Saturday, January 5, 2013

Best Stocks To Invest In 2012-2-24-2

WARRENVILLE, Ill.–(CRWENewswire)– Fuel Tech, Inc. (NASDAQ:FTEK), a world leader in advanced engineering solutions for combustion and emissions control systems for utility and industrial applications, today announced receipt of multiple air pollution control orders totaling $10.5 million.

In the U.S., orders were received for three Selective Non-Catalytic Reduction (SNCR) systems. One award, placed by a new utility customer in the Southeast, was for two SNCR systems on large coal-fired units. The second award, placed by a new utility customer in the South Central region, was for an SNCR system on a medium coal-fired unit. Fuel Tech�s SNCR process is a post-combustion NOx reduction method which reduces NOx through the controlled injection of reagent into the post-combustion flue gas path. Equipment deliveries for the three projects are currently scheduled for the second quarter of 2012.

Douglas G. Bailey, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, �The SNCR orders were placed to meet the requirements of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which calls for greater reductions in domestic NOx emissions beginning January 1, 2012. As the CSAPR regulatory landscape continues to evolve, it is our goal to work with our customers to understand their emission control needs and deliver a range of product solutions that serve those needs in a timely and cost-effective manner. Given the current timeline for CSAPR compliance and the start of NOx allowance trading programs, we anticipate additional APC orders over the next several quarters.�

About Fuel Tech

Fuel Tech is a leading technology company engaged in the worldwide development, commercialization and application of state-of-the-art proprietary technologies for air pollution control, process optimization, and advanced engineering services. These technologies enable customers to produce both energy and processed materials in a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable manner.

The Company�s nitrogen oxide (NOx) reduction technologies include advanced combustion modification techniques - such as Low NOx Burners and Over-Fire Air systems - and post-combustion NOx control approaches, including NOxOUT� and HERT� SNCR systems as well as systems that incorporate ASCR� (Advanced Selective Catalytic Reduction), CASCADE�, ULTRA� and NOxOUT-SCR� processes. These technologies have established Fuel Tech as a leader in NOx reduction, with installations on over 680 units worldwide, where coal, fuel oil, natural gas, municipal waste, biomass and other fuels are utilized.

The Company�s FUEL CHEM� technology revolves around the unique application of chemicals to improve the efficiency, reliability, fuel flexibility and environmental status of combustion units by controlling slagging, fouling, corrosion, opacity and operational issues associated with sulfur trioxide, ammonium bisulfate, particulate matter (PM2.5), carbon dioxide and NOx. The Company has experience with this technology, in the form of a customizable FUEL CHEM program, on over 110 combustion units burning a wide variety of fuels including coal, heavy oil, biomass, and municipal waste.

Fuel Tech also provides a range of combustion optimization services, including airflow testing, coal flow testing and boiler tuning, as well as services to help optimize selective catalytic reduction system performance, including catalyst management services and ammonia injection grid tuning. In addition, flow corrective devices and physical and computational modeling services are available to optimize flue gas distribution and mixing in both power plant and industrial applications.

Many of Fuel Tech�s products and services rely heavily on the Company�s exceptional Computational Fluid Dynamics modeling capabilities, which are enhanced by internally developed, high-end visualization software. These capabilities, coupled with the Company�s innovative technologies and multi-disciplined team approach, enable Fuel Tech to provide practical solutions to some of our customers� most challenging problems. For more information, visit Fuel Tech�s web site at

This press release may contain statements of a forward-looking nature regarding future events. These statements are only predictions and actual events may differ materially. Please refer to documents that Fuel Tech files from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a discussion of certain factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements.


Fuel Tech, Inc.
David S. Collins, 630-845-4500
Chief Financial Officer
Tracy H. Krumme, 203-425-9830
Vice President, Investor Relations

Source: Fuel Tech, Inc.


Monday, Merger Mania Continues

It’s another busy Monday for M&A activity.

Sanofi-Aventis (SNY) announced a $18.5Bn CASH offer for Genzyme (GENZ) ($69/share), Intel (INTC) buys Infineon's (IFNNY) wireless unit for $1.4Bn in CASH, and Dell (DELL) and HP (HPQ) are still in a bidding war over 3PAR (PAR) (and HPQ thinks their own shares are so cheap they are buying back $10Bn worth of them). The biggest winner in this weekend’s acquisition game is - ME! I live in northern N.J. and, with the merger of Continental (CAL) and United (UAUA) going through, Continental is forced to diffuse some of their concentration at Newark airport and that ends up giving Southwest (LUV) 18 slots, bringing some much-needed additional competition to Newark, which has been pretty much dominated by Continental for years. LUV is a great buy at $11.13 and a fun way to play is the Jan $10/11 bull call spread at .60, selling the Jan $10 puts for .55, which is net .05 on the $1 spread with a 1,900% upside and your worst-case scenario is you own LUV at net $10.05 - what’s not to LUV?

Speaking of diffused concentration, the Glenn Beck rally was a bit of a disappointment with just 87,000 people showing up (Fox had a permit for 300,000 and keeps using that number as if that’s how many came while Beck himself has been claiming between 300,000 and 650,000 were there and Michele Backmann (R-Minn) claims it was the biggest rally ever held in Washington, with no fewer than 1M people in attendance). This has now backfired on Beck, Palin and the Tea Party as a "show of strength" becomes a show of apathy (to the people who can count, anyway) - it probably would have been smarter to hold the rally next weekend but Fox wanted to time the rally for the start of Jon Stewart’s vacation, although it didn’t stop him from commenting in absentia (where I hear Jon has a lovely bungalow). For a more "fair and balanced" view of the rally, see the very nice coverage from Reason TV.

During an interview on "Fox News Sunday," which was filmed after Saturday’s rally, Beck claimed that Obama "is a guy who understands the world through liberation theology, which is oppressor-and-victim - People aren’t recognizing his version of Christianity," Beck added. Beck’s attacks represent a continuing attempt to characterize Obama as a radical, an approach that has prompted anxiety among some Republicans, who worry that Beck’s rhetoric could backfire. The White House has all but ignored his accusations, but some Democrats have pointed to the Fox News host to portray Republicans as extreme and out of touch. Beck made the remarks in answer to a question about his previous accusation that Obama was a "racist" who has "a deep-seated hatred for white people." He contended that that statement "was not accurate" and that he had "miscast" Obama’s religious beliefs as racism.

Fox (NWS) and the Republicans have been scoring big poll points by portraying Obama as a Muslim (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and the release of the PEW poll on the 18th caused the White House to finally go on the offensive, responding in a statement after the poll’s release, reiterating that Obama "is a committed Christian." Obama, asked on NBC about polls showing confusion over his religion, pointed to "a network of misinformation that in a new media era can get churned out there constantly."

So this is the shape of the political backdrop - one that will loom large for the next couple of months as we roll into the mid-term elections. Even after the November election, few expect a different dynamic. “We’re already in a gridlock situation, and nothing substantive is going to change,” saysBruce Bartlett, who was a Treasury economist in the first Bush administration. “Clearly, a weak economy in 2012 will be very good for whoever the Republican presidential candidate is. It’s hard to see how the Republicans lose by blocking stimulus.”

I discussed the Fed meeting in Wyoming in "Weekend Reading - What’s Next?" so I won’t go into that all again here, but let’s just say it sure wasn’t a rallying cry for the markets as our top economic dogs expect a very slow recovery - at best. Note from the chart below that the 10-year note rate (2.5%) is at the lowest level since the end of WWII so there’s really not much more the Fed will be able to do from a rate standpoint to stimulate the economy. Even during the Great Depression, rates were between 2.5 and 4%. As in WWII, it is in the government’s interest to drive down rates while they are borrowing money, isn’t it?

Speaking of manipulating the markets - ProPublica did a great job digging into the CDO scam that was run by Wall Street Banksters who, faced with increasing difficulty in selling the mortgage-backed securities that had been among their most lucrative products, hit on a solution that preserved their quarterly earnings and huge bonuses: They created fake demand.

As the housing boom began to slow in mid-2006, investors became skittish about the riskier parts of those investments. So the banks created — and ultimately provided most of the money for — new CDOs. Those new CDOs bought the hard-to-sell pieces of the original CDOs. The result was a daisy chain that solved one problem but created another: Each new CDO had its own risky pieces. Banks created yet other CDOs to buy those.

