Thursday, November 28, 2013

TD Ameritrade Posts Healthy Profits, Revenue in Q4 and FY 2013

TD Ameritrade Holdings (AMTD) announced Tuesday net income of $675 million, or $1.22 per diluted share, on record net revenues of $2.76 billion for its fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2013. In its fiscal fourth quarter, TD Ameritrade had net income of $200 million, or $0.36 per diluted share, on revenues of $709 million. Both earnings numbers beat analysts’ consensus estimates slightly.

In an interview with ThinkAdvisor, CEO Fred Tomczyk said “we’re very happy” with the results, noting that it was the fifth straight year that the company had achieved double-digit net new client asset growth; this year posting 10% growth in net client assets of about $50 billion. He also expressed satisfaction that “expenses haven’t grown in three years,” and that at TD Ameritrade Institutional, “we continue to increase the size of our clients.” He said that the “combination of $50 billion in net new assets and strong expense controls” proves that “our management team has done a good job.”

Additionally, Tomczyk noted that the company increased its annual dividend 33% and instituted a special $0.50 dividend. “We’ve returned over 100% of our earnings to shareholders,” he declared.

While TD does not break out separate results for its retail and advisor units, in his discussion with analysts about the earnings report this morning, Tomczyk pointed out that TDAI had added 389 breakaway brokers to its RIA custody business, which “enjoyed strong growth driven by new and existing RIAs.” He further said that its pipeline of prospective new advisor clients was “robust.”

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Speaking of the overall market and economy and a recent downturn in consumer confidence, Tomczyk said that “gridlock in Washington is affecting consumers’ psychology,” but if “we just got rid of the uncertainty in Washington” the government could increase its revenue by “geting the economy going.” However, he said that “this kind of market plays into the hands of RIAs.” 

Addressing regulatory issues facing RIAs, Tomczyk reiterated TD Ameritrade’s concern that when it comes to any fiduciary standard imposed by the SEC, “we don’t want it watered down.”


Check out ThinkAdvisor’s 2013 Q3 Earnings Calendar for the Finance Sector.

Summers says government-driven growth is right medicine, not austerity

larry summers, austerity, growth, government, federal reserve, harvard, UBS Former Fed chief contender Larry Summers: Now is not the time for austerity. Bloomberg News

Lawrence H. Summers on Thursday told a sometimes-skeptical audience at an investment summit that austerity was the wrong medicine for the U.S. economy and that public projects are needed to stem unemployment.

Rattling off a series of dour statistics, the renowned economist and former contender to run the Federal Reserve reiterated his continued support for growth-oriented government policies to jumpstart the U.S., as well as Japan and Europe.

"The fraction of the adult population that is working has not increased since the low point and is now lower than at any time in a generation," Mr. Summers said. "This should be a greater cause of concern than it already is because if you think about it, at some level, we might have expected things to be different."

Mr. Summers' views included the prediction that an environment of record-low interest rates will persist as one of the few ways to stimulate the public and private-sector demand necessary to reduce unemployment in the long term. Because borrowing costs are cheap, he said now is the time for public-sector investment.

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"If that is not the time to make Kennedy airport look respectable, I don't know when that time will come," he said, referring to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The Harvard professor's views clashed with some of those expressed by investment officers who appeared earlier at the UBS Wealth Management Americas conference, where chief investment officers gathered to discuss their outlooks. A number of Wall Street investors have criticized a decision by the Federal Reserve to maintain its massive policy of asset purchases, known as quantitative easing, out of the belief that the program has distorted the market.

Mr. Summers, who withdrew his name from consideration to head up the Federal Reserve last month after encountering opposition from powerful Democrats, faced skeptical questions from the audience Thursday. One audience member questioned Mr. Summers' credibility, while another called his view that demand for labor is too low "simplistic."

Mr. Summers called it "no kind of important achievement" that "the U.S. received a reprieve from the grotesque" by resolving the debt ceiling crisis that flummoxed Washington last month. But he said that it made similar crises highly unlikely in the near future, as politicians see little advantage to gain.

"The good news is that even the most foolish of people who have shot themselves in the foot rarely reload," he said.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Employers Add Fewer Jobs than Forecast in September

Economy (In this Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, photo, a sign attracts job-seekers during a job fair at the Marriott Hotel in Colonie,Mike Groll/AP WASHINGTON -- U.S. employers added far fewer than expected workers in September, suggesting a loss of momentum in the economy that supported the Federal Reserve's decision to maintain its monthly bond purchases. Nonfarm payrolls increased 148,000 last month, the Labor Department said Tuesday. While the job count for August was revised to show more positions created than previously reported, employment gains in July were the weakest since June 2012. But there was some silver lining in the report, with the unemployment rate dropping a tenth of a percentage point to 7.2 percent, the lowest level since November 2008. The jobless rate is derived from a separate survey of households, which showed an increase in employment last month. The closely watched monthly employment report was released more than two weeks later than originally scheduled because of the partial shutdown of the federal government earlier this month. Signs the economy lost steam even before the budget fight could rattle financial markets.

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Economists estimate the 16-day government shutdown shaved as much as 0.6 percentage point off annualized fourth-quarter gross domestic product, through reduced government output and damage to both consumer and business confidence. Officials at the Federal Reserve are likely to hold off any decision on scaling back the U.S. central bank's bond buying until the extent of the economic damage from the budget fight is clearer. Fed officials will meet next week to discuss monetary policy, on Oct. 29-30. They surprised markets last month by sticking to their $85 billion per month bond-buying pace, saying they wanted to see more evidence of a strong recovery.

More: 7 Outrageous Things People Actually Put On Their Resumes

Now, many economists think the Fed will hold off on scaling back economic stimulus until next year. Economists fear that lawmakers will engage in another bruising round early next year when Congress must agree on a budget to fund the government and once again raise the nation's borrowing limit. The pattern of employment gains in September was mixed last month, with government payrolls increasing 22,000 jobs after rising 32,000 in August. The leisure and hospitality industry shed the most jobs since December 2009. There was a small bounce in information sector payrolls, which dropped in August as the motion picture industry shed workers. Construction payrolls increased 20,000, which could ease fears of a leveling off in home building. Manufacturing sector added only 2,000 jobs, while retail employment increased 20,800. Other details of the employment report were mildly encouraging, with average hourly earnings increased three cents in September. The length of the average workweek held steady at 34.5 hours.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hot Dividend Companies To Invest In 2014

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 Coach (NYSE: COH  ) jumped 10.5% today after the company released earnings.

So what: First-quarter sales rose 7% to $1.19 billion, beating estimates of $1.18 billion. On the bottom line, earnings per share jumped 10% to $0.84, four cents ahead of estimate. �

Now what: The big highlight was a 40% increase in China's sales, continuing strong growth internationally. North America, which accounts for two-thirds of sales, also saw a 7% increase in sales during the quarter. I don't see the earnings beat as a reason to pay 10% more for the company, but if shares fall over the next few weeks, investors can get in at a good value, especially after management increased its dividend to $1.35 per share annually.

Interested in more info on Coach? Add it to your watchlist by clicking here.

Hot Dividend Companies To Invest In 2014: Himax Technologies Inc.(HIMX)

Himax Technologies, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, designs, develops, and markets semiconductors for flat panel displays. Its products include display drivers and timing controllers for various thin film transistor liquid crystal displays (TFT-LCD) panels, which are used in desktop monitors, notebook computers, televisions, and mobile handsets, as well as consumer electronics products comprising netbook computers, digital cameras, mobile gaming devices, portable DVD players, digital photo frame, and car navigation displays; and TFT-LCD television and monitor semiconductor solutions. The company also provides liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS) products for palm-size mobile projectors; power management integrated circuits, which include drivers, amplifiers, DC to DC converters and other semiconductors; complementary metal oxide semiconductor image sensors for camera-equipped mobile devices, such as mobile phones and notebook computers with a focus on lowlight image and video quality; and wafer level optics products. It serves TFT-LCD panel manufacturers, mobile device module manufacturers, and television makers. Himax Technologies, Inc. was founded in 2001 and is headquartered in Tainan, Taiwan.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Alex Planes]

    What: Shares of Himax Technologies (NASDAQ: HIMX  ) have been advancing throughout the trading day, and are now perched atop gains of 12%, after Oppenheimer analysts Andrew Uerkwitz and Martin Yang initiated coverage with a buy rating, making some strongly supportive comments in the process.

Hot Dividend Companies To Invest In 2014: Agrium Inc.(AGU)

Agrium Inc., together with its subsidiaries, produces and markets agricultural nutrients, industrial products, and specialty products worldwide, as well as involves in the retail supply of agricultural products and services in North and South Americas. The company?s Retail segment markets crop nutrient products, including nitrogen, phosphate, potash, sulphur, and micronutrients; crop protection products, such as herbicides, fungicides, adjuvants, and insecticides; and seeds. This segment also offers agronomic services, as well as product application, soil and leaf tissue testing and analysis, and crop scouting services. This segment operates 1,192 outlets in the United States, Canada, Australia, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. The company?s Wholesale segment produces, markets, and distributes nitrogen, phosphate, potash, sulphate, and other crop nutrient products for agricultural and industrial customers. This segment also owns and operates facilities that upgrade ammonia t o other nitrogen products, such as urea, nitric acid, and ammonium nitrate, as well as provides Rainbow plant food products. Agrium?s Advanced Technologies segment produces and markets controlled-release crop nutrients and micronutrients for the agriculture, specialty agriculture, professional turf, horticulture, and consumer lawn and garden markets. The company was formerly known as Cominco Fertilizers Ltd. and changed its name to Agrium Inc. in 1995. Agrium Inc. was founded in 1931 and is headquartered in Calgary, Canada.

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, fertilizer producer Agrium (NYSE: AGU  ) has earned a coveted five-star ranking.

  • [By Neha Chamaria]

    Tough times could be in store
    It will also be important to see whether Mosaic follows PotashCorp's footsteps on another count ��idling plants for maintenance during the summer months for an extended period of time. PotashCorp plans to shut one of its mines for an additional six weeks this year, which probably looks like a move to tackle the inventory glut. Lower demand from key global markets like India and China last year resulted in a huge imbalance between demand and supply for potash fertilizer, forcing the key potash players ��PotashCorp, Mosaic, and Agrium (NYSE: AGU  ) ��to idle several plants.

