Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Buy Right Now

On May 4, thousands of�Berkshire Hathaway� (NYSE: BRK-A  ) (NYSE: BRK-B  ) faithful will descend on Omaha for the company's annual shareholders' meeting.

They will be there to toss newspapers onto the porch of a Clayton Home. They will be there to try on Justin boots, buy GEICO insurance, eat at Gorat's steakhouse, wander the Nebraska Furniture Mart, and run in the Brooks "Invest in Yourself" 5k race. And, of course, they will be there to hear Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger -- two of the greatest investors of our time -- answer questions from shareholders and the media.

Since this is one of the most Foolish days on the calendar, the Fool will be sending a contingent to this "Woodstock for Capitalists" to fill in Foolish readers on everything (or, at least,�nearly�everything) that Warren and Charlie have to say.

"But wait!" you're no doubt thinking. "Do we really have to wait nearly two weeks for the fun to begin?"

Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Buy Right Now: Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd (FRFHF.PK)

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

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Alex Jordon]

    There's talk that Prem Watsa, head of Fairfax Financial Holdings (FRFHF.PK), could possibly be involved in a privatization bid for the company. Consider:

  • [By Infinity Group]

    With 515 million shares outstanding, this equates to 33% of all shares being shorted. It should also be noted that Prem Watsa's Fairfax Financial Holdings (FRFHF.PK) is holding 51.8 million BlackBerry shares. Prem Watsa stated at the annual FairFax shareholders meeting that Fairfax is holding a long position with BlackBerry and anticipates shareholder value increasing over the next 2-3 years. The cost basis for FairFax financial holdings is approximately $17 per BlackBerry share.

Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Buy Right Now: Principal Financial Group Inc(PFG)

Principal Financial Group, Inc. provides retirement savings, investment, and insurance products and services worldwide. The company?s Retirement and Investor Services segment provides retirement savings and related investment products and services, including a portfolio of asset accumulation products and services primarily to small and medium-sized businesses and individuals in the United States. This segment offers products and services to businesses for defined contribution pension plans, including 401(k) and 403(b) plans, defined benefit pension plans, nonqualified executive benefit plans, and employee stock ownership plan consulting services; and annuities, mutual funds, and bank products and services to the employees of its business customers and other individuals. Principal Financial Group?s Principal Global Investors segment offers a range of equity, fixed income, and real estate investments, as well as specialized overlay and advisory services to institutional inve stors. The company?s Principal International segment offers retirement products and services, annuities, mutual funds, institutional asset management, and life insurance accumulation products in Brazil, Chile, China, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, and Thailand. Principal Financial Group?s U.S. Insurance Solutions segment offers individual life insurance, as well as specialty benefits in the United States. Its individual life insurance products include universal and variable universal life insurance and traditional life insurance; and specialty benefit products comprise group dental and vision insurance, individual and group disability insurance, and group life insurance, as well as fee-for-service claims administration and wellness services. The company was founded in 1879 and is based in Des Moines, Iowa.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Patricio Kehoe] ts newest deal with private benefits company Liazon Corp., through which the firm will offer employer-sponsored group benefit plans to small and medium businesses. While the company already sells ancillary benefit plans, this deal will now also include dental, life insurance, disability insurance and critical illness coverage in an attempt to stay on top of the insurance industry. As an industry leader, Principal has over $466 billion in assets under management and 19 million customers, fragmented among small and medium-size businesses. Furthermore, its solid fourth quarter results have encouraged investment gurus like Paul Tudor Jones (Trades, Portfolio) and Steven Cohen (Trades, Portfolio) to recently acquire large amounts of the company�� shares. So, let�� see what this insurer has in store for the future.

    Broadening Horizons

    Although Principal�� core business is in life insurance, the company has been pursuing a more diverse growth strategy lately, and is now focused on expanding its position in the retirement service and asset management segment. With almost 30,700 pension plans covering over 3.4 million customers, this business��growth rate has not only boosted overall profitability, marked by a 31% annual increase in operating earnings for fiscal 2013, but also helped offset the headwinds of low interest rates and volatility in the emerging markets. In fact, the fourth quarter showed a 65% boost in premium and fee income for the segmenta , consequence of the rollout of total retirement suite products.

    Moreover, Principal�� emphasis on retirement products and its use of capital salesforce for distribution has added on to the natural switching cost advantage in the insurance industry. Since plan sponsors provided with pension assets rarely switch providers, the company will likely benefit in the long term from its persistency, as seen in the quarterly 9% bump in recurring deposits.

    On another note, Principal�� fee-based b

  • [By Michael Calia]

    Principal Financial Group Inc.(PFG) said its fourth-quarter earnings rose 8.6%, touting its strong results for the period amid continued economic concern.

Best Growth Companies To Invest In Right Now: Cigna Corp (CI)

Cigna Corporation (Cigna), incorporated on November 3, 1981, is a holding company. Cigna is a global health service company, with insurance subsidiaries that are providers of medical, dental, disability, life and accident insurance and related products and services. In the United States, these products and services are offered through employers and other groups, and in selected international markets, Cigna offers supplemental health, life and accident insurance products and international health care coverage and services to businesses, governmental and non-governmental organizations and individuals. The Company also has certain run-off operations, including a Run-off Reinsurance segment. Cigna�� revenues are derived from premiums, fees, mail order pharmacy, other revenues and investment income. Cigna operates in five segments: Health Care, Disability and Life, International, Run-off Reinsurance, and Other Operations, including Corporate-owned Life Insurance. On January 31, 2012, Cigna acquired HealthSpring, Inc. On November 30, 2011, the Company acquired FirstAssist Group Holdings Limited. In August 2012, the Company acquired Great American Supplemental Benefits from American Financial Group, Inc. In January 2013, the Company acquired select Arcadian and Humana Medicare Advantage plans in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas. In September 2013, Cigna Corporation completed its acquisition of Alegis Care, a portfolio company of Triton Pacific Capital Partners. Effective September 3, 2013, Cigna Corp acquired Home Physicians Management LLC.

Health Care

Cigna�� Health Care segment (Cigna HealthCare) offers insured and self-insured medical, dental, behavioral health, vision, and prescription drug benefit plans, health advocacy programs and other products and services that may be integrated to provide health care benefit programs. Cigna HealthCare companies offer these products and services in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the United States Virgin Islands. Cigna offers a ! range of products and services to employers and other groups that sponsor group health plans. With the exception of Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Medicare, Voluntary and stop loss products, each of Cigna HealthCare�� products is offered with alternative funding options. Cigna may sell multiple products under the same funding arrangement to the same employer. Approximately 85% of the Company�� medical customers are enrolled in self-insured plans, with the remainder split between guaranteed cost and experience-rated insured plans. Approximately 90% of its medical customers are enrolled in self-insured and experience-rated plans. Cigna also offers guaranteed cost medical and dental insurance to individuals. Cigna HealthCare offers a product line of indemnity managed care benefit plans on an insured (guaranteed cost or experience-rated) or self-insured basis. The Network, Network Open Access, and Open Access Plus In-Network products cover only those services provided by Cigna HealthCare participating health care professionals (in-network) and emergency services provided by non-participating health care professionals (out-of-network). The Network point of service (POS), Network POS Open Access and Open Access Plus plans (OAP) cover health care services provided by participating, and non-participating health care professionals.

Cigna HealthCare offers a Preferred Provider Plans (PPO) product line that features a national network. Like Network and Open Access Plus Plans, the PPO product line is offered on an insured (guaranteed cost or experience-rated) or self-insured basis. Cigna HealthCare offers the Cigna Choice Fund suite of products, including Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA), Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA). Cigna HealthCare offers stop loss insurance coverage for self-insured plans. This stop loss coverage reimburses the plan for claims in excess of a predetermined amount, either for individuals (specific) or the entire group (aggregate), ! or both. ! Cigna HealthCare provides Taft-Hartley trusts and other entities access to its national provider network and provides claim re-pricing and other services. Cigna HealthCare�� voluntary medical products are offered to employers with 51 or more eligible employees. As a result of the acquisition of HealthSpring, Cigna operates Medicare Advantage coordinated care plans in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Under the Medicare program, Medicare-eligible beneficiaries may receive health care benefits, including prescription drugs, through a managed care health plan, such as the Company�� coordinated care plans, and The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reimburse the Company pursuant to a risk adjustment payment methodology.