"All these banks for years were spawning trading partners," says a former executive from Financial Guaranty Insurance Company, a major insurer of the CDO market. "You don’t have a trading partner? Create one." Keeping the assembly line going had a wealth of short-term advantages for the banks. Fees rolled in. A typical CDO could net the bank that created it between $5 million and $10 million — about half of which usually ended up as employee bonuses. Indeed, Wall Street awarded record bonuses in 2006, a hefty chunk of which came from the CDO business.

To me, the most amazing thing about this is that it’s still NOT CLEAR whether or not this behavior is illegal. Not only COULD it happen again but it is still a viable strategy for banks to make money (if they can find another bunch of suckers, of course). The full implementation of FinReg is still years away (maybe decades, the way Congress is now gridlocked) and it’s not likely that investors will have their confidence restored any time soon while we still haven’t put the last scandal to bed.

A Grant Thornton survey shows business leaders are increasingly pessimistic about the economy, expecting the recession will continue until 2011 at the earliest, and don’t expect to hire more workers any time soon. Paul Krugman says Bernanke’s message is one of denial as the Chairman claims: "Just around the corner, there’s a rainbow in the sky," while failing to cite any reasons to believe so. The NY Times cites that "Widespread Fear Freezes Housing Market" and there is not a lot of chance that fear will abate without signs of economic stability.

Without housing, we are not likely to get a natural return to private hiring and that puts the job creation ball back in the Government’s court and that brings us back to gridlock, which brings us back to how critical this election is going to be if we are ever going to finally change the course from the disastrous policies that have taken this country so far down the road to ruin. The number of foreclosures is climbing again but HAMP, the government’s foreclosure relief program, in many cases simply stretches out borrowers’ slow bleed of resources and is now benefiting borrowers less than the lenders who created the mortgage mess. I was dumbfounded when we had our meeting with Treasury officials and they defended this program as a success when so clearly it was a classic case of putting lipstick on a pig.

As expected, the BOJ added 10,000,000,000,000 Yen to an exitsting 20,000,000,000,000 Yen lending facility while the Prime Minister promises a stimulus program to be unveiled tomorrow. Unfortunately, $30Tn Yen is "only" about $355Bn and that is just not enough to pop the Yen bubble as our "3am trade" once again makes a mint as the Yen rises from 85.9 to the dollar on Sunday night (pre announcement) to 84.6 this morning - a huge one-day move in a currency! Still, we are getting some dollar strength this morning and that should hold the markets down as we put pressure on commodities and the dollar keeps hugging its own breakout along the 50 dma at 83.

Overall, Asia had a good morning with the Nikkei up 1.76% and the Shanghai matching at 1.61%. The Hang Seng was a bit behind at 0.68% and the Bombay Sensex was flat at 0.19%, floating along the critical 18,000 line at 18,032. Europe is up 0.89% in the UK, up 0.65% in Germany but down 0.47% in France as the CAC is failing our 3,500 mark. The DAX is just below their own critical 6,000 line and the FTSE is 50 points below 5,250 so we need to see a lot more pep out of the EU markets if we are going to be able to get back over our own watch levels.

It’s going to be a low-volume week so we can’t take it seriously. Things should start popping after the holiday weekend, when we should get some real upside action if the world continues not to actually end for another 8 days - is that too much to ask?

Stocks That Just Lowered the Boom

When a company forecasts lower sales or profits, its stock usually takes a hit. It's not always easy to tell whether your company is having a fire sale or burning down. Maybe it is time to get out -- or maybe it's time to buy more!

To help tell the difference, we pair up the dour guidance news with the sentiments of more than 180,000 members of Motley Fool CAPS. If the best stock pickers think the companies still have the power to turn lemons into lemonade, maybe investors should take notice.

Here are two stocks that have recently announced reduced guidance.


CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Previous or Consensus Estimate

Current Guidance


Merck (NYSE: MRK  )




Q1 12

Zhongpin (Nasdaq: HOGS  )




FY 12

Don't blindly sell into their bearish outlook -- you still need to do some research. Use the announcement as a starting point for additional research.

An injection of growth
Having purchased Schering Plough, Merck helped defer the risks of the looming patent cliff that threatens so many other pharmaceuticals, like Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) , where it just last quarter lost patent protection on the world's best-selling drug, Lipitor. Generics already account for more than three-quarters of all prescriptions written today, and by 2015, blockbuster drugs with annual sales of $170 billion will go off patent.

Merck is facing the loss of its $5 billion wonder drug Singulair this August, but over the next two years, it plans to seek approval for eight more medications on top of the five approvals it received last year, including drugs for chronic insomnia, hardening of the arteries, and an improved version of its cervical-cancer vaccine, Gardasil. It even plans to replace Singulair with two more therapies.

But with almost 60% of its revenues coming from outside the U.S., it blamed currency fluctuations for the weak guidance it offered up, which should impact earnings by 1% to 2%. It also suggests it's a transitory situation, and while Europe's finances are a disaster, Merck's business looks like it's on much more solid ground.

While it offers a nice dividend, Fool analyst David Meier thinks the threat of generics that hangs over Merck and its peers like a Sword of Damocles will keep it from leaping too far forward over the next few years. Yet Wall Street seems to disagree, as all 29 analysts following the pharmaceutical believe it will outperform the broad market indexes.

Add the Merck to your watchlist, then tell me in the comments section below or on the Merck CAPS page which camp you fall into.

A big disconnect
It's a different situation for Chinese pork processor Zhongpin, which, despite having a market that exhibits almost insatiable demand for its product -- China is both the largest producer and consumer of pork worldwide -- is only expecting to see "somewhat higher" revenues in 2012 and lower profit margins. Yet it's predicating these results on China's "good outlook" for its economy, although analysts are already saying the country is hitting a hard landing.

In the past, I've arched an eyebrow over its claim that it was able to be so much more profitable than its peers because it used an "industrial cluster approach" to its farm practices, and others have suggested it overstates the number�of hogs it buys, as well as its�distribution�channel. Some Fools have wondered whether, on a more practical level, its interests just aren't�aligned with shareholders'.

Despite enjoying higher hog prices than U.S. counterparts like Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN  ) or Seaboard (AMEX: SEB  ) , Zhongpin says it anticipates prices falling anywhere from 15% to 20% this year. In such a situation, investors can expect Zhongpin won't be going to hog heaven anytime soon.

Let us know what you think on the Zhongpin CAPS page, and add its stock to the Fool's free portfolio tracker to see if pigs can fly.

Looking under rocks
These stocks may have lowered expectations, but The Motley Fool has identified three companies that are�quietly cashing in�on the explosion of smartphones and tablet PCs. You can get instant access to these companies by�clicking here -- it's free! But only for a limited time, so hurry.

2010 Closed-End Fund IPO Analysis

Last year, I published a performance analysis of closed-end fund IPOs that were issued the first seven months of 2009. This is an update of that report for IPOs that were issued in the twelve months from August, 2009 through July 2010. All of these funds are “seasoned” and have traded for at least six months.


Inception NAV

Current NAV

NAV Gain

Inception Mkt Prc

Current Mkr Prc

MKT Gain









Sep. 2009








Nov. 2009








Nov. 2009








Nov. 2009








Jan. 2010








Jan. 2010








Feb. 2010








Feb. 2010








Apr. 2010








May 2010








June 2010








June 2010








July 2010

* NAV values are as of 1/28/2011 except for NTG. The NAV for NTG is as of 1/21/2011. The 1/28/2011 NAV was not yet available at publication time.

Avg NAV gain= +4.9%

Avg Mkt gain = -4.7%


There were 13 IPOs that met the criteria. Just like last year, the market performance for every fund was worse than the NAV performance. This occurs because the NAV premiums from underwriting fees are replaced by discounts below NAV within six months.

Note that some of the new IPOs did have positive absolute performance. For example, DMO gained 10.3% on top of its dividend return. But the NAV value of DMO gained 19.2%, so the closed-end fund “wrapper” underperformed the underlying fund assets.

By an odd coincidence, the market price underperformance of 9.6% this year was exactly the same as last year’s underperforming closed-end fund IPOs. As a general rule, it seems that you lose about 10% when you buy a closed-end fund at the IPO price, compared to buying the underlying assets directly which is comparable to a no-load open-end mutual fund.

A research paper “A Liquidity-Based Theory of Closed-End Funds” tries to develop a rational liquidity-based model to explain why investors are willing to buy a closed-end fund at a premium at the IPO price when they know that it will soon fall to a discount.

They reason that many closed-end funds hold illiquid, hard-to-trade underlying assets. Retail investors would find it very difficult to trade these assets directly, so they are willing to pay a premium to avoid the large illiquidity costs, especially if there are no equivalent no-load funds available for those assets.