  • [By Matt DiLallo]

    The reason Monsanto and its peers even exist is to help farmers produce more crops from less land in order to feed the world's growing population. There are other ways to invest in a solution to these agricultural issues; some investors might find a more palpable investment opportunity with fertilizer makers Agrium (NYSE: AGU  ) or PotashCorp (NYSE: POT  ) .

  • [By Neha Chamaria]

    After Mosaic's (NYSE: MOS  ) and PotashCorp's (NYSE: POT  ) impressive quarterly numbers, investors' expectations from CF Industries (NYSE: CF  ) and Agrium (NYSE: AGU  ) unsurprisingly ran high. While CF's stock gained 4% in the week prior to its earnings announcement, Agrium's stock tacked on 6% before release. Unfortunately, expectations fell flat on their faces. The result: All four stocks have stopped short in their tracks, leaving investors sulking. The $64,000 question is: What should investors make of the situation and what should they do now?

Hot Energy Stocks To Watch Right Now: United Bancorp Inc.(UBCP)

United Bancorp, Inc. operates as the holding company for The Citizens Savings Bank that provides various commercial and retail banking products and services in the northeastern, eastern, southeastern, and south central Ohio. Its deposit products include interest-bearing deposits, certificates of deposit, demand deposits, savings accounts, NOW accounts, and money market deposits. The company?s loan portfolio comprises commercial, real estate, installment, and consumer loans, as well as letters of credit and lines of credit. It also offers brokerage, night deposit, safe deposit box, and automatic teller machine services. United Bancorp provides banking services through its main office and stand alone operations center in Martins Ferry, Ohio; and 19 branches in Belmont, Harrison, Jefferson, Tuscarawas, Carroll, Athens, Hocking, and Fairfield counties, as well as in the surrounding localities. The company was founded in 1974 and is headquartered in Martins Ferry, Ohio.

Hot Dividend Companies To Invest In 2014: Nucor Corporation(NUE)

Nucor Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and sale of steel and steel products in North America and internationally. It operates through three segments: Steel Mills, Steel Products, and Raw Materials. The Steel Mills segment produces hot and cold-rolled sheet steel; plate steel; structural steel comprising wide-flange beams, beam blanks, and sheet piling; and bar steel, such as blooms, billets, concrete reinforcing bar, merchant bar, and special bar quality products. The Steel Products segment offers steel joists and joist girders, steel deck, fabricated concrete reinforcing steel, cold finished steel, steel fasteners, metal building systems, light gauge steel framing, steel grating and expanded metal, and wire and wire mesh products. The Raw Materials segment produces direct reduced iron (DRI); brokers ferrous and nonferrous metals, pig iron, hot briquetted iron, and DRI; supplies ferro-alloys; and processes ferrous and nonferrous scrap metal products. The company?s operations also include various international trading companies that buy and sell steel and steel products. It sells its hot-rolled steel and cold-rolled steel to steel service centers, fabricators, and manufacturers; steel joists and joist girders, and steel deck to general contractors and fabricators; and cold finished steel and steel fasteners to distributors and manufacturers. The company?s products are used by contractors in constructing highways, bridges, reservoirs, utilities, hospitals, schools, airports, stadiums, and high-rise buildings. Nucor Corporation was founded in 1940 and is based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Lu Wang]

    The best year for American auto sales since 2007 is boosting profits at Charlotte, North Carolina-based Nucor Corp. (NUE), the largest U.S. steelmaker by market value. The price of hot-rolled steel coil in the U.S. Midwest, a benchmark product, climbed 1.6 percent to average $645 a short ton last quarter, from $635 in the same period last year.

Hot Dividend Companies To Invest In 2014: Sempra Energy(SRE)

Sempra Energy, together with its subsidiaries, develops new energy infrastructure, operates utilities, and provides energy-related products and services worldwide. It operates in six segments: SDG&E, SoCalGas, Sempra Generation, Sempra Pipelines & Storage, Sempra LNG (liquefied natural gas), and Sempra Commodities. The SDG&E segment has electric and natural gas franchises that locate, operate, and maintain facilities for the transmission and distribution of electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, street and highway lighting, and direct access customers. The SoCalGas segment has natural gas franchises that locate, operate, and maintain facilities for the transmission and distribution of natural gas to electric generation, wholesale, large commercial, industrial, and enhanced oil recovery customers. The Sempra Generation segment involves in the generation and wholesale distribution of electricity through a fleet of natural gas-fired power generati on facilities in Arizona, Nevada, and Indiana, as well as Mexico with a total capacity of 2,513 megawatts. The Sempra Pipelines & Storage segment operates 1,883 miles of distribution pipelines, 224 miles of transmission pipelines, and 3 compressor stations in Mexico; operates Mobile Gas, a natural gas distribution utility located in Mobile and Baldwin counties in Alabama; and operates natural gas storage facilities in Washington County of Alabama and Simpson County of Mississippi. The Sempra LNG segment involves in the receipt, storage, and vaporization of LNG, as well as the purchase and sale of natural gas. It operates Energia Costa Azul LNG receipt terminal in Baja California, Mexico, as well as Cameron LNG receipt terminal in Hackberry, Louisiana. The Sempra Commodities segment engages in the commodities-marketing business. Sempra Energy has operations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Peru. The company was founded in 1998 and is headquartered i n San Diego, California.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Justin Loiseau]

    Entergy (NYSE: ETR  ) announced today that its Gulf States Louisiana business has successfully won a contract with Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE  ) to power its proposed LNG export facility.

  • [By Justin Loiseau]

    According to the press release, Southern's newest solar farm will be built, operated, and maintained by First Solar. Generated electricity is slotted for Sempra Energy's (NYSE: SRE  ) San Diego Gas & Electric Company through a 20-year power purchase agreement.

Hot Dividend Companies To Invest In 2014: Kohlberg Capital Corporation(KCAP)

Kohlberg Capital Corporation is a private equity and venture capital firm specializing in buyouts and mezzanine investments. It focuses on mature and middle market companies. The firm structures its investments through senior debt, second lien debt, secured and unsecured subordinated debt, mezzanine debt, and equity. It invests in all sectors except cyclical industries. The firm invests equity in both minority and control transactions alongside other equity investors. It invests through its own balance sheet. Kohlberg Capital Corporation is based in the New York, New York.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

4 Really Long-Term Stocks for Kids

It's a great idea to get children interested in investing early, and buying some stocks for them is a great way to accomplish that. I'd recommend using a very long-term buy-and-hold strategy focused on high-quality, sustainable businesses. I'd forgo dividends and focus on long-term appreciation (just my personal opinion). Stocks that I'd recommend for this strategy include (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) , Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B  ) , CarMax (NYSE: KMX  ) , and Markel (NYSE: MKL  ) . All are great companies that I'd be happy to hold for a decade.

Investment strategy: really long-term holding
Children, by nature of their young age, should have an ultra-long-term investing horizon and limited access to tax-sheltered accounts. Thus, a sound strategy is to pick a few quality companies and hold them for as long as possible. All capital-gains taxes will be deferred, you won't need to monitor the account too frequently, and it sets a good example for the children. Hopefully, they'll see firsthand the power of buy-and-hold investing, and they'll never fall into the folly of trading.

I'd also recommend individual stocks, as opposed to mutual funds or ETFs. Most investment planners will say that an index fund is a more efficient choice, but it doesn't offer the same learning opportunity as individual stocks. It's a lot harder to get excited about an index fund than about an actual business. I'd suggest diversifying as much as possible while keeping trading costs below 1%-2% of the total portfolio. And, if you can regularly add small amounts over time, that's all the better.

Stock selection criteria: sustainability and reinvestment opportunities
If you're planning to hold stocks for a decade or longer, it's important to find sustainable businesses -- those that by nature of their competitive position and industry will thrive for years. You don't want to invest in a new fad or technology that might be hot now but could be gone in a few years. You want to avoid products or industries with a high level of obsolesce. Management should be capable and honest if you're going to trust them with your money for decades.

And I know this is a bit controversial, but I prefer to avoid dividend payers. For small accounts, say $1,000, it really doesn't do much good to receive a 2.5% annual dividend (or $25 per year). That cash will probably just sit in the account, as it's not large enough to justify a trading commission to reinvest. And for larger accounts, dividends can create tax hassles -- you could end up paying the "Kiddie Tax" if investment income exceeds $1,900. So instead of dividend payers, I prefer companies that have ample room to profitably reinvest cash in their own businesses to drive long-term share appreciation.

One final consideration: If you can match a good investment opportunity with the child's interests, that's all the better. Part of the reason for investing for children is to give them a real-life lesson on business, saving, investing, and the like. If shares of their favorite store help them get interested, that's worth considering. Of course, children's interests will probably change frequently as they grow older. Keep that in mind.

My favorites:, Berkshire Hathaway, CarMax, and Markel isn't an Internet fad -- it's a well-run retailer with a solid competitive position. Its leading position and huge size make it unlikely to be displaced. And even at its current size ($70 billion in annual revenue), it still has plenty of room to grow. Retail sales in the United States exceed $4 trillion annually, but e-commerce accounts for only 6% of that figure. Over the coming decades, more and more people will do their shopping online, and will be the natural beneficiary. Most people agree that CEO Jeff Bezos is a genius, and his strategy is to build the value of the business for the long term. That involves reinvesting heavily in the business and new growth initiatives, which means sacrificing short-term profits for long-term value.

Berkshire Hathaway is built to last. In addition to cash, stocks, bonds, and an array of profitable insurance operations, the company owns a diversified set of operating businesses, ranging from Dairy Queen to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad. As whole, those businesses, which Warren Buffett has hand-selected, have a long-history of profitability, a strong competitive position, and talented managers. The company has never paid a dividend, but Buffett has been able to reinvest profits at a high rate of return, thus increasing the value of the business. Under Buffett's watch, book value per share has grown nearly 20% annually for nearly 50 years -- doubling the growth of the stock market during that period. Of course, Buffett is 83 years old. He's still sharp, and it's fully possible that he'll still be running the business when he's 100. But eventually he'll step away, and he is truly irreplaceable. I doubt we'll ever see another business leader with his talent. But he's recruited other very capable people, bought sustainable businesses, and created a culture and organizational structure that will outlive him.

