Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Today's 3 Worst Stocks

A day after aluminum producer Alcoa kicked off earnings season Monday with a pleasantly surprising quarterly report, markets couldn't help extrapolating, and rose for a fourth straight session. The S&P 500 Index (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) added 11 points, or 0.7%, ending at 1,652. Tomorrow, Wall Street will undoubtedly dissect the Federal Reserve minutes from June's meeting, which will be released at 2 p.m. ET. Despite the excitement over a new round of corporate earnings, the stocks on today's list crept stubbornly lower.

Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ: ISRG  ) shareholders couldn't get too psyched about upcoming earnings for the simple fact that the company revealed that earnings would be terrible this quarter. The robotic medical equipment innovator decided to warn shareholders about their optimism late Monday, and shares subsequently plummeted 16.2%. The company thinks sales will increase just 6% in the second quarter, blaming stingy health insurers and a weak economy for the stagnant growth. 

Semiconductor manufacturer Micron Technology (NASDAQ: MU  ) saw shares crater 6.4% Tuesday, though there wasn't an obvious reason behind the exaggerated sell-off. This much is clear: Micron Technology lost more than $1 billion last fiscal year; the stock has more than doubled this calendar year alone, and shares are more than 80% more volatile than the broader market. Needless to say, this combination of characteristics can leave some room for a drop like today's.

Lastly, JDS Uniphase (NASDAQ: JDSU  ) shed 3.6% today. The company makes equipment that measures and tests the use of communications technology, and naturally many of its customers include players in the telecom business. Unfortunately for JDS shareholders, telecom was the worst-performing sector in the market today. Like Micron, shares are extraordinarily volatile -- they swing nearly three times more violently than the average stock -- so even a slight setback like today's sluggish telecom sector can cause chaotic price movements.

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Why Genworth Earnings Are Set to Soar

Genworth Financial (NYSE: GNW  ) will release its quarterly report tomorrow, but investors have already gotten a head-start in celebrating. With the recovery in housing greatly bolstering the creditworthiness of mortgage-backed securities compared to their financial-crisis lows, companies that insure those bonds against loss have bounced back sharply, and Genworth earnings look poised to reap the benefits.

Genworth Financial does more than just insure mortgages, with a full line of other insurance products as well. But lately, institutional investors have paid a lot of attention to Genworth's rivals in mortgage insurance, and the segment has been a big part of the company's overall success recently. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with Genworth Financial over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its quarterly report.

Stats on Genworth Financial

Analyst EPS Estimate


Change From Year-Ago EPS


Revenue Estimate

$2.44 billion

Change From Year-Ago Revenue


Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters


Source: Yahoo! Finance.

How far can Genworth earnings soar?
Analysts have largely held their views on Genworth earnings steady in recent months, with just a single penny increase in earnings-per-share estimates for the full 2013 year. The stock, though, has gone through the roof, climbing 34% since late April.

Genworth's positive momentum continued when it announced its first-quarter results at the end of April. With its profit more than doubling, Genworth's gains centered on its mortgage-insurance business, which reversed a year-ago operating loss with a profit of $21 million. The company also saw substantial gains globally from its mortgage business.

Genworth's results are consistent with the gains that its mortgage-insurance peers have experienced. Both Radian Group (NYSE: RDN  ) and MGIC Investment (NYSE: MTG  ) have posted impressive gains that have attracted the attention of hedge-fund investors seeking to capitalize on the strengthening housing market. Yet in the long run, the question that faces the entire industry is whether lenders will even want to make mortgage loans with inadequate down payments that require mortgage insurance in the first place. Some would argue that tighter lending standards would make mortgage insurance unnecessary, while others note that lenders might choose to demand insurance beyond the current standards of roughly 20% to 25% home equity that have historically triggered the contractual need for purchase-money insurance in mortgage contracts.

Beyond mortgage insurance, not everything has gone well at Genworth. Its long-term care insurance business continues to struggle, with operating profits having fallen by more than 40% as Genworth struggles to get regulators to allow it to increase rates enough to make the business economically viable. Major competitors MetLife (NYSE: MET  ) and Prudential (NYSE: PRU  ) have already pulled back from long-term care, and Genworth might have to follow suit if it can't find other ways to make money from the segment. In addition, Genworth joined other insurers in settling claims that it and others failed to pay policy benefits to life-insurance customers, serving as a reminder that litigation risks continue to exist throughout the financial industry.

In the Genworth earnings report, watch to see whether the company comments on any impact from higher interest rates on mortgage activity. If banks start making fewer mortgage loans, it could dry up Genworth's policy-underwriting growth, potentially putting an end to the huge growth the company has seen recently. 

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Will These Numbers from Marathon Petroleum Be Good Enough for You?

Marathon Petroleum (NYSE: MPC  ) is expected to report Q2 earnings on Aug. 1. Here's what Wall Street wants to see:

The 10-second takeaway
Comparing the upcoming quarter to the prior-year quarter, average analyst estimates predict Marathon Petroleum's revenues will grow 14.1% and EPS will contract -21.7%.

The average estimate for revenue is $23.12 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $1.98.

Revenue details
Last quarter, Marathon Petroleum reported revenue of $23.35 billion. GAAP reported sales were 16% higher than the prior-year quarter's $18.89 billion.

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

EPS details
Last quarter, EPS came in at $2.17. GAAP EPS of $2.17 for Q1 were 28% higher than the prior-year quarter's $1.70 per share.

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

Recent performance
For the preceding quarter, gross margin was 8.1%, 10 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 5.3%, 30 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 3.3%, 10 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead

The full year's average estimate for revenue is $93.31 billion. The average EPS estimate is $8.11.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a five-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 191 members out of 198 rating the stock outperform, and seven members rating it underperform. Among 52 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 52 give Marathon Petroleum a green thumbs-up, and give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Marathon Petroleum is outperform, with an average price target of $88.41.

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New Navy Drone Flubs 2 More Landing Attempts

Maybe Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC  ) should have quit while it was ahead.

Last week, on July 10, the defense contractor made history when its X-47B prototype robotic fighter jet executed a flawless landing aboard the nuclear aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush off the Virginia coast. Turns out, the Navy thought the landing went so nice, they'd try it twice -- so the X-47B took off and landed on the Bush again. And that's where things went wrong.

Perhaps feeling their oats, the Navy then decided to try going 3-for-3 with the test jet, designated "Salty Dog 502." So off the plane took, circled, and tried to land a third and final time -- but this time the plane detected a "navigation computer anomaly," aborted the carrier landing, and went back to shore to land at Wallops Island Air Field in Virginia.

Five days later, the Navy tried to get another Northrop X-47B, this one dubbed "Salty Dog 501," to put itself down on deck. Unfortunately, this attempt, too, failed. Navy officials blamed "a minor test instrumentation issue" for the scrubbed landing.

Result: The Navy, and Northrop, turned a record of 2-for-2 successful landings into 2-for-4.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

3 Humongous Health-Care Stocks This Week

After extensive research, number-crunching, sorting, and filtering, the results are in. Here are your three most humongous performers in the world of health-care this week.

Breathing easier
Array BioPharma (NASDAQ: ARRY  ) shares climbed nearly 18% this week. The company announced positive results from a phase 2 study of its experimental asthma drug ARRY-502.

The study included 184 patients with mild-to-moderate persistent allergic asthma. ARRY-502 met the study's primary endpoint of significant improvement in a key measure of lung function. Several secondary endpoints were also successfully met, including statistically significant improvement in asthma control and symptom-free days during treatment.

Piper Jaffray bumped its price target for Array up from $7 to $10 after the good results were announced. That represents more than a 50% upside potential from the stock's current price. Array says that it's now looking for an "appropriate partner" to help complete development and potentially market ARRY-502.

An "alley-oop" from the opponent
Prosensa (NASDAQ: RNA  ) shares made something of a slam dunk this week, jumping more than 16%. That dunk was made with what amounts to an "alley-oop" from its primary rival, Sarepta Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SRPT  ) .

Sarepta announced on Thursday that it plans to seek approval for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, or DMD, drug eteplirsen without assurances from the Food and Drug Administration about an accelerated approval pathway. The biotech completed a phase 2 study for eteplirsen that showed impressive results. However, the small number of patients involved could present a hurdle for FDA approval.

In the meantime, Prosensa, along with partner GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK  ) , continue to plug ahead with a phase 3 study of DMD drug drisapersen that includes 186 participants -- much larger than the 12 boys in Sarepta's mid-stage study. Initial results from the study are expected in late 2013. An FDA approval could be forthcoming as early as the second half of next year.

Lunging forward
Intermune (NASDAQ: ITMN  ) announced second-quarter earnings on Wednesday. Higher-than-expected revenue helped shares advance almost 16% for the week.

The company's good news stemmed from strong sales growth for Esbriet, which is used in the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a progressive form of lung disease. Intermune reported that sales of the drug were $14.4 million during the second quarter. Analysts expected $12 million.

With solid sales in the last quarter, Intermune now expects full-year revenue of $55 million to $70 million. That's a nice jump from the previous revenue guidance of $40 million to $55 million.

Esbriet was first launched in Germany in 2011. Intermune has rolled the drug out in 13 other European nations. However, the big U.S. market still remains to be tapped. The FDA rejected approval of Esbriet in 2010. Intermune has a late-stage test under way in the U.S. with results expected in the second quarter of 2014.

Best of the best
It's a tough decision between this week's humongous stocks as to which is the best pick. All three have had great years thus far and have potential to keep moving up.

All things considered, though, my hunch is to go with Array BioPharma. It's been a long time since a new allergic asthma drug has been introduced. Array definitely needs a partner to tackle the huge asthma market. I think it will find one and do well in the years ahead.

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

It's All Greek to Starbucks

What exactly is Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX  ) up to? Is it still a drink experience destination or is it pursuing recognition as a broader food and beverage brand? Analysts may view its deal with yogurt maker Danone (NASDAQOTH: DANOY  ) as nothing but creamy goodness, but I think it risks mixing its message too much and will end up confusing the consumer.

Blending coffee, tea, and foods is nothing really new for the java maker, and food has represented almost 20% of revenues for years. It generated almost $1.3 billion by selling its products into supermarkets and grocery stores last year, revenues that surged 50% year over year and the Greek yogurt it will be branding in conjunction with Danone will be hitting grocery store shelves in 2015 under Starbucks' Evolution Fresh brand, which it acquired in 2011.

