Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hong Kong Property Prices Pop

Analysts at Knight Frank say Hong Kong residential property prices are surging due to a lack of demand and the government’s cooling measures are no longer having any effect. Overall property prices were up 65.2% for the month in January and experts believe the trend will continue because new properties are not expected to hit the Hong Kong market until 2015 or 2016. Sales were expected to slow for the Chinese New Year, but that is likely only temporary despite shrinking supply and rising prices. For more on this continue reading the following article from Property Wire.

Hong Kong's residential property sales market rebounded in January as supply continues to lag behind demand, according to the latest analysis report from Knight Frank.

Transactions were up 65.2% month on month overall, while transactions for luxury homes worth HK$10 million plus increased 57.7%.

The recent Policy Address from Hong Kong’s chief executive proposed a series of measures concerning land and housing planning that is aimed at increasing the future supply of private and public housing and did not contain any further tightening measures.

But Thomas Lam, director and head of research for Knight Frank Greater China points out that although long term housing policy is moving in the right direction new supply will not come online until 2015 to 2016 at the earliest.

‘In the short term, demand will continue to outstrip supply, but the government may introduce further tightening measures should home prices surge again. Therefore, home prices are set to remain stable with upward or downward movements within 5% this year,’ he explained.

Residential sales are expected to slow this month during the Chinese New Year celebrations, but a further rebound is expected from the end of February and the negative impact of cooling measures has worn off.


Developers regained confidence in the market and became more active in launching primary projects. Upper West in Tai Kok Tsui, developed by the Kowloon Development was released at market prices with an encouraging response received. Developers also re-launched unsold projects to absorb the growing purchasing power.

There is likely to be a sharp rise in primary supply after the Lunar New Year, with new projects such as Imperial KENNEDY in Western District, Residence 88 in Yuen Long, The Grace in Tai Po and DUNBAR PLACE in Ho Man Tin all scheduled for release after the holiday.
Lam said that sentiment in the secondary sales market also significantly improved, with record breaking transactions being witnessed and some landlords becoming more aggressive in their asking prices. Taikoo Shing, for example, achieved the record breaking price of HK$20,000 per square foot on saleable area.

Landlords in strong financial positions were unwilling to sell their properties at discount, resulting in fewer units being available, which in turn drove up transaction prices.

Thursday’s Crash: Regulators Tilting at Windmills

Don Quixote, the legendary Knight of Mournful Countenance who once†jousted at windmills, keeps popping up in conversation with trading executives as Washington scrambles to exert leadership following last week’s mysterious flash crash.

At all levels of the†trading markets, there is a sense that nothing much will come from†today’s Congressional hearing other than a bunch of posturing from†politicians and bland commentary from exchange executives.

The hearing starts at 3 pm. You can watch it online here.

Though the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission have created a joint “Advisory Committee On Emerging Regulatory Issues,” it is hard to find anyone who thinks the committee will do much to improve market regulation.

Regretablly, no one wants to discuss these issues on the record or for attribution because they are afraid negative comments will be held against them by regulators, and even politicians who ultimately determine oversight of the capital markets.

Was Outsourcing a Success Story for GE?

The Motley Fool's industrial analyst, Isaac Pino, recently attended The Atlantic magazine's Manufacturing Summit for insight into the industry and visited General Electric's (NYSE: GE  ) 30 Rockefeller offices for a closer look at the $250 billion conglomerate. Isaac and Motley Fool Money host Chris Hill weigh in on the company's transformation over the past few years, its game-changing investments in 3-D printing and the industrial Internet, and the opportunity ahead for GE shareholders.

In the following segment, Isaac takes a closer look at the opportunities for a company like GE to return manufacturing operations to the United States. As a case study, GE's Appliance Park facility in Kentucky employed 23,000 workers in 1973, but that figure dwindled to only 1,863 in 2011. However, the Appliance Park story is a long way from over, and the facility is in the midst of a revival that bodes well for manufacturing hubs across the country. Just last March, Jeffrey Immelt asserted in the Harvard Business Review that outsourcing is "quickly becoming mostly outdated as a business model for GE Appliances." Isaac and Chris discuss the drivers behind this "insourcing boom" and why this is a trend that won't go away.

For GE, the recent financial crisis struck a blow, but management took advantage of the market's dip to make strategic bets in energy. If you're a GE investor, you need to understand how these bets could drive this company to become the world's infrastructure leader. At the same time, you need to be aware of the threats to GE's portfolio. To help, we're offering comprehensive coverage for investors in a premium report on General Electric, in which our industrials analyst breaks down GE's multiple businesses. You'll find reasons to buy or sell GE, and you'll receive continuing updates as major events unfold during the year. To get started, click here now.

Why Dorman Products Shares Got Dinged

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of auto-parts maker Dorman Products (NASDAQ: DORM  ) were looking rusty today, falling as much as 12%, on a disappointing earnings report.

So what: The automotive aftermarket parts supplier said that revenue decreased 1%, to $135 million, and earnings per share shrank from $0.46, to $0.42. Analysts had expected a $0.52 per-share profit and $158 million in sales. The loss of a week in the calendar was partly to blame for the drop, but analysts had figured that into their projections. Without the calendar shift and a one-time inventory adjustment, sales would have increased 7%. CEO Steven Berman was still optimistic about 2013 despite the poor fourth quarter, and noted that earnings and sales still grew by double digits during all of 2012, the fourth year in a row the company has done so.

Now what: Dorman missed estimates by a considerable margin, and there are reasons to believe that this was just a temporary misstep. Gross profit actually improved in the quarter by 140 basis points, to 38.4%, and management said the increase in operating expenses was the result of increased product development and incentive compensation. Look for Dorman to bounce back next quarter.

Don't miss the next update on Dorman Products.

  • Add Dorman�Products to My Watchlist.

3 Areas to Watch With Monster Beverage

With Monster Beverage (NASDAQ: MNST  ) set to report earnings next week, now seems like a good time to take a look at the key drivers of the stock's future. Monster has been one of the best-performing stocks of the last 10 years, but it peaked back in June and has since fallen largely on health and safety concerns that have sparked an FDA inquiry. The beverage maker's top-line growth rate also slowed considerably in last quarter, and competition is changing fast in the corner of the beverage industry, meaning there is no guarantee it will hold to its strong market share. In the excerpt below from our premium research report, we take a look at these factors and break down how each one of them will guide Monster's future.

