Sunday, March 30, 2014

The more you make, the higher your taxes

Some well-to-do taxpayers won't be thrilled when they're hit with extra tax hikes — which can add several hundred or several thousand dollars to the bill.

We're talking about higher tax rates for upper-income taxpayers as well as a higher capital gains tax rate and a new investment surtax that was included in the Affordable Care Act.

"Between the increased tax brackets that went into effect in 2013, and the new 3.8% Medicare surtax on net investment income, many upper-income taxpayers are seeing a significant bump in their taxes," said Patricia Bojanic, certified public accountant and tax partner at Gordon Advisors in Troy.

"It's made tax and investment planning that much more important," Bojanic said.

Some higher-income households, she said, could end up seeing a 24% increase or more in the taxes on their investment income.

First, let's look at the new, little-understood 3.8% surtax that took effect in 2013.

Some taxpayers could be subject to an extra tax on net investment income. Investment income includes interest, dividends, royalties, rents, capital gains and passive activity income.

More people could be talking about the 3.8% surtax this season because of the relatively lower-income threshold, said Bernie Kent, chairman of Schechter Investment Advisors in Birmingham.

"This is the one new tax that applies to the most people," said Kent, who has worked more than 40 years with high-net worth individuals and families.

The 3.8% surtax would apply to married couples when modified adjusted gross income exceeds $250,000 if filing jointly and singles when modified adjusted gross income exceeds $200,000. The surtax would apply to married couples filing separately who individually earn more than $125,000.

On top of that, an added Medicare tax of 0.9% on gross income from wages and self-employment would be imposed on taxpayers earning more than $200,000 single or $250,000 for joint filers, too.

Alan Semonian, certified public accountant at Ame! ritax Plus in Berkley, said he has seen some higher-income households this season getting hit by the 3.8% surtax after receiving significant capital gains distributions from mutual funds.

One married couple, both physicians, had to report $50,000 in capital gains distributions from their mutual funds, he said. For that particular couple, the gains helped to trigger about $5,000 in extra taxes relating to the surcharge.

Mutual funds that aren't in tax-sheltered accounts, such as IRAs or 401(k)s, are required to pass profits from capital gains, interest or dividends to individual investors. You'd owe tax on that distribution, even if you did not sell off your shares in the fund.

The 3.8% tax does not apply to money taken out of a qualified retirement plan or IRA. It also does not apply to interest income from municipal bonds. Net investment income would not include wages, jobless benefits, Social Security benefits and alimony either.

Though there are not many ways to reduce this 3.8% tax hit in 2013, a few options can exist for some people who are slightly above the $200,000 or $250,000 thresholds, Kent said.

Kent noted that someone who works for an employer who doesn't provide a 401(k) plan or other type of retirement plan, such as a traditional pension, still could contribute now through April 15 for the 2013 tax year to a deductible IRA, which would reduce taxable income. For 2013, a taxpayer could contribute up to $5,500. Or someone age 50 or older last year, could contribute up to $6,500.

Someone who is self-employed could consider contributions to a Simplified Employee Pension IRA and that could reduce 2013 taxable income.

The way the 3.8% surtax is calculated can be a bit confusing. For example, a single person with $225,000 in modified adjusted gross income could face an extra tax of $950 if wages were $100,000 and net investment income, $125,000. The surtax in that case is applied to $25,000 of net investment income.

For those with even higher incom! es, more ! tax hits are taking place this year.

The highest tax rate jumps back to 39.6% for taxable income more than $400,000 for singles and more than $450,000 for married couples. That's up from 35%.

Investors in the top bracket now must pay 20% on long-term capital gains and dividends, instead of the 15% that most other taxpayers pay.

Higher-income taxpayers also face a potential phase out of itemized deductions and personal exemptions if their adjusted gross income is $250,000 or more if single or $300,000 or more for married couples.

James Jenkins, president of Jenkins accounting firm in Southfield, said self-employed business people are doing more planning. Many of these upper-income people, he said, "aren't accidentally rich" and they are not likely to just stand still as rates climb higher.

The real tax rate is closer to 44%, not 39.6%, for some higher-income taxpayers who have taxable income above the $450,000 threshold, Jenkins said.

"You know what a phase-out is? It's called higher tax rates," Jenkins said.

Contact Susan Tompor on Twitter @tompor

Friday, March 28, 2014

Securities Class-Action Awards Jumped 46% in 2013

Total settlement dollars from securities class actions jumped by 46% in 2013, largely driven by six mega-settlements (those at or above $100 million), which accounted for 84% of total settlement dollars, according to Securities Class Action Settlements — 2013 Review and Analysis, a report issued Thursday by Cornerstone Research.

There were 67 settlements in 2013, up from 57 in 2012 — the first year-over-year increase since 2009, the report found.

“In 2013, total settlement dollars, at $4.8 billion, reached the highest level since 2007, driven by both the increase in the number of settlements overall, as well as the increase in extremely large settlements,” said report co-author Laura Simmons, a senior advisor in Cornerstone Research’s Washington office.

Simmons said the largest settlements in 2013 were associated either with pharmaceutical firms or financial institutions involved with subprime credit crisis allegations.

In contrast, median “estimated damages,” a key measure of investor losses, declined 48% from 2012. Since “estimated damages” are the most important factor in determining settlement amounts, this decline was likely a major factor contributing to the substantially lower median settlement amount of $6.5 million in 2013, the report states.

The report also notes that the landscape for securities class actions and their settlements may "shift dramatically" depending on the outcome of Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, a case pending in the U.S. Supreme Court that could make it much more difficult for shareholders to band together and sue companies for fraud.

“If the ruling in Halliburton severely limits investors’ ability to get large-scale class actions certified, the future of such cases is up in the air,” added Joseph Grundfest, director of the Stanford Law School Securities Class Action Clearinghouse. “This past year’s data also represent the fading echoes of the financial crisis, as some of the largest settlements resolve claims of fraud surrounding transactions in mortgage-backed securities. These lawsuits won’t be around in the coming years to drive aggregate settlement values.”

Best Up And Coming Stocks To Watch For 2014

Other highlights from the report include:

Total settlement dollars in 2013 were 60% above the average for the prior five years.

The proportion of settled cases in 2013 involving accounting allegations dipped to a 10-year low, but the settlement as a percentage of “estimated damages” for these cases was much higher than for cases not involving such allegations.

The median settlement in 2013 for cases with a public pension as a lead plaintiff was $23 million, compared with $3 million for cases without a public pension as a lead plaintiff.

Cases reaching more advanced stages of litigation were associated with median “estimated damages” of more than three and a half times the median for cases settling in an early stage.

Settlements of $50 million or lower were far less likely to involve accompanying SEC actions or public pensions as lead plaintiffs.

In 2013, 32% of settlements less than $10 million were for cases involving Chinese reverse mergers.


Check out Securities Class Actions Hit 14-Year Low on ThinkAdvisor.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Finally, Office for iPad a Fact

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) has confirmed that it wants in on the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPad. Consumers have been able to use Microsoft’s key Office programs on the Mac, but now it is official: Office for iPad is here.

Satya Nadella’s press briefing on Thursday indicated that the new Office for iPad will be available for download right away. This had been rumored in recent days, and it helps to propel shares on the rumor. Now it is a fact.

The move is a so-called freemium, a free download, for Office 365 subscribers. The reality is that this is potentially huge news on the surface. Now we have to see the functionality and actual interoperability of it before we can say what this does for the company’s subscription revenues.

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Tech shares continued their decline on Thursday, and Apple shares were down 0.6% at $536.20 and Microsoft shares down 0.45% at $39.61 in mid-afternoon trading.

We could say more, but sometimes less is more. At least this makes life easier for some of us who run businesses.

Obviously this is not great news for the likes of Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) and Dell. This makes the iPad just that much easier to use for Windows fans. In fact, HP shares were down 1.5% at $31.86 at the same time. That being said, HP shares were actually up from where they were earlier in the day before the Office for iPad was confirmed.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

10 Insurance Stocks to Sell Now

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This week, the ratings of 10 insurance stocks on Portfolio Grader are down. Each of these rates a “D” (“sell”) or “F” overall (“strong sell”).

Cincinnati Financial Corporation’s () rating falls this week to an F (“strong sell”), down from last week’s D (“sell”). Cincinnati Financial markets property casualty insurance through independent insurance agents. In Portfolio Grader’s specific subcategories of Earnings Momentum and Earnings Revisions, CINF also gets F’s. .

The rating of Progressive Corporation () declines this week from a D to an F. Progressive is an insurance holding company that offers primarily personal and commercial automobile insurance, in addition to other property-casualty insurance products. .

Validus Holdings, Ltd.’s () rating falls to a D (“sell”) this week, down from C (“hold”) the week prior. Validus Holdings provides reinsurance and insurance coverage in the property and marine markets. The stock also gets an F in Earnings Surprise. .

Axis Capital Holdings Limited () gets weaker ratings this week as last week’s C drops to a D. Axis Capital Holdings provides various insurance and reinsurance products to worldwide operations. .

Meadowbrook Insurance Group, Inc. () earns an F this week, moving down from last week’s grade of D. Meadowbrook Insurance Group provides alternative risk management programs and services. The stock gets F’s in Earnings Revisions, Cash Flow and Sales Growth. .

This is a rough week for Crawford & Company Class B (). The company’s rating falls to D from the previous week’s C. Crawford & Company is an independent provider of claims management solutions to insurance companies and self-insured entities. .

This week, State Auto Financial Corporation’s () rating worsens to a D from the company’s C rating a week ago. State Auto Financial is a property and casualty insurance company engaged in writing personal and business lines of insurance. The stock also gets an F in Earnings Momentum. .

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OneBeacon Insurance Group, Ltd. Class A () experiences a ratings drop this week, going from last week’s C to a D. OneBeacon Insurance Group offers specialized insurance products and services. The stock also gets an F in Sales Growth. .

Erie Indemnity Company Class A () earns an F this week, falling from last week’s grade of D. Erie Indemnity is involved in the property/casualty insurance business. The stock also rates an F in Earnings Surprise. .

This is a rough week for Aspen Insurance Holdings Limited (). The company’s rating falls to D from the previous week’s C. Aspen Insurance Holdings provides insurance and reinsurance solutions worldwide. .

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.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tiffany's Shares Move Lower After Its Fourth-Quarter Report

Tiffany & Co.  (NYSE: TIF  ) , the global manufacturer and retailer of fine jewelry and other luxury products, has just released its fourth-quarter report to cap off fiscal 2013. The stock moved lower in the trading session that followed, so let's take a thorough look at the results to determine if we should buy on this weakness or if we should avoid investing in Tiffany for now.