Greek yogurt is certainly a growth market, one that accounted for just 1% of the refrigerated yogurt sales in 2007 but that has surged to more than 35% today, even as regular yogurt sales have fallen 8%. According to the folks at Nielsen, U.S. sales of Greek yogurt jumped 48% in the last 12 months, to $2.65 billion.

And it's a crowded market, too: Privately held Chobani is the dominant player, with a 42% share of the Greek yogurt market. General Mills'  (NYSE: GIS  ) Yoplait, which is the  No. 2 player in the regular yogurt market, is trying to make up for lost time and a false start in Greek yogurt so it commands a share of only 9%. Fage, which started the craze, has slipped to third place.

According to the market researchers at Datamonitor, 57% of all yogurt product launches this year have been Greek-themed, meaning by the time Starbucks' version hits the shelves, it's going to be even more saturated. Certainly, it chose a strong horse to back in Danone, whose own Dannon brand is the second-biggest Greek yogurt maker, albeit far back in the pack at around a 20% share.

But Greek yogurt still has growing pains it needs to sort out, some of which could pose a problem for Starbucks' green image. For example, there's a lot of concern over the disposal of acid whey, a by-product of the yogurt-making process that is said to contaminate the environment. And General Mills was forced to abandon its inclusion of milk protein concentrates as a thickening agent as opposed to using the more traditional straining methods while Chobani is being criticized for claiming to be GMO-free despite using milk from cows fed a GMO-laced diet.

Starbucks' decision to enter this fray suggests that it believes simply by adding its name to the roster of players already in the game it can steal some of that bottled lightning, but in addition to the challenges the market faces, it risks diluting its brand, too.

When Howard Schultz returned to the helm of his coffee shop, one of the reasons was due to the company no longer being about coffee. It was more of a fast-food store that had betrayed its roots and lost its soul. One can only surmise from the direction he's taking Starbucks these days that Schultz has chosen a Faustian path and sacrificing its soul for the promise of growth.

I see the coffee maker's future as strained as the yogurt it's going to be making.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Top 10 Cheap Companies To Buy Right Now

Amgen (AMGN) is among the hottest large-cap biotech stocks of this year. The stock has been following an upward trend since last April. Most recently, it rallied past the previous 52-week highs. After this run, the stock even surpassed the 1-year target estimates of many analysts. While it still looks cheap based on forward P/E ratio, there are growing concerns among the investors. Traders are becoming more apprehensive about a looming correction. I think a modest correction is possible. However, the company can be a good long-term investment. Here, I look at the company's financial profile and its business prospects to prove my point.

Stock Performance at a Glance

Amgen and its close peer Gilead (GILD) have followed similar trends this year. The price charts of both companies show that the bullish momentum started from the mid year of 2012. As companies followed a steady upward trend, a sharp correction is less likely to happen. Should the prices enter the correction stage the decrease will be gradual, as well.

Top 10 Cheap Companies To Buy Right Now: Advance Auto Parts Inc(AAP)

Advance Auto Parts, Inc., through its subsidiaries, operates as a retailer of automotive aftermarket parts, accessories, batteries, and maintenance items. It operates in two segments, Advance Auto Parts (AAP) and Autopart International (AI). The AAP segment operates stores, which primarily offer auto parts, including alternators, batteries, chassis parts, clutches, engines and engine parts, radiators, starters, transmissions, and water pumps; accessories comprising floor mats, mirrors, vent shades, MP3 and cell phone accessories, and seat and steering wheel covers; chemicals consisting of antifreeze, freon, fuel additives, and car washes and waxes; and oil and other automotive petroleum products. This segment also provides battery and wiper installation, battery charging, check engine light reading, electrical system testing, video clinics and project brochures, loaner tool programs, and oil and battery recycling services; and sells its products through online. The AI segm ent operates stores that offer replacement parts for domestic and imported cars, and light trucks to customers in northeast and mid-Atlantic regions, as well as to warehouse distributors and jobbers in North America. As of January 1, 2011, the company operated 3,369 AAP stores, including 3,343 stores located in the northeastern, southeastern, and Midwestern regions of the United States under the Advance Auto Parts and Advance Discount Auto Parts trade names; 26 stores situated in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands under the Advance Auto Parts and Western Auto trade names; and 194 stores under the Autopart International trade name in the United States. It serves do-it-yourself, do-it-for-me, or commercial customers. The company was founded in 1929 and is based in Roanoke, Virginia.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Vatalyst]

    Advance Auto Parts (AAP) is the second largest parts retailer in the U.S. The common stock currently trades at a price to earnings ratio sits at 12.5, below its historical average of 16 and industry average of 15.7.

    Typical of Wall Street short term thinking, the madding crowd fled this stock in May, due to weak first quarter 2011 comparable store sales gain of 1.4% versus an 8.9% gain during December 2010. Price to book ratio is 4.57 whilst price to cash flow sits at 7.70, well below the industry average of 11.2.

Top 10 Cheap Companies To Buy Right Now: Lionbridge Technologies Inc.(LIOX)

Lionbridge Technologies, Inc. provides language, development, and testing services. Its Global Language and Content segment provides product localization services, such as creating foreign language versions of its clients? products and software applications, including the user interface, online help systems, and documentation; and content translation services, such as translating and maintaining clients? Web-based content, eLearning courseware and training materials, technical support, and sales and marketing information. It also offers technical authoring, eLearning courseware development, and production and integration of content; and global language and content services delivery. The company?s Global Development and Testing segment develops and maintains on-premise, SaaS, and smart phone and tablet applications, as well as provides Web production services. This segment also offers various testing services under the VeriTest brand, including managed test teams, test proc ess design, test automation, functional testing, performance testing, globalization testing, and product certification. In addition, it provides specialized search relevance, online content editorial, keyword optimization, and related services. Its Interpretation segment offers interpretation services for government business and healthcare organizations that require experienced linguists to facilitate communication. It provides interpretation communication services, such as onsite interpretation, over-the-phone interpretation and interpreter testing, training, and assessment services in approximately 360 languages and dialects. The company serves the technology, mobile and telecommunications, Internet and media, life sciences, government, manufacturing, automotive, retail, and aerospace sectors in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Lionbridge Technologies, Inc. was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Vodicka]

    Lionbridge Technologies (NASDAQ: LIOX) provides language, development and testing services to businesses all over the world. Its focus is on technology, and it helps its clients manage their enterprise content and technology applications, and supports those efforts with training materials, as well as sales and marketing information. By affecting optimal communication in local languages, it helps its clients capture market share, escalate adoption of their global content and products, increase the return on their enterprise application investments and boost workforce productivity. All while reducing costs! So it’s no wonder that the 10 largest software companies and the five largest Internet portals in the world use LIOX to help them internationalize their products and services.

    This strong customer base helped the company weather the recession, as its top 10 customers expanded their business by more than 8% in the fourth quarter over the third quarter. This helped the company generate $11.7 million in cash flow, improve its gross profit to 33.5% and revenues grow 7% quarter over quarter. That’s definitely a great sign, especially since technology spending is taking flight, and globalization of industry is in a rapid phase of expansion. Buy LIOX under $4.50.

Best Stocks To Watch For 2014: Progress Software Corporation(PRGS)

Progress Software Corporation operates as an enterprise software company worldwide. Its products include Progress OpenEdge platform, which offers development tools, application servers, application management tools, and an embedded database; Progress Orbix to address enterprise integration problems with standards-based solutions; and Progress ObjectStore, an object data management system to store data faster than relational database management system or file-based storage system. The company?s products also comprise Progress Responsiveness Process Management suite for business users; Progress Control Tower, an interactive business control panel; Progress Sonic, which comprises an enterprise messaging system and the enterprise service buses; Progress Actional that provides operational and business visibility, root cause analysis, and policy-based security and control of services; Progress Apama, which offers tools for creating, testing, and deploying strategies for applicat ions, including algorithmic trading, market aggregation, smart order routing, market surveillance and monitoring, and risk management; Progress Savvion BusinessManager, a business process management software; and Fuse products that provide customers with access to professional open source integration and messaging software. In addition, it offers Progress DataDirect Connect products, which provide data connectivity components; Progress DataDirect Shadow to provide foundation architecture for standards-based mainframe integration; and Progress Data Services product set that offers data integration for distributed applications. Further, the company provides maintenance, consulting, training, and customer support services. Progress Software Corporation sells its products to independent software vendors, original equipment manufacturers, and system integrators through direct sales force and independent distributors. The company was founded in 1981 and is based in Bedford, Massac husetts.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Chris Stuart]

    Progress Software(PRGS) recently cut its outlook for the fiscal second quarter ended in May, saying execution problems at its EDS (enterprise data solutions) segment would lead to a shortfall.

    Mark Schappel from Benchmark Securities (which rates Progress a "buy" with a $31 target) says the shortfall is a speed bump in the company's ongoing transformation, and not a sign of a slump in infrastructure spending.

    TheStreet Ratings has a $34 price target on Progress Software.

Top 10 Cheap Companies To Buy Right Now: USG Corporation(USG)

USG Corporation, through its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and distribution of building materials worldwide. The company offers gypsum and related products, including gypsum wallboard, joint compounds used for finishing wallboard joints, cement boards, glass mat sheathing, gypsum fiber panels, poured gypsum underlayments, ultra light panels, and various construction plaster products. Its gypsum products are used in various building applications to finish the interior walls, ceilings, and floors in residential, commercial, and institutional constructions, and repair and remodel constructions. The company also produces gypsum-based products for agricultural and industrial customers to use in various applications, including soil conditioning, road repair, fireproofing, and ceramics. In addition, it manufactures ceiling grid and acoustical ceiling tile for electrical and mechanical systems, and air distribution and maintenance applications. USG Corporation distribut es its gypsum products through specialty wallboard distributors, building materials dealers, home improvement centers and other retailers, contractors, and a network of distributors. Further, it distributes other manufacturers? gypsum wallboard, joint compound and other gypsum products, as well as drywall metal, insulation, and roofing products and accessories. The company sells its products under SHEETROCK, DUROCK, FIBEROCK, SECUROCK, LEVELROCK, RED TOP, IMPERIAL, DIAMOND, SUPREMO, AURATONE, ACOUSTONE, DONN, DX, FINELINE, CENTRICITEE, CURVATURA, and COMPASSO brands. The company was founded in 1901 and is based in Chicago, Illinois.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By]

    USG is a worldwide producer of building materials, primarily gypsum wallboard, which is used for repair and construction.

