Saturday, June 22, 2013

Bank of America Would Boost This Dow Alternative Even Higher

The Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) has put together an impressive performance over the past year, rising more than 22% when you include the impact of dividends. But if you took out one of the Dow's more peculiar attributes, using its components to invest in a simpler fashion would have given you even better returns. By using an equal-weight strategy rather than the Dow's price-weighted methodology, you could have earned a couple extra percentage points of return -- thanks largely to Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) .

How the Dow works
The way the Dow is calculated is different from just about every other major market benchmark. Rather than looking at market capitalization, the Dow simply adds up all the share prices of the 30 stocks in the average and then divides by the current Dow divisor. The resulting figure gives you the Dow's value for the day.

The practical impact of this method is to give the stocks with the highest share prices undue influence over the average. As long as the stocks perform roughly in line with each other, the weighting methodology doesn't produce dramatic disparities.

But sometimes, the impact is substantial. With Bank of America, the stock has soared more than 70% over the past year. With its $13 share price, the company has an influence of only two-thirds of a percentage point. In an equal-weight Dow, though, it would have about five times that influence -- and add a couple of percentage points by itself to the average's overall performance.

At the other end of the spectrum is IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) , which is by far the most influential stock in the Dow. Its 5% return over the past year isn't all that bad, but because IBM has more than 10% weighting in the average, its underperformance cost the overall Dow more than a percentage point of returns compared to an equal-weight Dow.

Offsetting the impact
Still, sometimes, good and bad performances cancel each other out. The smallest stock in the Dow, Alcoa (NYSE: AA  ) , was also its worst performer, losing 5% since last June. But since its shares fetch only about $8, that loss barely affected the Dow at all. In an equal-weight Dow, however, it would have just as big an influence as any other stock.

In the end, when you look at the entire universe of stocks, an equal-weight Dow would have produced a one-year return of almost 25%. That's a nice boost over the actual Dow's results, but at just a few percentage points, it's nothing to panic over. If anything, the small difference proves that the Dow's sometimes-controversial methodology doesn't have as dramatic an impact as many people believe.

Bank of America's stock doubled in 2012. Is there more yet to come? With significant challenges still ahead, it's critical to have a solid understanding of this megabank before adding it to your portfolio. In The Motley Fool's premium research report on B of A, analysts Anand Chokkavelu, CFA, and Matt Koppenheffer, financials bureau chief, lift the veil on the bank's operations, including detailing three reasons to buy and three reasons to sell. Click here now to claim your copy.

Today's Falling Knife: SDL Plunges Over 33%

LONDON -- SDL  (LSE: SDL  ) suffered a cut in its share price this morning by more than a third, falling over 125 pence as it announced a profit warning for the full year.

The global customer experience management company revealed that it has lowered its outlook for the 2013 financial year to between 15 million pounds to 20 million pounds, significantly lower than 2012's 35.5 million pounds. 

The FTSE 250-listed company has seen poor performance in the first half, with license revenues across its technology segments below management's expectations, "primarily due to previously highlighted lack of sales and marketing investment over the last two years."

Elsewhere, SDL's language services division has also underperformed, with management blaming "the poor macroeconomic climate, resulting in our repeat customers reducing their volumes, and to a less extent, increased pricing pressure."

While this morning's announcement was taken as a necessary measure, the board remains confident that sales will improve and stated that they are "seeing very positive market feedback on our technology stack and are encouraged with pipeline increases in our technology as a result of our marketing and sales investments."

Chief executive officer Mark Lancaster commented:

We have achieved our ambitious Sales and marketing recruitment milestones. This has resulted in us building a stronger pipeline, which is expected to produce returns in the second half. While we did not plan for investments to deliver revenue in the first half, we expected greater momentum from last year to carry into the first half of 2013. 

The necessary investments are being made to deliver our technology products and services into the Customer Experience Management market. As a consequence the business has incurred an increased short term impact to profits. These investments are important to deliver long term growth and profitability. We remain confident in our strategy and in the outlook for the business in the long term.

Of course, whether today's news presents a buying opportunity is something only you can decide. Indeed, you may wish to consult this free Motley Fool report, which explains how betting on battered shares can provide wonderful gains... if the underlying company recovers.

Anyway, if SDL is tempting you today, please click here to read the Fool's exclusive "millionaire" report before you hit the "buy" button.

HereĆ¢€™s How to Play Disney Stock Now

Say goodbye to Cinderella and Snow White. Thanks to superheroes and Jedi Knights, Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) stock has never before reached such heights.

Officially, the shares touched an all-time high of $67.89 a share on May 16 -- not even two weeks after Iron Man 3 took the box office by storm. The film has since passed the billion-dollar mark in gross receipts worldwide, leaving fans clamoring to get Robert Downey Jr. back for a fourth go as the Armored Avenger. Mix in theme parks, ESPN, ABC, and a new Star Wars film with $2 billion potential and Disney starts to look like one of the great growth stocks of the next several years.

