG), which, together with its subsidiaries, designs, manufactures, and distributes protective coverings, audio accessories and power solutions for consumer electronics and handheld devices. This stock has turned out to be a big winner in 2011, with shares up over 76%.

    If you take a look at the chart for Zagg, you'll notice that this stock formed a triple top back in July and August at around $17 a share. After putting in that top, the stock crashed and printed a low of $9 a share in October. The stock has now started to see some big buying interest since shares rebounded to the current price of just under $14 a share. What's more important is that Zagg is now starting to break out above some past overhead resistance at $13.50 to $13.65 a share.

    Market players should watch for a sustained move and close above $13.65 to trigger that this stock is setting up to spike significantly higher. Look for volume in the coming days that registers close to or above its three-month average action of 1.25 million shares. So far today, the volume is only around 300,000 shares, so it's tracking in light. That said, volume yesterday was 1.36 million as the stock closed up, which was strong. Make sure to watch how volume comes in at the end of today.

    You could be a buyer of this stock off any weakness and simply place a mental stop a few percentage points below $13.50 a share. If this breakout is the real deal, then target a run back toward $15.50 a share or much higher. I would add to an! y long position once the stock takes out $15.50 with volume, and then target a run back towards $17.

    The short-sellers seem to love this stock since over 52% of the tradable float is currently sold short. The bears have also been increasing their bets from the last reporting period by 2%, or by about 193,440 shares. Nothing will scare a bear worse than being short a stock that's breaking out, so keep this name on your trading radar.

Hot Airline Stocks To Own Right Now: Renishaw(RSW.L)

Renishaw plc engages in the design, manufacture, and sale of advanced precision metrology and inspection equipment and products for the healthcare sector. It offers industrial metrology products, which include co-ordinate measuring machine probe systems, machine tool probe systems, styli for touch probes, laser calibration and telescoping ball bars, and gauging products; additive manufacturing products, such as selective laser melting, micro moulding, and vacuum and metal casting systems; and position encoders, including magnetic, optical incremental linear, optical incremental rotary, optical absolute, and laser interferometer encoders. The company also provides medical devices, comprising dental CAD/CAM and stereotactic neurological systems; Raman spectroscopy applications, which include inVia Raman microscope, AFM Raman, SEM Raman, FT-IR Raman, and molecular diagnostics systems; and geometry software and services for software engineers. In addition, it manufactures and sells surgical robots for neurosurgical applications; and coils for the enhancement of images from MRI scanners. Further, the company sells diamond-like carbon coatings and shape memory alloys; and offers travel agency services. It operates primarily in the Far East, Continental Europe, North and South America, the United Kingdom, and internationally. Renishaw plc was founded in 1973 and is headquartered in Wotton-under-Edge, the United Kingdom.

5 Best Trucking Stocks To Own Right Now: Davide Campari(CPR.MI)

Davide Campari-Milano S.p.A., together with its subsidiaries, operates in the beverage sector worldwide. The company offers spirits under the Campari, Carolans, SKYY Vodka, Wild Turkey, Aperol, Cabo Wabo, CampariSoda, Cynar, Frangelico, Glen Grant, Ouzo 12, X-Rated Fusion Liqueur, Zedda Piras, Dreher, Old Eight, and Drury's brands; sparkling and still wines, including aromatized wines, such as vermouth wines under the Cinzano, Liebfraumilch, Mondoro, Odessa, Riccadonna, Sella & Mosca, and Teruzzi & Puthod names; and soft drinks under the Crodino and Lemonsoda brands. It also provides semi-finished goods; and is involved in bottling activities. The company was founded in 1860 and is headquartered in Sesto San Giovanni, Italy. Davide Campari-Milano S.p.A. is a subsidiary of Alicros S.p.A.

5 Best Trucking Stocks To Own Right Now: J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc.(JBHT)

J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a surface transportation, delivery, and logistics company in North America. It operates in four segments: Intermodal (JBI), Dedicated Contract Services (DCS), Full-Load Dry-Van (JBT), and Integrated Capacity Solutions (ICS). The JBI segment provides intermodal freight solutions, including origin and destination pickup and delivery services in the continental United States, Canada, and Mexico. This segment operates 45,666 pieces of company-controlled trailing equipment; and manages a fleet of 2,592 company-owned tractors. The DCS segment involves in the design, development, and execution of supply chain solutions, which support various transportation networks. This segment offers final mile delivery, replenishment, and specialized services supporting private fleet conversion, fleet creation, and transportation system augmentation. As of December 31, 2010, it operated 4,259 company-owned trucks, 357 customer-owned trucks, and 23 independent contractor trucks. The JBT segment provides full-load, dry-van freight services by utilizing tractors operating over roads and highways. It operated 1,697 company-owned tractors. The ICS segment provides non-asset, asset-light, and transportation logistics solutions. It offers flatbed, refrigerated, expedited, and less-than-truckload, as well as various dry-van and intermodal solutions. The company transports a range of freight, including general merchandise, specialty consumer items, appliances, forest and paper products, building materials, soaps and cosmetics, automotive parts, electronics, and chemicals. J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. was founded in 1961 and is headquartered in Lowell, Arkansas.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Best Consumer Companies To Own For 2014