CarMax is the nation's largest used-car dealer. It has a unique model for the industry -- a large selection of late-model cars, no-haggle pricing, and friendly, helpful salespeople. This approach has caught on with customers, 93% of whom would recommend CarMax to their friends. The company is growing: Management plans to open 10 to 15 stores annually over the next few years. It has lots of room to grow. Even as the market leader, it has only 123 stores and a 3% market share in late-model used-car sales. Used-car sales don't make up a fast growth market, but CarMax is consistently taking share at the expense of other dealers. I'd expect the company to continue opening new stores and pushing out less consumer-friendly dealers for decades. The company doesn't pay a dividend, as it's wisely reinvesting most of its cash into new stores and growth.

Markel is a specialty provider of property and casualty insurance. It has an impressive track record of writing profitable insurance and growing book value per share. Over the past 10 years, it's combined ratio has averaged 96, and book value per share has increased 230%. It has a strong team of managers, including Vice Chairman Steve Markel, a member of the founding family, and Chief Investment Officer Tom Gayner, a widely admired investor. The company is following the Berkshire Hathaway blueprint -- using insurance profits and float to acquire public and private businesses. The company doesn't pay a dividend, as it uses profits to reinvest in its business, generally at high rates of return.

Foolish bottom line
Investing is a lifelong journey, and the earlier you start, the better. If you can get a child interested and active in investing, however you choose to do it, that's a success. This is my preferred approach, but not necessarily the only way to teach kids about saving and investing.

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Friday, November 22, 2013

5 Things to Know Before Signing Up for a Store Credit Card

store credit cardsPatrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

If you're hitting the mall this holiday season, it's likely the cashier in at least one store will cheerfully ask if you want to apply for a store credit card and save 5 percent, 10 percent or, in some cases, 20 percent on your purchase. "They're very tempting and easy to get because they're often marketed at the point of sale," says Ben Woolsey, director of marketing and consumer research at "It's like junk food. It's very easy and compelling to get these cards, but if you get too many of them, it will degrade your credit." Here's what you should know before applying for a store credit card. 1. Store credit cards often carry higher interest rates. The average credit card interest rate is about 15 percent, but many retail credit cards charge interest rates of 20 percent or more. If you pay off your balance in full each month, a high APR may not faze you. But if there's any chance of carrying a balance, you might want to think twice before signing up, says Anisha Sekar, vice president of credit and debt at the personal finance website 2. Inquiries can impact your credit score. Each time you apply for credit, whether it's with a department store or a major credit card issuer, it can temporarily ding your credit score. Although the impact of each inquiry is typically five points or less, "you just don't want to be opening a bunch of new accounts if you're in the market for a major loan," says Liz Weston, personal finance columnist and author of the book "Your Credit Score." "If you're in the market for an auto loan or a mortgage, you don't want to lose a single point." Applying for too many credit cards within a short time frame makes you look like a bigger credit risk, so don't apply for a credit card at every place you buy holiday gifts. Store cards often carry a low credit limit, so if you spend a lot, you'll have a high credit utilization ratio -- your balance versus your total available credit -- which can also lower your score.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Imperial Capital Raises United Continental Target, Prefers US Airways, Delta, Alaska Airlines

When United Continental (UAL) pledged to cut costs on its investors day, it got a big boost that helped it outpace competitors like Delta Air Lines (DAL), US Airways (LCC) and Alaska Airlines (ALK). Can the good times continue?

Associated Press

Not necessarily, says Imperial Capital’s Bob McAdoo and Scott Buck. While they raised United Continental’s target price to $42 from $36, they have reservations:

Management had previously acknowledged the airline's underperformance to peers and used its investor day on 11/19/13, which was held in New York, to outline a new cost reduction plan. The plan relies on a combination of improved fuel efficiency, productivity improvements, streamlined maintenance, and modest changes to the current international route structure. Meeting these objectives would move financial results towards peer levels. However, given the plan's high level of economic sensitivity and extended timetable, progress towards meeting these objectives may be hard to track. While we expect UAL shares to continue to benefit from sector demand, and will likely outperform the market, we would prefer to own shares of legacy peers Alaska Airlines, Delta, and US Airways.

Shares of United Continental have dropped 0.4% to $37.14, while Delta has gained 0.9% to $27.97, US Airways has fallen 0.5% to $23.93 and Alaska Airlines has risen 0.6% to $76.03.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lowe’s profit rises but misses estimates

MOORESVILE, N.C. (AP) — Lowe's third-quarter net income increased 26%, as the home-improvement retailer was bolstered by the housing market's ongoing recovery.

Its earnings were a penny per share short of Wall Street expectations, but revenue beat forecasts.

The Mooresville, N.C., company boosted its fiscal 2013 outlook again on Wednesday, but the earnings forecast was still below expectations.

Lowe's shares dropped almost 3% in premarket trading to $48.98.

Home improvement companies have been benefiting from record-low interest rates and rising home prices, spurring customers to spend more to renovate their homes.

Lowe's financial report comes a day after larger rival Home Depot's third-quarter results topped analysts' estimates and it lifted its outlook.

HOME DEPOT: Earnings beat Wall Street estimates

Lowe's earned $499 million, or 47 cents per share, for the period ended Nov. 1. That's up from $396 million, or 35 cents per share, a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 48 cents per share.

Revenue rose 7% to $12.96 billion from $12.07 billion. Wall Street forecast $12.73 billion in revenue.

Sales at stores open at least a year rose 6.2%. This metric is a key indicator of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

Lowe's now expects full-year earnings of about $2.15 per share. Revenue is predicted to climb approximately 6 percent. Based on 2012's revenue of $50.52 billion, the new forecast implies approximately $53.53 billion.

The company's prior outlook was for earnings of $2.10 per share, with revenue up approximately 5 percent. It had increased that forecast in August from a previous guidance for earnings of about $2.05 per share and revenue up about 4 percent.

Top Blue Chip Stocks For 2014

Analysts predict fiscal 2013 earnings of $2.20 per share on revenue of $53.09 billion.


Lowe's had 1,831 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico at quarter's end.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Amazon.Com, Inc. (AMZN): Workspaces Negative For Citrix Systems, Inc., Vmware, Inc., Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) announced its entry into the desktop virtualization market. This offering, WorkSpaces, provides secure, cloud-based access to corporate documents & applications via the user's device of choice (laptop, tablet, etc.).

WorkSpaces, considered one of the Amazon's significant product announcements, eliminates the upfront and on-going expenses associated with building out an owned infrastructure (<50% costs versus traditional desktop virtualization infrastructure solutions).

"AWS VPC can support between 16 private IP Addresses to 16,500 private IP addresses, which means that AWS Workspace is suited for both Med-to-Large enterprises," Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry wrote in a note to clients.

[Related -Amazon.Com, Inc. (AMZN): How I Explain Amazon's Stock Performance]

AWS WorkSpace is negative for Citrix Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CTXS) and VMware, Inc. (NYSE:VMW).

WorkSpace may hurt Citrix's products such as XenApps, XenClient, XenDesktop, which accounts for more than 25 percent of Citrix's revenues. On the other hand, VMware gets about 8 percent of its sales from this space.

"Converged view is that AMZN is getting the same pricing discounts from Microsoft on Windows OS and Office, that a typical large reseller/OEM gets, which is about 30% to 40% discount," Chowdhry noted.

Over the last 6 years, whenever Amazon enters a technology space, the pricing in that specific market collapses, and the same could happen here. The pricing for both Citrix's Xen Offerings, as well as VMWare's View product, may drop significantly, thereby dampening their sales and margins.

[Related -Best Buy (BBY) Is Fighting Back -- But Is It A Buy?]

"Neither VMW nor CTXS has the economies or scale or scope to effectively compete with AMZN AWS WorkSpace, and probably they are better off exiting these businesses, before these businesses end up being the new Blackberry," Chowdhry said.

With a few clicks in the AWS (Amazon Web Ser! vice) Management Console, customers can provision a high-quality desktop experience for their users at less than half the cost of most traditional virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions.

On-premises VDI solutions offer the benefits of centralized desktop management and security at a high cost, requiring companies to invest in their network and storage infrastructure to support the delivery of a high-quality virtual desktop experience.

By migrating enterprise desktops to the cloud, Amazon WorkSpaces eliminates both the up-front investment and the ongoing management of infrastructure while still offering all the security and efficiency of a centralized model. For a low monthly fee, Amazon WorkSpaces provides a complete cloud-based desktop computing service including compute, persistent storage, and software applications.

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Customers can select from a range of Amazon WorkSpace bundles that provide a choice of CPU, memory, storage and applications – and launch any number of desktops with a few clicks. Amazon WorkSpaces can integrate with an existing Active Directory to allow end-users to use their existing enterprise credentials to access their Amazon WorkSpace.

Amazon WorkSpaces includes technology components licensed from Teradici and leverages the PCoIP (PC-over-IP) protocol to compress, encrypt and encode the users' desktop computing experience and transmit 'pixels only' across any standard IP network to users' devices.

In addition, the WorkSpaces Sync client lets users sync their documents between their Amazon WorkSpace and other computers so that they always have access to their documents. This client will be downloadable at no charge from the Amazon WorkSpaces client download page, and the Amazon App Store for Android, Google Play and the iTunes App Store.

Beyond the productivity benefits, the enterprises are expected t! o save ov! er 40 percent of the life cycle cost for desktop services while also gaining additional benefits such as built-in security, telecommuting flexibility, high availability and simplified operations management.

Monday, November 18, 2013

5 Media Stocks to Buy Now

RSS Logo Portfolio Grader Popular Posts: 7 Biotechnology Stocks to Buy Now5 Diversified Utilities Stocks to Buy Now17 Oil and Gas Stocks to Sell Now Recent Posts: 3 Mortgage Stocks to Buy Now 5 Media Stocks to Buy Now 5 Diversified Utilities Stocks to Buy Now View All Posts

Five Media stocks are moving up in their overall rating this week, according to the Portfolio Grader database. Every one of these is graded an “A” (“strong buy”) or “B” overall (“buy”).

Knology (NASDAQ:) is making headway this week, with the company’s rating improving to an A (“strong buy”) from a B (“buy”) last week. Knology is a fully integrated provider of video, voice and advanced communications services to residential customers in the southeastern United States. In Portfolio Grader’s specific subcategories of Equity and Margin Growth, KNOL also gets A’s. .

Dex One (NYSE:) ups its rating to a B (“buy”) this week after earning a C (“hold”) in the week before. Dex One is a marketing solutions company that offers various solutions to promote businesses on the Internet through its proprietary search engine marketing product, DexNet. .

