Thursday, October 31, 2013

Eurozone Sentiment Picks Up

Sentiment in the eurozone picked up in October and added to the region's growing momentum.

Data from the European Commission showed that economic sentiment in the 17 nation bloc rose to 97.8 points in October, its highest level since August 2011. The figure also beat market expectations of 97.3 points.

German confidence continued to rise for a seventh consecutive month even as the nation's government hangs in the balance while Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Social Democrats try to form a coalition. The report showed that confidence in the region's largest economy rose to 104.9.

Related: PreMarket Primer: Thursday, October 31: BOJ Bullish On Inflation

Rising confidence data will inject some optimism into the region as the currently strong euro has created some problems for the region's economy. Although the European Central Bank has insisted that the euro is not yet at a dangerously high level, many worry that the strong currency could keep the bloc from meeting its inflation targets.

However, the euro lost some of its shine on Wednesday afternoon when the Fed's statement was more hawkish that most were expecting. Reuters reported that the US central bank removed its reference to a "tightening of financial conditions observed in recent months" as a risk to the bank's outlook.

Traders took the omission as a signal that the bank could taper its $85 billion per month bond buying plan sooner than expected. Now, many analysts see the Fed cutting down on its stimulus spending in early 2014. Following the statement, investors turned back to the dollar which sent the euro down 0.2 percent.

Posted-In: European Central Bank Federal ReserveNews Eurozone Commodities Forex Global Federal Reserve Pre-Market Outlook Markets Best of Benzinga

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

  Around the Web, We're Loving... Learn to Use Trading Platforms Like Hedge Fund Traders do Rumsfeld: Denial of Benefits to Fallen Soldiers' Families 'Inexcusable' Come See How the Pro's Trade in this Exclusive Webinar Facebook, Baidu Lead Big Caps Beating Shutdown What Should You Know About AMZN? Most Popular IBM Authorizes $0.95 Dividend; Authorizes $15B In Additional Buybacks What is Apple's Tim Cook Hinting at for 2014? Facebook Shares Edge Higher After Hours Following Upgrade to Buy from BTIG's Greenfield Is a Beer Mega-Merger On Tap? Earnings Scheduled For October 30, 2013 Net Optics Announces Pending Acquisition by Ixia for $190M in Cash Related Articles (EWI + BROAD) Eurozone Sentiment Picks Up Brent Pushes Towards $110 Euro's Strength Could Provoke Action From ECB Brent Slips On Rising Libyan Exports Early Stages Of Eurozone Banking Union To Be Difficult Protests In Libya Boost Brent View the discussion thread. Partner Network #marketfy-ae-block { display: none; border: 2px solid #0a3f75; overflow: hidden; width: 300px; height: 125px; text-align: center; background-color: #45719E; position: relative; z-index: 1; } #marketfy-ae-block a { display: block; width: 300px; height: 125px; position: relative; z-index: 2; color: #ffffff; text-decoration: none; } #marketfy-ae-block-countdown-text { color: #f9fc99; padding: 0px 0 0 0; font-size: 19px; font-weight: bold; line-height: 19px; } #marketfy-ae-block-countdown-text-start { font-size: 12px; } #marketfy-ae-block-countdown { padding: 5px 0 5px 0; font-size: 26px; } #marketfy-ae-block-signup { padding: 5px 47px; } #marketfy-ae-block-signup:hover { background-color: #457a1a; } #marketfy-ae-block #marketfy-ae-block-logo { display: block; padding: 3px 0 0 0; margin: 0; } #marketfy-ae-block-logo { text-indent: -9999px; } #marketfy-ae-block-free { display: block; position: absolute; top: 7px; right: -23px; width: 80px; height: 16px; line-height: 16px; text-align: center; opacity: 1; -webkit-transform: rotate(45deg); -moz-transform: rotate(45deg); -ms-transform: rotate(45deg); transform: rotate(45deg); font-size: 13px; font-weight: normal; color: #333333; background-color: yellow; z-index: 500; text-shadow: 1px 1px #999999; } #marketfy-ae-block-arrow { position: relative; width: 60px; height: 60px; z-index: 10; margin: -80px 0 13px -21px; } #marketfy-ae-block-arrow img { height: 60px; width: auto; } Marketfy's International
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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Top 5 Stocks To Invest In 2014

Source: Instagram.

It was just last April when Facebook (NASDAQ: FB  ) acquired photo-sharing app Instagram for about $1 billion. Back then, Instagram had about 22 million people actively using the app every month. Now, the service boasts 130 million monthly active users. As the service grows, it's important to assess the apps potential and its importance to Facebook.

Protecting its lead in photos
Facebook has always felt that photos were important to the company's strategy. When Facebook acquired instagram, CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted on his timeline that "providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together."

Though Zuckerberg clearly assured Instagram fans the service would remain a separate brand from Facebook, he also said Facebook planned to learn from the photo-sharing app. A look at the changes to Facebook's newsfeed and its timeline over the past year clearly show that Facebook did in fact focus on bringing photos front and center. In addition to making more room for photos to fill the display on both desktop and mobile versions of Facebook, the company introduced a Photos feed that highlights nothing but photos from your friends and the pages you like.

Top 5 Stocks To Invest In 2014: OraSure Technologies Inc.(OSUR)

OraSure Technologies, Inc. develops, manufactures, markets, and sells oral fluid diagnostic products and specimen collection devices in the United States and internationally. It also manufactures and sells medical devices used for the removal of benign skin lesions by cryosurgery or freezing. The company offers OraQuick ADVANCE HIV-1/2, a point-of-care qualitative test for antibodies to the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 and type 2; OraQuick HCV, a point-of-care qualitative test for antibodies to the hepatitis C virus; OraSure QuickFlu Rapid Flu A&B Test, a point-of-care qualitative test for antibodies to influenza Types A and B, including H1N1 infections; OraSure, an oral fluid collection device for the detection of antibodies to HIV-1 in an oral fluid sample in a laboratory setting; and Intercept, an oral fluid collection device for oral fluid drugs of abuse testing in a laboratory setting. In addition, it provides MICRO-PLATE DOA Assays that are used to detect the drugs in an oral fluid sample collected with intercept device; cryosurgical freezing systems for the removal of warts and other benign skin lesions; and cryosurgical systems for the removal of common and plantar warts. Further, OraSure Technologies sells immunoassay tests and reagents for insurance risk assessment, substance abuse testing, and forensic toxicology applications; an oral fluid Western blot HIV-1 confirmatory test for confirming positive HIV-1 test results obtained from the use of OraSure collection device; and Q.E.D., a point-of-care saliva alcohol test. The company sells its products through direct sales, strategic collaborations, and distributors to clinical laboratories, hospitals, clinics, community-based and other public health organizations, distributors, government agencies, physicians? offices, and commercial and industrial entities. It has collaboration agreement with Merck & Co. Inc. OraSure Technologies, Inc. was founded in 1979 and is based in Beth lehem, Pennsylvania.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Seth Jayson]

    OraSure Technologies (Nasdaq: OSUR  ) reported earnings on May 8. Here are the numbers you need to know.

    The 10-second takeaway
    For the quarter ended March 31 (Q1), OraSure Technologies beat slightly on revenues and met expectations on earnings per share.

Top 5 Stocks To Invest In 2014: JSE Ltd (JSE)

JSE Limited (JSE) is a South Africa-based company is engaged in securities exchange, providing electronic trading, clearing and settlement of equities, equity and commodity derivatives, interest rate products and other associated instruments. It is also a provider of financial information. The Company�� main business includes trading, issuer services, clearing and settlement services, technology and other technology-related services and information product sales. JSE operates in five divisions: equity division, equity and currency derivatives, commodity derivatives, interest rate market and market data. The Equity Market provides trading in equities, warrants and exchange traded products. The Company�� line of products includes Bond Futures, Bond Options, B-Ordinary shares, Can-Do Futures and Options, Carbon Credit Notes, Chicago Corn Futures and Options, Debentures, Krugerrand, Share Instalments, Spot and Forward Bonds, Grain Futures and Options and N-Ordinary Shares.

Hot Safest Companies For 2014: Ecology and Environment Inc.(EEI)

Ecology and Environment, Inc., an environmental consulting firm, provides professional services to the government and private sectors worldwide. It offers a range of environmental consulting services, including critical feature/fatal flaw analyses; environmental impact assessments; feasibility and siting studies; permitting, and due diligence audits. The company evaluates and develops various methods to avoid or mitigate environmental impacts of a proposed project and to ensure that the project complies with regulatory requirements. Ecology and Environment, Inc. also provides logistical support, emergency response/management services, and comprehensive planning to support businesses and state, county, and municipal governments in various phases of incident management, including preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery. In addition, the company conducts hazardous waste site evaluations providing site investigation, engineering design, and operation and maintenance s ervices. Further, it conceives and designs environmental restoration projects that restore affected habitat through the integration of biological and engineering solutions. Additionally, the company offers services to address issues of organizations as a result of global pandemic, including pandemic influenza response and preparedness plans, media roundtables, comprehensive emergency plans, all-hazards plans, school crisis plans, crisis communications plans, continuity of operations plans, gap/needs assessments, and client-specific exercises and scenarios. It also offers knowledge-based consulting services to assist its clients establish an environmental focus and incorporate green elements into their organization?s culture. The company was founded in 1970 and is headquartered in Lancaster, New York.