Around two years ago, Brazil declared its intention to wean itself off of fertilizer imports by 2020. While acknowledging that it could not fully meet domestic potassium demand, Brazil's stated aim was to become self-sufficient in nitrogen and phosphates, and to reduce its dependence on foreign potash (water-soluble potassium) significantly. Considering that Brazil is one of the world's largest potash consumers, importing 90% of its requirements, might this be shaping up to be a major blow to international producers?

Feeding a hungry planet
Over the last 30 years, Brazil has transformed itself into a breadbasket, and it's done so in large measure by dramatically increasing farm inputs. The government is seeking to close that loop, putting pressure on the industry to triple spending on domestic fertilizer capacity over the course of the next five years.

Best Consumer Companies To Own For 2014: Apogee Minerals Ltd. (APE.V)

Apogee Silver Limited engages in the exploration and development of mineral properties in South America. It primarily explores for silver, zinc, and lead deposits. The company�s principal property comprises the Pulacayo-Paca property that covers approximately 34,000 hectares and is located to the east of Uyuni city, Bolivia. It also owns an option to acquire up to 100% interest in the Cachinal Silver project, which consists of 59 concessions covering approximately 16,000 hectares and is located to the southeast of Antofagasta, Chile. The company was formerly known as Apogee Minerals Limited and changed its name to Apogee Silver Limited in March 2011. Apogee Silver Limited was incorporated in 1987 and is headquartered in Toronto, Canada.

Best Consumer Companies To Own For 2014: Skilled Healthcare Group Inc.(SKH)

Skilled Healthcare Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, operates skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, hospices, home health providers, and a rehabilitation therapy business. Its skilled nursing facilities provide specialty care, such as chemotherapy, enteral/parenteral nutrition, tracheotomy care, and ventilator care, as well as offers various services, including room and board, special nutritional programs, social services, recreational activities, and related healthcare and other services. These skilled nursing facilities include Express Recovery, a unit that provides skilled nursing care and rehabilitation therapy for patients recovering from conditions, such as joint replacement surgery, and cardiac and respiratory ailments. The company?s assisted living facilities provide residential accommodations, activities, meals, security, housekeeping, and assistance in the activities of daily living to seniors who are independent or who require some support , but not the level of nursing care provided in a skilled nursing facility. Skilled Healthcare Group also offers ancillary services, such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy, as well as rehabilitation therapy service to third-party skilled nursing operators. In addition, the company offers hospice services comprising palliative and clinical care, education, and counseling with a focus on the physical, spiritual, and psychosocial needs of terminally ill individuals and their families. As of December 31, 2010, it owned or leased 78 skilled nursing facilities and 22 assisted living facilities, together comprising 10,830 licensed beds in California, Texas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, and New Mexico. The company has a joint venture with APS?Summit Care Pharmacy, LLC that operates a pharmacy in Austin, Texas. Skilled Healthcare Group, Inc. is based in Foothill Ranch, California.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Beacon Equity]

    Skilled Healthcare Group Inc. (NYSE: SKH) shares got a boost on news of possible sale. The company has retained J.P. Morgan Securities LLC to explore options for the company. At last check, the stock was up 9.91% to $15.41 on volume of over 971K shares. The stock has put in a new 52-week high of $15.93 early in the session. (NYSE:SKH), (SKH)

Top Supermarket Stocks To Watch Right Now: Cogent Communications Group Inc.(CCOI)

Cogent Communications Group, Inc. provides high-speed Internet access, Internet Protocol, and communications services primarily to small and medium-sized businesses, communications service providers, and other bandwidth-intensive organizations in North America, Europe, and Japan. It offers on-net services to bandwidth-intensive users, such as universities, other Internet service providers, telephone companies, cable television companies, and commercial content providers; and multi-tenant office buildings, including law firms, financial services firms, advertising and marketing firms, and other professional services businesses. The company also provides its on-net services in carrier-neutral colocation facilities, Cogent controlled data centers, and single-tenant office buildings. In addition, it offers off-net services to businesses that are connected to its network primarily by means of last mile access service lines obtained from other carriers primarily in the form of p oint-to-point TDM, POS, SDH, and/or carrier ethernet circuits. Further, the company provides voice services; and Internet connectivity to customers that are not located in buildings directly connected to the company?s network. Additionally, it operates 43 data centers that allow customers to co-locate their equipment and access its network. Cogent Communications Group, Inc. was founded in 1999 and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Is It Still Safe to Buy Gulf Keystone Petroleum?