This week, Lee Enterprises, Incorporated’s (NYSE:) ratings are up from a B last week to an A. Lee owns various daily newspapers and a joint interest in several others. The stock price has risen 26.1% over the past month, better than the 1.7% decrease the S&P 500 has seen over the same period of time. .

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Outdoor Channel Holdings (NASDAQ:) is seeing ratings go up from a C last week to a B this week. Outdoor Channel Holdings is the principal owner of The Outdoor Channel, a national television network. .

This is a strong week for Charter Communications, Inc. Class A (NASDAQ:). The company’s rating climbs to B from the previous week’s C. Charter Communications is a provider of traditional cable video programming (basic and digital video), high-speed Internet services, and telephone services for residential and commercial customers. .

Louis Navellier’s proprietary Portfolio Grader stock ranking system assesses roughly 5,000 companies every week based on a number of fundamental and quantitative measures. Stocks are given a letter grade based on their results — with A being “strong buy,” and F being “strong sell.” Explore the tool here.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

U.S. Stocks Fluctuate as Investors Watch Fed Comments

U.S. stocks fluctuated, after the Standard & Poor's 500 Index climbed to a record this week, as investors watched speeches from Federal Reserve policy makers for clues on when the central bank may scale back stimulus.

AK Steel Holding Corp. (AKS) plunged 8.6 percent, leading losses among steelmakers, after predicting a third-quarter loss. Rockwell Collins Inc. fell 4.9 percent after its projection missed analysts' estimates. Darden Restaurants Inc. dropped 5.5 percent after earnings trailed forecast. Apple Inc. rose 0.8 percent as its iPhone 5s and 5c handsets go on sale today.

The S&P 500 slipped less than 0.1 percent to 1,721.90 at 10:51 a.m. in New York after earlier rising as much as 0.2 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 15.78 points, or 0.1 percent, to 15,620.77.

"It's probably a little confusing to the market what's coming out of the Fed," John Kvantas, a San Antonio, Texas-based executive director who helps manage more than $16 billion at USAA Investments, said in a phone interview. "Maybe the Fed is trying to send a message that 'yeah we didn't taper, but it doesn't mean we will never taper and maybe actually will taper still quite soon.'"

Trading in S&P 500 (SPX) stocks was 66 percent above the 30-day average at this time of day as futures and options contracts expire in a process known as quadruple witching that can lead to unpredictable price swings. Announced index changes, such as the addition of Visa Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Nike Inc. to the Dow and the S&P 500's inclusion of Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Ametek Inc., also take effect after the markets close.

More Evidence

The S&P 500 has climbed 2 percent this week, rebounding from its worst month since May 2012 to reach a record on Sept. 18 after the central bank unexpectedly refrained from reducing monetary stimulus. The Federal Open Market Committee said it wants more evidence of an economic recovery before paring its $85 b! illion-a-month bond-buying program. The stimulus helped boost the equity index 155 percent higher since March 2009.

The Fed is now expected to begin tapering asset purchases in December, with 24 of 41 economists surveyed Sept. 18-19 saying the central bank won't take the first step in slowing its $85 billion in monthly bond buying until then.

Fed Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard will speak on the economy and monetary policy at a New York Association for Business Economic lunch today. Kansas City Fed President Esther George and Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota will separately give speeches today. George dissented for the sixth Federal Open Market Committee meeting in a row this week, repeating that the bank risks creating financial imbalances.

'Let's Wait'

Equity futures turned lower after Bullard, a voter on policy this year who has backed the bond buying, said earlier today the decision not to taper was a close call and "small" cuts are possible next month. Policy makers meet Oct. 29-30.

"Weaker data came in," Bullard said on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg Surveillance" with Tom Keene and Michael McKee. "That was a borderline decision," and "the committee came down on the side of, 'Let's wait.'" With inflation low, Bullard said, "we can afford to be patient."

The debate on when to cut stimulus and by how much has whipsawed stocks since May, when Fed officials first indicated reductions could start this year. The S&P 500 tumbled 5.8 percent from a record on May 21 through June 24. It rebounded 8.7 percent to close at a fresh high on Aug. 2 before slumping 4.6 percent as investors increasingly anticipated cuts at the September meeting. The gauge rallied 5.8 percent from that Aug. 27 low to its latest record.

Barclays Forecast

The U.S. economy will expand 1.6 percent this year, the slowest pace since the recession ended in 2009, and grow by 2.7 percent in 2014, according to economists s! urveyed b! y Bloomberg. The Bloomberg Economic Surprise Index, which measures the degree to which economic data exceeded or missed projections, is at minus 0.01. It has fluctuated above and below zero since April, after reaching an 11-month high in February.

Barclays Plc boosted its year-end forecast for the S&P 500 by 13 percent to 1,800. "'Lower for longer' monetary policy is more probable than we believed a week ago," Barry C. Knapp, the firm's head of U.S. equity strategy, wrote in a note today.

Six of 10 S&P 500 main industries retreated as utility and telephone stocks slipped the most, losing at least 0.9 percent.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX), the gauge of S&P 500 options prices known as the VIX, fell 3.3 percent to 12.73, the lowest since Aug. 13 after retreating for a third day. The measure has declined 29 percent this year.

Steelmakers Drop

AK Steel slid 8.6 percent to $4.06. The steelmaker predicted its loss in the third quarter will be 22 cents to 27 cents a share, which includes a 9-cent loss related to a furnace outage in Middletown, Ohio.

U.S. Steel Corp., the largest U.S. producer of the metal, also fell, losing 2.7 percent to $20.59.

Rockwell Collins (COL) sank 4.9 percent to $70.61. The maker of airplane cockpit instruments forecast revenue in fiscal 2014 will be no more than $4.60 billion. That missed the average analyst estimate of $4.93 billion in a Bloomberg survey.

Darden Restaurants dropped 5.5 percent, the most in the S&P 500, to $46.59. The company's first-quarter profit trailed analysts' estimates amid declining sales at its Olive Garden and Red Lobster chains.

Apple rose 0.8 percent to $476. The company attracted long lines of shoppers at its retail stores today for the global debut of its latest iPhones, in the company's biggest move this year to stoke new growth.

Carl Howe, an analyst at Yankee Group, who correctly predicted opening weekend sales last ye! ar, said ! people may buy 7 million smartphones. That would surpass the record 5 million sold last year. Apple will sell as many as 6 million units, according to Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Buying A House Sight Unseen: Good Deal Or Bad Mistake?

Buying a house usually goes something like this: figure out what you can afford, find a lender, hire a real estate agent, make a list of your must-haves, view properties, view more properties, make an offer, secure your mortgage, close on your new home. Although time consuming and at times frustrating, viewing properties first-hand is considered by most buyers to be a fundamental part of the home buying process, and many would never dream of purchasing a home without first inspecting the neighborhood, home and yard.

There are buyers, however, who are willing to purchase homes without seeing them first. For various reasons, these buyers and investors are willing to skip this part of the process, relying instead on multiple listing service (MLS) descriptions, Internet photos and virtual tours. With the number of distressed homes on the market, some real estate investors purchase homes sight unseen in an attempt to score great deals. Buyers might also snatch up homes while they have the chance in markets that have a limited supply of properties. Because of competition – from buyers to aspiring first-time investors and institutional firms that buy up entire blocks of property – there is an increase in the frequency of sight-unseen real estate purchases in certain markets across the nation. While you can get lucky and spin a nice profit when it's time to sell, there are significant risks that need to be acknowledged before engaging in this type of real estate investing.


Distressed properties are generally damaged or in poor condition, and are under foreclosure or advertised for sale by a bank or lender. Most banks try to unload these properties as quickly as possible, because they are expensive to hold: between property taxes, maintenance and legal fees, it can cost banks $1,000 per day to maintain each property in its inventory. Because a quick sale makes financial sense for the bank, these properties are often offered at a significant discount, and it's not unusual fo! r some homes to sell for pennies on the dollar. This creates an excellent opportunity for both buyers and investors to get properties at below market prices.

Markets with limited supply can compel buyers and investors to purchase houses sight unseen. Instead of finding great deals, however, here buyers can expect to pay market value or higher just to secure a property in a desirable area. In tight markets, such as Boston and New York City, it is common for sellers to receive multiple, competitive bids, which can significantly drive up the price. Many of these offers come from buyers who have never stepped foot on the property but who know they want to buy in that particular market.

Pre-construction properties also provide opportunities for buyers and investors. A pre-construction property is on the market even though it has not yet been built. This type of property can be beneficial to both sellers and buyers: sellers (most commonly the builders) get money they need to continue construction while proving the viability of the project to lenders and other potential purchasers, and buyers are able to purchase at a lower pre-construction rate with the ability to sell afterwards at market value (or above, depending on the project).


Investors looking for great deals or prime properties may be up against tough competition from flippers, wholesalers and institutional buyers. Flippers are real estate investors who aim, much like stock market investors, to buy low and sell high. Typically, flippers purchase properties at a discount, make repairs and renovations, and sell within a short time-period for a profit. A property's After Repair Value (ARV), an estimate of its fair market value after repairs and renovations, is used to determine if a property has profit potential. Flippers calculate potential profits by taking the ARV and subtracting the purchase price, repair and renovation costs, and carrying costs (expenses incurred for holding onto the property, including mort! gage paym! ents, property taxes, insurance and utilities). Because flippers depend on these calculations to determine if they can make a profit, some will not purchase sight unseen. Others, however, focus on foreclosed properties that can be bought at a steep discount but that are sold at auction with no opportunity to view before signing the papers.

Similar to flippers, real estate wholesalers attempt to profit from properties in a short period of time. Unlike flippers, however, wholesalers don't purchase and rehab properties. Instead, they generally put properties under contract with contingencies (so they are able to terminate the contract if needed) and then assign or sell the properties to other investors for a profit. A wholesaler can be considered a "middleman" who rounds up properties for established investors. After putting the property under contract, a wholesaler markets the property to find a willing buyer and, in many cases, the wholesaler has a buyer lined up even before putting a property under contract. The spread between what the wholesaler pays for the property and the price he or she sells it for is the wholesaler's profit. Because wholesaling doesn't involve time-consuming repairs and renovations, many wholesalers look for smaller, more frequent profits than flippers.

Institutional investors purchase large inventories of properties, sometimes entire blocks of distressed properties. Institutional investors, backed by deep pockets, can purchase dozens or hundreds of homes, driving down inventories and consequently driving up prices in a market (and increasing the likelihood of selling at a profit). Institutional investors can have such massive buying power that they can make it quite difficult, if not impossible, for smaller investors and individual homebuyers to find good deals within a target market.

