Wednesday, July 31, 2013

iWatch? iTV? How About Just an iSomething, Apple?

The pressure's on Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) .

CEO Tim Cook kicked off the AllThingsD's D11 conference yesterday, and once again he's selling the invisible.

"We have several more game changers in us," Cook said.

When the matter of iTV -- Apple's long-rumored full-fledged smart television -- came up, he repeated the company line about the lack of satisfaction with the current viewing experience. He labeled smart TV as "an area of incredible interest" to Apple, but left it at that.

If this sounds familiar, you're not alone.

"When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years," said Cook to in a Rock Center interview last year. "It's an area of intense interest. I can't say more than that."

Well, since Cook's lips are sealed on that topic, the conversation turns to wearable devices, and with Samsung rolling out S Health wellness accessories to go with the Galaxy S4 and Google arming tech early adopters with computing glasses, the only real surprise is that Apple has yet to hit us with a smart watch or a fitness bracelet.

Well, Apple has incredible interest in that, too.

Cook knows all about wearable computing. He wears a Nike FuelBand that he showed off at the conference. He's been wearing the fitness tracking bracelet since it rolled out 15 months ago. Why not? He sits on Nike's board.

However, for all of the chatter about the iTV and the iWatch, we're stuck with iNothing.

Apple fans will argue that the company won't put out a product until it's right, but that's not true. We've seen more buggy iPhone releases than not lately. Apple fans can argue that the products aren't yet technologically feasible, but we're already seeing Google, Samsung, and even Nike leading the charge here.

Remember when Apple was the one that dictated the conversation? Remember when nobody wanted a smartphone with a touchscreen keyboard? Remember when nobody wanted a tablet? Apple showed them, but lately Apple is doing too much talking, and not enough of the innovating.

Cook is right. Apple probably does have some more game changers on the way. However, it better change the game while it's still worth playing.

There wasn't any pressure for Apple to raise the bar last holiday season. The stock had hit an all-time high in late September. However, Apple doesn't have that kind of flexibility this time around, especially when two new gaming consoles may shatter iTV dreams and a Kickstarter-bankrolled company wound up being the first one to hit the market with a smart watch.

Be great, Apple -- but don't be late.

Five enter, one leaves
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Dividend Growth Is Important To Enjoy Retirement Years

Retirement investing has different meanings for investors. Some have already retired, some are looking to retire in a few years and others expect to retire in many years, maybe decades. Different time horizons make for varied investment objectives. However one basic fundamental is that a stream of growing income is needed to pay expenses during retirement.

The Queen of England doesn't have to worry about saving for retirement. But at the age of 87, she is in good health and her life expectancy is probably 10-15 years. Active life styles have become common for retirees living longer. Retirement can be enjoyed into the 90s and beyond. Greater spending puts an extra burden on earning high income that needs to grow. Gone are the days when retirees just clipped coupons on bonds. Life style was largely sedentary and life expectancy was not as long.

The low interest rate policy by the Federal Reserve has been hard on retirees. Earning attractive rates on invested funds has become difficult without accepting higher levels of risk. Stocks have risen, partially in pursuit of higher yields. Dividends from quality companies with attractive yields share a bonus, dividends rise over time. Dividend Aristocrats, companies with track records of increasing dividends for 25 to almost 60 years, have the best records of raising dividends.

Ten of the most attractive Dividend Aristocrats for growing income are selected below. Dividends have a tax advantage in personal accounts because they are taxed at lower rates than on marginal income. The tables show yields, current dividends and the percentage increase for dividends over the last 10 years:

10 Dividend Aristocrats for Growing Income in Retirement Investing





Dividend % Increase

Coca-Cola (KO)





Emerson Electric (EMR)





Exxon Mobil (XOM)





Colgate-Palmolive (CL)





Illinois Tool Works (ITW)





McCormick (MKC)





VF Corporation (VFC)





Hormel (HRL)





WW Grainger (GWW)





Brown-Foreman (BF.B)





Coca-Cola, the largest nonalcoholic beverages worldwide, has the best known brand in the world. Coca Cola beverages are served in virtually every country on earth and it will invest $30 billion for expansion over the next 5 years.

Emerson Electric supplies product technology and engineering services worldwide. The 5 business segments are: Process Management, the Industrial Automation, the Network Power, Climate Technologies, and Tools and Storage. The compound annual growth rate for dividends since 1956 was 11%.

Exxon Mobil is the premier oil producer of oil and gas in the world. With the largest market cap in the world, it descends from Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company with over 31,000 wells and has a resource base of 87 billion oil-equivalent barrels.

Colgate-Palmolive markets consumer products around the w! orld. Com! pany products are in 4 divisions: Oral, Personal, Home Care and Pet Nutrition. Global volume rose 24% (with no annual declines) in the last 6 years.

Illinois Tool Works sells industrial products and equipment worldwide. Products are used in deep-sea oil rigs, aerospace technology, bridges and wind turbines, healthcare and at home. Revenue has doubled to almost $18 billion since 2000.

McCormick & Company markets spices, seasoning mixes, condiments, and other flavorful products to retail outlets, food manufacturers, and foodservice businesses. Consumers buy spices to enjoy the taste of food. The compound annual rate over the last 10 years was 7% for sales and 9% for EPS.

VF Corp has grown to become the largest apparel company because it acquired quality leisure companies in the last 10 years. Popular brands include: The North Face, Timberland, Vans, Wrangler, Lee and Timber Creek. The stock is up five fold in the last decade.

Hormel Foods sells consumer-branded meat and food products. There are 5 segments: Grocery Products, Refrigerated Foods, Jennie-O Turkey Store, Specialty Foods, and International & Other. EPS grew at an 11% rate since 2007.

WW Grainger is America's leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products, with expanding global operations. Its stock and dividends grew fivefold in the last 10 years.

Brown-Forman has been selling alcoholic beverages for more than 14 decades. Popular brands include Jack Daniels, Gentleman Jack, Southern Comfort and Finlandia sold in 135 countries. EPS has grown at a 13% rate over the last 35 years and a toast was made last week at the annual meeting to another record year.

All 10 companies have financial strength which allowed them to raise dividends through good years and bad. In the difficult recession 5 years ago, many highly regarded companies ended their dividend streaks (one with a 50 year streak) because of financial difficulties. In October 1987, the stock market had a brutal sello! ff. But a! ll these companies were raising their dividends. XOM, MKC and BF.B have streaks of roughly 30 years; the others have 40-57 year streaks.

Continuous, large dividend increases accompany higher stock prices. The first 5 stocks have at least doubled in the last 10 years. The others at least tripled and the right column in the table shows they have had the largest dividend increases. Capital appreciation accompanies sustained dividend increases which have become more important since 2000.

Since the market crashed in 2000, capital appreciation has been spotty. The Dow started 2000 at 11,497 and just closed at 13,520, up a meager 18%. During that time these companies have excellent records of raising dividends and stock growth, key for successful retirement investing.

Yields on these companies are about 1+ percentage points lower than on higher yielding Dividend Aristocrats. While all Dividends Aristocrats share a commitment to reward stockholders with growing dividends, these companies should continue to have superior dividend increases based on their track records.

Retirees want to be able to enjoy life for more years than in the past. But expenses keep going up. Years ago, growth in retirement income was not considered very important. Today income growth has greater value for retirees who want a better life in later years. Growing income deserves more respect in retirement investing.

Source: Dividend Growth Is Important To Enjoy Retirement Years

Disclosure: I am long KO, VFC. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article. (More...)

Monday, July 29, 2013

How Dividends Change the Game for AT&T Shareholders

The wealth-building power of compound interest will never cease to amaze me. It's a story of patience and attention to detail, where small, short-term differences add up to massive divergence over decades. And in the end, the biggest winners don't always deliver the fattest share-price returns.

Today, I'm looking at telecom giant AT&T (NYSE: T  ) . The company leans on an extremely dependable revenue source based on 108 million wireless subscribers. These customers are so reliable that they stick around and invite some friends over even as Ma Bell raises prices on a regular basis.

The rock-solid revenue stream and predictable expenses combine to form a torrential flow of free cash. AT&T uses that active cash influx to power one of the most generous dividend policies on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) . It's an eternal race between AT&T and fellow telecom Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) , and Ma Bell currently runs ahead of Big Red:

T Dividend Yield Chart

T Dividend Yield data by YCharts.

Income investors love to see dividend policies expanding every year, and the Dow's telecoms certainly deliver on that promise. Their payouts have soared dramatically over the last decade, even in the face of the market panic in 2008:

T Dividend Chart

T Dividend data by YCharts.

These dividend checks make a world of difference for AT&T's shareholders. The stock itself has largely tracked alongside its Dow peers in the long run. But if you reinvested your dividend checks along the way, there's really no contest.

T Total Return Price Chart

T Total Return Price data by YCharts. Using the DIA exchange-traded fund to simulate the Dow's returns with reinvested dividends.

