Illustrating the generally better trend, the states that have long held the highest and lowest jobless rates in the country each saw improvement last month.
Nevada, which has led the nation in unemployment nearly every month since early 2010, had a rate of 9.3%. That's a tenth of a percentage point below September's and a full percentage point lower than October 2012.
The Silver State is recovering slowly from the housing bust and recession. Construction jobs are still more than 60% off their pre-recession highs and even the much-stronger leisure and hospitality sector remains 5.5% below its 2007 jobs peak.
North Dakota, its fortunes lifted by an energy boom, has enjoyed the nation's lowest unemployment rate since late 2008 and kept that distinction in October. At 2.7%, its jobless rate was a tenth of a point lower than September's and half a point lower than a year earlier.
Top 5 Up And Coming Companies To Invest In 2015: Intuitive Surgical Inc.(ISRG)
Intuitive Surgical, Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets da Vinci surgical systems for various surgical procedures, including urologic, gynecologic, cardiothoracic, general, and head and neck surgeries. Its da Vinci surgical system consists of a surgeon?s console or consoles, a patient-side cart, a 3-D vision system, and proprietary ?wristed? instruments. The company?s da Vinci surgical system translates the surgeon?s natural hand movements on instrument controls at the console into corresponding micro-movements of instruments positioned inside the patient through small puncture incisions, or ports. It also manufactures a range of EndoWrist instruments, which incorporate wrist joints for natural dexterity for various surgical procedures. Its EndoWrist instruments consist of forceps, scissors, electrocautery, scalpels, and other surgical tools. In addition, it sells various vision and accessory products for use in conjunction with the da Vinci Surgical System as surgical procedures are performed. The company?s accessory products include sterile drapes used to ensure a sterile field during surgery; vision products, such as replacement 3-D stereo endoscopes, camera heads, light guides, and other items. It markets its products through sales representatives in the United States, and through sales representatives and distributors in international markets. The company was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Sean Williams]
Sustainability isn't enough for Buffett and Berkshire. Buffett also likes to see the companies he invests in constantly innovating and adapting to changing times. Because Buffett prefers to invest in companies that are going to "move the needle," as my colleague Brian Orelli put it, I've excluded many of the faster-growing but smaller device makers. The result is that only one company truly meets what I'd refer to as the high-growth and Buffett-investable threshold: Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ: ISRG ) .
- [By James Brumley]
How so? In November, Smith & Nephew unveiled a biocomposite material for use in arthroscopic surgeries — the Healicoil suture anchor — and just last week the company announced encouraging results from a third-party study of its negative-pressure wound therapy system used on closed surgical incisions. It sounds minor, but that technology could open a big door for Smith & Nephew as well as SNN stock owners.Medical Devices: Intuitive Surgical (ISRG)
Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) shares took a big hit late last week following its fourth-quarter numbers, but bear in mind that ISRG stock had been through an overheated run-up in the days before that. Even with Friday’s 6% selloff, Intuitive Surgical shares are up 7% year-to-date — a paradigm shift compared to 2013′s 21% slide.
Top 10 Consumer Service Companies To Buy For 2014: VOC Energy Trust(VOC)
VOC Energy Trust owns a term net profits interest of the net proceeds from production of the interests in oil and natural gas properties in the states of Kansas and Texas. It owns an 80% term net profits interest of the net proceeds on the underlying properties. As of December 31, 2009, the underlying properties produced oil from approximately 892 gross (550.2 net) wells located in 193 fields; and had total proved reserves of 13.0 million barrels of oil equivalent. The company was founded in 2010 and is based in Austin, Texas.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Aaron Levitt]
VOC Energy Trust (VOC): Formed by a private energy firm, VOC owns both oil and gas wells in has wells in Kansas and Texas. The royalty trust owns an 80% net royalty on the wells on its properties. That makes a prime play on rising energy prices- no matter which fuel is doing well. VOC’s royalties will expire at the end of 2031 and yield no terminal value. Meaning shares will go to zero. Yet, VOC features a trailing yield of about�14% based on the last four payments.
Top 10 Consumer Service Companies To Buy For 2014: Spdr S&P Pharmaceuticals Etf (XPH)
SPDR S&P Pharmaceuticals Exchange Traded Fund (The Fund) seeks to replicate as closely as possible, before expenses, the performance of an index derived from the pharmaceuticals segment of a United States total market composite index. The Fund uses a passive management strategy designed to track the total return performance of the S&P Pharmaceuticals Select Industry Index (the Pharmaceuticals Index).