LONDON -- I'm always searching for shares that can help ordinary investors like you make money from the stock market. However, many people are currently worried the market could be overheating.

So right now I'm analyzing some of the most popular companies in the FTSE 100, hoping to establish if they can continue to outperform in today's uncertain economy.

Today I'm looking at Kurdistan focused oil company Gulf Keystone Petroleum  (LSE: GKP  ) (NASDAQOTH: GUKYF  ) to determine whether the shares are still safe to buy at 150 pence.

So, how's business going?
So far, 2013 has been an exciting year for Gulf Keystone. The company and its partners have discovered oil in five locations within four of the firm's exploration blocks. The most recent discovery was at the Ber Bahr 1 well, which GKP holds a 40% interest in and operates with its partners Genel Energy and the Kurdistan regional government.

Elsewhere, the company is in the process of driving up production from its 75% holding in the Shaikan oil field, one of the largest oil and gas developments in the world with a projected 13.7 billion barrels of oil in place. Gulf Keystone is targeting production of 40,000 barrels of oil per day by the end of this year and 150,000 by 2015.

In addition, the company has several other oil wells under development within Kurdistan, some of which are expected to yield several billion barrels of oil for the company.

However, away from the oil fields, Gulf Keystone is fighting a court case with Excalibur Ventures, over the rights to a stake in Gulf Keystone's oil bearing assets. City analysts estimate that there is a 25% chance that Gulf Keystone will lose the case, which could potentially cost the company $1.6 billion.

Expected growth
Gulf Keystone made a loss during 2012. However, if the company manages to achieve its production targets this year, City analysts expect the company to turn a pre-tax profit of £41 million and earnings per share of 0.51 pence. Additionally, if production targets are met next year, analysts predict earnings of 13.7 pence per share for 2014.

Shareholder returns
Unfortunately, Gulf Keystone does not offer its shareholders any type of cash return through either a dividend or share repurchase program.

As I have written above, Gulf Keystone made a loss during 2012, therefore it is not possible for me to calculate a historic P/E figure for the company. That said, based on City estimates I am able to calculate that the firm trades at a forward P/E of 305, which is set to fall to 11.3 in 2014, if Gulf Keystone meets its production targets.

Foolish summary
Overall, Gulf Keystone is set to grow rapidly over the next few years but the company is still facing headwinds in the form of potential litigation and oil-well development. Furthermore, despite predictions for future profit, the firm is still making a loss.

So, at this moment in time, I feel that Gulf Keystone Petroleum does not look safe to buy at 150 pence.

More FTSE opportunities
Although I feel that it is not safe to buy Gulf Keystone Petroleum, I am more positive on the five FTSE shares highlighted within this this exclusive wealth report.

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In the meantime, please stay tuned for my next FTSE 100 verdict


Friday, June 21, 2013

Top 10 Casino Stocks To Own For 2014

 Some critics of our current monetary system will tell you that it tends to make speculators out of everyone...
After all, our current monetary system allows the Federal Reserve to "bail out" folks who make terrible lending and borrowing decisions... And the argument goes, if you can't trust the government to maintain a sound currency, you're less likely to park your savings in that currency. You're more likely to make risky bets on stocks, real estate, and bonds. Less sophisticated people are more likely to gamble with their money in lotteries and casinos.
That's the theory... But let's consult the market to see if it's working in real life...

Top 10 Casino Stocks To Own For 2014: Pinnacle Entertainment Inc.(PNK)

Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. owns, develops, and operates casinos, and related hospitality and entertainment facilities in the United States. It operates casinos, such as L'Auberge du Lac in Lake Charles, Louisiana; River City Casino and Lumiere Place in St. Louis, Missouri; Boomtown New Orleans in New Orleans, Louisiana; Belterra Casino Resort in Vevay, Indiana; Boomtown Bossier City in Bossier City, Louisiana; and Boomtown Reno in Reno, Nevada. The company also operates River Downs racetrack in southeast Cincinnati, Ohio. As of May 26, 2011, it operated seven casinos and one racetrack. The company was formerly known as Hollywood Park, Inc. and changed its name to Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. in February 2000. Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. was founded in 1935 and is based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Jeanine Poggi]

    Pinnacle Entertainment(PNK) was the great transition story of 2010, with shares spiking about 45% this year.