In addition to flippers, wholesalers and institutional investors - a smaller group of buyers will purchase homes sight unseen out of necessity. This most often invol! ves an in! dividual who, for business or personal reasons, is relocating to a new area but does not have the time to shop for a new house. Typically, these buyers work with real estate agents who send them detailed descriptions, photos and videos (or virtual tours) of properties that meet the buyers' criteria. Because the agent essentially becomes the buyer's eyes and ears, it is vital that buyers specify their exact needs, not only in terms of what features the home should have, but also requirements for schools, commutes, public transportation and nearby amenities.


Homebuyers and investors may purchase homes sight unseen, but the practice is not without risks. One of the biggest risks is that there will be something wrong with the property that doesn't show up in photos. Furniture and camera angles can easily hide many defects, including water damage, infestation, mold and structural damage. While many properties are in disrepair because the owners did not have the time, expertise or money to properly maintain the home, some properties are intentionally damaged by previous owners. Often, this is a misguided attempt to "get back at the bank" by making it more difficult to sell the property. Other times, people rip out whatever they can – appliances, fixtures, copper wiring, even landscaping – for the money.

Regardless of motivation, destruction after foreclosure can involve relatively inexpensive fixes such as holes in the drywall, or extensive and costly repairs. In a particularly ugly incident from 2011, a home in an upscale gated-community in California needed about $250,000 in repairs after its previous owners lost the home to foreclosure. Chemicals and cement had been poured down the property's drains and water was left running for what may have been months – leading to extensive mold throughout the home and a floor that caved in under the weight of water-soaked items. In addition, the property's appliances, cabinets, sinks and toilets had been removed.

Another reason buying sight unseen can be risky is that photos and virtual tours don't allow you to see undesirable features of the home, such as nearby high-tension wires, traffic, neighborhood noise levels and unusual odors (from things such as mold or the 100 cats that used to live in the house). A walkthrough is the only way to be sure that you'll like the house, the yard, the neighbors and the area.

Flippers, wholesalers and institutional investors have the added risk of not being able to sell the property in a timely manner because of the need for exte! nsive repairs. For investors, the longer the house is held, the more money is lost in terms of carrying costs. The premise of real estate investing is often to buy and sell quickly, and when this doesn't happen – for whatever reason – the investor can end up taking a loss, especially when unexpected and expensive repairs are needed.

Ways to protect yourself

A contingency clause is one of the best protections when purchasing a home sight unseen. A contingency defines a condition or action that must be met in order for a real estate contract to become binding. One of the most important contingencies when purchasing a home without seeing it first is an inspection contingency, which gives the buyers the right to get the home inspected within a specified time period, such as 5-7 days. This protects the buyer who can cancel the contract or negotiate repairs based on the findings of a professional home inspector. An inspector examines the home's interior and exterior, and evaluates the condition of the electrical, finish, plumbing, structural and ventilation elements.

Depending on how the contingency is worded, the buyer can:

Approve the inspection report and move forward with the deal Disapprove the report and back out of the deal Request additional time for further inspections Request repairs or concessions Buyers can also ask for a walkthrough contingency. This type of contingency allows you to do a final (or first) walkthrough of the property before signing the papers at closing. Keep in mind, as with all contingencies, seller do not have to agree to any contingency, and they often expect a higher purchase price to compensate for the added risks to the seller (i.e. the risk that the buyer will back out of the contract).

Buyers and investors can both add a layer of protection to buying sight unseen with the aid of an experienced real estate professional. It is important that the agent be on your side of the deal (working on your behalf as a buyer's agent) and not working on behalf of the seller. The agent should have a fiduciary responsibility to you to make sure you get the best deal. Many buyers and investors vet several agents before finding one who understands their needs and who they feel they can trust.

The Bottom Line

Some people purchase homes sight unseen out of necessity, while others do it for the profit potential of a real estate investment. In any case, buying a home without first seeing it involves risks: the property could have defects or damage that may result in extensive and expensive repairs. Also, the home might be in an undesirable location (e.g. next to a busy road) or have other detrimental features. Whether you are buying sight unseen out of necessity or as an investment, you can limit your risks by working closely with a trusted and experienced real estate agent, and by including certain contingency clauses in the offer to purchase real estate.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

An Agriculture ETF With Long-Term Upside

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We’ve written about the ongoing rise in food demand in a number of previous Investing Daily articles. There are two main factors driving this trend: the rising global population and increasing wealth, particularly in the developing world.

Below, we’ll examine an agriculture ETF that’s poised to capitalize on rising food demand, but first, here are a few reasons why rising food consumption—and prices—will be a fact of life for many years to come.

Basic Lack of Supply, Rising Demand Fuel This Agriculture ETF

The global population is not only eating more food but demanding better quality fare. For the most part, higher quality means more meat. That directly translates into rising crop consumption, because it takes about 10 pounds of corn and grain to produce a single pound of beef.

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“Meanwhile, the amount of arable land is on the decline,” wrote Investing Daily analyst Benjamin Shepherd in a February 2012 article. “According to UN data, there was half an acre of arable land available for every person on earth in 1964. But due to development, pollution, population growth and a variety of other factors, that figure had dropped to 0.2 acres per capita by 2008.” 

These factors are driving both growth and price inflation in the sector, and there are a number of ways for investors to take advantage. For example, you could buy shares of genetically modified seed makers like Monsanto (NYSE: MON) or equipment manufacturers like Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE).

An Agriculture ETF That Holds the Biggest Names in the Farming Business

Another option is to buy units of an agriculture ETF like the Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF (NYSE: MOO).

This agriculture ETF gives you exposure to a wide range of businesses within the farming sector, from fertilizer makers like The Mosaic Company (NYSE: MOS) to food producers like Archer Daniels Midland (NYSE: ADM) and equipment makers like Kubota Corp. (OTC: KUBTY) and Deere.

The ETF’s top 10 holdings, from largest to smallest, consist of Syngenta AG, Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland, Deere & Co., Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, Kubota Corp., Agrium Inc., CF Industries Holdings, Bunge Ltd. and the Mosaic Co.

The agriculture ETF is heavily weighted toward the U.S., with 45.8% of its assets there, but it is geographically diverse, with exposure to countries such as Canada (9.9%), Switzerland (8.5%), Japan (6.7%) and Singapore (5.1%).

Potash Cartel Breakup Has Weighed on This Agriculture ETF

The ETF’s unit price declined in the first half of 2013, partly because of the breakup of the Belarusian Potash Company (BPC), through which Russia’s Uralkali, the world’s No. 1 potash producer, and Belaruskali of Belarus distribute their potash. The market is dominated by BPC and Canpotex, owned by Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (NYSE: POT), Mosaic and Agrium Inc. (NYSE: AGU).

Together, the two cartels control 70% of global potash exports, so the breakup of BPC will result in a more fractured market, which seems likely to push potash prices lower. Shares of major potash producers fell sharply on the news, as did Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF due to its potash stock holdings, which include Agrium, Potash Corp. and Mosaic.

One factor to keep in mind is that lower potash prices would likely prompt producers to hold off on new projects. All eyes are currently on BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP), which is developing what could be the world’s biggest potash mine: the Jansen project in Saskatchewan, Canada. BHP is continuing to invest in Jansen, though it has said it would develop the mine at a slower-than-expected pace and may look to take on a partner.

Either way, the Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF continues to offer an easy and low-cost way to profit from the long-term trend toward rising food demand. Its expense ratio is a low 0.55%.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Northern Tier Energy LP Enters $775 Million Deal (NTI)

The Connecticut-based petroleum refiner, Northern Tier Energy LP (NTI), announced on Tuesday that it has entered into an agreement that would sell it off to Western Refining Inc. in a deal reportedly worth $775 million.

Northern Tier Energy said that its private equity sponsors, ACON Investments and TPG, have struck a definitive agreement that would sell all of their interests in the East Coast refining company to Texas-based Western Refining. According to sources, the deal also includes the distribution on the common shares acquired with respect to the last quarter ending on 9/30/2013; as a result, Western Refining now owns the general partner in its entirety along with a 38.7% stake in Northern Tier Energy.

Western Refining will be acquiring a refinery in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the company commented that this transaction, which was signed and closed today, would immediately be reflected in its earnings and cash flow.

Northern Tier Energy LP shares rallied higher today, gaining 3.35% as the closing bell rang.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Microsoft Deal for Nokia Cannot Hurt Apple

The primary speculation about Microsoft Corp.’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) deal to buy Nokia Corp.’s (NYSE: NOK) handset business is that it gives the huge software company a building block to catch, or at least replicate, the success of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL). Apple’s rise has been led by the launch and upgrades of its spectacularly successful iPhone and iPad. Apple churns out new versions of these products at least once a year. The latest will be released in just a few days. The Apple iOS has been successful as well, heralded as easy to use and nearly bug-free. Microsoft faces the problem that, even if it can build attractive smartphones with wonderful features and functions, it has to enter a market that Apple and Samsung have dominated for years.

Microsoft and Nokia are up against the same barriers that have halted the advance of HTC, Motorola, Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) and LG, the largest competitors to Samsung and Apple. Each loses large sums of money attacking the market. Another group of companies that include PC giant Lenovo also try to grab share. Apple and Samsung have portions of many markets that are well above two-thirds. In the United States, according to research firm comScore, Apple and Samsung had nearly 64% of the market in June. Those figures for both firms are rising. Additionally, Samsung products run Google Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android OS, which comScore shows with a 52% market share among operating systems used in smartphones sold in America.

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Apple and Samsung are among the best examples of what business school professors call the “first mover” advantage. However, not only were they early to market. Their products remain the best in the market, as far as consumers are concerned.

The success of Apple and Samsung help them in several areas. First, the sales of each support huge marketing budgets, as if they needed that to afford advertising campaigns, given the strength of their balance sheets. Each also dominates shelf space in telecom wireless stores and consumer electronic retail outlets. There is no reason for AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) or Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) to move other brands into their places. Apple and Samsung drive sales. The promotion of new products is risky.

Apple pressed into the smartphone and tablet markets when there were no competitors. In essence, they created a market that did not exist when the first iPhone was released in mid-2007. Six years later, Microsoft has no chance of pushing into a sector that already is crowded with competition.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Our Love/Hate Relationship With a Rising Stock Market

A rising stock-market tide should lift all boats. Instead, it has investors worried.