The telecom market is in a state of upheaval right now. The two-player dominance of AT&T and Verizon is being challenged as smaller players combine to pose a new threat. Sprint-Nextel (NYSE: S  ) recently landed a massive cash investment from Japanese network Softbank, and it also picked up data networking specialist Clearwire. T-Mobile US (NYSE: TMUS  ) merged with prepaid expert MetroPCS and is using Metro's network assets to improve its own high-speed services. Combined, T-Mobile and Sprint nearly add up to a third 100-million subscriber Rolodex in the same class as Verizon and AT&T.

Even so, none of the rising challengers can match the wealth and infrastructure of the big two. It's also safe to assume that AT&T will fight hard to stay relevant, no matter what new innovation the smaller players might bring to the table. In other words, Ma Bell remains a safe bet for the long run, even as the wireless industry evolves. Expect this dividend to lead the Dow for many years to come.

Want to get in on the smartphone phenomenon? One company sits at the crossroads of smartphone technology as we know it. It's not your typical household name, either -- in fact, you've probably never even heard of it! But it stands to reap massive profits no matter who ultimately wins the smartphone war. To find out what it is, click here to access the "One Stock You Must Buy Before the iPhone-Android War Escalates Any Further."

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Wendy's Flips Burgers to Franchisees

Although Wendy's (NASDAQ: WEN  ) second-quarter profit was itself notable, particularly after McDonald's own rather lackluster performance, it's the news that it is selling 425 of its restaurants that was the real eye-opener.

It's part of a growing trend among restaurant chains that on one hand signals a better economic climate and on the other will help Wendy's take part in another fad among fast-food restaurateurs, of taking their stores upscale.

Although the burger joint's sales inched up less than 1% in the quarter, Wendy's was still able to post profits of $12.2 million, or $0.03 per share, compared with the loss of $5.5 million, or $0.01 per share, it recorded in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring one-time items, the chain earned $0.08 per share, beating Wall Street's $0.06-per-share expectations.

Using this newfound financial muscle, the restaurant operator also said it was raising its dividend by 25% to $0.20 per share and would use the opportunity to add greater strength to its bottom line by selling a slew of stores to franchisees by the second quarter of 2014. That will reduce the company's ownership stake from 22% down to 15%.

It signals a somewhat healthier economy, too, if for no other reason than it suggests there's financing available for franchisees to buy the stores. Yet Wendy's is late to the game (and the economy was indeed picking up sooner), since a number of restaurant chains were doing the same thing last year. DineEquity was selling off blocks of its Applebee's restaurants, while Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM  ) was shedding Taco Bell stores to franchisees.

And it's Yum! that's among the stores looking to reinvent their fast-food concepts into the fast-casual concept dominated by Panera Bread (NASDAQ: PNRA  ) and Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG  ) , which have baked in some of the best performances over the past few years. Panera sales have grown at a 14% compounded annual growth rate over the past five years, with operating profits jumping 27% annually, while Chipotle's done even better, expanding revenues 20% over the same time period and growing earnings at a 30% clip.

While Yum!'s results have been decidedly anemic, Wendy's can actually say it's held its own: revenues up 15% annually over the past five years and operating profits almost 20% wider. The problem has been that in the past few years it's been unable to move the needle, recording negligible sales growth and alternating between minimal profits and losses. But its stock has still been among the top-performing restaurant chains.

WEN Chart

WEN data by YCharts.

By shedding its restaurants to franchisees, it will have an even more stable revenue stream coming in from them while lowering its own overhead. And Wendy's plans to use that influx of cash to modernize its restaurants and to refresh the decor to appeal to the more upscale dining market.

Wendy's stock has been a tasty treat for a while, and while it's risky to change what's working, it looks like this burger joint can still flip for investors.

With Wendy's looking to expand its marketplace muscle here at home, others are seeking a global position to profit from our increasingly interconnected economy. The Motley Fool's free report "3 American Companies Set to Dominate the World" shows you how can flip this opportunity for your benefit. Click here to get your free copy before it's gone.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

1 Huge Reason Wells Fargo Is Flying High Today

Earnings results have kept banks in the limelight this week, as Bank of America  turned in its own sweet second-quarter numbers, following similar stellar announcements by Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC  ) . Even though the slowing of the residential mortgage market represents a headwind for each of these banks, investors have still seen fit to lavish some love on each for most of the week.

Wells: Expansion is in the works
Things look a little different today, though, with one notable standout. Wells' stock has been rising already today, nudging its 52-week high by mid-morning, even as its buddies hang around in the red zone. While skimpy mortgage work will certainly be problematic for the nation's biggest lender, investors don't seem worried.

Why is that? Well, it could be that Wells isn't sitting still, waiting for a drop in revenue as the domestic mortgage market takes a breather. Analysts have noted lately that bringing home the bacon from outside the U.S. will help Citi grow its base, while both JPMorgan and Bank of America may suffer from their minimal overseas exposure.

For Wells, that goes at least double, since only 3% of its revenue trickles in from non-domestic sources. But the bank is working on that. Earlier this week, Wells announced that it is expanding its reach in the United Kingdom, pumping up its EAstdil Secured LLC division to provide advice and financing to British commercial real estate customers. Wells has recently announced that it intends to purchase real estate lending division Eurohypo U.K. from Commerzbank AG, in a $6 billion deal.

Just as it does so well at its wealth management unit, Wells plans to engage in a bit of cross-selling  to its European clients, as well. Could these announcements be the reason that Wells is climbing today, while its fellows are stuck in a rut? I would bet money on it.

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Top 10 Heal Care Companies To Own In Right Now

Thursdays have been the Nikkei's (NIKKEIINDICES: ^NI225  ) bane over the past month. Japan's leading stock index has plunged every Thursday for the last few weeks, starting with a 7% fall that began the index's month-long streak of volatility and continuing today, when the Nikkei lost another 6.4%. The index has still outperformed many of the world's indexes year to date, but today's plunge offers more proof that investors are jittery over Japan's rapid rise on the back of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's aggressive stimulus plan.

Should they be worried about a real drop, or is this another case of short-term traders selling into a self-fulfilled prophecy? Let's take a look at why investors are panicking about Japan's future and what it means for your investing strategy.

An up-and-down yen spurs an up-and-down market
Abe brought about stimulus in response to one of Japan's worst economic problems of the last half-century: more than two decades of a stagnant economy and deflation. Weakening the yen against other leading currencies would be a boon for leading Japanese exporters looking for an edge against overseas competition. Manufacturers such as Komatsu (NASDAQOTH: KMTUY  ) have applauded the moves as they look to use a weak yen to grow profits. Komatsu alone projected 46% full-year profit growth this year thanks to the weak yen.

Top 10 Heal Care Companies To Own In Right Now: Astaldi Spa(AST.MI)

Astaldi S.p.A., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the design, construction, and management of public infrastructure and civil engineering works in Italy and internationally. It offers transport infrastructure services, including roads, motorways, railways, undergrounds, ports, and airports; and water and renewable energy works, such as dams, hydroelectric plants, waterworks, oil pipelines, gas pipelines, and treatment plants. The company is also involved in the civil and industrial construction projects, such as hospitals, car parks, and transport infrastructure. Astaldi S.p.A. is headquartered in Rome, Italy.

Top 10 Heal Care Companies To Own In Right Now: ComOps Ltd(COM.AX)

ComOps Limited provides business software solutions and services in the areas of enterprise, sales, and workforce management. Its enterprise management products include ComOps BMS, an enterprise resource planning solution, which manages specific business operations by providing real time financial, distribution, and management information; ComOps BI, a product suite for reporting, query, and analysis needs; and Unibis, a suite of integrated software modules that provides enterprise-wide solutions to business and government organizations requiring multi-company/branch/warehouse and currency processing capabilities. The company?s sales management products comprise ComOps SAM, which automates the business process for a mobile work force or team of customer relationship managers and merchandisers; Procure for retail management; and ComOps eCom, an eCommerce solution that helps in developing online sales channels. Its workforce management solutions include Microster, a workfor ce management solution primarily for small to medium sized enterprises; Executives Online, a talent sourcing solution that enables organizations to recruit high quality candidates for permanent, interim, contract, and project management roles; Salvus, a safety, risk, and claims management solution; and ComOps eContent, which designs and delivers multimedia learning and communication content. The company also provides system implementation, managed, and solutions support services. It serves customers in various industries, including fast moving consumer goods, transport and logistics, healthcare, banking and finance, manufacturing, distribution and wholesale, retail, pharmaceutical, construction, hospitality, mining, government, and services. The company was founded in 1972 and is headquartered in North Sydney, Australia.

5 Best Blue Chip Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Tetra Technologies Inc.(TTI)

TETRA Technologies, Inc. operates as a diversified oil and gas services company. The company operates in three divisions: Fluids, Production Enhancement, and Offshore. The Fluids Division manufactures and markets clear brine fluids, additives, and other associated products and services to the oil and gas industry for use in well drilling, completion, and workover operations in the United States, as well as in various countries in Latin America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa; and markets liquid and dry calcium chloride products to non-energy markets. The Production Enhancement division offers production testing services in various oil and gas basins in the United States, as well as in Mexico, Brazil, northern Africa, and the Middle East; and wellhead compression-based production enhancement services in the onshore producing regions of the United States, as well as various onshore basins in Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe, and Asia. The Offshore division pr ovides offshore services, including downhole and subsea oil and gas services, such as well plugging and abandonment, and wireline services; decommissioning and construction services utilizing heavy lift barges and various technologies for offshore oil and gas production platforms and pipelines; and conventional and saturated air diving services. It also engages in the exploration, development, and production of oil and gas properties in the offshore and onshore U.S. Gulf Coast region. This division provides its services to oil and gas companies and independent operators. The company was founded in 1981 and is headquartered in the Woodlands, Texas.