The Three Areas You MUST Watch

  • Growth
    Top-line growth will likely be the biggest factor in determining whether Monster will be a good investment. If the company can maintain the levels we've seen in recent quarters, at near 30%, the stock should move higher from here. Margins could narrow as the company enters markets in developing countries, but top-line growth will be the ultimate determinant of the company's long-term prospects. If growth dips below 20%, that could be a sign of weakness in any number of areas, such as increased competition from new products, market saturation, more legislative and health concerns, or simply a change in consumer tastes. Any significant change in those areas will show up on the top line.
  • Legislative oversight
    In the legislative arena, no news is good news for Monster. The recent inquiry from the San Francisco city attorney, as well as questions from the FDA and the New York Attorney General, sparks concern that additional government intervention might be on the way. While this may not necessarily lead to any real regulation for Monster or any of its peers in the energy drink industry, the perception that the beverages might be harmful could certainly damage the brand. The more this issue ricochets around the media, the greater the possibility that sales will take a hit. Time will tell if any sort of meaningful groundswell in the legislative arena or in the general public will build against energy drinks, but the issue certainly warrants attention. Conversely, we could also see a backlash from the industry or consumers in defense of the products and against their regulation.
  • Competitive landscape
    The fact that Monster Energy grew to be a $10 billion-plus brand just 10 years after the drink's popularization is evidence of how young and dynamic the energy drink industry is. While those factors are likely to fuel future growth, they are also indicative of the instability in the industry. Energy drinks have not yet demonstrated that they possess the staying power of other beverages such as alcohol, coffee, or soda, and the rise of energy shots shows how easily consumer tastes can shift. As one of two dominant brands in the industry, along with Red Bull, Monster will have to continue to fend off rivals gunning for its market share. The company will need to continue developing innovative and successful marketing campaigns, and may need to update its product line as competitors improve their offerings and consumer tastes change.
  • If you found the above excerpt helpful, I encourage to you to pick up a copy of the�full report, which features detailed information on�the company's�opportunities, risks, and leadership. To get started with this insightful new package today, all you have to do is click�right here.

    What You Bought This Week: Aviva

    LONDON --�One of Warren Buffett's famous investing sayings is "Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful." In other words, sell when others are buying and buy when they're selling.

    But we might expect Foolish investors to know that, and looking at what Fools have been buying recently might well provide us with some ideas for good investments.�So, in this series of articles, we're going to look at what customers of The Motley Fool ShareDealing Service have been buying in the past week or so and what might have made them decide to do so.

    Enormous yield
    At number six in the latest "Top 10 Buys" is insurance group�Aviva� (LSE: AV  ) (NYSE: AV  ) . (Based on aggregate data from The Motley Fool ShareDealing Service.)

    In terms of capital growth, Aviva hasn't exactly been a stellar performer, with its share price down some 22% over the past couple of years.

    Currently trading at a P/E of around 10, the company arguably looks like a great value. But earnings-per-share forecasts for 2013 vary so wildly -- anything from 12 pence to 58 pence -- that it's clear no one really has a clue what will happen and the company's P/E probably wouldn't be a reliable "buy" sign.

    But one thing that may have attracted Fools is the enormous yield. At its current price of 357 pence, Aviva yields more than 7% -- �more than twice the FTSE100 average and significantly higher than a savings account would offer.

    Obviously, there's always a risk that a dividend will be cut, but with a strategic restructuring of the company proceeding well and chairman John McFarlane on record saying he's working to save the dividend, Aviva's payout seems safe for now, although it's unlikely to be increased in the year or two ahead.

    A high-quality income share
    If you already own Aviva and are looking for another high yield, then this�particularly high-quality income opportunity�might be for you.

    Indeed, the company in question boasts a 5.7% dividend yield and impressed Fool analysts so much that they've named this share�"The Motley Fool's Top Income Stock for 2013."

    This exclusive new report is completely free, but will available for a limited time only -- so�click here�to download your copy now.

    Friday, February 22, 2013

    VIVUS Earnings Preview: 3 Things to Watch

    Instead of celebrating VIVUS' (NASDAQ: VVUS  ) drug launch last quarter, shareholders were shocked to hear the company report thin sales and see the stock's share price cut by a whopping 20%. The company is set to report its fourth-quarter results -- the first full quarter featuring Qsymia sales -- on Feb. 25, and investors are wondering whether this biotech can regain its momentum. Should they continue tracking sales, or are there other issues that deserve equal attention? Health-care analyst Max Macaluso dives into this topic in the following video.

    Is now the time to sell VIVUS?
    VIVUS' shares were clobbered after Qsymia's dismal launch. Investors everywhere are wondering whether the tide will turn for this drugmaker or whether now is the perfect time to sell. In a new premium research report, the Fool's top health-care contributor breaks down this complex story and explains the details VIVUS investors must know -- including reasons to buy and sell. To find out more about this premium report -- complete with a full year of free updates -- click here now.

    Can Carriage Services Beat These Numbers?

    Carriage Services (NYSE: CSV  ) is expected to report Q4 earnings on Feb. 25. 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 Carriage Services's revenues will grow 10.2% and EPS will increase 109.1%.

    The average estimate for revenue is $52.7 million. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.23.

    Revenue details
    Last quarter, Carriage Services reported revenue of $49.5 million. GAAP reported sales were 14% higher than the prior-year quarter's $43.4 million.

    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 $0.16. GAAP EPS of $0.03 for Q3 were 25% lower than the prior-year quarter's $0.04 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 32.7%, 370 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 17.1%, 430 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 1.2%, 60 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter.

    Looking ahead

    The full year's average estimate for revenue is $204.3 million. The average EPS estimate is $0.84.

    Investor sentiment
    The stock has a four-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 107 members out of 116 rating the stock outperform, and nine members rating it underperform. Among 29 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 28 give Carriage Services a green thumbs-up, and one give it a red thumbs-down.

    Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Carriage Services is outperform, with an average price target of $10.25.

    Looking for alternatives to Carriage Services? It takes more than great companies to build a fortune for the future. Learn the basic financial habits of millionaires next door and get focused stock ideas in our free report, "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich." Click here for instant access to this free report.

    • Add Carriage Services to My Watchlist.

    BP Civil Settlement Remains Elusive as Trial Nears

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Federal and state officials have indicated they would like to settle civil claims over a massive 2010 oil spill ahead of a trial scheduled to start next week.