Source: Tiffany's Facebook

The quarterly results
Tiffany released its fourth-quarter report before the market opened on March 21 and the results came in slightly below analysts' estimates; here's a breakdown and a year-over-year comparison:

Metric Reported Expected
Earnings Per Share $1.47 $1.52
Revenue $1.30 billion $1.31 billion

Source: Benzinga

Source: Tiffany's Pinterest

Tiffany's earnings per share increased 5% and revenue increased 5.1% year-over-year, as global comparable-store sales grew 6%. Sales were strong in all regions on a constant-exchange-rate basis, with growth of 7% in the Americas, 11% in the Asian Pacific, 8% in Japan, 10% in Europe, and 47% in the 'Other' region, which includes the high-growth United Arab Emirates.

Gross profit rose 7.5% to $785.61 million and the gross margin expanded 140 basis points to 60.5%, which showed that Tiffany did not need to offer large promotions during the holidays to draw in customers. Overall, Tiffany had a strong quarter, regardless of whether it met analysts' expectations or not, and I believe the weakness in its stock will only be temporary. 

Source: Tiffany's Instagram

What will fiscal 2014 hold?
In the report, Tiffany also provided its outlook for fiscal 2014 with a call for the following results:

Earnings per share in the range of $4.05-$4.15 Revenue growth in the high-single-digits Open 13 new stores and close four existing stores Free cash flow of at least $400 million These projections would result in earnings per share growing 8.6%-11.3% from fiscal 2013, below analysts' consensus estimate which called for growth of 14.7%. Analysts had also projected revenue growth of 7.6%, so Tiffany gave guidance in-line with this estimate. If Tiffany can accomplish what it guided for, and I think it can, it would result in another record-setting year for the company and the growth would support a much higher share price. For these reasons, I would buy Tiffany at current levels. 

How was the quarter in comparison with those of competitors?
Michael Kors (NYSE: KORS  ) and Coach (NYSE: COH  ) , two of Tiffany's largest competitors, have also recently reported their quarterly results. Michael Kors released its third-quarter report for fiscal 2014 on Feb. 4 and Coach released its second-quarter report for fiscal 2014 on Jan. 22; let's see how Tiffany stacked up versus these two luxury giants:

Metric Tiffany Michael Kors Coach
Earnings Per Share $1.47 $1.11 $1.06
EPS Growth 5% 73.4% (13.8%)
Revenue $1.30 billion $1.01 billion $1.42 billion
Revenue Growth 5.1% 59% (5.3%)

Source: Company Earnings Reports

Source: Michael Kors' Instagram

Michael Kors reported an absolute blowout quarter, driven by a strong 27.8% increase in comparable-store sales. The company saw its gross profit rise 61.6% to $619.5 million and its gross margin expanded 100 basis points to 61.2%.

Coach, on the other hand, reported a dismal quarter and it was held back by a 13.6% decrease in North American comparable-store sales. Its gross profit fell 9.4% to $982.7 million and its gross margin took a big hit, declining 300 basis points to 69.2%. It is clear that the promotional retail environment of the holiday season proved no match for Michael Kors and Tiffany, but Coach had a very difficult time.

In summary, Tiffany and Michael Kors represent good investment opportunities today, but avoid Coach until it can get back to showing year-over-year growth. 

The Foolish bottom line
Tiffany's quarterly results and earnings expectations for fiscal 2014 may have missed expectations, but I believe the weakness in its stock presents a buying opportunity. The company appears well-positioned to continue on its path of growth and this would support a rise in its share price. Foolish investors should strongly consider initiating positions on any further weakness and holding on to them for several years.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Rieder: Too much coverage of plane mystery?

So how much is too much?

It's a question that always comes to the fore when there is saturation coverage of a news event.

And it's hard to find many more saturated than the wall-to-wall extravaganza over the mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

MORE: What's next in Malaysia Flight 370 investigation?

To many media critics, the obsessive focus on a single story, particularly as practiced on cable, is a cause for alarm, if not a threat to the republic.

Rem Rieder is a media columnist for USA TODAY.(Photo: USA TODAY)

And in many cases, particularly in the too-frequent instances when that obsessive focus is devoted to something that's merely a middling tabloid saga, the critics are on to something.

But in the case of the missing airliner, I'd cut the media some slack. This is something out of the ordinary. An airplane with 239 passengers on board simply vanishes. In an era of instant gratification, when we are used to knowing everything right away, we are suddenly confronted with not knowing.

Sixteen days. No trace.

It's the kind of story that Ben Bradlee, the great Washington Post editor, would say with his trademark growl had "nothing but readers." Not to mention viewers and unique visitors.

Top 10 Undervalued Companies To Watch For 2014

Monday's announcement by Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak that Flight 370 had gone down in a remote area of the Indian Ocean brings no real closure. It's based on satellite data, not physical evidence.

But the episode also showcases the dark side of going all-in. Particularly in the case of CNN.

CNN, the pioneer, round-the-clock cable news network, has a problem. In a very! polarized country, it finds itself with Fox to its right, MSNBC to its left and no clear-cut identity.

It's the mission of Jeff Zucker, the former NBC Universal president brought in to resurrect the ratings-challenged network, to forge one.

It's a challenge without obvious answers. But early on, Zucker saw a way to bring back the network's numbers, if not its stature. CNN went crazy on the cruise ship from hell story. The network was widely lambasted — and its ratings soared. Zucker was as bothered by the naysayers as much as Vladimir Putin is upset by critics of his Crimea adventure.

Co-Pilot Marc Smith looks out as he turns his RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft at low level in bad weather while searching for missing Malaysia Airways Flight MH370 on Monday off the southwest coast of Perth, Australia.(Photo: Pool photo, Getty Images)

So, a new formula: When you find a story you think will sell, pound it, over and over again, to the exception of pretty much everything else. And that's what CNN did with the missing plane.

Talk about a laser focus. BuzzFeed's Dorsey Shaw, watching so you didn't have to, found that during one stretch on March 12, CNN spent 256 out of 271 broadcast minutes on the plane.

When you are doing that day after day, and when many of those days bring with them no real developments, that's a problem. How do you fill all of that time?

Here's how: Anchor Don Lemon wondered whether "supernatural" forces had shown their hand. There was talk of black holes and zombie planes. Little sister network HLN brought in a psychic to help out. No theory was too crackpot to be ignored. No non- or minor development could be denied the breaking news label.

A better way to cheapen the brand is hard to imagine.! Yet, tra! gically, ratings rose. You think maybe CNN will try this again?

Back in 1997, on a journalism panel, I described the saga of JonBenét Ramsey, the slain 6-year-old beauty pageant queen, as the most "overcovered" story since Reconstruction.

I was quickly upbraided by fellow panelist Don Hewitt, the legendary longtime executive producer of 60 Minutes. It was, he said, the most "overmentioned" story ever. What we had been treated to hardly rose to the level of news "coverage."

What an innocent era that seems today.

Rem Rieder is USA TODAY'S media editor and columnist.

A relative of one of the Chinese passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 collapses in grief after being told of the latest news in Beijing on Monday.(Photo: Ng Han Guan, AP)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

5 Best Dividend Stocks To Invest In Right Now

5 Best Dividend Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Colgate-Palmolive Company(CL)

Colgate-Palmolive Company, together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and markets consumer products worldwide. It offers oral care products, including toothpaste, toothbrushes, and mouth rinses, as well as dental floss and pharmaceutical products for dentists and other oral health professionals; personal care products, such as liquid hand soap, shower gels, bar soaps, deodorants, antiperspirants, shampoos, and conditioners; and home care products comprising laundry and dishwashing detergents, fabric conditioners, household cleaners, bleaches, dishwashing liquids, and oil soaps. The company offers its oral, personal, and home care products under the Colgate Total, Colgate Max Fresh, Colgate 360 Advisors' Opinion:

  • [By Lee Jackson]

    Colgate-Palmolive Co. (NYSE: CL) is a top consumer staples name to make the UBS. Colgate sells its products in more than 200 countries and makes more than 75% of its revenue outside the United States, which provides geographic diversification and growth opportunities in emerging markets for the company. This diversity, matched with a huge list of consumer products, keeps revenues and dividends growing. Investors are paid a 2.3% dividend. The consensus target is $67.14. Colgate closed Tuesday at $64.34.

  • [By TaniaC]

    Colgate-Palmolive Company (CL) is a consumer products company whose products are marketed in over 200 countries and territories throughout the world. It operates in two segments: Oral, Personal and Home Care and Pet Nutrition.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG  ) will release its quarterly report on Friday, and investors have watched the stock hit new all-time record highs in November before falling back in the past two months. Despite the optimism, Procter & Gamble earnings face p! ressure from international giant Unilever (NYSE: UL  ) as well as domestic rivals Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE: CL  ) and Kimberly-Clark (NYSE: KMB  ) . The question facing investors is whether P&G can sustain its longtime competitive advantages against its rivals and bolster its growth.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

HPQ Upgrades Its Yield: 5 Dividend Stocks Increasing Payouts

Google Plus Logo RSS Logo Marc Bastow Popular Posts: GIS Fills the Bowl: 8 Dividend Stocks Increasing PayoutsHPQ Upgrades Its Yield: 5 Dividend Stocks Increasing Payouts Recent Posts: HPQ Upgrades Its Yield: 5 Dividend Stocks Increasing Payouts GIS Fills the Bowl: 8 Dividend Stocks Increasing Payouts Qualcomm Chips In: 7 Dividend Stocks Raising Payouts View All Posts

As spring slowly beings to bloom, the number of companies announcing earnings and dividend moves continues to slow down.

IncreasingDividends HPQ Upgrades Its Yield: 5 Dividend Stocks Increasing PayoutsThe week's biggest name was Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), which continued its remarkable turnaround with the announcement of a double-digit bump in its dividend payout, continuing a string of annual dividend increases that started in 2011.

Here's a look at the new dividend payout for Hewlett-Packard as well as the improvements from other dividend stocks this week.