Top 10 Heal Care Companies To Own In Right Now: GoConnect Ltd (GCN.AX)

GoConnect Limited, a media communications company, primarily engages in the online delivery of interactive audio/video content through its proprietary technologies. Its activities include the development and growth of video infotainment and entertainment portals with own content productions and third party content; music production and artist management; sale of advertising space on its own online properties, third party Websites, and multiple Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) platforms; and provision of technical services on IPTV platforms and online music talent competitions. The company�s properties comprise PLW Entertainment that offers artist development and management; and, a music news and information online portal. It also provides, an on-demand IPTV channel that enables users to stream live entertainment on their TVs, PCs, or smart phones;, an online talent competition portal; and The Business Show, an investor relations solution designed to assist companies communicate with current and prospective investors. GoConnect Limited was founded in 1999 and is based in Melbourne, Australia.

Top 10 Heal Care Companies To Own In Right Now: La Mancha Resource Com Npv (LMA.TO)

La Mancha Resources Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the mining, exploration, and production of gold properties in Africa, Australia, and Argentina. Its principal properties include the Frog�s Leg and White Foil mines located in Western Australia. The company also holds interests in the Ity gold mine located in western C么te d�Ivoire; and the Hassai mine located in northeastern Sudan. La Mancha Resources Inc. was incorporated in 1996 and is headquartered in Montreal, Canada. As of September 10, 2012, La Mancha Resources, Inc. was taken private.

Top 10 Heal Care Companies To Own In Right Now: Gruma SAB de CV (GMK)

Gruma, S.A.B. de C.V. (GRUMA), incorporated on December 24, 1971, is a holding company and conduct its operations through subsidiaries. The Company is engaged principally in the production, distribution and sale of corn flour in Mexico. Its commercial names are GRUMA and MASECA. The Company has operations in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua, as well as Ecuador, which the Company includes as part of its Central American operations. Its products include tortillas, corn flour, and other tortilla related products. The Company�� subsidiaries include Grupo Industrial Maseca, S.A.B. de C.V. (GIMSA), Molinera de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. (Molinera de Mexico), Gruma Corporation, Azteca Milling, LP, Gruma de Guatemala, S.A., Derivados de Maiz Alimenticio, S.A., Derivados de Maiz de Honduras, S.A. (Gruma Centroamerica) and Industrializadora y Comercializadora de Palmito, S.A. On November 16, 2011, the Company, through its subsidiary Gruma International Foods, S.L., acquired Semolina A.S.

On April 15, 2011, the Company, through its subsidiary Gruma Corporation, acquired the business of manufacturing, distributing and selling of corn and wheat flour tortillas of Albuquerque Tortilla Company. On August 25, 2011, the Company, through its subsidiary Gruma Corporation, acquired the business of manufacturing, distributing and selling of corn and wheat flour tortillas of Casa de Oro Foods. On July 13, 2011, the Company, through its subsidiary Gruma International Foods, S.L., acquired Solntse Mexico.

U.S. and European Operations

The Company conducts its United States and European operations principally through its subsidiary, Gruma Corporation, which manufactures and distributes corn flour, packaged tortillas, corn chips and related products. Gruma Corporation operates primarily through its Mission Foods division, which produces tortillas and related products, and Azteca Milling, L.P., a limited partnership between Gruma Corporation (80%) and Archer-Daniels-Mi! dland (20%) which produces corn flour. Mission Foods manufactures and distributes packaged corn and wheat tortillas and related products (which include tortilla chips) under the MISSION and GUERRERO brand names in the United States, as well as other regional brands. Mission Foods serves both retail and food service customers. Azteca Milling distributes approximately 40% of the corn flour it produces to Mission Foods��plants throughout the United States and Europe. Azteca Milling�� third-party customers consist of other tortilla manufacturers, corn chip producers, retail customers and wholesalers.

The Company competes with Ole Mexican Foods, Reser�� Fine Foods, Tyson, Bimbo, Hormel Foods, General Mills and Santa Maria.

Mexican Operations

The Company in Mexico is engaged in the business of manufacturing and sale of corn flour, which it conducts through its subsidiary GIMSA. Through its association with Archer-Daniels-Midland, it has also entered the wheat milling business in Mexico through Molinera de Mexico. Its other subsidiaries engage in the manufacturing and distribution of packaged tortillas and other related products in northern Mexico, conduct research and development regarding corn flour and tortilla manufacturing equipment, produce machinery for corn flour and tortilla production and construct its corn flour manufacturing facilities.

GIMSA also produces wheat flour and other related products. It sells corn flour in Mexico mainly under the brand name MASECA. GIMSA produces approximately 50 varieties of corn flour for the manufacture of different food products. It sells corn flour to tortilla and tortilla chip manufacturers, as well as in the retail market. GIMSA sells packaged corn flour in bulk principally to thousands of small tortilla manufacturers (tortillerias), which purchase in 20-kilogram sacks and produce tortillas on their premises for sale to local markets. GIMSA also sells corn flour in bulk to supermarkets��in-store tortill! erias and! snack manufacturers. GIMSA owns 19 corn flour mills, all of which are located throughout Mexico. GIMSA also owns two plants, one of which produces wheat flour and the other, corn grits and several types of corn based products. Its wheat flour brands are REPOSADA, PODEROSA and SELECTA. The Company owns and operates nine wheat flour plants, including one of which it hold a 40% ownership interest.

The Company competes with Grupo Minsa, S.A. de C.V., OPTIMASA , Trimex, Tablex, La Espiga, Elizondo, and Anahuac.

Central American Operations

Gruma Centroamerica produces corn flour, and tortillas and snacks. The Company also cultivates and sells hearts of palm and process and sells rice. It sells corn flour under the MASECA, TORTIMASA, MASARICA and MINSA brands. In Costa Rica, it sells packaged tortillas under the TORTI RICA and MISION brands. The Company operates a Costa Rican snack operation, which manufactures tortilla chips, potato chips and similar products under the TOSTY, RUMBA, and LA TICA brand. Hearts of palm are exported to numerous European countries as well as the United States, Canada, Chile and Mexico. 79% of Gruma Centroamerica�� sales volume during the year ended December 31, 2011, derived from the sale of corn flour. It had an annual installed production capacity of 350 thousand tons for corn flour and other products as of December 31, 2011.

The Company competes with Del Comal, Dona Blanca, Selecta, Bachoza and Instamasa.

Gruma Venezuela

As of December 31, 2011, it owned 72.86% in MONACA. In addition, it owned 57% in DEMASECA. Gruma Venezuela produces and distributes corn flour, as well as wheat flour, rice, oats and other products. It sells corn flour under the brand names JUANA and DEMASA. The Company sells wheat flour under the ROBIN HOOD, FLOR DE TRIGO and POLAR brand, rice under the MONICA brand and oats under the LASSIE brand. It operates five corn flour plants, five wheat flour plants, two rice plants, one! pasta pl! ant, and two plants that produce oats and spices in Venezuela with a total annual production capacity of 823 thousand tons as of December 31, 2011.

The Company competes with Alimentos Polar, Industria Venezolana Maizera PROAREPA, Asoportuguesa, La Lucha and Cargill.

Top 10 Heal Care Companies To Own In Right Now: CAPITAL DRILLING LTD ORD USD0.0001(CAPD.L)

Capital Drilling Limited provides exploration, development, grade control, and blast hole drilling services to mineral exploration and mining companies. The company operates a fleet of 77 drilling rigs. It offers various drilling services, including surface diamond core; high air capacity reverse circulation, such as deep-hole RC for mineral exploration and mining; grade control; heli-portable diamond; deep directional core orientation; air core drilling using medium to light weight rigs; geotechnical; and coal and coal bed methane, as well as water bores and mine dewatering services. It also provides various products and services, such as assorted supplies, conventional hammers and bits, diamond coring products, down hole survey, drilling fluids, geological and survey equipment, mobile accommodation units, reverse circulation drilling equipment, ridgid tools and petol tongs, safety equipment, top hammer drilling, and tricone rockbits. In addition, the company offers suppo rt services, such as safety, environmental, human resource, systems, and training management services. Further, it provides data and voice solutions to corporate and non-governmental organizations. The company has operations in Tanzania, Zambia, Egypt, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, Armenia, Serbia, Papua New Guinea, Mozambique, Hungary, Eritrea, and Chile. Capital Drilling Limited was founded in 2004 and is headquartered in Singapore.