The S&P 500 gained 0.4% today, just missing a new all-time high. The benchmark was boosted by the likes of Vulcan Materials (VMC), which rose 7.7% after beating earnings estimates, Newmont Mining (NEM), which rose 5.2% after getting upgraded, and base-metal producers like Alcoa (AA),which rose 7%, and Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF), which finished up 5%.

Today’s gained put the the S&P 500 up 24% this year. Yes, 24%. And not only that. If the year ended today, all ten sectors in the S&P 500 would be up 10% or more, note US Trust’s Joseph Quinlan and Ehiwario Efeyini, the first time since 1995 that the S&P 500 has gone 10 for 10.

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You would think that such big gains would have everyone feeling elated, like, “hey, my portfolio just gained 24% elated.” But no. Judging from the comments coming from strategists, from journalists, from my host at a weekend-lunch,  investors aren’t elated–they’re worried.

Take Citigroup’s Tobias Levkovich. He’s bull, he tells us but Citigroup’s Panic/Euphoria Model is “sending a clear warning sign of substantial complacency,” he writes. Levkovich continues:

Citi's proprietary sentiment tracker now has climbed to about its highest level since 2008 and it is approaching euphoria territory, which is worrisome…

The last time, Panic/Euphoria was in this area, which occurred in May, the market slid 3%-4% shortly thereafter. It is important to recognize that while euphoria readings have not been registered, there is still about an 80% probability of a market decline in the next 12 months based on the current reading. And, while the Raging Bull thesis remains intact for a secular bull market in stocks over the next few years, one has to respect gauges that have proven to be a reliable indicator of nearer-term share price movement.

Credit Suisse’s Andrew Garthwaite offers similar sentiments, writing that he sees “heightened risk of near-term consolidation…” He offers some reasons why, all the while ensuring that he still expects stocks to go up in 2014:

Some tactical indicators are signalling caution: The bull/bear ratio, director selling, and the gap between sector risk appetite and overall risk appetite have all reached extreme levels associated with marginal market falls on our back-tests. In addition, corporate net buying has slowed to zero (from 3% of market cap), again a precursor to consolidation.

But it’s also worth remembering that after all ten sectors gained 10% or more in 1995, the S&P 500 gained another 20% in 1996, then added another 28% in 1997.

So yes, worrisome. But not hopeless. Not at all.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Why young advisers need mentoring

If financial advisers want to build a strong and sustainable business, they need to develop a mentoring program for young employees.

“I've seen a lot of great people wash out of the business in their first two or three years,” Christine Gaze, TD Ameritrade Institutional's director of practice management, said during InvestmentNews' NextGen Virtual Career Fair on Friday. “Our research shows that firms with junior associate programs results in 44% greater income for the owner.”

(Pershing's Dellarocca: Opportunities for NextGen financial planners are growing rapidly)

Guided support helps NextGen advisers find clients in their early years, she said, adding that seasoned advisers should consider taking their junior associates to client meetings to take notes and run analysis until they develop the confidence to take on their own clients.

“The expectation that the junior adviser should be beating the pavement from Day One is inconsistent with advisers' need for succession planning with the next generation,” Ms. Gaze said. “The typical transition to a successor requires 10 years.”

Ms. Gaze took note of Cerulli Associates Inc.'s research showing that the average age of an adviser is 52 and that 26,764 advisers are expected to leave the industry between 2012 and 2017. In light of those statistics, TDAI offers NextGen scholarship and grant programs to attract top talent and promote young advisers.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD): The Radeon R9 290 Graphics Card Plus Other News or Events

Its been a bumpy ride for both short term and long term investors and traders alike in Advanced Micro Devices, Inc (NYSE: AMD) – including us because we have had the stock in our SmallCap Network Elite Opportunity (SCN EO) portfolio since last summer and we have seen our position make good gains only to twice see those gains evaporate after two quarterly earnings reports that did not live up to the lofty expectations of some bulls. Nevertheless, there is reason to be optimistic if you consider the following good news:

AMD Radeon R9 290 Graphics Card. Yesterday, Advanced Micro Devices launched its AMD Radeon™ R9 290 graphics card at a starting price of $399 and EUR 289 (excluding VAT) and there are already positive reviews for the card on AnandTech, Forbes (AMD Disrupts GPU Market Again With $399 Radeon R9 290), HotHardware, PC World and TechSpot. The verdict? The R9 290 not only continues to outperform the Nvidia GTX 780, but it also undercuts it by $100 - meaning NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA) will either have to answer with a price cut or come up with a higher-performing, cheaper card. Cramer's Advice. For what his advice might be worth, Jim Cramer, the host of CNBC's Mad Money, has just noted that while AMD has been a disappointment this year, he pointed out that the company's products will be in both Sony Corporation's (NYSE: SNE) PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Corporation's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Xbox One consoles which he hopes will pave the way for what should be a strong quarter. However, Cramer also added that if the quarter comes in weaker than expected, investors should look elsewhere to put their money to work.  Upcoming Investor Conferences or Summits. Various Advanced Micro Devices' executives will be presenting at upcoming conferences with Devinder Kumar, senior vice president and chief financial officer, presenting at the Credit Suisse Annual Technology Conference on December 3 at 2:00 PM; John Byrne, senior vice president and chief sales officer, will present at the Raymond James Semiconductors, Software and Supply Chain Investor Conference on December 10th at 9:40 AM EST; and John Byrne will present at the BMO Capital Markets 2013 Technology & Digital Media Conference on December 11 at 9:30 AM EST. It should be remembered that investor conference presentations are often highly anticipated because they can move a stock – in either direction. Moreover, Advanced Micro Devices will webcast keynote presentations taking place at the 2013 AMD Developer Summit, "APU13", being held in San Jose on November 11 through the 13th with the schedule available here. Webcast replays of Keynote presentations will also be accessible on AMD's YouTube channel. Share Performance. Advanced Micro Devices is up 38.5% since the start of the year, up 60.6% over the past year and down 5% over the past five years with the long-term chart showing the bumpy ride longer term investors have experienced with the stock:

However, the most recent technical chart for AMD is not looking so bullish:

All things considered though, there are still plenty of reasons to remain cautiously bullish and to pay close attention to any news surrounding Advanced Micro Devices.  

SmallCap Network Elite Opportunity (SCN EO) has an open position in AMD. To find out what other open positions SCN EO currently has, and to learn why so many traders and investors are relying on this premium subscription service, click here to find out more.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

3 Natural Gas Stocks to Buy Now

Twitter Logo Google Plus Logo RSS Logo Aaron Levitt Popular Posts: 5 Energy Stocks to Power Your PortfolioShould I Buy XOM? 3 Pros, 3 ConsThe 4 Best ETFs for Young Investors Recent Posts: 3 Natural Gas Stocks to Buy Now 5 Energy Stocks to Power Your Portfolio Should I Buy XOM? 3 Pros, 3 Cons View All Posts

Light bulbs energy stocksNow is a great time to be an investor in energy stocks: North America's shale oil and natural gas revolution keeps on rolling. Hydraulic fracturing has simply changed the game for the energy industry. And as the E&P sector continues to use fracking and other advanced drilling techniques, production numbers and reserves keep climbing.

All of that activity has been a big boon to natural gas stocks.

Various utilities are switching over from "dirty" coal to the cheaper, cleaner-burning fuel, and with consumers — both residential and commercial — increasing their demand, consumption of natural gas continues to spike. Meanwhile, the promises of liquefied natural gas exports and natural gas-fueled vehicles only heightened the potential boom for natural gas companies even further.

Overall, the Energy Information Administration projects that natural gas demand in the United States could be 26.55 trillion cubic feet by the year 2035 — a 16% increase since the hydraulic fracturing boom took off in 2009.

Simply put, natural gas stocks could be the energy stocks with biggest potential. Here are three prime natural gas stocks to buy now:

Southwestern Energy

SouthwesternEnergy185Southwestern Energy (SWN) is well-positioned to benefit from rising gas demand. The natural gas stock is one of the biggest players in some of the most prolific shale fields in the country. Those fields include Pennsylvania's mammoth Marcellus and roughly 915,000 acres in the Fayetteville shale of Oklahoma and Arkansas.

While the focus on dry gas has hindered many other natural gas stocks, SWN has benefited due to its drilling efficiencies and low cost structure. Southwestern’s finding and development costs have averaged below $1.50 per millions of cubic feet of natural gas equivalent over the last three years. Only a small handful of natural gas companies — including Range Resources (RRC) — have beaten SWN in that regard.

Those low capex costs have helped the firm see huge returns in the earnings department.

The natural gas stock reported a 34.2% jump in profits and a 25.5% increase revenues vs. the year-ago quarter. That follows SWN's massive 108% profit gain reported in the second quarter. With Southwestern deciding to hike its 2013 capital spending plan to $2.25 billion, analysts estimate that the boost in output should help profits grow even further into 2014.

SWN shares currently trade for a forward P/E of 17.

Cabot Oil & Gas

Cabot Oil & Gas COGFirst mover status is vitally important when it comes to selecting energy stocks — just ask Cabot Oil & Gas (COG). The firm is one of the first and largest players in the Marcellus, where COG has seen the biggest production gains — to the tune of a 61% rise in the third quarter.

However, those gains are set to continue as COG just finished a massive capex spending plan. And like SWN, Cabot's costs remain one of the lowest in the industry — $1.20 per Mcf. The company plans on spending $1.475 billion on future drilling and well completion, which should help move the needle on cash flows and profits at the natural gas company.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs (GS) estimate that COG should produce pre-tax profits of $515 million in 2013 and jump to $800 million next year. That implies a $48 price target for the energy stock — $14 higher than today.

Ultra Petroleum

Top 10 Warren Buffett Stocks For 2014

UPLFor those investors looking for natural gas companies with a bit more "oomph,” energy stock Ultra Petroleum (UPL) could be the prime portfolio play. As of the end of 2012, UPL's mix of production included about 96% dry natural gas. While that seems awfully scary given just how much prices for the fuel have swayed, Ultra is a low-cost leader … just like both SWN and COG.

In fact, UPL's finding and development costs are a little more than $1 per McfE, and it only needs natural gas to be at $2.88 to "break even" on its wells. Other natural gas companies — like kingpin Chesapeake (CHK) — need prices to be around $4 to make a profit.