Cigna�� Medicare Part D prescription drug program, Cigna Medicare Rx, provides a number of plan options, as well as service and information support to Medicare and Medicaid eligible customers. Cigna Medicare Rx is available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Cigna HealthCare offers medical management, disease management, and other health advocacy services to employers and other plan sponsors. These services are offered to customers covered under Cigna HealthCare administered plans, as well as individuals covered under plans insured and/or administered by competing insurers/third-party administrators. Cigna�� onsite services include more than 75 health centers and the annual administration of more than 400,000 biometric screenings, as well as approximately 2,200 wellness seminars each year. As a result of the acquisition of HealthSpring, Cigna operates three LivingWell Health Centers, where Medicare customers can receive care from physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, and nurses educators. Cigna arranges for behavioral health care services for customers through its network of participating behavioral health care professionals. Cigna offers behavioral health care case management services, employee assistance programs (EAP), and wor! k/life pr! ograms to employers, Government entities and other groups sponsoring health benefit plans. As of December 31, 2011, Cigna�� behavioral national network had approximately 108,000 access points to psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical social workers and approximately 9,000 facilities and clinics.

Cigna Pharmacy Management offers prescription drug plans to its insured and self-funded customers both in conjunction with its medical products and on a stand-alone basis. With a network of over 62,000 contracted pharmacies, Cigna Pharmacy Management is a pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) offering clinical integration programs, specialty pharmacy solutions and home delivery of prescription medicines. Cigna�� specialty pharmacy outcome management program, TheraCare, manages specialty conditions. TheraCare is coordinated with other Cigna health advocacy programs and all data is captured for analysis and reporting. Cigna Dental Health offers a variety of dental care products, including dental health maintenance organization plans (Dental HMO), dental preferred provider organization (DPPO) plans, dental exclusive provider organization plans, traditional dental indemnity plans and a dental discount program. As of December 31, 2011, Cigna Dental Health customers totaled approximately 10.9 million. Managed dental care products are offered in 38 states for Dental HMO and 43 states and the District of Columbia for Dental PPO through a network of independent health care professionals that have contracted with Cigna Dental Health to provide dental services. Cigna Dental Health customers access care from the dental PPO network in the United States and one of the dental HMO networks in the United States, with approximately 235,500 DPPO-contracted access points (approximately 92,000 health care professionals) and approximately 58,000 dental HMO-contracted access points (approximately 16,500 health care professionals).

Disability and Life

Cigna�� Disability and Life segment (Cign! a Disabil! ity and Life) provides insurance products and their related services, such as group long-term and short-term disability insurance, group life insurance and accident and specialty insurance. These products and services are provided by subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation. Cigna Disability and Life markets products in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands and Canada. Cigna Disability and Life also provides assistance to employees in returning to work and assistance to their employers in managing the cost of employee disability. Cigna Disability and Life offers personal accident insurance coverage, which consists primarily of accidental death and dismemberment and travel accident insurance to employers. Group accident insurance may be employer-paid or employee-paid. Cigna Disability and Life also offers specialty insurance services that consist primarily of disability and life, accident, and hospital indemnity products to professional or trade associations and financial institutions.


CIGNA�� International segment (CIGNA International) offers supplemental health, life and accident insurance products, as well as international health care products and services. These products and services are provided by subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including foreign operating entities. Cigna International provides employers, affinity groups and individuals with local and global health care and related financial protection programs. Supplemental health products provide a specified payment for a range of health risks and include personal accident, accidental death, critical illness, hospitalization, travel, dental, cancer and other dread disease coverages. Term life, as well as variable universal life insurance and other savings products are also included in the product portfolio. Cigna International�� supplemental health, life and accident insurance products are offered in South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the European Un! ion, Chin! a, New Zealand, Thailand and Turkey. In China, Cigna International owns a 50% interest in a joint venture through, which its products and services are offered. Cigna International�� health care businesses primarily consist of products and services to meet the needs of local and multinational companies and organizations and their local and globally mobile employees and dependents. These products and services include insurance and administrative services for medical, dental, vision, life, accidental death and dismemberment, and disability risks. In addition, Cigna International�� health care businesses include products and services, which are primarily provided through group benefits programs to employees of businesses and other organizations in the United Kingdom and Spain. These products and services include medical indemnity insurance coverage, with some offerings having managed care or administrative service aspects.

Run-off Reinsurance

Cigna�� reinsurance segment reinsured guaranteed minimum death benefits (GMDB) (also known as variable annuity death benefits (VADBe)), under certain variable annuities issued by other insurance companies. These variable annuities are investments in mutual funds combined with a death benefit. The Company purchased retrocessional protection that covers approximately 5% of the assumed risks. The Company also maintains a dynamic hedge program. Cigna also reinsured guaranteed minimum income benefits (GMIB) under certain variable annuities issued by other insurance companies. These variable annuities are investments in mutual funds combined with minimum income and death benefits. These products under Cigna�� Run-off Reinsurance segment were sold principally in North America and Europe through a sales force and through intermediaries.

Other Operations

The principal products of the Corporate-owned Life Insurance (COLI) business are permanent insurance contracts sold to corporations to provide coverage on the lives ! of certai! n employees for the purpose of funding employer-paid future benefit obligations. The principal services provided by the COLI business are issuance and administration of the insurance policies. COLI policies provide a death benefit for which Cigna collects fees to cover mortality risk. COLI policies also allow policy owners to borrow against a portion of their cash surrender value.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Michael A. Robinson]

    So, it's a pretty safe bet that if a health insurer like Cigna Corp. (NYSE: CI) or Blue Cross Blue Shield messed up this badly, heads would roll.

    For Sebelius and even for Obama himself, the problem actually runs much deeper than it appears.

Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Buy Right Now: Cincinnati Financial Corporation(CINF)

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

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Dividends4Life]

    Fair Value: In calculating fair value, I consider the NPV MMA Differential Fair Value along with these four calculations of fair value, see page 2 of the linked PDF for a detailed description: 1. Avg. High Yield Price 2. 20-Year DCF Price 3. Avg. P/E Price 4. Graham Number GD is trading at a premium to all four valuations above. The stock is trading at a 49.9% premium to its calculated fair value of $71.45. GD did not earn any Stars in this section. Dividend Analytical Data: In this section there are three possible Stars and three key metrics, see page 2 of the linked PDF for a detailed description: 1. Free Cash Flow Payout 2. Debt To Total Capital 3. Key Metrics 4. Dividend Growth Rate 5. Years of Div. Growth 6. Rolling 4-yr Div. > 15% GD earned two Stars in this section for 1.) and 2.) above. A Star was earned since the Free Cash Flow payout ratio was less than 60% and there were no negative Free Cash Flows over the last 10 years. The stock earned a Star as a result of its most recent Debt to Total Capital being less than 45%. The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1979 and has increased its dividend payments for 23 consecutive years. Dividend Income vs. MMA: Why would you assume the equity risk and invest in a dividend stock if you could earn a better return in a much less risky money market account (MMA) or Treasury bond? This section compares the earning ability of this stock with a high yield MMA (20-year Treasury bond). Two items are considered in this section, see page 2 of the linked PDF for a detailed description: 1. NPV MMA Diff. 2. Years to > MMA The NPV MMA Diff. of the $741 is below the $1,200 target I look for in a stock that has increased dividends as long as GD has. If GD grows its dividend at 10.0% per year, it will take 6 years to equal a MMA yielding an estimated 20-year average rate of 3.68%. Memberships and Peers: GD is a member of the S&P 500 and a member of the Broad Dividend Achievers��Index. The

  • [By Dividends4Life]

    According to a Gabelli Funds report, managed distribution policies offer several advantages, including:1. Lower difference between the fund�� market price and its NAV per share.2. Provides support during periods when the stock market is in a decline.3. Provides a measurable performance target for the investment adviser.Below are several high-yield funds from CEFA that have a managed distribution policy (yields as of December 16):Aberdeen Australia Eqty (IAF)- Distribution Yield: 10.4%- Income Yield: 3.46%Bexil Advisers LLC� (DNI)- Distribution Yield: 11.1%- Income Yield: 3.56%BlackRock En Capital&Inc (CII)- Distribution Yield: 8.78%- Income Yield: 2.34%Cornerstone Strat Value (CLM)- Distribution Yield: 18.77%- Income Yield: 1.83%Cornerstone Total Return (CRF)- Distribution Yield: 19.10%- Income Yield: 0.85%Delaware Inv Div & Inc (DDF)- Distribution Yield: 6.70%- Income Yield: 5.26%Gabelli Equity Trust (GAB)- Distribution Yield: 7.58%- Income Yield: 1.54%Gabelli Utility Trust (GUT)- Distribution Yield: 9.45%- Income Yield: 2.84%MFS Special Value Trust (MFV)- Distribution Yield: 9.60%- Income Yield: 5.73%Nuveen Tx-Adv TR Strat (JTA)- Distribution Yield: 6.70%- Income Yield: 3.12%TCW Strategic Income (TSI)- Distribution Yield: 10.54%- Income Yield: 7.88%Zweig Total Return (ZTR)- Distribution Yield: 7.27%- Income Yield: 1.95%As noted in the Gabelli report, a managed distribution policy may create confusion regarding the true current yield since the reported yield includes the return of capital portion. You can see the disparity above between the income yield and the distribution (reported) yield.If you are looking for a sustainable and growing dividend, you may want to consider some blue-chip dividend stocks such as these with a Free Cash Flow Payout less than 50%, 50+ years of consecutive dividend increases and a 2%+ yield:3M Co. (MMM) is a diversified global company provides enhanced product functionality in electronics, health care, industrial, consumer

Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Buy Right Now: RSA Insurance Group PLC (RSA)

RSA Insurance Group plc is the holding company of the RSA group of companies whose principal activity is the transaction of personal and commercial general insurance business. The Company operates in four segments: Scandinavia, Canada, United Kingdom and Western Europe, and Emerging Markets. The Company provides insurance covers for a range of renewable energy technologies, including Wind Energy, which includes onshore and offshore facilities; Solar Energy, which includes photovoltaic, concentrated and thermal installations; Small Hydro, which includes power stations producing an output up to 50 megawatt, and Bio energy, which includes Biomass, Biogas and Waste to Energy plants. The Company works with both large and small brokers. The Company works with partners, such as building societies, banks, retailers, motor manufacturers, charities, utilities and unions to offer their customers appropriate insurance products. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Sofia Horta e Costa]

    RSA Insurance Group Plc (RSA), which insures cars, homes and ships in the U.K., Scandinavia and emerging markets, rose 0.8 percent to 114.1 pence. Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the stock to overweight, the equivalent of a buy recommendation, from underweight.

  • [By Sarah Jones]

    RSA Insurance Group Plc (RSA) gained 0.8 percent to 114.1 pence after Morgan Stanley upgraded the insurer to overweight from underweight, saying the share price will benefit from a stronger prospective U.K. performance. The stock has declined 9.2 percent so far this year, while the FTSE 350 Insurance Index has rallied 10 percent.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Kimco Unveils 2Q Transaction Update - Analyst Blog

Kimco Realty Corp. (KIM) – a retail real estate investment trust (REIT) – recently unveiled its second-quarter 2013 transaction activities. During the quarter, the company's investments totaled to around $172 million, while the proceeds from divestitures amounted to about $307 million.


During the quarter, Kimco bought 2 former joint venture (JV) properties namely 'The Marketplace at Factoria' and 'Canyon Square Plaza'. The assets spanning 607,000 square feet were acquired for $146.6 million.

Wash.-based shopping center, The Marketplace at Factoria is situated in the prosperous Seattle community of Bellevue. The property, which is 94% leased, boasts a cluster of retail giants such as Target Corp. (TGT), Nordstrom Inc. (JWN) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT). On the other hand, Calif.-based Canyon Square Plaza is in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area). The property is a grocery-anchored center and occupied by a North American grocery company, Albertsons.

Moreover, during the quarter, Kimco increased its stake in 3 existing institutional JVs – Kimco-UBS ('KUBS'), Kimco Income Fund I ('KIF I') and Kimco Income REIT ('KIR') – for $133.3 million.


During second-quarter 2013, Kimco disposed 11 U.S. shopping centers for $71.6 million, of which the company's share was $36.9 million. Since the initiation of its asset-recycling program in 2010, Kimco has sold 121 properties spanning 11.9 million square feet, for $907.2 million. Of this, Kimco's share was $551.4 million.

In addition, the company sold 9 assets of its Mexican shopping center portfolio to a local real estate operator for 3.35 billion Mexican pesos ($274 million), of which company's share was $93 million.

Non-Retail Portfolio Update

In tune with the monetization of non-retail assets, Kimco reduced its non-retail investment portfolio by $177.9 million (46%) during second-quarter 2013. Notab! ly, the non-retail portfolio is presently at its lowest level, since 2010, and represents below 2% of gross assets.

Moreover, during the second quarter, Kimco and its JV partner – American Industries – decided to sell their interests in several trusts that hold Mexican industrial properties portfolio. The assets proposed for sale to Terrafina – a Mexican REIT – were valued at about $600 million.

Our Viewpoint

We remain impressed with Kimco's strategic move of restructuring the overall portfolio through divestiture of non-strategic assets and acquisition of high-quality properties. Moreover, acquiring interests in existing JVs go well with the company's core operating strategy. This augurs well for future earnings as the properties are positioned mostly in high-income, high-growth areas. Moreover, the high credit tenant retention limits the downside risks and provides a long-term steady source of rental income for the company.

Kimco is scheduled to release second-quarter 2013 results on Jul 30, after the closing bell. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for second-quarter funds from operations (FFO) is currently pegged at 33 cents per share.

Kimco has an Earnings ESP (Read: Zacks Earnings ESP: A Better Method) of 0.00% for the second quarter. This, along with its Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), reduces the chances of a positive earnings surprise.

Note: FFO, a widely accepted and reported measure of the performance of REITs is derived by adding depreciation, amortization and other non-cash expenses to net income.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Stocks Hitting 52-Week Lows

AU Optronics (NYSE: AUO) shares reached a new 52-week low of $3.06. AU Optronics' PEG ratio is 2.34.

CBL & Associates Properties (NYSE: CBL) shares fell 5.20% to reach a new 52-week low of $18.43 after the company reported Q3 results.

VIVUS (NASDAQ: VVUS) shares dipped 11.58% to touch a new 52-week low of $8.32 on weak sales of Qsymia. Bank of America downgraded VIVUS from Buy to Neutral.

Acacia Research (NASDAQ: ACTG) shares fell 0.47% to touch a new 52-week low of $14.65. Acacia Research shares have dropped 37.84% over the past 52 weeks, while the S&P 500 index has gained 26.42% in the same period.

Posted-In: 52-Week LowsNews Movers & Shakers Intraday Update Markets

(c) 2013 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Best Restaurant Companies To Own In Right Now

Best Restaurant Companies To Own In Right Now: Ignite Restaurant Group Inc (IRG)

Ignite Restaurant Group, Inc., incorporated on February 4, 2002, operates two restaurant brands, Joe's Crab Shack (Joe's) and Brick House Tavern + Tap (Brick House). The Company's Joe's Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap operate in a diverse set of markets across the United States. Joe's Crab Shack is a national chain of casual seafood restaurants serving a variety of seafood items, with an emphasis on crab. Brick House Tavern + Tap is a casual restaurant brand that provides guests a gastro pub experience by offering a blend of menu items. As of December 31, 2012, the Company owned and operated 144 restaurants in 33 states. In September 2013, Ignite Restaurant Group Inc announced the opening of its newest Joe's Crab Shack restaurant, located in Newark, New Jersey.

Joe's Crab Shack

The Company's Joe's Crab Shack offers an outdoor patio for guests to enjoy eating and drinking and a children's playground. Joe's also has many locatio ns that are located on waterfront property. Interior design elements include a nautical, vacation theme to invoke memories of beach vacations and a genuine crab shack experience. Joe's Crab Shack restaurants have over 200 seats. Many of the Company's restaurants also include a small gift shop where guests can purchase souvenirs to commemorate their dining experience. Joe's Crab Shack also leverages its crab-forward menu with other crab items, including Made-From-Scratch Crab Cakes, Crab Nachos and Crazy-Good Crab Dip. In addition to its core crab-focused menu, Joe's also offers a range of entrees featuring a variety of seafood, including the Get Stuffed Snapper, Surf 'N Turf Burger and The Big Hook Up, as well as a range of traditional seafood entrees like the Fisherman's Platter. Joe's also offers several out of water options, such as Pan Fried Ch! eesy Chicken and Whiskey Smoked Ribs. In addition, alcoholic beverages include the Shark Bite, Category 5 Hurricane and Mason J ar cocktails emerging as guests' top choices. Joe's menu inc! ludes more than 29 items made with either Queen, Snow, Dungeness or King Crabs sourced from government regulated and sustainable fisheries. Its menu offers 14 appetizers, including Made-From-Scratch Crab Cakes, Crab Nachos and Crazy-Good Crab Dip, and over 50 entrees, including Steampots, Crab in a Bucket, Skillet Paella, Stuffed Snapper and out of water options like Whiskey Smoked Ribs.