Top 5 Stocks To Invest In 2014: Compagnie St.gobain(COD.L)

Compagnie de Saint-Gobain designs, manufactures, and distributes building materials worldwide. The company?s Innovative Materials segment offers flat glass, solar energy solutions, special glass for photovoltaic applications, photovoltaic panels and sub-assemblies, and electrochrome glass. This segment also engages in processing glass for the building industry and domestic appliances, and for the automotive and mass transit markets; and provides high-performance materials that comprise ceramics, plastics, abrasives, textile solutions, performance polymers, and glass fabrics, as well as NOVELIO glassfibre wallcoverings and particulate filters. Its Construction Products segment offers interior solutions, such as plasterboard and lightweight construction systems; gypsum plasters, including formulated plasters for building and industrial applications; ceiling systems comprising insulating and acoustic solutions; and other products for interior fittings, as well as glass wool, rock wool, and insulating foams. This segment also provides exterior solutions consisting of asphalt shingle tiles for roofing, poly vinyl chloride clapboard, fiber cement sidings, barriers, balustrades, and terrace materials; external wall rendering, floor-tiling products, technical mortars, and insulation systems; and taps and other plumbing equipment, as well as ductile cast iron piping for drinking water distribution, irrigation, sanitation, and rain-water drainage. The company?s Building Distribution segment distributes building materials; plumbing, heating, and sanitary ware products; and tiles. Its Packaging segment offers glass containers, makes bottles, and jars for foodstuffs and beverages. The company was founded in 1665 and is based in Courbevoie, France.

Top 5 Stocks To Invest In 2014: Rent-A-Center Inc.(RCII)

Rent-A-Center, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, primarily engages in leasing household durable goods to customers on a rent-to-own basis. The company?s stores offer durable products, such as consumer electronics, appliances, computers, and furniture and accessories under flexible rental purchase agreements that allow the customer to obtain ownership of the merchandise at the conclusion of an agreed upon rental period. It also provides merchandise on an installment sales basis in its stores. As of December 31, 2010, the company operated 3,008 company-owned stores in the United States, and in Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, including 42 retail installment sales stores under the names ?Get It Now? and ?Home Choice?; and 18 rent-to-own stores located in Canada under the ?Rent-A-Centre? name. It also operates 209 franchised rent-to-own stores in 32 states under the ColorTyme trade name; and 384 kiosk locations under the ?RAC Acceptance? model. In addition, the company, th rough its ColorTyme?s franchised stores, offers custom rims and tires for sale or rental under the trade names ?RimTyme? or ?ColorTyme Custom Wheels?. Rent-A-Center, Inc. was founded in 1986 and is headquartered in Plano, Texas.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Amazon and Overstock's Crazy Price War's a Win for Book Lovers

Top 10 High Tech Stocks To Invest In 2014

Amazon.comGetty Images Usually when companies fight each other, it's consumers who get the worst of it. But right now, we're witnessing a business battle that's actually benefiting consumers in a big way. In this corner: Amazon (AMZN). In that corner: At stake: Which site gets to claim it has the lowest prices on books. For years, Amazon has had sole possession of those bragging rights. But Overstock, a discounter not as widely known for its book offerings, is trying to make a splash in the book game by beating Amazon on price. Starting July 22, the site began offering to match Amazon's prices on hundreds of thousands of books, and then lower the price by another 10 percent. Overstock is applying the program to 360,000 of its titles. Not to be outdone, Amazon is going through its list and discounting its books to beat those prices -- which is causing Overstock's computers to respond by lowering their own prices again. The result is a race to the bottom, with the book-buying public realizing huge discounts on even the most popular books. Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl," for instance, is a bestseller that came out in June and has a list price of $25. It's currently $12.84 at Amazon, but Overstock has it for just $10.63. The Amazon price history of the book shows that the price started dipping shortly after Overstock's price-match program went into effect. The price war is largely being fought by the two e-tailers' computers, which are programmed to periodically check the competition's prices and beat them. While algorithms of this sort have gone a little screwy in the past -- consider the case of the biology textbook that wound up priced at $23 million -- we're guessing there a fail-safes in place here to make sure the prices don't go too low. That's probably why we aren't seeing books selling for pennies on either site right now, and likely won't. Still, Overstock pledged Thursday that it would keep up the promotion for at least another week. So if there's a book you're looking to buy, now is the time to do it. Check the prices on both sites, see where you're getting the better shipping deal, and then click "buy" before the two companies declare a cease-fire.

Friday, October 25, 2013

4 Quality Stocks With High Cash Returns

Simon Fennell, Co-Manager, William Blair International Growth Fund

Simon Fennell: The approach of the International Growth Fund is to look for the best companies we can find with a focus on quality. What we mean by quality is a heavy emphasis on cash return on invested capital, which we believe is the best metric. We look for companies with the best sustainable business models, positions and franchises. We assess the management profile, the business model, and seek companies that have higher sustainable returns. We believe that focus leads to portfolios with very good businesses that can benefit in up markets, but also protect investors in down markets. That is one of the areas that we're particularly focused on from a risk profile point of view within the portfolio.

Wally Forbes: I see. In your International Fund, do you go into U.S. stocks as well as stocks that are non-U.S. stocks?

Fennell: No, everything is outside of the U.S. We do have global strategies at William Blair, but the International Growth is non-U.S.

Forbes: Understand. Please go right ahead.

Fennell: Well, I wanted to discuss three or four names as examples of the holdings in the portfolio at the moment.

Forbes: Are these available in the U.S. through ADRs or otherwise?

Fennell: Yes, all of these have a U.S. listing as well, although some are more liquid than others. The first is ARM Holdings ARM Holdings (NASDAQ: ARMH) based here in Cambridge, England. It is the global leading mobile intellectual property company with a huge market share within mobile technology. It has been a name that has defined mobile technology for almost ten years, and we believe it still has significant growth potential from here. We believe margins still have substantial upside potential — even though it currently has high margins. We believe that earnings growth can be north of 25% for multiple years.

From a cash return point of view, as ARM starts to increase its licensing and royalty payments we believe that there can actually be some very significant upside potential. The issue with this company is not its market position, but much more the valuation, which is particularly high. That is a tradeoff that we often struggle with, although given its market dominance and high cash returns, it remains an incredibly interesting, innovative, and important company.

Forbes: So, it's good despite the fact that it's at a high multiple at the present time?

Fennell: ARM has always traded at a very high multiple, and the main reason for that is just that its future cash flows are very visible and because of the payments that it is gaining from licenses. It will derive royalties on products that don't come out for two, three, or four years. As a result, the nature of its business model is particularly long-term. It has a high multiple because investors believe that they can see growth for some time to come, but we believe that the return sustainability is also very significant.

The second name I wanted to highlight is ITV ITV (OTC: ITVPY), the U.K. TV company. ITV is an integrated media company with both production and transmission. It is quite an interesting story from two or three points of view. The first reason is the current management team led by Adam Crozier and the Chairman, Archie Norman. They have really turned this company around both operationally and financially.

The return profile makes it interesting as both a cyclical and something of a structural story. Three-quarters of its revenue comes from transmissions, with a basis on the advertising side and a quarter is coming from its production group. To have that sort of internal production capability is very interesting, but even more interesting is the fact that ITV is starting to export TV programs almost on a global basis. It is also doing some very interesting M&A work around the world, to pick up companies that it can take in-house and then push those products out on its platform across the world.

Forbes: So, it doesn't just operate in the U.K., it is international?

Fennell: Very much so. It takes original U.K. programming and then exports it on a global scale. Some of the programs that it is exporting are very interesting, as programs like Titanic or Mr. Selfridge have been pushed around the world. There have also been some interesting mergers and acquisitions in the U.S. This is the company that bought the production group that does the Duck Dynasty TV show which has, of course, tremendous popularity in the U.S.

Again, what ITV is trying to do is take some of these formats and then export them. ITV is also benefiting from an advertising upswing. Here in the U.K., the economy is getting a little bit better, and it is a beneficiary of that. ITV has paid down a lot of its debt, is very cash generative at the moment, and has highlighted that it is going to start buybacks and pay dividends.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

5 Sin Stocks to Protect Your Portfolio

BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- The S&P 500 has had a blockbuster year so far in 2013. At last count, shares of the big index have rocketed 23% higher since the start of the calendar year. So if you're not thinking defensively right now, you could be in for a rude awakening.

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In football, the saying goes: The best defense is a good offense. That might be good advice for Super Bowl contenders, but it's terrible advice for investors.

As an investor, the best defense is a, well, good defense. And the best offense is a good defense too.

That's not just some investing platitude. It's backed up by stock market research. According to data collected by Cambria Investment Management CIO Mebane Faber, missing the best and worst days of the year with a defensive market posture actually outperforms a buy-and-hold approach.

So today, we're going defensive with five "sin stocks."

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Don't let the name fool you; sin stock companies aren't in the business of burning down old folks' homes. Instead, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and weapons firms are all classical examples of sin stocks. So what makes sin stocks so attractive when anxiety ratchets higher?

