Saturday, May 25, 2013

Signet Jewelers Misses on Revenues but Beats on EPS

Signet Jewelers (NYSE: SIG  ) reported earnings on May 23. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended May 4 (Q1), Signet Jewelers missed estimates on revenues and beat slightly on earnings per share.

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

Gross margins dropped, operating margins were steady, net margins were steady.

Revenue details
Signet Jewelers chalked up revenue of $993.6 million. The nine analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ hoped for a top line of $1.02 billion on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were 10% higher than the prior-year quarter's $900.0 million.

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 $1.13. The 12 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ predicted $1.11 per share. GAAP EPS of $1.13 for Q1 were 18% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.96 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 38.5%, 80 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 14.4%, much about the same as the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 9.2%, much about the same as the prior-year quarter. (Margins calculated in GAAP terms.)

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $893.6 million. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.86.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $4.19 billion. The average EPS estimate is $4.83.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a two-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 73 members out of 95 rating the stock outperform, and 22 members rating it underperform. Among 25 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 22 give Signet Jewelers a green thumbs-up, and three give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Signet Jewelers is outperform, with an average price target of $72.63.

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Top 10 China Stocks To Invest In 2014

New numbers came out yesterday for Nokia's (NYSE: NOK  ) sales in China -- and things aren't looking good. The company failed to benefit from a prime gift-giving holiday, and even the new Lumia 920T hasn't turned the tide in the country.

Nokia's been busy in China over the past few months, but unfortunately, not all of it has paid off. At the end of 2012, the company jumped on board with China Mobile�to sell it's Lumia 920T, a move I thought would help the company.�Having the China Mobile advantage could have boosted sales over the past few months, but apparently it didn't work out that way.

Source: Nokia.

Nokia announced its Q1 2013 numbers today, and the figures show device sales in China falling 26% from the previous quarter -- and a jaw-dropping 63% decline year over year.

Top 10 China Stocks To Invest In 2014: LDK Solar Co. Ltd.(LDK)

LDK Solar Co., Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the design, development, manufacture, and marketing of photovoltaic (PV) products; and development of power plant projects. It offers solar-grade and semiconductor-grade polysilicon; and multicrystalline and monocrystalline solar wafers to the manufacturers of solar cells and solar modules. The company also provides wafer processing services to monocrystalline and multicrystalline solar cell and module manufacturers; and sells silicon materials, such as ingots and polysilicon scraps. In addition, it engages in the production and sale of solar cells and modules to developers, distributors, and system integrators; and design and development of solar power projects in Europe, the United States, and China, as well as provides engineering, procurement, and construction services. LDK Solar Co., Ltd. operates in Europe, the Asia Pacific, and North America. The company was founded in 2005 and is based in Xinyu City, t he People?s Republic of China.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Paul]

    LDK Solar Co., Inc.(NYSE: LDK) closing price in the stock market Tuesday, Jan. 3, was $4.38. LDK is trading 9.48% above its 50 day moving average and -11.82% below its 200 day moving average. LDK is -70.74% below its 52-week high of $14.97 and 71.76% above its 52-week low of $2.55. LDK‘s PE ratio is 6.53 and its market cap is $573.78M.

    LDK Solar Co., Inc. engages in the design, development, manufacture, and marketing of photovoltaic (PV) products; and development of power plant projects together with its subsidiaries. LDK offers solar-grade and semiconductor-grade polysilicon; and multicrystalline and monocrystalline solar wafers to the manufacturers of solar cells and solar modules.

Top 10 China Stocks To Invest In 2014: KongZhong Corporation(KONG)

KongZhong Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, provides wireless interactive entertainment, media, and community services to mobile phone users in the People's Republic of China. It also involves in the development, distribution, and marketing of consumer wireless value-added services, including wireless application protocol, multimedia messaging services, short messaging services, interactive voice response services, and color ring back tones. In addition, it offers interactive entertainment services, such as mobile games, pictures, karaoke, electronic books, mobile phone personalization features, entertainment news, chat, and message boards; and through offer news, community services, games, and other interactive media and entertainment services; and sells advertising space in the form of text-link, banner, and button advertisements. Further, the company develops and publishes mobile games, including downloadable mobile games and online mobile games cons isting of action, role-playing, and leisure games. As of December 31, 2009, it had a library of approximately 300 internally developed mobile games. Additionally, it develops online games; and provides consulting and technology services, as well as media and net book services. The company was formerly known as Communication Over The Air Inc. and changed its name to KongZhong Corporation in March 2004. KongZhong Corporation was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in Beijing, the People?s Republic of China

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Wyatt Research Staff]

    As a Chinese ADR, KONG is the leading provider of 2.5G wireless interactive entertainment, media and community services in terms of revenue to customers of company China Mobile. Institutions snatched up shares at an alarming rate with an increase of 26.7% in institutional ownership over the past three months.

    A consensus of analysts expect earnings to increase by 16.9% in 2011 and 19.6% in 2012. Company earnings are estimated to increase by 62.1% this year.

  • [By Louis Navellier]

    Thanks largely to the country’s tremendous economic growth, there’s a new middle class in China. They have more leisure time than ever before, and that means big opportunity for entertainment provider KongZhong Corporation (KONG).

    The company provides wireless interactive entertainment, media and community services to mobile phone users, but it also offers interactive entertainment services, including mobile games, pictures, logos, karaoke, electronic books and mobile phone personalization features such as ring tones. The Chinese love their cell phones, and KongZhong provides much of the content that goes on those phones.

    Investors certainly haven’t been hesitant to dial up shares of KONG, as the stock is up over 218% in the last 12 months.

    I rate KONG an A, making it a strong buy.

Top Beverage Companies To Buy Right Now: BHP Billiton Limited(BHP)

BHP Billiton Limited, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a diversified natural resources company worldwide. The company engages in the exploration, development, and production of oil and gas; mining and refining of bauxite into alumina, and smelting of alumina into aluminum metal; and mining of copper, silver, lead, zinc, molybdenum, uranium, gold, diamonds, and titanium minerals, as well as development of potash deposits. It also involves in the mining and production of nickel products, manganese ore, and manganese metal and alloys, as well as in the mining of iron ore, metallurgical coal, and thermal coal. BHP Billiton Limited sells its copper, lead, and zinc concentrates, and alumina to smelters; copper cathodes to wire rod mills, brass mills, and casting plants; uranium oxide to electricity generating utilities; rough diamonds to diamond buyers and diamond manufacturers; nickel products to stainless steel, specialty alloy, foundry, chemicals, and refractory ma terial industries; metallurgical coal to steel producers; and energy coal to power stations, power generators, and industrial users. The company, formerly known as BHP Limited, was founded in 1885 and is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Robert Hsu]

    The miner has agreed to purchase the iron-ore contract mining division of contractor Leighton Holdings, which services BHP Pilbara operations. This will allow the mining company to switch to an owner-operator model, leading to reduced cost and increased safety oversight.

    Iron ore accounts for about 40% of BHP’s earnings, and the move here is a good one for the company.

    In addition, BHP chairman Jacques Nasser recently discussed in an interview with China newswire Xinhua that his company is confident about sustained growth in China. Nasser said the global market turmoil has not changed the company’s view.

    Nasser said: "China will continue to grow. I was there recently, and I walked away believing their focus was right, that we may not see 10, 11, 12% growth anymore, but we will see 7, 8, 9% growth, and the texture of the growth may change." Buy BHP.

Top 10 China Stocks To Invest In 2014: Yanzhou Coal Mining Company Limited(YZC)

Yanzhou Coal Mining Company Limited engages in the underground mining, preparation, and sale of coal. It involves in manufacturing, washing, processing, and selling steam coal used in the electricity power sector; and metallurgical coal used with coking coal in the process of pulverized coal injection, as well as operates six coal mines. The company also engages in the provision of railway transportation services; production and sale of coal chemicals, primarily methanol; and generation of electricity and heat. In addition, it involves in the manufacture and sale of mining machinery and engine products; and development of integrated coal technology. Further, the company engages in the transportation via rivers and lakes; sale of construction materials; and trading and processing of mining machinery. It has operations primarily in China, Japan, South Korea, and Australia. The company was founded in 1973 and is based in Zoucheng, the People's Republic of China. Yanzhou Coal Mining Company Limited is a subsidiary of Yankuang Group Corporation Limited.

Top 10 China Stocks To Invest In 2014: General Steel Holdings Inc. (GSI)

General Steel Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and sale of steel products in the People's Republic of China. It offers hot-rolled carbon and silicon steel sheets primarily for use in the production of small agricultural vehicles and other specialty markets; spiral-weld pipes for the energy sector primarily to transport oil and steam; and high-speed wire and reinforced bar products for the construction industry. The company sells its products primarily to distributors. General Steel Holdings, Inc. was founded in 1988 and is headquartered in Beijing, the People?s Republic of China.

Top 10 China Stocks To Invest In 2014: China Gerui Advanced Materials Group Limited(CHOP)

China Gerui Advanced Materials Group Limited engages in the manufacture and sale of cold-rolled narrow strip steel products in the People's Republic of China. The company converts steel manufactured by third parties into thin steel sheets and strips. It sells its products directly to its customers in a range of industries, including food and industrial packaging, construction and household decorations materials, electrical appliances, and telecommunications wires and cables industries. The company was formerly known as Golden Green Enterprises Limited and changed its name to China Gerui Advanced Materials Group Limited in December 2009. China Gerui Advanced Materials Group Limited is based in Zhengzhou, China.