But investing is also a game best played in context. How does Disney stock compare to peers Time Warner (NYSE: TWX  ) and News Corp. (NASDAQ: NWSA  ) ? Here's what the numbers say:

Key Statistics Walt Disney Time Warner News Corp.
Current Share Price




Shares Outstanding

1.80 billion

932.2 million

2.32 billion

Market Cap

$116.1 billion

$54.0 billion

$72.5 billion

Trailing P/E Ratio




PEG Ratio




Gross Margin




Cash From Operations

$7.72 billion

$3.76 billion

$3.83 billion

Sources: S&P Capital IQ, Yahoo! Finance.

And here's what Fools say, going by the data available in our CAPS investor intelligence database:

CAPS Category Walt Disney Time Warner News Corp.

CAPS Stars (out of 5)




No. of CAPS Ratings




Bullish CAPS Ratings




Bearish CAPS Ratings




Bull Ratio




Source: Motley Fool CAPS.

Disney, at five stars, is easily the top-rated stock of the bunch. The company's $40 billion licensing machine deserves at least some of the credit.

"Disney has always had the Midas touch when it comes to merchandising and with Star Wars and Marvel, the possibilities are endless," writes CAPS investor Scribblesink. "Look for Disney to bring in an amazing profit on their merchandising in the future. And let's not forget Pixar -- yes, Disney will outperform."

Fool pramathmalik adds that Disney has a "unique position" in the content business, and as a result, "huge monetization potential." I agree.

Verdict: Disney stock is a buy
Skeptics will note the huge run-up in Disney shares as a signal to hold off on buying. I'm not so sure. Yes, the stock trades for a premium at nearly 20 times earnings, but Star Wars is one of the top-earning film franchises of all time. And while Marvel has enjoyed two consecutive billion-dollar hits, remember we're still at the beginning of "phase 2" of the development of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At least three phases are planned.

Will the House of Mouse's big-name entertainment properties provide enough cheese for investors? Let us know what you think of Disney's fantastical franchises, and whether you'd buy, sell, or short Disney stock at current prices, using the comments box below.

Mighty Mouse
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The Fool Looks Ahead

There's never a dull week on Wall Street. Let's go over some of the news that will shape the week to come.

The first trading day of the week kicks off with GenCorp (NYSE: GY  ) posting quarterly results. The aerospace and defense contractor completed its acquisition of Pratt & Whitney's rocket engine manufacturer Rocketdyne after receiving clearance from the Federal Trade Commission earlier this month. Naturally, Rocketdyne's performance won't be baked into the financials.

Analysts see a small deficit on flat revenue growth.

Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ: SWHC  ) takes aim at Wall Street's targets. Firearms makers may be controversial for some investors, but there's no denying that that their products are in hot demand these days. Consumers fearing that gun-ownership restrictions are about to tighten are loading up on weaponry, and that's translating into big growth for the gunmakers.

Wall Street sees revenue and earnings soaring 37% and 63%, respectively, at Smith & Wesson on Tuesday.

Monsanto (NYSE: MON  ) harvests its latest financials on Wednesday. The chemicals giant is another controversial name reporting quarterly results. Activists have been protesting the genetically modified organisms that Monsanto has introduced into the farmlands, but bulls argue that Monsanto's modified seeds provide larger crop yields that help feed the world.

No matter where you stand on Monsanto, the results are also expected to be on both sides of the fence. The pros see revenue inching slightly higher, with earnings per share clocking in slightly lower.

Is the world ready for a new handheld gaming console? NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA  ) rolls out its first branded portable gaming device on Thursday. NVIDIA Shield pairs up a high-def screen with a physical controller, and it plays Android apps and streams PC games. It's a product that may take some getting used to, and NVIDIA surprised potential buyers by dropping the retail price from $349 to $299 just a couple of days ago.

You don't often see a price cut before a product hits the market.

BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY  ) closes out the trading week by phoning it in with fresh financials. This will be an important quarter for BlackBerry, covering the first wave of smartphones running the spruced-up BB10 mobile operating system.

Analysts are banking on a return to profitability after posting a deficit a year earlier. They also see healthy 23% growth. After months of speculation, we'll finally get some hard numbers on how many of the new smartphones BlackBerry's been selling, and that's going to move the shares higher or lower after the Friday morning report.

Beyond next week
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HCI Group: A Peter Lynch play

Friday, June 21, 2013

THL Credit Floats New Stock Issue

THL Credit (NASDAQ: TCRD  ) stands to gross nearly $100 million in new financing if a fresh stock offering goes as planned. The company announced it's floating 6.6 million shares of its common stock at $14.62 apiece in an underwritten public offering. Additionally, its underwriters have been granted a 30-day purchase option for up to an additional 990,000 shares.