For starters, sin stocks tend to be businesses that provide a stress outlet for consumers. As a result, recession resistant revenues and sticky customer bases are the norm. The devil's in the details with sin stocks; because these firms generally sport wide economic moats and deeper margins than traditional consumer plays, sin stocks benefit from an extra qualitative boost that you can't find in any other group right now. That's not to say that sin stocks are recession-proof -- they're not. But they are certainly recession-resistant, which is more than an offense-centered investment strategy can offer.

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Here's a look at five sin stocks that could outperform in this market.

Reynolds American

First on our list is Reynolds American (RAI), the $27 billion tobacco stock. Reynolds is one of the biggest tobacco firms in the country, with around 26% of the U.S. cigarette market. The firm's brands include Camel, Cool and Natural American Spirits. Best of all, Reynolds pays out a hefty 5% dividend yield at current price levels.

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Reynolds American lays claim to five of the 10 most popular cigarette brands in the country. In the last decade, the firm has made significant investments outside of the conventional cigarette world and into more growth-oriented niches such as smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes. But let's not mince words: Reynolds is no growth stock. Its customer base is dying a slow death (so to speak) as overall tobacco use declines in the U.S. Because the firm sold off its international rights to Japan Tobacco in 1999, high-growth markets in Southeast Asia and Latin America are off-limits to RAI.

But the decline of U.S. tobacco is slow indeed -- less than 5% a year -- and RAI's hefty exposure to the premium segment of the cigarette and smokeless markets means that the firm should continue to throw off considerable cash. That makes Reynolds a stellar income name for investors looking to offset the record low rates that are plaguing their returns.

The firm's year-to-date 21% rally should prove to investors that capital gains aren't off the table either.


It surprises some people to think of Boeing (BA) as a sin stock. After all, Boeing is probably best known for the wide-body jets that bear its name. But building airliners only makes up half of this aerospace giant's business -- the other half comes from the defense sector. And defense stocks certainly fit in the category of controversial in 2013.

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Boeing's flagship government projects include the replacement of the Air Force's KC-46A refueling tanker fleet, a deal that could be worth $75 billion by itself. The firm has also been retrofitting old F-16s into unmanned aerial targets for military pilots to take aim at (Boeing was no doubt thrilled to help them blow up the retired Lockheed Martin (LMT) fighter jets). One of the differentiating factors that makes BA more attractive than its defense sector competitors is its exposure to the commercial market; with new offerings such as the 787 and the re-engined 737, the firm is well-positioned for growth in the years to come.

That's in spite of the budgetary hiccups that have been plaguing the government lately. No, Congress can't seem to get its act together, but with a $410 billion backlog, Boeing's revenues offer considerable protection from trimmed project budgets. This sin stock is infinitely more attractive than its pure-play rivals.

Las Vegas Sands

Don't let the name fool you. Like Boeing, Las Vegas Sands (LVS) is another firm that's not quite what it first appears. That's because this $60 billion gaming stock actually earns just 15% of its revenue Las Vegas. The real money gets made in Asia.

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Sands owns an impressive collection of properties spread across big-dollar gambling havens such as Macau, Singapore and Cotai, which are high-barrier markets. For example, casino megaresorts cost billions to develop, and in crown-jewel locations such as Macau, competition is limited to the few firms that can grab one of just six licenses to operate casinos in China. LVS owns two of them. Destination resorts offer some big benefits for LVS because customers are willing to go out of their way to stay and play at properties such as Sands, Venetian and Palazzo, as well as LVS's Four Seasons franchise in Macau.

LVS chairman Sheldon Adelson owns more than 50% of LVS' outstanding shares, a level of ownership concentration that should provide comfort (not concern) for smaller shareholders. That's because Adelson's stake puts management's objectives in line with long-term owners of the stock. And to date, he's done a good job of delivering on it.


I've got a special place in my heart for Beam (BEAM) -- and not just because the $11.3 billion distillery owns Maker's Mark. It's because Beam became a standalone stock back in 2011, its management has shown some stellar execution. Beam is one of the biggest spirits distillers in the world, with a collection of labels that includes Jim Beam and Maker's Mark bourbon, Sauza tequila, Pinnacle vodka and Cruzan rum.

Beam has a well-earned reputation for bourbon, but it's been differentiating to include other liquors in its line up since spinning off. The acquisitions of Pinnacle and Ireland's Cooley Distillery in 2011 gave Beam instant access to popular brands with pedigrees -- and the firm did it all while unsaddling itself from the debt load that its separation from Fortune Brands left behind.

At the end of the day, Beam still means bourbon. That's a very good thing, though, particularly as bourbon gains in popularity worldwide. The small-batch bourbon movement has been an exciting trend for smaller distillers, and even big names like Beam have partaken thanks to a unit that specializes in making higher-margin niche bourbons. That same small-batch approach could spill over to the firm's other liquor brands in a very positive way; Beam already has a winning model to copy, after all.

Beam may be the least defensive sin stock name on our list, but it's worth taking a closer look at.


Finally, we're adding some international flavor to our sin stock lineup with Ambev (ABV). Ambev is the largest brewer in Latin America with operations in 14 countries in total -- its biggest business units produce beer in Brazil and Argentina as well as PepsiCo (PEP) soft drinks in a handful of Latin American countries. Ambev also owns Canada's Labatt brand of beer.

Beer is an international language. That's a big part of why Ambev has historically been one of the most profitable brewers in the world, with net margins that weigh in above 30%. While Ambev's soft drink bottling operations don't have all of the same advantages that its beer business does, it's able to leverage its distribution prowess across both businesses for great results.

ABV is in the process of going through some big structural changes. The firm is undertaking a stock swap merger in November that will result in some administrative changes, but the differences should be pretty hard to notice for U.S. investors. Currently, the firm pays out a hefty 4.41% dividend yield that's not as tightly tied to economic conditions here in the U.S.

Keep an eye on earnings scheduled for Oct. 31.

To see all of these sin stock trades in action, check out The Sin Stocks Fall 2013 Portfolio on Stockpickr.

-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.


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Follow Stockpickr on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

At the time of publication, author had no positions in stocks mentioned.

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

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

Follow Jonas on Twitter @JonasElmerraji

When should you start investing?

A: So there can't be a better time than today to invest into the markets and there can't be a better time to invest in the market then when you have cash. As Albert Einstein mentioned the power of compounding is amazing, it just doesn't stop so don't worry about macros, don't worry about environment. When you have money that is the best time to invest into the market.

Don't invest into the market on a momentum basis. You have to invest the market based on what the market cycle is. So there are periods when equities are cheap that is the time to be overweight equities. There are times when fixed income is cheap, that is the time to be overweight fixed income. There will be a time when real estate will be cheap that is the time to invest in real estate. Typically during the crisis time I have seen that real estate investors move towards safety. In fact that is the time for you to capture opportunities in the market. Obviously you cannot time the market so when you enter into a storm you will get wet but then that is the time you will capture the best of the opportunities. And over a period of time that risk taking will be rewarded handsomely.

Monday, October 21, 2013

HHS brings in Verizon to help

WASHINGTON — The international telecommunications company Verizon has been tasked with helping the government fix the federal health exchange, USA TODAY has learned.

An informed source in the telecommunications industry said Verizon's Enterprise Solutions division has been asked by the Department of Health and Human Services to improve the performance of the site, which is a key component of the Affordable Care Act. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not been made official.

MORE: Regional issues plague health care site

HHS office said Sunday the department would reach outside its government contractors to civilian companies that might be able to solve's problems more quickly.

"Our team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the team and help improve," an HHS blog post said on Sunday.

HHS did not respond to a request for confirmation about Verizon. The company also declined to comment.

It makes sense for HHS to seek Verizon's help, said Aneesh Chopra, the Obama administration's former chief technology officer and now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. "There is an existing 'best and brightest' available to call in," Chopra said. "Verizon is one of those already under contract."

The odds that the problem will be fixed are "50-50," said Clark Kelso, California's chief information officer under governors Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. "They've got a short window here to try to fix things," Kelso said. "Simply throwing a lot of new programmers at something like this does not guarantee success."

STORY: Tech experts: Health exchange site needs total overhaul

According to Verizon's website, they "provide converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and deliver integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 ! countries." The company also works for HHS and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on other information technology contracts.

"They are people who already know the government process," said Chopra, adding that he did not know the identities of the companies recruited for help.

Chopra said the government's data hub seems to be working, and "these are known issues. There isn't a tech expert with a Superman cape soaring in to fix this issue, nor is that needed."

California's health insurance exchange experienced many of the same early issues as the federal site, Kelso said.

"We're starting to do the same thing the feds are where we're taking the site down over the weekend," Kelso said. "A common problem for government websites is that you typically underestimate what the load is going to be."

But California also had bad code from the insurers, which led to people getting bad lists of available doctors in some of the new health plans.

"The result was you were getting bad information about whether your doctor was part of your plan," Kelso said. "So they deactivated that portion."

The federal site, Kelso said, seems to have communications issues between the states and insurers.

To a user, it can look like the system is not processing my information; it'd be like Amazon never confirming a payment you've made, he said.

Michael Crandell, CEO of RightScale, which helps larger organizations on cloud computing projects, said the site's problems may taint perceptions about the law and its performance.