Top 10 China Stocks To Invest In 2014: Euro/Yen(EJ)

E-House (China) Holdings Limited, through its subsidiaries, operates as a real estate services company in China. It provides primary real estate agency services, secondary real estate brokerage services, real estate information and consulting services, real estate advertising services, real estate promotional event services, real estate online services, and real estate investment fund management services. The company offers primary real estate agency services to real estate developers. Its secondary real estate brokerage services include offering advisory services on choices of properties; accompanying potential buyers on house viewing trips; drafting purchase contracts; negotiating price and other terms; and providing preliminary proof of title, as well as coordinating with the notary, the bank, and the title transfer agency. The company also provides real estate information services comprising data subscription services and data integration services; and real estate cons ulting services, including land acquisition consulting, development consulting, marketing consulting, and comprehensive solution consulting. In addition, it offers real estate advertising services consisting of advertising design and sales in print and other media; and real estate promotional event services, including securing venues, hiring caters and other various service providers, formulating event themes, and inviting speakers and guests for real estate promotional events. Further, the company provides real estate online services, including real estate news, information, property data, and access to online communities to real estate consumers and participants through local Web sites; and involves in real estate investment fund management activities that consist of investments in China?s real estate sector. E-House (China) Holdings Limited was founded in 2000 and is headquartered in Shanghai, the People?s Republic of China.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By ChemTrade]

    Founded in 2000, E-House (EJ) is a leading real estate service company in China. It has a large scope of services, good brand recognition and a strong geographic presence. The company provides primary real estate agency services, secondary real estate brokerage services as well as real estate consulting and information services.

Top 10 China Stocks To Invest In 2014: China Mobile(Hong Kong)

China Mobile Limited, an investment holding company, provides mobile telecommunications and related services primarily in the Mainland China. It offers various services comprising local calls, domestic long distance calls, international long distance calls, domestic roaming, and international roaming. The company also provides voice value-added services, including caller identity display, caller restrictions, call waiting, call forwarding, call holding, voice mail, and conference calls; customer-to-customer messages and corporate short message services; and mobile Internet access services. In addition, it engages in other data businesses, which primarily include multimedia messaging services; color ring services that enable users to customize the answer ring tone from various selection of songs, melodies, sound effects, or voice recordings; and mobile reading, mobile gaming, mobile video, mobile payment/wallet, mobile TV, mobile market, and Internet data center services. F urther, the company offers telecommunications network planning, design, and consulting services; roaming clearance services; technology platform development and maintenance services; and mobile data solutions, and system integration and development services, as well as operates a network and business coordination center. Additionally, China Mobile Limited sells mobile phone handsets and devices. As of March 31, 2011, it served approximately 600.8 million customers. The company was formerly known as China Mobile (Hong Kong) Limited and changed its name to China Mobile Limited in May 2006. China Mobile was founded in 1997. The company is based in Central, Hong Kong, and is considered a Red Chip company due to its listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. China Mobile Limited is a subsidiary of China Mobile Hong Kong (BVI) Limited.

Top 10 China Stocks To Invest In 2014: Inc.(NTES), Inc., an Internet technology company, engages in the development of applications, services, and other technologies for the Internet in China. It provides online game services to Internet users through the in-house development or licensing of massively multi-player online role-playing games, including Fantasy Westward Journey, Westward Journey Online II, Westward Journey Online III, Tianxia II, Heroes of Tang Dynasty, and Datang, as well as the licensed game, Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft. The company also offers online advertising on its Web sites. In addition, NetEase has paid listings on its search engine and Web directory, and classified advertising services, as well as an online mall, which provides opportunities for e-commerce and traditional businesses to establish their own storefront on the Internet. Further, it provides wireless value-added services, such as news and information content, matchmaking services, music, and photos from the We b over SMS, MMS, WAP, IVR, and Color Ring-back Tone technologies. Additionally, the company offers community services, including instant messaging, online personal advertisements, matchmaking, alumni clubs, and community forums; and aggregates news content on world events, sports, science and technology, and financial markets, as well as entertainment content, such as cartoons, games, astrology, and jokes from over 100 international and domestic content providers., Inc. was founded in 1997 and is based in Beijing, the People?s Republic of China.

Top 10 China Stocks To Invest In 2014: eLong Inc.(LONG)

eLong, Inc. operates as an online travel service provider in the People?s Republic of China. The company provides its customers with travel information and the ability to book rooms, air tickets, vacation packages, and other travel related services utilizing call center and Web-based distribution technologies. It facilitates the customers to book rooms in approximately 10,000 hotels in 450 cities across China, and fulfills air ticket reservations in approximately 80 cities across China. In addition, the company offers the ability to book rooms at approximately 100,000 hotels outside of China; and provides the customers informative content relevant to hotel and air travel decisions, including tourist and event site destination information, hotel facility information, and photos. eLong markets its services through online marketing, traditional media advertising, co-marketing with established brands of other companies, and direct marketing. The company was founded in 1999 and is headquartered in Beijing, the People?s Republic of China. eLong, Inc. operates as a subsidiary of Expedia Asia Pacific Limited.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By cnAnalyst]

    eLong, Inc. (ADR) (NASDAQ:LONG) is the 10th best-performing stock last month in this segment of the market. It was up 62.09% for the past month. Its price percentage change was 17.47% year-to-date.

Why Tesla's First-Quarter Results Matter Less Than You Think

Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) is set to report its first-quarter-earnings results tomorrow after the bell. Shares of Tesla rallied earlier this week, after the company announced it hired Chris Porritt from Aston Martin for the role of Tesla vice president of vehicle engineering. The stock even climbed to a fresh high of $60 a share on Tuesday. However, with the stock up more than 100% in the last six months some traders think the stock will pull back on earnings. Here's why Tesla shareholders shouldn't put too much focus on Tesla's quarterly results.

We already know that the electric-vehicle maker is set to report its first quarterly profit ever as a public company. Becoming profitable is important because it proves that Tesla is a viable business. However, quarterly results are far less important for a company such as Tesla than they are for more established automakers.

"There is a need to think like a venture capitalist to value Tesla, given its position in a nascent market," according to Barclays analyst Brian A. Johnson. Tesla is a long-term play and only investors who plan to own shares for the next five or more years should own shares here. While quarterly results are important, they're not the whole story.

Get the whole scoop on this disruptive stock
Near-faultless execution has led Tesla Motors to the brink of success, but the road ahead remains a hard one. Despite progress, a looming question remains: Will Tesla be able to fend off its big-name competitors? The Motley Fool answers this question and more in our most in-depth Tesla research available for smart investors like you. Thousands have already claimed their own premium ticker coverage, and you can gain instant access to your own by clicking here now.

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More Expert Advice from The Motley Fool
The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for the next year. Find out which stock in our brand-new free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2013." I invite you to take a copy, free for a limited time. Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

3 Factors Keeping Oil Above $90 a Barrel

The gushing oil well at Spindletop Dome in Beaumont, Texas, is one of the most iconic images in the history of oil. When the well hit paydirt, oil spewed 150 feet into the air at a staggering rate of 100,000 barrels per day. 

We've come a long way since that Spindletop gusher 112 years ago, and today's industry faces greater challenges finding new sources that can be sold at a reasonable rate of return.

On a recent conference call, Core Laboratories (NYSE: CLB  ) CEO David Demshur stated that outside some of the best spots in the U.S., oil producers in the U.S. will slow down exploration if oil prices are to remain below $90 for a sustained amount of time. Let's look at a few factors that might give some credence to Demshur's claim.

1. Higher resource costs. According to Cheaspeake Energy (NYSE: CHK  ) , the average shale well in the U.S. is drilled to 7,800 feet vertically plus several thousand feet horizontally and is injected with more than 5 million gallons of water, sand, and chemicals to fracture the tight pores where the oil is hidden. All of this effort is for an average initial production rate of about 450 barrels per day. 

All of that extra work to tap a well translates into using resources -- a lot of them. The list of requirements for a new well is so staggering, even the price of food products can affect how much it costs to drill a well. in Q2 of 2012, Halliburton (NYSE: HAL  ) took a big hit on earnings because the company overspent on guar gum, a thickening agent it needs for fracking fluids. When all of these kinds of costs are added up, the average well in the U.S. today costs about $6 million to $11 million. 

It's plain and simple: Money just doesn't go as far as it used to. According to a report by Barclays, spending in the exploration and production sector increased 19% and 11% in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Over that time period, output increased only 0.1% in 2011 and 2.2% through first 10 months of 2012. The increased costs to get marginal results back will ultimately result in higher prices. 

2. Location, location, location. To add insult to injury, these higher costs are compounded by the fact that the places where we're finding oil are in remote, hard-to-reach locations. Whenever a company ventures off into one of these remote locations in search for oil, it's a higher-risk situation that involves a lot of costs.

There are two great examples of these kinds of sources to the north: the Alaskan offshore and Canadian oil sands. These two regions have been giving exploration and production companies headaches for years. Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A  ) has spent $5 billion over the past five years trying to tap a potential source in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska, and so far it doesn't have a drop to show for it. Also, because of high costs and slumping prices, several producers are shelving plans to build out Canadian oil sands, with French giant Total (NYSE: TOT  ) taking a $1.6 billion loss to completely walk away from the project.

What makes these projects unattractive? The breakeven costs. A Wood Makenzie study recently showed that the breakeven cost for a new Canadian oil sands project is between $65 and $100 per barrel, depending on the type of extraction. Add transportation and a rate of return, and these projects don't make economic sense unless oil prices are high. 

3. Taxes and regulation. It costs a pretty penny to do business in the oil and gas space. According to the EIA, about 11% of the price of a gallon of gas foes to federal, state, and local taxes.

Source: US Energy Information Administration.

If the recent budget proposal from the Obama administration were to pass as is, though, that could change. The additional taxes and fees for the industry could total as much as $90 billion over the next 10 years. It's very unlikely that oil companies will be happy to let these additional taxes eat into profit, so we will probably see an uptick in oil if these proposals were to be enacted. 

You also have to take into account regulation, safety, and liability costs. According to a report by Lux Research, oil companies pay about $0.70 per barrel of oil on safety regulations, but that figure could be going up. The industry is expected to spend an additional $21 billion over the next 20 years. What's more expensive, though, is a spill. It's estimated that the liability costs for cleaning up is about $8,000 per spilled barrel.

Much of the public demands that oil and gas drilling be safer, but we will have to be willing to shoulder higher oil prices if we expect oil companies conduct their business in a safer, more environmentally friendly way. 