Brick House Tavern + Tap

The Company's Brick House's interior decor includes custom lighting, dark mahogany woods, open sight lines, high definition television (HD TVs), and an inviting fireplace. In addition to a traditional dining room and bar area, Brick House also offers large communal tables and a section of leather recliners positioned in front of large HD TVs, where guests receive their own TV tray for dining. Outdoor seating is also available on the patio or around an open fire pit at nearly all locations. Both food and beverages are served by personable and engaging service staff. The typical Brick House restaurant is approximately 8,500 square feet and averages approximately 250 seats, which includes both traditional tables and seating options. Brick House offers its guests a selection of contemporary tavern food. Brick House's menu includes 17 appetizers and over 53 entrees. Handcrafted appetizers include Deviled Eggs, Meatloaf Sliders, Brick Pizza, Meat and Cheese Board and Fried Stuffed Olives. Brick House offers an array of burgers, including The Kobe, which is hand formed from American Wagyu beef. Guests can also choose from a selection of homemade entrees, such as Drunken Chops, BBQ Baby Backs, Chicken & Waffles, and its Prime Rib Sandwich. In addition, Brick House's Brick Burgers, include the Gun Show Burger and the Black & Bleu Burger. Brick House's beverage selection includes impor! ted and d! omestic beers along with hand-pulled cask beer. All Brick House restaurants have a bar that supports a variety of liquor drin ks, wine and beer cocktails like the Shandy and Bee Sting, a! s well as! specialty cocktails like the Dark & Stormy, Moscow Mule and The Zombie.

The Company competes with Red Lobster, Bonefish Grill, Landry's Seafood, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, BJ's Restaurants, Yard House, Cheesecake Factory, Bravo Brio and Buffalo Wild Wings, Applebee's, Chili's, T.G.I. Friday's, Texas Roadhouse and Outback Steakhouse.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Victor Selva]

    The firm is currently Zacks Rank # 3 - Hold, and it also has a longer-term recommendation of "Underperfom." For investors looking for a Zacks Rank # 1 – Strong Buy, Ignite Restaurant Group Inc. (IRG) and The Wendy's Company (WEN) could be the options.

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Margins matter. The more Ignite Restaurant Group (Nasdaq: IRG  ) keeps of each buck it earns in revenue, the more money it has to invest in growth, fund new strategic plans, or (gasp!) distribute to shareholders. Healthy margins often separate pretenders from the best stocks in the market. That's why we check up on margins at least once a quarter in this series. I'm looking for the absolute numbers, so I can compare them to current and potential competitors, and any trend that may tell me how strong Ignite Restaurant Group's competitive position could be.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Friday, April 25, 2014

Amazon, Pandora plunge, pulling down tech stocks

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Big losses from Inc. and Pandora Media Inc. stole the tech-sector spotlight Friday as negative reactions to those companies' business outlooks led a broad slate of losses on Friday.

Amazon (AMZN)  fell nearly 10% to close at $308.83 a share after the online retailer and video-streaming company reported strong first-quarter results late Thursday, but forecast a second-quarter operating loss as it invests more money into projects like delivery services and its new Amazon Fire TV set-top box.

Pandora (P)  plunged more than 16% to end the week at $23.51 a share. On Thursday, Pandora reported better-than-expected sales and narrowed its first-quarter loss from a year ago. But investors focused on a second-quarter forecast that it would break even or earn up to 3 cents a share on revenue between $213 million and $218 million. Analysts had been forecasting earnings of 5 cents a share on $218 million in sales.

Nearly every other notable tech stock lost ground Friday, with Facebook Inc.   (FB) falling more than 5%, Yahoo Inc. (YHOO)  giving up 2% and Netflix Inc. (NFLX)  shedding more than 6% by the time the market closed.

The Nasdaq Composite Index (COMP) , which includes many leading tech stocks, fell almost 73 points, or 1.8%, to finish at 4,075 and the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX)  giving up more than 3%.

Part of the broader market's decline was blamed on growing concerns about the crisis between Russia and Ukraine.

One of the few tech stocks to rise Friday was Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) , and it only gained 5 cents a share to close at $39.91 following what was seen as a set of solid fiscal third-quarter results.

Late Thursday, Microsoft reported a quarterly profit of 68 cents a share on $20.4 billion in revenue, while analysts had forecast the company to earn 63 cents a share on sales of $20.39 billion. Daniel Ives, an analyst with FBR & Co., said the first results under Chief Executive Satya Nadella suggest Microsoft is trying to make the right moves to keep itself and its Windows franchise relevant.

"A stronger cloud [computing] contribution and a slightly improving Windows franchise is giving Mr. Nadella and Microsoft some healthy momentum for the coming quarters," Ives said. "So far, the Nadella era is off to a golden start, and now it comes down to execution on the cloud-mobile vision and trying to successfully integrate the Nokia acquisition," which closed Friday.

More tech news from MarketWatch:

Amazon stung by price target cuts

Apple's retail expansion about company emerging from its own shadow

Microsoft CEO sees "gold rush" in the cloud

Thursday, April 24, 2014

UPS blames winter weather for drop in 1Q profit

DALLAS (AP) — First-quarter net income at UPS slumped 12% as winter storms increased costs for the shipping giant and cut into its revenue.

The company said Thursday that the rough start to the year means that full-year earnings will come in at the low end of its earlier forecasts.

Separately, UPS said that a new contract with the Teamsters union covering 253,000 employees will take effect on Friday. The five-year deal is retroactive to last August and includes wage and benefit increases and a new base wage of $10 per hour for part-timers, the company said.

About 125,000 full-time and part-time employees who were still on UPS-sponsored health plans will move to three separate multi-employer plans, UPS said in a regulatory filing. UPS said it will make a cash payment of $2.27 billion and transfer $1.2 billion for post-retirement obligations to the multi-employer plans.

UPS said that it expects to take a pretax charge of about $1.047 billion in the second quarter to cover the changes.

United Parcel Service reported first-quarter net income of $911 million, or 98 cents per share, well short of the $1.08 that Wall Street was expecting and less than the $1.04 billion, or $1.08 per share, it earned a year earlier.

UPS said winter storms reduced operating profit by $200 million as costs rose.

Revenue increased by 2.6% to $13.78 billion, but that was still shy of the $13.91 billion that analysts had forecast, according to a FactSet survey.

Average daily shipments in the U.S. rose 4.2%, but at the same time, revenue per package fell at home and abroad as customers shifted toward lower-priced services.

UPS said that full-year earnings would be at the low end of its earlier forecast of between $5.05 and $5.30 per share. Analysts expect $5.18 per share.

Shares of UPS Inc. fell 60 cents to close at $98.64. They are down 6% so far in 2014.

Apple Earnings: Four Key Themes

A long-running streak is in jeopardy when Apple(AAPL) reports fiscal second-quarter financial results Wednesday: It's been 11 years since the company reported a year-over-year decline in quarterly revenue.

It's possible this time. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters project revenue of $43.54 billion for the quarter ended in March, slightly below $43.6 billion in the same period a year earlier. Apple forecast revenue for the period of $42 billion to $44 billion.

The last time Apple's revenue declined on a year-over-year basis was in March 2003. Its revenue then: $1.48 billion.

The streak, and its possible end, reflect both Apple's incredible success over the last decade and its current challenges. Since 2003, Apple's revenue has increased 30-fold. But now Apple's growth engine is slowing and the company is fighting the perception that its best days are behind it. Those concerns gained momentum after the company reported results for the first fiscal-quarter, ended in December.

Apple reported that it sold 51 million iPhones in that quarter, short of analysts' expectations of 55 million. The disappointing iPhone sales came despite the introduction of two new iPhone models — the 5S and 5C — before the holiday shopping season for the first time. Chief Executive Tim Cook noted that iPhone sales in North America were especially soft.

Wall Street will be watching to see if Apple bounced back in the March quarter. The average estimate from analysts is for net income of $9.07 billion, about 5% lower than a year ago. But per-share earnings are projected to rise 1% to $10.18, because Apple has repurchased so many shares.

Apple will report earnings after market close Wednesday and hold a conference call at 5 p.m. ET. The Journal is live blogging the call in Digits. Here are some key themes to watch:


Cash Rules: Apple is expected to update its plans to return cash to shareholders. Sitting on $159 billion, Apple has said it will consider expanding a plan to purchase up to $60 billion of its shares by 2015.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal in February, Cook said Apple had bought more than $40 billion worth of its shares in the previous 12 months. At its annual shareholder meeting Feb. 28, Cook promised to announce an update to the plan within 60 days.

Sanford Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi said some value investors hope the company will commit to return a certain percentage of free cash flow to shareholders. But Sacconaghi thinks Apple will announce a more modest increase to its existing share buyback program – an additional $30 billion by the end of 2015.

5 Best Sliver Stocks To Own Right Now

Dialing Up the iPhone: The iPhone accounts for the biggest chunk of Apple's revenue and it is the company's most profitable hardware product. So any sign of an iPhone slowdown sets off alarm bells — as the company learned in January.

Analysts forecast sales of 38.2 million iPhone units in the January to March period, a 2% increase from a year earlier. Beyond the headline figures, investors will listen for details on whether demand for the less-expensive iPhone 5C remains soft and how the iPhone is faring with China Mobile.

China Mobile Impact: Apple started supplying iPhones to China Mobile, the world's largest wireless carrier with more than 770 million subscribers, in January. Cook called it a watershed moment for Apple in China, where it has struggled to gain a foothold.