"This kind of problem has been around since the earliest days of the Internet," Crandell said. "Sites getting so much response that they stop working. We call that a 'success disaster.' I'm sure they will fix it. What is worrying is that problems with this site a being extrapolated to suggest problems with the actual law. As we know from experience, website performance is the public face that many projects and companies show to the world."

Top 10 Energy Stocks To Invest In Right Now

Chopra said many website launches, including from civilians, tend to have glitches. He cited the United/Continental airlines merger — where the website had issues merging the two companies' websites for at least a month — as an example.

"I hope this will be a footnote in the Affordable Care Act's effect on the health care of the American people," Chopra said.

Follow @kellyskennedy on Twitter.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

J.P. Morgan Settlement Casts Doubts About Justice Dept.'s Prosecutorial Discretion

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- JPMorgan Chase's (JPM) record $13 billion tentative settlement with the Justice Department concerning misrepresented residential mortgage-backed securities does not absolve from criminal charges senior bank officials or the bank as an institution.

JPMorgan could be dismembered if several senior officers are found guilty of criminal charges or the bank as an institution engaged in fraud or other criminal activities. The resulting crippling or breakup of JPMorgan would have grave consequences for major corporations and the broader economy that rely on the institution as their primary banker, and those firms' CFOs would do well to start shopping their business elsewhere.

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Also, other Wall Street institutions, like Goldman Sachs (GS), marketed similarly shaky securities. It must be asked: Why has all this taken five years? Why was JPMorgan singled out for such harsh treatment? Does this episode have parallels to the federal suit against Standard and Poor's (MHFI), which downgraded U.S. debt in 2011 and then was singled out among bond rating agencies by the administration?

Much of JPMorgan's legal problems stem from its acquisitions of Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual, whereas Goldman Sachs' mortgage securities problems were manufactured within its own confines. Again why is JPMorgan treated so much more harshly, and without regard for the broader macroeconomic effects? Much of Wall Street backed Barack Obama's bid for the presidency in 2008, and subsequently maintained distance for the 2012 campaign. Goldman Sachs has continued close ties to the administration and the Federal Reserve. All this raises serious questions about the exercise of prosecutorial discretion by Eric Holder's Justice Department. Follow @PMorici1 This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Why Diamond Foods Shares Jumped

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Diamond Foods (NASDAQ: DMND  ) were sparkling today, gaining as much as 11% after a posting a strong earnings report and naming a new CFO.

So what: The maker of snack products including Kettle Chips and Pop-Secret popcorn delivered an adjusted per-share profit of $0.05, well ahead of analyst estimates of a $0.17 loss. Revenue dropped 11% to $184.9 million, but that also beat expectations of $175.8 million. Diamond Foods is still recovering from an accounting scandal that forced it to restate financial reports, led to the resignation of its CEO and CFO, and severely damaged the stock and the company in the process. Last night, the company named Raymond Silcock as its new head bean counter, replacing interim CFO Michael Murphy. Silcock most recently served as CFO at the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., which owns the grocery chain A&P.

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Now what: Today's report definitely looks like a step in the right direction, but Diamond still appears to be several quarters from returning to full health as the snack maker added that current-quarter revenue would continue to be down due to weak nut supply. Without adjustments, the company actually lost $0.71 a share last quarter due to a plant closure and other onetime items. The difference would indicate that there's still some more restructuring to go through before returning to profitability.

Don't miss the next update on Diamond Foods. Add the company to your Watchlist by clicking right here.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Winners & Losers: Sony Is No. 1; Discomfort for Select Comfort

Sony Playstation PS3.Alamy Companies can make brilliant moves, but there are also times when things don't work out quite as planned. From a changing of the guard in the video game console business to retailers planning to cut our Thanksgiving get-togethers short, here's a rundown of the week's best and worst moves in the business world. Sony (SNE) -- Winner After 32 consecutive months as the top-selling video game console in the country, Microsoft's (MSFT) Xbox 360 was unseated in September by Sony's PS3, according to industry tracker NPD Group. Microsoft was never expected to stay on top forever, but the timing of its fall could be better. Both companies are introducing new consoles next month, and while it's widely assumed that Microsoft's Xbox One will be more popular than Sony's PlayStation 4, watching Sony retake the lead last month does make this holiday season's new console war that much more unpredictable. Sony rarely gets mentioned as a weekly winner these days, so let it bask in the glory of success. Thanksgiving Dinner -- Loser Remember when Thanksgiving was all about getting together with the family for a traditional feast as your uncles bickered about politics and you tried to sneak your vegetable onto your little cousin's plate? Well, that part of the holiday's festivities seems to be getting shorter and shorter shrift these days, with even more retailers announcing this week that they will opening for Black Friday before some of us have even finished our pumpkin pie.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

PepsiCo Posts Better-than-Expected Results, Thanks to Its Snack Business

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The food and beverage giant PepsiCo (PEP) came out with its earnings on October 16 and crushed analyst estimates by recording stronger than expected profit. Though the North American beverage unit results were weak, the Frito-Lay snack side managed to post solid sales which compensated for the beverage unit sales. Let's take a closer look at some of the essential numbers of the quarter earnings of the soft drink and snack company.

A Look at the Quarter

The total revenue of PepsiCo increased 1.5% to $16.9 billion, marginally below consensus estimates of $17 billion. The maker of Pepsi, Gatorade and Doritos posted net income of $1.9 billion, or $1.23 per share, and thrashed analyst estimates of $1.8 billion. Earnings growth was relatively flat compared to last year comparable period figure. The operating profit of PepsiCo went down 1% to $2.7 billion.

Growth in the beverage segment is slowing down. Even Coca-Cola (KO), PepsiCo's archrival, has been complaining that sales gain is a bit on the slow side for the carbonated drinks segment as consumers continue to shift to still beverages at a fast rate. The beverage giant also reported its quarterly earnings a day before PepsiCo. The company's soda volume remained flat in North America, but still the beverage giant experienced gain in market share. Both the companies are struggling in their domestic market as people are getting conscious of their health and avoiding carbonated drinks.

However, PepsiCo should be thankful to its snack segment which saw strong sales and helped offset the ill effect of its beverage unit. Americas beverage sales dropped 2% to $5.4 billion for the third quarter, while Asia, Middle East and Africa plunged 3% to $1.6 billion. However, Europe showed positive results with 3% growth to $3.8 billion, thanks to the higher prices of its offerings. In contrast, the food business is! going well. The company's food sales increased 5% to $6.1 billion.

As the company is in both snack and drinks, the loss of one is being balanced by the gain in the other business. The company executives said that PepsiCo intends to combine its drink and snack business. The management aims to maximize shareholders' interest at large, rather than focusing on the needs of a segment of the stakeholders. The chief executive of the company Indra Nooyi said that she was "pleased" with PepsiCo's quarterly performance given the volatile macroeconomic condition.

The Bottom Line

Slow emerging market growth and restricted demand for carbonated drinks could be reasons for concern for the beverage company. To overcome such challenges, PepsiCo is focusing on advertisement and concentrating on its 12 best brands to help it boost organic growth. The company's strategy is to strengthen its competitive position by investing on innovation and market its offerings in the most profitable manner.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Jim Cramer's 6 Stocks in 60 Seconds: REGN KR AMT LNG SWK ABT (Update 1)

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Check out Jim Cramer's latest trading recommendations on "Action Alerts Plus". (Updates from 10:45 a.m. ET with closing information.)

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Here's what Jim Cramer had to say on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" Wednesday.

A new cholesterol drug from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) had very positive phase III results and Cramer said it's putting Merck's (MRK) Zetia drug to shame. REGN jumped 6% to $17.22.

BMO initiated Kroger (KR) with a neutral rating. Cramer said he prefers Whole Foods Market (WFM). KR rose 1% to $41.87. "Goldman Sachs blesses" American Tower (AMT) by reiterating it as a buy, Cramer said, adding that the last thing we heard about the company involved accounting issues. AMT was 3.2% higher at $77.12. Deutsche Bank raised its price target on Cheniere Energy (LNG). Even though the stock has quadrupled in value, it appears to still have upside, according to Cramer. LNG was up 3.5% on the day to $38.17. Stanley Black & Decker (SWK) provided dismal guidance and had poor margins, said Cramer. "This is a disaster." SWK plummeted 14.3% to $76.75. Conversely, Abbott Laboratories (ABT) beat earnings estimates and raised its dividend. Cramer thinks CEO Miles White is going great things and likes the dividend. ABT jumped 6.5% to $35.90. To sign up for Jim Cramer's free Booyah! newsletter, with all of his latest articles and videos, please click here. -- Written by Bret Kenwell in Petoskey, Mich. Follow @BretKenwell

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Best Value Companies To Invest In Right Now

LONDON --�I believe that shares in real estate investment trust (REIT)�British Land Company� (LSE: BLND  ) �are primed to shoot higher, with rolling earnings growth in coming years to underpin a steady recovery in its previously pressured dividend policy.

Exciting acquisition activity ready for lift off
British Land controls around 10 billion pounds worth of property in the U.K. Almost two-thirds of the firm's assets are located in the retail sector, the majority of which are in the form of out-of-town retail areas, with the remainder of its portfolio in the office space area.