    The regional casino operator's most impressive story has been in its gross margins, as management, under the leadership of new CEO Anthony Sanfilippo, is in the process of increasing the company's operating efficiencies and prudently allocating capital. Analysts believe Pinnacle is in the early stages of this process, and will continue to drive revenue growth.

    In its third quarter, Pinnacle reported a surprise profit of 10 cents a share on an adjusted basis, better than consensus estimates of a loss of 7 cents. Revenue grew 15% to $287.8 million, while property-level margins reached 23.4%, also ahead of forecasts.

    Last month, Pinnacle purchased Cincinnati's River Downs Racetrack for $45 million. The deal includes 155 acres, 35 of which are still undeveloped. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2011.

    This deal could generate significant returns in the event that Ohio decides to legalize video lottery terminals at racetracks, Santarelli said.

    Pinnacle is also in the process of looking for a buyer of its oceanfront land in Atlantic City, where it originally intended to build a $1.5 billion casino, before squelching plans. The casino operator bought the land in 2006 for $270 million from groups affiliated with Carl Icahn and later added another piece of land for $70 million.

    While the land's currently value is $38 million, Pinnacle insists it will not sell it on the cheap, holding out for the best deal.

    Pinnacle currently has $228 million in cash and $375 million of availability under its revolver.

  • [By Sherry Jim]

    Pinnacle Entertainment(PNK) swung to a loss in its second quarter, as costs rose.

    During the quarter, the regional casino operator lost $49.3 million, or 81 cents a share, compared with a profit of $4.7 million, or 8 cents, in the year-ago period for Pinnacle.

    Excluding items, Pinnacle actually lost 14 cents a share, 10 cents worse than analysts' estimates of a 4-cent loss.

    Pinnacle's revenue rose 8.5% to $273.6 million from $252.3 million, but also fell short of Wall Street's forecast of $284.4 million.

    Even though revenue was weaker, margins rebounded at all but one of Pinnacle's properties. "Margins are the story for Pinnacle ahead of any longer-term potential true rebound in the economy, and we continue to believe there are multiple opportunities for near-term operational improvements across the Pinnacle portfolio," Bain wrote in a note.

    At a time when most casino operators are striving to reduce costs to offset the decline in consumer spending, Pinnacle saw expenses rise 21% to $289.3 million. But Bain said Pinnacle is still in the early stages of cost-refining. "Given what we view as several areas of potential improvements in this regard, we believe Pinnacle is less dependent on an economic recovery than some of its regional peers," he wrote.

    J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff also reaffirms his overweight rating on the stock, viewing Pinnacle as a transition story. "We continue to believe that new CEO Anthony Sanfilippo and team will drive increased operating efficiencies and allocate capital prudently," he wrote in a note.

    Greff praises Sanfilippo for shelving the Sugarcane Bay project and instead focusing on Baton Rouge.

    Pinnacle's liquidity remains strong, with $200 million in cash and $375 million of availability under its revolver

Top 10 Casino Stocks To Own For 2014: Penn National Gaming Inc.(PENN)

Penn National Gaming, Inc. and its subsidiaries own and manage gaming and pari-mutuel properties in the United States. It operates approximately 27,000 gaming machines; 500 table games; and 2,000 hotel rooms in 23 facilities in 16 jurisdictions, including Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ontario. The company was formerly known as PNRC Corp. and changed its name to Penn National Gaming, Inc. in 1994. Penn National Gaming, Inc. was founded in 1982 and is based in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Quickel]

    Penn National Gaming(PENN) squeaked past its guidance through improved cost controls, and investors praised its efforts.

    But expectations were low, and its upbeat outlook shouldn't be viewed as a message that regional markets are recovering. "Going forward, we project soft regional gaming revenue results over the next three to six months, as we do not expect to see a significant increase in consumer spending patterns given the uncertain economic environment," J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff wrote in a note.

    Penn National raised its full-year earnings guidance to $1.18 from $1.13 a share, and up its revenue outlook by $26 million to $2.44 billion from $2.41 billion.