(Note: All dividend yields are as of March 21)

Atmospheric and specialty gasses supplier Air Products & Chemicals (APD) raised its quarterly dividend 8.5% to 77 cents per share, payable May 12 to shareholders of record April 1. The increase is APD’s 32nd consecutive annual dividend raise.
APD Dividend Yield: 2.50%

The biggest increase among our dividend stocks this week came from gold-focused royalty and stream company Franco-Nevada (FNV), which raised its quarterly dividend 11% to 20 cents per share. The dividend is payable on a as-yet-undetermined date in May.
FNV Dividend Yield: 1.69%

Enterprise computing giant Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) raised its quarterly dividend 10.2% to 16 cents per share. The increase will be effective when the HPQ Board of Directors declares HPQ’s next dividend, which is expected to occur in May.
HPQ Dividend Yield: 1.99%

Commercial real-estate loan originator and real estate investment trust RAIT Financial Trust (RAS) raised its quarterly dividend 6% to 17 cents per share, payable April 30 to shareholders of record as of April 4. At more than an 8% yield, RAS stock has the highest yield on this week’s list of dividend stocks.
RAS Dividend Yield: 8.14%.

Steel producer and metals recycling company Steel Dynamics (STLD) raised its quarterly dividend 5% to 11.50 cents per share, payable April 11 to shareholders of record as of March 31.
STLD Dividend Yield: 2.62%

Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at As of this writing he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. For more dividend stocks increasing payouts, see previous weeks' lists of Companies Increasing Dividends.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ask Matt: Nothing Goofy about Disney park moves

USA TODAY markets reporter Matt Krantz answers a different reader question every weekday. To submit a question, e-mail Matt at

Q: Are Disney's massive theme park investments paying off?

A: Disney had the courage and gumption to invest in its theme park properties during the recession of 2008 and 2009. Other companies were pulling back investment and retrenching. But Disney took the softness in the economy as a chance to upgrade its parks. And now the company is reaping benefits that would make Scrooge McDuck proud.

Disney plowed a record billions into its global network of theme parks. It built a new Fantasyland in Walt Disney World and a Cars Land in the Disney California Adventure park. Just in 2012 alone, Disney invested roughly $3 billion improving, upgrading and enhancing its themeparks.

Having the guts to invest while others were scared has turbocharged Disney's growth now, especially in the theme parks unit. Revenue at the Parks and Resorts unit of Disney rose 6% in the quarter ended Dec. 28, 2013, which outstripped the 4% growth of Disney's largest unit, Media Networks. But where the investment's payoff really shows is in the 16% increase in operating profit at the theme park unit. That profit rise was the result of increased guest spending and higher ticket prices, largely the result of bold investments made in the properties.

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These gains aren't being missed by investors. Shares of Disney have skyrocketed 64% since the start of 2013. Shares trade for 22.5 its trailing earnings, more than 30% above the market. Disney is again showing why it's a company that knows how to invest for the future.

TRACK YOUR STOCKS: Get real-time quotes with our free Portfolio Tracker

Follow Matt Krantz on Twitter: @mattkrantz.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Top 5 Financial Stocks To Watch Right Now

Top 5 Financial Stocks To Watch Right Now: Protective Life Corporation(PL)

Protective Life Corporation and its subsidiaries engage in the production, distribution, and administration of insurance and investment products in the United States. Its Life Marketing segment markets universal life, variable universal life, level premium term insurance, and bank-owned life insurance products primarily through a network of independent insurance agents and brokers, stockbrokers, and independent marketing organizations. The company?s Acquisitions segment focuses on acquiring, converting, and servicing life insurance policies and annuity products sold to individuals, which are acquired from other companies. Its Annuities segment markets variable annuity products that offer the policyholder the opportunity to invest in various investment accounts; and fixed annuity products, such as modified guaranteed annuities, single premium deferred annuities, single premium immediate annuities, and equity indexed annuities primarily through broker-dealers, financial ins titutions, and independent agents and brokers. The company?s Stable Value Products segment offers guaranteed funding agreements to special purpose entities; fixed and floating rate funding agreements directly to the trustees of municipal bond proceeds, institutional investors, bank trust departments, and money market funds; and guaranteed investment contracts to qualified retirement savings plans. Its Asset Protection segment primarily markets extended service contracts, and credit life and disability insurance to protect consumers? investments in automobiles, watercraft, and recreational vehicles; and markets a guaranteed asset protection product primarily through a national network of approximately 3,750 automobile, marine, and recreational vehicle dealers. The company was founded in 1907 and is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama.

Advisors' Opin! ion:
  • [By David Sterman]

    My favorite insurers: AIG (NYSE: AIG) (which I discussed a few months ago), Protective Life (NYSE: PL) and Reinsurance Group of America (NYSE: RGA).

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Australia’s Sudden Jump in Jobs

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After the disappointment of January's initial jobs figures, Australia got a double dose of good news on the employment front. In February, the economy added 47,300 jobs, blowing past the consensus forecast of 15,000. That makes it the single best month of employment gains since early 2012, which was at the height of the resource boom.

Full-time employment jumped by 80,500 jobs, while part-time jobs fell by 33,300 positions.

Almost as good, January's dismal loss of 3,700 jobs was revised to a gain of 18,000 jobs, thanks to a seasonal re-analysis of the earlier numbers.

February's unemployment rate still came in at a 10-year high of 6.0 percent, in line with the consensus, but the labor force participation rate improved by a substantial three-tenths of a percentage point, to 64.8 percent.

Over the trailing three-year period, the Australian economy has added an average of 9,900 jobs per month, while over the trailing year employment has grown by 5,800 jobs per month. In fact, last year was the worst for job creation in more than 20 years. So it's too soon to know whether these stronger-than-expected data are merely a blip or signify a resurgent economy.

Indeed, economists with Westpac caution that a strong jobs number accompanied by a flat unemployment rate usually means that the employment gains can't be taken at face value. For instance, the total hours worked, which is an important indicator of future labor demand, declined 0.9 percent from a month ago. In other words, March employment data may not be nearly as rosy.

Instead, Westpac advises that the employment-to-population ratio is more instructive about the underlying strength of the jobs market. At 60.9 percent, this figure remains slightly more than seven-tenths of a percentage point below the year-ago number. It's also nearly six-tenths of a percentage point below the low experienced amid the Global Financial Crisis.

Westpac forecasts that the unemployment rate will ultimately peak at 6.5 percent by mid-2014.

In the newly published minutes from its February monetary policy meeting, which occurred prior to the release of the latest jobs data, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) observed that the labor market remains weak, with the wage price index growing just 2.6 percent year over year during the fourth quarter, the lowest year-end result since the late 1990s.

The central bank's survey of businesses suggests this trend will persist at least through the first quarter, given the abundance of available labor as the resource sector cuts jobs due to the decline in mining investment.

At the same time, the RBA noted that forward-looking indicators of labor demand appear to have stabilized. As the central bank observed, the labor market tends to lag changes in the underlying economy. And with the country's gross domestic product (GDP) expected to grow by 2.8 percent in 2014, up a substantial four-tenths of a percentage point from last year, it looks like 2013 will mark the trough of this cycle.

Despite the near-term uncertainty, it's important to keep sight of the big picture. Although Australia's GDP is currently growing at a pace below its long-term trend, this year should be the 23rd consecutive year in which the country's economy has grown.

Australian Edge subscribers get to read the full report, which includes our analysis of a real estate investment trust (REIT) that currently yields 5.4 percent and is a prime takeover candidate.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Top 5 Value Stocks To Invest In Right Now

Top 5 Value Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Schlumberger N.V.(SLB)

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

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Jim Jubak]

    But it just doesn't seem to matter for Schlumberger (SLB). Schlumberger is a member of my Jubak's Picks portfolio.

    On January 17, the oil services and technology company reported fourth quarter earnings of $1.35 a share, beating Wall Street estimates by two cents a share. Earnings grew by 29.8% year over year.

  • [By Editor ,]

    ENB operates in the Oil & Gas Equipment & Services sector, among companies like Schlumberger (SLB), and Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (EPD).

  • [By Aaron Levitt]

    With a variety of oil stocks reporting full-year 2013 earnings, unconventional assets are the gifts that keep on giving for the oil service trio of Halliburton (HAL), Baker Hughes (BHI) and Schlumberger (SLB).

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Best Chemical Companies To Buy For 2014

Best Chemical Companies To Buy For 2014: Israel Corporation Ltd (ILCO)

Israel Corporation Ltd is an Israel-based holding company. The Company operates mainly through its subsidiaries: Israel Chemicals Ltd, operating in the areas of fertilizers and special chemicals; Oil Refineries Ltd, engaged in crude oil refining, production of fuel products, raw materials for the petrochemical industry and materials for the plastics industry; ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd, operating in the shipping lines' industry through use of tankers, offering delegation, Customs clearance, overland transport, distribution, warehousing, insurance, container terminals, marine terminal operation services and logistic services; I.C. Power Ltd, engaged in the production and sale of electricity, as well as in activities intended for the construction and operation of power stations, and Other subsidiaries, engaged in advanced technology, vehicles, infrastructures for electric-powered vehicles, and clean energy. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Claudia Maedler]

    The DFM General Index (DFMGI) climbed 4.8 percent to 2,659.93, the highest close since Aug. 26. The measure had plunged as much as 15 percent since reaching a five-year high on Aug. 25 on concern the U.S. would launch a military strike against Syria. Emaar Properties PJSC (EMAAR), the stock with the biggest weighting on the index, jumped 4.7 percent, while Deyaar Development (DEYAAR) PJSC surged 9.1 percent. Israel Corp. (ILCO) led gains in Tel Aviv.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Monday, March 17, 2014

Top 10 Biotech Stocks To Buy For 2014

Top 10 Biotech Stocks To Buy For 2014: Ophthotech Corp (OPHT)

Ophthotech Corporation, incorporated on January 05, 2007, is a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of therapeutics to treat diseases of the eye. The Company's advanced product candidate is Fovista, which the Company is developing for use in combination with anti-VEGF drugs that represent the current standard of care for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD). Wet AMD is a serious disease of the central portion of the retina, known as the macula, which is responsible for detailed central vision and color perception. It is characterized by abnormal new blood vessel formation and growth, referred to as neovascularization, which results in blood vessel leakage, retinal distortion and scar formation. If untreated, the progressive retinal damage results in rapid, irreversible and severe vision loss. Wet AMD is the cause of blindness in patients over the age of 55 in the United States and the European Union.

The anti-V EGF market for the treatment of wet AMD consists predominantly of two drugs that are approved for marketing and primarily prescribed for the treatment of wet AMD, Lucentis and Eylea, and off-label use of the cancer therapy Avastin. The use of anti-VEGF drugs has significantly improved visual outcomes for patients with wet AMD who have been treated with these drugs as compared to untreated patients.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By John Udovich]

    Yesterday, small cap biotech Acceleron Pharma Inc (NASDAQ: XLRN) rose 9.76% plus shares are up 183.6% for retail investors since its September IPO, meaning its worth taking a closer look at the stock along with the performance of other biotech IPOs like BIND Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: BIND), Ophthotech Corp (NASDAQ: OPHT) and Foundation Medicine Inc (NASDAQ: FMI) which also debuted at the same time.