Top 10 Heal Care Companies To Own In Right Now: Lexicon Pharmaceuticals Inc.(LXRX)

Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, focuses on the discovery and development of drug candidates for the treatment of various human diseases. The company utilizes gene knockout technologies and an integrated platform of medical technologies to systematically study the physiological and behavioral functions of approximately 5,000 genes in mice and assessed the utility of the proteins encoded by the corresponding human genes as drug targets. Its portfolio of orally-delivered small molecule compounds that have completed or are presently conducting phase 2 clinical trails includes LX4211 for the treatment of type 2 diabetes; LX1031 for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal disorders; LX1032 for the treatment of the symptoms associated with carcinoid syndrome; and LX2931 for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. The company also develops LX1033, an orally-delivered small molecule compound that is in phase 1 clinical trails for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal disorders. In addition, it develops three orally-delivered small molecule compounds in preclinical development stage that include LX7101 for treatment of glaucoma; LX5061 for the treatment of osteoporosis; and LX2311 for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. Further, the company has small molecule compounds from various additional drug discovery programs in various stages of preclinical research. It has drug discovery and development collaborations with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company; Genentech, Inc.; N.V. Organon; and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited. The company also has a series of agreements with Symphony Icon, Inc. for the financing of clinical development programs; and an alliance with Nuevolution A/S to access Nuevolution?s Chemetics chemistry technology. Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas.

Top 10 Heal Care Companies To Own In Right Now: Accell Group NV (ACCEL)

Accell Group NV is a Netherlands-based holding company. The Company and its subsidiaries divides its business into two segments: Bicycle & Bicycle Parts, active in the design, development, production, marketing and sales of bicycles, bicycle parts and accessories; and Fitness, providing fitness equipment. It sells bicycles under the Batavus, Bremshey, Ghost, Haibike, Hercules, Koga, Lapierre, Loekie, Redline, Sparta, Staiger, Tunturi, Winora, XLC and Raleigh brands via specialist bicycle retailers as well as bicycle parts under the Juncker Bike Parts and Wiener Bike Parts brands and fitness equipment under the Bremshey Sport brand. The Company�� main markets are the Netherlands, Germany, France, and European countries. The Company has production facilities in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Hungary and Belgium. As of December 31, 2011, it operated through 21 wholly owned subsidiaries. On May 22, 2012, the Company acquired Raleigh Cycle Limited. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Tom Konrad]

    Accell is a leading bicycle manufacturer and a leader in electric bikes based in the Netherlands with worldwide sales mostly in Europe but expanding rapidly in the United States and Asia.  The company's strategy is to leverage its strong distribution network by acquiring strong brands in a highly fragmented industry.  In 2012, they acquired Raleigh, which was a slightly larger than usual acquisition.  Integrating Raleigh took longer than management expected, and depressed third quarter earnings and the company's current share price.  The company has a variable annual dividend, but based on the last payment of 0.782 euros, it's currently trading at a 5.9% annual yield.  Stock appreciation in 2013 could be driven by the start of synergies from the Raleigh acquisition, increased adoption of electric bikes in the US, or easing of uncertainty in Europe.

    Because smaller investors may find Accell difficult to buy through their broker's foreign trading desk, they may want to substitute one of my upcoming alternative picks.

Top 10 Heal Care Companies To Own In Right Now: Ryanair (RYAAY)

Ryanair Holdings plc (Ryanair Holdings), incorporated in 1996, is a holding company for Ryanair Limited (Ryanair). Ryanair operates a low-cost, scheduled-passenger airline serving short-haul, point-to-point routes between Ireland, the United Kingdom, Continental Europe, and Morocco. As of June 30, 2012, the Company offered approximately over 1,500 scheduled short-haul flights per day serving approximately 160 airports largely throughout Europe with an operating fleet of 294 aircraft flying approximately 1,500 routes. Ryanair sells seats on a one-way basis. The Company also holds a 29.8% interest in Aer Lingus Group plc. As of June 30, 2012, Ryanair�� operating fleet was composed of 294 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, each having 189 seats. Ryanair�� fleet totaled 294 Boeing 737-800s at March 31, 2012. As of June 30, 2012, Ryanair owned and operated four Boeing 737-800 full flight simulators for pilot training. Ryanair provides ancillary services and engages in other activities connected with its core air passenger service, including non-flight scheduled services, Internet-related services, and the in-flight sale of beverages, food, and merchandise. As part of its non-flight scheduled and Internet-related services Ryanair incentivizes ground service providers at airports it serves to levy correct excess baggage charges for any baggage, which exceeds Ryanair�� published baggage allowances. Excess baggage charges are recorded as non-flight scheduled revenue. Ryanair distributes accommodation services and travel insurance through its Website. For hotel services, Ryanair has a contract with Hotelscombined PTY Ltd. (Hotelscombined), which operates a price comparison Website, pursuant to which Hotelscombined handles all aspects of such services marketed through Ryanair�� Website and pays a fee to Ryanair. Ryanair also has contracts with other accommodation providers that enable Ryanair to offer hostel, bed-and-breakfast, guesthouse, villa and apartment accommodation to its customers. In addition Ryanair has a contract with Hertz, pursuant to which Hertz handles all car rental services marketed through Ryanair�� Website or telephone reservation system. Ryanair also sells bus and rail tickets onboard its aircraft and through its Website. Ryanair also sells attractions and activities on its Website. Ryanair sells gift vouchers on its Website, which are also redeemable online. The Company has an contract with Webloyalty International Ltd, which offers Ryanair�� customers who have a United Kingdom, German or French billing address a retail discount and cash-back program. Ryanair has agreements, pursuant to which the Company promotes Ryanair-branded credit cards issued by MBNA, GE Money, Access Prepaid and Banco Santander on its Internet site. The MBNA agreement relates to Irish residents only, the GE Money agreement relates to Swedish and Polish residents only and the Banco Santander agreement relates to United Kingdom residents only. During the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012, Ryanair rolled out handheld Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) devices across its route network. These EPOS devices replaced manual and paper based systems on board the aircraft. The EPOS device enables cabin crew to sell and record their on-board sales transactions. The EPOS device also issues bus and rail tickets and tickets for tourist attractions. The Company also offers reserved seating in twenty-one extra legroom seats on each aircraft for a fee on certain routes. Ryanair provides its own aircraft and passenger handling and ticketing services at Dublin Airport. Third parties provide these services to Ryanair at other airports it serves. Servisair plc provides Ryanair�� ticketing, passenger and aircraft handling, and ground handling services at airports in Ireland and the United Kingdom(excluding London (Stansted) Airport where these services are provided by Swissport Ltd.), while similar services in continental Europe are provided by the local airport authorities, either directly or through sub-contractors. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Robert Holmes]

     Analyst Penelope Butcher calls Ryanair "the best placed airline in our coverage universe," which she pins on the company's pricing power, competitor capacity withdrawals, and bargaining power with manufacturers and airports.

    "On our forecasts, the company will still be in a position to match its record 2007 net income result for FY12, and continue to expand toward doubling this result by 2015, owing to modest capacity growth and stability/potential relief in its fuel cost base from calendar 2012 onward," Butcher writes.

    While Butcher's base case calls for a 17% climb in share price next year, her most bullish view would have shares up 61% next year. On the downside, her most bearish outlook calls for shares of Ryanair falling 27% in 2012.

    The chart above shows the American Depositary Receipts of Ryanair trading in the U.S., although Morgan Stanley recommends buying shares trading in London.

Friday, July 26, 2013

5 Losers That Are Bouncing Back in 2013

Tom Petty sings that even the losers get lucky sometimes, and that may help partly explain why many of the biggest sinkers of 2012 have been bouncing back in 2013.

Back in December I took a look at five stocks that should bounce back this year after a brutal 2012, and with just one exception they have certainly lived up to the billing.

Four of the five stocks have gone on climb at least 50% higher so far this year, and the average gain for all five companies is a hearty 58%.

Who are they? How did this happen? Let's dive right in.


Dec. 31, 2012

July 15, 2013


Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN  )




Zynga (NASDAQ: ZNGA  )




Active Network (NYSE: ACTV  )




Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  )




Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU  )




Source: Yahoo! Finance.

The average gain of 58% in a little more than six months is pretty impressive.

Groupon plunged 76% last year, dogged by a faltering daily-deals model and a CEO who didn't seem professional enough by Wall Street's seasoned standards. Groupon did get a new helmsman, but its biggest triumph has been using its deep list of local merchants -- hundreds of thousands of them -- and offering them enterprise software solutions, credit card processing, and other logical services. It also bit the bullet with poorly performing overseas markets. The result is that Groupon is taking steps in the right direction these days. Analysts see revenue and earnings inching higher this year.

Zynga shed 75% of its value in 2012. The IPO that had no problem getting investors to buy into the social gaming leader at $10 a pop crashed into low single digits. Zynga still has problems. The company behind FarmVille and Words With Friends continues to post weak bookings. However, initiatives overseas for real-money wagering and its recent hire of Xbox's president to be its new CEO have turned heads. It also only helped that Zynga was trading dangerously close to its net cash value when the stock bottomed.

Active Network saw its shares fall 64% last year, but the leading provider of online registrations for triathlons, marathons, and other endurance events knows that winning investor confidence isn't a short sprint. Just like Groupon and Zynga, Active is another busted IPO after going public at $15 in 2011. Losses continue and top-line growth continues to decelerate, but the growing popularity of 5k runs and other endurance events finds Active in the right place at the right time. Wall Street's betting on Active turning profitable next year.