But it is hard too see why a rational investor who wanted to buy the fund wouldn’t just wait for six months. In spite of the arguments presented in the research paper, I still believe that the main reason closed-end funds are successfully marketed is because they are sold to less sophisticated investors and earn higher commissions for stock brokers than a normal trade.

In spite of the overwhelming evidence that new issue closed-end funds generally underperform, they are still being successfully marketed. There were eight more closed-end funds issued later in 2010. It appears that “inefficiencies” in the world of closed-end funds are alive and well.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Clearwire CFO Highlights Value Of Spectrum

Clearwire stock may not be getting enough credit for its spectrum leases.

Wells Fargo Analyst Jennifer M. Fritzsche writes, after hearing Clearwire CFO Hope Cochran at an investor conference, that Clearwire (CLWR) doesn’t have much capacity for debt issuance, and could sell leases. Fritzche writes,

“Leased spectrum might not be attractive to companies that don’t like to expense their spectrum and are more concerned about margin, but the benefit of leased spectrum is that it isn’t included in spectrum caps so it might be easier for bigger carriers to acquire it.”

Shares of Clearwire are up 7 cents, or nearly 5%, to $1.51.

Fritzsche also noted:

  • Clearwire LTE spending has begun with roughly $600 million in total expenditures expected over the next year and a half; 1,800 sites are ready to be built. Clearwire anticipates vendor financing will be in place when LTE equipment purchases are made.
  • CFO Cochran “highlighted the value of its spectrum and the likelihood that CLWR will never use all of the 160MHz and the possibility of a sale” of some of its excess spectrum.
  • On the subject of Dish ownership of Clearwire debt, “Clearwire can’t confirm who owns its securities but Cochran can confirm that Dish has not told Clearwire that it is an owner.”
  • 60% of the 196 megahertz of the 2.5 gigahertz band is leased with 30-year terms and the average life of a Clearwire lease is 23 – 24 years and “CLWR views it as owned spectrum.” With more than 1,000 owners, no one owner has too much leverage.

While wholesale customers transition to LTE, they may generate WiMAX network revenue with a longer tail than expected, FierceWireless noted earlier this month. Clearwire has been signing wholesale deals for consumer mobile WiMAX and LTE services.

Fritzsche has an Outperform rating on Clearwire, and a Market Weight on the wireless carrier sector.

Time Warner Cable (TWC) said it is selling its stake in Clearwire, which we blogged about earlier this week.

What to Expect from Accenture

Accenture (NYSE: ACN  ) is expected to report Q1 earnings on Dec. 19. Here's what Wall Street wants to see:

The 10-second takeaway
Comparing the upcoming quarter to the prior-year quarter, average analyst estimates predict Accenture's revenues will grow 3.0% and EPS will increase 8.3%.

The average estimate for revenue is $7.29 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $1.04.

Revenue details
Last quarter, Accenture reported revenue of $6.84 billion. GAAP reported sales were 2.2% higher than the prior-year quarter's $6.69 billion.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

EPS details
Last quarter, non-GAAP EPS came in at $0.88. GAAP EPS of $0.55 for Q4 were 5.2% lower than the prior-year quarter's $0.58 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

Recent performance
For the preceding quarter, gross margin was 32.9%, 20 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 13.8%, 110 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 8.5%, 70 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead

The full year's average estimate for revenue is $29.46 billion. The average EPS estimate is $4.27.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a four-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 1,250 members out of 1,315 rating the stock outperform, and 65 members rating it underperform. Among 374 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 363 give Accenture a green thumbs-up, and 11 give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Accenture is outperform, with an average price target of $65.93.

Can your portfolio provide you with enough income to last through retirement? You'll need more than Accenture. Learn how to maximize your investment income and "Secure Your Future With 9 Rock-Solid Dividend Stocks." Click here for instant access to this free report.

  • Add Accenture to My Watchlist.

Muni bonds may be money makers in 2013


Municipal debt is being considered by more investors because, simply put, these bonds often carry higher yields than their taxable counterparts, writes Deborah Levine. See full story.

Obama calls Hill leaders for Friday cliff talks

President Barack Obama calls congressional leaders to White House in last ditch effort to avert the fiscal cliff See full story.

Make goals � not resolutions � for 2013

Most new year�s resolutions fail because the minute someone takes a single misstep on the path toward their goal, their resolve is shot. See full story.

Fiscal-cliff concerns sink consumers� expectations

Concerns about what would happen to the economy without action on a budget deal likely spiked consumers� expectations for the economy in the short term, sending overall confidence levels lower in December, according to Conference Board data. See full story.

Are we already in a recession?

Many people are warning that if the government goes over the �fiscal cliff� next week, as seems increasingly likely, the U.S. economy could tumble back into recession. See full story.


The fiscal cliff is a misleading metaphor, writes Rex Nutting. The tax and spending laws will change on that day, it�s true, but the impact will be spread out over many, many months. We�re already feeling the pain. See full story.


These not-so-obvious conditions may mean you�re headed for danger See full story.

Credit Suisse, Jon Corzine: Hot Trends

Popular searches on the Internet Monday include Credit Suisse(CS) on news the Swiss bank reportedly will cut another 1,000 jobs on Tuesday, the same day it reports third-quarter earnings.

The job cuts come on top of the 2,000 jobs the company said it would axe in July. The cuts mostly will occur in investment banking in the U.S. and London, as the company reportedly will restructure its investment bank in order to meet new capital rules. Credit Suisse's wealth management division also will be affected by the cuts.

See if (CS) is in our portfolio

The bank is expected to report a fall in third-quarter underlying earnings due to the weak trading environment and foreign tax authority pressure it has been under in its cross-border business. Jon Corzine is trending as the former New Jersey governor and current chief executive of MF Global(MF) raced to find a buyer for the struggling brokerage firm over the weekend. Last week, shares of the firm dropped by nearly 50% on Tuesday after an unexpected second-quarter loss. Its credit rating was also cut to junk status by Moody's. The company reportedly worked over the weekend to sell all or part of its business, reportedly reaching out to major banks including Citigroup(C), Jefferies Group(JEF), JP Morgan Chase(JPM) and Wells Fargo(WFC). Corzine had taken over as chief of MF Global in March 2010, with the plan to convert the firm into a mini Goldman Sachs(GS), of which he also was at the helm. Investors had largely been betting that he would turn the company around. Google(GOOG) Doodle is another popular search. In honor of Halloween, the Google Doodle on the search engine's home page celebrates the holiday, but not with its typical image artwork or animation.

1 2 Next › Last »

Monday's Google Doodle is a time-lapse video of Google employees carving six enormous pumpkins to spell out the letters of their namesake company. The carving, which took place at Google's Mountain View, Calif., campus, goes from day to night in the video, and concludes the reported eight hours of labor with flickering light bulbs inside the pumpkins illuminating the letters in the dark night.

The chatter on Main Street (a.k.a. Google, Yahoo! and other search sites) is always of interest to investors on Wall Street. Thus, each day, TheStreet compiles the stories that are trending on the Web, and highlights the news that could make stocks move..

>To order reprints of this article, click here: Reprints « First ‹ Previous 1 2

Top Stocks For 3/4/2012-2

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., July 20, 2011 (CRWENewswire) — SFN Group, Inc. (NYSE:SFN), a leading strategic workforce solutions company, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Randstad Holding nv (Euronext Amsterdam: RAND.AS) for $14.00 per common share through a cash tender offer, which values the Company’s equity at approximately $770 million. This represents a premium of 53% over SFN Group’s closing share price on July 19, 2011 and a 49% premium over SFN Group’s volume weighted average closing share price over the 30 days ended July 19, 2011.

The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals and the tender of greater than 50% of SFN Group’s outstanding shares, has been unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of SFN Group. The transaction is not subject to a financing contingency and will be financed through borrowings under Randstad’s existing credit lines. The transaction is expected to close late in the third quarter of 2011. Further transaction details are included in Randstad’s transaction related announcement made today and in the documents we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) as they become available.

Randstad, based in The Netherlands, is a leading global provider of HR services.

SFN Group president and CEO, Roy G. Krause, commented, “This transaction creates immediate shareholder value. The executive management and I are confident that the combination of our two companies is a strong strategic fit that will not only deliver expanded service offerings for our clients in North America, but also creates opportunities to service them on a global basis. Both companies have complementary cultures and values which will provide growth opportunities for our staff associates.”

Foros is acting as financial advisor and Jones Day is acting as legal advisor to SFN Group.