  • [By John Udovich]

    The biotech sector has been pretty exciting this year with small cap biotech stocks Prana Biotechnology Limited (NASDAQ: PRAN) and TNI BioTech (OTCMKTS: TNIB) having recently produced noteworthy news for investors while Acceleron Pharma, Inc (NASDAQ: XLRN), Ophthotech (NASDAQ: OPHT) and BIND Therapeutics (NASDAQ: BIND) have just set term sheets for their upcoming IPOs. Just consider all of the following recent news:

  • [By John Udovich]

    If you have not been watching the biotech sector lately, you should start paying attention as the sector along with small cap biotech stocks like Cell Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: CTIC), BIND Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: BIND) and TNI BioTech (OTCMKTS: TNIB) continue to produce a steady stream of good news for investors thanks to positive industry trends. Moreover, Ophthotech Corp (NASDAQ: OPHT), Foundation Medicine Inc (NASDAQ: FMI), Evoke Pharma and Fate Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: FATE) are this week's biotech IPOs that will no doubt be watched closely by Wall Street and industry observers in general. With that in mind, consider the following biotech news or recent articles about the industry and the small cap players in it:

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Top Mid Cap Stocks To Watch For 2014

Top Mid Cap Stocks To Watch For 2014: Fairway Group Holdings Corp (FWM)

Fairway Group Holdings Corp., incorporated on September 29, 2006, operates in the retail food industry, selling fresh, natural and organic products, prepared foods, and specialty and gourmet offerings along with a assortment of conventional groceries. The Company focuses on perishable product categories, which include produce, natural and organic, deli, specialty, cheese, butcher, seafood, bakery, coffee and kosher foods. Its non-perishable product categories consist of conventional groceries, as well as specialty foods. It operates two stores on the West Side of Manhattan, New York. As of September 24, 2012, it operated 11 locations in the Greater New York City metropolitan area, three of which include Fairway Wines & Spirits stores.

The Company's natural and organic product categories include fruits and vegetables, natural and fresh juices, organic OBE beef and organic chicken, fresh organic peanut butter and natural almond butter, fresh roasted coffees an d loose teas, dried fruits and nuts, full assortment of natural and organic groceries, cold cuts and cheeses, breads, supplements (homeopathy, vitamins, herbs), nutritional bars and protein powders, health and beauty aids, dairy, including Fairway-branded organic milk, eggs, including Fairway-branded organic eggs, vegetarian dairy alternatives, frozen foods, e gluten-free selections, baby food and baby care items and cleaning products. It offers a classic New York deli counter. It carries smoked salmon prepared using its own recipe and hand-craft its own fresh mozzarella daily.

The Company's Specialty Imports and Specialty Grocery departments provide shoppers with specialty and gourmet items, such as Lapalisse pure and virgin nut oils; authentic Sicilian foodstuffs; Burgundy's organic La Trinquelinette fruit preserves made in small batches using only un! refined raw cane sugar; ready-to-eat vacuum-packed beets from the Loire Valley; L'Herbier de Milly La Foret v erbena, hibiscus, peppermint and linden blossom infusions; L! a Quiberonnaise Vintage Sardines from Brittany, France; Pruneaux d'Agen (stuffed prunes), and Royal Medjool dates, Quercy's soft dried figs and apricots. It carries approximately 115 varieties of specialty olive oil, including numerous imported unfiltered olive oils, and offer all-day, every day tasting of olive oils in each of its stores.

The Company has meat delivered every day and it is cut and packaged at each of its stores within 24 hours of receipt. It also receives daily deliveries of fresh ice-packed chicken. It offers 50 to 80 different selections of fresh fish and seafood in each store every day. It utilizes a combination of on-site and centralized bakeries to produce our baked goods. Its full-service bakery prepares its signature cookies, tarts, cupcakes, baguettes and bagels. It offers over 100 types of artisanal coffee beans sold by the pound, as well as over a dozen varieties of Fair Trade certified and organic coffee.

The Company offe rs an array of kosher options, including Fairway's branded products, its conventional and specialty groceries, its coffee, as well as its baked goods, dairy, organic, gluten-free, imported and frozen items. It offers a variety of cuts of kosher poultry, red meat and seafood. It carries a range of conventional grocery items. Its grocery aisles are stacked high with the national brand names Tide, Bounty, Kleenex, Charmin, Lysol, Poland Spring, Oreo, Cheerios, Lipton, Hershey's, Coke, Green Giant, and many more. In addition, it offers an array of ethnic groceries that cater to each store's local demographic.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Matt Jarzemsky]

    The group's worst performer this year is New York City-area grocer Fairway Group Holdings Corp.(FWM), off 58% in 2013. Fairway is also among the farthest from its 52-week high, closing Thu! rsday at ! $7.57 after trading as high as $28.87 in July.

  • [By Leslie Patton]

    Whole Foods is facing increased competition from expanding organic and natural-food sellers including Fairway Group Holdings Corp. (FWM) and Sprouts Farmers Market Inc. (SFM) The chain has been adding more of its 365 private-label brand items to attract price-conscious shoppers. Sales at stores open at least a year rose 5.9 percent in the fourth quarter, which ended Sept. 29, the slowest growth in 15 quarters.

  • [By Jason Moser]

    You can be forgiven if you've never heard of Fairway Group Holdings (NASDAQ: FWM  ) . The company is responsible for Fairway Market, a small chain of high-end grocery stores currently in and around the greater New York City metropolitan area.

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Indeed, shoppers can even find natural and organic produce at Wal-Mart, and with Fairway Group Holdings (NASDAQ: FWM  ) having gone public earlier this year, there's no shortage of places shoppers can choose from to buy their all-natural produce. What is Sprouts offering that differentiates it from all of its rivals? Simply counting on a growth-by-expansion policy entails a lot of risk, so the only thing I see is its claim of better product selection and value. 

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Friday, March 14, 2014

Top 10 Mid Cap Stocks For 2014

Top 10 Mid Cap Stocks For 2014: ViroPharma Incorporated(VPHM)

ViroPharma Incorporated, a biotechnology company, develops and commercializes therapeutic products that address serious diseases in the United States and internationally. It focuses on developing products used by physician specialists or in hospital settings. The company markets and sells Cinryze, a C1 esterase inhibitor therapy for the routine prophylaxis against angioedema attacks in adolescent and adult patients with hereditary angioedema, a life-threatening genetic disorder; and Vancocin HCl capsule, an oral capsule formulation for the treatment of C. difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD) and to treat enterocolitis caused by staphylococcus aureus, including methicillin-resistant strains. It also offers Plenadren, an orphan drug for treatment of adrenal insufficiency in adults; Buccolam, a oromucosal solution for treatment of prolonged, acute, and convulsive seizures in infants, toddlers, children, and adolescents; and maribavir, an antiviral compound for the treatment o f CMV disease through a license agreement with GlaxoSmithKline. The company?s primary development programs include Cinryze, a C1 esterase inhibitor for management of hereditary angioedema; and VP 20621, a non-toxigenic strain of C. difficile. Its clinical stage drug candidate comprises VP-20629 for the treatment of Friedreich?s Ataxia. The company sells its products directly to wholesale drug distributors and specialty pharmacies/distributors. ViroPharma Incorporated was founded in 1994 and is headquartered in Exton, Pennsylvania.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By George Budwell]

    Shire plc (NASDAQ: SHPG  ) is in the process of buying orphan drug-specialist ViroPharma (NASDAQ: VPHM  ) for $4.2 billion, strengthening Shire's already robust commercial drug portfolio for rare diseases. The deal is expected to be finalized no later than Jan! . 9, after Shire extended its tender offer to acquire all outstanding ViroPharma shares last week.


    On Monday, Dublin-based pharmaceutical firm Shire (Nasdaq ADR: SHPG) announced that it will buy Pennsylvania-based ViroPharma (Nasdaq: VPHM) for $4.2 billion in cash. The $50 per share purchase price is a 27% premium to Viropharma's Friday close and a 64% premium to the price when sale rumors first emerged this summer.

  • [By David Williamson and Alison Southwick]

    In this segment from Monday's episode, health-care analyst David Williamson discusses Shire (NASDAQ: SHPG  ) , a biopharmaceutical company focusing on rare diseases, that just beat out several rivals with its bid of $4.2 billion to acquire ViroPharma (NASDAQ: VPHM  ) . ViroPharma sells the successful hereditary angioedema drug Cinryze, which is used in prophylactic treatment of the disease. Shire sees this as an immediately complementary fit with its drug Firazyr, which is for patients already suffering from the active disease.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Top Warren Buffett Stocks To Buy Right Now

Top Warren Buffett Stocks To Buy Right Now: Logitech international SA (LOGI)

Logitech International S.A. (Logitech) is a holding company. Logitech develops and markets hardware and software products for digital navigation, music and video entertainment, gaming, social networking, audio and video communication over the Internet, video security and home-entertainment control. Logitech operates in two segments: peripherals and video conferencing. The Company's peripherals segment includes design, manufacturing and marketing of peripherals for personal computers (PCs) and other digital platforms. Its products for the PC include mice, trackballs, keyboards, interactive gaming controllers, multimedia speakers, headsets, webcams, and lapdesks. Logitech's Internet communications products include webcams, headsets, video communications services, and digital video security systems for a home or small business. Its digital music products include speakers, earphones, and custom in-ear monitors. On July 6, 2010, Logitech acquired all of the assets of Paradi al AS. On March 31, 2011, the Company sold its equity interest in certain 3Dconnexion subsidiaries.

3Dconnexion subsidiaries are the providers of the Company's 3D controllers, and its intellectual property rights related to the manufacture and sale of certain 3Dconnexion products. Paradial AS provides firewall and network address translation (NAT) traversal solutions for video communications. For home entertainment systems, Logitech offers the Harmony line of advanced remote controls, Squeezebox wireless music solutions and, in the United States, a line of Logitech products for the Google TV platform. For gaming consoles, the Company offers a range of gaming controllers and microphones, as well as other accessories. Logitech's sells its peripheral products to a network of distributors and resellers and to other equipment manufacturers (OEMs! ). The Company's worldwide retail network includes wholesale distributors, consumer electronics retailers, mass mercha ndisers, specialty electronics stores, computer and telecomm! unications stores, resellers and online merchants.