Last month, China Mobile's CEO said three-fourths of the 1.34 million subscribers who signed up for its high-speed 4G network in February purchased an iPhone. On Tuesday, China Mobile said it added another 1.45 million users for its 4G network in March, but didn't break out the ratio of iPhone customers. There was a lot of excitement about China Mobile as a potential catalyst for iPhone demand in the world's largest smartphone market — and the March quarter provides the first peek at the impact.

Any Word on New Products?: This is starting to sound like a broken record. Apple has said that the company will break into new product categories in 2014. It has been four years since Apple introduced a major new product, the iPad. Investors and enthusiasts alike are waiting for the company to do something new like a smartwatch or a breakthrough set-top box and prove that it hasn't lost its innovative touch.

Will Cook spill the beans on Wednesday? Don't bet on it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Why Oracle Is Ready to Rebound

Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, enterprise-software giant Oracle (NYSE: ORCL  ) has earned a respected four-star ranking.

With that in mind, let's take a closer look at Oracle and see what CAPS investors are saying about the stock right now.

Oracle facts

Headquarters (founded)

Redwood City, Calif. (1977)

Market Cap

$144.7 billion


Systems software

Trailing-12-Month Revenue

$37.2 billion


Co-Founder/CEO Larry Ellison

President/CFO Safra Catz

Return on Equity (average, past 3 years)



$32.2 billion / $18.5 billion

Dividend Yield






Sources: S&P Capital IQ and Motley Fool CAPS.

On CAPS, 94% of the 3,727 members who have rated Oracle believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward.   

Just last week, one of those Fools, Gainster, succinctly summed up the Oracle bull case for our community:

Growth of cloud services / Internet use should affect this great database company positively. ... The [return on invested capital] has been increasing steadily the last four years and is above 13% by now. In this perspective the stock is relatively cheap. Further the Price/Earnings and Price/Book is at the low end compared to the last 10 years.

At my workplace they tried to switch to MSSQL databases, but were forced to switch back for economical reasons. This is the same for many other companies and therefore they have a good hold of their market share, that includes the top 100 Fortune firms. ...

Overall it seems like a very good and stable investment, with growth potential in the core business, a small dividend and a nice increasing ROIC since 2010.

If you want market-thumping returns, you need to put together the best portfolio you can. Of course, despite a strong four-star rating, Oracle may not be your top choice.

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

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

This 10-Stock Portfolio Keeps Killing It!

Have you ever heard of the “Purina Portfolio?”

No? That’s OK — very few have. It doesn’t exist. At least not in a real investment account. It’s a figment of my imagination created after reading about Bill Stiritz, the current CEO of Post Holdings (POST) and former CEO of Ralston Purina.

Considered one of the most successful executives in the food business, Stiritz’s career has touched a number of publicly traded companies. Together, the 10 companies that comprise the Purina Portfolio have seriously outperformed their benchmarks.

First covered in early March, it’s time for a revisit. First, let’s take a look at the sweet returns of the portfolio and talk about a couple of the holdings. Then, we’ll talk about why the Purina Portfolio works so well:

Purina Portfolio and Benchmarks (YTD Through Sept. 30)
Company Ticker Return
Jack in the Box JACK 39.8%
ITT Corp. ITT 54.5%
Flowers Foods FLO 40.1%
Apollo Global Management APO 62.8%
Energizer Holdings ENR 15.6%
Vail Resorts MTN 29%
Nestle NSRGY 9.6%
ConAgra Foods CAG 5.4%
Post Holdings POST 17.9%
General Mills GIS 21.1%
—– —– —–
SPDR S&P 500 ETF SPY 19.7%
iShares U.S. Consumer Goods ETF IYK 20.8%

The average return year-to-date for the 10 stocks in the portfolio is roughly 30%, which is about 10 percentage points better than both the SPY and IYK. Of the 10, six have outperformed the benchmarks, all but one by a considerable margin. More importantly, the six that have outperformed averaged a 44% return!

Individual Performances

Unfortunately for Bill Stiritz, Post Holdings is one of the laggards. You can blame this on the company’s ugly Q3 earnings report. But then again, the company is in the midst of a transition that is intended to build market share and diversify beyond ready-to-eat (RTE) cereals. It’s essentially sacrificing short-term profits to solidify its future cash flow.

The building of market share in RTE is a long and arduous battle involving increased marketing, advertising and promotion. It’s not won overnight, so don’t expect earnings to come back for the next few quarters. More important is its ability to generate cash flow.

Post’s debt has risen substantially since its separation from Ralcorp (RAH) in February 2012. Including its $370 million acquisition of the Dakota Growers Pasta Company announced Sept. 16, Post has spent $717 million moving into other areas of the food industry beyond cereal.

Still, while debt has increased, Post still generated $66 million in operating cash flow in the first three quarters of the year. In the Q3 conference call, CFO Robert Vitale indicated that its 2013 adjusted EBITDA would be at least $214 million, which suggests operating cash flow should be around $160 million. That’s less than 2012, but more than enough to pay its interest expense. In two to three years, I could see its EBITDA doubling, bringing POST stock along for the ride.

Patience is required here. Long-term, like everything Stiritz touches, you should be just fine.

As for the other stocks in the portfolio, you can’t ignore the performance of both Apollo (APO) and ITT Corp. (ITT).

It’s been a busy year for private equity firm Apollo Global Management, which got the Twinkie back on grocery store shelves in July. Carried interest income more than doubled in the first six months of the year to $1.4 billion.

As for ITT, its business is running smoothly. In early August while reporting Q2 results, it raised its guidance for the year, expecting organic revenue growth of at least 3%, total revenue growth of 10% and adjusted earnings per growth of approximately 12.5% over 2012.

Why Does It Work?

An associate of mine asked me the money question: “Why does the portfolio work?”

I’ve thought long and hard, and the best answer I can come up with is that Bill Stiritz is an exceptional person who holds the bar very high; any company he would be associated with, even just in passing, would also have to be exceptional. So, the fact that Stiritz has personally invested $250 million of his own money in Herbalife (HLF) tells you all you need to know about Bill Ackman.

Beyond my simple explanation, it’s hard to find anything really tethering the success of all 10 stocks, so by that measure it’s extremely difficult to guarantee that the results the Purina Portfolio has achieved in the past six months can be repeated in the next six.

But given the quality of these stocks, it’s hard not to expect good things.

As of this writing, Will Ashworth did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Kraft Recalls 96,000 Pounds of Oscar Mayer Wieners

Kraft recalls 96,000 pounds of Oscar Mayer wieners Mark Lennihan/AP NEW YORK -- Kraft Foods is recalling 96,000 pounds of its Oscar Mayer wieners because they may mistakenly contain cheese. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said Sunday that Kraft's "Oscar Mayer Classic Wieners" may instead contain the company's "Classic Cheese Dogs." The agency said the product labels are incorrect and don't reflect the ingredients associated with the pasteurized cheese in the cheese dogs. Those products were made with milk, a known allergen, which isn't declared on the label. It said the problem was discovered by a consumer who notified Kraft on Friday. The company alerted the USDA the following day, according to the statement. The Food Safety and Inspection Service said it hasn't received reports of adverse reactions. A representative for the agency wasn't immediately available for comment. A representative for Kraft Foods Group (KRFT), Joyce Hodel, said in an email that the hot dogs were made in a plant in Columbia, Mo. The products were made in early March and bear the number "Est. 537H" inside the USDA mark of inspection. People with questions about the recall are being asked to contact Kraft's consumer relations department at (855) 688-4386. The recall applies to: 16-ounce individual consumer packages of "Classic Wieners Made with Turkey & Chicken, Pork Added," with a "USE BY 16 Jun 2014" date and product code "044700000632." Cases of 16-ounce packages that were distributed to retailers of "Classic Cheese Dogs Made with Turkey & Chicken, Pork Added, and Pasteurized Cheese Product," with "USE BY 16 Jun 2014" date and case code "00447000005300." Those cases may contain packages that are mislabeled as "Classic Wieners," according to Hodel.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Trouble for the King of Cupertino?

Last Saturday, Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) permanently lowered its already discounted price for Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) iPhone 5 and 4S on a two-year contract. Available in stores only, shoppers can now score an iPhone 5 for $129 or an iPhone 4S for $39 with a fresh two-year contract from Verizon, AT&T, or Sprint.

Often permanent discounts are precursors to product refreshes, but Apple's upcoming iPhone 5S isn't expected to be available until sometime this fall. As you can imagine, the timing of this development could be interpreted as troubling for Apple investors.