Now, UPL has recently made moves to purchase more oil reserves and boost its overall product mix. The firm paid $650 million for acreage in Utah’s Uinta Basin, which features many of the same operating dynamics and low costs as UPL's current mix of shale assets. Ultimately, those oilier acres should help smooth out earnings for the stock and help produce higher cash flows. But much of Ultra's future production will still be tied to natural gas, making it one of the best natural gas stocks to buy if you want to play rising demand.

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

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

5 Energy Stocks to Power Your Portfolio

Twitter Logo Google Plus Logo RSS Logo Aaron Levitt Popular Posts: The 4 Best ETFs for Young InvestorsShould I Buy XOM? 3 Pros, 3 Cons5 Energy Stocks to Power Your Portfolio Recent Posts: 5 Energy Stocks to Power Your Portfolio Should I Buy XOM? 3 Pros, 3 Cons XOM: Exxon's Earnings Fall A Whopping 18% View All Posts

Light bulbs energy stocksWell, earnings season is proving to be hit-or-miss for many energy stocks.

The good news is that many E&P firms have managed to report overall rising production and higher average prices for that production. That's great news, actually, considering many of the integrated giants have suffered in that category lately. At the same time, many smaller independent energy stocks continue to knock it outta the park in regions like the Bakken and Eagle Ford.

However, several names in the sector — such as Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) — have suffered under the weight of poor profits at their downstream operations as well as failed production goals. A rising tide is no longer lifting all boats, and it seems like the energy sector is once again becoming a stock picker’s market.

Hot Bank Companies To Buy For 2014

If so, stock pickers would be well-off investing in these five energy stocks:


ConocoPhillipsLogoConocoPhillips’ (COP) transformation into a pure E&P player continues to work its magic for shareholders.

Performance at the former-integrated giant has been swift, and COP’s latest earnings report showcases the focus on shale, shale and more shale.

ConocoPhillips reported adjusted earnings of $1.47 per share, or a better-than-expected 39% jump in profit. Higher prices for crude oil and natural gas helped, but the real driver was higher production in the Eagle Ford and other "oily" shale regions in the U.S.

Best of all, investors should expect similar results from the new independent going forward.

Conoco has begun selling non-North American and risky assets in places like Kazakhstan, Algeria and Nigeria. Most recently, COP put its Libyan oil fields on the chopping block. Aside from the more than $9 billion these foreign assets should command, Conoco is setting itself up for future gains as the North American shale boom rolls on.

COP shares can be had for a song at a forward P/E of just under 12.

Range Resources

Range Resources RRCWhen it comes to the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, no one plays it better than natural gas producer Range Resources (RRC).

That's surely evident from its latest earnings report. Overall, RRC managed to pump out record production for the third quarter at some pretty high prices. All told, total production increased by 21% vs. a year ago.

However, the real key was the production mix. RRC continues to focus on some of the best "wet” gas fields in the Marcellus and has seen its natural gas liquids and shale oil production surge. That's important considering the recent rise and high price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil.

The independent E&P firm saw daily production improvements of 28% for NGLs, 43% in oil and 19% in traditional dry natural gas. Translation for Range Resources stock holders: Yippee!

NGLs and WTI crude oil continue be in demand from a variety of chemical producers and refining end-users. That will help the profits keep coming into Range Resources.

SM Energy

SM Energy stock NYSE:SMIt pays to be a fist mover when it comes to America's shale boom. In this case, it pays to the tune of 75% returns for shareholders in E&P firm SM Energy (SM).

This midcap and potential acquisition target has focusing its attention toward Texas and its Permian basin. While SM Energy’s Eagle Ford acreage continues to churn out production — it grew by 27% in the second quarter — SM’s future could lie with the Wolfcamp play in the Permian.

SM has gained control of around 53,000 total acres in the Permian, and that land is proving to be a dozy. Initial test drilling at its first well in the Wolfcamp has exceeded flow rates of its rivals in the area and has been described as the "best in the area" by analysts. More importantly, SM is seeing more oil than natural gas for its efforts.

That could help propel SM to higher earnings and send its shares rocketing further in the future. Sure, SM Energy’s stock isn't cheap at 61 times earnings, but the first-mover status in the Wolfcamp — along with its Eagle Ford acreage — could make it prime target for a larger firm.

Oasis Petroleum

Oasis Petroleum 185Moving from the bottom half of our nation to the top, we hit the prolific Bakken shale.

Like the Eagle Ford, the shale oil production from the Bakken continues grow by leaps and bounds, powering those firms that do business there. One of the best could be Oasis Petroleum (OAS).

The company is expected to report earnings this Wednesday, Nov. 6., but there's plenty of reason to believe that analysts' predictions of a near-doubling in earnings per share will come true. That's because it's becoming a pure play on the Bakken.

Back in September/October, OAS spent roughly $1.5 billion on four land grabs that boosted its acreage to a huge 492,000 acres — about 49% more than it previously had. These buys should add about 9,300 barrels per day to production. That’s awesome news for the future considering Oasis has already shown it can pump up the production. Back in the second quarter, OAS grew production by 48% to sit at 30,200 barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) per day. What's even better is that the bulk of its production — roughly 90% — is high-priced shale oil.

Meanwhile, shares of OAS are still cheap at a forward P/E of just 14.


Encana185Realizing the error of its ways — i.e. spinning off its oil division as Cenovus (CVE) in 2009 — EnCana (ECA) has been spending much of the past year reinventing itself as a more balanced energy play rather than a strictly natural gas one. That has meant adding more liquids and shale oil back into its production mix.

And those efforts are finally beginning to pay off.

ECA reported a net profit of $188 million — or 25 cents per share — for the third quarter, compared to a $1.24 billion loss for the same period a year ago. The key for that profit has been higher average dry natural gas prices, as well as rising NGL and shale production. According to Reuters, EnCana saw its oil and NGL volumes nearly double during the quarter, averaging about 58,200 barrels per day. That should continue to grow as Canada's largest natural gas producer is spending about 80% of its capex budget on boosting production of liquids.

For investors, the beaten-down name has real potential to be one of the best turnarounds in the industry as these efforts pay off. Meanwhile, ECA's 4.5% dividend provides a nice cushion.

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

Monday, November 4, 2013

Top 10 Heal Care Stocks To Invest In Right Now

Investor interest in the UAE has increased at a rapid rate, ever since the announcement of a number of coming IPOs, writes Hadeel al Sayegh, of The National.

A flurry of initial public offerings is planned for the coming months amid ripe valuations and investor appetite for UAE stocks.

This month, the Bank of London & The Middle East announced an intent to list its shares on the Nasdaq Dubai in October, the bourse's first listing in almost five years.

The news was then followed by two IPO revelations this week��ust Falafel is considering a 25% listing of the food chain's shares on the Nasdaq Dubai and Damac Properties is eyeing a London share sale.

The renewed confidence among UAE companies illustrates a marked change in attitude towards raising capital from equity markets.

��ore investors are turning to investment banks to take their companies public,��said Mohammed Ali Yasin, the managing director at National Bank of Abu Dhabi's brokerage arm. ��aluations have become much more interesting and give room for founders to realize good value from selling their companies.��

Top 10 Heal Care Stocks To Invest In Right Now: The Spectranetics Corporation (SPNC)

The Spectranetics Corporation designs, manufactures, and markets single use medical devices used in minimally invasive surgical procedures within the cardiovascular system in conjunction with its proprietary excimer laser system, the CVX-300. The company?s excimer laser technology is used to ablate multiple lesion morphology morphologies, such as plaque, moderate calcium, and thrombus. It offers four primary product categories for the Vascular Intervention product line, including peripheral atherectomy, coronary atherectomy, thrombus management, and crossing solutions. The peripheral atherectomy product line consists of a selection of proprietary laser catheters that are indicated for the treatment of infrainguinal (leg) stenoses and occlusions; and the coronary atherectomy product line includes a selection of proprietary laser catheters to be used in various types of coronary artery diseases comprising occluded saphenous vein bypass grafts, ostial lesions, long lesions, m oderately calcified stenoses, total occlusions traversable by guidewire, lesions, and restenosis. The thrombus management product line consists of three thrombus removal devices intended to remove fresh, soft thrombi, and emboli from vessels in the arterial system, as well as to address thrombotic occlusions in dialysis grafts and fistulae; and the crossing solutions product line support guidewires or other devices in facilitating vascular access in the arterial system to enable various types of interventions. The company?s lead management product line comprises excimer laser sheaths, non-laser sheaths, and cardiac lead management accessories for the removal of pacemaker and defibrillator cardiac leads. It sells its products in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, the Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Puerto Rico. The company has a strategic alliance with Kensey Nash Corporation. The Spectranetics Corporation was founded in 1984 and is based in Colorado Springs , Colorado.

Top 10 Heal Care Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Cibt Education Group Inc (MBA.TO)

CIBT Education Group Inc., through its subsidiaries, operates as an educational, investment, marketing, and management organization worldwide. It provides a range of education programs and training courses in the areas of business management, hotel management, office management, and career training and publishing. The company also offers English language training courses, including English as a second language, teachers of English to speakers of other languages, public speaking, and various forms of English language test preparation. It operates education programs and services business through its college subsidiaries, which comprise Sprott-Shaw Community College, Sprott-Shaw Degree College, and King George International College in Canada; and CIBT School of Business and Beihai International College in China. The company owns and operates a network of business, technical, and language colleges; and has co-operative joint programs in 18 countries. In addition, it provides g raphic design and advertising services in Hong Kong, Canada, and the United States. The company was formerly known as Capital Alliance Group Inc. and changed its name to CIBT Education Group Inc. in November 2007. CIBT Education Group Inc. is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.