The firm reported in January's encouraging interims that new retail lettings came in at 13% above estimated rental values, with an excellent occupancy rate of 98.1%. The company's assets remain susceptible to weakness in the wider macro environment, but I believe British Land's stellar asset management should continue to keep lettings rolling.

Best Value Companies To Invest In Right Now: Schlumberger N.V.(SLB)

Schlumberger Limited, together with its subsidiaries, supplies technology, integrated project management, and information solutions to the oil and gas exploration and production industries worldwide. The company?s Oilfield Services segment provides exploration and production services; wireline technology that offers open-hole and cased-hole services; supplies engineering support, directional-drilling, measurement-while-drilling, and logging-while-drilling services; and testing services. This segment also offers well services; supplies well completion services and equipment; artificial lift; data and consulting services; geo services; and information solutions, such as consulting, software, information management system, and IT infrastructure services that support oil and gas industry. Its WesternGeco segment provides reservoir imaging, monitoring, and development services; and operates data processing centers and multiclient seismic library. This segment also offers variou s services include 3D and time-lapse (4D) seismic surveys to multi-component surveys for delineating prospects and reservoir management. The company?s M-I SWACO segment supplies drilling fluid systems to improve drilling performance; fluid systems and specialty tools to optimize wellbore productivity; production technology solutions to maximize production rates; and environmental solutions that manages waste volumes generated in drilling and production operations. Its Smith Oilfield segment designs, manufactures, and markets drill bits and borehole enlargement tools; and supplies drilling tools and services, tubular, completion services, and other related downhole solutions. The company?s Distribution segment markets pipes, valves, and fittings, as well as mill, safety, and other maintenance products. This segment also provides warehouse management, vendor integration, and inventory management services. Schlumberger Limited was founded in 1927 and is based in Houston, Texas.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Eric Volkman]

    A day before it's to release its latest quarterly results, Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB  ) has declared a fresh dividend. The company announced it will hand out a $0.3125 per share common stock distribution on October 11 to shareholders of record as of September 4. That maintains Schlumberger's dividend policy, as it has paid that amount in both of its preceding quarters. The most recent of the pair was disbursed last Friday. Prior to that, the firm paid $0.275 per share.

  • [By Jonas Elmerraji]

    2013 has been a stellar year for shares of oil service giant Schlumberger (SLB). Since the calendar flipped over to January, SLB has rallied more than 25%, beating the broad market's impressive pace by double digits. As oil prices linger on the high end of their historic range, SLB is well positioned to keep ticking higher.

    Schlumberger provides must-have services to national and supermajor oil firms as well as smaller E&Ps, offering up niche services like seismic surveys and well drilling and positioning. In a nutshell, SLB's job is to pull oil out of the ground as efficiently as possible. Oil firms turn to Schlumberger because the tasks they need to accomplish are too nuanced or proprietary to pull off in-house. So as long as the company continues to pour cash into R&D for drilling technology and software, the firm should continue to score lucrative contracts.

    Some of Schlumberger's most attractive opportunities right now come from overseas. The firm is one of the largest oil servicers in Russia, a key growth market in the years ahead. It's also got an important presence in smaller oil markets, where it's a big fish in a small pond. A big scale and stellar reputation should guarantee Schlumberger an attractive piece of the oil pie for years to come.

  • [By Arjun Sreekumar]

    Opportunities for oilfield services firms
    Not surprisingly, Halliburton and other major energy companies view Chinese shale gas development as a significant opportunity for future growth. Many of them, including Baker Hughes (NYSE: BHI  ) , ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP  ) , and Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB  ) , have already developed strategic relationships with Chinese firms to better evaluate the nation's shale gas potential.

Best Value Companies To Invest In Right Now: Caterpillar Inc.(CAT)

Caterpillar Inc. manufactures and sells construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives worldwide. It operates through three lines of businesses: Machinery, Engines, and Financial Products. The Machinery business offers construction, mining, and forestry machinery, including track and wheel tractors, track and wheel loaders, pipelayers, motor graders, wheel tractor-scrapers, track and wheel excavators, backhoe loaders, log skidders, log loaders, off-highway trucks, articulated trucks, paving products, skid steer loaders, underground mining equipment, tunnel boring equipment, and related parts. It also manufactures diesel-electric locomotives; and manufactures and services rail-related products and logistics services for other companies. The Engines business provides diesel, heavy fuel, and natural gas reciprocating engines for Caterpillar machinery, electric power generation systems, marine, petrol eum, construction, industrial, agricultural, and other applications. It offers industrial turbines and turbine-related services for oil and gas, and power generation applications. This business also remanufactures Caterpillar engines, machines, and engine components; and offers remanufacturing services for other companies. The Financial Products business provides retail and wholesale financing alternatives for Caterpillar machinery and engines, solar gas turbines, and other equipment and marine vessels, as well as offers loans and various forms of insurance to customers and dealers. It also offers financing for vehicles, power generation facilities, and marine vessels. The company markets its products directly, as well as through its distribution centers, dealers, and distributors. It was formerly known as Caterpillar Tractor Co. and changed its name to Caterpillar Inc. in 1986. Caterpillar Inc. was founded in 1925 and is headquartered in Peoria, Illinois.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Vanina Egea]

    After hitting a historical high in 2011, prices for mining products entered a downtrend that continues throughout 2013, further pressuring margins and reducing demand for new equipment. Hence, prospects for Caterpillar (CAT), Komatsu (OTC: KMTUY) and Joy Global (JOY) have suffered. But, have managements taken the cue? And, how have hedge funds reacted?

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    What it means for the Dow
    Japan's drop recently has come on the heels of slowing economic growth in China, which remains a lucrative potential market that could help the Japanese economy bolster its own growth. The declines that U.S. investors have seen in Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) and Alcoa (NYSE: AA  ) lately are just one symptom of the downturn in China, but they demonstrate the challenges that Japanese manufacturing stocks face in taking maximum advantage of the emerging-market opportunity there.

  • [By Arjun Sreekumar]

    Even some of the largest players in the railroad industry, including Berkshire Hathaway's Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Union Pacific, and Norfolk Southern, are carefully studying the costs and benefits of converting their freight trains' engines to burn natural gas instead of diesel. BNSF, for instance, is using units from General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) and Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) , the biggest manufactures of locomotives in the world, to determine whether it wants to convert some of its trains to run of a mix of natural gas and diesel.

Best Tech Stocks To Own Right Now: Dollar Tree Inc.(DLTR)

Dollar Tree, Inc. operates discount variety stores in the United States and Canada. Its stores offer merchandise primarily at the fixed price of $1.00. The company operates its stores under the names of Dollar Tree, Deal$, Dollar Tree Deal$, Dollar Giant, and Dollar Bills. Its stores offer consumable merchandise, including candy and food, and health and beauty care, as well as household consumables, such as paper, plastics, household chemicals, in select stores, and frozen and refrigerated food; variety merchandise, which includes toys, durable housewares, gifts, party goods, greeting cards, softlines, and other items; and seasonal goods, such as Easter, Halloween, and Christmas merchandise. As of April 30, 2011, it operated 4,089 stores in 48 states and the District of Columbia, as well as 88 stores in Canada. The company was founded in 1986 and is based in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Lawrence Meyers]

    The finance sector, as mentioned, can make money in many ways. The second-highest growth sector is expected to be consumer discretionary, with a 6.2% increase. When you look at earnings from luxury brands like Tiffany & Co. (TIF), and that the hotel sector continues to do very well, it suggests that those people who are in good financial shape are spending their money. Meanwhile, dollar players like Dollar Tree (DLTR) continue to perform very well, suggesting that folks with less money are spending it on cheaper items.

Best Value Companies To Invest In Right Now: Tupperware Corporation(TUP)

Tupperware Brands Corporation operates as a direct seller of various products across a range of brands and categories through an independent sales force. The company engages in the manufacture and sale of kitchen and home products, and beauty and personal care products. It offers preparation, storage, and serving solutions for the kitchen and home, as well as kitchen cookware and tools, children?s educational toys, microwave products, and gifts under the Tupperware brand name primarily in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Asia Pacific, and North America. The company provides beauty and personal care products, which include skin care products, cosmetics, bath and body care, toiletries, fragrances, nutritional products, apparel, and related products principally in Mexico, South Africa, the Philippines, Australia, and Uruguay. It offers beauty and personal care products under the Armand Dupree, Avroy Shlain, BeautiControl, Fuller, NaturCare, Nutrimetics, Nuvo, and Swissgar de brand names. The company sells its Tupperware products directly to distributors, directors, managers, and dealers; and beauty products primarily through consultants and directors. As of December 26, 2009, the Tupperware distribution system had approximately 1,800 distributors, 61,300 managers, and 1.3 million dealers; and the sales force representing the Beauty businesses approximately 1.1 million. The company was formerly known as Tupperware Corporation and changed its name to Tupperware Brands Corporation in December 2005. The company was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Orlando, Florida.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Brian Pacampara]

    Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, household products company Tupperware Brands (NYSE: TUP  ) has earned a coveted five-star ranking.