The neighbor's cleaning house, too
Wal-Mart isn't the only retailer that's allegedly cleaning house on iPhone inventory. Best Buy (NYSE: BBY  ) has extended a promotion until June 29 to trade in your current iPhone 4 or 4S in return for a $150 gift card, which could be put toward a $149.99 iPhone 5 with a new two-year contract. The trade-in credit can only be put toward the iPhone 5, leading to me wonder if Apple is working behind the scenes. You would think that Best Buy doesn't necessarily care how you spend your $150 credit.

The bigger picture
Two possible scenarios may be playing out here. The first is that Apple could be working behind the scenes to fight off the competition from the likes of Google Android and Samsung until it releases the iPhone 5S. If this were to be the case, Apple's average selling price for iPhones would decline, gross profits would erode, and investors would not be happy campers. Additionally, it would signal that Apple is either desperate or scared, two qualities which investors aren't usually OK with.

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The second could be that Best Buy and Wal-Mart are battling it out for foot traffic and the retailers themselves will be taking the hit. Back in January, Best Buy claimed it lost $65,000 in one day as a result of price matching against Wal-Mart's iPhone 5 discount. Perhaps this is round two between these giants?

Unless we hear from the companies directly, there's no way to know for sure how this story breaks down. With Apple's earnings release less than a month away, I'm sure investors will get some color on the issue. In the meantime, Apple investors should keep a watchful eye for additional iPhone retailer discounts that may offer clues.

Apple has a history of cranking out revolutionary products... and then creatively destroying them with something better. Read about the future of Apple in the free report, "Apple Will Destroy Its Greatest Product." Can Apple really disrupt its own iPhones and iPads? Find out by clicking here.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Aussies love Mustangs too

The appeal of the Ford Mustang isn't limited to the United States. Just ask Aussie Andrew Matthews.

"Everybody loves Mustangs,'' he says.

Matthews, of Queensland, brought his wife, Amanda, and twins, Ella and Claire, 5, for a month-long U.S. holiday with the 50th anniversary of the Mustang as their vacation focal point. They attended the celebration at Las Vegas.

He owns an early-production Mustang, marketed as a 1964 and a half, and while he couldn't bring it with him, he had a tablet computer filled with pictures to show as he and his family chatted with other owners of early Mustangs and searched for those with similarly featured cars.

His car was first purchased in California and later shipped to Australia. He found it in Adelaide and bought it six years ago. It's one of the most memorable color schemes of the day, Wimbledon White over a red interior, with a 289-cubic-inch V-8 engine, four-barrel carburetor and a stated 225 hp.

"This was the high-performance model in '64,'' he says.

It has a tachometer and clock mounted on either side of the steering column, an upgrade Ford called the "rally pack.'' It also has a generator, rather than alternator, which was unique to the very first cars, he says. And it is nearly original, though it had a repaint before he bought it.

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Since arriving in the United States earlier this month, Matthews and his family have driven a rental Ford up the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco from Los Angeles, a route any car enthusiast loves, before heading to Las Vegas.

"We've just come over for a month and made an adventure out of it,'' he says. "We wouldn't want to miss this.''

Mustangs from Utah and Idaho line up for the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang celebrated at the Las Vegas Speedway.(Photo: Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

3 Momentum Stocks That Have Fallen Into Bear Markets

Twitter Logo LinkedIn Logo Google Plus Logo RSS Logo Anthony Mirhaydari Popular Posts: How Much Lower Will Tesla Stock Go?3 Airline Stocks to Sell or Short4 Reasons the Selloff Will Continue Recent Posts: 3 Momentum Stocks That Have Fallen Into Bear Markets How Much Lower Will Tesla Stock Go? Nasdaq Pummeled as Trouble in Asia Escalates View All Posts

For the first time since 2012, investors are contending with some serious market volatility. The vicious whipsaws were on display Tuesday as stocks launched higher after the both the Russell 2000 and the Nasdaq Composite threatened to fall below their 200-day moving averages for the first time in three years.

041614Russell2000 300x183 3 Momentum Stocks That Have Fallen Into Bear Markets
Click to Enlarge The selling has been led by a breakdown in momentum stocks that hedge funds and retail investors alike piled into. Many are already down more than 20% from their highs.

And while that has been a drag on parts of the market — especially the tech- and biotech-sensitive Nasdaq (which was down 7% from recent highs) — we haven’t seen the damage hit the overall market really hard just yet: The S&P 500, for instance, is only down 1.6% from its all-time high. The credit markets are also holding up, with corporate bonds resilient.

But like a cancer, the weakness is spreading. Over the past few days, airline stocks — also an area that enjoyed strong price momentum over the last two years — started rolling over.

Here are three momentum stocks at the center of this new selling pressure that, while bouncing a bit today, have already succumbed to bear markets of their own. Like a cancer, you should consider cutting them out of your portfolio. And if you’re more aggressive, they are attractive short side or put option candidates.

Next Page

Bear Market Momentum Stocks: Tesla Motors (TSLA)

041614TSLA 300x247 3 Momentum Stocks That Have Fallen Into Bear Markets
Click to EnlargeTesla Motors (TSLA), everyone’s favorite electric-car maker, is down nearly 27% from its late February peak and has been diving toward its 200-day moving average — a level that hasn’t been breached since September 2012.

Excitement in TSLA has been driven by a number of things, such as an eventual release of the more affordable Model E, or the much-vaunted plans for the Gigafactory — the jumbo-sized battery factory that Tesla estimates by 2020 will exceed 2013 global battery production.

TSLA stock at one point boasted 684% returns within the past year, but it’s all unraveling now. Even in the midst of a small short-term rebound, Tesla still appears to be succumbing to its worst breakdown since last November.

Next Page

Bear Market Momentum Stocks: Amazon (AMZN)

041614AMZN 300x247 3 Momentum Stocks That Have Fallen Into Bear Markets
Click to Enlarge The unveiling of the new Fire TV set-top box and reports that the company is prepping the launch of a new glasses-free 3D smartphone later this year hasn’t been able to stem the slide in Amazon (AMZN) as investors lose faith in the growth first, profits later strategy of the Seattle-based online retail behemoth.

AMZN stock is down nearly 22% from its January high, and has fallen dramatically from the head fake rebound seen in February and early March. From the March high alone, AMZN is down 16.8%.

In mid-March, I recommended the April $350 AMZN puts to my Edge Letter Pro clients, a position we just closed for a gain of nearly 340% — which goes to show you how lucrative betting against the herd can be when the panicked exits begin.

Next Page

Bear Market Momentum Stocks: Facebook (FB)

041614FB 300x247 3 Momentum Stocks That Have Fallen Into Bear Markets
Click to Enlarge The acquisition of VR headset maker Oculus Rift and word the company is moving into the electronic payments market hasn’t been able to reverse the slide in Facebook (FB) stock, which is drifting in and out of bear market territory as I write this — down about 20% from its March high.

Like Amazon, I recommended put options against FB stock in mid-March to my Edge Letter Pro clients. Specifically, the April $65 calls that we just closed for a gain of 333%.

Anthony Mirhaydari is founder of the Edge and Edge Pro investment advisory newsletters, as well as Mirhaydari Capital Management, a registered investment advisory firm.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Q1 Earnings Preview: Regulation Costs To Trim Guidance?

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) will host a conference call to review first quarter 2014 financial results on Friday, April 11, 2014 at 8:30a.m. (Eastern). The results are scheduled to be released at 7:00a.m. (Eastern).

Wall Street anticipates that money center will earn $1.41 per share for the quarter, which is $0.18 less than last year's profit of $1.59 per share. iStock expects JPM  to miss Wall Street's consensus number. The iEstimate is $1.40, a penny less than expected; however, there could be some additional downside as the consensus within the last 30-days is $1.31 according to

[Related -Citigroup Inc (C) Q1 Earnings Preview: Too Many Parts Heading South]

Sales, like earnings, are expected to slip, dropping 5% year-over-year (YoY). JPMorgan Chase's consensus revenue estimate for Q1 is $24.56 billion, lower than last year's $25.85 billion.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.4 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, asset management and private equity. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world's most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands.

While the last 30-day outlook is underwater, analysts are mixed on Friday's results. Five analysts reduced their view in the last 30 days, and five raised their estimates during the same timeframe with two of the five in the last week. The estimate, however, has drifted lower during the quarter, starting at $1.49, then $1.48, then $1.43 and now $1.41.

[Related -Citigroup Inc (C): Stress Test – Who Win, Who Lose?]

Missing earnings would be something rare for the 215 year-old company. The Dow member has topped the street's consensus 19 of the last 20 quarterly checkups; so, we are out on a limb with the iEstimate.

However, we may not be that far off as a ton of new regulations for 2014 kicked in and require investments i.e. costs in the form of personnel and technology, not to mention all the fines JPM has faced.

In his letter to shareholders, Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, wrote, "If you have to hold higher capital and higher liquidity and some of your costs are higher – all things being equal – your returns will obviously come down." He says the effects could substantially reduce performance and market returns for many banks.