    The problem is that they haven't been able to agree on the possible terms of a settlement with BP (NYSE: BP  ) . Months of negotiations have failed to resolve lingering differences -- not just with the London-based oil giant, but among themselves.

    A meeting convened in Washington late last week ended with no agreement, said a person familiar with the negotiations. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were confidential.

    BP did not attend the meeting. The company faces penalties under the Clean Water Act ranging from $5.4 billion to $21.1 billion. The trial is scheduled to start next Monday.

    Computer Sciences Wins Coast Guard Contract

    On Friday, IT contractor Computer Sciences (NYSE: CSC  ) announced that it is one of 12 companies the Department of Homeland Security has selected to participate in an $11 billion contract to provide "support services" to the U.S. Coast Guard.

    The contract, of the type known as a multiple-award, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract, allows CSC, and the other 11 companies participating, to bid to perform "task orders" from time to time, on various activities that the Coast Guard needs to contract out -- for example, assisting on "ship system design and engineering, enterprise architecture, information systems, modeling and simulation, enterprise resource management, quality assurance, research and development, and systems engineering."

    CSC shares reacted positively to the news, rising 1% in Friday trading to close at $48.07.

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

    Dow Opens Down 95, But Pares Losses

    U.S. markets are having a rocky start, following a downturn in Asia and Europe, as “bailout fever” seems to have subsided in the wake of Europe’s nearly $1 trillion pledge of loans made Sunday night.

    The Dow Industrials are off 65 points at 10,720, after opening down 95 points.

    The selling is fairly broad-based, with Caterpillar (CAT) off $1.20, or 2%, at $65.49, Goldman Sachs (GS) down $2.27, or 1.5%, at $141.68; Procter & Gamble (PG) off 13 cents at $62.28; Boeing (BA) down 31 cents, almost half a percent, at $70.69; Sysco (SYY) off 13 cents at $30.13; and Toll Brothers (TOL) down 21 cents, or 1%, at $22.20.

    The S&P is down 8 points at 1,150.

    Things had been set for a rough opening, with the Dow futures for June off 81 points at 10,735 just before the open, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 June futures are down 11 points at 1,145.70.

    Earlier this morning, the Financial Times’s Alphaville blog described how Asia is “taking a hard look” at the bailout, with the Nikkei index falling 1.1% and the Hang Seng index off 1.5%

    Alphaville cites the report of one Nicholas Smith of MF Global, who points out a depressed Euro — and it is currently down from last night’s closing cross of $1.2788 at $1.2689 — will drepress Europe’s demand for Asian goods.

    Nor is Europe chipper, actually. The FTSE Europe Index is down about 2%.

    Linn Energy Earnings: An Early Look

    Earnings season is now starting to wind down, with most companies already having reported their quarterly results. But there are still some companies left to report, and LINN Energy (NASDAQ: LINE  ) is about to release its quarterly earnings report. The key to making smart investment decisions with stocks releasing their quarter reports is to anticipate how they'll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise. That way, you'll be less likely to make an uninformed knee-jerk reaction to news that turns out to be exactly the wrong move.

    LINN Energy isn't technically a master limited partnership, but its limited liability company structure gives investors many of the same advantages that MLPs offer. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with LINN Energy over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its quarterly report on Thursday.

    Stats on LINN Energy

    Analyst EPS Estimate


    Change From Year-Ago EPS


    Revenue Estimate

    $560 million

    Change From Year-Ago Revenue


    Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters


    Source: Yahoo! Finance.

    Will LINN Energy deliver energetic results?
    LINN has held up quite well with analysts, who've added a penny per share to their consensus for the quarter and also increased their calls for full-year 2013. Investors haven't shared their enthusiasm, though, as the LLC units have dropped 4% since mid-November.

    In a weak environment for natural gas, LINN has bucked the trend by making several substantial acquisitions. LINN dealt with BP (NYSE: BP  ) on two separate occasions to buy assets in the Hugoton region in Kansas as well as Wyoming's Jonah Field, helping BP to raise capital to cover legal liability and other cash needs. Moreover, smaller deals with Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC  ) and Southwestern Energy (NYSE: SWN  ) should also add to LINN's long-term success, with the Anadarko joint venture promising to give LINN new experience in working with Anadarko's enhanced oil-recovery methods.

    Interestingly, LINN has taken a conservative approach to its energy price exposure. By hedging against sustained depressed price levels for natural gas through 2017 and locking in oil production proceeds through 2016, LINN won't benefit if energy prices rise. But the strategy insulates the company from potentially disastrous results if prices stay low, letting it focus on making the most of its assets from a production standpoint.

    In LINN's quarterly report, watch closely for status updates on the company's newly acquired assets. Moreover, watch to see if related entity LinnCo (NASDAQ: LNCO  ) , which is a corporation that owns LINN units in order to simplify the partnership treatment of LINN's LLC distributions, gains traction among investors. If so, LinnCo could act as a major capital-raising vehicle for the company going forward as it pursues further acquisitions.

    Learn more about energy
    There are many different ways to play the energy sector, and The Motley Fool's analysts have uncovered an under-the-radar company that's dominating its industry. We talk all about it in our special free report: "The Only Energy Stock You'll Ever Need." Don't miss out on this limited-time offer and your opportunity to discover this company before the market does. Click here to access your report -- it's totally free.

    Click here to add LINN Energy to My Watchlist, which can find all of our Foolish analysis on it and all your other stocks.

    Will Coca-Cola Help You Retire Rich?

    Now more than ever, a comfortable retirement depends on secure, stable investments. Unfortunately, the right stocks for retirement won't just fall into your lap. In this series, I look at 10 measures to show what makes a great retirement-oriented stock.

    Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) has a simple business: satisfying its customers' thirst. But with the No. 1 brand in the world, the soft-drink giant continually works to enhance its image, earning it a spot among the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) . Yet even as the Dow has set new five-year highs, Coca-Cola's stock has held back since the summer as the company faces some ongoing challenges. Below, we'll revisit how Coca-Cola does on our 10-point scale.

    The right stocks for retirees
    With decades to go before you need to tap your investments, you can take greater risks, weighing the chance of big losses against the potential for mind-blowing returns. But as retirement approaches, you no longer have the luxury of waiting out a downturn.