THL Credit said it expects the issue to raise around $96.5 million in gross proceeds. The company expects to use its share of to retire debt drawn from its revolving credit facility and for "general corporate purposes," which include working capital requirements.

The joint book-running managers of the issue are Bank of America's (NYSE: BAC  ) Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS  ) , and Barclay's (NYSE: BCS  ) . The offering is expected to close on or about June 24.

At the end of its Q1, THL Credit had 26.3 million shares outstanding. Its stock currently trades at $14.66 per share.

Why GNC Holdings Is Poised to Keep Rising

Will Superstition Take Hold Of the Dow?

Following the past two days of declines, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) was back in positive territory for a brief time this morning. And while impatient investors might have asked why the index hadn't regained more of its losses yet, the news that it was out of the red might have been enough for others. But the fickle market has now sent the index back into the red, as it sits down 50 points at 11:45 a.m. EDT. And while the day is not over yet, one particularly infrequent event may have the index down and out before the closing bell.

Summer Solstice and the witching hour 
So not only is today the longest day of the year for the Northern Hemisphere, but it is also a day of "quadruple witching," during which four types of investment contracts are set to expire -- stock index futures, stock index options, stock options, and single stock futures. This event only happens four times a year, and the expiration may inspire traders and investors to close out their positions. With the recent news from the Fed, Wall Street may be especially jittery, possibly leading to extreme volatility in the market later in the day.

For long-term investors, don't let the witching hour cast a spell of doubt on you -- it will pass, and if you're confident in your investments there's no need to fear technical trading events.

Long day for B of A
Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) is leading the Dow lower this morning following some very disappointing news for its investors. A new investigation has unveiled some more deception tactics from the bank, but this time it's with its mortgage bond holders. The investigation alleges that B of A and Ocwen Financial (NYSE: OCN  ) as mortgage servicers misrepresented the status of homes to mortgage bond trustees, including Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC  ) and Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE: BK  ) . While it was continuing to collect fees by stating the homes were still in the process of foreclosure, the homes had in fact been sold or paid off.

These new allegations come on the heels of testimony from former B of A employees, who described incentives for stalling otherwise qualified homeowners from proceeding through the loan modification process.

For Bank of America, these latest allegations may prove a deadly blow to its stated goal of capturing a bigger slice of the new mortgage business market. Though the company already had a tarnished reputation from its Countrywide legacy, it now has to deal with both customer and investor wariness. The bank will need to prove to new customers that it has cleaned up its loan processing department and prove to new business partners in the MBS market that it won't misrepresent the loans bundled in its securities. Both could prove a herculean task.

These two mortgage-related scandals could generate more uncertainty in the bank's place as an investment. New lawsuits may be forthcoming, and who knows when the next headline may emerge with further allegations of misconduct.

Bank of America's stock doubled in 2012. Is there more yet to come? With significant challenges still ahead, it's critical to have a solid understanding of this megabank before adding it to your portfolio. In The Motley Fool's premium research report on B of A, analysts Anand Chokkavelu, CFA, and Matt Koppenheffer, Financials bureau chief, lift the veil on the bank's operations, including detailing three reasons to buy and three reasons to sell. Click here now to claim your copy.

Sirius XM Has So Much to Gain, So Much to Lose

Shares of Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI  ) hit yet another five-year high earlier this week, but you wouldn't know if from the shorts that just can't seem to give up their bearish dreams.

There were 379 million shares sold short as of mid-May, and that continues to be the largest number of borrowed shares for any Nasdaq-listed company.

Sure, it's been worse. There were 414 million shares shorted when activity peaked at the end of February. However, we've come a long way since a year ago when folks had just 294.1 million bearish wagers betting against the satellite radio provider.

However, it's not fair to simply look at the raw number of shares sold short. The stock had soared 60% in the year leading up to May 15, making the money being bet against Sirius XM a lot more than it may seem like by merely exploring the share count.


Shares Short




294.1 million


$570.6 million


414.0 million


$1,287.5 million


379.0 million


$1,337.9 million

Source: Nasdaq.

 See that?

Even though there are just 29% more shares sold short now than there were a year ago, the value of those bets have more than doubled. The more than $1.3 billion value of the short positions as of mid-May were also higher than when the share count peaked in February.

Naturally the longs have also never had as much at stake here. The stock is at a five-year high, and Sirius and XM were separate companies -- and Liberty Media (NASDAQ: LMCA  ) hadn't amassed a 40% preferred share stake that inflated the share count by 60% -- the last time that the stock was trading this high.

In short, the field is set and both sides have never had as much at stake as they collectively do right now.