5 Best Stocks To Buy Right Now

Hewlett-Packard investors were treated to a 45% haircut in 2012, and the climate isn't necessarily kinder in 2013. PC shipments have fallen for five consecutive quarters -- something that has never happened -- and there's little reason to believe that folks will trade back their tablets and smartphones for HP's desktops and laptops. However, with its largest domestic rival set to be taken private, HP is generating some healthy investor interest these days. Even after nearly doubling this year, HP is fetching a reasonable seven times this fiscal year's projected earnings.

Baidu only stumbled 14% last year, but it's also the only one of the five companies that hasn't moved higher by at least 50% this year. China's leading search engine has been flat in 2013, up a mere 1% after moving out of negative year-to-date territory yesterday. The upstart search engine that spooked Baidu after launching last summer is still gaining market share, but it's really just 15% of the market at a time when Baidu continues to command more than two-thirds of the country's queries.

The long road back
These five companies still have a long way to go. They are all trading lower than they did at the end of 2011. However, they're all at least moving in the right direction.

If you want three more stock ideas for companies moving in the right direction, the Motley Fool's free report "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich" names stocks that could help you build long-term wealth and retire well, along with some winning wealth-building strategies that every investor should be aware of. Click here now to keep reading.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Costamare Misses on Revenues but Beats on EPS

Costamare (NYSE: CMRE  ) reported earnings on July 24. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended June 30 (Q2), Costamare missed estimates on revenues and beat expectations on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue grew. Non-GAAP earnings per share increased significantly. GAAP earnings per share expanded significantly.

Margins grew across the board.

Revenue details
Costamare reported revenue of $100.0 million. The five analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ looked for net sales of $102.2 million on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were the same as the prior-year quarter's.

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

EPS details
EPS came in at $0.37. The seven earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ predicted $0.31 per share. Non-GAAP EPS of $0.37 for Q2 were 16% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.32 per share. GAAP EPS of $0.41 for Q2 were 32% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.31 per share.

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

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 67.6%, 190 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 40.6%, 80 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 30.5%, 850 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. (Margins calculated in GAAP terms.)

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $112.7 million. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.39.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $433.5 million. The average EPS estimate is $1.46.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a five-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 13 members out of 15 rating the stock outperform, and two members rating it underperform. Among five CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), four give Costamare a green thumbs-up, and one give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Costamare is outperform, with an average price target of $18.75.

Can your portfolio provide you with enough income to last through retirement? You'll need more than Costamare. Learn how to maximize your investment income and "Secure Your Future With 9 Rock-Solid Dividend Stocks." Click here for instant access to this free report.

Add Costamare to My Watchlist.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Minimum Wage, Maximum Frustration

Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) is the largest private employer in the world. More people receive a paycheck from the company than live in Latvia, Qatar, Slovenia, or 96 other countries.

Wal-Mart has gotten as big as it has -- it will likely do half a trillion in sales this year -- because it's very efficient at what it does. Part of that efficiency means keeping wages low. According to market research group IBSWorld, the average Wal-Mart sales associate earns $8.81 per hour.

The heat over Wal-Mart's low wages turned up this month when Washington D.C.'s city council passed a bill requiring all new stores of at least 75,000 square feet and $1 billion in annual revenue to pay a "superminimum" wage of $12.50 per hour, up from the city's standard $8.25 per-hour minimum wage. Existing employers are exempt for four years. Wal-Mart currently has no stores within D.C. city limits, so the bill effectively forces any D.C.-based Wal-Mart stores built in the next four years to pay a minimum wage 50% above its competitors.

Wal-Mart, which had plans to open six stores in D.C., balked. "We will not pursue Skyland, Capitol Gateway and New York Avenue and will start to review the financial and legal implications on the three stores already under construction," spokesman Steven Restivo said. "This was a difficult decision for us -- and unfortunate news for most D.C. residents -- but the Council has forced our hand."

Now the awkward moment: D.C.'s city council proposed the bill to help provide its residents with a living wage. But Wal-Mart -- which said its six planned D.C. stores could have created 1,800 jobs -- will now be providing no wages to D.C. residents.

The winner: nobody. Minimum wage, maximum frustration.

We still don't know how this story will end. Wal-Mart could change its mind, or Mayor Vincent Gray could veto the bill. But this seems like a good time to discuss the merits of the minimum wage.

There are two sides to the minimum-wage debate. One says it prices low-skill workers out of the jobs market. That's what Econ 101 tells us should happen, and it explains Wal-Mart's experience in D.C.

The other side says these stories are anecdotal, that there's little evidence of employment falling when minimum wages are increased. Wal-Mart very likely can pay a $12.50 minimum wage while covering its cost of capital, and retailers like Costco (NASDAQ: COST  ) have shown that marginally higher wages can pay for themselves through lower employee turnover.

Each side has evidence to back up its arguments.

Economists Alan Krueger of Princeton and David Card of U.C. Berkeley looked at minimum-wage hikes in California in 1988 and New Jersey in 1992, and compared them to regions that didn't raise wages. The pair found that "increases in the minimum wage lead to increases in pay, but no loss in jobs."

Two economists from the London School of Economics looked at different data and used a different statistical technique to show that, indeed, raising the minimum wage does reduce employment, particularly among teenagers.

Andrajit Dube, then at U.C. Berkeley, looked at yet another set of data and found "strong earnings effects and no employment effects of minimum wage increases."

Three separate economists asked fast-food restaurants in Georgia and Alabama how they would react to minimum-wage increases implemented between 2007 and 2009. Fifty-three percent said increasing employee performance standards was very important to deal with the wage hikes. Twenty-nine percent said they'd cut weekly hours of some employees. Eight percent said they'd reduce headcounts.

Bottom line: It's a more complicated issue than we make it out to be.

Here's what we do know. Adjusted for inflation, the federal minimum wage (currently $7.25 per hour) has declined sharply over the last forty years:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Reserve, author's calculations.

But the problem with a chart like this is that it masks differences in cost of living throughout the country. Some states and cities have their own minimum wages, but differences in pay are often swallowed by differences in costs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Cost of Living Index shows that it costs an average of 87% more to live in Honolulu than it does Cedar City, Utah, but minimum wages in the two cities are the same. Whether a worker finds a wage "fair," or how likely he or she is to find a minimum wage worth working for, varies wildly by location.

In the end, the problem with economists looking at the minimum-wage debate is that the issue is far more political than it is economic. And alas, politics being what they are, there are few agreements, and the only constants are frustration and disagreement. 

For more big picture content, check out my new report, "Everything You Need to Know About the National Debt. It walks you through step-by-step explanations about how the government spends your money, where it gets tax revenue from, the future of spending, and what a $16 trillion debt means for our future. Click here to read it. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wendy's Beats Analyst Estimates on EPS

Wendy's (Nasdaq: WEN  ) reported earnings on July 23. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended June 30 (Q2), Wendy's met expectations on revenues and beat expectations on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue grew slightly. Non-GAAP earnings per share increased significantly. GAAP earnings per share increased.

Margins expanded across the board.

Revenue details
Wendy's recorded revenue of $650.5 million. The 17 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ anticipated revenue of $658.5 million on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were the same as the prior-year quarter's.

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

EPS details
EPS came in at $0.08. The 19 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ predicted $0.06 per share. Non-GAAP EPS of $0.08 for Q2 were 60% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.05 per share. GAAP EPS were $0.03 for Q2 against -$0.01 per share for the prior-year quarter.

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

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 27.2%, 200 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 9.7%, 170 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 1.9%, 280 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. (Margins calculated in GAAP terms.)

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $650.1 million. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.05.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $2.57 billion. The average EPS estimate is $0.20.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a three-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 599 members out of 742 rating the stock outperform, and 143 members rating it underperform. Among 177 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 147 give Wendy's a green thumbs-up, and 30 give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Wendy's is hold, with an average price target of $5.74.

Can your portfolio provide you with enough income to last through retirement? You'll need more than Wendy's. Learn how to maximize your investment income and "Secure Your Future With 9 Rock-Solid Dividend Stocks." Click here for instant access to this free report.