What a Fool believes
Oil and gas prices are generally based on supply and demand, but there are also a myriad of economical, social, and political factors that can pull prices in several different directions. Of course, factors such as seasonal demand and speculation swing prices up and down rather quickly, but the underlying costs of doing business in the oil industry today are going to keep prices high for the foreseeable future.

Domestic oil and gas service companies have taken a hit in the recent past due to a slowdown in the natural gas drilling boom of the last couple of years. As this market looks to rebound, investors would be wise to consider Halliburton, one of the top companies in the business and one of those most in tune with the domestic market. To access The Motley Fool's new premium research report on this industry stalwart, simply click here now and learn everything you need to know about how Halliburton is positioning itself both at home and abroad.

Friday, May 24, 2013

How to Look at Growth Over the Long Term

If you feel strongly that a company is going to grow over the next decade, should you really care how much it grows this quarter? Foolish investors who keep a long-term perspective can often take advantage of short-term misses to profit from well-run businesses.

It's hard to believe that a grocery store could book investors more than 30 times their initial investment, but that's just what Whole Foods has done for those who saw the organic trend coming some 20 years ago. However, it may not be too late to participate in the long-term growth of this organic foods powerhouse. In this premium report on the company, we walk through the key must-know items for every Whole Foods investor, including the main opportunities and threats facing the company. So make sure to claim your copy today by clicking here.

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More Expert Advice from The Motley Fool
The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for the next year. Find out which stock in our brand-new free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2013." I invite you to take a copy, free for a limited time. Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

10 Best Restaurant Stocks To Watch For 2014

Retail sales figures from March started pouring in yesterday, and it looks like there are only a few winners. Gap (NYSE: GPS  ) saw comparable sales drop 1% in March. Buckle (NYSE: BKE  ) had flat sales, and even TJX (NYSE: TJX  ) had a 2% decline. The culprit -- if you feel obligated to look further than branding and management -- might be weather.

The weather mentality
Luckily, there are all sorts of interesting studies that people have done to indicate why we're prone to shop in one kind of weather and not in another. The unsurprising conclusion of this research is that we get thrown off easily. If it's supposed to be freezing cold and is, then we shop just fine. If it's supposed to be freezing cold but it's warm, we get flustered. It's like going to your favorite restaurant only to discover that they've changed the menu, and now it's all soy and things with tentacles.

10 Best Restaurant Stocks To Watch For 2014: Owens & Minor Inc.(OMI)

Owens & Minor, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides distribution, third-party logistics, and other supply-chain management services to healthcare providers and suppliers of medical and surgical products. Its services include logistics, supplier management, analytics inventory management, outsourced resource management, clinical supply management, and business process consulting. The company also offers various services comprising PANDAC, an operating room-focused inventory management program that helps healthcare providers to control suture and endo-mechanical inventory; SurgiTrack, a customizable surgical supply service that includes the assembly and delivery of surgical supplies in procedure-based totes; OMSolutions, a supply-chain consulting, customer technology, and resource management service; and WISDOM Gold, an Internet-based supply spend management, data normalization, and contract management solution. In addition, it provides Clinical Supply Solutions, a n inventory and contract management service; and Implant Purchase Manager, a technology-based service, as well as owns OM HealthCare Logistics, a customized third-party logistics and business process outsourcing service. Further, the company distributes medical and surgical supplies to the acute-care market. It serves federal government, including the U.S. department of defense; and alternate-site providers, such as ambulatory surgery centers, physicians? practices, clinics, home healthcare organizations, nursing homes, and rehabilitation facilities, as well as provides distribution and supply-chain management services that include third-party logistics and business process outsourcing services to manufacturers of medical and surgical products. Owens & Minor, Inc. was founded in 1882 and is headquartered in Mechanicsville, Virginia.

10 Best Restaurant Stocks To Watch For 2014: HDFC Bank Ltd (HDB)

HDFC Bank Limited (HDFC Bank), incorporated in August 1994, is a banking company engaged in providing a range of banking and financial services, including commercial banking and treasury operations. The Bank has overseas branch operations in Bahrain and Hong Kong. The Bank operates in four segments: treasury, which primarily consists of net interest earnings from the Bank�� investment portfolio, money market borrowing and lending, gains or losses on investment operations and on account of trading in foreign exchange and derivative contracts; retail banking, which serves retail customers through a branch network and other delivery channels; wholesale banking, which provides loans, non-fund facilities and transaction services to corporate, public sector units, government bodies, financial institutions and medium scale enterprises, and other banking business, segment includes income from para banking activities, such as credit cards, debit cards, third party product distribution, primary dealership business and the associated costs. Revenues of the retail banking segment are derived from interest earned on retail loans, net of commission (net of subvention received) paid to sales agents and interest earned from other segments for surplus funds placed with those segments, fees from services rendered, foreign exchange earnings on retail products.

Retail Banking

The Bank is a financial services provider of various deposit products, of retail loans (auto loans, personal loans, commercial vehicle loans, mortgages, business banking, loan against gold jewellery), credit cards, debit cards, depository (custody services), investment advisory, bill payments and several transactional services. Apart from its own products, the Bank distributes third party financial products, such as mutual funds and life and general insurance. As of March 31, 2012, the Bank had 2,544 branches in 1,399 Indian cities. The Bank had 8,913 automated teller machines (ATMs) during the fiscal year ended March 31,! 2012. In addition to the Bank does home loans in conjunction with HDFC Limited. Under this arrangement the Bank sells loans provided by HDFC Limited through its branches. HDFC Limited approves and disburses the loans, which are booked in their books, with the Bank receiving a sourcing fee for these loans. HDFC Limited offers the Bank an option to purchase up to 70% of the fully disbursed home loans sourced under this arrangement through either the issue of mortgage backed pass through certificates (PTCs) or by a direct assignment of loans; the balance is retained by HDFC Limited. It also distributes life, general insurance and mutual fund products through its tie-ups with insurance companies and mutual fund houses.

Wholesale Banking

The Bank provides its corporate and institutional clients a range of commercial and transactional banking products. The Bank�� commercial banking business covers the corporate sector, the emerging corporate segments and some small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The Bank has a number of business groups catering to various segments of its wholesale banking customers with a range of banking services covering their working capital, term finance, trade services, cash management, foreign exchange and electronic banking requirements. The Bank�� financial institutions and government business group (FIG) offers commercial and transaction banking products to financial institutions, mutual funds, public sector undertakings, central and state government departments. The main focus for this segment is offering various deposit and transaction banking products to this segment besides offering funded, non-funded treasury and foreign exchange products.

The Bank provides its customers both working capital and term financing. The Bank�� corporate banking business includes cash management and vendor and distributor (supply chain) finance products. The Bank has a wholesale banking branch in Bahrain, a branch in Hong Kong and two representative offic! es in the! United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kenya. The branches offer the Bank�� suite of banking services including treasury and trade finance products to its corporate clients. The Bank offers wealth management products, remittance facilities and markets deposits to the non-resident Indian community from its representative offices.


The treasury group is responsible for compliance with reserve requirements and management of liquidity and interest rate risk on the Bank�� balance sheet. On the foreign exchange and derivatives front, revenues are driven primarily by spreads on customer transactions based on trade flows and customers��demonstrated hedging needs. The Bank offers Indian rupee and foreign exchange derivative products to its customers. The Bank enters into foreign exchange and derivative deals with counterparties after it has set up appropriate counterparty credit limits based on its evaluation of the ability of the counterparty to meet its obligations in the event of crystallization of the exposure. The Bank also deals in Indian rupee derivatives on its own account, including for the purpose of its own balance sheet risk management.

Other banking business

The Bank has two subsidiaries: HDFC Securities Limited (HSL) and HDB Financial Services Limited (HDBFS). HSL is primarily in the business of providing brokerage services through the Internet and other channels. As of March 31, 2012, HSL had a network of 184 branches across the country. HDBFS is a non-deposit taking non-bank finance company (NBFC). Apart from lending to individuals, it grants loans to small and medium business enterprises and micro small and medium enterprises, the principle businesses of HDBFS include loans, which offers a range of loans in the secured and unsecured loans space that fulfill the financial needs of its target segment; insurance services, HDBFS is a corporate agent for HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company and sells insurance products ,as well as products, ! such as L! oan Cover and Asset Cover, and collections-BPO services, which runs six call centres. These centres cover collection requirements at over 200 towns through its calling and field teams. As on March 31, 2012, HDBFS had 180 branches in 135 cities in order to distribute its products and services.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Halah Touryalai]

    The largest privately owned retail bank in India with a network of 1,986 branches in 996 cities across the country. The bank has a strong deposit franchise and technology backbone.  EPS has grown at a rate of 26% per year, over the past 10 years.

Best Japanese Stocks To Buy Right Now: Clearfield Inc.(CLFD)

Clearfield, Inc. offers telecommunications equipment and products in the United States. It engages in the design and manufacture of standard and custom connectivity products, such as fiber distribution systems, optical components, outside plant cabinets, and fiber and copper cable assemblies. The company?s products include Clearview cassettes; Clearview xPAK to land small port count fiber terminations and optical components; Fieldsmart fiber crossover distribution systems that provide fiber management modularity and scalability across the fiber network; FieldSmart fiber scalability center, a modular and scalable outside plant cabinet, which allow users to align their capital equipment expense with subscriber revenue; and FieldSmart fiber delivery point product line for the access network that incorporates the delivery of fiber connectivity to the neighborhood or business district. It also offers FieldSmart Small Count Delivery, a series of enclosure systems and wall-mount enclosures optimized for environments, such as cell backhaul, business class service delivery, node segmentation, and fiber exhaust in a field pedestal, sub-station turn-up, or fiber-to-the-desk deployment; and CraftSmart, a line of optical protection field enclosures used in the fiber industry for the optimization of fiber protection and storage. In addition, the company packages optical components for signal coupling, splitting, termination, multiplexing, demultiplexing, and attenuation for a seamless integration within its fiber management platform. It serves communication service providers consisting of fiber-to-the-premises; large enterprises; and original equipment manufacturer markets through various sales channels comprising direct to customers, distribution partners, and original equipment suppliers. The company was formerly known as APA Enterprises, Inc. and changed its name to Clearfield, Inc. in January 2008. The company was founded in 1979 and is headquartered in Plymouth, Minnesota.