The Company's video conferencing segment includes design, manufacturing and marketing of LifeSize video conferencing products, infrastructure and services for the enterprise, public sector and other business markets. LifeSize products include high-definition (HD) video communication endpoints, HD video conferencing systems with integrated monitors, video bridges and other infrastructure software and hardware to support large scale video deployments, and services to support these products. Logitech sells its LifeSize products and services to distributors, resellers, OEMs and direct enterprise customers. Logitech conducts its business through subsidiaries in the Americas, including North and South America; Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA), and Asia Pacific, including, among other countries, China, Taiwan, Japan, India and Australia.

Pointing Devices

Logitech offers a range of computer mice, sold through retail and OEM channels. Its mice products include M215, M310 and M305 wireless mice with advanced 2.4 gigahertz wireless connection and cordless universal serial bus (USB) plug-and-forget nano-receiver; Performance Mouse MX and Anywhere Mouse MX with Logitech Darkfield Laser Tracking; Marathon Mouse 750, and Wireless Trackball M570. Logitech's mice products also include a line of gaming mice, including the Wireless Gaming Mouse G700, with 13 precisely placed, programmable controls to perform single actions and complex macros, full-speed gaming-grade wireless, and a quick-connect charging cable. In addition, the Company sells both corded and cordless mice designed specifically for OEM customers.

Keyboards and Desktops

Logitech offers a range of corded and cordless keyboards and desktops (keyboard-and-mo! use combi! nations).. The Company's keyboards and desktops include Wireless Solar Keyboard K750; K800 Illuminated Wireless Keybo ard; The diNovo Edge keyboard; Wireless Desktop MK320, and G! 19 Keyboa! rd for Gaming.


Logitech designs and manufactures a range of multimedia speakers, including Wireless Speaker Z515, The Laptop Z305 speaker, and The S-series line of portable iPod/MP3 docks, including the Rechargeable Speaker S715i and the Portable Speaker S135i. It also designs and manufactures The Z-623 2.1 THX certified speakers, the Z-506 5.1 Speakers, and the Z-906 5.1 Surround Sound speakers. Logitech offers a portfolio of network music systems. The Squeezebox Touch, with its 4.3-inch color touch screen, connects to existing stereo system and speakers and supports sampling rates of up to 24 bits at 96 kilohertz. The Squeezebox Radio is a compact network music player and alarm that allows to connect to home network, and access Internet radio, personal music collection or subscription services.

The Ultimate Ears product line offers a range of in-ear consumer or fit earphones for portable music enthusiasts, as well as custom stag e earphones for musicians and sound engineers. Its line of earphones include Ultimate Ears 100 and 200 value-priced earphones, with silicone ear cushions in a durable sweat-resistant design; Ultimate Ears TripleFi 10 with triple armature speakers, and The Ultimate Ears 600 featuring single armature speakers, the Ultimate Ears 600vi, and the Ultimate Ears 700 featuring dual armature speakers. Its line of Ultimate Ears Custom Stage Earphones include Ultimate Ears In-Ear Reference Monitors co-designed with Capitol Studios for professional studio engineers and producers for use during recording, mixing and mastering original music content, the UE-18 Pro featuring a six-speaker design, the UE-7 Pro for live performance and stage use, and the UE-4 Pro featuring a dual speaker design for artists and audiophiles.

Logitech offers heads! ets and mi! crophones designed for applications, such as PC voice communications, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) applications and onlin e gaming. Its products in this category include the ClearCha! t PC Wire! less headset, the Wireless Headset H760, the USB Headset H530, the G35 Surround Sound Headset for gaming, the Wireless Gaming Headset G930, the USB Desktop Microphone, and the OCS certified Logitech B-530 USB Headset.


Logitech's webcam offerings include Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910, Logitech Webcam Pro 9000, Logitech HD Webcam C510 and Logitech TV Cam for use with Logitech Revue. Logitech's webcams works with video messaging applications, and provides up to HD 720p video calling in Skype, Windows Live Messenger and Logitech Vid HD. The Logitech Alert digital video security system is a complete home or small business video security system, with software that provides motion alerts and a live view from an Internet-connected computer, smartphone, tablet or Google TV system, including Logitech Revue.


Logitech offers a range of game controllers for PC gamers, including joysticks, steering wheels, gamepads, mice a nd keyboards, and headsets, as well as gaming products for console platforms, such as PlayStation2, PlayStation3, PSP (PlayStation Portable), Xbox, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii. The Company's gaming products include Logitech G700 Wireless Gaming Mouse; Logitech G13 advanced gameboard with a built-in LCD screen, 25 programmable keys and onboard memory; Logitech G27 Racing Wheel and Logitech G35 Surround Sound Headset.

Digital Home

The Company's line of remotes includes Harmony One remote, Harmony 900 remote and Harmony 650. In October 2010, Logitech introduced its line of products for Google TV in the United States, including Logitech Revue and the Logitech Keyboard Controller; Logitech TV Cam and Vid HD service, and Logitech Mini Controller.

LifeSize Video Conferencing

LifeSize ! division ! offers HD video communication solutions, including HD video conferencing products, audio conference telephones, hardware infrastructure so lutions, video management software, and services to support ! video and! audio communications and help users connect to any network securely and with ease. The LifeSize product line includes Passport, LifeSize Video Center, Express Series, Team Series, Room Series and LifeSize Bridge.

The Company competes with Microsoft Corporation, Plantronics, Inc., Altec Lansing LLC, Creative Labs, Inc., Bose Corporation, Sony Corporation, Royal Philips Electronics NV, Hewlett-Packard, Intec, Razer USA Ltd., Performance Designed Products, LLC (Pelican Accessories), Mad Catz Interactive, Inc., Universal Remote Control, Inc., Universal Electronics Inc., RCA, Apple Inc., Roku, Inc., Cisco, Radvision Ltd., Vidyo, Inc. and Polycom.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Louis Navellier]

    Logitech International (LOGI) is a Swiss company that designs, manufactures, and markets hardware and software products that enable digital navigation, music and video entertainment, gaming, social networking, audio and video communication over the Internet, video security, and home-entertainment control.

  • [By Brian O'Connell and Brian O'Connell]

    You can't be a video gamer, a PC user, or even a home entertainment watcher without using one of Logitech's (NASDAQ: LOGI) products.

    The company develops and markets hardware and software products that enable or enhance digital navigation, music and video entertainment, gaming, social networking, and audio and video communication over the Internet.

    The company's stock has risen by 16 percent so far this year. In January, Logitech announced "better than expected" sales of $628 million for the third quarter, up 2 percent on a year-over-year basis. Cash flow was way up, and earnings per share of $0.30 was up compared to a loss one year earlier.

    The retail numbers tell the real ! story, wi! th the company's combined retail growth categories up 62 percent, year-over-year. Tablet peripheral salaries were up 95 percent; audio wearables and wireless sales were up 79 percent; and video gaming sales rose by 25 percent in the same time period.

    Thos e are numbers that are manna from heaven for a company that really needed them, after a 30-month period of mediocre performance from 2010-to-mid-2013 that saw LOGU's share price fall stagnate in the $8-$10-per-share range.

    "We're pleased by our solid Q3 performance, with both sales and profit growth," notes Bracken P. Darrell, Logitech's chief executive officer. "We're encouraged by the robust sales in our growth categories, as well as the success of our ongoing initiatives to improve profitability.”

    "We still have more work ahead, but our turnaround is on track as we continue to build a faster and more profitable Logitech," he adds.

    Going forward, Logitech has upped its yearly outlook, calling for sales of $2.1 billion, up from $2 billion in its last outlook. Non-GAAP operating income should rise to $125 million, up from $100 million previously.

    Why the continued optimism over Logitech, after two-and-half years of tepid pe rformance?


  • [By Jake L'Ecuyer]

    Equities Trading UP
    Logitech International SA (NASDAQ: LOGI) shot up 16.94 percent to $15.46 after the company reported strong FQ3 results and lifted its full-rear guidance.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Top Up And Coming Stocks To Buy For 2014

Top Up And Coming Stocks To Buy For 2014: Texas Capital Bancshares Inc.(TCBI)

Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. operates as the holding company for Texas Capital Bank, National Association that provides various banking products and services for commercial and high net worth customers in Texas. It primarily engages in generating deposits and originating loans. The company?s deposit products include consumer checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, and certificates of deposit, as well as commercial checking accounts, lockbox accounts, cash concentration accounts, and other treasury management products. Its lending products portfolio comprises commercial loans and leases; real estate loans, including loans secured by properties, and temporary financing for commercial and residential property; construction loans consisting of single-family residential properties and commercial projects; loans held for sale; and letters of credit. The company also provides trust and wealth management services, including investment management, personal tr ust and estate services, custodial services, retirement accounts, and related services, as well as offers retirement products, including individual retirement accounts and administrative services for retirement vehicles, such as pension and profit sharing plans. Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. has banking offices in Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, and the Cayman Islands. As of December 31, 2010, it conducted business at nine full service banking locations and one operations center. The company was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Dallas, Texas.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Charley Blaine]

    Also in the list: Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), up 13.31 percent; Citigroup (NYSE: C), up 8.8 percent; U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), up 5.33 percent; and Texas Capital Bancshares (NASDAQ: TCBI) up 8.18 percent.

  • s! ource from Top Stocks Blog:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Best Undervalued Stocks For 2015

Best Undervalued Stocks For 2015: Caterpillar Inc.(CAT)

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

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    With little in the way of local news to move the market today, US stocks are taking their cues from overseas — and they don’t like what they see, leaving Boeing (BA), Nike (NKE), Caterpillar (CAT), United States Steel (X) and Peabody Energy (BTU) in the red.