Add Wendy's to My Watchlist.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Top 5 Bank Companies To Own In Right Now

When the financial world fell apart a few years ago -- you remember -- British banks got mauled. Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group (NYSE: LYG  ) , Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE: RBS  ) , and a handful more that have since been absorbed or disbanded -- no one made it out unscathed. The problems came to a head when U.K. taxpayers were forced to bail out Lloyds and RBS. That bailout cost the U.K. an reported 23 billion pounds through the end of 2012.�

In the blitz of mergers and emergency funds, Lloyds agreed to sell off some of its branches to appease its European Union overlords. The deadline for the sale was November 2012, so naturally, it hasn't happened yet. The bank was set to close on the sale with the Co-operative Bank, but the buyer pulled out at the last minute, citing ongoing economic struggles.�

Top 5 Bank Companies To Own In Right Now: Signature Bank (SBNY.O)

Signature Bank (the Bank) is a full-service commercial bank with 25 private client offices located in the New York metropolitan area serving the needs of privately owned business clients and their owners and senior managers. The Bank offers a variety of business and personal banking products and services through the Bank, as well as investment, brokerage, asset management and insurance products and services through its wholly owned subsidiary, Signature Securities Group Corporation (Signature Securities), a licensed broker-dealer and investment adviser. Through Signature Securities, it also purchases, securitizes and sells the guaranteed portions of the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) loans. The Bank offers a variety of deposit, escrow deposit, credit, cash management, investment and insurance products and services to its clients. As of December 31, 2011, the Bank maintained approximately 78,000 deposit accounts, 6,900 investment accounts, 8,600 loan a ccounts and 14,300 client relationships. In April 2012, it formed a new subsidiary, Signature Financial, LLC.

The Bank offers a range of products and services oriented to the needs of its business clients, including deposit products, such as non-interest-bearing checking accounts, money market accounts and time deposits; escrow deposit services; cash management services; commercial loans and lines of credit for working capital and to finance internal growth, acquisitions and leveraged buyouts; permanent real estate loans; letters of credit; investment products to help better manage idle cash balances, including money market mutual funds and short-term money market instruments; business retirement accounts, such as 401(k) plans, and business insurance products, including group health and group life products. It offers a range of products and services oriented to the needs of its high net worth personal clients, including interest-bearing and non-interest-bearing checking accounts, with optional features, such as debit/ a! u! tomated teller machine (ATM) cards and overdraft protection and, for its clients, rebates of certain charges, including ATM fees; money market accounts and money market mutual funds; time deposits; personal loans, both secured and unsecured; mortgages, home equity loans and credit card accounts; investment and asset management services, and personal insurance products, including health, life and disability.

Lending Activities

The Bank�� commercial and industrial (C&I) loan portfolio is consisted of lines of credit for working capital and term loans to finance equipment, company owned real estate and other business assets, along with commercial overdrafts. Its lines of credit for working capital are generally renewed on an annual basis and its term loans generally have terms of 2 to 5 years. The Bank�� lines of credit and term loans typically have floating interest rates, and as of December 31, 2011, approximately 61% of its outstanding C&I loan s were variable rate loans. As of December 31, 2011, funded C&I loans totaled approximately 15% of its total funded loans. The Bank�� real estate loan portfolio includes loans secured by commercial and residential properties. It also provides temporary financing for commercial and residential property. As of December 31, 2011, funded real estate loans totaled approximately $5.74 billion, representing approximately 80% of its total funded loans. It issues standby or performance letters of credit, and can service the international needs of its clients through correspondent banks. As of December 31, 2011, its commitments under letters of credit totaled approximately $235.7 million. Its personal loan portfolio consists of personal lines of credit and loans to acquire personal assets. As of December 31, 2011, its consumer loans totaled $11.8 million, representing less than 1% of its total funded loans.

Investment and Asset Management Products and Services

Investment and asset management products and servi! ces a! re! provid! ed through the Bank�� subsidiary, Signature Securities. Signature Securities is a licensed broker-dealer. Signature Securities is an introducing firm and, as such, clears its trades through National Financial Services, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Fidelity Investments. Signature Securities is also registered as an investment adviser in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida. It offers an array of asset management and investment products, including the ability to purchase and sell all types of individual securities, such as equities, options, fixed income securities, mutual funds and annuities. The Bank offers transactional, cash management type brokerage accounts with check writing and daily sweep capabilities. It also offers retirement products, such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and administrative services for retirement vehicles, such as pension, profit sharing, and 401(k) plans to its clients. Signature Securities offers wealth management servi ces to its high net worth personal clients. Together with its client and their other professional advisors, including attorneys and certified public accountants, it develops a financial plan that can include estate planning, business succession planning, asset protection, investment management, family office advisory services, bill payment, art and collectible advisory services and concentrated stock services.

Sources of Funds

The Bank offers a variety of deposit products to its clients. Its business deposit products include commercial checking accounts, money market accounts, escrow deposit accounts, lockbox accounts, cash concentration accounts and other cash management products. Its personal deposit products include checking accounts, money market accounts and certificates of deposit. The Bank also allows its personal and business deposit clients to access their accounts, transfer funds, pay bills and perform other account functions over the Inte rnet and through ATM machines. As of December 31,! 2011, it! m! aintained! approximately 78,000 deposit accounts representing $11.70 billion in client deposits, excluding brokered deposits.

Insurance Services

The Bank offers its business and private clients an array of individual and group insurance products, including health, life, disability and long-term care insurance products through its subsidiary, Signature Securities. The Bank does not underwrite insurance policies. It only acts as an agent in offering insurance products and services underwritten by insurers.

Top 5 Bank Companies To Own In Right Now: Bank Of Montreal (BMO)

Bank of Montreal, together with its subsidiaries, provides a range of retail banking, wealth management, and investment banking products and solutions in North America and internationally. It offers personal banking products and services to consumers and small businesses, including deposit and investment services, mortgages, consumer credit, small business lending, and other banking services; and commercial banking products and services to small business, medium-sized enterprise, and mid-market banking clients comprising lending, deposits, treasury management, and risk management services. The company also offers cards and payments services; investment and wealth advisory services; self-directed investing services; private banking services to high net worth and ultra-high net worth clients; investment fund solutions across a range of channels; pension plans; investment management services; and creditor insurance, and life insurance and annuity products and services. In add ition, it provides capital markets products and services, including equity and debt underwriting, corporate lending and project financing, mergers and acquisitions, restructurings and recapitalizations, balance sheet management, liquidity management, merchant banking, securitization, foreign exchange, derivatives, debt and equity research, and institutional sales and trading to corporate, institutional, and government clients. As of October 31, 2010, Bank of Montreal operated and maintained approximately 1,230 bank branches in Canada and the United States. The company was founded in 1817 and is headquartered in Toronto, Canada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Andrew]

    This is another solid Canadian bank paying a whopping 4.70% dividend.  My arguments for buying this bank are pretty much the same as above for TD.

5 Best Stocks To Invest In Right Now: J P Morgan Chase & Co(JPM)

JPMorgan Chase & Co., a financial holding company, provides various financial services worldwide. Its Investment Bank segment provides various investment banking products and services, including advising on corporate strategy and structure, capital-raising in equity and debt markets, risk management, market-making in cash securities and derivative instruments, prime brokerage, and research services serving corporations, financial institutions, governments, and institutional investors. The company?s Commercial Banking segment provides lending, treasury, investment banking, and asset management services to corporations, municipalities, financial institutions, and not-for-profit entities. Its Treasury & Securities Services segment offers cash management, trade, wholesale card, and liquidity products and services to small and mid-sized companies, multinational corporations, financial institutions, and government entities. It also holds, values, clears, and services securities, cash, and alternative investments for investors and broker-dealers, and manages depositary receipt programs worldwide. JPMorgan?s Asset Management segment provides investment and wealth management to institutions, retail investors, and high-net-worth individuals. This segment offers investment management in equities, fixed income, real estate, hedge funds, private equity, and liquidity products, as well as trust and estate, banking and brokerage services, and retirement services. Its Retail Financial Services segment offers retail banking and consumer lending services that include checking and savings accounts, mortgages, home equity and business loans, and investments through ATMs, online banking, and telephone banking, as well as auto dealerships and school financial-aid offices. The company?s Card Services segment issues credit cards and processes various credit card payments. JPMorgan Chase & Co. was founded in 1823 and is headquartered in New York, New York.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Roberto Pedone]

    There may be a less conspicuous reversal taking shape over at JPMorgan Chase (JPM). While JPM spent most of the first quarter rallying hard alongside the rest of the financial sector, the stock's orderly uptrend broke back in March, and it's been trading lower (however slightly) for the last couple of months. Yesterday's move through the top of JPM's downtrending channel could change that.

    If JPMorgan's price action could be described in a word, it's "orderly." Shares rallied off of their November lows in a tightly bound channel, and they've given back some of those gains in a similar channel. You don't exactly have to be an expert technical analyst to see what's going on here. If JPM can confirm its breakout above that upper bound today, we've got a buy signal in this big bank.

    A momentum uptrend adds some extra confidence to this trade. A short-term uptrend in RSI hints that the breakout has some staying power. If you decide to jump in here, I'd recommend keeping a protective stop just below the 50-day moving average.

    JPMorgan was also featured recently in "5 Stocks Insiders Are Scooping Up." 

  • [By Elissa]

    With more than 2.2 trillion dollars worth of assets, JP Morgan Chase is the largest bank in the United States and arguably the healthiest one during the financial crisis. The company is well diversified, with its hand in investment banking, small business and commercial banking, private equity and asset management. CEO Jamie Dimon and other big players in the world of finance came under fire for receiving bailout money, but JP Morgan repaid the loan quickly, and its net income of $19 billion today shows that the company is thriving.