    Shares are trading at $8.17 at the time of writing, at the lower end of their 52-week trading range of $7.88 to $19.91. At the current market price, the company is capitalized at $860.22 million. Earnings per share for the last fiscal year were -$3.87, and it paid no dividend.

    These earnings are expected to remain negative through the next couple of years, though the loss per share is expected to reduce to $1.60 in 2012. Revenue during this time is forecast to increase to around $3.25 billion.

    The story with USG is all about its debt. With $2.31 billion of debt under its belt, it has very little room to maneuver. With a patchy economy going forward, the company may find it hard to cut its loss per share by the amount that it needs to. Consequently, it may struggle to return to profitability. Given its debt, the book value of the shares is $5.01. Action looks to be time critical now. With S&P (MHP) recently cutting USG’s credit rating, it may soon be time for the company to go to the market to raise cash.

    If the company can address its burgeoning debt, then it may look attractive. Until then, avoid.

Top 10 Cheap Companies To Buy Right Now: WebMediaBrands Inc(WEBM)

WebMediaBrands Inc., an Internet media company, provides content, education, and career services to media and creative professionals through a portfolio of vertical online properties, communities, and trade shows. The company operates, a blog network that provides content, education, community, and career resources about media industry verticals, including new media, social media, Facebook, TV news, sports news, advertising, public relations, publishing, design, mobile, and the semantic Web. Its also includes a job board for media and business professionals focusing on various job categories, such as social media, online/new media, publishing, public relations/marketing, advertising, sales, design, and television. The company also operates a network of online properties, including AdsoftheWorld, DynamicGraphics, LiquidTreat, BrandsoftheWorld,, StepInsideDesign, Creativebits, and GraphicsDesignForum that provide content, educatio n, community, career, and other resources for creative and design professionals. In addition, it offers community, membership, and e-commerce offerings comprising a freelance listing service, a marketplace for designing and purchasing logos, and premium membership services. Further, the company provides online and in-person courses, panels, certificate programs, and video subscription libraries for media and creative professionals. Additionally, it organizes various trade shows that include Semantic Technology Conference, Monetizing Social Media, Social Media Optimization Conference, Social Gaming Summit, and Virtual Goods Summit. The company was formerly known as Jupitermedia Corporation and changed its name to WebMediaBrands Inc. in February 2009. WebMediaBrands Inc. was founded in 1999 and is based in New York, New York.

Top 10 Cheap Companies To Buy Right Now: Hewlett-Packard Company(HPQ)

Hewlett-Packard Company and its subsidiaries provide products, technologies, software, solutions, and services to individual consumers and small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), as well as to the government, health, and education sectors worldwide. Its Personal Systems Group segment offers commercial personal computers (PCs), consumer PCs, workstations, calculators and other related accessories, and software and services for the commercial and consumer markets. The company?s Services segment provides consulting, outsourcing, and technology services to infrastructure, applications, and business process domains. Its Imaging and Printing Group segment provides consumer and commercial printer hardware, supplies, media, and scanning devices, such as inkjet and Web solutions, laser jet and enterprise solutions, managed enterprise solutions, graphics solutions, and printer supplies. The company?s Enterprise Servers, Storage, and Networking segment offers industry standard s ervers, business critical systems, storage platforms, and networking products, including switches, routers, wireless LAN, and TippingPoint network security products. Its HP Software segment provides enterprise IT management software, information management solutions, and security intelligence/risk management solutions. The company?s HP Financial Services segment offers leasing, financing, utility programs, and asset recovery services; and financial asset management services for enterprise customers, as well as specialized financial services to SMBs, and educational and governmental entities. Hewlett-Packard Company also provides business intelligence solutions that enable businesses to standardize on consistent data management schemes, connect and share data across the enterprise, and apply analytics, as well as licenses its specific technology to third parties. The company was founded in 1939 and is headquartered in Palo Alto, California.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) was the worst story of all 30 DJIA stocks in 2013. Unfortunately, what was bad is expected to get worse in 2013. With a downside price target of $13.53, HP shares are now expected to fall just over 5%, even with this yielding 3.5% now. HP’s woes do not stop with the Autonomy acquisition woes. Meg Whitman has fired many employees but warned that a real turnaround might not take hold until all the way into 2016. We expect more asset sales and ultimately more layoffs. HP’s position was not helped out after it became known that famous short sellers are continuing to bet against this PC and IT-services giant.

  • [By Jim Cramer]

    Nope, not the one to own in 2011. I think that HP has taken a step backward and is now ripe for the pickings of every other company in the space, whether it be . Accenture (ACN) on the consulting side or . EMC (EMC) on the server side or Oracle (ORCL) with Sun on the hardware and software side or Apple (AAPL) on the PC side. I just don't see this company doing anything this year, and I really don't understand the strategy or the vision, in part because of a new CEO who hasn't explained it yet and in part because of the old CEO who left on such a bad note. I don't see a pickup in earnings and I think that the stock could finish lower than it starts. Call it $40. I hope I am wrong because I think that 2011 will be a good year for tech in general, but not for this company.

  • [By Smart Money]

    Forward P/E: 9.2.


    Five-year average forward P/E: 13.8.

    Discount to five-year average: 33%.

    As the world's biggest maker of personal computers and printers, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) has two knocks against it -- neither of its major markets is particularly attractive these days, says Kim Caughey, senior analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

    "In the PC market, HP is fighting deflation," Caughey says. "Next year's hardware is always going to be faster, better, cheaper."

    The Palo Alto, Calif., company's printer and printing business is suffering as companies downsize, she says; fewer workers translates into less printing.

    Even worse is what could happen to HP's margins as demand grows for tiny, cheap netbook computers. "I'm looking into people's pockets and I believe they will be sending their kids back to school with netbooks," says Caughey. "The (profit) margin on netbooks is terrible."


    That's part of the bigger problem with a company as consumer-focused as HP. If folks don't have the money, they can't spend it. For that reason, Caughey thinks Hewlett-Packard's shares, while valued at a low multiple, are unattractive.

Top 10 Cheap Companies To Buy Right Now: Aegon NV(AEG)

AEGON N.V. provides life insurance, pensions, and asset management products and services worldwide. The company?s life insurance products include traditional, term, universal, whole, and other life insurance products sold as part of defined benefit pension plans, endowment policies, post-retirement annuity products, and group risk products; supplemental health insurance products comprise accidental death, other injury, critical illness, hospital indemnity, medicare supplement, and student health; specialty lines consists of travel, membership, and creditor products; and long term care insurance products for policyholders who require care due to a chronic illness or cognitive impairment. It also offers a range of savings and retirement products and services, including mutual funds, and fixed and variable annuities, savings accounts and investment contracts, segregated funds, guaranteed investment accounts, and single premium immediate annuities, as well as investment advice to individuals. In addition, the company offers employer solutions and pensions, such as retirement plans, pension plans, and pension-related products and services; investment products, including onshore and offshore bonds, and trusts; reinsurance products and solutions to life insurance and financial services companies; general insurance products comprising house, car, and fire insurance; and asset management products and services, including general account assets, unit-linked funds, and third party activities. AEGON N.V. markets its products through independent and career agents, financial planners, registered representatives, independent marketing organizations, banks, broker-dealers, benefit consulting firms, wirehouses, affinity groups, institutional partners, independent managing general agencies, and specialized financial advisors, as well as through online, direct, and worksite marketing. The company was founded in 1900 and is headquartered in The Hague, the Netherl ands.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By]

    Shares of this life insurance company are trading at $4.25 at the time of writing, and at the low end of their 52-week trading range of $4.18 to $8.07. At the current market price, the company is capitalized at $7.50 billion. Earnings per share for the last fiscal year were $0.69, placing the shares on a price-to-earnings ratio of 6.13.

    These earnings are expected to rise through the next couple of years, hitting $0.73 this year, and then rising to $0.89 the following year. AEG received Dutch government aid in the 2008 financial crisis, and has been selling operations to repay its debts. The latest sale, Guardian Life in the U.K. for $451 million, takes it a step closer to achieving this goal. It will continue to manage Guardian’s assets of £7.5 billion (approximately $11 billion).

    Well on the way to achieving its target of full repayment to the Dutch government, and continuing to shed non core assets, for Aegon it is deals like the Guardian one that will push it to a better-managed profit stream. When the company has fully repaid its debts, it is likely to reinstate dividend payments. This will help the stock price near and long term.

Top 10 Cheap Companies To Buy Right Now: Sprott Resource Lending Corp.(SILU)

Sprott Resource Lending Corp., a natural resource lender, provides bridge and mezzanine financing to precious and base metal mining, exploration, and development companies, as well as energy companies worldwide. The company was formerly known as Quest Capital Corp. and changed its name to Sprott Resource Lending Corp. in September 2010. Sprott Resource Lending Corp. was incorporated in 1980 and is based in Toronto, Canada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Louis]

    Formerly known as Quest Capital Corp., Sprott Resource Lending Corp. (SILU) has returned 40% in the past year, and is currently trading at $1.78. SILU has had an up-and-down year, but this penny stock has the potential to bring you fast gains. During a two-day span in early April, SILU jumped 13%.