Management of SFN Group and Randstad will host an analyst conference call on July 21, 2011 at 8:00 a.m. Eastern time to discuss information contained in the release. The call may be accessed in one of the following ways:

Via the Telephone:

Please dial +1 718 354 1226 (USA); +44(0)208 817 9301 (United Kingdom) or +31 (0) 20 7965 213 (Netherlands).

The access code: 5308602

Via the Internet:

You can listen to the conference call through real time audio webcast. For the conference call and webcast, pre-registration is not necessary. Shortly before the presentation starts, a slide presentation will be available on Randstad’s website:


A replay of the presentation and Q & A session will be available on Randstad’s website by the end of the day.


SFN Group will release financial results for the second quarter ended June 26, 2011, after market close on Wednesday, July 27, 2011.

ABOUT SFN Group, Inc.

SFN Group, Inc. (NYSE:SFN) is a strategic workforce solutions company that provides professional services and general staffing to help businesses more effectively source, deploy and manage people and the work they do. As an industry pioneer, SFN Group has sourced, screened and placed millions of individuals in temporary, temp-to-hire and full-time jobs for more than 65 years.

With approximately 560 locations in the United States and Canada, SFN Group delivers strategic workforce solutions that improve business performance. From outsourcing to technology to professional services to staffing, SFN Group delivers the best combination of people, performance and service to improve the way work gets done. It provides its services to approximately 8,000 customers, from Fortune 500 companies to a wide range of small and mid-size organizations. The company employs more than 170,000 people annually through its network and is one of North America’s largest employers. SFN Group provides its solutions through a family of specialized businesses: Technisource, Tatum, The Mergis Group, Todays Office Professionals, SourceRight Solutions and Spherion Staffing Services. To learn more, visit


This statement is neither an offer to purchase nor the solicitation of an offer to sell any securities. SFN Group will file a solicitation/recommendation statement on Schedule 14D-9 with the SEC within 10 business days following the commencement of the offer to purchase. Investors and security holders of SFN Group are urged to read the solicitation/recommendation statement and any other relevant documents filed with the SEC (when available), because they will contain important information.

Investors and security holders may obtain a free copy of the solicitation/recommendation statement and other documents that SFN Group files with the SEC (when available) through the website maintained by the SEC at and through the website maintained by SFN Group at In addition, the solicitation/recommendation statement and other documents filed by SFN Group with the SEC (when available) may be obtained from SFN Group free of charge by directing a request to SFN Group, Inc., Attn: Corporate Secretary, 2050 Spectrum Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309, (954) 308-7600.


This release contains statements that are forward looking in nature and, accordingly, are subject to risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause future results to differ from current expectations include risks associated with: Competition - our business operates in highly competitive markets with low barriers to entry and we may be unable to compete successfully against existing or new competitors; Economic conditions - our business is cyclical, as a result of a significant downturn in the economy, we could experience lower demand from customers and lower revenues; Government Regulation - government regulation may significantly increase our costs, including payroll-related costs and unemployment taxes; Third-Party Vendor Managers - providing our services through third-party vendor managers may expose us to financial losses; Customers - a loss of customers may result in a material impact on our results of operations; Debt and debt compliance - market conditions and failure to meet certain covenant requirements could impact the amount of availability we may borrow under our revolving lines of credit and the cost of our borrowings; Business strategy - we may not achieve the intended effects of our business strategy; Termination provisions - certain customer contracts contain termination provisions and pricing risks that could decrease revenues, profitability and cash flow; Failure to perform - our failure or inability to perform under customer contracts could result in damage to our reputation and give rise to legal claims; Acquisitions - acquisitions could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operation and cash flows; Business interruptions - business interruptions could have an adverse affect on our operations; Personnel - our business is dependent upon the availability of qualified personnel and we may lose key personnel which could cause our business to suffer; Tax filings - regulatory challenges to our tax filing positions could result in additional taxes; Litigation - we may be exposed to employment-related claims and costs and we are a defendant in a variety of litigation and other actions from time to time; Self-Insurance programs-unexpected changes in claim trend in our self-insured workers’ compensation and benefit plans may negatively impact our financial condition and International operations - we are subject to business risks associated with our operations in Canada, which could make those operations significantly more costly. These and additional factors discussed in this release and in SFN’s filings with the SEC could cause the Company’s actual results to differ materially from any projections contained in this release.

Source: SFN Group, Inc.


An Options Trade Opportunity in Research In Motion

Once a Nasdaq bellwether, Research In Motion (RIMM) has, over the last few years, become one of the most hated stocks in tech. Shares of the Blackberry maker hit a fresh 5-year low Tuesday at just over $24 per share and are down better than 50% on the year.

The company that once dominated the smartphone market has had a difficult time competing as of late. Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone and a whole host of devices running Google’s (GOOG) Android OS have steadily taken market share from RIMM and sales of the company’s Playbook tablet have been disappointing. RIMM has an aging product line and the delay of its Blackberry 7 smartphones likely caused the company to reduce its fiscal year 2012 EPS estimate from $7.50 to between $5.25 and $6.00. Additionally, “the lower-margin Playbook, and R&D associated with new operating systems” (S&P) will likely keep gross margins under pressure until 2014.

Despite all of this, the company is absurdly undervalued at current levels. It trades at just 4 times TTM earnings and only 3 times cash flow. Additionally, the company is debt-free. The stock rose better than 4% yesterday when the company announced the launch of 5 new touchscreen Blackberries. Although the devices are unlikely to change investors’ perception of the company in the short-term, the phones may be enough to stop the bleeding until RIMM can roll-out its QNX based smartphones in early 2012.

In any case, now could be an opportune time to start averaging-in to RIMM shares. At these levels, investors can pick up a quality company at a bargain-basement price. However, because I believe Apple and Google are better names to own long-term, I would simply get long RIMM calls. Specifically, I would buy January 2013 22.50-strike LEAPS which are asking 7.80. This way you give yourself a lot of time for the company to turn things around.

Source: S&P Stock Report: Research In Motion

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Author Lisa McLeod on How Purpose-Driven Employees Increase Performance

In the interview below, Lisa McLeod, author of Selling With Noble Purpose, sits down with Brendan Byrnes to discuss the factors that separate ordinary organizations and employees from fantastic ones. As Lisa mentions, purpose-driven employees can dramatically increase a company's performance. It's no wonder then that Motley Fool superinvestor David Gardner has leveraged this idea of good businesses making good investments for years and led investors to market-crushing returns. I invite you to learn more about how David discovers his winners today; just click here now to read more.

Brendan Byrnes: A lot of the book is about the sales-facing people, but what about the entire organization? Can regular employees, that maybe don�t have much interaction with customers, can they benefit from this too, this sense of purpose? Can that increase performance in the organization as a whole?

Lisa McLeod: Oh, and the data is absolutely clear. It increases performance as a whole. The reason that I focus in on sales leadership and the salespeople is because it�s their responsibility to bring the voice of the customer inside the organization.

It�s one thing to say, "We want to help people invest better," but it�s another thing for salespeople to come into the organization and say, "Let me tell you what that looked like, for my customer."

The company I mentioned, who makes transportation "safer, faster, more reliable," their salespeople are charged with telling stories at meetings about what actually happened to their customers. The onus is on sales leadership to bring the voice of the customer in, but it has a dramatic impact on everyone in the organization.

Vietnam Dong Gains After Trade Gap Narrows; Bonds Little Changed – BusinessWeek

Thanh Nien DailyVietnam Dong Gains After Trade Gap Narrows; Bonds Little Changed
2 (Bloomberg) — Vietnam's dong strengthened, snapping a three-day decline, after the government said the trade deficit narrowed in January. Bonds held stable. The country's trade gap narrowed to 0 million, compared with a revised deficit of 9 …
Vietnam government bonds gain as debt set to mature; dong fallsThanh Nien Daily

all 188 news articles »

{vietnam dong} – Forex News

Top Stocks For 2011-12-3-7

PWRM, Power 3 Medical Products Inc, PWRM.OB

Dr Stock Pick HOT News & Alerts!

“Power3 Medical Products, Inc. at the 12th International Conference

on Alzheimer�s Disease in Vienna on July 14th, 2009″

-Dr. Goldknopf Presented NuroPro� Blood Test with Better than Expected Results-


Friday July 17, 2009

PWRM, Power 3 Medical Products Inc, PWRM.OB

“Power3 Medical Products, Inc. at the 12th International Conference on Alzheimer�s Disease in Vienna on July 14th, 2009″

-Dr. Goldknopf Presented NuroPro� Blood Test with Better than Expected Results-

The Woodlands, Texas - (CRWENewswire)-July 17, 2009- Power3 Medical Products, Inc�s (OTCBB: PWRM, announces today that President and Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Ira L. Goldknopf, presented a poster entitled �Differential Diagnosis of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Using Serum, a New Paradigm�, at the 12th International Conference of Neurodegenerative Disease in Vienna on July, 14, 2009.