    During the second quarter, the company earned $9.2 million, or 9 cents a share, compared with $28.5 million, or 27 cents, in the year-ago period. Excluding items, Penn actually earned 29 cents a share, a penny higher than estimates.

    Revenue rose 3% to $598.3 million, higher than the $597.1 million Wall Street projected. The upside was driven by both better revenues and margins and was generally broad-based across many properties, especially larger venues in Charlestown, Lawrenceburg and Grantville, Pa.

    Penn National rolled out table games in West Virginia and Pennsylvania during the quarter, which should be a growth catalyst moving forward. The company also plans to open a slot facility in Maryland on Sept. 30 and expects its Toldeo, Ohio, location to open in the first-half of 2012. Its Columbus project is slated to open in the second-half of 2012.

    The company repurchased 409,000 shares during the quarter. "[This] sends a message to investors on the value of its equity, but perhaps indicating the lack of near-term acquisition opportunities," J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff wrote in a note.

Top 5 Dow Dividend Stocks To Watch For 2014: MGM Resorts International(MGM)

MGM Resorts International, through its subsidiaries, primarily owns and operates casino resorts in the United States. The company?s resorts offer gaming, hotel, dining, entertainment, retail, and other resort amenities. It also owns and operates golf courses and a golf club. As of December 31, 2010, the company owned and operated 15 properties located in Nevada, Mississippi, and Michigan; and has 50% investments in 4 other casino resorts in Nevada, Illinois, and Macau. In addition, MGM Resorts International has an agreement with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, which owns and operates a casino resort in Connecticut, to carry the ?MGM Grand? brand name. The company was formerly known as MGM MIRAGE and changed its name to MGM Resorts International in June 2010. MGM Resorts International was founded in 1986 and is based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Hawkinvest]

    MGM Resorts International (MGM) is one of the world's largest hotel and casino companies, based in Las Vegas. Since December, MGM shares have been trading in a range of about $9, to almost $15 per share. The stock is now at the upper limit of the recent trading range which means that the risk of holding or buying this stock right now, could be elevated. MGM shares have rallied with the markets but appear extended and vulnerable to a sell-off. The company has a heavy debt load and it has been reporting losses. The balance sheet has about $13.45 billion in debt and only about $1.97 billion in cash. MGM could be impacted by higher oil prices because many consumers could cut back on spending if they go to Las Vegas, and some might decide not to go at all, and instead opt for a "staycation." With MGM facing challenges and the shares near recent highs, it could make sen se to sell now and buy on dips later this year.

    Here are some key points for MGM:

    Current share price: $14.18

    The 52 week range is $7.40 to $16.05

    Earnings estimates for 2011: a loss of 53 cents per share

    Earnings estimates for 2012: a loss of 39 cents per share

    Annual dividend: none

  • [By Goodwin]

    MGM Resorts International(MGM) has the most exposure to the Las Vegas market, making it a bet only for those with thick skin.

    For the second quarter, the casino operator lost $883.5 million, or $2 a share, compared with a loss of $212.5 million, or 60 cents, in the year-ago period.

    A majority of the loss was attributed to a $1.12 billion writedown on its investment in CityCenter in Las Vegas. This is the third time MGM has had to write down CityCenter, as the casino has seen little improvement in operating profit since it opened in December. The $8.5 billion development took a loss of $128 million.

    Excluding this writedown, MGM actually lost 35 cents a share, still significantly more than analysts estimates of a 24-cent loss. MGM's revenue rose 3% to $1.54 billion from $1.49 billion, ahead of analysts' estimates of $1.46 billion.

    Revenue-per-available room on the Las Vegas Strip decreased 2%, although Bellagio and MGM Grand showed improvement, the company said. Occupancy levels slipped to 93% from 94% while the average daily rate fell a dollar to $110. "The Las Vegas operating environment remains difficult, but as we expected, we are seeing a gradual recovery," Chief Executive Officer Jim Murren said in a statement.

    Some of MGM's losses in Las Vegas were offset by its joint venture in Macau with Pansy Ho. MGM Macau earned $40 million, compared with a loss of $8 million last year

    Outside of Vegas, MGM said last week that it agreed to sell land from its Borgata hotel in Atlantic City for $73 million to Vornado Realty Trust and Geyser Holdings. The Borgata land, which is co-owned with Boyd Gaming(BYD), is about 11.3 acres, which would translate into about $6.5 million per acre.

    The transaction still needs to be approved by New Jersey regulators, and is expected to close by the fourth quarter. Once this transaction is complete, MGM will still own about 85 acres of developable land in Atlantic City.