Top 10 Cheap Companies To Buy Right Now: S&P GSCI(GD)

General Dynamics Corporation, an aerospace and defense company, provides business aviation; combat vehicles, weapons systems, and munitions; military and commercial shipbuilding; and communications and information technology products and services worldwide. Its Aerospace group designs, manufactures, and outfits various large and mid-cabin business-jet aircraft; provides maintenance, repair work, fixed-based operations, and aircraft management services; and performs aircraft completions for aircraft. The company?s Combat Systems group offers tracked and wheeled military vehicles, weapons systems, and munitions. Its product lines include wheeled combat and tactical vehicles; battle tanks and infantry vehicles; munitions and propellant; rockets and gun systems; and axle and drivetrain components and aftermarket parts. This group also manufactures and supplies engineered axles, suspensions, and brakes for heavy-load vehicles for military and commercial customers. The company Advisors' Opinion:

  • [By Dave Friedman]

    The shares closed at $62.77, up $1.59, or 2.6%, on the day. They have traded in a 52-week range of $55.46 to $78.27. Volume today was 2,338,444 shares, against a 3-month average volume of 2,440,760 shares. Its market capitalization is $22.71 billion, its trailing P/E is 8.95, its trailing earnings are $7.01 per share, and it pays a dividend of $1.88 per share, for a dividend yield of 3.10%. About the company: General Dynamics Corporation is a diversified defense company. The Company offers a broad portfolio of products and services in business aviation; combat vehicles, weapons systems and munitions; shipbuilding design and construction; and information systems, technologies and services

  • [By Dave Friedman]

    The shares closed at $62.77, up $1.59, or 2.6%, on the day. They have traded in a 52-week range of $55.46 to $78.27. Volume today was 2,338,444 shares, against a 3-month average volume of 2,440,760 shares. Its market capitalization is $22.71 billion, its trailing P/E is 8.95, its trailing earnings are $7.01 per share, and it pays a dividend of $1.88 per share, for a dividend yield of 3.10%. About the company: General Dynamics Corporation is a diversified defense company. The Company offers a broad portfolio of products and services in business aviation; combat vehicles, weapons systems and munitions; shipbuilding design and construction; and information systems, technologies and services

Top 10 Cheap Companies To Buy Right Now: S&P Smallcap 600(PH)

Parker Hannifin Corporation manufactures fluid power systems, electromechanical controls, and related components worldwide. Its Industrial segment offers pneumatic and electromechanical components, and systems; filters, systems, and instruments to monitor and remove contaminants from fuel, air, oil, water, and other liquids and gases; connectors that control, transmit, and contain fluid; hydraulic components and systems for builders and users of industrial and mobile machinery and equipment; critical flow components for process instrumentation, healthcare, and ultra-high-purity applications; and static and dynamic sealing devices. This segment sells its products to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and their replacement markets in the manufacturing, transportation, and processing industries. The company?s Aerospace segment provides flight control systems and components, including hydraulic, electrohydraulic, electric backup hydraulic, electrohydrostatic, and electro -mechanical components for precise control of aircraft rudders, elevators, ailerons, and other aerodynamic control surfaces. It also provides electronics thermal management heat rejection systems, and single-phase and two-phase heat collection systems for radar, ISAR, and power electronics. This segment markets its products primarily to OEMs in the commercial, military, and general aviation markets, as well as to end users. Its Climate and Industrial Controls segment offers systems and components primarily for use in the mobile and stationary refrigeration, and air conditioning industry; and in fluid control applications in various industries, such as processing, fuel dispensing, beverage dispensing, and mobile emissions. This segment serves OEMs and their replacement markets. Parker-Hannifin Corporation markets its products through direct-sales employees, independent distributors, wholesalers, and sales representatives. The company was founded in 1918 and is headquartered i n Cleveland, Ohio.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Putnam]

    Parker Hannifin (PH) operates in a broadly diversified engineering industry with peers such as General Electric (GE) and 3M Company (MMM). Its products serve aerospace, commercial, mobile and industrial markets.

    The 2011 fiscal year was stellar for Parker. An all time record of $12.3 billion in sales was reached, a 23.5% increase. Net income increased a whopping 90%.

    The common stock currently trades at a price to earnings ratio of 10.5, below the industry average of 14.8 and historical average of 14. Price to book ratio is 2.02 with price to cash flow being 7.3.

    Making comparisons in a broadly diversified industry is difficult, since products and service offerings vary greatly between businesses. Therefore, the peer company’s business lines and products were used as the main selection criteria for peer analysis.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hot Medical Stocks To Invest In 2014

Just recently we encountered two troubling personal stories reflecting the costs involved in caring for loved ones who are aged or in need of medical management or assisted living.

The first was a woman whose husband has Alzheimer's. Susan "signed over" their home to a continuous care facility in the U.S. in payment for her husband's health needs, and she moved into a smaller place that she can afford on her own. Not only is she losing her husband to the illness of Alzheimer's, she has lost the home they shared together for years. Susan saw no other financial alternative.

The second was a loving son who is taking care of his 85-year-old mother and has been doing so for some time. Tom wrote to us concerned about the daunting $7,000-per-month cost of a nursing home in his state, and was afraid of losing his only residence in order to pay for it. Though he'd been self-employed in the past, that business dried up when the caring of his mother took so much of his time that he could no longer pursue business leads. He was looking to relocate to another country just so he could afford the care his mother needed.

Hot Medical Stocks To Invest In 2014: NeoStem Inc (NBS)

NeoStem, Inc., incorporated on September 18, 1980, operates in cellular therapy industry. Cellular therapy addresses the process by which new cells are introduced into a tissue to prevent or treat disease, or regenerate damaged or aged tissue, and consists of a separate therapeutic technology platform in addition to pharmaceuticals, biologics and medical devices. The Company�� business model includes the development of novel cell therapy products, as well as operating a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) providing services to others in the regenerative medicine industry. Progenitor Cell Therapy, LLC, the Company�� wholly owned subsidiary (PCT), is a CDMO in the cellular therapy industry. PCT has provided pre-clinical and clinical current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) development and manufacturing services to over 100 clients advancing regenerative medicine product candidates through rigorous quality standards all the way through to human testing.

PCT has two cGMP, cell therapy research, development, and manufacturing facilities in New Jersey and California, serving the cell therapy community with integrated and regulatory compliant distribution capabilities. Its core competencies in the cellular therapy industry include manufacturing of cell therapy-based products, product and process development, cell and tissue processing, regulatory support, storage, distribution and delivery and consulting services. The Company�� wholly-owned subsidiary, Amorcyte, LLC (Amorcyte) is developing its own cell therapy, AMR-001, for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. AMR-001 represents its clinically advanced therapeutic product candidate and enrollment for its Phase II PreSERVE clinical trial to investigate AMR-001's safety and efficacy in preserving heart function after a heart attack in a particular type of post Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) patients.

Through the Company�� subsidiary, Athelos Corporation (Athelos), the Company is collaborating w! ith Becton-Dickinson in early stage clinical development of a therapy utilizing T-cells, collaborating for autoimmune and inflammatory conditions, including but not limited to, graft vs. host disease, type 1 diabetes, steroid resistant asthma, lupus, multiple sclerosis and solid organ transplant rejection. The Company�� pre-clinical assets include its Very Small Embryonic Like (VSEL) Technology platform. The Company has basic research and development capabilities, manufacturing facilities on both the east and west coast of the United States.

Hot Medical Stocks To Invest In 2014: Covidien PLC (COV)

Covidien Public Limited Company is engaged in the development, manufacture and sale of healthcare products for use in clinical and home settings. It operates its businesses through three segments: Medical Devices, which includes the development, manufacture and sale of endomechanical instruments, energy devices, soft tissue repair products, vascular products, oximetry and monitoring products, airway and ventilation products; Pharmaceuticals, which includes the development, manufacture and distribution of specialty pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients, and Medical Supplies, SharpSafety products and original equipment manufacturer products. In May 2012, it acquired Newport Medical Instruments, Inc. In May 2012, it acquired superDimension, Ltd. In June 2012, the Company acquired Oridion Systems Ltd. In October 2012, its Mallinckrodt acquired CNS Therapeutics, Inc. In January 2013, the Company acquired CV Ingenuity. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Roberto Pedone]

    Covidien (COV) has a market capitalization of $29.74 billion. The company employs 43,400 people, generates revenue of $11.852 billion and has a net income of $1.902 billion. The firm’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) amounts to $3.044 billion. The EBITDA margin is 25.68 percent (the operating margin is 20.34 percent and the net profit margin 16.05 percent). 

    Financial Analysis: The total debt represents 22.64 percent of the company’s assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 47.70 percent. Due to the financial situation, a return on equity of 18.66 percent was realized. Twelve trailing months earnings per share reached a value of $3.93. Last fiscal year, the company paid $0.94 in the form of dividends to shareholders. 

    Market Valuation: Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 15.97, the P/S ratio is 2.52 and the P/B ratio is finally 2.83. The dividend yield amounts to 1.64 percent and the beta ratio has a value of 0.89.

  • [By James K. Glassman]

     A global leader in medical devices, supplies and drugs, Covidien (symbol: COV) isn’t resting easy. The company, based in Ireland, expects to launch 100 new products through 2014. And it will continue to increase its research-and-development budget at a double-digit pace. Another goal: capitalize on emerging markets, where annual sales are growing rapidly. Analysts see Covidien’s plan to spin off its drug business as a positive, allowing the company to focus on its faster-growing and more-profitable devices business. The stock sells for 13 times estimated 2013 profits and yields 1.8%.

  • [By James K. Glassman]

    A global leader in medical devices, supplies and drugs, Covidien (symbol: COV) isn’t resting easy. The company, based in Ireland, expects to launch 100 new products through 2014. And it will continue to increase its research-and-development budget at a double-digit pace. Another goal: capitalize on emerging markets, where annual sales are growing rapidly. Analysts see Covidien’s plan to spin off its drug business as a positive, allowing the company to focus on its faster-growing and more-profitable devices business. The stock sells for 13 times estimated 2013 profits and yields 1.8%.

Top Stocks For 2014: InspireMD Inc (NSPR)

InspireMD, Inc., incorporated on February 29, 2008, is a medical device company. The Company is focusing on the development and commercialization of its stent platform technology, MGuard. MGuard provides embolic protection in stenting procedures by placing a micron mesh sleeve over a stent. Its initial products are marketed for use mainly in patients with acute coronary syndromes, notably acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) and saphenous vein graft coronary interventions (bypass surgery). The Company�� products include MGuard Coronary Plus Bio-Stable Mesh, MGuard Peripheral Plus Bio-Stable Mesh, MGuard Carotid Plus Bio-Stable Mesh and MGuard Coronary Plus Bio-Absorbable Drug-Eluting Mesh. Its initial MGuard Coronary products incorporated a stainless steel stent. The Company subsequently replaced this stainless steel platform with a more advanced cobalt-chromium based platform, which the Company refers to as the MGuard PrimeTM version of its MGuard Coronary. The Company operates in Germany through its wholly owned subsidiary InspireMD GmbH.