Investors will want to know what the impact on JPM will be for 2014 and beyond.

On a more positive note, JPM upped its quarterly dividend for Q2 to $0.40 per share from $0.38 and authorized a share repurchase plan totaling $6.5 billion. The return of capital to shareholder could offset some of the negatives associated with the global regulatory environment.

Overall: JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) history suggests a bullish surprise; however, the iEstimate disagrees and recent estimates say something different. Either way, JPM's recent, post-EPS price-sensitivity shows remarkably little reaction to the quarterly profit review. In all likelihood, the tenor of Wall Street's reaction will be tied to the costs associated with complying with new regulations. Mr. Dimon has already said it could result in higher fees for customers, which usually don't go over too well – remember the ATM fee uproar? If JPM is unable to pass along higher costs to customers, then margins and the stock get hit, but that's probably a Q2/Q3 issue.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Voices: Greatest Generation's tax lessons

Just as classics, as Mark Twain said, are great books that people praise but don't read, members of the Greatest Generation are heroes who people praise but don't emulate – at least as far as debt and taxes go.

The federal debt, as a percentage of gross domestic product, hit an all-time high of 118.9% in 1946 because of government spending on World War II. It's now about 102% and projected to grow higher.

To address the debt, the Greatest Generation – those who grew up during the Great Depression and won World War II – did two things when they returned. They supported decreased federal spending, primarily defense, and higher taxes.

Reducing defense spending was, a function of the end of the war. Nevertheless, the Greatest Generation had less government than we do: No Department of Health and Human Services, no Housing and Urban Development, no departments of Transportation, Energy, Education, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security.

And they paid more in taxes. The maximum tax rate in 1945 was 94% on taxable income over $200,000. Adjusted for inflation, that's $2.6 million. The top tax rate fell to 82.1% in 1948 but rose again to 91% in 1951 and stayed there through 1963.

By 1981, the debt had fallen to 31.7% of GDP – in part because the economy had grown an average 3.7% a year from 1951 through 1981 despite high tax rates. (It has grown at a 2.8% annual rate from 1981 through 2013.)

Members of the Greatest Generation also were willing to compromise. While no one likes higher taxes, they did so when national circumstances made it necessary, such as when President Johnson levied a 10% surtax to fund the Vietnam War. He also agreed, reluctantly, to a 10% reduction in discretionary spending.

Top Solar Companies To Watch In Right Now

By the time President George H.W. Bush agreed to higher taxes because he felt it was the right thing to do, given the nation's financ! es, he couldn't get Congress to agree on reducing spending. He signed the tax increase anyway, and paid for it with his job in 1992.

Today, members of Congress willing to give up a something to get something for the greater good are rare. In part, that's the fault of the people who elect them.

The Greatest Generation also had a sense of shared sacrifice. America has fought two wars since 2000, and most of us haven't paid an extra dime in taxes for the wars or for the care of the small percentage of the population who did the fighting. Most Americans – particularly wealthy people who have benefited most from tax cuts – feel overtaxed, according to a Gallup poll released Monday.

Unfortunately, cutting government spending involves sacrifice, an unpleasant notion. The most popular suggestion for cutting spending is foreign aid, yet it accounts for just 1% of the federal budget.

Popular programs such as health care, income for the elderly (such as Social Security), and defense, account for 73% of the budget. All other government functions combined total $908 billion. Most likely, only a combination of cuts to the most popular programs and tax increases will bring the budget closer to balance.

The Greatest Generation isn't entirely blameless in our nation's fiscal woes. The government's involvement in income and health care for the elderly was largely their idea. Having lived through the Great Depression, the Greatest Generation realized that anyone could fall upon hard times.

And having lived through World War II, they knew that the world is a dangerous place, and that the cost of a large military is an enormous debt to the men and women who do the fighting, bleeding and dying. What we can learn from the Greatest Generation on Tax Day is that there are far worse things in the world than making compromises and sharing sacrifices.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Top Canadian Stocks To Invest In Right Now

According to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, or CAPP, Canadian oil production will more than double over the next two decades, fueled by steadily growing oil sands production and a rebound in conventional production.

But could the rise of alternative energy sources such as solar render expensive oil sands projects unprofitable within the next several years? Let's take a closer look.

CAPP's projections
CAPP forecasts total production to reach 6.7 million barrels per day in 2030, compared to roughly 3.2 million barrels per day last year. It expects oil sands output to account for a little over three-quarters of the expected 6.7 million barrels per day in 2030, or around 5.2 million barrels per day.

Conventional crude and condensate from western Canada will make up the remaining 1.4 million barrels per day, while eastern Canadian production is expected to account for the remaining 100,000 barrels per day, CAPP reckons.

That compares to last year's breakdown of 1.8 million barrels per day from the oil sands, 1.2 million barrels per day from western Canada, and 200,000 barrels per day from eastern Canada. CAPP's updated estimates are also slightly higher than last year's estimates, which forecast 5.02 million barrels per day from oil sands in 2030, 1.14 million barrels per day from western Canada, and 90,000 barrels per day from eastern Canada.

Top Canadian Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. (BIN)

Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. operates as a vertically integrated non-hazardous solid waste management company in North America. It operates through three segments: Canada, the U.S. south, and the U.S. northeast. The company provides waste collection, transfer, recycling, and disposal services to commercial, industrial, municipal, and residential customers in 13 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and 6 Canadian provinces. It also owns and operates a power generating plant fuelled by landfill gas; and generates and sells methane gas. The company was formerly known as IESI-BFC Ltd. and changed its name to Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. in May 2011. Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. was founded in 2001 and is based in Vaughan, Canada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Sean Williams]

    Keep in mind, though, this is a sectorwide problem, not just one affecting Waste Management. Canada's Progressive Waste Solutions (NYSE: BIN  ) delivered an 11% increase in first-quarter revenue but succumbed to a decrease of 0.5% in recycling revenue because of lower realized metal prices. �

Top Canadian Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Credit Suisse Group(CS)

Credit Suisse Group AG, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a financial services company. The company operates in three segments: Private Banking, Investment Banking, and Asset Management. The Private Banking segment offers advisory services and a range of wealth management solutions, including pension planning, life insurance products, tax planning, and wealth and inheritance advice for the high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals. This segment also supplies banking products and services to affluent, high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth clients, and corporates and institutions. The Investment Banking segment provides investment banking and securities products and services to corporations, governments, pension funds, and institutions. Its products and services include debt and equity underwriting, sales and trading, mergers and acquisitions advice, divestitures, corporate sales, restructuring, and investment research. The Asset Management segment offe rs integrated investment solutions and services to institutions, governments, foundations and endowments, corporations, and individuals. It provides access to a range of investment classes across alternative investment, asset allocation, and traditional investment strategies. The company operates in Switzerland, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas, and the Asia Pacific. Credit Suisse Group AG was founded in 1856 and is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland.

Advisors' Opinion:

    Mediwound Ltd. (Nasdaq: MDWD) is a biopharmaceutical company that develops therapies for severe wounds, particularly burns. Mediwound will begin trading on the Nasdaq on Thursday, March 20. The company is looking to raise approximately $75 million in its IPO by offering 5 million shares at a range of $14 to $16. Credit Suisse Group (NYSE: CS), BMO Capital Market Corp., and Jefferies LLC are the lead underwriters on the deal.

  • [By Eric Volkman]

    The joint book-running managers of the offering are Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS  ) , Barclays' (NYSE: BCS  ) Capital unit, Leucadia's Jefferies, and the Securities arms of Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS  ) and Deutsche Bank (NYSE: DB  ) .

  • [By Eric Volkman]

    Langdon is a longtime TIBCO employee, having joined the company in 2003. Previous to that, he worked at Siebel, now owned by Oracle (NYSE: ORCL  ) . He also held positions at an affiliate of privately held Bass Brothers Enterprises and at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, which is currently under the wing of Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS  ) .

5 Best Clean Energy Stocks To Watch Right Now: EMCOR Group Inc. (EME)

EMCOR Group, Inc. provides electrical and mechanical construction, and facilities services primarily to commercial, industrial, utility, and institutional customers in the United States, the United Kingdom, and internationally. The company offers various electrical and mechanical systems, including electric power transmission and distribution systems, such as power cables, conduits, distribution panels, transformers, generators, uninterruptible power supply systems, and related switch gear and controls; premises electrical and lighting systems, including fixtures and controls; low-voltage systems comprising fire alarms, and security and process control systems; voice and data communications systems, including fiber-optic and low-voltage cabling systems; and roadway and transit lighting and fiber-optic lines. It also provides heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration, and clean-room process ventilation systems; fire protection systems; plumbing, processing, and piping systems; controls and filtration systems; water and wastewater treatment systems; central plant heating and cooling systems; cranes and rigging; millwrighting; and steel fabrication, erection, and welding systems. In addition, the company offers facilities services comprising industrial maintenance and services; outage services to utilities and industrial plants; commercial and government site-based operations and maintenance; military base operations support; mobile mechanical maintenance and services; floor care and janitorial; landscaping, lot sweeping, and snow removal; facilities and vendor management; call center; building systems installation and support; and technical consulting and diagnostic services. Further, it provides small modification and retrofit projects; retrofit projects; and program development, management, and maintenance services for energy systems. EMCOR Group, Inc. was founded in 1966 and is headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Eric Volkman]

    EMCOR Group (NYSE: EME  ) is growing the old-fashioned way -- with the purchase of outside assets. The company announced�that it will acquire the privately held RepconStrickland, a Texas-based firm it describes as "a leading provider of recurring turnaround and specialty services to the North American refinery and petrochemical markets."