  • [By Kathy Kristof]

    Shares of JPMorgan Chase (JPM) continue to be held back by a London trading debacle that cost the bank a whopping $6.2 billion, says analyst Erik Oja, of S&P Capital IQ. Although a congressional report was highly critical of the company's leadership, including chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, Oja considers JPMorgan to be among the nation's best-managed banks. "It is still one of the top investment banks in the world and is likely to have good growth," he says. At $47.49, the stock sells for 8.7 times estimated 2013 earnings of $5.48 per share. Oja considers JPMorgan a bargain and thinks it will hit $55 in a year. The stock, incidentally, yields an above-average 3.2%.

Top 5 Bank Companies To Own In Right Now: State Street Corporation(STT)

State Street Corporation, a financial holding company, provides various financial products and services to institutional investors worldwide. The company?s Investment Servicing business line provides products and services, including custody, product- and participant-level accounting; daily pricing and administration; master trust and master custody; record-keeping; foreign exchange, brokerage, and other trading services; securities finance; deposit and short-term investment facilities; loan and lease financing; investment manager and alternative investment manager operations outsourcing; and performance, risk, and compliance analytics. This segment also offers shareholder services, which comprise mutual fund and collective investment fund shareholder accounting. Its Investment Management business line provides a range of investment management, investment research, and other related services, such as securities finance; and strategies for managing passive and active financ ial assets, such as enhanced indexing and hedge fund strategies for U.S. and global equities and fixed-income securities. The company serves mutual funds, collective investment funds and other investment pools, corporate and public retirement plans, insurance companies, foundations, endowments, and investment managers. State Street Corporation was founded in 1832 and is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.

Top 5 Bank Companies To Own In Right Now: Goldman Sachs Group Inc.(The)

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides investment banking, securities, and investment management services to corporations, financial institutions, governments, and high-net-worth individuals worldwide. Its Investment Banking segment offers financial advisory, including advisory assignments with respect to mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, corporate defense, risk management, restructurings, and spin-offs; and underwriting securities, loans and other financial instruments, and derivative transactions. The company?s Institutional Client Services segment provides client execution activities, such as fixed income, currency, and commodities client execution related to making markets in interest rate products, credit products, mortgages, currencies, and commodities; and equities related to making markets in equity products, as well as commissions and fees from executing and clearing institutional client transactions on stock, options, and fu tures exchanges. This segment also engages in the securities services business providing financing, securities lending, and other prime brokerage services to institutional clients, including hedge funds, mutual funds, pension funds, and foundations. Its Investing and Lending segment invests in debt securities, loans, public and private equity securities, real estate, consolidated investment entities, and power generation facilities. This segment also involves in the origination of loans to provide financing to clients. The company?s Investment Management segment provides investment management services and investment products to institutional and individual clients. This segment also offers wealth advisory services, including portfolio management and financial counseling, and brokerage and other transaction services to high-net-worth individuals and families. In addition, it provides global investment research services. The company was founded in 1869 and is headquartered in New York, New York.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Best Financial Companies To Invest In Right Now

Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI  ) is once against shifting into drive in the resale market.

The satellite radio provider announced a deal this morning with Kia, arming its used-car department with financial incentives to push premium radio if it's available. Buyers of pre-owned vehicles that already have factory-installed Sirius or XM receivers will be receiving complimentary three-month trial subscriptions.

It's smart bait.

Sirius XM knows that getting drivers hooked on premium radio is easy. A healthy 44% of car buyers who kick the tires of satellite radio convert into self-paying customers. Sirius XM also gets the important contact information that it wouldn't otherwise have, allowing the company to market directly to buyers of secondhand cars down the line.

Best Financial Companies To Invest In Right Now: Omega Protein Corporation(OME)

Omega Protein Corporation, a nutritional ingredient company, engages in the processing, marketing, and distribution of fish meal, oil, and soluble products. The company produces and sells various protein and oil products derived from menhaden, a herring-like species of fish found in the U.S. coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Its fish meal products include the Special Select, a premium grade fish meal that is targeted for monogastrics, including baby pigs, pets, shrimps, and fish; SeaLac, a premium grade fish meal that is targeted for the ruminant industry; and Fair Average Quality Meal, a commodity grade fish meal that is used in protein blends for catfish, pets, and other animals. Omega Protein Corporation?s fish oil products comprise crude unrefined fish oil, refined fish oil, and food grade oils. Its oil products are used in food production, feed production, certain industrial applications, and dietary supplements. The company?s fish solubles in clude Neptune fish concentrate that is used as the attractant in commercial baits, as well as in shrimp and finfish diets; OmegaGrow, a liquid soil or foliar-applied fertilizer for plant nutrition; and OmegaGrow Plus, a liquid foliar-applied fertilizer for plant nutrition that also helps to control insect and fungus problems. The company sells its products in the United States Mexico, Europe, Canada, Asia, and South and Central America. Omega Protein Corporation was founded in 1998 and is based in Houston, Texas.

Best Financial Companies To Invest In Right Now: Morgan Stanley(MS)

Morgan Stanley, a financial holding company, provides various financial products and services to corporations, governments, financial institutions, and individuals worldwide. It operates in three segments: Institutional Securities, Global Wealth Management Group, and Asset Management. The Institutional Securities segment offers financial advisory services on mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, corporate restructurings, recapitalizations, spin-offs, exchange offers, and leveraged buyouts and takeover defenses, as well as shareholder relations, capital raising, corporate lending, and investments. This segment also engages in sales, trading, financing, and market-making activities, including equity trading, commodities, and interest rates, credit, and currencies, as well as financing services, such as prime brokerage, consolidated clearance, settlement, custody, financing, and portfolio reporting services. The Global Wealth Management Group segment provide s brokerage and investment advisory services covering various investment alternatives comprising equities, options, futures, foreign currencies, precious metals, fixed income securities, mutual funds, structured products, alternative investments, unit investment trusts, managed futures, separately managed accounts, and mutual fund asset allocation programs; education savings programs, financial and wealth planning services, and annuity and insurance products; credit and other lending products; cash management services; retirement services; and trust and fiduciary services. The Asset Management segment offers products and services in equity, fixed income, and alternative investments, such as hedge funds, fund of funds, real estate, private equity, and infrastructure to institutional and retail clients through proprietary and third party distribution channels. This segment also involves in investment and merchant banking activities. The company was founded in 1935 and is headq uartered in New York.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Louis Navellier]

    Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) is another global financial services firm making this list. MS has been a big loser in 2011, dropping more than 49% in less than 10 months.

Top Stocks To Buy For 2014: Westpac Banking Corporation(WBC.AX)

Westpac Banking Corporation provides various banking and financial services. The company offers financial services, such as lending, deposit taking, payments, investment portfolio management and advice, unit trust and superannuation fund management, insurance, leasing, general finance, foreign exchange, and money market services. Its deposit products include term deposits, savings accounts, and business transactional accounts. The company?s loan portfolio comprises advances, overdrafts, home loans, credit card and other personal lending, term loans, leasing receivables, bill financing, and redeemable preference share financing and acceptances. It also offers investment, superannuation, and retirement products; investment platforms, such as wrap and master trusts; private banking and financial planning services; and insurance solutions, including the manufacture and distribution of life, general, and lenders mortgage insurance and deposit bonds. In addition, the company pr ovides various services, such as advice for cash flow finance, trade finance, automotive and equipment finance, property finance, agribusiness finance, transaction banking, and treasury services. Westpac Banking Corporation serves consumer, small and medium enterprise, commercial, corporate, institutional, and government customers through branches, third party distributors, call centers, automated teller machines, electronic funds transfer point of sale, terminals, telephone banking and Internet banking channels, business banking centers, home finance managers, and specialized consumer and business relationship managers. As of September 30, 2011, it operated 1,532 branches primarily in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands. The company was formerly known as Bank of New South Wales and changed its name to Westpac Banking Corporation in 1982. Westpac Banking Corporation was founded in 1817 and is headquartered in Sydney, Australia.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Ahead of Apple's Entry, Google Is Pushing Payments

The mobile payments industry doesn't have clear leadership right now. There are a slew of companies trying to tap the space, including eBay's PayPal and start-ups like Square, but no contender has emerged as the dominant player.

Of the five tech giants currently at war, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG  ) have the most immediate structural advantages since mobile payments will inevitably be driven by smartphones, and iOS and Android power over 90% of all smartphones sold. has 209 million active customer accounts with payment info on file, but the e-tailer doesn't operate a smartphone platform (yet).

Google is a first-mover in mobile payments with Google Wallet, but it has failed to move the needle even after launching two years ago. Meanwhile, Apple hasn't made any official forays, instead only offering Passbook that doesn't have a direct way to make payments. The Mac maker is widely expected to enter in a big way as early as this fall, since the iPhone 5S will likely include a fingerprint sensor for biometric security. Those 575 million active iTunes accounts are just waiting to be tapped.

Mobile payments are too important to ignore, and Google is making a renewed push with Wallet ahead of Apple's presumed entry. The search giant has launched a fresh promotion to encourage developers to integrate Google Wallet into their apps. At Google I/O in May, the company had also unveiled a new application programming interface, or API, for developers to integrate Google Wallet into their Android apps. Google said only 3% of shoppers on mobile devices complete checkouts because there are so many steps.