10 Best Restaurant Stocks To Watch For 2014: Circa Enterprises Inc (CTO.V)

Circa Enterprises Inc. engages in the design, manufacture, marketing, and sale of surge protection and related telecommunications products primarily in the United States and Canada. The company�s surge protection products provide primary protection to telephone systems and data transmission equipment against voltage surges. It offers indoor and outdoor building entrance terminals, central office connectors, surge protection modules, station protectors, station protection enclosures, and 5 pin protector modules; and custom original equipment manufacturer products for the telecommunications sector, including rack mount protectors, test cords, and panels primarily for large outdoor cabinets. The company is also involved in the precision metal fabrication business; and designs, manufactures, markets, and sells pole line hardware, mining hardware, transmission hardware, anchors, bolts, washers, transformer hardware, arrestor brackets, insulators, forgings, meter sockets, enclo sures, and industrial bus duct and generator switches, as well as grounding, distribution, and communication hardware to the electrical industry. It sells its products directly, as well as through distributor networks. The company was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in Calgary, Canada.

10 Best Restaurant Stocks To Watch For 2014: Roma Financial Corporation(ROMA)

Roma Financial Corporation operates as a holding company for Roma Bank and RomAsia Bank that provide traditional retail banking services primarily in New Jersey. The company offers current deposit products, including checking and savings accounts, money market, certificates of deposit accounts, and individual retirement accounts. It also provides one-to four-family residential mortgage loans; multi-family and commercial mortgage loans; construction loans; commercial business loans; and consumer loans comprising home equity loans and lines of credit. In addition, the company sells title insurance; performs title searches; and provides real estate settlement and closing services. It operates 23 branch offices in Mercer, Burlington, Camden, and Ocean Counties, New Jersey; and 2 branches in Monmouth Junction and Edison, New Jersey. The company was founded in 1920 and is headquartered in Robbinsville, New Jersey.

10 Best Restaurant Stocks To Watch For 2014: Brazilian Real(BK)

The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, a financial services company, provides various products and services worldwide. The company offers a range of equity, fixed income, cash, and alternative/overlay products, as well as distributes investment management products. It also provides investment management, wealth and estate planning, and private banking solutions to high-net-worth individuals and families, charitable gift programs, endowments and foundations, and related entities, as well as offers mutual funds, separate accounts, and annuities. In addition, the company provides global custody and fund, securities lending, investment manager outsourcing, performance and risk analytics, alternative investment, securities clearance, collateral management, corporate trust, broker-dealer, and employee investment plan services, as well as clearing services and global payment/working capital solutions to institutional clients. Further, it offers American and global depositary re ceipt programs, cash management solutions, payment services, liquidity services, foreign exchange, global clearing and execution, managed account services, and global prime brokerage solutions to corporations, public funds, government agencies, foundations, and endowments; global financial institutions, including banks, broker-dealers, asset managers, insurance companies and central banks; and financial intermediaries, independent registered investment advisors, and hedge fund managers. Additionally, the company provides credit-related services, and global markets and institutional banking services; engages in business exits, and corporate treasury activities; and leases financing portfolios. The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation was founded in 1784 and is headquartered in New York, New York.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Elissa]

    The Bank of New York Mellon was formed by a merger in 2007 and serves many institutions, corporations and wealthy individuals across the country. With assets equivalent to $325 billion, the company focuses on asset and wealth management for its customers.

10 Best Restaurant Stocks To Watch For 2014: Bank of Marin Bancorp(BMRC)

Bank of Marin Bancorp operates as the bank holding company for Bank of Marin that offers a range of commercial and retail banking products and services in California. It offers personal and business checking and savings accounts; time deposit alternatives comprising time certificates of deposit, individual retirement accounts, health savings accounts, and certificate of deposit account registry services; remote deposit capture, direct deposit of payroll, social security and pension checks, fraud prevention services, and image lockbox services; and valet deposit pick-up service. The company provides its deposit products and services primarily to individuals, merchants, small to medium sized businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and professionals. Its loan portfolio comprises commercial and retail lending programs that include commercial loans and lines of credit, construction financing, consumer loans, and home equity lines of credit. In addition, the company provides m erchant card services, credit cards, and business Visa programs; cash management services to business clients through a third party vendor; wealth management and trust services, such as customized investment portfolio management, financial planning, trust administration, estate settlement and custody services, and advice on charitable giving; and 401(k) plan services to small and medium businesses through a third party vendor. Further, it provides private banking services, including deposit services and loans; international banking services; and automated teller machine, Internet banking, and telephone banking services. As of April 25, 2011, Bank of Marin Bancorp operated 17 branch offices in Marin, San Francisco, Napa, and Sonoma counties. The company was founded in 1989 and is headquartered in Novato, California.

10 Best Restaurant Stocks To Watch For 2014: 888 holdings ord gbp0.005(888.L)

888 Holdings plc operates as an online gaming entertainment company in Europe, the Americas, and internationally. It owns proprietary software solutions that provide a range of virtual online gaming services over the Internet, including casino, poker, bingo, sport, and games to end users, as well as provides these services through its business to business unit to business partners. The company operates and that offer casino games;, which provides poker games; that offers sportsbook games; and, which provide bingo games; that offers betting exchanges; and, which allows customers to practice their gaming skills for fun through various casino and poker games. The company also offers social and mobile games; and payment, customer support, and online advertising services. The company was founded in 1997 and is based in Gibraltar, Gibraltar.

10 Best Restaurant Stocks To Watch For 2014: SINOPEC Shangai Petrochemical Company Ltd.(SHI)

Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Company Limited engages in the production of polypropylene compound products, polypropylene products, acrylic fiber products, petrochemical products, synthetic fibers, resins and plastics, and petroleum products in China and internationally. It also involves in the import and export of petrochemical products and equipment. The company was founded in 1972 and is based in Shanghai, the People's Republic of China. Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Company Limited is a subsidiary of China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation.

10 Best Restaurant Stocks To Watch For 2014: Flextronics International Ltd.(FLEX)

Flextronics International Ltd. provides design and electronics manufacturing services to original equipment manufacturers. The company offers its services to a range of products in the infrastructure, mobile communication devices, computing, consumer digital devices, industrial, semiconductor capital equipment, clean technology, aerospace and defense, white goods, automotive and marine, and medical devices markets. Its services include design and engineering services, such as contract design, joint development manufacturing, and original design and manufacturing services in a range of technical competencies that include system architecture, user interface and industrial design, mechanical engineering, enclosure systems, thermal and tooling design, electronic system design, reliability and failure analysis, and component level development engineering; and systems assembly and manufacturing services, including enclosures, testing, and materials procurement and inventory mana gement services. The company also offers various component product solutions comprising rigid and flexible printed circuit board fabrication, display and touch solutions, optomechatronics, and power supplies; after market supply chain logistics services; and reverse logistics and repair services, such as returns management, exchange programs, complex repair, asset recovery, recycling, and e-waste management services for consumer and midrange products, printers, PDA's, mobile phones, consumer medical devices, notebooks, PC's, set-top boxes, game consoles, and infrastructure products. It has operations in Asia, the Americas, and Europe. Flextronics International Ltd. was founded in 1990 and is headquartered in Singapore.

New Durable Goods Orders Up 3.3% for April

5 Reasons to Worry About Next Week

The economy is showing signs of fumbling the recovery.

Even though some Fed members have suggested easing back on central bank stimulus, the coast isn't exactly clear. Despite the spike in home sales and this week's better-than-expected report on new claims for jobless benefits, we still saw a report showing that manufacturing has slowed for the second month in a row.

The news isn't just iffy on the macro level. There are also more than a few companies that aren't pulling their own weight in this supposed economic recovery.

There are still plenty of names posting lower earnings than they did a year ago. Let's go over a few of the companies that are expected to go the wrong way on the bottom line next week.


Latest Quarter EPS (estimated)

Year-Ago Quarter EPS

Seadrill (NYSE: SDRL  )



Guidewire (NYSE: GWRE  )



Splunk (NASDAQ: SPLK  )



Yingli Green Energy (NYSE: YGE  )



Joy Global (NYSE: JOY  )



Source: Thomson Reuters.

Clearing the table
Let's start at the top with Seadrill. The deep-sea offshore oil-drilling rig contractor has been magnetic to income investors seeking out beefy dividends. Seadrill's 8.4% yield is certainly attractive. Is it sustainable? Payout chasers need to be careful when their investments start reporting dips in profitability. If the trend continues to worsen, the chunky dividend checks will be endangered.

Thankfully, that isn't the case at Seadrill. Yes, net income is expected to take a hit in Tuesday's report, but analyst see earnings climbing 29% for all of 2013 and another 31% come next year.

Guidewire is a provider of enterprise software solutions for the property and casualty insurance industry. It went public last year at $13, and has gone on to more than triple in value. You certainly don't expect that kind of ascending stock chart to be accompanied by a company with profits going the other way.

Top-line growth is still there. The pros see Guidwire's revenue increasing at a reasonable 12% clip in its latest quarter. The problem here is contracting margins, and that often happens when a company is early in its growth cycle and investing in expanding its reach.

Splunk is another of last year's hot IPOs. The "big data" specialist has gone on to more than double since going public at $17.

Splunk provides the software that thousands of companies, government agencies, and universities use to get smarter by analyzing the streams of real-time and historical machine data that can be used to improve operations.

Just like Guidewire, there isn't a growth crisis at Splunk. Analysts see a hearty 45% surge in revenue. The problem here is that Splunk has been losing money. It did manage to squeeze out a rare profitable showing three months ago, but the pros see a return to red ink this time around.