    Sure, you still want good returns, but you also need to manage your risk and protect yourself against bear markets, which can maul your finances at the worst possible time. The right stocks combine both of these elements in a single investment.

    When scrutinizing a stock, retirees should look for:

    • Size. Most retirees would rather not take a flyer on unproven businesses. Bigger companies may lack their smaller counterparts' growth potential, but they do offer greater security.
    • Consistency. While many investors look for fast-growing companies, conservative investors want to see steady, consistent gains in revenue, free cash flow, and other key metrics. Slow growth won't make headlines, but it will help prevent the kind of ugly surprises that suddenly torpedo a stock's share price.
    • Stock stability. Conservative retirement investors prefer investments that move less dramatically than typical stocks, and they particularly want to avoid big losses. These investments will give up some gains during bull markets, but they won't fall as far or as fast during bear markets. Beta measures volatility, but we also want a track record of solid performance as well.
    • Valuation. No one can afford to pay too much for a stock, even if its prospects are good. Using normalized earnings multiples helps smooth out one-time effects, giving you a longer-term context.
    • Dividends. Most of all, retirees look for stocks that can provide income through dividends. Retirees want healthy payouts now and consistent dividend growth over time -- as long as it doesn't jeopardize the company's financial health.

    With those factors in mind, let's take a closer look at Coca-Cola.


    What We Want to See


    Pass or Fail?


    Market cap > $10 billion

    $169 billion



    Revenue growth > 0% in at least four of five past years

    4 years


    Free cash flow growth > 0% in at least four of past five years

    4 years


    Stock stability

    Beta < 0.9



    Worst loss in past five years no greater than 20%




    Normalized P/E < 18




    Current yield > 2%



    Five-year dividend growth > 10%



    Streak of dividend increases >= 10 years

    50 years


    Payout ratio < 75%



    Total score

    7 out of 10

    Source: S&P Capital IQ. Total score = number of passes.

    Since we looked at Coca-Cola last year, the company has held onto its seven-point score for the third year in a row. The stock has managed to do a little better, picking up about 10% over the past year.

    The beverage business involves a tale of two markets right now. Domestically, the mature market has made it extremely difficult for companies to find solid growth. PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP  ) managed to report a 2.5% increase in sales for its PepsiCo Americas Beverages unit by increasing spending on marketing and adding new products, but that growth figure includes some emerging-market exposure in Mexico. Meanwhile, Dr Pepper Snapple (NYSE: DPS  ) reported volume declines of 1% in its most recent quarter and warned that 2013 profits would come in below analyst expectations.

    Internationally, though, the race is on to capture new markets. Both Coke and Pepsi are working hard to get into countries like India, where a rising middle class is poised to give the companies their best shot at building their customer base and encouraging beverage consumption. Yet in China, Coke has hit a wall and suffered a 4% decline in volume in the fourth quarter.

    In Coke's most recent earnings report, one big worry was the fact that gross margins are at their lowest levels in the past decade, with rising commodity costs squeezing profits. Weakness in Europe was to be expected, given the economic problems there, but the company nevertheless needs to find ways to overcome those headwinds by exploring new avenues for growth.

    For retirees and other conservative investors, a half-century of steadily increasing dividends has enriched long-term shareholders immensely. Despite Coca-Cola's growth challenges, its cash flow looks set to continue producing rich payouts well into the next half-century.

    Keep searching
    Finding exactly the right stock to retire with is a tough task, but it's not impossible. Searching for the best candidates will help improve your investing skills and teach you how to separate the right stocks from the risky ones.

    Learn more about all the new threats to Coca-Cola's continued market dominance by reading the premium research report we've recently compiled on the beverage giant. Inside, you'll learn everything you need to know about Coca-Cola, with free updates for the coming year. If you own or are considering owning shares in the company, you'll want to click here now and get started!

    Add Coca-Cola to My Watchlist, which will aggregate our Foolish analysis on it and all your other stocks.

    Top Stocks For 2/19/2013-19

    HIRU CORPORATION (Other OTC: HIRU.PK) subsidiary Shuangshi AHP Co. dispatched company representatives to evaluate the agricultural developments and increase company sales in the regions of Ganzhou, Yichun and Jian.

    Shuangshi’s assistant general manager and sales manager met with several potential customers in the aforementioned regions to discuss the potential of Shuangshi products on the local markets, as the company works on gaining more exposure with Chinese farmers for their vaccination needs.

    The representatives also negotiated with two new agricultural clients, each client reporting annual sales of approximately $30 million USD. Following these negotiations, Shuangshi AHP representatives supplied the customers with new HIRU products for testing and evaluation by the clients. Shuangshi AHP anticipates to gain more new clients as the company’s top quality animal vaccination products gain exposure in the market.

    Shuangshi AHP Co. is devoted to the protection of animal and human health. The company employs scientists, highly trained technical experts, engineers and veterinarians whose innovative spirit offers services for the improvement of the animal husbandry. The company focuses on all species and a wide range of breeding situations. The company is able to adapt products to any customer specific needs.

    SavWatt USA, Inc. (SAVW.PK), — pioneers in LED lighting — announced the partnership with Pro-EcoSolutions. Under the agreement, Pro-EcoSolutions will be a subsidiary of SavWatt.

    Pro-EcoSolutions is a New Jersey based implementation firm specializing in comprehensive support services for all energy services companies and performance contractors. Pro-EcoSolutions provides a single source for project support and installation. The Company excels in identifying savings opportunities through the use of the most efficient energy technologies. Pro-EcoSolutions professionals will then develop design/build specifications, manage construction, and provide post-installation performance evaluations. Past clients include: Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Vitamin Shoppe, Albert Einstein Medical Center, Duane Reade, Radio City Music Hall, Loews Cineplex, Johnson & Johnson, Citibank Branches and others.

    John Romano, President of Pro-EcoSolutions, commented, “Our association with SavWatt and their products will give our firm an advantage in the Energy saving environment. We are looking forward in this relationship and being able to provide our clients with quality LED products.”

    SavWatt is leading the LED lighting revolution and setting the stage to obsolete the incandescent light bulb through the use of energy-efficient, environmentally friendly LED lighting. SavWatt is a market-leading innovator of LED lighting. SavWatt’s product families include LED fixtures, bulbs, Street Lights and Parking Lights.