The Company focuses on applying its technology to develop additional products used for other vascular procedures, specifically carotid (the arteries that supply blood to the brain) and peripheral (other arteries) procedures. The MGuard stent is an embolic protection device based on a protective sleeve, which is constructed out of an ultra-thin polymer mesh and wrapped around the stent. The protective sleeve is comprised of a micron level fiber-knitted mesh, engineered in an optimal geometric configuration and designed for utmost flexibility while retaining strength characteristics of the fiber material.

MGuard - Coronary Applications

The Company�� MGuard Coronary with a bio-stable mesh and its MGuard Coronary with a drug-eluting mesh focuses on the treatment of coronary arterial disease. The Company�� first MGuard product, the MGuard Coronary with a bio-stable mesh, is comprised of its mesh sleeve wrapped around a! bare-metal stent. The bio-absorbability of MGuard Coronary with a drug eluting bio-absorbable mesh is intended to improve upon the bio-absorbability of other drug-eluting stents, in light of the wide surface area of the mesh and the small diameter of the fiber.

MGuard - Carotid Applications

The Company focuses on marketing its mesh sleeve coupled with a self-expandable stent for use in carotid-applications. Expandable stent is a stent that expands without balloon dilation pressure or need of an inflation balloon. This product is under development, although the Company has temporarily delayed its development until additional funding is secured.

MGuard - Peripheral Applications

Peripheral Artery Disease, also known as peripheral vascular disease, is characterized by the accumulation of plaque in arteries in the legs, need for amputation of affected joints or even death, when untreated. Peripheral Artery Disease is treated either by trying to clear the artery of the blockage, or by implanting a stent in the affected area to push the blockage out of the way of normal blood flow.

The Company competes with Abbott Laboratories, Boston Scientific Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, Inc., The Sorin Group, Xtent, Inc., Cinvention AG, OrbusNeich, Biotronik SE & Co. KG, Svelte Medical Systems, Inc., Reva Inc. and Stentys SA.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Roberto Pedone]

    InspiredMD (NSPR) is a medical device company focusing on the development and commercialization of its proprietary stent platform technology, MGuard. This stock is trading up 2.3% to $2.59 in recent trading.

    Today’s Range: $2.44-$2.65

    52-Week Range: $1.88-$10.16

    Volume: 313,000

    Three-Month Average Volume: 99,632

    From a technical perspective, NSPR is trending higher here right off its 50-day moving average at $2.42 with heavy upside volume. This stock has been getting heavy upside volume flows for the last few weeks, which is bullish technical action. Shares of NSPR are now quickly moving within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if NSPR manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $2.85 to $3 with high volume.

    Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NSPR as long as it’s trending above its 50-day at $2.42 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 99,632 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then NSPR will set up re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $3.55 to $4.25. This stock could even tag its 200-day at $4.80 if it breaks out soon and catches some momentum buying.

Hot Medical Stocks To Invest In 2014: Boston Scientific Corp (BSX)

Boston Scientific Corporation is a developer, manufacturer and marketer of medical devices that are used in a range of interventional medical specialties. During the year ended December 31, 2011, its products were offered for sale by seven core businesses: Interventional Cardiology, CRM, Endoscopy, Peripheral Interventions, Urology/Women�� Health, Neuromodulation, and Electrophysiology. In January 2011, it completed the acquisition of Intelect Medical, Inc. In January 2011, it completed the acquisition of Sadra Medical, Inc. In March 2011, the Company completed the acquisition of Atritech, Inc. In February 2011, it announced the acquisitions of S.I. Therapies and ReVascular Therapeutics, Inc. In January 2011, the Company sold its Neurovascular business to Stryker Corporation. In June 2012, the Company acquired Cameron Health, Inc. of San Clemente, California and, as a result, added to its product portfolio subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator, called the S-ICD System.

Interventional Cardiology

The Company offers coronary stent product. Coronary stents are tiny, mesh tubes used in the treatment of coronary artery disease, which are implanted in patients to prop open arteries and facilitate blood flow to and from the heart. The Company offers a two-drug platform strategy with its paclitaxel-eluting and everolimus-eluting stent system offerings, and it offers a range of stent sizes. The Company markets its next-generation internally-developed and self-manufactured PROMUS Element stent system in the United States, its Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA) region and certain Inter-Continental countries, including China and India. It markets the PROMUS everolimus-eluting stent system, supplied to the Company by Abbott Laboratories, in Japan. It also markets its TAXUS paclitaxel-eluting stent line, including its third-generation TAXUS Element paclitaxel-eluting stent system in the U.nited States, Japan, EMEA and certain Inter-Continental countries.

The Compa! ny markets a line of products used to treat patients with atherosclerosis, a principal cause of coronary artery obstructive disease. Its product offerings include balloon catheters, rotational atherectomy systems, guide wires, guide catheters, embolic protection devices, and diagnostic catheters used in percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA). The Company markets a family of intraluminal catheter-directed ultrasound imaging catheters and systems for use in coronary arteries and heart chambers, as well as certain peripheral vessels. The iLab Ultrasound Imaging System continues as its flagship console and is compatible with its line of imaging catheters. The system is designed to enhance the diagnosis and treatment of blocked vessels and heart disorders. Sadra is developing a repositionable and retrievable device for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) to treat patients with severe aortic stenosis. The Lotus Valve System consists of a stent-mounted tissue valve prosthesis and catheter delivery system for guidance and placement of the valve. Atritech has developed a device designed to close the left atrial appendage in patients with atrial fibrillation who are at risk for ischemic stroke. The WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure Technology, developed by Atritech, is the first device proven in a randomized clinical trial to offer an alternative to anticoagulant drugs, and is approved for use in CE Mark countries.

Cardiac Rhythm Management

The Company develops, manufactures and markets a variety of implantable devices that monitor the heart and deliver electricity to treat cardiac abnormalities, including Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) systems used to detect and treat abnormally fast heart rhythms (tachycardia) that could result in sudden cardiac death, including implantable cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator (CRT-D) systems used to treat heart failure, and implantable pacemaker systems used to manage slow or irregular heart rhyth! ms (brady! cardia), including implantable cardiac resynchronization therapy pacemaker (CRT-P) systems used to treat heart failure. Its product offerings include its COGNIS cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator (CRT-D), its TELIGEN ICD systems and its ALTRUA family of pacemaker systems. During 2011, it began the United States launch of its next-generation line of defibrillators, INCEPTA, ENERGEN and PUNCTUA.


The Company markets a range of products to diagnose, treat and ease a variety of digestive diseases, including those affecting the esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, duodenum, and colon. Common disease states include esophagitis, portal hypertension, peptic ulcers as well as esophageal, biliary, pancreatic and colonic cancer. The Company offers the Radial Jaw 4 Single-Use Biopsy Forceps, which are designed to enable collection of large high-quality tissue specimens without the need to use large channel therapeutic endoscopes. Its exclusive line of RX Biliary System devices are designed to provide greater access and control for physicians to diagnose and treat challenging conditions of the bile ducts, such as removing gallstones, opening obstructed bile ducts and obtaining biopsies in suspected tumors. The Company also markets the Spyglass Direct Visualization System for direct imaging of the pancreatico-biliary system. The Spyglass System is a single-operator cholangioscopy device that offers clinicians a direct visualization of the pancreatico-biliary system and includes supporting devices for tissue acquisition, stone management and lithotripsy. Its products also include the WallFlex family of stents, in particular, the WallFlex Biliary line and WallFlex Esophageal line; and in 2011, the Company launched its Advanix Biliary Plastic Stent System and the Expect Endoscopic Ultrasound Aspiration Needle in the United States and certain international markets. Its Resolution Clip Device is an endoscopic mechanical clip designed to treat gastrointestinal bleeding.

T! he Company markets devices to diagnose, treat and ease pulmonary disease systems within the airway and lungs. Its products are designed to help perform biopsies, retrieve foreign bodies from the airway, open narrowings of an airway, stop internal bleeding, and ease symptoms of some types of airway cancers. Its product line includes pulmonary biopsy forceps, transbronchial aspiration needles, cytology brushes and tracheobronchial stents used to dilate narrowed airway passages or for tumor management. Asthmatx, Inc. designs, manufactures and markets a less-invasive, catheter-based bronchial thermoplasty procedure for the treatment of severe persistent asthma. The Alair Bronchial Thermoplasty System, developed by Asthmatx, has both CE Mark and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval and is the first device-based asthma treatment approved by the FDA.

Peripheral Interventions

The Company sells various products designed to treat patients with peripheral disease, including a line of medical devices used in percutaneous transluminal angioplasty and peripheral vascular stenting. Its peripheral product offerings include stents, balloon catheters, wires, peripheral embolization devices and vena cava filters. In 2010 and 2011, it launched several of its products internationally, including the EPIC self-expanding nitinol stent system in certain international markets, and the Carotid WALLSTENT stent system in Japan. The Company launched three new peripheral angioplasty balloons in 2011, including its next-generation Mustang percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) balloon, its Coyote balloon catheter, a highly deliverable and ultra-low profile balloon dilatation catheter designed for a range of peripheral angioplasty procedures and its Charger PTA Balloon Catheter, a 0.035 inch percutaneous transluminal angioplasty balloon catheter designed for post-stent dilatation, as well as conventional balloon angioplasty to open blocked peripheral arteries. The Company has commenced a limited ma! rket rele! ase of its OFFROAD re-entry catheter system in certain international markets, and in February 2012, it launched its TRUEPATH intraluminal CTO device in the United States.

The Company sells products designed to treat patients with non-vascular disease. Its non-vascular suite of products include biliary stents, drainage catheters and micro-puncture sets designed to treat, diagnose and ease various forms of benign and malignant tumors. The Company continues to market its extensive line of Interventional Oncology product solutions, including the Renegade HI-FLO Fathom microcatheter and guidewire system and Interlock - 35 Fibered IDC Occlusion System for peripheral embolization. The Company�� FilterWire EZ Embolic Protection System is a filter designed to capture embolic material that may become dislodged during a procedure, which could otherwise travel into the microvasculature where it could cause a heart attack or stroke. It is commercially available in the United States, its EMEA region and certain Inter-Continental countries for multiple indications, including the treatment of disease in peripheral, coronary and carotid vessels. It is also available in the United States for the treatment of saphenous vein grafts and carotid artery stenting procedures.