  • [By Patricio Kehoe]

    The concept of diversity, when talking about a company's activities, is a sword with two edges. When performance hits the fan, diversity can turn into an advantage as only one segment can be affected. However, diversification can curtail winnings during a moment of bonanza. In other words, a company with five segments will see a relative smaller impact in overall performance than a company with activities in a single segment, when that segment experiences an abnormal growth. Hence, with a recovering construction market in the US and declining prices for mined commodities, a comparison between Caterpillar (CAT) and Terex (TER) is all the more relevant.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Today's big gainer among the Dow stocks was Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT). Competitor Joy Global Inc. (NYSE: JOY) reported rotten results this morning, largely due to anemic sales to coal miners. Caterpillar doesn't do a lot of business with coal companies, so that's a plus the firm. Cat's shares traded up 1.4% at $97.71 in a 52-week range of $84.79 to $98.24 just ahead of the closing bell. Volume is on track to be about 25% below the daily average of around 6 million shares traded.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Stocks failed to follow through on yesterday’s gains as lukewarm economic data kept the market running in place. Goldman Sachs (GS), Boeing (BA), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Caterpillar (CAT) and United Health (UNH) fell.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:http://www.topstocksb!! est-undervalued-stocks-for-2015-2.html

Hot Retail Companies To Own In Right Now

With shares of J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) trading around $6, is JCP an OUTPERFORM, WAIT AND SEE, or STAY AWAY? Let�� analyze the stock with the relevant sections of our CHEAT SHEET investing framework:

T = Trends for a Stock’s Movement

J.C. Penney is a retailer operating more than 1,000 department stores in just about every state in the United States and Puerto Rico. Its business consists of selling merchandise and services to consumers through its department stores and website. It sells family apparel and footwear, accessories, fine and fashion jewelry, beauty products through Sephora, and home furnishings. The company has not done too well in recent years, but it is doing what it can to be a top provider of apparel and related products.

J.C. Penney�� decision to close 33 underperforming stores and to trim 2,000 positions won�� have much significant long-term impact on the retailer�� business model, one analyst says.�Rick Snyder, senior retail analyst at Maxim Group, says the announcement — which J.C. Penney says will result in $65 million in annual savings — only changes his forecasting models slightly. Mr. Snyder has a hold rating on J.C. Penney and doesn�� have a price target on the stock.�Ultimately, he described the announcement as ��uch ado about very little.��/p>

Hot Retail Companies To Own In Right Now: Burberry Group PLC (BURBY)

Burberry Group plc (Burberry) is a holding company. The Company designs and sources luxury apparel and accessories, selling through a diversified network of retail (including digital), wholesale and licensing channels worldwide. The Company�� Retail/wholesale channel is engaged in the sale of luxury goods through Burberry mainline stores, concessions, outlets and digital commerce, as well as Burberry franchisees, prestige department stores globally and multi-brand specialty accounts. The Company�� retail channel includes approximately 206 mainline stores, 214 concessions within department stores, digital commerce and 49 outlets. The Company�� wholesale channel includes sales to department stores, multi-brand specialty accounts, Travel Retail and franchisees who operates approximately 65 Burberry stores. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Reuters]

    Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBurberry Group CEO Angela Ahrendts. LONDON -- Christopher Bailey, the designer credited with restoring the cachet to fashion brand Burberry, is to become chief executive next year when long-standing boss Angela Ahrendts will move to Apple. The 157-year-old British fashion house, famous for its camel, red and black check pattern, said Tuesday that Ahrendts would step down by mid-2014 after which Bailey would combine his role as chief creative officer with chief executive. News the 42-year-old Yorkshireman would hold both positions sparked concern among some analysts that he might be taking on too much, and sent shares in the group down 6 percent in early trading, valuing the business at 6.6 billion pounds. "There will undoubtedly be relief that Mr. Bailey, the driving force behind the brand for the last 12 years, is staying," Morgan Stanley (MS) said in a note to clients. "But we anticipate some investor concern about combining the chief creative officer and CEO roles, which are both time consuming and require very different skill sets." Ahrendts, who has been Burberry (BURBY) boss for eight years, during which time its share price has soared about 250 percent, will take up a newly created position at Apple as a senior vice president with oversight of retail and online stores. She will report directly to CEO Tim Cook. Ahrendts will be looking to do better than the last chief executive of a British company who left London to join Apple (AAPL) -- John Browett who quit Dixons to lead the iPad and iPhone maker's global retail expansion in 2012. He left six months later. Bailey joined Burberry in 2001 and has held the major creative role for six years, helping to rebuild the group after it became a victim of its own success in the 1990s when its trademark pattern was embraced by the mass market, losing its appeal to its core wealthy clientele. Under Ahrendts and Bailey, the group has refocused on the luxury market, inc

Hot Retail Companies To Own In Right Now: Ulta Salon Cosmetics and Fragrance Inc (ULTA)

Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. (Ulta), incorporated on January 9, 1990, is a beauty retailer, which provides one-stop shopping for prestige, mass and salon products and salon services in the United States. During the year ended January 28, 2012 (fiscal 2011), the Company opened 61 new stores. It operates full-service salons in all of its stores. Its Ulta store format includes an open and modern salon area with approximately eight to 10 stations. The entire salon area is approximately 950 square feet with a concierge desk, skin treatment room, semi-private shampoo and hair color processing areas. Each salon is a full-service salon offering hair cuts, hair coloring and permanent texture, with salons also providing facials and waxing.

The Company offers products in the categories, such as cosmetics, which includes products for the face, eyes, cheeks, lips and nails; haircare, which includes shampoos, conditioners, styling products, and hair accessories; salon styling tools, which includes hair dryers, curling irons and flat irons; skincare and bath and body, which includes products for the face, hands and body; fragrance for both men and women; private label, consisting of Ulta branded cosmetics, skincare, bath and body products and haircare, and other, including candles, home fragrance products and other miscellaneous health and beauty products. The Company has combined its three operating segments: retail stores, salon services and e-commerce, into one reportable segment.

The Company competes with Macy��, Nordstrom, Sephora, Bath & Body Works, CVS/pharmacy, Walgreens, Target, Wal-Mart, Regis Corp., Sally Beauty and JCPenney salons.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Rick Munarriz]

    Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ: ULTA  ) is a fast-growing chain of 550 stores that sell beauty products and offer salon services. Net sales soared 25% last year, fueled by a healthy expansion activity and an 8.8% spike in comps.

  • [By Rick Munarriz]

    I went out on a limb last week, and now it's time to see how that decision played out.

    I predicted that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) would close higher on the week. I felt that taking the stage for WWDC 2013 would give the consumer-tech giant the ideal opportunity to win back the market's waning interest in its products. The new cylindrical Mac Pro is cool. The iOS update is a welcome upgrade. There's even hope that iTunes Radio will be a game-changer in streaming. However, the stock actually sold off on the news. I was wrong. I predicted that the tech-heavy Nasdaq would outperform the Dow Jones Industrial Average. (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) . This has been a tricky call lately, so how did it play out this time? Well, the market closed lower this week. The Nasdaq moved 1.3% lower on the week, but the Dow managed to close 1.1% lower. I was wrong. My final call was for Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ: ULTA  ) to beat Wall Street's income estimates in its latest quarter. The beauty-salon operator has been posting blowout quarterly results over the past year, and I was banking on seeing the trend continue. Analysts were looking for a profit of $0.62 a share during the quarter, and it came through with net income of $0.65. I was right.

    One out of three? Bummer! I can do better than that.

  • [By Selena Maranjian]

    Among holdings in which Lone Pine Capital increased its stake are Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ: ISRG  ) and Ulta Salon (NASDAQ: ULTA  ) . Intuitive Surgical, specializing in robotic surgical equipment, has had a bumpy year, thanks to bearish comments from a research company and questions about the efficacy of its systems. Some legal worries were eased recently, with a victory in court. While some wonder whether the company's growth prospects are slowing down, others love the company's competitive advantages and dominance in its promising market.

  • [By Rick Munarriz]

    Finally, we have Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ: ULTA  ) looking pretty.�The chain of stores that sell beauty products and perform salon services proved that vanity still sells. Revenue popped 23% higher, fueled by brisk expansion and a healthy 6.7% uptick in comps. Profitability also grew by better than 20%, checking in at $0.65 a share.

Best Dow Dividend Stocks For 2015: AutoCanada Inc (ACQ)

AutoCanada Inc. (AutoCanada) is a multi-location automobile dealership groups. As of December 31, 2011, the Company operated 24 franchised dealerships in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. During the year ended December 31, 2011, its dealerships sold approximately 28,000 vehicles and processed approximately 300,000 service and collision repair orders in its 333 service bays. As of December 31, 2011, it was authorized to sell through its dealerships the vehicle brands, which include Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Fiat, Hyundai, Nissan, Infiniti, Volkswagen, Mitsubishi and Subaru. In addition, it sells a range of used vehicles. In November 2011, the Company acquired assets of two dealerships. In January 2013, the Company purchased the assets of a Volkswagen dealership known as People's Automotive Ltd. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Greg Quinn]

    AutoCanada Inc. (ACQ), the country�� largest publicly traded chain of car dealerships, is using sales of trucks to Alberta oil workers to fund higher dividends and buy out competitors.

Hot Retail Companies To Own In Right Now: Lojas Renner SA (LREN3)

Lojas Renner SA is a Brazil- based company primarily involved in the operation of department stores. The Company divides its business into two segments. The Retail segment is engaged in sale of women's, men's and children's apparels, underwear and shoes, as well as sportswear and other department stores' articles in the domestic market. The Company also sells household articles, bedding and bath items, furniture and decoration articles. The Financial products segment is involved in the intermediation of financial services, including brokerage of personal loans, sales financing, brokerage of insurance and bonds, and credit card processing, among others. The Company operates through a numerous subsidiaries, including Dromegon Participacoes Ltda, Renner Administradora de Cartoes de Credito Ltda, Renner Empreendimentos Ltda and Maxmix Comercial Ltda. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Ney Hayashi]

    Anhanguera Educacional Participacoes SA (AEDU3) tumbled after Brazil�� antitrust regulator signaled it may limit the education company�� merger with competitor Kroton Educacional SA. (KROT3) Lojas Renner SA (LREN3) led retailers higher after a report showed Brazil�� industrial production expanded faster than expected in October, easing concern that growth is faltering.

Hot Retail Companies To Own In Right Now: Groupon Inc (GRPN)

Groupon, Inc. (Groupon) is a local e-commerce marketplace that connects merchants to consumers by offering goods and services at a discount. Each day the Company e-mails its subscribers discounted offers for goods and services that are targeted by location and personal preferences. Consumers also access its deals directly through its Websites and mobile applications. The Company operates in two segments: North America, which represents the United States and Canada; and International, which represents the rest of its global operations. Customers purchase Groupons from the Company and redeem them with its merchants. As of September 30, 2011, the Company featured deals from over 190,000 merchants worldwide across over 190 categories of goods and services. Groupon primarily addresses the worldwide local commerce markets in the leisure, recreation, foodservice and retail sectors. In February 2012, the Company announced the launch of Groupon Thailand. In September 2012, it acquired Savored.

In May 2010, the Company acquired CityDeal Europe GmbH (CityDeal). In August 2010, the Company acquired (Qpod). In November 2010, the Company acquired Ludic Labs, Inc., a company that designs and develops local marketing services. During the year ended December 31, 2010, the Company acquired Mobly, Inc. In February 2011, the Company launched Deal Channels, which aggregates daily deals from the same category.