    Weatherford International Ltd. (NYSE:WFT) announced that its shares will begin trading on the SIX Swiss Exchange (�SIX�) under the stock ticker WFT. Weatherford shares continue to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the NYSE Euronext. The inclusion of Weatherford�s 758,446,637 registered shares into the Swiss Performance Index (�SPI�) will occur in a staggered manner over five trading days.

    Weatherford International Ltd. provides equipment and services used in the drilling, evaluation, completion, production, and intervention of oil and natural gas wells to independent oil and natural gas producing companies worldwide.

    ST Residential, a world class asset management company led by Greenwich, CT-based Starwood Capital Group (NYSE:STWD) and private-equity firm TPG of Fort Worth, TX, along with WLR LeFrak and Perry Capital, has assumed ownership of Allure Waikiki.

    Starwood Property Trust, Inc., a real estate investment trust, primarily focuses on originating, investing in, financing, and managing commercial mortgage loans, commercial mortgage-backed.

    Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE:STZ) the world�s leading wine company, announced it has completed its $300 million accelerated stock buyback (ASB) transaction which was announced earliar. Under the transaction, the company paid $300 million in April 2010 and received a total of 17.2 million shares. Of the total amount, 13.8 million shares were received in the company�s first quarter with the remaining shares received on November 30(th).

    Constellation Brands, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the production and marketing of beverage alcohol brands in wine, spirits, and imported beer categories. The company operates through Constellation Wines and Crown Imports divisions.

    KBR Wins Ammonia Fertilizer Plant Contract in Bolivia

    Construction and engineering firm KBR (NYSE: KBR  ) has won a license and design contract from Samsung Engineering for a 1,200-metric-tons-per-day ammonia fertilizer plant in Carrasco, Bolivia, part of the government's strategic initiatives for monetization of natural gas and demand for urea in the region, KBR announced this week.

    KBR will provide a technology license and a basic engineering design package, and supply equipment including its�purifier technology. It will also provide proprietary operator training simulators and a "steam dynamic simulation study." No financial details of the contract were provided in the press release, but KBR said production operations are�expected to�begin in mid-2015.

    KBR president of tecnology�John Derbyshire was quoted as saying in the press release, "This award represents an opportunity to further expand KBR's footprint in the Latin American market."

    The construction and engineering firm has been involved in the licensing, design, engineering, and construction of more than 200 ammonia plants worldwide over the past 50 years, representing approximately half of current global ammonia production.

    Rise after the Fall: the 2013 Housing Market for Homeowners and Investors

    End-of-year predictions are made annually for the housing market, but time is the only guaranteed way to establish if the predictions were correct.

    Record lows were recorded for mortgage interest rates at the end of 2012. Although the rates have begun a steady increase, Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist said the slow increase in mortgage interest rates will not disrupt home affordability for stable households.

    “We expect single-family origination volume to come in close to $2 trillion in 2012, about a 30-percent rise from 2011, and then drop by about 15 percent in 2013 as refinance ‘burnout’ and somewhat higher mortgage rates during the latter half of next year lead to less refinance activity,” Nothaft said in a late 2012 interview with

    Nothaft said for the single-family market, homebuyer affordability is predicted to remain high in 2013 for potential buyers with stable incomes, good credit history, and sufficient savings.

    The Current Demand

    Paul LeJoy, real estate investor and founder of Pacific Realty Partners, said that even though rates are steadily increasing, there is a heightened demand for purchases among low-to-moderate income households.

    The increase in cost for rental properties has caused some consumers to look once again at buying a home.

    LeJoy said the Federal government’s commitment to keep interest rates low until 2014 has created a “pent-up demand” for homes among first-time buyers.

    This increased demand has created a competitive nature among open properties.

    “It’s very common to see multiple offers on properties,” LeJoy said.

    In areas such as the San Francisco Bay area, some properties receive upwards of 50 offers, especially if it is located in a positive school environment.

    “Some feel they may miss the boat and are now jumping on the bandwagon,” LeJoy said. “What’s the point of renting and paying a higher amount when one could buy and pay less.”

    LeJoy said down payment assistance provided at cities throughout California, such as $80,000 in San Jose, are enabling more buyers to enter the housing market.

    “With the interest rates still this low coupled with relatively low prices, housing affordability has never been more reachable for the average American,” he said. “Unlike the boom days of 2004 to 2007, the current market climate offers prospects the opportunity to attain the American Dream.”

    Jonathan Daniel, CEO of real estate private equity firm, Silo Financial, said that even with small rate increases within the .25 to .50 range, it will not impact the housing market drastically. He said it would take a one to two percent change for a “huge impact.”

    And statistical evidence shows that potential buyers are open to the idea of homeownership.

    According to a Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group study, homeownership confidence is high with 90 percent of survey respondents expecting their homes to maintain value or grow significantly over time.

    Additionally, the Fannie Mae National Housing Survey from October 2012 found that 72 percent of respondents believed it was a good time to buy a home. 

    Threat to Middle-Class Homeowners

    Daniel warned of a large impact to middle-class homeowners if President Obama eliminates the mortgage deduction. The mortgage interest tax deduction allows homeowners to write off interest payments on their mortgage.

    Eliminating this deduction will impact the middle class the most. Although it is not huge, it is still an impact, Daniel said.

    “It is going to affect what you can pay for a house because it will affect what it costs for a mortgage,” he said. “The tax deduction is going to hurt if it goes away.”

    Daniel said states such as California, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York will be affected the most.

    Benefits for Investors

    The same lures for homeowners holds true for investors in this housing market.

    When the housing market crashed, so did common forms of investments. Interest rates for savings account diminished, and stock markets became too unreliable. Investors with large amounts of capital turned to institutions that purchased single-family homes for rental purposes.

    Because of the mortgage crash, homeownership decreased but the need for housing did not disappear. Rental properties began to increase in value, and have continued their increase. Instead of buying buildings already established for multiple rental properties, investors purchased multiple single-family homes and used them as rental properties.

    The pitch from investment firms to singular investors would go as follows: Investors would purchase several foreclosed homes, around the $50,000 price range, and rent them out. The investors would receive a seven to 10 percent interest return on rental income. This income would flow for up to five years, and then the investor could re-sell the property for around $75,000.

    Daniel said due to the crash, this alternative form of investment was a great value for investors to make a sizable return on their investment — one that couldn’t be achieved with low savings interest rates or the unsafe stock market. Instead, the investment is based on a bet that the properties will continually appreciate in value.

    “That is the pitch and the theory behind the investment,” Daniel said.