Urology/Women�� Health

The Company�� Urology/Women�� Health division develops, manufactures and sells devices to treat various urological and gynecological disorders. The Company sells a variety of products designed to treat patients with urinary stone disease, stress urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and excessive uterine bleeding. The Company offers a line of stone management products, including ureteral stents, wires, lithotripsy devices, stone retrieval devices, sheaths, balloons and catheters.

The Company markets a range of devices for the treatment of conditions, such as female urinary incontinence, pelvic floor reconstruction (rebuilding of the anatomy to its original state), and ! menorrhag! ia (excessive menstrual bleeding). It offers a breadth of mid-urethral sling products, sling materials, graft materials, pelvic floor reconstruction kits, and suturing devices. The Company markets its Genesys Hydro ThermAblator (HTA) system, a next-generation endometrial ablation system designed to ablate the endometrial lining of the uterus in premenopausal women with menorrhagia. The Genesys HTA System features a smaller and lighter console, simplified set-up requirements, and an enhanced graphic user interface and is designed to improve operating performance.


The Company within its Neuromodulation business markets the Precision Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) system, used for the management of chronic pain. In 2011, the Company launched its Clik Anchor for its Precision Plus SCS System, a rechargeable SCS device for chronic pain management. During 2011, it received FDA approval for and launched the Infinion 16 Percutaneous Lead, a 16-contact percutaneous lead. The Company also markets the Linear 3-4 and Linear 3-6 Percutaneous Leads for use with its SCS systems, which are designed to provide physicians more treatment options for their chronic pain patients. Intelect Medical, Inc. is a development-stage company developing advanced visualization and programming for the Vercise system.


The Company within its Electrophysiology business develops less-invasive medical technologies used in the diagnosis and treatment of rate and rhythm disorders of the heart. Included in its product offerings are radio frequency (RF) generators, steerable RF ablation catheters, intracardiac ultrasound catheters, diagnostic catheters, delivery sheaths, and other accessories. Its products include the Blazer and Blazer Prime line of temperature ablation catheters, designed to deliver enhanced performance, responsiveness, and durability. Its cooled ablation portfolio includes the closed-loop irrigated catheter on the market, the Chilli II cooled! ablation! catheter, and the newly launched Blazer Open-Irrigated ablation catheter with a Total Tip Cooling Design.

The Company competes with Abbott Laboratories, Medtronic, Inc., St. Jude Medical, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Top Bank Stocks To Own For 2014

In the early hours of trading, the market was trading lower, and a few financial stocks were getting hit especially hard.

Despite trading lower in the morning, the oft-volatile Radian Group (NYSE: RDN  ) pared losses and climbed into the green. In this video, Motley Fool financial analysts Matt Koppenheffer and David Hanson discuss Radian, as well as two other stocks ticking lower today.

Despite recent gains, Citigroup's stock still looks tantalizingly cheap. Yet the bank's balance sheet is still in need of more repair, and there's a considerable amount of uncertainty after a shocking management shakeup. Should investors be treading carefully, or jumping on an opportunity to buy? To help figure out whether Citigroup deserves a spot on your watchlist, I invite you to read our premium research report on the bank today.�We'll fill you in on both reasons to buy and reasons to sell Citigroup, and what areas Citigroup�investors need to watch going forward.�Click here now�for instant access to our best expert's take on Citigroup.

Top Bank Stocks To Own For 2014: National Bank of Greece SA (NBG)

National Bank of Greece S.A. (the Bank), incorporated on March 30, 1841, is a Greece-based financial institution. It offers a range of integrated financial services, including corporate and investment banking, retail banking (including mortgage lending), leasing, stock brokerage, asset management and venture capital, insurance, real estate and consulting services. In addition, the Company is involved in various other businesses, including hotel and property management, real estate and information technology (IT) consulting. On May 19, 2009, the Bank established Ethniki Factors S.A., a wholly owned subsidiary. On June 8, 2009, Finansbank A.S. established Finans Faktoring Hizmetleri A.S. (Finans Factoring), a wholly owned subsidiary. On June 30, 2009, NBG Luxemburg Holding S.A. and NBG Luxfinance Holding S.A. were merged to NBG Asset Management Luxemburg S.A. On January 18, 2010, the Bank acquired 35% of the share capital of AKTOR FM. On October 16, 2009, United Bulgarian Bank A.D. (UBB) established UBB Factoring E.O.O.D., a wholly owned subsidiary of UBB. On September 15, 2009, the Bank disposed of its investment in Phosphoric Fertilizers Industry S.A.

At December 31, 2009, the Bank operated in Greece through 575 branches, one private banking unit, one unit for financial institutions and 10 specialized banking units that deal exclusively with troubled and non-performing loans. At December 31, 2009, the Bank had over 1500 automated teller machines (ATMs).

Retail Banking

The Bank offers retail customers a number of different types of deposit and investment products, as well as a range of services and products. The Bank offers a range of mortgage products, with floating, fixed, or a combination of fixed and floating interest rates. In February 2009, the Bank introduced a new floating rate product, the ESTIA MIKTO with flexible payment terms. In addition to fire and earthquake property insurance, the Bank offers an optional life insurance plan together with mortgage! s.

The Small Business Lending Unit (SBL Unit) a part of the Bank's retail banking division consists of three credit centers situated in Athens, Thessaloniki and Patrastail. The SBL Unit offers term loans geared towards medium and long-term working capital needs for the financing of asset purchases.

Corporate and Investment Banking

The Bank offers corporate accounts with overdraft facilities, foreign currency loans, variable rate loans, and currency swaps and options for corporate customers. The Bank's commercial loan portfolio in Greece comprises approximately 50,000 corporate clients, including small and medium sized enterprises. It offers the corporate clients a range of products and services, including financial and investment advisory services, deposit accounts, loans denominated in euro and other currencies, foreign exchange services, insurance products, custody arrangements and trade finance services. The Bank lends primarily in the form of credit lines, which are generally at variable rates of interest with payment terms of up to 12 months. In addition, the Bank provides letters of credit and guarantees for its clients.

The Bank�� shipping finance and syndicated loan portfolio consists of first-tier shipping groups involved in diversified shipping activities. The Bank provided project finance advisory services to the Hellenic Republic on two infrastructure projects: the new Attica Motorway and Kasteli International Airport.

Global Markets & Asset Management

The treasury activities provided by the Bank and its subsidiaries include

Greek and other sovereign securities trading, foreign exchange trading, interbank lending and borrowing in euro and other currency placements/ deposits, forward rate agreement trading, repurchase agreements, corporate bonds, and derivative products, such as options and interest rate and currency swaps. The Bank also conducts a portion of its treasury activities through its subsidia! ry CPT. A! s at December 31, 2009; CPT's portfolio comprised Greek government bonds and corporate bonds, with a total value of EUR 1.8 billion.

The Bank offers its private banking services both domestically and internationally from its international private banking units in London. The Bank offers custodian services to its foreign and domestic institutional clients who hold equity securities listed on the ATHEX or listed Greek State debt, as well as remote settlement and custody services on the Cyprus Stock Exchange. The Bank offers trade settlements, safekeeping of securities, corporate action processing, income collection, proxy voting, tax reclamation, brokerage services, customized reporting, regular market flashes and information services. The Bank also acts as global custodian to its domestic institutional clients who invest in securities outside of Greece.

The domestic fund management business is operated by NBG Asset Management, which is wholly owned by the Group. NBG Asset Management manages funds that are made available to customers through the Bank's extensive branch network. As at December 31, 2009, NBG Asset Management's total assets under management were EUR 1.9 billion.

National Securities S.A offers a range of investment services to both individual and institutional customers. In September 2009, National Securities S.A. opened a branch in Nicosia, Cyprus, to provide brokerage services to local private investors.

Turkish Operations

The Bank�� Turkish operations include the Finansbank group of companies and NBG Bank (Malta) Ltd. Finansbank's group of companies includes Finans Invest, Finans Leasing, Finans Portfolio Management, Finans Investment Trust, Finans Factoring, IBTech, Finans Pension, and Finans Consumer Finance. As at December 31, 2009, Finansbank operated through a network of 461 branches in 60 cities.

Finansbank Corporate Banking serves corporations through its eight branches in the four cities in Turkey.! Finansba! nk Commercial Banking serves medium-sized companies located in 23 cities in Turkey through its head office, four regional offices (three in Istanbul and one in Ankara) and a distribution network, which includes 61 branches.

Finansbank Investment Banking consists of project finance, corporate finance and technical consulting. Investment Banking acts as a client relations specialist while providing medium to long-term loans and other products. Finansbank Private Banking has been providing investment products and asset management services to individuals through eight private banking centers and 28 private banking corners located in Finansbank's branches in the cities throughout Turkey.


The Bank's international operations include the Bank's branches in Albania, Egypt and Cyprus, as well as banking subsidiaries in six countries: NBG Cyprus; Stopanska Banka A.D. in FYROM; United Bulgarian Bank A.D. in Bulgaria; Banca Romaneasca S.A., in Romania; Vojvodjanska in Serbia; and the South African Bank of Athens, as well as other subsidiaries, primarily in the leasing sector. As at December 31, 2009, the Bank had foreign branches in four countries, including one in the United Kingdom, 30 in Albania, one in Cyprus, 15 in Egypt and one in Guernsey (which closed early in 2010).


The Bank provides insurance services to individuals and companies through the wholly owned subsidiary Ethniki Insurance Group (EI) and Finans Pension. EI offers a range of products such as life, accident and health insurance for individuals and groups, fire, catastrophe, credit, motor, marine hull and cargo insurance, and general third party liability. EI operates through a network of 2,850 tied agents and 2,620 independent insurance brokers, in addition to selling bancassurance products through the Bank's network. EI provides bancassurance products through our insurance brokerage subsidiary NBG Bancassurance S.A. (NBGB), which assumes no insurance underwr! iting ris! k, and the Bank's extensive network in Greece.