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    When judging a company's prospects, how quickly it turns cash outflows into cash inflows can be just as important as how much profit it's booking in the accounting fantasy world we call "earnings." This is one of the first metrics I check when I'm hunting for the market's best stocks. Today, we'll see how it applies to EMCOR Group (NYSE: EME  ) .

Top Canadian Stocks To Invest In Right Now: American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. (AXL)

American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture, engineering, design, and validation of driveline and drivetrain systems, and related components and chassis modules for automotive industry in the United States. The company?s driveline and drivetrain systems comprise components that transfer power from the transmission and deliver it to the drive wheels. These products include axles, chassis modules, driveshafts, power transfer units, transfer cases, chassis and steering components, driving heads, crankshafts, transmission parts, and metal-formed products. It offers products for light trucks, sport utility vehicles, passenger cars, crossover vehicles, and commercial vehicles. The company was founded in 1994 and is headquartered in Detroit, Michigan.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Weekend news likely prompts a negative reaction Monday, but Tues-Wed could go either way. GM stock could respond well if March share meets/beats expectations and if GM were to make adequate statements explaining concerns and offering remedies (OnStar can play role here). A sub-17% share and/or more negative revelations could pressure the stock further. We enter the week with a buy-on-weakness approach but acknowledge that this latest escalation adds ST market share risk. Thus, we also look to add positions in Buy-rated Ford (F) (possible ST share gains) and [American Axle & Manufacturing (AXL)] (pulled back + Q2 schedules appear intact).

Top Canadian Stocks To Invest In Right Now: SMART Technologies Inc.(SMT)

SMART Technologies Inc. designs, develops, and sells interactive technology products and solutions that enhance learning and enable people to collaborate worldwide. The company offers a range of SMART Board interactive whiteboards and displays, as well as other interactive products, such as interactive tables, interactive pen displays, student response systems, wireless slates, audio enhancement systems, document cameras, conferencing software, and a line of interactive learning software. Its portfolio of related attachment products include SMART Response, SMART Slate, SMART Document Camera, SMART Table, SMART Audio, and SMART Classroom Suite. SMART Technologies also provides free online learning resources, an online teacher community, and training and professional development. It sells its interactive whiteboards through a network of distributors and dealers to the education, business, and government markets. The company was founded in 1987 and is headquartered in Calgary , Canada.

Advisors' Opinion:

    Smart Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: SMT) is a company that literally lives up to its name. It's a supplier of interactive education tools used by more than 40 million students in more than 175 countries.

  • [By Michael Robinson]

    Smart Technologies (SMT)

    Smart Technologies is a company that literally lives up to its name. It's a supplier of interactive education tools, used by more than 40 million students, in more than 175 countries.

Top Canadian Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Natural Gas(NG)

NovaGold Resources Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the exploration and development of mineral properties primarily in North America. The company primarily explores for gold, silver, copper, zinc, and lead ores. It holds interests in the Donlin Creek property covering 81,361 acres and the Ambler property comprising 90,614 acres located in Alaska; and the Galore Creek property comprising 293,838 acres located in northwestern British Columbia, Canada. The company was formerly known as NovaCan Mining Resources (1985) Limited and changed its name to NovaGold Resources Inc. in March 1987. NovaGold Resources Inc. was founded in 1984 and is based in Vancouver, Canada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Monica Gerson]

    NovaGold Resources (NYSE: NG) is expected to post a Q3 loss at $0.03 per share.

    Premier Exhibitions (NASDAQ: PRXI) is projected to post its Q2 earnings.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    NovaGold Resources (NYSEMKT: NG  ) will give investors its quarterly report on Wednesday. But the mining company has already seen its stock plunge in the wake of crashing gold prices, and NovaGold earnings results aren't likely to give investors much good news barring a big surprise.

Top Canadian Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Waste Management Inc.(WM)

Waste Management, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides waste management services to residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers in North America. It offers collection, transfer, recycling, and disposal services. The company also owns, develops, and operates waste-to-energy and landfill gas-to-energy facilities in the United States. Its collection services involves in picking up and transporting waste and recyclable materials from where it was generated to a transfer station, material recovery facility, or disposal site; and recycling operations include collection and materials processing, plastics materials recycling, and commodities recycling. In addition, it provides recycling brokerage, which includes managing the marketing of recyclable materials for third parties; and electronic recycling services, such as collection, sorting, and disassembling of discarded computers, communications equipment, and other electronic equipment. Further, the company e ngages in renting and servicing portable restroom facilities to municipalities and commercial customers under the Port-o-Let name; and involves in landfill gas-to-energy operations comprising recovering and processing the methane gas produced naturally by landfills into a renewable energy source, as well as provides street and parking lot sweeping services. Additionally, it offers portable self-storage, fluorescent lamp recycling, and medical waste services for healthcare facilities, pharmacies, and individuals, as well as provides services on behalf of third parties to construct waste facilities. The company was formerly known as USA Waste Services, Inc. and changed its name to Waste Management, Inc. in 1998. Waste Management, Inc. was incorporated in 1987 and is based in Houston, Texas.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Helix Investment Research]

    We note that Keating Capital's co-investors in many of its portfolio companies are not simply other venture capital or existing investors, but strategic investors as well. Examples include Agilyx, where Waste Management (WM) is a co-investor, BrightSource, where Chevron (CVX) and BP (BP) are co-investors, Kabam, where Google (GOOG) and Intel (INTC) are co-investors, or Tremor Video (TRMR), where Time Warner (TWX) is a co-investor. As of the end of Q2 2013, 9 (excluding Jumptap) of Keating Capital's portfolio companies had unrealized gains, with an average gain of 25.6% (again excluding Jumptap, which had unrealized gains of 8% as of the end of Q2 2013). The remaining 6 companies had an average loss of 44.46%. However, on an overall basis, Keating Capital's portfolio currently has an average unrealized gain of 2.15%. While this is not a large gain, we note that the bulk of Keating Capital's profits are realized upon exiting an investment in conjunction with the portfolio company's IPO or sale. Furthermore, portions of Keating Capital's portfolio are defended by structurally protected appreciation clauses that the company has struck with its portfolio companies, clauses that are not reflected on its balance sheet. These clauses, which are negotiated between Keating Capital and its portfolio companies, allow the company to receive shares in the portfolio company's IPO at a discount, or grant it warrants to purchase additional shares in an IPO for a nominal price. Since inception, Keating Capital has negotiated structurally protected appreciation clauses in 11 of the 20 companies it has invested in. As of the end of Q2 2013, 6 of Keating Capital's 15 portfolio companies were protected by structurally protected appreciation clauses, representing $22 million in total capital (almost 43% of the company's invested capital), thereby entitling Keating Capital to a weighted-average aggregate value of 1.9x its investment at the time of an IPO.

  • [By Damian Illia]

    Furthermore, the company has a wide economic moat largely stemming from three factors: its efficient scale, its high switching costs and its intangible assets. Of the 20 commercial hazardous-waste landfills operational in the U.S., the majority are run by US Ecology and its main competitors Waste Management Inc. (WM), and Clean Harbors Inc. (CLH). With barriers to entry stemming from regulatory permits, and a limited market size, ECOL has managed to achieve an efficient scale in the market with five hazardous waste-sides. The company�� intangible assets consist of long-term regulatory permits, which enable US Ecology to posses a ��atekeeper privilege��regarding barriers to new entrants. In addition, customer switching costs are high, thus further adding to the firm�� ability to sustain growth in the long term.

  • [By Jake L'Ecuyer]

    Waste Management (NYSE: WM) was down, falling 3.50 percent to $42.14 after the company reported weaker-than-expected Q4 results.

    In commodity news, oil traded up 1.01 percent to $101.36, while gold traded up 1.38 percent to $1,318.10.

  • [By John Persinos]

    One dominant company in the handling, treatment, and disposal of solid waste is Waste Management (WM). With this industry leader, investors are paying for market dominance, relative predictability, good dividends, and high cash flow.