Yingli's future is bright. Few deny the long-term significance of solar energy. The problem for Yingli is that dicey global economies have forced countries and corporations to scale back on the costly initial outlays to go public, leaving the vertically integrated maker of photovoltaic products posting widening losses.

Shares of Yingli did open sharply higher today after it announced a lucrative deal to provide multicrystalline photovoltaic modules to a major Malaysian power plant. However, that deal obviously had no bearing on Yingli's recently concluded quarter.

Finally, we have Joy Global. The maker of mining equipment was a big winner when metal prices were soaring and emerging markets were digging deep for natural resources. It's a different scene these days, and Joy Global joins Yingli as a company projected to post a sharp drop on the bottom line and a double-digit percentage decline in revenue.

Joy Global has managed to beat profit targets in three of its past four quarters, but analysts don't see its revenue growing again on an annual basis until fiscal 2015.

Why the long face, short-seller?
These companies have seen better days. The market has rewarded many of these stocks with reasonable gains over the past year, but they still haven't earned those upticks. Lower earnings translates into higher earnings multiples, and nobody wants to see that happen.

The good news here is that Wall Street already expects these companies to deliver shrinking bottom lines. In other words, the bad news is already baked into the shares.

The more I think about it, the less worried I become.

Start moving in the right direction
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Vodafone Group Increases Dividend By 7% to Yield 5.1%

LONDON -- Vodafone  (LSE: VOD  ) (NASDAQ: VOD  )  released its final results this morning, and announced that the group's revenue saw a decline of 4.2% on a reported basis to 44.4 billion pounds, while EBITDA fell 3.1% to 13.3 billion pounds.

This was mainly caused by the continued turbulent conditions in Southern Europe, which has seen the company cut prices there in an attempt to keep its customers and as such revenue for the region fell 16.7% on a reported basis.

However, group adjusted operating profit rose 9.3% to 12 billion pounds, which was above previous guidance, and adjusted earnings per share increased 5% at 15.65 pence, following success elsewhere in the business.

Vodafone Red, the company's "new strategic approach to pricing and our customer proposition," was launched in 14 countries, and had 4.1 million customers as of May 12, 2013, with "very positive initial results".

Vodafone's cash cow and joint-venture with Verizon Communications, Verizon Wireless, saw service revenue up 8.1%, which led to the British-based company's share of profits up 30.5% to 6.4 billion pounds.

While there was no update on the talks between the two telecoms giants about a potential buyout of Vodafone's stake or a potential merger, this morning's results did confirm that the 2.1 billion pound dividend due to be received from Wireless will be reinvested into Vodafone's business.

The group was able to lift its total ordinary dividends per share by 7% today for a final figure of 10.19 pence and thus, with the shares up marginally in early trade to 197.93 pence, it brings Vodafone onto a current yield of 5.1%.

Group chief executive Vittorio Colao commented:

Thanks to further strong progress this year in our key areas of strategic focus -data, enterprise and emerging markets-and an excellent performance from VZW, we have achieved good growth in adjusted operating profit and adjusted earnings per share. However, we have faced headwinds from a combination of continued tough economic conditions, particularly in Southern Europe, and an adverse European regulatory environment. 

With the announcement of today's 7% increase, the ordinary dividend per share has grown over 22% in the last three years. The Board remains focused on balancing ongoing shareholder remuneration with the long-term investment needs of the business, and going forward aims at least to maintain the ordinary dividend per share at current levels.

Of course, whether today's results make Vodafone a buy is something only you can decide. But if you are looking for alternative investment opportunities, this exclusive wealth report reviews five particularly attractive possibilities.

Indeed, all five opportunities offer a mix of robust prospects, illustrious histories and dependable dividends, and have just been declared by the Fool as "5 Shares You Can Retire On"!

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

CME Group Keeps Dividend Steady

The Apple Stock Slump Doesn't Matter as Much as You Think

International Fears and More Speculation Drag Dow Lower

After a few days of no real news earlier in the week, the markets seem to be using up all their stored energy. With the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) losing 80 points yesterday after spiking in earlier trading, the downward trend continues today. Down 49 points just after 11 a.m. EDT, the index is suffering from more speculation and discouraging international activity.

Outside the U.S.
The Asian markets fell overnight, with the Japanese Nikkei dropping 7.3% by the time the markets closed. With weak manufacturing data from China and increased bond yields in Japan, the pressure on the markets was too great. European markets followed suit, though losses were not as severe. Both the unexpected contraction in China and the eurozone are unsettling to U.S. investors.

Closer to home
With yesterday's ambiguous testimony from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on the future of the stimulus program, there is continued speculation that the current policy may be tapered back as soon as next month -- which is helping to send the markets lower this morning. Though Bernanke said that there would be no changes and that the policy would be adjusted as needed, yesterday's release of the latest FOMC meeting minutes showed clear division among members, with some calling for the bond buybacks to be cut soon.

One of the clear statements made by Bernanke is creating some added concern this morning. Since the stimulus program is directed at supporting job growth, Bernanke said that improvements in the labor market would largely drive the decision to begin paring down the program. With this morning's unemployment report showing continued declines in new jobless claims, there is concern that this is the sign the policymakers have been waiting for.

Inside the Dow
Banks with large international components have been hit hard this morning, with both JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM  ) and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) dropping in early trading. As of this writing, the losses are 0.63% for JPM and 0.49% for BAC -- though both have recovered slightly from larger drops within the first hour of trading. Outside the Dow, Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) has also dropped 1.77%. Since it is more focused on international operations than its peers, the bigger drop is to be expected. Although all three banks have operations in Asia that may be suffering from slower economies, operations in other emerging markets have often offset the Asian markets' weakness.

Helping limit the Dow's losses this morning is Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) . The tech company is soaring after better-than-expected earnings prove that CEO Meg Whitman is heading the company in the right direction. Up 13.3% so far in trading, HP is enjoying the boost from investors' added confidence, despite continued drops in important operating segments. Though revenue was a solid 10% lower than last year, the company produced $0.87 per share in earnings, beating both its guidance of $0.80 to $0.82 and analyst estimates, which fell within that range. Personal systems, which is the company's most important segment, is also the worst-performing -- with a 20% decline in revenues from the previous year. In order to keep shareholders happy with the current turnaround plan, Whitman asked for patience as the company continues to improve its balance sheet. As a reward for that patience, HP raised its dividend for shareholders by 10%.

The massive wave of mobile computing has done much to unseat the major players in the PC market, including venerable technology names like Hewlett-Packard. However, HP's rapidly shifting its strategy under the new leadership of CEO Meg Whitman. But does this make HP one of the least-appreciated turnaround stories on the market, or is this a minor blip on its road to irrelevance? The Motley Fool's technology analyst details exactly what investors need to know about HP in our premium research report. Just click here now to get your copy today.

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More Expert Advice from The Motley Fool
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Microsoft: Where's Your Game At?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Why Bank of America Boomed This Week

There's little doubt it was a banner week for Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) . Two and half hours into the last day of trading, the share price is up 3.64% over the last five days. With nothing unusual going on with the bank itself, can all of this be chalked up to the so-called Tepper rally?

Big banks and market roundup
Before we dive into that bunny hole, here's a quick look at what B of A's peers were up to this week:

Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) is up a whopping 5.94%. JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) is up an even more whopping 6.28%. Even the normally slower-moving Wells Fargo is up a big 4.58%.

And here's a quick glance at the week's activity for the market's three major indices:

The broader S&P 500 is up 1.70%. The narrower Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 1.36%. And the Nasdaq Composite is up 1.43%.

Thanks for the shout-out, Mr. Tepper
The Tepper rally is named after David Tepper: president and founder of the enormously successful hedge fund, Appaloosa Management. On Tuesday, he called out Citi and JPMorgan as bank stocks he was bullish on. As you can see from the numbers above, share prices for both shot up, and the rest of the Big Four may have simply come along for the ride.

Of course, it was a big week for the markets overall. With the S&P 500 hitting another record high, Wall Street is firing on all cylinders. Even suggestions from San Francisco Federal Reserve Governor John Williams that the central bank could begin winding down its monthly bond-buying this year hasn't much affected bullish sentiment.

And I think it's always a happy week for B of A investors when there's no breaking news of regulatory action or crisis-related settlements: B of A investors must be positively tickled that JPMorgan and CEO Jamie Dimon are currently in the media spotlight, and therefore taking some of the heat off of B of A.

But always remember that most of the short-term moves in your favorite stocks can be chalked up to market noise: things that have little to do with what's going on at a particular company. If the markets are up, chances are your stocks are going to be up. If the markets are down, chances are your stocks will be down.

This is why we at The Motley Fool emphasize a long-term view toward investing: Tune out the market noise and tune into the fundamentals of the companies you hold positions in. Excessive ticker checking can lead to excessive trading, which costs money and can hurt your portfolio's performance in the long run. Check in on share prices once a month, or even once a quarter, and leave the obsessive ticker checking to the day traders. Your portfolio will thank you, even if your broker won't. 

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Look no further than this Motley Fool premium report -- expertly researched and written by top Motley Fool banking analysts Anand Chokkavelu and Matt Koppenheffer. They'll help you lift the veil on the bank's operations, and give you three reasons to buy and three reasons to sell along the way. And with included quarterly updates, this could literally be the last investment research on B of A you'll ever need. For immediate access, simply click here now. 

Is Ben Bernanke Swimming Against the Tide?

The following video is from Wednesday's Investor Beat, in which host Chris Hill and analysts Matt Koppenheffer and Matt Argersinger dissect the hardest-hitting investing stories of the day.

Fed Chief Ben Bernanke testified before Congress today and said that the U.S. job market is still weak. Bernanke said it's too soon for the Fed to end its stimulus program. What do his comments mean for investors? Where can investors find value when the Fed does begin winding down its quantitative easing policies? In this installment of Investor Beat, our analysts tackle those questions.

The best investing approach is to choose great companies and stick with them for the long term. The Motley Fool's free report "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich" names stocks that could help you build long-term wealth and retire well, along with some winning wealth-building strategies that every investor should be aware of. Click here now to keep reading.