  • [By John Udovich]

    Everyone is familiar with�the Tupperware brand from�consumer products stock Tupperware Brands Corporation (NYSE: TUP) and you are probably familiar with the brands�of mid cap stock Jarden Corp (NYSE: JAH) along with small cap stocks Libbey Inc (NYSEMKT: LBY) and Lifetime Brands Inc (NASDAQ: LCUT); but what about the stocks themselves? Chances are, their brands or products are right under your nose at home and you probably don�� know anything about the mid cap or small cap stock behind them.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Hot Companies To Own In Right Now

Groupon� (NASDAQ: GRPN  ) has updated its iPhone and Android apps in hopes of driving more mobile sales.

In its effort to make buying more convenient, Groupon has made search a "front-and-center experience" on its mobile apps and it has expanded support to more devices and countries.

In the iPhone app v.2.5 update, customers can use the search function anywhere in the app. The update also lets Groupon customers in India purchase deals on the iPhone.

Groupon has made similar functions available on its Android v.2.4. version. As the Android tablet market continues to grow, the company is hopeful that its new interface for 10-in. tablets will help drive Android-based sales.

The new versions are being touted as a "critical part of Groupon's product strategy." The main hope is that search helps merchants make their deals available on an ongoing basis. And as Groupon categories and offerings expand, the company thinks that search will help customers find deals that are most relevant to them.�

Hot Companies To Own In Right Now: Analog Devices Inc (ADI)

Analog Devices, Inc. (Analog Devices), incorporated on January 18, 1965, is engaged in the design, manufacture and marketing of a range of analog, mixed-signal and digital signal processing integrated circuits (ICs). The Company produces a range of products, including data converters, amplifiers and linear products, radio frequency (RF) ICs, power management products, sensors based on micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS) technology and other sensors, and processing products, including DSP and other processors, which are designed to meet the needs of a base of customers. The Company's products are embedded inside many different types of electronic equipment, including industrial process control systems; instrumentation and measurement systems; wireless infrastructure equipment, and aerospace and defense electronics. The Company designs , manufactures and markets a range of ICs, which incorporate analog, mixed-signal and digital signal processing technologies. The Company's product portfolio includes both general-purpose products used by a range of customers and applications, as well as application-specific products. On March 30, 2012, the Company acquired Multigig, Inc.

Analog Products

The Company's product portfolio includes several thousand analog ICs. The Company's analog IC customers include original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and customers who build electronic subsystems for integration into larger systems. The Company is a supplier of data converter products. Data converters translate real-world analog signals into digital data and also translate digital data into analog signals. The Company is also a supplier of amplifiers. Amplifiers are used to condition analog signals. The Company provides precision, instrumentation, intermediate frequency/radio frequency (RF), broadband, and other amplifiers. The Company also offers a range of precision voltage references, which are used in a range of applications. The Company's analog product line also includes a range port! folio of RF ICs covering the RF signal chain, from RF function blocks, such as phase locked loops, frequency synthesizers, mixers, modulators, demodulators, and power detectors, to broadband and short-range single chip transceiver solutions.

The Company's RF ICs support the requirements of cellular infrastructure and a range of applications in the Company's target markets. Also within the Company's analog technology portfolio are products, which are based on MEMS technology. This technology enables the Company to build small sensors, which incorporate an electromechanical structure and the supporting analog circuitry for conditioning signals obtained from the sensing element. The Company's MEMS product portfolio includes accelerometers used to sense acceleration, gyroscopes used to sense rotation, inertial measurement units used to sense multiple degrees of freedom combining multiple sensing types along multiple axis, and MEMS microphones used to sense audio. The Company's current revenue from MEMS products is derived from the automotive end market. In addition to the Company's MEMS products, its other analog product category includes isolators. The Company's isolators have been designed for applications, such as universal serial bus isolation in patient monitors, where it allows hospitals and physicians to adopt the advances in computer technology to supervise patient health and wirelessly transmit medical records. In smart metering applications, the Company's isolators provide electrostatic discharge performance. In satellites, where any malfunction can be catastrophic, the Company's isolators help protect the power system while enabling designers to achieve small form factors. Power management & reference products make up the balance of the Company's analog sales. Those products, which include functions such as power conversion, driver monitoring, sequencing and energy management, are developed to complement analog signal chain components across core market segments from micro power, en! ergy-sens! itive battery applications to power systems in infrastructure and industrial applications.

Digital Signal Processing Products

Digital Signal Processing products (DSPs) complete the Company's product portfolio. DSPs are optimized for numeric calculations, which are essential for instantaneous, or real-time, processing of digital data generated, from analog to digital signal conversion. The Company's DSPs are designed to be fully programmable and to execute specialized software programs, or algorithms, associated with processing digitized real-time, real-world data. Programmable DSPs are designed to provide the flexibility to modify the device's function using software. The Company's DSP IC customers write their own algorithms using software development tools provided by the Company and third-party suppliers. The Company's DSPs are designed in families of products, which share common architectures and therefore can execute the same software across a range of products. The Company's customers use the Company's products to solve a range of signal processing challenges across its core market and segment focus areas within the industrial, automotive, consumer and communications end markets. As an integrated part of the Company's customers' signal chain, there are other Analog Devices products connected to its processors, including converters, audio and video codecs and power management solutions.

The Company competes with Broadcom Corporation, Maxim Integrated Products, Inc., Cirrus Logic, Inc., Microchip Technology, Inc., Freescale Semiconductor, Inc., NXP Semiconductors, Infineon Technologies, ST Microelectronics, Intersil Corporation, Silicon Laboratories, Inc., Knowles Electronics, Texas Instruments, Inc. and Linear Technology Corporation.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Rich Smith]

    Analog Devices (NASDAQ: ADI  ) has a new boss.

    On Monday, Analog announced it has confirmed 25-year company veteran and current interim Chief Executive Officer Vincent Roche as its new CEO.

Hot Companies To Own In Right Now: Flextronics International Ltd.(FLEX)

Flextronics International Ltd. provides design and electronics manufacturing services to original equipment manufacturers. The company offers its services to a range of products in the infrastructure, mobile communication devices, computing, consumer digital devices, industrial, semiconductor capital equipment, clean technology, aerospace and defense, white goods, automotive and marine, and medical devices markets. Its services include design and engineering services, such as contract design, joint development manufacturing, and original design and manufacturing services in a range of technical competencies that include system architecture, user interface and industrial design, mechanical engineering, enclosure systems, thermal and tooling design, electronic system design, reliability and failure analysis, and component level development engineering; and systems assembly and manufacturing services, including enclosures, testing, and materials procurement and inventory mana gement services. The company also offers various component product solutions comprising rigid and flexible printed circuit board fabrication, display and touch solutions, optomechatronics, and power supplies; after market supply chain logistics services; and reverse logistics and repair services, such as returns management, exchange programs, complex repair, asset recovery, recycling, and e-waste management services for consumer and midrange products, printers, PDA's, mobile phones, consumer medical devices, notebooks, PC's, set-top boxes, game consoles, and infrastructure products. It has operations in Asia, the Americas, and Europe. Flextronics International Ltd. was founded in 1990 and is headquartered in Singapore.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Amber Hestla, Michael J. Carr]

    Among its suppliers is Flextronics International (Nasdaq: FLEX), which offers a variety of engineering services and provides supply chain management. Other Flextronics customers include Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), LG and Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) Motorola Mobility. 

  • [By Rich Smith]

    Singaporean contract electronics manufacturer Flextronics International (NASDAQ: FLEX  ) lost its chief financial officer today -- and immediately replaced him.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    As a result, the big threat that Jabil constantly faces is the potential loss of its customers. Rival Flextronics (NASDAQ: FLEX  ) suffered a huge hit last summer when major customer BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY  ) chose to stop using the company to help it make its namesake smartphones, citing cost-cutting efforts in its decision to make changes to its supply chain arrangements. Flextronics has seen substantial revenue declines as a result, even despite BlackBerry's relative weakness in the smartphone space in recent years. More importantly, the move came at the worst possible time, as BlackBerry has subsequently revived in the face of its latest product launch. Jabil counts BlackBerry as a customer as well, so it should be interesting to see how that relationship has developed in the wake of the Z10 and Q10 smartphone releases.

Best Companies To Watch In Right Now: Mining Projects Group Ltd(MPJ.AX)

Mining Projects Group Limited operates as a resource exploration and investment company. The company principally explores for gold and base metal mineralization in Western Australia. It also invests in a portfolio of listed investments and unlisted equities. The company was formerly known as Yamarna Goldfields Limited and changed its name to Mining Projects Group Limited in July 2006. Mining Projects Group Limited is based in Armadale, Australia.

Hot Companies To Own In Right Now: Rentcash Inc (CSF.TO)

The Cash Store Financial Services Inc. provides alternative financial products and services under Cash Store Financial and Instaloans names in Canada and the United Kingdom. The company primarily offers short-term advances and other financial services. Its financial products and services include payday loans, signature loans, line of credit, injury claims, standard and premium bank accounts, cheque cashing, prepaid credit and debit cards, money transfer services, and payment insurance services. The company was formerly known as Rentcash Inc. and changed its name to The Cash Store Financial Services Inc. in March 2008. The Cash Store Financial Services Inc. was founded in 2001 and is headquartered in Edmonton, Canada.