    But even though institutionalized capital is found across the country, it is not set to change due to a slow increase in interest rates. Even though homes are regaining their property value, Daniel said it will not impact large investment companies because they already raised the money for the sole purpose of purchasing portfolios.

    “They are going to still fight for portfolios of single family homes,” he said.

    LeJoy said that low interest rates offer the same opportunities for investors as they do for owner-occupants.

    “Pair low interest rates with investors and you get the perfect remedy for the economy,” he said.

    One of the main reasons is that investors do not have to pay for the entire cost of the property up front. LeJoy said investors can put down as little at 20 to 25 percent for investment properties and then use the purchases as rentals or re-sell the house as a flipped property.

    Increase in New Construction

    As homeowner confidence and new mortgages increase, so does the need for new construction.

    In late 2012, Freddie Mac predicted that housing investment will add to economic growth in 2013 — the first time since 2005. In 2012 alone, housing starts in the United States rose 25 percent, as compared with 2011.

    “Look for these same positive signs to spur an increase in multifamily lending and in the overall stock of available rental housing,” Nothaft said. “Construction of rental apartments in buildings containing at least five dwellings began on about 200,000 units this year, the most in one year since 2008.”

    LeJoy said because of the economic downturn, many construction professionals left the industry. Due to an increased need for housing, there is a need for more construction workers.

    “There is a new need for construction workers,” LeJoy said. “I believe many developers will come out of the wood work to capitalize on this need.”

    But Daniel said statistical increases in new housing do not properly depict the current state of construction.

    “We are still well below the norm for new construction,” he said.

    He said new construction statistics are based off a low set two to three years ago when there was no new construction.

    “New construction halted,” Daniel said. “Yes, we are moving in a good direction, but don’t get skewed by the numbers because we are working off a very low bar.”

    A Future Bet

    With the majority of 2013 yet to come, some overall predictions can be made. LeJoy predicts a heightening demand for housing will continue.

    “My fear is that buyers cannot find enough houses to buy,” he said.

    Even with a lack of properties for purchase, LeJoy is still hopeful about the near future.

    “By every indication, it appears we have hit the bottom and it now looks like everyone is coming back to real estate,” he said.

    But Daniels is not as quick to believe in the resurgence of the housing economy. Daniel said that although the housing economy seems to have stabilized, it is not clear yet.

    “I think it is still challenging for people to qualify for mortgages. It is nowhere near normal,” he said. “There is a little bit of euphoria around it, but I think it’s a little too soon to say we’re out of it.”


    Rebekah Coleman is a reporter at, a company dedicated to helping consumers sift through the ambiguous details of the financial industry. aims to educate the public by providing free access to relevant and unbiased financial information. She can be reached at 909-784-2465 or via email at Additional information about the housing industry can be found at

    Top Stocks For 2/20/2013-11

    MusclePharm Corporation (OTCBB:MSLP), one of the fastest growing nutritional supplement companies in the United States, reported recently that the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) is requesting the approval of MusclePharm�s Recon nutritional supplement to the New York State Medicaid list of prescription medications.

    MusclePharm�s Recon Nutritional Supplement contains important amino acids, assisting in reaching the higher levels of nutrition required for people living with HIV. MusclePharm�s Recon Nutritional Supplement is easily digestible, helps the absorption of amino acids and proteins. It contains essential minerals, digestive enzymes, Glutamine and other metabolic agents that maximize recovery, protein synthesis and endurance.

    �We are honored with the NAPWA�s support of therapeutic nutritional supplementation and look forward to the day when MusclePharm�s Recon is available to people living with HIV in New York State and all of those who depend on Medicaid for their therapeutic needs,� stated Brad Pyatt, MusclePharm�s Chief Executive Officer. �Our safe and scientific product formulations provide unique opportunities for us to expand MusclePharm�s distribution within the medical community. We believe this increased support continues to position MusclePharm as one of the leading developers and manufacturers of nutritional supplements.�

    Nutritional Supplementation has long been utilized within the HIV community to maintain and support muscle mass and help strengthen the immune system. Whey protein has been shown thru various credible studies to aid in the growth of muscle mass. Unlike other Medicaid available proteins, MusclePharm�s Recon helps to burn fat while building muscle. This is a factor essential to people living with HIV, especially those on antiviral regimens where unwanted fat may be an issue in those who often battle muscle depletion.

    EQ Labs, Inc. (Pink Sheets:EQLB) reports that poker superstar and celebrity spokesperson Vanessa Rousso appeared with Company CEO Mo Owens on the Las Vegas affiliate of ABC television (KTNV – Channel 13) promoting EQ Labs effervescent energy tablet.

    Mr. Owens and Ms. Rousso announced a major promotion for Labor Day Weekend at the Convention Center location of Walgreens in Las Vegas for EQ Lab’s “Smart Energy Drink.” The company is expecting a very large audience on September 4, 2010. Each person that buys EQ at the Walgreens location that day wins a chance for a 1 hour personal poker boot-camp with Vanessa Rousso. The second winner will get a chance to ride in an off-road racing car with Baja racing champion TJ Flores.

    On June 24, 2010, the company announced that Vanessa Rousso had signed an endorsement contract with EQ Labs. Ms. Rousso is a member of the prestigious Team PokerStars. In addition, she signed an endorsement contract as a celebrity spokesperson for Go Daddy in 2009. Ms. Rousso also appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

    Last week, EQ Labs CEO Maurice Owens was featured on “The Morning Blend” show talking about the virtues of EQ Energy drink while also displaying the company’s complete product line.

    Mr. Owens commented, “Since I appeared on The Morning Blend show last, we have seen our sales accelerate throughout the Las Vegas region. Several retail locations have completely sold out of our product and we have received orders for more product. As Vanessa said on ‘The Morning Blend’ show, she is now using EQ at the poker tournaments that she appears in and it helps her to be on her game. We will be announcing more celebrity spokespeople in the near future.”

    Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. (NASDAQ:ULTA), a beauty retailer with 356 retail stores, will conduct a conference call to discuss second quarter fiscal 2010 results on Thursday, September 2, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time / 4:00 p.m. Central Time. A press release detailing the Company�s second quarter fiscal 2010 results will be issued after the market closes and prior to the call. The conference call will be hosted by Lyn Kirby, Chief Executive Officer, Chuck Rubin, President and Chief Operating Officer and Gregg Bodnar, Chief Financial Officer.