Big G is broadening its horizons beyond just in-app purchases of virtual goods; Google is facilitating the payments for third-party merchants selling physical goods and services.

Apple's key differentiator may be the expected integrated fingerprint sensor, which is something that Google can't uniformly support since that's a hardware element -- a decision that falls into OEM jurisdiction. For now, Google has a first-mover advantage over Apple, which it should aggressively exploit before the iPhone maker shakes things up.

The war among the five tech titans is heating up, and mobile payments will be an important battleground to strengthen platform loyalty. Payments are just one skirmish in the grand scheme of things, and there are a plethora of other dimensions where the big five will compete. Read more for free by clicking here.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Will Europe's Debt Mess Knock Out German Stocks' Rise?

Europe's economy remains stuck in the vise of recession, but Germany's stocks finally have started to pick up after a lackluster start to the year. The DAX (DAXINDICES: ^DAX  ) gained another 1.1% this week, bringing its rise over the past three months to more than 11.8% to outstrip its year-to-date gains. Can investors keep beating Europe's crunch in the region's top economy, or is the German market bound to follow in its neighbors' footsteps?

Europe stuck in neutral
Bad news came out this past week as a traditional reading of German investor confidence declined by more than 2 percentage points. The ZEW Indicator is still hanging well above its historical average of a 23.7 reading, but has fallen off the rising pace set through the end of last year into the beginning of 2013. The reading came below economist expectations that had predicted a rise out of the ZEW in July. Still, the ZEW's mark for Germany is far better than its reading for the eurozone as a whole, which hangs at an unbearably low negative 74.7 points.

The rest of Europe is doing Germany's economy no favors, however. Debt-plagued Greece has stumbled on through austerity, and while Germany's finance minister praised the country's efforts, his warnings to the country to cease petitioning for debt write-off has spiked a sharp divide between fiscally resilient Germany and its less fortunate peers in the eurozone. Portugal's in much the same shape as Greece, as the country faces a Sunday deadline to decide the fate of its bailout measures.

For Germany's economy, the ongoing swamp of the eurozone will weigh on the nation's exports -- and export-reliant companies -- as it has already. That's no easy hurdle to jump for such a trade-reliant economy as this, and for Germany's top international businesses like industrial conglomerate Siemens (NYSE: SI  ) , European business will grow all the more troubling.

Of course, it's not just Europe that's posing a problem to Siemens. The company self-reported allegations that it engaged in railway price fixing in Brazil alongside several other multinationals from Europe and Japan. It's a bad time for all of these companies, considering that a massive railway contract in Brazil is set to come up for bidding in August, one that the Brazilian government estimates at a cost of around $16 billion.

It's not the first time that Siemens has been involved in such activities: The company was embroiled in a European corruption affair in 2006 that ultimately cost more than $260 million in court fines. Investors can only hope these Brazilian accusations don't end up costing Siemens too much -- and that they don't jeopardize the company's ambitions in one of the world's emerging market star economies, particularly as Siemens's stock has been stuck in the red in 2013.

Deutsche Lufthansa (NASDAQOTH: DLAKY  ) performed better this week with a 1.5% gain as Germany's airline picked up an upgrade from sell to neutral from Goldman Sachs. It's still a tough time for airlines across the industry due to high fuel costs, and JP Morgan didn't share Goldman's sentiments when it downgraded the stock later in the week, although like its fellow bank, JP Morgan holds the stock at a neutral rank. Low-cost airlines like Ryanair have pushed hard into the cost-conscious European market, and Lufthansa has admitted as much by announcing earlier this year that it could explore the option of a low-cost base in Asia to compensate.

For investors of Lufthansa, Siemens, and other leading German stocks, it's impossible to overlook the shadow of the eurozone's debt woes looming large over the German economy. Europe's hardly the only region in a bind: Many global regions are still stuck in neutral. However, their resurgence could result in windfall profits for select companies. A recent Motley Fool report, "3 Strong Buys for a Global Economic Recovery," outlines three companies that could take off when the global economy gains steam. Click here to read the full report.

Top 5 Low Price Companies To Own For 2014

Our featured stocks are selected based on the investing criteria of several legendary investors. Telecom Argentina SA (TEO) has a guru score of 100% based on the price-to-sales strategy of Kenneth Fisher.

Indeed, based on the Kenneth Fisher's price-to-sale strategy, Telecom Argentina would be considered a "Super Stock".

Under Kenneth Fisher's strategy, the prospective company should have a low Price/Sales ratio. Companies with Price/Sales ratios below 0.75 are tremendous values and should be sought.

Telecom Argentina's P/S of 0.63 based on trailing 12 month sales, is below 0.75 which is considered quite attractive. It passes this methodology's P/S ratio test with flying colors.

Top 5 Low Price Companies To Own For 2014: ON Semiconductor Corporation(ONNN)

ON Semiconductor Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, designs, manufactures, and markets semiconductor components for electronic systems and products worldwide. The company provides computing and consumer products, including analog IC solutions for power management in VCORE, DDR, and chipsets for audio, video, and graphics processing subsystems; and AC-DC conversion solutions for the power supplies in computing and consumer applications. It also offers automotive-grade low-dropout (LDO) voltage regulators, drivers, and ignition IGBTs; mixed-signal custom application specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and automotive application specific standard products (ASSPs) for industrial, medical imaging, computing, and consumer applications; clock and timing management products for industrial, communications, and consumer applications; ASICs and ASSPs that are used in defibrillators, pacemakers, neurostimulators, hearing health applications, glucose meters and patient monit oring product; and standard-cell ASICs conversions for the military/aerospace, industrial, communications, computing, and consumer markets, as well as serial non-volatile memories (EEPROM) solutions for data parameter storage in a range of electronic products. In addition, the company provides standard products comprising diodes and transistors, configurable analog products, LED drivers, EEPROMs and power MOSFETs for consumer electronics, computing, wireless and wired communications, automotive electronics, industrial electronics, and medical markets. Further, it supplies analog and mixed signal integrated circuits, microcontrollers, DSPs, analog and digital tuners, intelligent power modules, memory, and discrete semiconductors for the consumer, industrial, and automotive markets. The company sells its products to original equipment manufacturers, distributors, and electronic manufacturing service providers. ON Semiconductor Corporation was founded in 1999 and is headquarter ed in Phoenix, Arizona.

Top 5 Low Price Companies To Own For 2014: UK Coal(UKC.L)

UK Coal PLC engages in the surface and underground coal mining, property regeneration and management, and power generation activities primarily in the United Kingdom. It has 6 active surface mine, as well as operates 3 deep mines in central and northern England. The company also maintains, develops, and rents properties. The company owns approximately 43,300 acres of agricultural land, of which it develops approximately 4,500 net acres for residential, business park, distribution, leisure, and community facilities. In addition, it generates electricity by utilizing waste gas from mines. Further, the company engages in the development of wind power generation through a strategic collaboration agreement with Peel Energy. UK Coal PLC was founded in 1974 and is headquartered in Doncaster, the United Kingdom.

5 Best Stocks To Buy For 2014: Telstra Corporation Ltd(TLS.AX)

Telstra Corporation Limited provides telecommunications and information services to individuals, businesses, and governments and enterprises in Australia and internationally. The company offers basic access services to most homes and businesses; local and long distance telephone calls in Australia and international calls to and from Australia; mobile telecommunications services; broadband access and content services; a range of data and Internet services; wholesale services to other carriers, carriage service providers, and Internet service providers; advertising, search, and information services; and cable distribution services for FOXTEL's cable subscription television services. It also manages business customers' IT and telecommunications services. In addition, the company provides international voice, satellite, and IP data services; and operates mobile networks in Hong Kong. It has 2.4 million retail fixed broadband customers and approximately 2.5 million mobile broad band customers. The company was formerly known as Australian and Overseas Telecommunications Corporation Limited and changed its name to Telstra Corporation Limited in April 1993. Telstra Corporation Limited was founded in 1901 and is based in Melbourne, Australia.

Top 5 Low Price Companies To Own For 2014: Helios & Matheson North America Inc. (HMNY)

Helios and Matheson Information Technology Inc. provides information technology services and solutions to Fortune 1000 companies and other large organizations. Its services include application value management, custom application development, integration, independent validation, infrastructure, and information management services. The company also markets and distributes software products developed by independent software developers. Its clients operate primarily the financial services, pharmaceutical, and manufacturing/automotive industries. The company was formerly known as Helios and Matheson North America Inc. and changed its name to Helios and Matheson Information Technology Inc. in May 2011. The company was founded in 1982 and is headquartered in New York, New York. Helios and Matheson Information Technology Inc. is a subsidiary of Helios and Matheson Information Technology Ltd.

Top 5 Low Price Companies To Own For 2014: Diana Containerships Inc.(DCIX)

Diana Containerships Inc. owns and operates containerships in Greece. The company engages in the seaborne transportation of semi-finished and finished consumer and industrial products. As of February 23, 2012, its fleet consisted of 8 containerships with a carrying capacity of approximately 32,693 twenty-foot equivalent units. Diana Containerships Inc. was founded in 2010 and is based in Athens, Greece.