The relevant video segment can be found between 0:16 and 2:48.

The Stock Picker's Guide to Royal Dutch Shell

Best Safest Companies To Invest In Right Now

What kind of investor are you? If you don't know, you might have a problem. It's useful to have a handle on your investment strategy, so that you can better focus on it.

There are many different ways to categorize investing. For example, a Goldilocks-like approach might divide investing strategies into these groups:

Too-aggressive investing: This approach puts your dollars in danger. It can include any of a host of riskier-than-average types of investments, such as options, commodities, currency bets, penny stocks, and even lottery tickets. It's true that some options strategies can be conservative, but many are not, and it's very, very common for options to expire unexercised and worthless.

Too-cautious investing: It might seem smart to be very conservative with your money, but if you do that, it might not grow enough to support you in retirement. That's especially true these days, in our environment of ultra-low interest rates. With inflation historically averaging about 3% annually in the U.S., even earning 2% in your bank account or via a bond or CD will leave you losing purchasing power over time.

Just-right investing: For many people, a long-term portfolio mixed with both stocks and bonds is a sound way to grow your net worth.

The bond world features many kinds of bonds, such as government bonds, municipal bonds, and corporate bonds. Government bonds, such as U.S. Treasury bills, bonds, and notes, are the safest, backed by the U.S. government. They pay interest that's taxable on your federal tax return, but is exempt from state and local taxes. Municipal bonds can be riskier, as some local governments are on somewhat shaky ground, but they can therefore offer higher interest rates and their interest is exempt not only from state and local taxes, but also from federal taxes. Corporate bonds are issued by companies that want to raise money. They, too, offer rates higher than government bonds, and their interest is not tax-exempt. In general, the higher their interest rate, the lower their credit rating and healthiness.

Stock investing approaches
A sound stock investment strategy is hard to beat, for long-term growth. Here's a quick rundown of some key approaches. Note that many investors engage in one or more of them -- they're not all mutually exclusive.

Best Safest Companies To Invest In Right Now: Under Armour Inc.(UA)

Under Armour, Inc. develops, markets, and distributes performance apparel, footwear, and accessories for men, women, and youth primarily in the United States, Canada, and internationally. It offers products made from moisture-wicking synthetic fabrics designed to regulate body temperature and enhance performance regardless of weather conditions. The company provides its products in three fit types: compression (tight fitting), fitted (athletic cut), and loose (relaxed) extending across the sporting goods, outdoor, and active lifestyle markets. Its footwear offerings comprise football, baseball, lacrosse, softball, and soccer cleats; slides; performance training footwear; and running footwear. The company also provides baseball batting, football, golf, and running gloves, as well as licenses bags, socks, headwear, custom-molded mouth guards, and eyewear that are designed to be used and worn before, during, and after competition. Under Armour sells its products through retai l stores, as well as directly to consumers through its own retail outlets and specialty stores, Website, and catalogs. The company was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Glenn]  

    Current Price: $27.27 12-month target: $37

    I see potential in opportunities for new product adjacencies, and expanding distribution worldwide. Footwear growth will continue to increase. Revenues for these products have increased over 69% in 2009. Adding to this I still see growth in Under Armour’s apparel sales, which are up 8%. Under Armor had yet to even break into the international market, which offers a plethora of new opportunities for this growing brand. I believe sales will rise drastically in 2010 driven by international sales, new women’s clothing line, and expansion within their own footwear line.
  • [By Roger]

    Under Armour (NYSE:UA), a maker and designer of apparel, footwear and accessories that target sports enthusiasts, has more than doubled in one year. But despite the advance, many research firms still have a “strong buy” recommendation on the stock. And S&P recently revised its annual target to $93.

    Technically UA has advanced on a series of stair steps, sometimes called “base moves.”? These are very bullish formations that resemble cups. UA reversed up recently following a signal from our proprietary Collins-Bollinger Reversal (CBR) indicator. If the recent pullback to its 50-day moving average (blue line) holds, then the next move up should break the prior high with a target of $85.

    Traders could take risk positions now with a target of $85 to $90. But be careful and use stop-loss orders to protect against a violent reversal, which could drop prices back to support at $62 where this volatile stock could be bought again.

  • [By Fernandez]

    Under Armour designs, develops, markets, and distributes performance apparel, footwear, and accessories for men, women, and youth primarily in the United States and Canada.

    You’ve probably seen the company’s “Protect This House” or “Click-Clack” commercials, and probably seen anyone from the weekend warrior to professional sports teams wearing the company’s moisture-wicking synthetic fabrics, which are designed to keep perspiration away from the skin, and regulate body temperature regardless of weather conditions.

    I must admit for full disclosure that I am an Under Armour nut, and own about 20 pairs of their shorts, shirts and shoes.

    I can attest from personal experience as a natural bodybuilder and athlete that the Under Armour apparel are the best workout clothing I have ever worn, and they look pretty darn cool too.

    Now let me make a clear distinction between a great company, and a great stock.

    Up until recently, Under Armour was the former, but not the latter.

    It has now entered into a zone where the valuation metrics, even in the face of a consumer slowdown, is looking more and more attractive.

    In fact, Under Armour just released earnings Monday.

    They were pretty much in line with analyst’s expectations, and then Under Armour slightly lowered their forward guidance for the remainder of 2008 based on those same consumer headwinds.

    The market liked what it heard sending shares up 20% (of course, the overall market was up 10%, so…). Shares have since rebounded further are now up almost 50% from their lows just last week!

    This leads me to my investment thesis in shares of Under Armour.

    I believe that Under Armour represents one of the quintessential brands of this decade when it comes to sports apparel, the way Under Armour’s fiercest rival Nike (NYSE: NKE) dominated the 90’s.

    Until now the valuation of the company was not commensurate with the! projected profit and growth, which I thought were way too high, and still might be, along with certain inventory related problems that the company now seems to be getting a handle on.

    Still, with the spike in share price, along with the uncertainty in the market and overall economy, I feel that we will still be able to purchase shares of this great company at a great price in the near future and that we’re seeing a bit of a short squeeze in shares of Under Armour.

    Why I Like the Company: One of the quintessential brands of this decade; Valuation is reaching reasonable to “cheap” levels depending on direction of consumer market and Under Armour’s stock price; Dedicated and fully invested founder with over 77% voting power via class B shares; Improved business fundamentals via better inventory controls and operational structure, and new product offerings; Further expansion available outside the U.S.; Relatively higher margins than competition

Best Safest Companies To Invest In Right Now: Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.- Petrobras(PBR)

Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. primarily engages in oil and natural gas exploration and production, refining, trade, and transportation businesses. The company?s Exploration and Production segment involves in the exploration, production, development, and production of oil, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and natural gas in Brazil. This segment supplies its products to the refineries in Brazil, as well as sells surplus petroleum and byproducts in domestic and foreign markets. Its Supply segment engages in the refining, logistics, transportation, and trade of oil and oil products; export of ethanol; and extraction and processing of schist, as well as holds interests in companies of the petrochemical sector in Brazil. The Gas and Energy segment involves in the transportation and trade of natural gas produced in or imported into Brazil; transportation and trade of LNG; and generation and trade of electric power. In addition, the segment has interests in natural gas transportation and d istribution companies; and thermoelectric power stations in Brazil, as well engages in fertilizer business. The Distribution segment distributes oil products, ethanol, and compressed natural gas in Brazil. The International segment involves in the exploration and production of oil and gas, as well as in supplying, gas and energy, and distribution operations in the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Asia. Further, the company involves in biofuel production business. Petroleo Brasileiro was founded in 1953 and is based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Dave Friedman]

    Institutional investors bought 78,663,680 shares and sold 101,125,380 shares, for a net of -22,461,700 shares. This net represents 0.23% of common shares outstanding. The number of shares outstanding is 9,872,826,100. The shares recently traded at $27.61 and the company’s market capitalization is $170,178,700,000.00. About the company: Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. – Petrobras explores for and produces oil and natural gas. The Company refines, markets, and supplies oil products. Petrobras operates oil tankers, distribution pipelines, marine, river and lake terminals, thermal power plants, fertilizer plants, and petrochemical units. The Company operates in South America and elsewhere around the world.

  • [By ETF Authority]  

    Current Price: $47.68 12-month target: $80

    PBR plans to invest $174 billion by 2013 to support the largest oil discovery in 30 years. PetroBras has both the backing of the Brazilian government who invested over $30 billion and the Chinese private investors who have pledged over $20 billion to PBR’s discovery. Brazils government proposed to make PBR the only operator of all new offshore pre-salt oil fields yet to be exploited. PetroBras expects oil production to increased from 2.4 million barrels a day to around 5.7 million barrels a day by 2020. PBR has long-term views and have been expanding renewable energy programs such as solar, biofuel, and energy. Biofuel production is expected to increase 18% by 2013.
  • [By David Sterman]

    Market Value: $173 billion
    Fall from 52-week high: 38%

    This Brazilian oil giant has lost $100 billion in market value since March 2011. That's a lot of dough. The sell-off is the result of a drop in oil prices, slightly stricter government policies regarding oil and gas royalties, and recent moves to issue more stock and debt to help fund business development. (Though the company now vows to stop issuing any more equity.)

    Indeed, this company has been sucking in cash for quite some time, generating a cumulative $40 billion in free cash flow loss in just the past two years. Pretty soon, though, losses will morph into outsized profits when the company's heavy investments to tap massive offshore oil fields finally bear fruit. In 2007, 2008 and again in 2009, Petrobras discovered three new offshore oil fields, known as Tupi, Jupiter, and yet-to-be-named site off of the state of Sao Paolo.

    It's the Tupi energy play that should pique your interest. It's the largest new find of oil since the Kashagan oil field was discovered in Kazakhstan in 2000 and instantly put Brazil's oil reserve base on par with industry giant Norway. Tally up all of its fields, and Petrobas' engineers estimate the country is sitting on more than 12 billion barrels of oil.