The Company distributes a featured daily deal by e-mail on behalf of local merchants to subscribers. It offers daily deals from more than 40 national merchants, including Bath & Body Works, The Body Shop, Hyatt Regency, InterContinental Hotels, Lions Gate, Redbox, Shutterfly and Zipcar across subsets of the North American market. Daily deals that do not appear as a featured daily deal appear as Deals Nearby. Each Deal Nearby is summarized in fewer than 20 words next to the featured daily deal. Deals Nearby often extends beyond the subscriber's closest market or buying preferences.

National merchants also have used the Company�� marketplace as an alternative to traditional marketing and brand advertising. On August 19, 2010, the Company e-mailed and posted a Groupon daily deal offering $50 of apparel at Gap for $25 to 9.2 million subscribers across 85 markets in North America. It sold approximately 433,000 Groupons in 24 hours. Of the consumers who purchased Groupons, approximately 200,000 were new subscribers. As of September 30, 2011, it had 142.9 million subscribers to its daily e-mails.

Groupon NOW is a deal initiated by a merchant on demand and offered instantly to subscribers through mobile devices and its Website. Subsequent to the year ended December 31, 2010, the Company launched Groupon NOW in 25 North American markets. Deal Channels aggregate daily deals from the same category and are accessible through its Website and through e-mail alerts that subscribers sign up to receive. It offers Deal Channels in home and garden and event tickets and travel. Merchants can register their deals to be included in a Deal Channel. Subscribers can use Deal Channels to focus on deals that are of interest to them.

Self-Service Deals allows the Company�� merchants to use a self-service platform to create and launch deals at their discretion. The use of the platform is free and allows merchants to establish a permanent e-commerce presence on Groupon that can be visited and followed by subscribers. The Company receives a portion of the purchase price from deals sold through Self-Service Deals based on the extent to which it marketed the deal. In December 2010, it launched Self-Service Deals in selected North American markets.

Groupon Goods enables consumers to purchase vouchers for products directly from its Website. The Company e-mails deals for Groupon Goods weekly to a targeted subscriber base. The Company offers deals for a variety of product categories, including electronics, home and garden and toys. In September 2011, the Compa! ny launch! ed Groupon Goods in select North American and International markets.

Groupon Rewards enables consumers to unlock special Groupon deals from local merchants through repeat visits. Consumers earn reward points at participating merchants by paying with the credit or debit card they have registered with the Company. Merchants set the amount the consumer must spend to unlock a reward deal, and once a consumer is eligible to unlock a deal, it automatically notifies them. The Company distributes its deals directly through several platforms: a daily e-mail, its Websites, its mobile applications and social networks.

In December 2010, the Company partnered with Redbox to offer a daily deal to their user base and it acquired over 200,000 new customers through that offer and in March 2011, it partnered with eBay to offer a daily deal to their user base and it acquired over 290,000 new customers through that offer. The featured daily deal e-mail contains one headline deal with a full-description of the deal and often contains links to More Great Deals Nearby, all of which are available within a subscriber's market.

Visitors are prompted to register as a subscriber when they first visit its Website and thereafter use the Website as a portal for featured daily deals, Deals Nearby, national deals, and where available, Deal Channels and Self-Service Deals. Consumers also access the Company�� deals through its mobile applications, which are available on the iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows mobile operating systems. It launched its first mobile application in March 2010. The Company publishes its daily deals through various social networks and its notifications are adapted to the particular format of each of these social networking platforms.

Groupon competes with Google, Microsoft, Eversave, BuyWithMe and LivingSocial.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Inyoung Hwang]

    Groupon Inc. (GRPN) rose 10 percent to $7.65. Deutsche Bank AG upgraded the stock to buy from hold, citing optimism that increasing use of the company�� mobile application can boost sales.

  • [By Kevin Chen]

    And so far, that's remained true. While Groupon� (NASDAQ: GRPN  ) seemed poised to boost its profits with Chinese growth, Alibaba's own group-buying website, Juhuasuan, may have been one reason Groupon had to close the China door.

Hot Retail Companies To Own In Right Now: Gamestop Corporation (GME)

GameStop Corp. operates as a retailer of video game products and personal computer (PC) entertainment software. It sells new and used video game hardware; video game software; used video game products; and video game accessories, which primarily consist of controllers, memory cards, and other add-ons, as well as strategy guides and trading cards. The company also offers PC entertainment and other software across various genres, including sports, action, strategy, adventure/role playing, and simulation, as well as products that relate to the digital category comprising network point cards, prepaid digital and online timecards, and digitally downloadable software. GameStop Corp. sells its products through stores, as well as through its electronic commerce Web sites, including,,,,,,, and As of July 12, 2011, its retail network and family of brands included 6,573 company-oper ated stores in 17 countries worldwide. The company also publishes Game Informer, a video game magazine in the United States; and operates the online video gaming Web sites and GameStop Corp. was founded in 1994 and is based in Grapevine, Texas.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Andrew Marder]

    By almost any measure, GameStop (NYSE: GME  ) is a difficult nut to crack. The company has been fighting obsolescence ever since digital distribution caught on, and news swirling around next-generation consoles seems to turn against the retailer every other day. On the other hand, GameStop reports having a 47% market share of the new games market for Xbox and PlayStation, and it's built a symbiotic relationship with game and hardware makers.

  • [By Dan Carroll]

    Microsoft had to make a move after watching consumers and analysts rally around Sony's PS4 after E3, particularly after GameStop (NYSE: GME  ) representatives claimed�that PS4 pre-orders were sharply outpacing those of the Xbox One. No digital rights management restriction is worth lost sales, and Microsoft couldn't afford to let Sony get an early lead in the next-generation console battle before either device even launched.

  • [By Stephen Quickel]

    Owning GameStop (GME) is, essentially, a bet that it has the business model, financial strength, and management savvy, to continue the underlying growth that took it from $16 in mid-2012 to a November 2013 peak of $58.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    GameStop (NYSE: GME  ) , short position: 38.1% of float and 37.2% of outstanding shares
    GameStop has seen its stock rise sharply recently, hitting five-year highs as bullish investors look forward to a new wave of video game consoles expected to hit the market in the near future. Yet even though new consoles will drive sales for GameStop in the short run, short-sellers are focused on longer-term challenges to the retailer's business model. With increased digital distribution from gamemakers and other measures that make reselling old unwanted games more difficult, GameStop could lose a big portion of its used-game inventory, which is a major profit center for the company.

Hot Retail Companies To Own In Right Now: Staples Inc.(SPLS)

Staples, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as an office products company. The company offers various office supplies and services, office machines and related products, computers and related products, and office furniture under Staples, Quill, and other proprietary brands. It also provides copy and print services to retail and delivery customers, as well as technology services through its EasyTech business. The company sells and delivers office products and services directly to businesses and consumers through Internet retail, including and, as well as through contract sales force, direct mail catalog business, and retail stores. As of January 28, 2012, it operated 2,295 retail stores in 48 states and the District of Columbia in the United States; and 10 provinces and 2 territories in Canada, as well as in Belgium, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, the United Kingdom, China, Argentina, and Australia. The company also operated 124 distribution and fulfillment centers in 29 states in the United States; 7 provinces in Canada; and in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, China, Argentina, Brazil, and Australia. Staples, Inc. was founded in 1986 and is based in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Charley Blaine]

    Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE: BBY) wasn�� the only stock hit by its admission that deep discounting failed to boost holiday sales. Investors dumped Best Buy shares heavily in response, and they drove down shares of Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS) and Office Depot, Inc. (NYSE: ODP) as well. Neither has shown anything along the lines of Best Buy’s holiday disappointment, but investors are shooting them as well.

Hot Retail Companies To Own In Right Now: Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc (SHOS)

Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. (SHO), incorporated on April 23, 2012, is a retailer primarily focused on selling home appliances, hardware, tools and lawn and garden equipment. As of April 28, 2012, the Company and its dealers and franchisees operated 1,238 stores across all 50 states and Puerto Rico, Guam and Bermuda. The Company also provides its customers with a range of services, including home delivery and installation and product protection agreements. SHO operates in two segments: the Sears Hometown and Hardware segment and the Sears Outlet segment.

Sears Hometown

Sears Hometown and Hardware segment�� stores are designed to provide its customers with in-store and online access to a range selection of brands of home appliances, tools, lawn and garden equipment, sporting goods, consumer electronics and household goods, depending on the particular store. Its Sears Outlet stores are designed to provide its customers with in-store and online access to purchase new, one-of-a-kind, out-of-carton, discontinued, obsolete, used, reconditioned, overstocked and scratched and dented products, collectively, outlet-value products, including home appliances, lawn and garden equipment, apparel, mattresses, televisions, sporting goods and tools.

As of April 28, 2012, the Sears Hometown and Hardware segment consisted of 944 Sears Hometown Stores, 96 Sears Hardware Stores and 76 Sears Home Appliance Showrooms. The 944 Sears Hometown Stores are primarily independently owned stores, predominantly located in smaller communities and offering appliances, consumer electronics, lawn and garden equipment, and hardware. Hometown Stores carry y Sears brand products, such as Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard, as well as other brands. 96 Sears Hardware Stores are hardware stores that carry Craftsman brand tools and lawn and garden equipment, DieHard brand batteries and other national brands and other home improvement products. 93 of these locations also offer a selection of Kenm! ore and other national brands of home appliances.

Sears Hometown and Hardware business operates through three formats: Sears Hometown Stores (Hometown Stores), Sears Hardware Stores (Hardware Stores), and Sears Home Appliance Showrooms (Home Appliance Showrooms). Hometown Stores offer products and services across a range of merchandise categories, including home appliances, consumer electronics, lawn and garden equipment, sporting goods, tools and household goods. Most of its Hometown Stores carry Sears brand products, such as Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard, as well as other national brands. Its Hardware Stores offer products and services across a range of merchandise categories and sales are primarily driven by tools, lawn and garden equipment, home appliances, and other home improvement products. In addition, these stores offer blade sharpening, key cutting and screen repair, as well as products typically found in local hardware stores, such as fasteners, electrical supplies and plumbing supplies. These stores carry Craftsman brand tools and lawn and garden equipment, DieHard brand batteries and a range of national brands and other home improvement products. Its Home Appliance Showrooms offer home appliances and related services in stores primarily located in strip malls and lifestyle centers of metropolitan areas. Home Appliance Showroom sales are primarily driven by big-ticket cooking, laundry and refrigeration home appliances, as well as, in certain stores, mattresses. These stores carry Kenmore and other national brands of home appliances. As of April 28, 2012, out of 76 Home Appliance Showrooms in 19 states, 44 of these stores are owned and operated by franchisees, 30 stores are owned and operated by the Company and two are owned and operated by independent dealers.