Top Bank Stocks To Own For 2014: Itau Unibanco Holding SA (ITUB)

Itau Unibanco Holding S.A., incorporated on September 9, 1943, is a bank in Brazil. The Company has four operational segments: Commercial Banking, Itau BBA, Consumer Credit and Corporate and Treasury. Commercial banking, including insurance, pension plan and capitalization products, credit cards, asset management and a variety of credit products and services for individuals, small and middle-market companies). Itau BBA includes corporate and investment banking. Consumer credit includes financial products and services to its non-accountholders. Corporate and treasury includes the results related to the trading activities in its portfolio, trading related to managing currency, interest rate and other market risk factors, gap management and arbitrage opportunities in domestic and foreign markets. It also includes the results associated with financial income from the investment of its excess capital.

On October 24, 2010, Itau Unibanco completed the integration of customer service locations throughout Brazil. In total, 998 branches and 245 customer site branches (CSB) of Unibanco were redesigned and integrated as Itau Unibanco customer service locations, thus creating a network of approximately 4,700 units in the country under the Itau brand. The Company is a financial holding company controlled by Itau Unibanco Participacoes S.A. (IUPAR). As of December 31, 2010, it had a network of 3,747 service branches throughout Brazil. As of December 31, 2010, it operated 913 CSBs throughout Brazil. As of December 31, 2010, it operated 28,844 automated teller machines (ATMs) throughout Brazil.

Commercial banking

The commercial banking segment offers a range of banking services to a diversified base of individuals and companies. Services offered by the commercial banking segment include insurance, pension plan and capitalization products, credit cards, asset management, credit products and customized products and solutions. The commercial banking segment comprises the specialized! areas and products, such as retail banking (individuals); public sector banking; personnalite (banking for high-income individuals); private banking (banking and financial consulting for wealthy individuals); very small business banking; small business banking; middle-market banking; credit cards; real estate financing; asset management; corporate social responsibility fund; securities services for third parties; brokerage, and insurance, private retirement and capitalization products.

The Company�� credit products include personal loans, overdraft protection, payroll loans, vehicles, credit cards, mortgage and agricultural loans, working capital, trade note discount and export. Its investments products include pension plans, mutual funds, time deposits, demand deposit accounts, savings accounts and capitalization plans. Its services include insurance (life, home, credit/cash cards, vehicles, loan protection, among others), exchange, brokerage and others. Its core business is retail banking, which serves individuals with a monthly income below R$7,000. In October 2010, it completed the conversion of branches under the Unibanco brand to the Itau brand and as of December 31, 2010, it had over 15.2 million customers and 4,660 branches and CSBs. Its public sector business operates in all areas of the public sector, including the federal, state and municipal governments (in the executive, legislative and judicial branches). As of December 31, 2010, it had approximately 2,300 public sector customers. Itau Personnalite�� focus is delivering financial advisory services by its managers, who understand the specific needs of its higher-income customers; a portfolio of exclusive products and services; special benefits based on the type and length of relationship with the customer, including discounts on various products and services. Itau Personnalite�� customer base reached more than 600,000 individuals as of December 31, 2010. Itau Personnalite customers also have access to Itau Unibanco netwo! rk of bra! nches and ATMs throughout the country, as well as Internet banking and phone.

Itau Private Bank is a Brazilian bank in the global private banking industry, providing wealth management services to approximately 17,951 Latin American clients as of December 31, 2010. The Company serves its customers��needs for offshore wealth management solutions in major jurisdictions through independent institutions in the United States through Banco Itau Europa International and Itau Europa Securities , in Luxembourg through Banco Itau Europa Luxembourg S.A. , in Switzerland through Banco Itau Suisse , in the Bahamas through BIE Bank & Trust Bahamas and in Cayman through Unicorp Bank & Trust Cayman. As of December 31, 2010, it had over 565 very small business banking offices located throughout Brazil and approximately 2,500 managers working for over 1,235,000 small business customers. Loans to very small businesses totaled R$5,981 million as of December 31, 2010. As of December 31, 2010, it had 374 small business banking offices located nationwide in Brazil and nearly 2,500 managers who worked for over 525,000 companies. Loans to small businesses totaled R$28,744 million as of December 31, 2010.

As of December 31, 2010, it had approximately 115,000 middle-market corporate customers that represented a range of Brazilian companies located in over 83 cities in Brazil. The Company offers a range of financial products and services to middle-market customers, including deposit accounts, investment options, insurance, private retirement plans and credit products. Credit products include investment capital loans, working capital loans, inventory financing, trade financing, foreign currency services, equipment leasing services, letters of credit and guarantees. The Company also carries out financial transactions on behalf of middle-market customers, including interbank transactions, open market transactions and futures, swaps, hedging and arbitrage transactions. It also offers its middle-market custom! ers colle! ction services and electronic payment services. The Company is able to provide these services for virtually any kind of payment, including Internet office banking. It charges collection fees and fees for making payments, such as payroll, on behalf of its customers.

The Company is engaged in the Brazilian credit card market. Its subsidiaries, Banco Itaucard S.A. (Banco Itaucard) and Hipercard Banco Multiplo S.A. (Hipercard), offers a range of products to 26 million customers as of December 31, 2010, including both accountholders and non-accountholders. As of December 31, 2010, it had approximately R$16,271 million in outstanding real estate loans. As of December 31, 2010, it had total net assets under management of R$291,748 million on behalf of approximately 2.1 million customers. The Company also provides portfolio management services for pension funds, corporations, private bank customers and foreign investors. As of December 31, 2010, it had R$184,496 million of assets under management for pension funds, corporations and private bank customers. As of December 31, 2010, the Company offered and managed about 1,791 mutual funds, which are mostly fixed-income and money market funds. For individual customers, it offered 154 funds to its retail customers and approximately 287 funds to its Itau Personnalite customers. Private banking customers may invest in over 600 funds, including those offered by other institutions. Itau BBA�� capital markets group also provides tailor-made mutual funds to institutional, corporate and private banking customers.

The Company provides securities services in the Brazilian capital markets. Its services also include acting as transfer agent, providing services relating to debentures and promissory notes, custody and control services for mutual funds, pension funds and portfolios, providing trustee services and non-resident investor services, and acting as custodian for depositary receipt programs. The Company also provides brokerage services to inte! rnational! customers through its broker-dealer operations in New York, through its London branch, and through its broker-dealers in Hong Kong and Dubai. Its main lines of insurance are life and casualty (excluding Vida Gerador de Benefucio Livre), extended warranties and property. Its policies are sold through its banking operations, independent local brokers, multinational brokers and other channels. As of December 31, 2010, it had 9.9 million in capitalization products outstanding, representing R$2,620 million in liabilities with assets that function as guarantees of R$2,646 million. The Company distributes these products through its retail network, Itau Personnalite and Itau Uniclass branches, electronic channels and ATMs. These products are sold by its subsidiary, Cia. Itau de Capitalizacao S.A.

Itau BBA

Itau BBA is responsible for its corporate and investment banking activities. As of December 31, 2010, Itau BBA offered a portfolio of products and services to approximately 2,400 companies and conglomerates in Brazil. Itau BBA�� activities range from typical operations of a commercial bank to capital markets operations and advisory services for mergers and acquisitions. As of December 31, 2010, its corporate loan portfolio was R$ 76,584 million. In investment banking, the fixed income department was responsible for the issuance of debentures and promissory notes that totaled R$18,888 million and securitization transactions that amounted to R$4,677 million in Brazil in 2010. In addition, Itau BBA advised 35 merger and acquisition transactions with an aggregate deal volume of R$16,973 million in 2010.

Itau BBA is also active in Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e Social (BNDES) on-lending to finance large-scale projects, aiming at strengthening domestic infrastructure. In consolidated terms, total loans granted by Itau BBA under BNDES on-lending represented more than R$9,010 million in 2010. Itau BBA focuses on the products and initiatives in the international ! business ! unit, such as structuring long-term, bilateral and syndicated financing, and spot foreign exchange. In addition, in 2010 Itau BBA continued to offer a large number of lines of credit for foreign trade.

Consumer Credit

As of December 31, 2010, its portfolio of vehicle financing, leasing and consortium lending consisted of approximately 3.8 million contracts, of which approximately 71.1% were non-accountholder customers. The personal loan portfolio relating to vehicle financing and leasing reached R$60,254 million in 2010. The Company leased and financed vehicles through 13,706 dealers as of December 31, 2010. Sales are made through computer terminals installed in the dealerships that are connected to its computer network. Redecard S.A. (Redecard) is a multibrand credit card provider in Brazil, also responsible for the capturing, transmission, processing and settlement of credit, debit and benefit card transactions. As of December 31, 2010, the Company held approximately 50% interest in Redecard�� capital stock.

The Company competes with Bradesco, Banco do Brasil S.A. (Banco do Brasil), Banco Santander, Caixa Economica Federal (CEF), BNDES, HSBC, Banco Citibank S.A, Banco de Investimentos Credit Suisse (Brasil) S.A., Banco JP Morgan S.A., Banco Morgan Stanley S.A., Banco Merrill Lynch de Investimentos S.A., Banco BTG Pactual S.A., Banco Panamericano S.A, Citibank S.A., Banco GE Capital S.A. and Banco Ibi S.A.

5 Best Stocks To Buy Right Now: Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria S.A. (BBVA.N)

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (BBVA) is a diversified international financial group, with strengths in the traditional banking businesses of retail banking, asset management, private banking and wholesale banking. The Company also has investments in some of Spain�� companies. During the year ended December 31, 2009, BBVA focused its operations on six major business areas: Spain and Portugal, Wholesale Banking and Asset Management, Mexico, The United States, South America and Corporate Activities. On August 21, 2009, through its subsidiary BBVA Compass, BBVA acquired certain assets of Guaranty from the United States Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the FDIC).

Spain and Portugal

The Spain and Portugal business area focuses on providing banking services and consumer finance to private individuals, enterprises and institutions in Spain and Portugal. The main business units included in the Spain and Portugal area Spanish Retail Netwo rk, which manages individual customers, high net-worth individuals (private banking) and small companies and retailers in the Spanish market; Corporate and Business Banking, which manages business with small and medium enterprises (SMEs), large companies, institutions and developers in the Spanish market, and Other units, which includes consumer finance, that manages renting and leasing business, credit to individual and to enterprises for consumer products and Internet banking; European Insurance that manages the insurance business in Spain and Portugal, and BBVA Portugal, that manages the banking business in Portugal. The Spanish Retail Network unit services the financial and non-financial needs of households, professional practices, retailers and small businesses. The Corporate and Business Banking unit offers a range of services and products to SMEs, large companies, institutions and developers with specialized branch networks for each segment.

