That's the lowest level of weekly unemployment benefit applications since late September. Analysts were expecting jobless claims to fall to 335,000.
The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average fell 6,750 to 338,500. The four-week average has dropped for the third straight week. Both figures are near pre-recession levels.
Applications had spiked in early October because of the partial government shutdown and processing backlogs in California. But jobless claims have now fallen in five of the past six weeks.
The steady declines are the latest sign that companies are firing fewer workers and suggest hiring will continue to pick up.
10 Best Managed Healthcare Stocks For 2015: Omnicom Group Inc.(OMC)
Omnicom Group Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides advertising, marketing, and corporate communications services. It offers services in traditional media advertising, customer relationship management, public relations, and specialty communications groups. The company?s services include advertising, brand consultancy, corporate social responsibility consulting, crisis communications, custom publishing, database management, digital and interactive marketing, direct marketing, directory advertising, entertainment marketing, environmental design, experiential marketing, field marketing, financial/corporate business-to-business advertising, graphic arts, healthcare communications, and instore design. Omnicom Group also offers investor relations, marketing research, media planning and buying, mobile marketing services, multi-cultural marketing, non-profit marketing, organizational communications, package design, product placement, promotional marketing, public affairs, public relations, recruitment communications, reputation consulting, retail marketing, search engine marketing, and sports and event marketing services. It offers its services in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Australia. The company was founded in 1944 and is based in New York, New York.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Sue Chang and Ben Eisen]
OMC: An announcement by European Union regulators cleared the way for advertising powerhouses Omnicom Group Inc. (OMC) �and rival Publicis Groupe SA (PUBGY) (PGPEF) � (FR:PUB) to merge. The combined firm is expected to be the world�� largest advertising agency. Shares of Omnicom Group were up 1.4%.
Best US Companies To Own For 2014: Powershares Aerospace & Defense Portfolio (PPA)
The PowerShares Aerospace & Defense Portfolio (Fund) seeks to replicate, before fees and expenses, the SPADE Defense Index. The SPADE Defense Index is designed to identify a group of companies involved in the development, manufacturing, operations and support of United States defense, homeland security and aerospace operations.
With a portfolio defined by the underlying SPADE Defense Index, constituents represent a diversified offering of large, mid and small cap companies. The constituents also enables the Fund to capture current and future spending in areas, such as armor for vehicles and soldiers, night vision systems, border security and secure communications.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By MONEYMORNING.COM]
That's why I think investors would do well to take a good look at PowerShares Aerospace & Defense (NYSE: PPA). This is a cost-effective ETF made up of 80% defense and aerospace stocks from companies who are proven leaders.
- [By Mark Salzinger]
This industry's two largest ETFs��Shares Aerospace and Defense (ITA) and PowerShares Aerospace and Defense (PPA)��ained more than 50% last year.
Best US Companies To Own For 2014: Avon Products Inc. (AVP)
Avon Products Inc. manufactures and markets beauty and related products worldwide. Its product categories include color cosmetics, fragrances, skin care, and personal care; fashion jewelry, watches, apparel, footwear, and accessories; and gift and decorative products, housewares, entertainment and leisure, and children?s and nutritional products. Avon Products Inc. markets its products through direct selling and independent representatives, as well as through distributorships. The company was founded in 1886 and is based in New York, New York.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By John Divine]
While losers outnumbered gainers by a 2-to-1 margin in the stock market today, some stocks felt the pain more harshly than others. Avon Products (NYSE: AVP ) and the two stocks below are such examples. Shares of the beauty products company lost 2.8% Monday, perhaps because investors realize the significant challenges Avon still faces. The entire business model depends on the size and capability of Avon's sales representatives, and last year their fleet size fell by 15%. With North American sales halved since 2007, sales still falling in the most recent quarter, and a net loss in the fourth quarter, things don't look great right now. Thankfully, Avon is popular with the Hispanic community, which should be a boon to its revenue as U.S. demographics change over time.
Best US Companies To Own For 2014: Gray Fox Petroleum Corp (GFOX)
Gray Fox Petroleum Corp., incorporated on September 22, 2011, is a domestic oil and gas exploration and development company. The Company focuses on the acquisition and exploration of oil and natural gas properties in the Western United States.
The Company has 100% working interest and an 82% net revenue interest in the 32,723 acre West Ranch Prospect. The Company�� West Ranch Prospect is located in the Butte Valley Oil Play Region of north central Nevada in Elko and White Pine Countries, which has produced over 50 million barrels of oil in Nevada from structures and reservoir horizons similar to those under the West Ranch Prospect. The prospect consists of 22 Federal leases in the Butte Valley Oil Play Region.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Peter Graham]
On Friday, small cap mining stocks Maverick Minerals Corp (OTCMKTS: MVRM) and Liberty Coal Energy Corp (OTCMKTS: LBTG) plus oil stock Gray Fox Petroleum Corp (OTCBB: GFOX) sank 30.9%, 16.67% and 11.2%, respectively. However, only one of these stocks appears to have been the subject of some kind of paid promotion in the form of an investment in some shares. So will these three small cap mining or oil stocks keep coming up empty for investors this week? Here is a closer look:
Best US Companies To Own For 2014: Blackrock Enhanced Equity Dividend Trust (BDJ)
BlackRock Enhanced Dividend Achievers Trust (the Trust) is a diversified closed-end management investment company. The Trust�� primary investment objective is to seek current income and current gains, with a secondary objective of long-term capital appreciation. The Trust seeks to achieve these objectives by investing in common stocks that pay above average dividends and have the potential for capital appreciation and by utilizing an option writing strategy to enhance distributions paid to the Trust�� shareholders.