    Earlier in the year, MGM said it planned t! o divest its 50% stake in the Atlantic City casino, which is currently in trust. The casino operator is still in talks with potential buyers of Borgata casino, and hotel and investors will be waiting for an update on its progress when second-quarter earnings are released.

    "We view this [deal] as a very modest positive in that there are still buyers of Atlantic City assets out there, at least at the right price," J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff wrote in a note. "We don't necessarily interpret [the] news as any indication that MGM is closer to selling its 50% stake in Borgata."

Top 10 Casino Stocks To Own For 2014: (XTRN)

Las Vegas Railway Express Inc. focuses to re-establish a conventional passenger train service between the Las Vegas and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. It plans to establish a ?Vegas-style? passenger train service. The company is based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Top 10 Casino Stocks To Own For 2014: Wynn Resorts Limited(WYNN)

Wynn Resorts, Limited, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the development, ownership, and operation of destination casino resorts. The company owns and operates Wynn Las Vegas casino resort in Las Vegas, which includes approximately 22 food and beverage outlets comprising 5 dining restaurants; 2 nightclubs; 1 spa and salon; 1 Ferrari and Maserati automobile dealership; wedding chapels; an 18-hole golf course; meeting space; and foot retail promenade featuring boutiques. Wynn Las Vegas casino resort also features approximately 147 table games, 1 baccarat salon, private VIP gaming rooms, 1 poker room, 1,842 slot machines, and 1 race and sports book. It also owns and operates an Encore at Wynn Las Vegas resort, a destination casino resort located adjacent to Wynn Las Vegas that features a 2,034 all-suite hotel, as well as a casino with 95 table games, 1 sky casino, 1 baccarat salon, private VIP gaming rooms, and 778 slot machines. In addition, the company operates Wyn n Macau casino resort located in the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People?s Republic of China. Wynn Macau casino resort features approximately 595 hotel rooms and suites, 410 table games, 935 slot machines, 1 poker room, 1 sky casino, 6 restaurants, 1 spa and salon, lounges, meeting facilities, and retail space featuring boutiques. Further, it operates Encore at Wynn Macau resort located adjacent to Wynn Macau. Encore at Wynn Macau resort features approximately 410 luxury suites and 4 villas, as well as casino gaming space, including a sky casino consisting of 60 table games and 80 slot machines, 2 restaurants, 1 luxury spa, and retail space. The company was founded in 2002 and is based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Carlson]

    Wynn Resorts(WYNN) saw its second-quarter profit more than double, but most of that strength came from casino wins, and investors were unimpressed.

    During the quarter, the casino operator earned $52. 4 million, or 52 cents a share, on revenue of $1.03 billion, higher than forecasts of 42 cents on revenue of $992.3 million. This compares with a profit of $25.5 million, or 21 cents, on revenue of $723.3 million, in the year-ago period.

    Wynn had already pre-announced disappointing results for its Las Vegas properties, citing higher costs, including employee health care and benefits, and marketing expenses. Its operating loss for its Wynn Las Vegas and Encore widened to $17.2 million from $8.3 million last year. Revenue rose 1.7% to $318 million.

    Occupancy at the Wynn Las Vegas jumped to 92.6% from 86.6% a year earlier, but revenue per available room fell 3.2%.

    Still, management indicated that there is a slight improvement on the Strip, with an increase in forward group bookings and some bright spots for the ability to yield rates. But management tempered enthusiasm by saying there are some struggles and uncertainty in the marketplace.

    "We hope for continued improvement in Las Vegas or -- let me put it different, we hope that we'll get smarter in Las Vegas in dealing with the peculiarities of this market --and this very, very mercurial, national economic market we're living with," said Steve Wynn, chief executive, in a conference call. "The national economy and the political environment in the country as we head up to the elections [is] very, very touchy. And it is impacting all businesses."

    The biggest boost, of course, came from Macau, where revenue surged 74% to $714.4 million from $410.4 million last year.

    The company opened its Encore Macau in the spring, boosting its market share to about 16% from about 13%, Sterne Agee analyst David Bain wrote in a note.

    Wynn is in the process of working on a new development on the Cotai st! rip, which should spike investors' interest as more details are revealed in the coming quarters.

    Still, investors are concerned that as comparisons get harder in Macau, and second-quarter results are adjusted for hold (how much the casino won), Wynn may not be able to outperform. But Bain reassures, "this has been discussed as nauseam by investors, sell-side analysts, the press -- and even dinner-table relatives -- for some time. We believe the Street is underestimating the summer months in Macua, which may help to produce a new leg up for Macau stories, with Wynn being the most profitable on a per position basis."