Hot Companies To Own In Right Now: Silver Wheaton Cor Com Npv(SLW.TO)

Silver Wheaton Corp., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a silver streaming company worldwide. The company has 14 long-term silver purchase agreements and 2 long-term precious metal purchase agreements whereby it acquires silver and gold production from the counterparties located in Mexico, the United States, Canada, Greece, Sweden, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Portugal. Silver Wheaton Corp. is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.

Hot Companies To Own In Right Now: Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation(PVH)

PVH Corp. designs and markets branded dress shirts, neckwear, sportswear, footwear, and other related products worldwide. The company?s Calvin Klein Licensing segment licenses Calvin Klein Collection, ck Calvin Klein, and Calvin Klein brands for sportswear, jeanswear, underwear, fragrances, eyewear, men?s tailored clothing, women?s suits and dresses, hosiery, socks, footwear, swimwear, jewelry, watches, outerwear, handbags, leather goods, home furnishings, and accessories; and to operate retail stores. Its Wholesale Dress Furnishings segment markets dress shirts and neckwear principally under the ARROW, Calvin Klein, ck Calvin Klein, Calvin Klein Collection, IZOD, Eagle, Sean John, Donald J. Trump Signature Collection, Kenneth Cole New York, Kenneth Cole Reaction, JOE Joseph Abboud, DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, Elie Tahari, J. Garcia, and MICHAEL Michael Kors brands. The company?s Wholesale Sportswear and Related Products segment offers sportswear, including men?s knit and w oven sport shirts, sweaters, bottoms, swimwear, boxers, and outerwear principally under the IZOD, Van Heusen, ARROW, Geoffrey Beene, Timberland, and Calvin Klein brands; and women?s sportswear, including knit and woven sport shirts, sweaters, bottoms, and outerwear under the IZOD brand. Its Retail Apparel and Related Products segment provides men?s dress shirts; neckwear and underwear; men?s and women?s suit separates; men?s and women?s sportswear, including woven and knit shirts, sweaters, bottoms, and outerwear; men?s and women?s accessories; sportswear; and men?s fragrance. The company?s Retail Footwear and Related Products segment offers casual and dress shoes for men, women, and children; and apparel and accessories. The company was formerly known as Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation and changed its name to PVH Corp. in June, 2011. The company was founded in 1881 and is headquartered in New York, New York.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Holly LaFon] orp. designs and markets branded dress shirts, neckwear, sportswear, footwear and other related products. Cooperman bought 352,300 shares of PVH Corp. in the fourth quarter at an average of $67 per share.

    PVH has a market cap of $5.35 billion; its shares were traded at around $81.3 with a P/E ratio of 15.5 and P/S ratio of 1.3. The dividend yield of PVH Corp. stocks is 0.2%. PVH Corp. had an annual average earnings growth of 9.3% over the past 10 years.

    PVH recently drastically increased its revenue, from $2.4 billion in 2010 to $4.6 billion in 2011, helped by its 2010 acquisition of Tommy Hilfiger. Earnings, however, were lower, falling from $162 million in 2010 to $53.8 million in 2011, as the cost of goods sold was increased significantly as well. The company expects earnings growth for 2012 to occur in the second half of the year as the first half�� margins will be pressured from higher product costs over last year.

    The company recently raised its 2011 earnings per share guidance to a range of $5.28 to $5.30 from the previously expected range of $5.23 to $5.25. The raised guidance came due to strong performance in its Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger businesses. Year over year fourth quarter sales are expected to increase by 15% in the Calvin Klein business, 12% in the Tommy Hilfiger North America business, 12% in the Tommy Hilfiger International business and 4% in the Heritage Brands business.

    PVH Corp. had about $782 million in cash on its balance sheet at the end of the third quarter, and approximately $3.1 billion in long-term liabilities and debt.

    Medco Health Solutions Inc. (MHS)

    Cooperman also bought shares of Medco, the company merging with his largest new holding, Express Scripts. Under their agreement, Medco shareholders will receive $71.36 per share in cash and stock, or $2.9 billion. Medco shareholders will receive $28.80 in cash and $0.81 shares for each Medco share they own upon closing of the transaction.

  • [By Marshall Hargrave]

    GIII continues to see strong performance in its Calvin Klein licensed products. The segment of the Calvin Klein division that GIII is most excited about is the sportswear segment. In 2Q, sales rose 50% compared to last year. The company has been very successful in increasing the brand's penetration and exposure. Calvin Klein sportswear is now sold at 890 doors compared to 662 doors last year. In addition to sportswear, the following performed well during 2Q:

    The Calvin Klein dress business continues to perform well in department stores. The dresses are sold at over 1,200 doors.Calvin's Klein's women's suits and separates grew by 70% over last year. The company was able to grow door count to 1,100 compared to only 800 last year.Calvin Klein handbag sales rose 40% over last year with improved margins.Calvin Klein Performance wholesale business grew 20% over last year. The door count is up to 1,100 compared to 1,000 last year.GIII continues to grow its partnership with the owner of the Calvin Klein brand - PVH (PVH).

    Worth noting is that the average remaining tenure for the Calvin Klein licenses is eight to nine years. Other tailwinds for GIII include:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    PVH (PVH) dropped 1.5% to $22.80, a day after falling 5.6% on disappointing earnings, after a Citigroup analyst said its no longer one of her top picks.

  • [By Amal Singh]

    PVH (NYSE: PVH  ) is one of the world's largest apparel companies, and controls several different brands such as Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Heritage. It is also the world's largest shirt and neckwear company, and markets its products under different brands such as Arrow, Van Heusen, and Bass. Driven by the strength of its iconic brands and good products, the company has consistently done well in the past few years, as seen in the chart below.

Hot Companies To Own In Right Now: Smith(wh)

WH Smith PLC operates retail stores under the Travel and High Street names primarily in the United Kingdom. The company sells newspapers, magazines, books, confectionery, and impulse products, as well as entertainment products. It also offers a range of books, stationery, magazines, and gifts through; and personalized cards and gifts through The company operates approximately 561 travel units and 612 high street stores in various locations, including high streets, shopping centers, airports, train stations, motorway service areas, hospitals, and workplaces. It also has operations in the Republic of Ireland, Denmark, India, Australia, and Oman. The company was founded in 1792 and is based in Swindon, the United Kingdom.

Hot Companies To Own In Right Now: Nsl Ltd. (N02.SI)

NSL Ltd, through its subsidiaries, primarily engages in manufacturing and trading building materials, lime, and refractory products. Its Construction Products division offers cement, concrete, precast concrete, premix mortar, building products, hollow core slabs, walls, full precast frames and infrastructure components, granite products, concreting sand, premix plasters, unit bathrooms, prefabricated bathroom units/cabins for ships and buildings, and marine firedoors. The company�s Chemicals division provides synthetic rubber and products, lime products, refractory materials, steel slag aggregates, copper slag blasting grit, calcific products, butadiene, butene-1, MTBE, butadiene rubber, styrene butadiene rubber, refractory products, steel mill related products, footwear, and gloves. Its Engineering division manufactures container spreaders. Its Environmental Services division offers marine waste solutions and logistics services, such as marine slops treatment and recycli ng; oily waste, sludge, and hazardous waste incineration and disposal; marine slops de-slopping and used oil collection and treatment; used lubricants re-refining; treatment and recycling of contaminated diesel, fuel, and other petroleum products; and transportation, treatment, and disposal of industrial and hazardous waste and waste water. This segment is also involved in tank cleaning, oil interceptor cleaning, and greasy traps maintenance; tanks rental and transportation; waste recovery and environmental pollution control projects; waste logistics services; and marketing and sale of fuels, lubricants, and greases. The company was formerly known as NatSteel Ltd. and changed its name to NSL Ltd in October 2008. NSL Ltd was incorporated in 1961 and is headquartered in Singapore. NSL Ltd operates as a subsidiary of 98 Holdings Pte. Ltd.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Chrysler inability to get new products out is a…

Chrysler's inability to get new vehicles into production and on sale is becoming a concern. The U.S. auto market is experiencing an historic sales recovery, but Chrysler showrooms contain too many warmed-over versions of old vehicles while competitors pack their dealerships with all-new models.

"Everyone else is launching numerous new vehicles," said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst with

Where's the flood of fuel-efficient new cars and crossovers that made Chrysler's alliance with Fiat look so promising? Four years into the companies' cooperation, as Fiat says it wants 100% ownership of Chrysler, it's a two-vehicle trickle. The 2013 Dodge Dart compact sedan got off to a slow start thanks to a partial model line. A string of delays have plagued the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. It was supposed to be on sale by now, but more than a year after shutting down a Toledo assembly plant to build the new SUV, Chrysler has yet to ship a single Cherokee to a dealer.

LATEST DELAY: Dealers worry as Jeep Cherokee due in July still not on sale

Despite that, Chrysler has logged 42 consecutive months of sales growth thanks to a few new vehicles and well-executed upgrades to others.

"Chrysler has come a long way," since it nearly collapsed during the Great Recession, said Karl Brauer, senior analyst with "How much better could it have done if the launches had gone right? This is really limiting Chrysler's success. Sales and profits have been compromised."