    The recent sell-off has put shares of Petrobras deep into bargain territory, trading at just 7.3 times projected 2011 profits and 1.2 times tangible book value.

Top 5 Performing Companies To Own In Right Now: Fluor Corporation(FLR)

Fluor Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides engineering, procurement, construction, maintenance, and project management services worldwide. Its Oil & Gas segment offers design, engineering, procurement, construction, and project management services to upstream oil and gas production, downstream refining, chemicals, and petrochemicals industries. This segment also provides consulting services comprising feasibility studies, process assessment, and project finance structuring and studies. The company?s Industrial & Infrastructure segment offers design, engineering, procurement, and construction services to the transportation, wind power, mining and metals, life sciences, manufacturing, commercial and institutional, telecommunications, microelectronics, and healthcare sectors. Its Government segment provides engineering, construction, logistics support, contingency response, management, and operations services to the United States government focusing on the Departme nt of Energy, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense. The company?s Global Services segment offers operations and maintenance, small capital project engineering and execution, site equipment and tool services, industrial fleet services, plant turnaround services, temporary staffing services, and supply chain solutions. Its Power segment provides engineering, procurement, construction, program management, start-up and commissioning, and operations and maintenance services to the gas fueled, solid fueled, plant betterment, renewables, nuclear, and power services markets. The company also offers unionized management and construction services in the United States and Canada. Fluor Corporation was founded in 1912 and is headquartered in Irving, Texas.

Best Safest Companies To Invest In Right Now: Goldman Sachs Group Inc.(The)

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides investment banking, securities, and investment management services to corporations, financial institutions, governments, and high-net-worth individuals worldwide. Its Investment Banking segment offers financial advisory, including advisory assignments with respect to mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, corporate defense, risk management, restructurings, and spin-offs; and underwriting securities, loans and other financial instruments, and derivative transactions. The company?s Institutional Client Services segment provides client execution activities, such as fixed income, currency, and commodities client execution related to making markets in interest rate products, credit products, mortgages, currencies, and commodities; and equities related to making markets in equity products, as well as commissions and fees from executing and clearing institutional client transactions on stock, options, and fu tures exchanges. This segment also engages in the securities services business providing financing, securities lending, and other prime brokerage services to institutional clients, including hedge funds, mutual funds, pension funds, and foundations. Its Investing and Lending segment invests in debt securities, loans, public and private equity securities, real estate, consolidated investment entities, and power generation facilities. This segment also involves in the origination of loans to provide financing to clients. The company?s Investment Management segment provides investment management services and investment products to institutional and individual clients. This segment also offers wealth advisory services, including portfolio management and financial counseling, and brokerage and other transaction services to high-net-worth individuals and families. In addition, it provides global investment research services. The company was founded in 1869 and is headquartered in New York, New York.

3 Gold Shares Rising Strongly: Centamin, Highland Gold Mining, and Kirkland Lake Gold

The price of gold fell heavily last week, and gold for immediate delivery ended the week down by 6.5%, at $1,343 per ounce.

LONDON -- Of course, the only practical way for most private investors to invest in gold is through exchange-traded funds. The largest gold ETF, the $51 billion SPDR Gold Trust  (NYSEMKT: GLD  ) , ended the week 5.4% lower at $131.07, while London-listed Gold Bullion Securities  (LSE: GBS  ) fell 4.6% to end the week at $131.44. So far this year, shareholders of Gold Bullion Securities have seen the value of their holdings fall by 13.7%, while the value of SPDR Gold Trust shares has fallen by 19.7%.

Gold's big movers
Several miners made gains last week, despite the falling price of gold. Here are three of the biggest risers:

Kirkland Lake Gold  (LSE: KGI  ) climbed 5.3% to 237 pence after its fourth-quarter production results showed that the firm hit its production guidance, selling 91,756 ounces of gold last year. Kirkland's chairman, Harry Dobson, said that daily ore tonnage in the final quarter had been ahead of plan, at 1,004 tons per day. Dobson said that tonnage would continue to rise to a target of 1,400-1,600 tons per day by the second quarter, and that the firm's full-year guidance for the 2014 fiscal year was to sell 150,000 to 180,000 ounces of gold -- almost doubling its 2013 production.

Centamin  (LSE: CEY  ) gained 5.8% to 39 pence after it reported record quarterly EBTIDA of $81.7 million, or 6.6 cents per share, a 6% increase on the final quarter of last year. Centamin, whose mining licence in Egypt is currently the subject of legal proceedings, said that gold production was 87,016 ounces, up by 2% on the previous quarter, while the cash cost of production was $556 per ounce, below the firm's full-year guidance of $700 per ounce.

Highland Gold Mining  (LSE: HGM  ) rose by 1.9% to 82.0 pence last week. Highland Gold, whose gold mines are located in Russia, delivered a 17% rise in production to 216,885 ounces last year, at a very competitive total cash cost of $749 per ounce. These factors, along with its net cash balance of $52 million, may help explain why Highland Gold's share price has only fallen by 16% so far this year, while its debt-laden Russian peer Petropavlovsk has shed 66% of its share price.

Shares vs. commodities
Shares in commodity companies have outperformed their underlying commodities many times over the last 10 years, thanks to their ability to magnify their gains through successful development of new resources. This free report from the Motley Fool, "10 Steps to Making a Million From the Market" contains some excellent tips on identifying and investing in potential multibagger shares, including resource shares like gold miners. I strongly recommend that youmclick here and download it now, as it will only be available for a limited time.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

10 Best Clean Energy Stocks To Buy Right Now

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

I predicted that Clean Energy Fuels (NASDAQ: CLNE  ) would close higher on the week. The provider of natural gas fueling solutions for transportation has been posting narrowing losses, and Wall Street was eyeing a 35% surge in revenue. The company was a solid report. Revenue came in a little light, but bottom-line results improved nicely. Shares of Clean Energy Fuels moved slightly higher on the week. I was right. I predicted that the tech-heavy Nasdaq would outperform the Dow Jones Industrial Average. (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) . This has been a tricky call lately, so how did it play out this time? Well, the market had a strong run this week, fueled be encouraging economic news. Secondary stocks led the way, with the Nasdaq soaring 1.7% on the week. The Dow managed to close just 1% higher. I was right. My final call was for Compass Diversified Holdings (NYSE: CODI  ) to beat Wall Street's quarterly profit target. The investor in several middle-market companies has been posting blowout quarterly results over the past year, and I was banking on seeing the trend continue. Analysts were looking for a profit of $0.36 a share during the quarter, but Compass Diversified failed to beat the prognosticators. I was wrong.

Two out of three? I'll take it. That makes me eight of nine over the past three weeks.

10 Best Clean Energy Stocks To Buy Right Now: Nexen Inc.(NXY)

Nexen Inc. operates as an independent energy company worldwide. The company?s Conventional Oil and Gas segment explores for, develops, and produces crude oil and natural gas from conventional sources. This segment operates in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, and offshore West Africa, Colombia, and Yemen. Nexen?s Oil Sands segment develops and produces synthetic crude oil from the Athabasca oil sands in northern Alberta. The company?s Shale Gas segment explores for and produces unconventional gas from shale formations in northeastern British Columbia. Nexen Inc. was founded in 1971 and is headquartered in Calgary, Canada.

10 Best Clean Energy Stocks To Buy Right Now: Mercury Computer Systems(MRCY)

Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets high-performance embedded, real-time digital signal and image processing systems and software for specialized defense and commercial computing markets. The company operates in two segments, Advanced Computing Solutions (ACS) and Mercury Federal Systems (MFS). The ACS segment provides high-performance computing solutions, such as single board computers, digital signal processors, and integrated subsystems to the aerospace and defense, semiconductor, and commercial computing markets. This segment also provides microwave sub-assemblies to address needs in EW, SIGINT, ELINT, and high bandwidth communications subsystems; and software and customized design services for military and commercial applications. The MFS segment focuses on services and support work with the Department of Defense and federal intelligence and homeland security agencies, including designing and engineering intelligence, surveillance, and re connaissance (ISR) capabilities to address threats to the U.S. forces. It offers a range of engineering architecture and design services that enable clients to deploy computing capabilities for ISR systems on an accelerated time cycle. The company has operations in the United States, Europe, and the Asia Pacific. The company was founded in 1981 and is headquartered in Chelmsford, Massachusetts.

Best Consumer Stocks To Watch For 2014: Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated(COKE)

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the production, marketing, and distribution of nonalcoholic beverages, primarily products of The Coca-Cola Company. The company offers sparkling beverages, such as energy drinks; and still beverages, including bottled water, tea, ready-to-drink coffee, enhanced water, juices, and sports drinks. It holds cola beverage agreements and allied beverage agreements, under which it produces, distributes, and markets sparkling beverage products of The Coca-Cola Company in certain regions. The company also distributes and markets still beverages of The Coca-Cola Company, such as POWERade, vitaminwater, and Minute Maid Juices To Go, as well as produces, distributes, and markets Dasani water products under still beverage agreements. In addition, it holds agreements to produce and market Dr Pepper. Further, the company distributes and markets various other products, including Monster energy productsand Sund rop, as well as its own products, such as Country Breeze tea, diet Country Breeze tea, and Tum-E Yummies, a vitamin C enhanced flavored drink, Bean & Body, and Simmer and Bazza energy tea. Additionally, it produces beverages for other Coca-Cola bottlers; and provides restaurants and other immediate consumption outlets with fountain products. The company sells and distributes its products directly to retail stores and other outlets, including food markets, institutional accounts, and vending machine outlets. It operates in North Carolina, South Carolina, south Alabama, South Georgia, middle Tennessee, western Virginia, and West Virginia. The company was founded in 1902 and is based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

10 Best Clean Energy Stocks To Buy Right Now: Team Health Holdings Inc.(TMH)

Team Health Holdings, Inc. provides outsourced healthcare professional staffing and administrative services to hospitals and other healthcare providers in the United States. It recruits and contracts with healthcare professionals who then provide professional services within third-party healthcare facilities. The company offers a range of services, including recruiting, scheduling, and credential coordinating for clinical and non-clinical medical professionals; coding, billing, and collecting fees for services provided by medical professionals; providing experienced medical directors; administrative support services, such as payroll, professional liability insurance coverage, continuing medical education services, and management training; claims and risk management services; and standardized procedures. It provides outsourced physician staffing and administrative services in emergency medicine, inpatient services, anesthesiology, pediatrics, temporary staffing, primary car e clinics and occupational medicine, and other hospital-based functions. The company also offers healthcare management physician-related services within a military treatment facility setting; and non-physician staffing services to military treatment facilities, including services, such as para-professional providers, nursing, specialty technicians, and administrative staffing. In addition, it provides medical call center services comprising physician after-hours call coverage, community nurse lines, emergency department advice calls, physician referral, class scheduling, appointment scheduling, and Web response. The company serves approximately 730 civilian and military hospitals, clinics, and physician groups in 47 states with a team of approximately 7,100 healthcare professionals, including physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and nurses. Team Health Holdings, Inc. was founded in 1979 and is headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee.