The poster, co authored by Ira Goldknopf, Katerina Markopoulou, Bruce Chase, Stanley Appel, and Marwan Sabbagh, is a continuation of the ongoing clinical trial validation results for Alzheimer�s and Parkinson�s disease. The project is a partnership with Transgenomic, Inc. as per a licensing/collaboration agreement signed in early 2009. The results are better than expected with indications of more stringent differentiation of sub classes of the diseases. The clinical retrospective samples and clinical diagnosis was supplied by the various authors. The poster presents data for 115 AD, 29 PD, 136 ALS, 24 AD/PD like. The biomarkers were discovered and validated using 2D gel electrophoresis, and LC/MS technology. 59 protein biomarkers were identified as significant with concentration differences in the disease vs. normal controls. These results indicate that concentration differences of fully characterized blood protein biomarkers can provide useful tools for early differential diagnosis of neurological disease.

“In the US, there are an estimated 5.1 million individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and 1.5 million individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Unfortunately, by the time patients are given a probable diagnosis, they have already suffered substantial and irreparable brain damage, rendering treatment less effective,” said Dr. Goldknopf, President and Chief Scientific Officer. �The fact that these latest results were obtained using fresh blood serum from patients, in the same way that the test will be performed in a clinical diagnostic setting, provides further support for the clinical and usefulness and commercial value of these findings,” added Dr. Goldknopf.

�We are enthusiastic about the opportunity to continually present our latest results of the Neuro-Pro AD and PD results at an international meeting,� said Helen R. Park, CEO of Power3. �It is important that the clinical trials are recognized and promoted by these events.�

About Power3 Medical Products

Power3 Medical Products, Inc. (OTCBB: PWRM,, is a leading Biomedical company engaged in the commercialization of neurodegenerative disease and cancer biomarkers, as diagnostic tests. Power3�s Diagnostic tests target markets with critical unmet needs in areas such as neurodegenerative disease and breast cancer. The Company continues to evolve and enhance its IP portfolio, employing sensitive and specific combinations of biomarkers the Company has discovered from a broad range of diseases as the basis of highly selective blood-based tests.

Forward Looking Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. With the exception of historical information contained herein, the matters discussed in this press release involve risk and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statement.

Contact Information:

Helen R. Park, M.S.


Keep a close eye on PWRM today, do your homework, and like always BE READY for the ACTION!

How Globalization Is Changing Health Care Forever

In the video below, Michael Saylor, CEO and founder of MicroStrategy (NASDAQ: MSTR  ) �and author of�The Mobile Wave,�visits The Motley Fool to discuss tech, business, and social trends as they relate to investors today.

Understanding paradigm shifts like those discussed here is a cornerstone of Motley Fool superinvestor David Gardner's own investing strategy, and it's critical to his market-thrashing returns. I invite you to learn more about how he discovers his winners -- just click here now to read more.

Michael Saylor: With regard to health care, I think that there's a lot of dynamics there. The most obvious dynamic with regard to anything in the mobile era, is how much material labor, or how much material mass and how much distance and motion is involved in obtaining the value you're trying to obtain?

Take an interesting example -- most people, if they want a blood test, they have to go to a hospital or a clinic or an office. There's a lot of diagnostics...

Up until a while ago, you had to go to a hospital to get a prescription. If a prescription is a piece of paper, I have to pick it up and I have to carry it to a pharmacy, and I have to pick up the drug. At the point that the prescription becomes an SMS message, I don't have to go to the doctor.

If you have a CAT scan or an MRI, someone's got to interpret it. I had an MRI about six weeks ago. It was pretty random, and they sent the x-ray to a doctor in Australia. I just walked into the emergency room late at night. They said, "We're going to check and see if you have a blood clot on your lung," because I just got off a long flight.

They put me through the machine, they took the thing out, and they said, "Well, we're Downstate Virginia and there's no radiologist on duty here, but there's radiologists on duty in Australia because it's during the day there." It went there, it came back in 15 minutes.

I think, as things get more networked like that, you have to ask the question, "Do I move medical services around because it's daylight somewhere?"

Then the more interesting question is, "Why don't I just send that MRI scan to someone in China, where making $10,000 a year would be a lot of money?" Because $10,000 is not enough to live on in the U.S.; if you're a doctor in Manhattan, $500,000 isn't enough to live on.

But at the end of the day, human beings are human beings, and I can speak for them -- I have 600 Chinese engineers -- they're every bit as smart as we are.

If you had a choice between paying $2,000 for a hospital visit to have your radiology reports read by an American citizen that lives in Manhattan, or paying $20 to have your reports read by someone that lives in China or India or anywhere else, or Brazil, where the cost of living might be 20 times cheaper, the average person doesn't give a damn.

Do you really want to pay $2,000 for locally American-serviced medical care? I don't think so.

Maybe another way to say that is, "If you had a choice between giving universal, decent medical care to every American and outsourcing some of the services to Brazil, India and China, or depriving 40% of the population of medical care because it's too expensive, what would you choose?"

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Way To Treat Post Operative Dental Pain

There’s a lot of discussion going on in the dental community right now about the best way to treat post operative dental discomfort. There are various unique camps advocating everything from only over the counter (OTC) pain medications to controlled substance pain medicines. In all fairness some of this response from the dental community does rely upon the sort of procedure that was performed and the level of discomfort each expected and experienced by the patient.

Some of the dental procedures which are thought to be surgeries and have some type of post operative pain management built in. These dental surgeries consist of tooth extractions, dental implants, fillings and periodontal surgery.

You’ll find a wide assortment of forms of discomfort that may result from the previously mentioned dental surgeries. These include dental discomfort which could possibly be in the gum or the bone as well as the tooth. It also consists of pain in the neck, jaw and face. The patient could also have post operative dental discomfort in the mouth or tongue. Every of these areas of pain could be mild or moderate and each could be severe. Most will be somewhere in in between with only some having serious pain. Nevertheless, the degree of post operative dental discomfort any patient feels has as much to complete with the individual patient’s discomfort threshold as it does using the sort of process or the location and type of discomfort.

Most dental patients with post operative pain will first be offered a non narcotic over the counter discomfort reliever like Ibuprofen or acetaminophen to be taken every single four hours. For most patients this regime of more than the counter drugs will be enough to deal with their level of post operative dental discomfort. There is a dental camp that believes that this regime will be as effective as any narcotic pain reliever devoid of exposing the patient to the negative side effects of a narcotic. If sensitivity to heat and cold may be the matter these dentists may well also prescribe a dental gel to ease this form of discomfort.

Then there’s the possibility that a patient’s pain threshold is such that they do not respond to over the counter pain medicines for post operative dental discomfort. In these instances one thing more is needed to alleviate these patients’ pain and discomfort. Also some specific post operative dental complications for instance a ‘dry socket’ bring about extreme pain and just about each patient with this condition will require additional discomfort medication. Prior to offering a narcotic controlled substance pain reliever to these patients some dental offices will order a prescription level NSAID (non steroidal anti inflammatory drug). This would include things like drugs for example Motrin, Naproxen or one of several other people in this class of drugs. There is a belief in some quarters that the prescription strength NSAID is superior to larger doses of the more than the counter NSAID or acetaminophen. Nevertheless there will often be those patients whose post operative dental discomfort regardless of the dental procedure or sort of pain surpasses their pain threshold. These patients will often require a narcotic strength pain reliever for post operative dental discomfort.

San Jose dentists offers improvement in oral health for the entire family. You can consult your dentist San Jose for smile enhancement techniques.

Josh Brown Reveals 6 Biggest Investing Lessons of 2012

Josh Brown has just distilled the most important market lessons he’s learned about 2012 and beyond, and now he has published them for the entire world to see.

The New York-based Fusion Analytics financial advisor offers the six biggest investing lessons of 2012 in his Reformed Broker blog as only he can – using the kind of salty and brutally honest language that rarely escapes off of the trading floor – and adds that now that he’s divested himself of his hard-earned wisdom, he can die happy.

Here’s what Brown (left) has to say about the six biggest investing lessons of 2012:

1) “Sometimes there’s no one left to buy.”

Apple became the “Jesus stock” over the summer because “no one would ever sell it but, unfortunately, anyone who could buy it and wanted to buy it had already done so,” and was included in just about every large cap index out there before it started its rapid descent this fall, Brown wrote in his Dec. 28 blog post.