    Ulta is the largest beauty retailer that provides one-stop shopping for prestige, mass and salon products and salon services in the United States. Ulta provides affordable indulgence to its customers by combining the product breadth, value and convenience of a beauty superstore with the distinctive environment and experience of a specialty retailer. Ulta offers a unique combination of over 21,000 prestige and mass beauty products across the categories of cosmetics, fragrance, haircare, skincare, bath and body products and salon styling tools, as well as salon haircare products. Ulta also offers a full-service salon in all of its stores. The Company currently operates 356 retail stores across 38 states and also distributes its products through the Company�s website.

    Newpark Resources Beats on the Top Line

    Newpark Resources (NYSE: NR  ) reported earnings on Feb. 14. Here are the numbers you need to know.

    The 10-second takeaway
    For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), Newpark Resources beat expectations on revenues and met expectations on earnings per share.

    Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue grew slightly and GAAP earnings per share dropped significantly.

    Margins dropped across the board.

    Revenue details
    Newpark Resources reported revenue of $270.3 million. The eight analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ expected net sales of $252.6 million on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were the same as the prior-year quarter's.

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

    EPS details
    EPS came in at $0.17. The eight earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ averaged $0.17 per share. GAAP EPS of $0.12 for Q4 were 45% lower than the prior-year quarter's $0.22 per share.

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

    Margin details
    For the quarter, gross margin was 18.7%, 350 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 9.7%, 320 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 4.1%, 420 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter.

    Looking ahead
    Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $260.0 million. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.18.

    Next year's average estimate for revenue is $1.05 billion. The average EPS estimate is $0.77.

    Investor sentiment
    The stock has a five-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 383 members out of 394 rating the stock outperform, and 11 members rating it underperform. Among 116 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 116 give Newpark Resources a green thumbs-up, and give it a red thumbs-down.

    Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Newpark Resources is outperform, with an average price target of $9.30.

    Is Newpark Resources the right energy stock for you? Read about a handful of timely, profit-producing plays on expensive crude in "3 Stocks for $100 Oil." Click here for instant access to this free report.

    • Add Newpark Resources to My Watchlist.

    Welcome to Fantasy Island

    Felicia Perretti for The Wall Street Journal

    Philadelphia couple Jason and Katy Friedland are always busy with their sons at their island.

    The kitchen island�it's where everybody wants to be.

    Designers are equipping islands with under-the-counter appliances, electronic controls and stylish design, turning what had been a humble seating annex into a command-and-control center for the home.

    Underestimating the Next Boom

    There are two types of investors: those who bet against Goldman Sachs and those who realize that Goldman Sachs is smarter and has better information than anyone else.

    I'm in the latter camp. So I listened up when Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein talked about the market this week:

    I can think of a million things that can go wrong, but what people underestimate, or under-assess, is that things can also go right. There's a lot of things that are going right, and the equity market may have it right. ... the situation in energy, which is not only going to drive manufacturing in this country, and ultimately will lead to jobs in the country, the turnaround in housing.

    We have had a lot of problems. We haven't chewed through all of them. We haven't even chewed through all of part of them, but we've chewed through a lot of it, and you know, nobody sounds a gun or blows a whistle when things have gotten better. Sentiment is lagging, it's still slow, but I think the market as a whole is looking ahead and saying, "With these advantages, I think we could be on the threshold of a bull market."

    Look what happened in the early 1980s. We came off a period of very poor sentiment for a long time. No one would have forecast a 20-year bull market cycle, and I can't even do that now, but I can tell you, the fact that sentiment is negative will have no bearing on what will happen.

    Keep in mind what he didn't say here. He didn't say the market will keep rallying. He said people might be underestimating the odds that it could.

    This, I think, is the smart way to be thinking about today's economy and market. At turning points, the biggest risk is running with the herd. In 2007, the biggest risk you faced was excessive optimism -- assuming that home prices would rise forever. That left you crushed when the tide went out. Today I think it's the other way around. The biggest risk now is excessive pessimism and the belief that economy will be stuck in a recession-like state forever. That could leave you (and has already left many) floundering in cash or overpriced bonds as the market rallies.

    In both cases we're dealing with risks and probabilities, not certainties. What's important is knowing which way those probabilities lean. Despite some obvious threats, it's not hard to make the case that the odds lean in favor of a strengthening economy.�

    Since 2008, the biggest drags on economic growth have been:

    • The decline in home prices.
    • The decline in residential investment.
    • Consumer debt deleveraging.
    • State and local job cuts.

    All four of those are turning. Home prices have stabilized, and 1.3 million fewer homeowners are underwater on their mortgages than were in 2010. Housing starts are rebounding at a rate of 40% per year. Consumer deleveraging is likely nearing an end, and government job cuts have leveled off. We don't even need to talk about a new boom. Just the end of the headwinds could be enough to push the economy back toward normal growth.

    Any number of things could happen to throw that off. Europe could implode. Interest rates could spike. A war could erupt. There will be more recessions in the future -- some of them will be big, and you won't see most of them coming.

    But as financial advisor Carl Richards once wrote: "We focus so much on protecting ourselves from negative surprises (job loss, disability, divorce, death ... the whole catastrophe) that we forget to factor in the positive ones (a raise, a business that works out, a new career, a new bull market) that can sometimes change our entire outlook."

    Five years after the start of the last recession, I think people are still underestimating the odds of goods things happening. Worse, I don't think most of them realize that underestimating those odds poses a threat to their wealth.�


    Solar Stocks Jump as Wall Street Hops on the Bandwagon

    All aboard the solar bandwagon! Analysts, trade associations, and now investors are starting to see the promise of solar as more than a crazy environmentalist idea -- it's an economic reality.

    Today's big bounce
    There are a number of solar stocks moving big today. Renesola�is up 11%, First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR  ) is up 8%, and SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR  ) is leading the charge, climbing 19%. There isn't anything earth-shattering moving solar stocks today. National Traders Association released reports highlighting First Solar, SunPower, Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL  ) , SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY  ) , and others but that's about it. This follows bullish solar reports from analysts at Citigroup and other firms that have given investors license to buy solar.

    The move today is a bit curious because it isn't logically distributed among solar companies. Usually, when solar stocks jump they all jump. Some may lead and some may lag, but today there are stocks jumping double digits and some not moving at all. Suntech Power, Canadian Solar, and JA Solar haven't budged despite rivals with essentially the same equipment rising 10%.