The Pharmaceuticals Index represents the pharmaceuticals sub-industry portion of the S&P TMI. The S&P TMI tracks all the United States common stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), American Stock Exchange (AMEX), National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation (NASDAQ) National Market and NASDAQ Small Cap exchanges.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Selena Maranjian]
Exchange-traded funds offer a convenient way to invest in sectors or niches that interest you. If you'd like to add some pharmaceutical stocks to your portfolio, the SPDR S&P Pharmaceuticals ETF (NYSEMKT: XPH ) could save you a lot of trouble. Instead of trying to figure out which companies will perform best, you can use this ETF to invest in lots of them simultaneously.
ETFs often sport lower expense ratios than their mutual fund cousins. The SPDR ETF's expense ratio -- its annual fee -- is a relatively low 0.35%.
This ETF has trounced the world markets over the past three and five years. As with most investments, of course, we can't expect outstanding performances in every quarter or year. Investors with conviction need to wait for their holdings to deliver.
Top 10 Consumer Service Companies To Buy For 2014: SWK Holdings Corp (SWKH)
SWK Holdings Corporation (SWK), incorporated on July 1996, is engaged in identifying and reviewing candidates for acquisition or other investment. The Company was previously engaged in the development, marketing and support of customer communications software products. It sold its products primarily in North America, Europe and Asia, through its direct sales force and third party integrators.
The Company's applications were designed to integrate with other enterprise software and legacy systems, and provide customers with capabilities for personalization, customer profile management, inquiry management, universal business rules, knowledge management and work flow. KANA also offered customer support and professional services, such as consulting and education.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Tess Stynes]
Verint Systems Inc.(VRNT) agreed to buy customer-service software firm Kana Software Inc.(SWKH) from private equity firm Accel-KKR for about $514 million in cash, as the data-analysis company seeks to expand its offerings.
Top 10 Consumer Service Companies To Buy For 2014: Webster Financial Corp (WBS)
Webster Financial Corporation (Webster), incorporated on September 10, 1986, is a bank holding company and financial holding company. Webster�� principal asset as of December 31, 2012, was Webster Bank, National Association (Webster Bank). Webster, through Webster Bank and various subsidiaries, delivers financial services to individuals, families and businesses primarily throughout southern New England and into Westchester County, New York. Webster provides business and consumer banking, mortgage lending, financial planning, trust and investment services through 167 banking offices, 293 automated teller machines (ATMs), telephone banking, mobile banking and its Internet Website www.websterbank.com. Webster also offers equipment financing, commercial real estate lending and asset-based lending across the Northeast. Webster Bank offers health savings accounts on a nationwide basis, through its HSA Bank division and its Internet Website www.hsabank.com. Webster�� operations are managed along four business segments: Commercial Banking, Retail Banking, Consumer Finance and Other. Other includes Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Private Banking (including Webster Financial Advisors (WFA)).
The Commercial Banking segment includes middle market, asset-based lending, commercial real estate, equipment finance, and Government and not-for-profit banking. Webster�� Commercial Banking group provides lending, deposit and cash management services to middle market companies in its franchise territory. Additionally, it serves as a primary referral source to Wealth Management and Retail Banking.
Retail Banking serves consumers and small businesses primarily throughout southern New England and into Westchester County, New York, with a distribution network of 167 banking offices and 293 owned ATMs, and a full range of Internet and mobile banking services. Retail Banking includes Webster�� branch network, Consumer deposits, Busin! ess and Professional Banking (BPB), Webster Investment Services (WIS) and the Customer Care Center.
Consumer Finance offers lending solutions for consumers primarily in southern New England and Westchester County, New York. Products include: residential mortgages, home equity loans and lines of credit, unsecured personal loans as well as credit card options.
Other includes HSA Bank (HSA) and Private Banking. HSA Bank is a bank custodian of health savings accounts. These accounts are provided for high deductible health plans offered by employers or directly to consumers. Private Banking provides local full relationship banking that serves high net worth clients, not-for-profit organizations and business clients for asset management, trust, loan and deposit products and financial planning services.