  • [By Jeanine Poggi]

    Wynn Resorts'(WYNN) run up of more than 55% this year has caused Wall Street to question its valuation.

    Currently, eight analysts have a buy rating on Wynn, 16 say hold, two rate it underperform rating and one says to sell the stock.

    "With little on the growth horizon in the intermediate term, new competition from Cotai coming in 2011 and 2012 ... and the unclear timing of a true recovery in Las Vegas, we see few catalysts not yet priced-in to pull valuation higher than current levels," Bain wrote in a note following its third-quarter earnings report.

    During the quarter, Wynn lost $33.5 million, or 27 cents a share, compared with a profit of $34.2 million, or 28 cents, in the year-ago period. The loss was attributed to charges related to servicing its debt. On an adjusted basis, Wynn actually earned 39 cents, matching Wall Street's outlook.

    Total Revenue grew to $1 billion from $773.1 million, better than the $990.8 million analysts predicted.

    In Macau, Wynn reported a 50% surge in revenue to $671.4 million, while EBITDA was $198 million, up 54.5% from $128.2 million in the third quarter of 2009. Earlier in the year the company opened its $600 million Wynn Encore Macau, which added 414 rooms to the market.

    Looking ahead, Wynn expects to break ground on its Cotai development in early 2011. The $2 billion to $3 billion project is slated to open in 2015, and management said it would provide additional details following its fourth-quarter earnings report.

    In Las Vegas, CEO Steve Wynn says the Strip is on the road to recovery. "I believe we have seen the bottom in Las Vegas," he said during the company's third-quarter conference call. "I don't know how fast it is going to get better but it isn't going to get any worse."

    Las Vegas revenue inched up 3.1% to $334.5 million during the three-month period, and EBITDA grew 9.3% to $76.5 million.

    Wynn also issued a cash dividend of $8 a share payable on Dec. 7 to sharehold! ers of record on Nov. 23.

Top 10 Casino Stocks To Own For 2014: Boyd Gaming Corporation(BYD)

Boyd Gaming Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a multi-jurisdictional gaming company in the United States. As of December 31, 2011, the company owned and operated 1,042,787 square feet of casino space, containing approximately 25,973 slot machines, 655 table games, and 11,418 hotel rooms. It also owned and operated 16 gaming entertainment properties located in Nevada, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Indiana, and New Jersey. In addition, the company owns and operates a pari-mutuel jai-alai facility located in Dania Beach, Florida, as well as a travel agency in Hawaii. Further, it holds a 50% controlling interest in the limited liability company that operates Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Boyd Gaming Corporation was founded in 1988 and is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Jeanine Poggi]

    The Las Vegas locals and Atlantic City markets have the longest road to recovery, making Boyd Gaming (BYD) one of the most challenged stocks in the sector long-term.

    It's not a surprise then that Boyd saw some of the most muted gains in 2010, with shares rising just 13.8% since the beginning of the year.

    In Atlantic City, where Boyd owns a 50% stake in the Borgata, gambling revenue plunged 13% in November. The New Jersey Boardwalk has been under pressure even before the recession began, as nearby regions expand their gaming presence.

    Both West Virginia and Pennsylvania added table games to casinos in the second half of the year and new properties opened in Philadelphia and Maryland. In 2011, Atlantic City will also have to contend with additional growth in Pennsylvania and the pending opening of the Aqueduct in New York City.

    Given this, Boyd decided not to exercise its right to match a $250 million offer MGM Resorts(MGM) received for its 50% stake in the Borgata. MGM decided to divest its joint venture with Boyd after the Atlantic City Gaming Commission criticized its relationship with Pansy Ho in Macau, whose family has allegedly been tied to organized crime in China.

    In the Las Vegas locals market, where Boyd generates about 44% of its EBITDA, trends are improving, but not as quickly as analysts would have hoped. In October, gaming revenue in the market grew 6.2% to $169.4 million.

    In its third quarter, Boyd disappointed Wall Street, with adjusted earnings coming in at 2 cents a share, shy of consensus estimates of 5 cents. Revenue dropped 4% to $595.4 million.

    Boyd also announced plans to sell $500 million of eight-year notes. Proceeds will be used to buy back senior subordinated notes due 2012 and to repay bank loans.

  • [By Hesler]

    Boyd Gaming(BYD) posted a bigger-than-expected drop in its second-quarter earnings, citing weak performance in Las Vegas, the Midwest and the South.