His lesson learned? That when a stock like Apple blows up into something really, really big, there are no natural buyers left, which can be a problem when the time comes to sell.

2) “Sometimes there’s no one left to sell.”

Research in Motion (RIMM), of Blackberry notoriety, was on the other side of the buy-sell equation in 2012 when the stock hit $6 per share. But then the market did what it does and decided that it was not the stock’s time to die.

“RIMM more than doubled to 14 within a few weeks, a monster return from the depths that happened concurrently with the Apple bludgeoning from 705 to 500,” Brown concludes.

3) “Things change quickly.”

How quickly can things change? Well, look at what Brown calls the “now legendary pairs trade” that DoubleLine’s Jeff Gundlach proposed last spring.

“Short Apple versus a 10X bet on natural gas – the crowd was incredulous,” Brown writes. “Apple was trading vertically higher after all and nat gas was well on its way to zero.  Turns out that was the trade of the year. Know this – safe can be risky and risky can be safe in the blink of an eye. And mean reversion is always in the on-deck circle, playa.”

4) “Trends can and will persist past the point of sanity.”

Case in point: 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds.

“Let's consider that U.S. 10-year Treasury bonds have been yielding around 1.7% for most of the year while the annual run rate of inflation is 2.2%, thus guaranteeing a destruction of purchasing power for the holders,” Brown writes.

That about sums it up for Brown, except to say that anyone who has tried to short Japanese government bonds has learned the hard way that trends can go on forever.

5) “Uncertainty is a buy signal, not a sell signal.”

Greece, believe it or not, is a prime example of how uncertainty is your friend, according to Brown.

“While all these [euro-zone expletive deleted] were busy blabbing away about the ‘Fate of Greece’ the Athens Stock Exchange decided to rally 34% this year, doubling the returns of the S&P 500, Switzerland, France, the Emerging Markets index, the Asia Pacific region and just about everything else in sight,” writes the Reformed Broker. “Your passing, superficial knowledge of the risk factors of a given thing, gleaned from newspapers and television and repeated ad nauseum by a million wannabe pundits and newsletter writers, are priced in.”

6) “Usually, the asteroid misses Earth.”

Horrible, horrible things almost happened in 2012. To review the threats: the U.S. fiscal cliff, the euro’s breakup and a Chinese hard landing. What actually happened last year added to the “Wall of Worry” list: commodities brokerage collapses, the London Whale, the Libor scandal and on and on.

“But once again, the asteroid missed earth in 2012,” says Brown in a thumbing of his nose to market doomsayers. “We are alive and live to fight another year, much to the chagrin of basement-dwelling misanthropes and grumpy old men everywhere. To the fear-mongers: I'm so sorry your apocalypse was staved off another twelve months, better luck in 2013, [derisive expletive deleted].”


Read related story on Josh Brown, Breaking Ranks: Former Broker Turns Bomb Thrower, at AdvisorOne.

Treasury yields rise to highest since September

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) � Treasury prices dropped on Wednesday, pushing benchmark 10-year yields to their highest level in more than three months, on relief following a deal in Washington to extend lower income-tax rates for most Americans.

Yields on 10-year notes 10_YEAR �, which move inversely to prices, rose 8 basis points to 1.84%, after ending 2012 at the lowest yield in decades. That�s the highest level on a closing basis since mid-September. A basis point is one one-hundredth of a percentage point.

Click to Play Debt-ceiling fight still looms

The fiscal cliff deal leaves a host of issues unresolved, most glaring of which is the need for the U.S. to increase its borrowing limit. Photo: AP.

Yields on 30-year bonds 30_YEAR �advanced 9 basis points to 3.04%, adding to a big rise posted on Monday. Bond markets were closed Tuesday for New Year�s Day. See: Treasury yields end year at lowest in decades.

Long-bond yields last closed above 3% on Dec. 18, but otherwise haven�t topped that level since mid-October.

Five-year yields 5_YEAR �rose 3 basis points to 0.76%.

The deal passed by Congress raises tax rates on upper-level household incomes, extends unemployment benefits and delays across-the-board spending cuts for two months. It does nothing to address the U.S. borrowing limit, which was officially reached Monday, forcing the Treasury to take special measures to delay insolvency for the U.S. government. See: Fiscal-cliff deal passes Congress.

�This compromise will not solve the long-term debt and deficit problems facing the United States,� said Gary Thayer, chief macro strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors.

However, preventing a big tax increase will �likely keep the economy from falling into recession.�

� Equity markets are dying
� How different is January vs. other months?
� Market will blindside investors in 2013
� Will it be a happy new year for Apple?
� Trading Strategies for January �
� See investing ideas from Trading Deck � /conga/story/misc/investing.html242961

�Investor uncertainty is likely to persist while the administration and lawmakers deal with the debt and deficit issues in incremental steps rather than all at the same time,� Thayer added.

Still, bond yields could rise throughout the year, though remain �relatively low� by historical standards, he said. Ten-year notes may yield 2.50% by year-end, he said. See chart on U.S. interest rates since 1790.

The deal does more to ease uncertainty for individuals in terms of their tax rates, but leaves businesses unsure about how much federal spending or tightening to expect, noted Bill O�Donnell, a bond strategist at RBS Securities. See: Fiscal-cliff deal does little to tame debt ceiling, unemployment.

Analysts at the firm pointed out that yields sit near technical support levels, making it harder to rise further. More fundamentally, the slow growth outlook and continued Federal Reserve bond purchases are still expected to offer some demand for U.S. debt.

A partisan tussle over extending the debt limit in 2011 resulted in Standard & Poor�s downgrading the U.S. credit rating.

Reuters Enlarge Image President Barack Obama says he will sign the bill sent to him by Congress designed to avert the fiscal cliff.

�Unless reforms are implemented to balance the budget over the longer term, we will end up paying the cost eventually through higher interest rates as the ratings agencies once again weigh in,� said Ken Jaques, an analyst at Informa Global Markets. �A repeat of the contentious debating like we saw in 2011 will likely take us to the brink of a government shutdown and possible ratings downgrades as soon as next month.�

It�s expected to be a tough year for all U.S. bonds, though, as it is almost impossible to replicate the recent years� gains, investors said. See: Yield to global, short-term bond funds in 2013.

Even Bill Gross, who manages the world�s biggest bond fund at Pimco, forecasts bonds to return less than 5% in 2013, though he expects the same of stocks. Gold and unemployment will rise, while the dollar declines, he said on Twitter. However, Gross said that 5-year yields, seen by many analysts as a fulcrum between short- and long-term debt, will end 2013 at 0.70% � lower than where they sit currently. See: What Pimco�s Bill Gross sees gaining in 2013.

5 High-Yield Stocks That Could Increase Dividends Very Soon

New income investors sometimes make the mistake of looking no further than a stock's current dividend yield. After all, a stock such as biotech firm PDL BioPharma (NASDAQ: PDL) looks mighty enticing, based on its 10% yield.

But looks can be misleading. A closer look at PDL reveals a dividend that may be in trouble. The company's net income fell by more than 50% last year, and PDL paid out more in dividends than it earned as income. The company earned $92 million, but paid $130 million in dividends.

When earnings decline sharply, even blue-chip companies can sometimes find their dividends in danger. A good example is General Electric (NYSE: GE), which was forced to trim its dividend by two-thirds during the economic downturn. Quarterly payments dropped from $0.31 to just $0.10. [See: "Forget GE, Buy These Stocks Instead"]


Another high-profile casualty of the downturn was oil refiner Valero Energy (NYSE: VLO). Valero cut its quarterly dividend from $0.15 to $0.05, which is where the dividend remains today.

So how do you protect yourself from stocks at risk of dividend cuts and identify those most able to grow dividends? A great starting point is to examine each company's payout ratio. This ratio measures a stock's annual dividend payment as a percentage of its earnings. A company that earned $1 per share in profits last year and paid a $0.60 annual dividend, for example, has a dividend payout ratio of 60%. A quick look at any free financial website like Yahoo Finance will show PDL's payout ratio at 140% -- in other words, 40% more than earnings.

In general, lower payout ratios are better. The reason for this is simple -- they leave plenty of room for dividend growth and a safety cushion if earnings decline. There are a few notable exceptions to the low payout rule. For example, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and master limited partnerships (MLPs) typically carry high payout ratios because they must, by law, pay out most of their earnings to shareholders. Apart from these special instances, however, the ideal pick for an income investor is a high-yield stock with a low payout ratio.