Make no mistake: Chrysler would not exist today without its partnership with Fiat. The two automakers have done an exceptional job improving Chrysler's existing models, breathing life into the leftovers Daimler and Cerberus discarded. The all-new, all-Chrysler vehicles that have debuted in the last three years — Chrysler 300; Dodge Charger, Durango and Viper; Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Ram pickups — have mostly been excellent.

Top 5 Blue Chip Companies To Invest In Right Now

That's not enough, though. None of those vehicles addresses the heart of the market: the millions of people who buy family sedans and crossovers.

"Every delay becomes more obvious and critical," Krebs said. "Chrysler is starting from behind because it was so badly neglected" when Daimler and Cerberus owned it.

Four years into the five-year Chrysler-Fiat recovery plan announced in November 2009, most of the promised new models based on Fiat architectures have been delayed or canceled, including replacements for the 200 and Avenger midsize sedans, new compact and subcompact Jeeps, a midsize crossover from Chrysler and a Dodge subcompact car.

Chrysler remains overly dependent on pickups, minivans, SUVs and big sedans, just like it was before Fiat's driven and charismatic chief Sergio Marchionne took charge.

"It's a growing problem," said Stephanie Brinley, senior analyst with IHS Automotive. "There's a lot of uncertainty about Chrysler's new model plan, what's been delayed and for how long."

Chrysler achieved a lot in the first two years of Marchionne's leadership. The design and engineering teams breathed new life into weak vehicles like the Chrysler Sebring/200 and Dodge Journey. The marketing group created brilliant ads that inspired employees and convinced customers to take another look at Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep.

Company insiders also point out that they added some vehicles to the five-year model plan, including the hot-selling and profitable Ram pickup and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

But progress has ground nearly to a halt since work turned to developing new models that tap into Fiat's expertise with small, fuel-efficient vehicles.

That makes flawless quality even more important when the 2014 Cherokee finally does go on sale.

"It's good to be cautious and get things right. Having to fix a car three months after you sold it is worse than launching it three months late," Brinley said.

T! he prefer! red situation, of course, is to launch a vehicle on time and with high quality.

Chrysler's next opportunity to do that comes next year with the eagerly awaited, badly needed and Fiat-based replacement for the 200 midsize sedan.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

GOP Senators Optimistic After Obama Meeting on Debt Ceiling

Political wrangling continued Friday as GOP lawmakers and the Obama administration failed to agree on a deal floated Thursday by House Republicans that would raise the debt ceiling until Nov. 22, without reopening the government, in exchange for negotiations with President Barack Obama on spending cuts and tax reform.

News from published reports and on Twitter said that while no deal was struck, House Republicans characterized their hour-and-a-half meeting with Obama on Thursday as “a useful and productive conversation.”

“I’m glad we had the discussion,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., according to The New York Times. “Now we have to put the words into action and get this resolved.”

Reports also said, however, that Obama won’t go along with any GOP deal that ties spending cuts with raising the debt ceiling and opening the government.

At press time on Friday afternoon, Obama had just finished a meeting with Senate Republicans at the White House, and a press briefing to be held by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney kept getting pushed back.

At 1:13 p.m., Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, tweeted: "Meeting at White House over. Very good discussion on shutdown Nothing obvious decided But hope I'm surprised there may be progress."

In another tweet, Jamie Dupree of Cox Radio quoted Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, as saying, "Honestly, the bigger breakthrough was last night with the House Republicans."

Bloomberg reported that Senate Republicans said Obama was open to changing a tax on medical devices in the future. The president did not "rule out repealing the tax, which was included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," Bloomberg reported Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, an advocate of the tax’s repeal, as stating.

MarketWatch tweeted that House Republicans have called a meeting for 9 a.m. Saturday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was quoted as saying Friday that he was open to hearing Republican proposals, though he was not in favor of extending U.S. borrowing authority only to Nov. 22. Rather, Reid said he would continue advocating a delay of the next debt-limit fight into 2015.

Political strategist Greg Valliere of Potomac Research said in his Friday morning commentary that while the chances of a default on the nation’s debt were now “close to zero,” any eventual “’deal’ will simply kick the can down the road, with another deadline later this fall, or in the winter, or whenever.”

While “market psychology has soared because default is off the table, … business and consumer psychology has taken a more lasting hit,” Valliere said. “Fresh crises loom — so the fragile recovery may stay fragile, because Washington is still dysfunctional.”


Check out Shutdown Plays Havoc With Federally Funded Nonprofits on ThinkAdvisor.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Five Reasons Why The Netflix Juggernaut Could Continue to Roll

Netflix (Nasdaq:NFLX) has emerged as one of Wall Street's "It" stocks.

The Los Gatos, Calif.-based company's shares have climbed 251% so far this year and 417% in the past year, compared with 19% and 17%, respectively, for the benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 Index.

Netflix has achieved something that every consumer-driven company wants: a strong and favorable buzz in the marketplace. Steve Jobs' Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL) sure had a buzz. So did Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook (Nasdaq:FB), pre-IPO, anyway. The buzz means that the public loves the company's product and the company has taken its place in the annals of corporate culture. The bigger the buzz, the more consumers jump on the bandwagon. Netflix got it via producing a couple of original series, "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black," and by coming back from its bad-buzz past of 2011 when it hiked prices, asking customers to spend more of their discretionary income on the company's wares.

The key question: Can Netflix keep up the momentum?

Thanks to these five factors, the answer could well be yes.

Social Media

It is no coincidence that Netflix chief Reed Hastings has been a savvy proponent of Facebook (Nasdaq:FB) -- after all, Hastings sits on Mark Zuckerberg's board. In July 2012, Hastings communicated on Facebook an important milestone, which helped boost Netflix' stock: For the first time, in the previous month of June, Netflix' monthly-viewing had surpassed 1 billion hours.

Social-media experts have applauded Hastings for taking the lead on using Facebook to broaden his company's communications skills while increasing its brand awareness.

In a recent article on LinkedIn, Clara Shih, the chief executive of Hearsay Media and the author of "The Facebook Era," said that "It's not surprising to see this innovation in investor relations coming from a technology company. I applaud Netflix for taking what could have been viewed as an accidental social media post -- a mistake! -- last year, and using it now as a launch pad for bringing every aspect of their corporate communications into the social era."

Last July, Netflix continued its smart use of social media when it reported its second quarter results by a live-streamed video question/answer event. CEO Reed Hastings, CFO David Wells and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos were asked questions by CNBC reporter Julia Boorstin and BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield.

Hastings said the structure was intended as an informal "fireside chat," in contrast with the usual, structured quarterly audio conference call with Wall Street securities analysts.

Inroads Against Premium Channels

Granted, HBO's "Game of Thrones," for instance, has a larger audience than anything on Netflix, but Netflix's original programs have performed well against the likes of HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" and are comparable to Showtime's highly praised series "Homeland" and Starz' "Spartacus."

Netflix has shrewdly elbowed its way into Hollywood. Netflix was founded as a company that delivered the DVDs of your favorite movies and TV shows. Then, it went on to streaming. Now it is taking the next evolutionary step as a creator of content.

Favorable Un-Subscriber Figures

In the United States, consumers have been executing fewer desktop searches for the expression "Netflix unsubscribe." Interestingly, search volumes for the term had increased year to year through the third quarter of last year, before a reduction in the fourth quarter, Janney Capital analyst Tony Wible pointed out. This may seem like a point worthy of the "inside-baseball" designation, but it also underlines the company's progress in the way that consumers are viewing Netflix.

That Buzz Factor

"Orange Is the New Black," Netflix's drama-comedy depicting a woman's life in prison after she gets incarcerated for drug dealing, has continued Netflix's success in original programming, following "House of Cards." Netflix is gaining eyeballs and critical acclaim by competing with (and, arguably, outwitting) the major cable channels at coming up with edgy, quirky plot lines packed with excellent television writing and vivid, intriguing characters.

"Orange Is the New Black" racked up more viewers and hours watched in its first week, last July, than either of Netflix's other well publicized offerings, "House of Cards" or "Arrested Development," All Things D noted.

The company is establishing a serious brand in this crucial area of original programming and can ultimately draw such benefits as selling syndication rights in the U.S. and abroad for these shows, controlling production costs and keeping the winning streak going by continuing to attract prominent Hollywood talent among actors, directors, writers and producers. That means more hit programs.


As a result of Netflix's success, it has achieved that elusive quality of gravitas.

Hollywood is littered with the deb! ris of TV shows that turned off viewers after an initial burst of terrific critical reviews and substantial ratings prowess. One way to achieve staying power is to gain the accolades of respected industry figures.

When "Breaking Bad" producer Vince Gilligan accepted the Emmy a few weeks ago for Best Drama -- representing the pinnacle of his career to date -- he took pains to thank and acknowledge Netflix' contribution to his show's success. "I think Netflix kept us on the air," he said. "Not only are we standing up here (with the Emmy), I don't think our show would have even lasted beyond season two. It's a new era in television, and we've been very fortunate to reap the benefits."

Bottom Line

In the past two years, Netflix has shaken up its image on Wall Street and Main Street alike by gaining both gravitas and a buzz. It showed itself to be a company capable of innovation -- and continuous innovation leads to sustained growth.

Disclosure - At the time of writing, the author did not own shares of any company mentioned in this article.