    During the quarter, the casino operator earned $3.4 million, or 4 cents a share, a 73% plunge from $12.8 million, or 15 cents, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings came in at 5 cents a share, significantly lower than the 10 cents Wall Street predicted for Boyd.

    Boyd's revenue fell 6% to $578.4 million, also short of the consensus of $588 million.

    "The lingering effects of the recession have left consumers unusually sensitive to shifts in the economy, and they now react more quickly to economic data and other developments, such as fluctuations in the stock market," said CEO Keith Smith, in a statement. "Although conditions remain uncertain, we believe long-term stabilizing trends are still in place, and that year-over-year growth is achievable by the end of 2010."

    In the Las Vegas locals market, the rate of decline in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose to 16.2% from 10.8%, J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff wrote in a note. Boyd previously reported a 9.9% decline for its Borgata property in Atlantic City. Revenue came in at $186.9 million, a 2.4% decrease from the year-ago period.

    "We think second-quarter results are less important than the coming operating results in the second-half of 2010, when the Atlantic City market faces increased regional competitive pressures from tables in Pennsylvania and West Virginia and the first Philadelphia casino opens this summer," J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff wrote in a note.

    Greff reaffirmed his underweight rating on Boyd, given increasing competition in Atlantic City, a weak recovery in the Las Vegas locals market and stagnant regional gaming trends.

    While there is no doubt the Atlantic City gaming market remains one of the most depressed, Borgata continues to dominate the market and gain share. Atlant! ic City saw gaming revenues plunge 11.1% in June to $286.8 million. Boyd co-owns Borgata with MGM Resorts, which is currently in the process of divesting its 50% stake.

Top Tech Stocks To Own For 2014

Recent pipeline spills, such as ExxonMobil's (NYSE: XOM  ) not-so-minor crude oil spill in Arkansas last month, have raised important questions about the effectiveness of pipeline operators' leak detection systems.

These issues are especially pertinent for TransCanada's (NYSE: TRP  ) proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would link production from Alberta's oil sands to U.S. Gulf Coast refiners. With that in mind, let's take a closer look at how leak detection systems work and how effective they are.

A primer on leak detection systems
Though pipeline companies use a wide array of techniques to detect leaks, remote leak detection technology is the most comprehensive, offering real-time, nonstop monitoring along the line's route. �

After purchasing leak detection technology from specialist firms, most pipeline operators customize their system to better serve their needs on a project-by-project basis. In most cases, sensors are placed along a pipeline, where they gauge such important metrics as temperature, pressure, and flow rates. �

Top Tech Stocks To Own For 2014: Robert Walters Plc(RWA.L)

Robert Walters plc provides professional recruitment services on a permanent, contract and interim basis primarily in the United Kingdom, Europe, the Asia Pacific, the Americas, and South Africa. It offers its recruitment services in the areas of accountancy and finance, banking, engineering, operations, legal, information technology, sales and marketing, supply chain, procurement and logistics, human resources, secretarial, and support and administration. The company also provides recruitment process outsourcing services, consultancy, and payroll services. It serves the clients in the financial, commercial, and industrial sectors. The company was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in London, the United Kingdom.

Top Tech Stocks To Own For 2014: BG Group(BG.L)

BG Group plc operates as an integrated natural gas company worldwide. It operates in three segments: Exploration and Production, Liquefied Natural Gas, and Transmission and Distribution The Exploration and Production segment engages in the exploration, development, production, and marketing of natural gas and oil. This segment has proved reserves of 3,247 million barrels of oil equivalent. The Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) segment is involved in the development and use of LNG import and export facilities; and purchase, shipping, and sale of LNG and regasified natural gas. The Transmission and Distribution segment develops, owns, and operates pipelines and distribution networks to supply natural gas to co-generation plants, natural gas vehicle filling stations, and gas-fired power stations, as well as industrial, commercial, and residential customers. The company was founded in 1972 and is headquartered in Reading, the United Kingdom.

Top Construction Material Stocks To Own For 2014: Magellan Petroleum Corporation(MPET)

Magellan Petroleum Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the exploration for, development, production, and sale of oil and gas reserves in Australia, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Its principal assets include 2 petroleum production leases covering the Mereenie oil and gas field, 1 petroleum production lease covering the Palm Valley gas field, and 1 retention license for the Dingo Field located in the Amadeus Basin in the Northern Territory of Australia; and 13 licenses in the United Kingdom. The company also has a 28.3% working interest in the East Poplar Unit and Northwest Poplar in Montana. Magellan Petroleum Corporation was founded in 1957 and is based in Portland, Maine.