Subsidiaries of Webster Financial Corporation
Webster�� direct subsidiaries as of December 31, 2012 included Webster Bank, Fleming, Perry & Cox, Inc., and Webster Licensing, LLC. Webster also owns all of the outstanding common stock of Webster Statutory Trust, an unconsolidated financial vehicle that has issued or may in the future issue trust preferred securities. On July 18, 2012, the Company completed the redemption at par of all the outstanding principal amount of Webster Capital Trust IV fixed to floating-rate trust preferred securities. Webster Bank's direct subsidiaries include Webster Mortgage Investment Corporation, Webster Business Credit Corporation (WBCC) and Webster Capital Finance, Inc. (WCF). Webster Bank is the primary source of retail activity within the consolidated Company. Webster Bank is the primary source of retail activity within the consolidated group. Webster Bank provides banking services through 167 banking offices, 293 owned ATMs, telephone banking, mobile banking and its Internet websites. Residential mortgage origination activity is conducted through Webster Bank. Webster Mortgage! Investme! nt Corporation is a passive investment subsidiary whose primary function is to provide servicing on passive investments, such as residential real estate and commercial mortgage real estate loans transferred from Webster Bank. Various commercial lending products are provided through Webster Bank and its subsidiaries to clients within the region from Westchester County, NY to Boston, MA. WBCC provides asset-based lending services. WCF provides equipment financing for end users of equipment. Additionally, Webster Bank has various other subsidiaries that are not significant to the consolidated Company.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Monica Gerson]
Webster Financial (NYSE: WBS) is projected to report its Q3 earnings at $0.49 per share on revenue of $149.73 million.
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is estimated to report its Q3 earnings at $0.97 per share on revenue of $20.97 billion.
- [By Marc Bastow]
Bank holding and financial company Webster Bank (WBS) raised its quarterly dividend 33% to 20 cents per share payable June 16 to shareholders of record June 2.
WBS Dividend Yield: 2.63%
- [By Rich Duprey]
Business and consumer banking concern�Webster Financial� (NYSE: WBS ) �announced yesterday that its board of directors has approved increasing its quarterly dividend by 50%, from�$0.10 per share to�$0.15 per share.�The new, higher payment�will be made on May 20 to stockholders of record as of May 6.
Top 10 Consumer Service Companies To Buy For 2014: Rofin-Sinar Technologies Inc.(RSTI)
Rofin-Sinar Technologies Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the design, development, engineering, manufacturing, and marketing of laser-based products worldwide. The company offers laser macro products to machine tool and automotive markets for cutting and welding of metals. It also provides laser marking products to semiconductor and electronics markets for the marking of integrated circuits, wafers, solar cells, electronic components, and smart cards, as well as to automotive markets for the marking of labels and car components. In addition, the company offers laser micro products for fine welding, fine cutting, micro structuring, and drilling applications in medical devices, semiconductor and electronics, photovoltaic, dental, and jewelry markets; and for perforating and scribing of paper and foils in packaging and paper industries. Further, it provides components to laser industry. The company sells its products in approximately 65 countries to original e quipment manufacturers, systems integrators, and industrial end-users. Rofin-Sinar Technologies Inc. was founded in 1975 and is based in Plymouth, Michigan.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Brian Stoffel]
For decades, the standard technology in the laser industry has been the carbon-based laser. In reality, these lasers are still commonly used, and sold in bulk by the likes of Rofin-Sinar (NASDAQ: RSTI ) and Coherent (NASDAQ: COHR ) . They are used largely for precision cutting of large pieces of metal.
Top 10 Consumer Service Companies To Buy For 2014: Pinnacle Entertainment Inc.(PNK)
Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. owns, develops, and operates casinos, and related hospitality and entertainment facilities in the United States. It operates casinos, such as L'Auberge du Lac in Lake Charles, Louisiana; River City Casino and Lumiere Place in St. Louis, Missouri; Boomtown New Orleans in New Orleans, Louisiana; Belterra Casino Resort in Vevay, Indiana; Boomtown Bossier City in Bossier City, Louisiana; and Boomtown Reno in Reno, Nevada. The company also operates River Downs racetrack in southeast Cincinnati, Ohio. As of May 26, 2011, it operated seven casinos and one racetrack. The company was formerly known as Hollywood Park, Inc. and changed its name to Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. in February 2000. Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. was founded in 1935 and is based in Las Vegas, Nevada.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Travis Hoium]
What: Shares of Ameristar Casinos (NASDAQ: ASCA ) and Pinnacle Entertainment (NYSE: PNK ) fell as much as 11% today after the government brought into question the merger of the two companies.