10 Best Clean Energy Stocks To Buy Right Now: Union Pacific Corporation(UNP)

Union Pacific Corporation, through its subsidiary, Union Pacific Railroad Company, provides rail transportation services in North America. It has approximately 31,953 route miles linking Pacific Coast and Gulf Coast ports with the Midwest and eastern United States gateways, and provides several corridors to Mexican gateways. The company offers freight transportation services for agricultural products, including whole grains and related commodities, food, beverage products, corn for ethanol products and its by-products, animal feeds, fruits and vegetables, frozen meat, and poultry products; and automotive products, such as imported and finished vehicles, and automotive parts and materials. It also provides transportation services for chemicals, such as industrial chemicals, plastics, and liquid petroleum products; energy products comprising coal and coke; industrial products, including lumber products, paper and consumer goods, furniture and appliances, and nonferrous and i ndustrial minerals, as well as steel and construction products, such as rock, cement, and roofing materials; and intermodal containers. Union Pacific Corporation was founded in 1862 and is based in Omaha, Nebraska.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Robert Holmes]

     Analyst William Greene says Union Pacific is one of the firm's best ideas as it is one of the most compelling stocks in freight transportation.

    "We are bullish on the rail industry's advantage over its truck competitors including lower unit costs for high tonnage freight and greater customer captivity," Greene writes. "Given UNP's particularly favorable exposure to the key themes underpinning our rail thesis, we believe UNP will see secular EPS growth."

    Greene specifically highlights Union Pacific's latent pricing power, its operating leverage to long-term volume growth, and long-term productivity improvement.

    Greene's base case calls for a 26% rise in share price next year, although his most bullish outlook for Union Pacific has the stock up 38% next year. His most bearish scenario has the stock down 12% next year.

  • [By Rebecca Lipman]

     Through its subsidiary it provides rail transportation services in North America. Market cap of $48.89B. EPS growth (5-year CAGR) at 17%. According to Morgan Stanley: "We are bullish on the rail industry's advantage over its truck competitors including lower unit costs for high tonnage freight and greater customer captivity."

  • [By Jonas Elmerraji]

    2013 has been a strong year for shares of Union Pacific (UNP). Shares of the $70 billion railroad stock have rallied almost 19% this year, buoyed by overall strength in the transports sector. UNP is the largest railroad on the continent, with more than 32,000 miles of track that links 23 states, Canada and Mexico. That scale puts the firm in a strong position to grab more freight volume as the economy warms up.

    While oil prices have dipped recently, they're still on the high end of their historic range, and that actually bodes well for railroads. In general, rail shipping costs around one-fourth as much as trucking does per ton shipped, a cost advantage that typically sends customers setting aside the convenience factor of truck freight once fuel prices get past a certain point. The firm's hefty commodity exposure is a little less attractive right now, but that hasn't stopped Union Pacific from posting impressive revenue numbers lately.

    UNP has a deep economic moat. Railroad assets aren't easily copied by rivals – and they're extremely costly to maintain. While that does mean that UNP has some hefty fixed costs to overcome, its scale easily makes up for that drawback. With much better efficiency than the firm had just a couple of years ago, Union Pacific looks well positioned for 2013. We're betting on shares of this Rocket Stock this week.

  • [By Richard Young]

    Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP) has paid a dividend on its shares every year for 112 years. On Nov. 17, Union Pacific’s board announced a dividend increase of 26%. That was the second dividend increase of 2011, raising the quarterly dividend to 60 cents a share, up from 38 cents at the beginning of the year. Union Pacific is aiming to pay out more.


    Take a look at the long record of outperformance on my relative strength chart for UNP. Over the last five years, UNP has outperformed the S&P by over 150%.

10 Best Clean Energy Stocks To Buy Right Now: Acme Packet Inc.(APKT)

Acme Packet, Inc. provides session delivery network solutions that enable the delivery of voice, video, data, and unified communications services and applications across Internet protocol (IP) networks. Its Net-Net product family consists of session border controllers that control session delivery across defined border points; session managers, which manage user access and interface application servers; multiservice security gateways for securing session delivery of data and voice services over untrusted Internet and wireless fidelity access networks; and diameter signaling controllers. The company?s Net-Net products also comprise session-aware load balancers that scales border control for SBC, MSG, and DSC deployments; session routing proxies that route sessions to/from access and interconnect borders; application session controllers for enabling server applications to initiate and control sessions; and session recorders, a complete software-based IP session recording so lution, which performs session recording for the session delivery network. In addition, it offers purpose-built hardware platforms, including Net-Net 3820, 4500, 9200, and 14000; and Net-Net Central, a management platform that delivers configuration and fault, and performance and security management for its session delivery networks. Further, the company offers products that provide core session delivery network functions inside data centers as software products; and pre-installation and post-installation, and training services. Acme Packet, Inc. markets and sells its products and support services through distribution partners and sales force. It serves local exchange and long distance providers, international service providers, cable operators, Internet telephony service providers, voice application service providers, wireless service providers, enterprises, contact centers, universities, and government agencies worldwide. Acme Packet, Inc. is headquartered in Bedford, Mass achusetts.

10 Best Clean Energy Stocks To Buy Right Now: J. W. Mays Inc.(MAYS)

J.W. Mays, Inc. owns and operates commercial real estate properties in the United States. Its properties are located in Brooklyn, Jamaica, Levittown, Massapequa, and Fishkill, New York, as well as in Circleville, Ohio. The company was founded in 1924 and is based in Brooklyn, New York.

10 Best Clean Energy Stocks To Buy Right Now: Safeway Inc.(SWY)

Safeway Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a food and drug retailer in North America. The company operates stores that provide an array of grocery items, food, and general merchandise, as well as features specialty departments, such as bakery, delicatessen, floral, and pharmacy, as well as coffee shops and fuel centers. It also offers SELECT line of products that include baked goods, sparkling ciders and lemonades, salsas, whole bean coffees, frozen pizzas and entrees, and fresh and dry pastas and sauces, as well as an array of ice creams, hors d'oeuvres, and desserts; O ORGANICS line, which comprises milk, chicken, salads, juices, and entrees; Lucerne line of dairy products; Eating Right line of better-for-you products; Bright Green line of home care products; Total Pet Care line of pet foods and pet care products; and Value Red line of value-priced paper goods. As of December 31, 2009, Safeway operated approximately 1,725 stores in California, Oregon, Wash ington, Alaska, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, the Chicago metropolitan area, and the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba/Saskatchewan. In addition, the company owns and operates Operating Company, LLC, an online grocery channel, doing business under the names,, and; and Blackhawk Network Holdings, Inc., which provides third-party gift cards, prepaid cards, telecom cards, and sports and entertainment cards to North American retailers for sale to retail customers. Additionally, it engages in gift card businesses in the United Kingdom, France, Mexico, and Australia. Further, the company, through a 49% ownership interest in Casa Ley, S.A. de C.V. operates 156 food and general merchandise stores in Western Mexico. The company was formerly known as Safeway Stores, Incorporated and changed its name to Safeway Inc. in February 1990. Safeway was founded in 1915 and is based in Pleasanton, California.

10 Best Clean Energy Stocks To Buy Right Now: San Marco Resources Inc(SMN.V)

San Marco Resources Inc., an exploration mining company, engages in the acquisition, exploration, and development of precious metal properties in Canada and Mexico. It explores for copper, silver, gold, and base metals. The company holds interest in the Alwin Copper project comprising 4 mineral claims and 3 crown granted mineral claims with an area of approximately 576 hectares, and a mining lease in British Columbia. It also has interests in projects located in Mexico, including the La Buena project comprising approximately 8,500 hectares in northern Zacatecas; the Tecomate project covering approximately 12,290 hectares in Durango State, and the Los Carlos project totaling 280 hectares in Sonora State. San Marco Resources was incorporated in 2005 and is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.

10 Best Clean Energy Stocks To Buy Right Now: Peoples Financial Corporation(PFBX)

Peoples Financial Corporation operates as the bank holding company for The Peoples Bank, which provides banking products and services to individuals and small to middle market businesses in Mississippi. The company offers deposit services, such as interest bearing and non-interest bearing checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposit, and IRA accounts, as well as non-deposit funds management accounts. It also provides loan products, such as business, commercial, real estate, construction, personal, and installment loans. In addition, the company offers personal trust, agencies, and estate services, including living and testamentary trusts, executorships, guardianships, and conservatorships. Further, it provides benefit accounts, which include self-directed individual retirement accounts, as well as provides escrow management, stock transfer, and bond paying agency accounts to corporate customers. Additionally, the company offers other services, including saf e deposit box rental, wire transfer services, night drop facilities, collection services, cash management, and Internet banking services. As of December 31, 2010, it operated 15 branches in Harrison, Hancock, Jackson, and Stone Counties; and 51 automated teller machines. The company was founded in 1896 and is headquartered in Biloxi, Mississippi.