Finding stocks with low payout ratios is relatively simple. My initial search found more than 2,000 U.S. stocks with payout ratios for the past 12 months of 60% or less. However, the task became more complex when I added above-average dividend yield as a criterion. When I limited the search to stocks also yielding 5% or better, only 46 stocks passed the screen.

To ensure I was picking stocks that have the earnings power to support future dividend increases, I added a third metric. I restricted my list to stocks likely to deliver at least 8% earnings growth in the next 12 months.

After incorporating these three criteria into my screen, my original list of stocks was narrowed down to just five. Here is my list of high-yield payers and potential dividend growers.

1. HickoryTech Corp. (Nasdaq: HTCO)
6% Yield
58% Payout       
HickoryTech provides telecommunication services to businesses and homes in the upper Midwest. The company operates a regional network that spans 2,750 route miles across a five-state area. HickoryTech delivers broadband Internet, digital TV, voice and data services. The company has a 60-year dividend history and has grown payments 3% in the past three years. The annualized dividend of $0.54 represents a 58% payout from earnings. HickoryTech recently completed an expansion of its network into the Dakotas and Iowa that analysts expect will fuel 9% earnings growth next year.

2. Kayne Anderson Energy Development Co. (NYSE: KED)
6% Yield
23% Payout
Kayne is an investment firm specializing in energy businesses and is the largest institutional investor in energy MLPs. The company currently manages $12.5 billion in assets, which includes more than $6 billion in energy MLP investments. Kayne has paid quarterly distributions since 2007. This year, the company increased the quarterly rate by 3% to $0.31 per share. Kayne's management recently said capital being redeployed after an asset sale into new MLP investments and debt securities may support quarterly distributions in a $0.33 to $0.34 range. 
3. Solar Capital Ltd. (Nasdaq: SLRC)
10% Yield
51% Payout                                         
Solar Capital is a business development company (BDC) that invests in the debt and equity of middle-market companies. The company completed its initial public offering in February 2010. By year-end, Solar held $900 million in debt securities from 30 portfolio companies and equity worth $75 million in nine companies. Solar grew its net asset value by 10% last year.

Like others in its industry, Solar benefits from tight credit markets, which make BDCs one of the few sources of financing available to small companies and makes it able to extract particularly favorable lending terms. Solar declared a first-quarter dividend of $0.60 per share. The company plans to deploy another $325 million in new capital this year. Consensus analyst estimates target 10% growth in earnings next year.

4. Sunoco Logistics Partners LP (NYSE: SXL)
5% Yield
48% Payout
Sunoco owns and operates a diversified portfolio of pipeline and terminal assets. The company operates 2,200 miles of refined product pipelines that transport gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, 5,400 miles of crude oil pipelines that gather and transport from fields in from Oklahoma and Texas and 42 terminal facilities.

Sunoco has an unusually low beta value of 0.13, which means the stock's price volatility is low when compared with the S&P 500. In the past five years, the company's quarterly dividend has increased from $0.75 in 2006 to $1.18 in 2011. Sunoco has delivered 23 consecutive dividend increases, even during 2009 when oil prices plunged. Analysts think a pipeline expansion project underway in the Marcellus Shale region will support 10% a year earnings growth for the next two years.

5. TICC Capital Corp. (Nasdaq: TICC)
9% Yield
36% Payout
TICC is a BDC that invests in information technology, Internet, semiconductor and other technology-related businesses. The company has paid distributions for 29 consecutive quarters. In this year's March quarter, TICC increased the quarterly distribution by 9% to $0.24 per share. The company grew net investment income by 79% last year. Management expects future growth to come from $130 million in new investments recently made. Consensus analyst estimates peg earnings growth for TICC at 8% next year. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Some Wall Street Analysts Will Say What You Want to Hear

Now that the New Year has started and the markets have roared into 2013 with Congress having averted (temporarily) the fiscal cliff, predictions about the 2013 broad markets as a whole are firing in all directions, with bulls and bears running riot. How can you sift through the noisy headlines as an investor to understand what's real and what's hype and know where to put your money? In the following video, Motley Fool financial analysts Anand Chokkavelu and Matt Koppenheffer give you perhaps some of the best advice any investor can get.

The Great Race for Battery Technology

One hundred years from now, historians will probably date the beginning of the fall of the American Empire to 1986. That is the year President Ronald Reagan ordered Jimmy Carter’s solar panels torn down from the White House roof, and when Chinese Premier Deng Xiaoping launched his secret “863” program to make his country a global technology leader.

The End is Near for the US

Some 26 years later, the evidence that China is winning this final battle is everywhere. China dominates in windmill power, controls 97% of the world’s rare earth supplies essential for modern electronics, is plunging ahead with “clean coal”, and boasts the world’s most ambitious nuclear power program. It is a dominant player in high-speed rail, and is making serious moves into commercial and military aviation. It is also cleaning our clock in electric cars, with more than 30 low cost, emission free models coming to the market by the end of 2012.

Our only serious entrant in this life or death competition is the Tesla Model S-1,which I will be writing on in greater depth in a future issue. The stripped down basic version costs $58,000 with a 140 miles range. For $100,000 you can get a souped up 300 mile range. General Motors’ (GM) pitiful entrant in this sweepstakes, the hybrid Chevy Volt, has clearly been a marketing disaster. They are easily being overtaken by superior, cheaper technologies offered by multiple Chinese models, Japan’s Nissan Leaf, and a third generation Toyota plug-in Prius.


Tesla Model S-1 and Avid Passengers

This is all far more than a race to bring commercial products to the marketplace. At stake is nothing less than the viability of our two economic systems. At the moment, China’s state directed socialism is winning. By setting national goals, providing unlimited funding, focusing scarce resources, and letting engineers run it all, China can orchestrate assaults on technical barriers and markets that planners here can only dream about. And let’s face it, economies of scale are possible in the Middle Kingdom that would be unimaginable in America.

Nissan Leaf

The laissez faire, libertarian approach now in vogue in the US creates a lot of noise, but little progress. The Dotcom bust dried up substantial research and development funding for technology for a decade. A ban on government funding of stem cell research, for religious reasons, left us seriously behind in that crucial field. An administration that believed that global warming was a leftist hoax, coddled big oil, and put alternative energy development on a back burner. Never mind that the people supplying us with 2 million barrels of crude a day are trying to kill us through whatever means possible. But Americans are finally figuring out that we can’t raise our standard of living selling subprime loans to each other, and that a new direction is needed.

Toyota Prius

Mention government involvement in anything these days and you get a sour, skeptical look. But this ignores the indisputable verdict of history. Most of the great leaps forward in US economic history were the product of massive government involvement. I’m thinking of the transcontinental railroad, the Panama Canal, Hoover Dam, the atomic bomb, and the interstate highway system. If the government had not funneled billions in today’s dollars into early computer research, your laptop today would run on vacuum tubes, be as big as a skyscraper, and cost $100 million.

Meet My New Laptop

I mention all of this not because I have a fascination with obscure automotive technologies or inorganic chemistry (even though I do). Long time readers of this letter have already made some serious money in the battery space. This is not pie in the sky stuff; this is where money is being made now. I caught a 500% gain hanging on to Warren Buffet’s coat tails with an investment in the Middle Kingdom’s Build Your Dreams (BYDFF) two years ago. I followed with a 250% profit in Chile’s Sociedad Qimica Y Minera (SQM), the world’s largest lithium producer. Next came Xide Technologies (XIDE), with a 70% pop. These are not small numbers. I have been an advocate and an enabler of this technology for 40 years, and my obsession has only recently started to pay off big time.

We’re not talking about a few niche products here. The research boutique, HIS Insights, predicts that electric cars will take over 15% of the global car market, or 7.5 million units by 2020. Even with costs falling, than means the market will then be worth $225 billion. Electric cars and their multitude of spin off technologies will become a dominant investment theme for the rest of our lives. Think of the auto industry in the 1920’s. (BYDDF), (SQM), and (XIDE) are just the appetizers. 

All of this effort is being expended to bring battery technology out of the 19th century and into the 21st. The first crude electrical cell was invented by Italian Alessandro Volta in 1759, and Benjamin Franklin came up with the term “battery” after his experiments with brass keys and lightning. In 1859, Gaston Planté discovered the formula that powers the Energizer bunny today.

I Don’t Look 151 Years Old, Do I?

Further progress was not made until none other than Exxon developed the first lithium-ion battery in 1977. Then, oil prices crashed, and the company scrapped the program, a strategy misstep that was to become a familiar refrain. Sony (SNE) took over the lead with nickel metal hydride technology, and owns the industry today, along with Chinese and South Korean competitors.