The Company

Top Bank Stocks To Own For 2014: National Australia Bank Ltd (NAB)

National Australia Bank Limited provides products, advice and services. In Australia, it operates through National Australia Bank, MLC and UBank. In the United Kingdom, it operates through Clydesdale Bank. In New Zealand, it operates through Bank of New Zealand. In the United States, it operates through Great Western Bank. Segments include Business Banking, Personal Banking, Wholesale Banking, UK Banking and NZ Banking, MLC and NAB and Great Western Ban. As of April 5, 2012, the Company and its associated entities ceased to be a substantial holder in BlueScope Steel Limited. On May 17, 2012, it ceased to be a substantial holder in Spark Infrastructure Group and Sandfire Resources NL. As of August 24, 2012, the Company and its associated entities ceased to be holder in Tabcorp Holdings Limited. In September 2012, the Company and its associated entities have ceased to be a substantial holder in Incitec Pivot Limited, as of August 30, 2012. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Dale Gillham]

    NAB is still a long way from its all-time high of $44.84 from 2007, but has so far been able to hold above 50 per cent ($22.42) of its all-time high, which is a positive sign. Given that NAB has spent a lot of time in a zigzag formation above this level; you can see how strong this level has been for its shares. At present NAB is probably my least preferred bank stocks when weighing up the risks from a technical perspective, but while it stays above this 50 per cent level it has a greater probability of rising than falling.

    What is holding it back? You can see how a few months ago NAB attempted to break the $26.00 level overhead, which has proven to be an important threshold for those just not willing to pay more for NAB. If you are a bit of a contrarian and like to pick underdogs, you may decide to keep NAB on your watch list because very soon I am expecting it to show where it is headed. A move back below the 50 per cent level would not bode well for those holding NAB.

Top Bank Stocks To Own For 2014: National Australia Bank Ltd (NAB.AX)

National Australia Bank Limited provides products, advice and services. In Australia, it operates through National Australia Bank, MLC and UBank. In the United Kingdom, it operates through Clydesdale Bank. In New Zealand, it operates through Bank of New Zealand. In the United States, it operates through Great Western Bank. Segments include Business Banking, Personal Banking, Wholesale Banking, UK Banking and NZ Banking, MLC and NAB and Great Western Ban. As of April 5, 2012, the Company and its associated entities ceased to be a substantial holder in BlueScope Steel Limited. On May 17, 2012, it ceased to be a substantial holder in Spark Infrastructure Group and Sandfire Resources NL. As of August 24, 2012, the Company and its associated entities ceased to be holder in Tabcorp Holdings Limited. In September 2012, the Company and its associated entities have ceased to be a substantial holder in Incitec Pivot Limited, as of August 30, 2012.

Top Bank Stocks To Own For 2014: Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA.OB)

Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) is a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) chartered by the United States Congress to support liquidity and stability in the secondary mortgage market, where mortgage-related assets are purchased and sold. The Company�� activities include providing market liquidity by securitizing mortgage loans originated by lenders in the primary mortgage market into Fannie Mae mortgage-backed securities (Fannie Mae MBS), and purchasing mortgage loans and mortgage-related securities in the secondary market for its mortgage portfolio. Fannie Mae operates in three business segments: Single-Family business, Multifamily Business (formerly Housing and Community Development (HCD)) and Capital Markets group. Its Single-Family Credit Guaranty and Multifamily businesses work with its lender customers to purchase and securitize mortgage loans customers deliver to the Company into Fannie Mae MBS.

The Company obtains funds to suppo rt its business activities by issuing a variety of debt securities in the domestic and international capital markets. Fannie Mae acquires funds to purchase mortgage-related assets for its mortgage portfolio by issuing a variety of debt securities in the domestic and international capital markets. It also makes other investments. Fannie Mae conducts its business in the United States residential mortgage market and the global securities market. It conducts business in the United States residential mortgage market and the global securities market. During the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company��

Single-Family Business

Single-Family business includes mortgage securitizations, mortgage acquisitions, credit risk management and credit loss management. Single-Family business works with the Company�� lender customers to provide funds to the mortgage market by securitizing single-family mortgage loans into Fannie Mae MBS. Its Single-Family business also works with its Capital Markets group to facilitate th! e! purchase of single-family mortgage loans for the Company�� mortgage portfolio. Fannie Mae�� Single-Family business prices and manages the credit risk on its single-family guaranty book of business, which consists of single-family mortgage loans underlying Fannie Mae MBS and single-family loans held in its mortgage portfolio. Single-Family business and Capital Markets group securitize and purchase primarily single-family fixed-rate or adjustable-rate, first lien mortgage loans, or mortgage-related securities backed by these types of loans.

The Company securitizes or purchases loans insured by Federal Housing Administration (FHA), loans guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and loans guaranteed by the Rural Development Housing and Community Facilities Program of the Department of Agriculture, manufactured housing loans, reverse mortgage loans, multifamily mortgage loans, subordinate lien mortgage loans and other mortgage-related securities. I ts Single-Family business securitizes single-family mortgage loans and issues single-class Fannie Mae MBS. Fannie Mae�� Single-Family business securitizes loans solely in lender swap transactions, in which lenders deliver pools of mortgage loans to the Company, which are placed immediately in a trust, in exchange for Fannie Mae MBS backed by these loans. Generally, the servicing of the mortgage loans held in its mortgage portfolio or that backs its Fannie Mae MBS is performed by mortgage servicers on the Company�� behalf. Lenders who sell single-family mortgage loans to Fannie Mae service these loans for the Company. For loans it owns or guarantees, the lender or servicer must obtain its approval before selling servicing rights to another servicer.

Fannie Mae�� mortgage servicers collect and deliver principal and interest payments, administer escrow accounts, monitor and report delinquencies, perform default prevention activities, evaluate transfers of own ership interests, respond to requests for partial releas! es o! f s! ecurit! y, and handle proceeds from casualty and condemnation losses. Its mortgage servicers are the primary point of contact for borrowers and perform implementation of its homeownership assistance initiatives, negotiation of workouts of troubled loans, and loss mitigation activities. Mortgage servicers also inspect and preserve properties and process foreclosures and bankruptcies.

Multifamily Mortgage Business

Multifamily business works with the Company�� lender customers to provide funds to the mortgage market by securitizing multifamily mortgage loans into Fannie Mae MBS. Through its Multifamily business, Fannie Mae provides liquidity and support to the United States multifamily housing market principally by purchasing or securitizing loans that finance multifamily rental housing properties. It also provides some limited debt financing for other acquisition, development, construction and rehabilitation activity related to projects that complement this business. Fannie Mae�� Multifamily business also works with its Capital Markets group to facilitate the purchase and securitization of multifamily mortgage loans and securities for Fannie Mae�� portfolio, as well as to facilitate portfolio securitization and resecuritization activities.

The Company�� multifamily guaranty book of business consists of multifamily mortgage loans underlying Fannie Mae MBS and multifamily loans and securities held in Fannie Mae�� mortgage portfolio. Revenues for Fannie Mae�� Multifamily business are derived from a variety of sources, including guaranty fees received as compensation for assuming the credit risk on the mortgage loans underlying multifamily Fannie Mae MBS and on the multifamily mortgage loans held in its portfolio and on other mortgage-related securities; transaction fees associated with the multifamily business, and other bond credit enhancement related fees. As with the servicing of single-family mortgages, multifamily mortgage servicing is performed by the ! lenders !! who sell ! the mortgages to the Company. Fannie Mae�� Multifamily business is organized and operated as an integrated commercial real estate finance business.

Capital Markets

Capital Markets group's primary business activities include mortgage and other investments, mortgage securitizations, structured mortgage securitizations and other customer services, and interest rate risk management. Capital Markets group manages the Company�� investment activity in mortgage-related assets and other interest-earning, non-mortgage investments. It funds its investments primarily through proceeds the Company receives from the issuance of debt securities in the domestic and international capital markets. Its business activity is focused on making short-term use of its balance sheet rather than long-term investments. Activities Fannie Mae is undertaking to provide liquidity to the mortgage market include whole loan conduit, early funding, real estate mortgage investment c onduit (REMICs) and other structured securitizations and dollar roll transactions. Whole loan conduit activities include its purchase of both single-family and multifamily loans principally for the purpose of securitizing them. During the year ended December 31, 2010, it was engaged in dollar roll activity. A dollar roll transaction is a commitment to purchase a mortgage-related security with a concurrent agreement to re-sell a similar security at a later date or vice versa.

Fannie Mae�� Capital Markets group is engaged in issuing both single-class and multi-class Fannie Mae MBS through both portfolio securitizations and structured securitizations involving third party assets. Its Capital Markets group creates single-class and multi-class Fannie Mae MBS from mortgage-related assets held in its mortgage portfolio. Fannie Mae�� Capital Markets group may sell these Fannie Mae MBS into the secondary market or may retain the Fannie Mae MBS in its investment portf olio. The Company�� Capital Markets group cr! eates sin! gle-c! lass and ! multi-class structured Fannie Mae MBS, for its lender customers or securities dealer customers, in exchange for a transaction fee. The Company�� Capital Markets group provides its lender customers and their affiliates with services that include offering to purchase a range of mortgage assets, including non-standard mortgage loan products; segregating customer portfolios to obtain optimal pricing for their mortgage loans, and assisting customers with hedging their mortgage business.

Although the Company�� Capital Markets group�� business activities are focused on short-term financing and investing, revenue from its Capital Markets group is derived primarily from the difference, or spread, between the interests it earns on its mortgage and non-mortgage investments and the interest it incurs on the debt the Company issues to fund these assets. Its Capital Markets revenues are primarily derived from the Company�� mortgage asset portfolio. Capital Markets gro up funds its investments primarily through the issuance of a variety of debt securities in a range of maturities in the domestic and international capital markets. Investors in the Company�� debt securities include commercial bank portfolios and trust departments, investment fund managers, insurance companies, pension funds, state and local governments, and central banks.

The Company competes with Freddie Mac, FHA and Ginnie Mae.