    Without earnings reports or new industry statistics to point to, it's hard to say why one stock is up and another isn't.

    The solar short squeeze -- or not
    It is also curious to note that the moves of solar stocks recently don't appear to be a short squeeze -- at least not yet. SunPower's short interest has gone up from 4.2 million�shares at the end of 2012 to 6.7 million shares today. So, while the stock has gone up 140% this year, investors have actually been adding shares to the market, not taking them away. Usually this addition of shares would cause shares to go down.

    Not every solar stock has seen the increase in short interest. First Solar and Power-One (NASDAQ: PWER  ) both have seen a decline in short interest since the first of the year. But, I wouldn't exactly call their share price jumps short squeezes. These are profitable companies and they've risen as investors have bought into solar, meaning short sellers are getting out of the way.

    Analysts jump on the bandwagon
    Analysts have been rushing to upgrade solar stocks, giving investors confidence to buy in 2013. SunPower was upgraded by Lazard in early January, giving a price target of $11 that already looks low. First Solar has been upgraded by Citigroup, Cantor, and Bank of America/Merrill Lynch. Not everyone is on the bandwagon yet but a few more quarters of fundamental improvement and we will see a shift on Wall Street.

    What to do now?
    Are solar stocks on a never-ending rise or are we in for a straight-ahead fall? In the short term, I have no idea what will happen because many of these moves don't make sense on a day-to-day basis. There's no significant news out about SunPower today, yet the stock is up 19%.

    Solar stocks going higher are particularly companies with strong balance sheets and competitive advantages. Sorry, that rules out almost manufacturers in China, which has industry standard products and leans on the government for funding. Trina Solar may be worth watching eventually, but it is still a big risk. In the U.S., SolarCity is also worth keeping an eye on, but I wouldn't jump in so early in its development.�

    I would focus on two companies -- First Solar and SunPower. To put perspective on how big the opportunity is, I outlined what SunPower would be worth if it traded at similar multiples to high-tech diversified manufacturers. It might shock you that this simple analysis yielded a stock price potential of $16.67-$79.22. Check it out for yourself in the article found here.

    I don't know if First Solar or SunPower will reach the lofty valuations of other high-tech companies, but if their fundamentals continue to improve then investors are in for a long run higher. The opportunity for solar is incredible; Wall Street is just starting to figure it out.

    More on First Solar
    Investors and bystanders alike have been shocked by First Solar's precipitous drop over the last 12 months, and now the stakes have never been higher for the company. Is it done for good, or ready for a rebound? If you're looking for continuing updates and guidance on the company whenever news breaks, we've created a brand-new report that details every must know side of this stock. To get started, just click here now.

    ExxonMobil Expands Russia Deal

    ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM  ) has expanded its strategic cooperation agreement with Russian oil and gas conglomerate Rosneft. The arrangement now includes around 150 million acres covering potential fields in that country's Arctic territory. On the Russian company's side, Rosneft now has the option to buy a 25% interest in ExxonMobil's Point Thompson gas and condensate project in Alaska.

    Additionally, the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding to study the feasibility of developing liquid natural gas assets in the far east of Russia. The study will also explore the viability of constructing an LNG facility.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2013

    OCZ Technology Gains Extension on Nasdaq Compliance

    Solid-state-drive specialst OCZ Technology (NASDAQ: OCZ  ) has announced that the Nasdaq exchange accepted�the company's plan to regain compliance with its listing rules allowing it to remain listed on the exchange.�

    Under the terms of the exception granted to OCZ, it must file on or before April 8 its Forms 10-Q for the period ended Aug. 31 and Nov. 30 of last year, as well as any other delinquent periodic reports.

    OCZ Technology delayed filing its quarterly reports following�problems surrounding certain customer incentive programs that led to significant quarterly losses and the abrupt resignation of its CEO. The drive maker subsequently launched an investigation into the problem and held off on filing its reports with the SEC. Those investigations are largely complete.

    The company announced in December that it had filed a plan with the exchange to regain compliance by Feb. 28. Nasdaq is permitted to grant an extension of up to 180 days from the initial delinquent filing, or until April 8, for the company to regain compliance. The stock has fallen more than 77% since the problems first surfaced.

    OCZ data by YCharts.

    Sunday, February 17, 2013

    AIG Slips as Dow Treads Water

    It's not easy to stop a running of the bulls, and Friday's sideways Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) illustrated just that, as it gained 8 points, or less than 0.1%, to close at 13,981. The slight advance shows a reluctance to slow the hurried pace of the 2013 markets, even in the face of a big disappointment from the world's most dominant big-box retail store.

    Shares of Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) , after falling for five straight days, led all Dow performers, with a 1.6% gain today. Rumors are swirling that the iconic soda giant may buy energy drink company Monster Beverage (NASDAQ: MNST  ) , diversifying its product line into the popular world of pep-me-up drinks. After a disappointing fourth quarter, Coke could use some pep to its step, that's for sure.

    Here's a good rule of thumb for investors: Be wary of any company that has reached the point where top management terms its own sales a "total disaster." Such blunt negativity doesn't bode well for business. Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT  ) was that company today, as a vice president berated via email the month-to-date revenue in February, noting that it was the worst he's seen in seven years. This was sufficient to shave 2.2% off Wally World's stock price, making it the weakling of the Dow on Friday.�

    The market seems to have been fixated on big name hedge fund managers in the past few weeks and months. Keeping with that theme, American International Group (NYSE: AIG  ) was revealed to be the most widely held stock by hedge funds today, overtaking a struggling Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) . Promptly falling 2.2%, AIG's own institutional popularity may have been behind the profit taking today; investors in the financial giant have seen 44% gains in the last year.

    Lastly, Herbalife (NYSE: HLF  ) , up more than 20% at one point today, closed just 1.2% higher, after a steady decline during regular trading hours. Shares in the nutritional supplies company surged in early trading after famed activist investor Carl Icahn revealed a 13% ownership stake in the business yesterday. In another textbook case illustrating the influence of a handful of powerful investors, the stock gradually declined, as Icahn's pep talk on CNBC today failed to rally the stock further.

    After bringing the financial world to its knees, most investors are wary about owning a stake in AIG today. We'll fill you in on both reasons to buy and reasons to sell AIG, and what areas AIG investors need to watch going forward. Just click here now for instant access.