Sears Outlet

As of April 28, 2012, the Sears Outlet segment consisted of 122 Sears Outlet Stores. The Company�� Sears Outlet stores provide in-store and online access to purchase outlet-value ! products ! across a range of merchandise categories, including home appliances, consumer electronics, lawn and garden equipment, apparel, sporting goods, tools, and household goods.

The Company competes with Sears Holdings, The Home Depot, Best Buy, Lowe�� and Tractor Supply, Ace Hardware, True Value, HH Gregg and US Appliances.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Michael Lewis]

    Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores� (NASDAQ: SHOS  ) , the recent spinoff of�Sears Holdings� (NASDAQ: SHLD  ) �and one of my top picks for a retail play,�delivered a softer-than-expected earnings report that has sent the stock down more than 18 points in five days of trading. I believe the short-term discount gives investors a little bit more time to pick up this outstanding operation at a price materially below its intrinsic value. With the recent earnings release in mind, here is what you need to know about Sears Hometown and Outlets.

Hot Retail Companies To Own In Right Now: Gale Pacific Ltd (GAP)

Gale Pacific Limited is an Australia-based company engaged in marketing, sales, manufacture and distribution of screening, shading and home improvement products to global markets.The Company operates in one business segment, being the branded shading, screening and home improvement products. The Company products are sold to consumer and industrial markets including the retail and home furnishing, architectural, construction, and agribusiness markets. The Company manufactures sources and markets advanced durable knitted and woven polymer fabrics and structures made from these fabrics. The Company's retail products are marketed under the Coolaroo brand. The Company's retail product lines include items such as shade fabrics, exterior window furnishings, gazebos, shade sails and a range of pet products. The Company sells its products in Australia, the Unites States, Europe, the Middle East, New Zealand and a number of other export markets. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Dimitra DeFotis]

    Some trends and percentages:

    Department store Thanksgiving online sales grew by 60% vs 2012, with mobile sales growing by 44% year over year. Perhaps a boost for clothing purveyors like Gap (GAP), whose shares are up 1% in morning trading : total online sales of apparel on Thanksgiving grew by about 41% vs. 2012, with mobile sales growing by close to 62.4% year over year. Shares of�Macy’s�(M) are flat this morning, while shares of women’s clothing seller Chico�� Fas�(CHS) are down 0.4%. Mobile represented nearly 26

Hot Retail Companies To Own In Right Now: Big Lots Inc (BIG)

Big Lots, Inc., incorporated in May 2001, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, is a North America's closeout retailer. At January 28, 2012, the Company operated a total of 1,533 stores in two countries: the United States and Canada. The Company operates in two segments: U.S. and Canada. The merchandising categories include Consumables, Furniture, Home, Seasonal, Play n' Wear, and Hardlines & Other. The Consumables category includes the food, health and beauty, plastics, paper, chemical, and pet departments. The Furniture category includes the upholstery, mattresses, ready-to-assemble, and case goods departments. The Home category includes the domestics, stationery, and home decorative departments. The Seasonal category includes the lawn and garden, Christmas, summer, and other holiday departments. The Play n' Wear category includes the electronics, toys, jewelry, infant accessories, and apparel departments. The Hardlines & Other category includes the appliances, tools, paint, and home maintenance departments. On July 18, 2011, the Company acquired Liquidation World Inc. During the fiscal year ended January 28, 2012 (fiscal 2011), the Company opened 92 stores, acquired 89 stores and closed 46 stores.

All of the Company�� stores are located in North America and has an average store size of approximately 29,900 square feet, of which an average of 21,600 square feet is selling square feet. The 54 owned stores are located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico, Ohio and Texas. At January 28, 2012, the Company owned or leased approximately 9.4 million square feet of distribution center and warehouse space. The Company leases and operates two regional distribution centers in Canada located in British Columbia and Ontario. Of its 1,533 stores, 33% operate in four states California, Texas, Ohio, and Florida, and net sales from stores in these states represented 36% of its fiscal 2011 net sales.

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

    Big Lots Inc. (NYSE: BIG)�was raised to Neutral from Underweight at J.P. Morgan.

    Darling International Inc. (NYSE: DAR) was raised to Buy from Hold and the price target was raised to $25 from $22 at Canaccord Genuity.

  • [By Jayson Derrick]

    This morning, Big Lots (NYSE: BIG) reported its fourth quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $1.45, beating the consensus estimate of $1.42. Revenue of $1.64 billion beat the consensus estimate of $1.62 billion. Net income fell to $84.35 million from $120.28 million in the same quarter last year. Big Lots said that it will completely exit the Canadian market in the first quarter and losses in the fourth quarter were lower than expected. The company announced that it will add freezers and coolers to hundreds of stores given the fact that stores already equipped with refrigeration units out-performed other stores in the quarter. Shares surged 22.97 percent, closing at $35.97.

  • [By Jeremy Bowman]

    The employment report and continuing concerns in Ukraine dominated headlines, but there were still some individual stocks making news. Big Lots� (NYSE: BIG  ) shares exploded today, moving up 23% on a strong earnings report. The closeout retailer posted earnings of $1.45 per share, down from a profit of $2.08, but better than estimates at $1.40. Revenue fell 6%, to $1.64 billion, above expectations of $1.41 billion, and same-store sales dropped 3%. Big Lots also said it would complete the closure of its Canadian stores in the current quarter, and projected EPS of $0.40-$0.45, below estimates at $0.50, and full-year per-share profit of $2.25-$2.45, within the range of estimates at $2.44. Same-store sales are projected to be flat to 2%. Big Lots' surge seems to speak to the market's low expectations for retailers this quarter, but Big Lots' flat growth makes it unlikely that investors will see many more days like this.

Hot Retail Companies To Own In Right Now: Target Corporation(TGT)

Target Corporation operates general merchandise stores in the United States. The company offers household essentials, including pharmacy, beauty, personal care, baby care, cleaning, and paper products; hardlines comprising music, movies, books, computer software, sporting goods, and toys, as well as electronics that comprise video game hardware and software; apparel and accessories consisting of apparel for women, men, boys, girls, toddlers, infants, and newborns; and intimate apparel, jewelry, accessories, and shoes. It also provides food and pet supplies, including dry grocery, dairy, frozen food, beverages, candy, snacks, deli, bakery, meat, produce, and pet supplies; and home furnishings and d�or, such as furniture, lighting, kitchenware, small appliances, home d�or, bed and bath, home improvement, and automotive products, as well as seasonal merchandise, which include patio furniture and holiday d�or. The company sells its merchandise products under private-labe l and exclusive licensed brands. In addition, it provides in-store amenities. As of January 28, 2012, Target Corporation operated 1,763 stores in 49 states and the District of Columbia under Target and SuperTarget names. Further, it offers general merchandise through its Website, The company distributes its merchandise through a network of distribution centers, as well as third parties and direct shipping from vendors. Additionally, it offers credit to guests through its branded proprietary credit cards, the Target Visa Credit Card and the Target Credit Card, as well as through its branded proprietary Target Debit Card. Target Corporation was founded in 1902 and is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Jim Powell]

    The current yields for Wal-Mart (WMT) and Target (TGT) are 2.30% and 2.70% respectively. Those returns are respectable, but are nothing to get excited about.

  • [By Alyce Lomax]

    Over the last two years or so, I've noticed that more consumers seem to be catching on that Costco sets itself apart from discounters such as Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) and Target (NYSE: TGT  ) . It's not because of factors like its slightly different customer demographic, its bulk items, or its treasure hunt atmosphere. Those worker-friendly attributes do make for a happy workforce, and consumers feel good about a retailer with well-treated employees.

Hot Retail Companies To Own In Right Now: Burberry Group PLC (BRBY)

Burberry Group plc (Burberry) is a holding company. The Company designs and sources luxury apparel and accessories, selling through a diversified network of retail (including digital), wholesale and licensing channels worldwide. The Company�� Retail/wholesale channel is engaged in the sale of luxury goods through Burberry mainline stores, concessions, outlets and digital commerce, as well as Burberry franchisees, prestige department stores globally and multi-brand specialty accounts. The Company�� retail channel includes approximately 206 mainline stores, 214 concessions within department stores, digital commerce and 49 outlets. The Company�� wholesale channel includes sales to department stores, multi-brand specialty accounts, Travel Retail and franchisees who operates approximately 65 Burberry stores. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Sofia Horta e Costa]

    Commodity producers slid as the release fueled concern about the slowdown in the world�� second-biggest economy. Burberry Group Plc (BRBY) gained 4.8 percent after the company�� spring-summer collection helped increase retail sales in its fiscal first quarter by more than analysts had estimated. Tryg A/S (TRYG) added 3.3 percent after posting better-than-forecast pretax profit as cost cuts offset increased weather-related claims.

  • [By Sarah Jones]

    Burberry Group Plc (BRBY) climbed 1.4 percent to 1,299 pence. Goldman Sachs also added the U.K.�� largest luxury-goods maker to its conviction buy list. The brokerage said that Burberry�� fundamentals remain robust.

Hot Retail Companies To Own In Right Now: Tim Hortons Inc.(THI)

Tim Hortons Inc. develops, franchises, and operates quick service restaurants primarily in Canada and the United States. Its restaurants serve coffee and other hot and cold beverages, baked goods, sandwiches, soups, and other food products. As of April 03, 2011, the company and its restaurant owners operated 3,169 restaurants in Canada and 613 restaurants in the United States under the Tim Hortons name; and had 274 primarily self-serve licensed locations in the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom Tim Hortons Inc. was founded in 1964 and is based in Oakville, Canada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Canadian restaurant chain�Tim Horton's� (NYSE: THI  ) �declared today�its regular quarterly dividend of $0.26 per share, slightly higher than the $0.2534 per share it paid back in February.�

  • [By Chad Fraser]

    Tim Hortons (NYSE: THI) is Canada’s leading coffee chain, with 3,468 outlets in the country, as well as 807 in the U.S. and 29 in the Middle East.

  • [By Nickey Friedman]

    Growth continues to turn from good to better for Tim Hortons' (NYSE: THI  ) competitors Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX  ) , Dunkin' Brands Group (NASDAQ: DNKN  ) , and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (NYSE: KKD  ) . Though Little Timmy has lagged behind, that could change, beginning with the five-year strategic plan the company will outline on Feb. 25.