We wait in gas lines to “fill ‘er up” for a reason. Gasoline has been the most efficient, concentrated, and easily distributed source of energy for more than a century. Expect to hear a lot about the number 1,600 in coming years. That is the amount of electrical energy in a liter (0.26 gallons), or kilogram of gasoline expressed in kilowatt-hours. A one kilogram lithium-ion battery using today’s most advanced designs produces 200 KwH. Stretching the envelope, scientists might get that to 400 KwH in the near future. But any freshman physics student can tell you that since electrical motors are four times more efficient than internal combustion ones, that is effective parity. The additional savings that no one talks about is that an electric motor with five moving parts has no maintenance cost versus the endless bills generated by the 300 overcooked parts in a gasoline engine.

This kind of performance doesn’t come cheap. Lithium-ion batteries currently cost $1,000 per KwH to produce. That means that the 600 pound, 24 KwH battery pack that will power my soon to be delivered Nissan Leaf costs $24,000, more than two thirds of the vehicle’s total $32,000 price tag. Hence, the need for government subsidies to get private industry over the cost/production hump. Nissan, Toyota, Tesla, Fisker, and others are all betting their companies that further progress and economies of scale will drive that cost down to $300 per KwH. That will make electric cars cheaper than conventional hydrocarbon powered ones. Take crude up to $150-$200/barrel, which I believe is a virtual certainty in coming years, and the global conversion to electric happens much faster than anyone thinks.

Yes, it seems to be all over for the US but the crying, unless Nobel Prize winner and Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu has anything to say about it. In a desperate attempt to play catch up, President Obama has lavished money on alternative energy, virtually, since the day he arrived in office. His stimulus package included $167 billion for the industry, enough to move hundreds of projects out of college labs and into production. However, in the ultimate irony, much of this money is going to foreign companies, since it is they who are closest to bringing commercially viable products to market. Look no further than South Korea’s LG, which received $160 million to build batteries for the Volt. Also, Finland’s Fisker, which scored $528 million to refurbish an abandoned GM Pontiac and Saturn plant in Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware in order to build its hybrid electric Karma vehicle.


Fortunately, the US, with its massively broad and deep basic research infrastructure, a large military research establishment (remember the Darpa Net), and dozens of still top rate universities, is in the best position to discover a breakthrough technology. The Energy Department has financed the greatest burst in inorganic chemistry research in history, with top rate scientists pouring out of leading defense labs at Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore, and Argonne National Labs. There are newly funded teams around the country exploring opportunities in zinc-bromide, magnesium, and lithium sulfur batteries. A lot of excitement has been generated by lithium-air technology, as well as much controversy.

In the end, it may come down to whether our Chinese professors are smarter than their Chinese professors.  In 2007, the People’s Republic took the unprecedented step of appointing Dr. Wan Gan as its Minister of Science and Technology, a brilliant Shanghai engineer and university president, without the benefit of membership in the communist party. Battery development has been named a top national priority in China. It is all reminiscent of the 1960’s missile race, when a huge NASA organization led by Dr. Werner Von Braun beat the Russians to the moon, proving our Germans were better than their Germans. 

Anything for a Green Card

Consumers were the ultimate winners of that face off as the profusion of technologies the space program fathered pushed standards of living up everywhere. I bet that’s how this contest ends as well. The only question is whether the operating instructions will come in English—or Mandarin.

It's Easy, Just Read the Manual!

*Post courtesy of John Thomas at Mad Hedge Fund Trader.


Smith & Wesson Jumps On Stock Repurchase Plan

Gunmaker Smith & Wesson Holdings (SWHC) rose on Thursday after announcingits board of directors had approved a share buyback worth $15 million on the heels of successfully completing a $20 million repurchase plan from Dec. 6.

Shares of Smith & Wesson and other gunmakers have endured a bumpy roller coaster of a ride this month after a Dec. 14 shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut resulted in casualties that included children and teachers. Calls for stricter gun control in the aftermath provided uncertainty about the future of the company.

Smith & Wesson rose nearly 4% in Thursday trading on its more upbeat repurchase news.

Smith & Wesson said it plans to fund the new stock repurchase program with cash it has on hand and working capital.

The Most Depressing Christmas Gift Guide of the Year

Since a ban on assault weapons won't be under the tree this Christmas, a few companies -- notably Utah-based Amendment II -- are betting that parents will take their children's safety into their own hands. Derek Williams, Amendment II's director of sales and marketing, told Fox News that sales of the company's Ballistic Backpacks have gone up 500% since last week's shootings.

Even so, the company doesn't want to be seen as profiting from the tragedy: Its website points out that these products have been available for months and weren't offered in response to Sandy Hook. Noting that "we would love to be able to provide every child in the world with our technology [but] we simply don't have the budget to do that," Amendment II promises that "we can and will donate a portion of all our sales to the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy."

Here's a look at the products being marketed to keep kids safe.

The Most Depressing Christmas Gift Guide of the Year
  • Bullet Blocker
  • Ballistic Backpacks
  • Child-Sized Bulletproof Vests
  • NRA Hat and Membership
  • Youth Firearms

Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.

Stocks Finish Up for Day, Month, Year

Associated PressThe year’s work is done

The leading stock indexes all closed up Monday, making it a month of gains as well as a pretty good 2012.

After rising 1.7% on Monday, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (SPY) registered a December gain of 0.7% to close 2012 up 13.41%. This month’s rise wasn’t enough to prevent a 1% fourth-quarter loss, the first year-end decline since 2008.

Despite the gain, the S&P is still almost 9% off its record closing high, 1,565.15, on Oct. 9, 2007.

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) finished up for the fourth straight year, rising 7.26% in 2012. Today the index rose 1.3%, its largest final-day of the year percent gain since 1974, and it closed up 0.6% for December.�It too, however, finished the year with a whimper, losing about 2.5% in the final quarter. The Dow is still 7.5% off its all-time closing high, 14,164.53 on Oct. 9, 2007.

The difference between the S&P and Dow this year was 6.15 percentage points which, as I noted earlier, is the biggest gap between the two since 2002.

The Dow’s top performers in 2012: Bank of America (BAC), up 108%; Home Depot (HD), up 47%, and Walt Disney (DIS), up 33%. The worst were Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Intel (INTC), which fell 45% and 15%, respectively, this year.

As for the Russell 2000 index, that’s up 14.63% in 2012, and also saw 2.1% today, a 3.3% gain in December and a 1.4% gain in the fourth quarter. The index stands 1.8% off its record close of 865.29 on April 29, 2011.

I’ll be back ahead of the opening bell on Wednesday. Happy New Year, everyone.

Wynn’s Macau Prospects Could Dim: JP Morgan

JP Morgan analyst Joseph Greff thinks that Wynn Resorts (WYNN) may not be able to keep up with the overall growth rate in Macau, and he lowered his price target and earnings expectations for the company.

Greff kept his Overweight rating on the company, but he lowered his 2012 EBITDA forecast by 6.6% to 1.297 billion and lowered his price target to $150 from $170.

“If we believe that the Macau gaming market can grow 15% to 20%, we find it tough for WYNN to match the market�s growth rate given (1) WYNN�s same-store constraints (i.e., no additional gaming capacity, at least not in any meaningful way) and tough comparisons (WYNN Macau has executed almost flawlessly in the first half of 2011) and (2) in light of a new property opening (Sands Cotai Central), which should drive a meaningful percentage of this market-wide growth.”

Wynn shares slid 0.8% to $112.76 in afternoon trading.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

USANA Shakes Up Management Ranks

On Friday, USANA Health Sciences (NYSE: USNA  ) announced a series of management changes. Chief Financial Officer Doug Hekking is stepping down from the CFO's post to resume an unspecified "strategic role that will support the Company's finance and operations groups." USANA's current Vice President of Human Resources, Paul Jones, a seven-year veteran of USANA, has been promoted to the CFO position on an interim basis.

The company's Chief Operating Officer, Roy Truett, has resigned, and assuming his responsibilities is Chief Production Officer Jim Brown, who will "report directly to the CEO," but not inherit Mr. Truett's COO title.

USANA announced that it has named a Chief Information Officer, Rick Stambaugh, a former Director of Corporate Marketing at Herbalife (NYSE: HLF  ) . The company also promoted Executive Director of U.S. Field Development Lori Truman to the position of Vice President of U.S. Field Development.

Shares reacted negatively to the news, closing down 8.2%, at $38.42.