Top 5 Canadian Companies To Watch In Right Now: Magellan Midstream Partners L.P.(MMP)

Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the transportation, storage, and distribution of refined petroleum products and crude oil in the United States. Its pipeline system transports petroleum products and liquefied petroleum gases from the Gulf Coast refining region of Texas through the Midwest to Colorado, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. The company owns and operates marine terminals, which store and distribute refined petroleum products, blendstocks, crude oils, heavy oils, and feedstocks, as well as inland terminals that consist of storage tanks connected to third-party interstate pipeline systems to deliver refined petroleum products. Its ammonia pipeline system transports ammonia from production facilities in Texas and Oklahoma to terminals in the Midwest. The company also stores, blends, and distributes biofuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel. As of March 31, 2011, it operated approximately 9, 600 miles of petr oleum products pipeline system and 51 terminals; 6 marine petroleum terminals located along the United States Gulf and East Coasts; a crude oil storage in Cushing, Oklahoma; 27 petroleum products inland terminals located principally in the southeastern United States; and a 1,100-mile ammonia pipeline system and 6 associated terminals. The company also provides ancillary services, such as heating, blending, and mixing of stored petroleum products and additive injection services. Its customers comprise independent and integrated oil companies, wholesalers, retailers, railroads, airlines, and regional farm co-operatives. The company serves various markets, including retail gasoline stations, truck stops, farm co-operatives, railroad fueling depots, and military and commercial jet fuel users. Magellan GP, LLC serves as the general partner of the company. The company was founded in 2000 and is based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Arjun Sreekumar]

    Magellan Midstream Partners (NYSE: MMP  ) is thinking about expanding its newly reversed Longhorn pipeline, as demand for pipeline shipments from Texas' Permian Basin continues to grow.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Abbvie (ABBV)
    Ameren Corp. (AEE)
    Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG)
    E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. (DD)
    Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPD)
    General Mills (GIS)
    H&R Block (HRB)
    Hancock Holding (HBHC)
    Kraft Foods Group (KRFT)
    Lorillard (LO)
    Magellan Midstream Partners LP (MMP)
    MarkWest Energy Partners L P (MWE)
    McDonald’s (MCD)
    Microchip Technology (MCHP)
    NextEra Energy (NEE)
    Regency Centers (REG)
    TELUS Corp. (TU)
    West Corp. (WSTC)
    Williams Companies (WMB)

  • [By WilliamBriat]

    On September 17, Magellan Midstream Partners L.P. (NYSE: MMP) and El Paso Pipeline Partners, L.P. (NYSE: EPB) touched three-month lows while oil was still spiking near a two-year high.

  • [By Arjun Sreekumar]

    Additionally, new and reversed pipelines are allowing more crude oil to flow directly from oil and gas hot spots, such as the Permian Basin of West Texas, to Gulf Coast refineries. For instance, Magellan Midstream Partners' (NYSE: MMP  ) started up its reversed Longhorn pipeline in April, which provided another 225,000 barrels per day of incremental capacity from West Texas to Houston-area refineries, while Sunoco Logistics Partners (NYSE: SXL  ) is expected to start up its Permian Express project this month, which will provide additional capacity out of the Permian Basin of about 90,000 barrels per day.

Top 10 Heal Care Stocks To Invest In Right Now: (SUZLON.NS)

Suzlon Energy Limited engages in the design, development, manufacture, and supply of wind turbine generators in the Americas, Asia, Australia, and Europe. The company?s product portfolio includes drive systems, annular generators, and grid connection systems, as well as towers and foundations comprising tower constructions, tubular steel towers, precast concrete towers, and foundation constructions. It also involves in the sale/sub-lease of land; infrastructure development; sale of gear boxes, and foundry and forging components; and power generation operations. In addition, the company offers land sourcing and permitting, wind resource assessment, and erection and commissioning services, as well as operations and maintenance services for projects. Suzlon Energy Limited was founded in 1995 and is based in Pune, India.

Top 10 Heal Care Stocks To Invest In Right Now: OCI Partners LP (OCIP)

OCI Partners LP, incorporated on February 07, 2013, owns and operates an integrated methanol and ammonia production facility that is strategically located on the Texas Gulf Coast near Beaumont. The Company is a methanol producer in the United States with an annual methanol production capacity of approximately 730,000 metric tons and an annual ammonia production capacity of approximately 265,000 metric tons, and it is in the early stages of a debottlenecking project that increases its annual methanol production capacity by 25% to approximately 912,500 metric tons and its annual ammonia production capacity by 15% to approximately 305,000 metric tons.

Both methanol and ammonia are global commodities that are essential building blocks for numerous end-use products. Methanol is a liquid petrochemical that is used in a variety of industrial and energy-related applications. Methanol is used in industrial applications to produce adhesives used in manufacturing wood products, such as plywood, particle board and laminates, resins to treat paper and plastic products, paint and varnish removers, solvents for the textile industry and polyester fibers for clothing and carpeting. Methanol is also used outside of the United States as a direct fuel for automobile engines, as a fuel blended with gasoline and as an octane booster in reformulated gasoline. In the United States, ammonia is primarily used as a feedstock to produce nitrogen fertilizers, such as urea and ammonium sulfate, and is also directly applied to soil as a fertilizer. In addition, ammonia is widely used in industrial applications, particularly in the Texas Gulf Coast market, including in the production of plastics, synthetic fibers, resins and numerous other chemical compounds.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Stocks on the Move: Potbelly Corp. (NASDAQ: PBPB) is up 119.1% at $30.68 after a blistering IPO at $14 a share. OCI Partners LP (NYSE: OCIP) is up 5.6% at $19.01 after an IPO at $18.00 a share. Cherry Hill Mortgage Investment Corp. (NYSE: CHMI) is down 7.6% at $18.48 following its IPO on Friday morning. Discovery Laboratories Inc. (NASDAQ: DSCO) is up 37.1% at $2.70 following approval of updated specifications for a drug to prevent respiratory distress in premature infants. Forest Oil Corp. (NYSE: FST) is down 9.7% at $5.74 following the sale of $1 billion worth of assets in the Texas panhandle.

  • [By Robert Rapier]

    OCI Partners (Nasdaq: OCIP) owns and operates OCI Beaumont, an integrated methanol and ammonia production facility on the Texas Gulf Coast. OCI Beaumont has a methanol production capacity of 730,000 metric tons (MT) per year and an ammonia production capacity of 265,000 MT per year. The facility is in the middle of a debottlenecking project that will increase its annual methanol production capacity by 25 percent and its annual ammonia production capacity by 15 percent.

Top 10 Heal Care Stocks To Invest In Right Now: American Municipal Income Portfolio(XAA)

American Municipal Income Portfolio, Inc is a closed ended fixed income mutual fund launched and managed by FAF Advisors, Inc. It is co-managed by Nuveen Fund Advisors, Inc. and Nuveen Asset Management, LLC. The fund invests in fixed income markets. It seeks to invest in fixed income securities including various municipal securities, which include municipal derivative securities, such as inverse floating rate and inverse interest-only municipal securities. The fund also invests in futures contracts, options on futures contracts, and options, as well as interest rate swaps, caps, and floors. American Municipal Income Portfolio, Inc was formed on June 25, 1993 and is domiciled in United States.

Top 10 Heal Care Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Abbastar Uranium Corp (ABA.V)

Abbastar Resources Corp. engages in the identification, acquisition, and exploration of mineral interests in Canada. The company primarily explores for gold, pyrite, copper sulphide, zinc sulphide, copper, and uranium deposits. It owns an option to acquire a 100% undivided interest in the Talbot Lake project located in the Talbot Lake Area in northern Ontario, Canada; and holds a 35% interest in the Doran Property consisting of 47 contiguous mineral claims covering an area of approximately 2,500 hectares located in the Baie Johan Beetz area of Costebelle Township in Quebec, Canada. The company also has an option to earn a 100% interest in the Kid Copper Property that covers an area of approximately 67.5 hectares in the Liard Mining division, northern British Columbia; the Smith Creek Property, which covers an area of 189 hectares located in Hedley, British Columbia; and the Manson River Property located in the Omineca Mining Division in central British Columbia, Canada. Th e company was formerly known as Abbastar Uranium Corp. and changed its name to Abbastar Resources Corp. in July 2009. Abbastar Resources Corp. was incorporated in 1992 and is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.

Top 10 Heal Care Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Ceragon Networks Ltd.(CRNT)

Ceragon Networks Ltd. offers wireless backhaul solutions that enable cellular operators and other wireless service providers to deliver voice and data services. Its wireless backhaul solutions use microwave technology to transfer large amounts of telecommunication traffic between base stations and the core of the service provider?s network. The company offers Internet protocol (IP) based FibeAir IP-10E/IP-MAX2, a high-capacity Ethernet that is used in wireless backhaul for carriers, private networks, and metro area networks; FibeAir IP-10G/IP-MAX2, a high-capacity multi-service, which is used in wireless backhaul for carriers and private networks; FibeAir 2000/4800, an unlicensed multi-service for private networks and business access; FibeAir/1500R, a high-capacity SDH/SONET for wireless backhaul and metro area networks; and FibeAir 3200T, a high-capacity circuit-switched TDM for wireless backhaul and long distance networks. It also provides advanced pure IP/Ethernet solu tions to wireless broadband service providers, as well as to businesses and public institutions that operate their own private communications networks. In addition, the company offers turnkey project services, including network and radio planning, site survey, solutions development, installation, maintenance, and training services. It sells its products through various channels, including direct sales, original equipment manufacturers, resellers, distributors, and system integrators in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Asia Pacific, and Latin America. The company was formerly known as Giganet Ltd. and changed its name to Ceragon Networks Ltd. in September 2000. Ceragon Networks Ltd. was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Top 10 Heal Care Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Global Payments Inc.(GPN)

Global Payments Inc. provides electronic transaction processing services for merchants, independent sales organizations (ISO), financial institutions, government agencies, and multi-national corporations located in the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region. It offers a comprehensive line of processing solutions for credit and debit cards; business-to-business purchasing cards; gift cards; and electronic check conversion and check guarantee, verification, and recovery, including electronic check services, as well as terminal management. The company also offers proprietary software products to establish revolving check cashing limits for the casinos? customers in the gaming industry. In addition, it sells, installs, and services automated teller machine and point of sale terminals; and provides card issuing services, including card management and card personalization. The company markets its products directly, as well as through ISOs, retail outlets, tra de associations, alliance bank relationships, and financial institutions. Global Payments Inc. has a joint venture with La Caixa Group to provide merchant acquiring services to merchants in Spain. Global Payments Inc. was founded in 2001 and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Global Payments (NYSE: GPN) reported upbeat fiscal first-quarter results and raised its annual forecast. Global Payments named Jeffrey S. Sloan as its new chief executive and announced its plans to buy back up to $100 million of its common stock. Global Payments shares surged 6.80% to $54.15 in the after-hours trading session.

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Global Payments (NYSE: GPN) is expected to post its Q1 earnings at $0.95 per share on revenue of $623.79 million.

    Synergetics USA (NASDAQ: SURG) is projected to post its Q4 earnings at $0.06 per share on revenue of $17.01 million.

Top 10 Heal Care Stocks To Invest 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.