Under normal market conditions, the Trust will invest at least 80% of its total assets in common stocks that are included in the universe of common stocks of issuers, which Mergent has determined are Dividend Achievers and options with exposure to such stocks. From time to time, the Trust may invest up to 20% of its total assets in investments without exposure to the Dividend Achievers universe. As part of its investment strategy, the Trust intends to employ a strategy of writing (selling) covered call and put options on individual common stocks, indices of securities, sectors of securities and baskets of securities.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Robert Hsu]
Here are four to consider:PowerShares S&P 500 BuyWrite ETF (PBP), yielding 4.09%
Madison/Claymore Covered Call & Equity Strategy (MCN), yielding 8.94%
Nuveen Equity Premium Opportunity Fund (JSN), yielding 9.19%
BlackRock Enhanced Dividend Achievers (BDJ), yielding 7.39%
The yield on these funds is very attractive. Even more attractive is the fact that many buy-write funds actually are selling at a discount to their net asset value.
Best US Companies To Own For 2014: Health Management Associates Inc.(HMA)
Health Management Associates, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the operation of general acute care hospitals and other health care facilities in non-urban communities in the United States. Its hospitals provide services, including general surgery, internal medicine, obstetrics, emergency room care, radiology, oncology, diagnostic care, coronary care, and pediatric services. The company also offers outpatient services, such as one-day surgery, laboratory, x-ray, respiratory therapy, cardiology, and physical therapy. In addition, its hospitals provide specialty services in cardiology, neuro-surgery, oncology, radiation therapy, computer-assisted tomography scanning, magnetic resonance imaging, lithotripsy, and full-service obstetrics. As of December 31, 2011, the company operated 66 hospitals with a total of 10,330 licensed beds in non-urban communities in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia. Health Management Associates was founded in 1977 and is based in Naples, Florida.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Brian Pacampara]
What: Shares of Health Management Associates (NYSE: HMA ) plunged 15% today after the hospital operator cut its outlook for 2013.
So what: Health Management shares have soared over the past year on excitment over the U.S. health care overhaul, but downbeat full-year guidance is forcing Mr. Market to sober up a bit. Management blamed the bleak view on a difficult operating for in-patient services, triggering concerns in other hospital stocks like Tenet Healthcare (NYSE: THC ) and Community Health Systems (NYSE: CYH ) -- both down about 4% today -- as well.
- [By Eric Volkman]
Health Management Associates (NYSE: HMA ) is returning to its roots, in a way. True to its name, the company has carved out a new division to provide what it terms "managerial and operational support offerings" to facilities not currently on its client list.
- [By Brad Thomas]
As the only healthcare REIT with a "hospital-focused" platform, MPW is a relatively new REIT that was formed (in 2004) to lease from many of the nation's leading hospital operators, including Prime Healthcare Services, Kindred Healthcare (KND), HealthSouth (HLS), Health Management Associates (HMA), Community Health Systems (CYH), Vibra Healthcare, Ernest Health Inc., and IASIS Healthcare.
Best US Companies To Own For 2014: Danieli & C Officine Meccaniche SpA (DAS)Danieli & C Officine Meccaniche SpA is an Italy-based company primarily engaged in industrial sector. The Company designs, manufactures, sales and makes installation of machines and plants for the metallurgical industry. The Company's portfolio includes mines; pellet production plants; blast furnaces; direct reduction equipment; machinery for the treatment of scrap metal; steelworks for production of liquid steel; continuous casting machinery for blooms, billets and slabs; rolling mills for long products, seamless tubes and flat products; production lines for welded tubes and flat products; plants for secondary processing, such as peeling, rolling and drawing; forging presses and manipulators; extrusion presses for ferrous and non-ferrous metals; plants for longitudinal and transversal cutting; automation and control systems, and cranes and lifting equipment. It is also active in the production and sale of special steel for automotive, machine tools and railway industry, among others. Advisors' Opinion:
- [By GURUFOCUS]
EMC�� products ��both hardware and software - are litearlly a geek�� wonderland alphabet soup, which include Storage Area Network (SAN), Network Attached Storage (NAS), Direct Attached Storage (DAS), Virtual SAN, All-Flash XtremIO, Atmos, Avamar, �Data Domain, Isilon, Pivotal, ViPR Software Defined Storgae, VMAX, VNX, VNXe, VPLEX, VSPEX (none of these are typos).� Information storage makes up 70% of revenues and virtualization 23% of revenues.� Products generate 55% of revenues.� Services generate 45% of revenues.� The Company�� gross profit split is approximaltey 67% data storage and 31% virtualization.
- [By Damian Illia]
Crown Castle has acquired recently the privately held company NextG Networks Inc., largest provider of outdoor Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS), with more than 7,000 DAS plus another 1,500 nodes in the pipeline, and over 4,600 miles fiber-optic cable�� transmission rights. Through this addition, the company has improved greatly its DAS network across 26 United States metropolitan areas. As NextG has only 1.7 tenants per network on an average and thus underutilizing its capacity, Crown Castle will increase customers with no integration and rearrangement costs. Another company�� big move was the acquisition of 9,700 wireless towers from AT&T Inc. (T) Located in the top 100 markets in the U. S. T-Mobile is likely to maintain its infrastructure in these towers for the next 10 years. On top of all, the recent conversion of business into a REIT has represented long term benefits for the company in terms of tax savings and enhancing shareholders��wealth.