This is a good time for premium radio. Pandora (NYSE: P  ) -- after years of struggling as a deficit-riddled haven for freeloaders -- is finally starting to gain traction as a pay service. Premium subscribers have more than doubled over the past year, and the stock hit a fresh 52-week high last week. Spotify is also growing quickly, and every tech giant has either announced a service or is heavily rumored to be preparing to launch one.

Against this backdrop, Sirius XM closed out its latest quarter with a record 24.4 million subscribers. The battle line is drawn, and one side is going to lose a lot of money.

Tech war
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Is It Still Safe to Buy British American Tobacco?

LONDON -- I'm always searching for shares that can help ordinary investors like you make money from the stock market. However, many people are currently worried the market could be overheating. So right now I'm analyzing some of the most popular companies in the FTSE 100, hoping to establish whether they can continue to outperform in today's uncertain economy.

Today I'm looking at British American Tobacco (LSE: BATS  ) (NYSEMKT: BTI  ) to determine whether the shares are still safe to buy at 3,663 pence.

So, how's business going?
Investors have been pleased with British American's performance recently as the company has continued to grow its earnings despite changing opinions on tobacco worldwide.

In addition, while the total volume of cigarettes sold globally continues to fall, British American managed to increase the volume of cigarettes sold across its four key "global drive" brands by 1% in the first half of this year. Thanks to strategic price increases, the company's revenue expanded 5% in the same period.

Moreover, management remains proactive with regard to global smoking habits. CN Creative, a U.K. based e-cigarette technology company that currently has several e-cigarette products on the market. This diversification away from tobacco should help British American offset some of the losses owing to the general decline of cigarette consumption worldwide.

Expected growth
British American has steadily improved its earnings per share by an average of 11% a year since 2009, and the company is expected to continue this trend. Indeed, City analysts predict the company's earnings per share will be £2.30 for 2013 (11% growth) and £2.50 for 2014.

Shareholder returns
The tobacco sector as a whole is well-known for its generous shareholder returns, and it looks like British American will not break that trend anytime soon, either. The company has authorized a £1.5 billion share repurchase program for this year, and the full-year dividend payout is expected to be about £1.50 a share -- an increase of 11% from 2012.

However, British American's dividend yield is currently 3.6% -- much less than that of its only London-listed peer, Imperial Tobacco, which currently offers a dividend yield of 4.4%.

On a historic P/E ratio of 19.2, British American trades at a premium to its peer Imperial, which trades at a P/E ratio of 11.9. That said, British American's P/E is about the same as international peer Philip Morris, which trades at a P/E of 18.

Foolish summary
Unfortunately, despite British American's stable outlook, the company currently looks overvalued compared to its peers. Additionally, the company's share price has gained 17% this year, which is 5% more than the FTSE 100 as a whole, making the company look slightly overbought.

So overall, I believe that British American Tobacco does not look safe to buy at 3,667 pence.

More FTSE opportunities
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4 Stocks Making Moves

Scared of Higher Interest Rates? These Companies Aren't

With the speculation over changes in Fed policy driving a lot of the activity in the market these days, it's important for investors to know how rising interest rates will affect various companies. With the Big Four banks -- Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) , Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) , JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM  ) , and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC  ) -- being the most visible in the market, the coming normalization of interest rates is sure to drive changes going forward.

In the video below, Motley Fool contributor Jessica Alling discusses high-level changes the banks might face and how long-term investors should be approaching the oncoming transition.

Many investors are scared about investing in big banking stocks after the crash, but the sector has one notable stand-out. In a sea of mismanaged and dangerous peers, it rises above as "The Only Big Bank Built to Last." You can uncover the top pick that Warren Buffett loves in The Motley Fool's new report. It's free, so click here to access it now.

Why I Think GlaxoSmithKline Is So Much More Than Just an Income Stock

LONDON -- With interest rates being at historic lows, stocks such as GlaxoSmithKline  (LSE: GSK  ) (NYSE: GSK  ) have offered a remedy for income-seeking investors.

Indeed, the shares currently yield an impressive 4.4% despite rising by more than 30% in the last three years alone. Clearly, it is understandable why the shares usually form a key part of many investors' portfolios.

However, pigeonholing Glaxo as being little more than a source of income is, in my view, a tad unfair.

Of course, we all know the familiar story that the developed world has an ageing population, which will require treatments and health care in future on a larger scale than it currently does. This situation undoubtedly presents an opportunity for health care companies such as Glaxo.

However, the potential for share-price gains also exists over a much shorter investment horizon.

Unlike stable mate AstraZeneca, Glaxo has successfully managed its portfolio of patented blockbuster products. Indeed, it seems to have avoided a so-called patent cliff -- where old patents expire, there are no new products to replace them, and revenue then declines significantly.

This year alone, Glaxo is hoping to gain regulatory approval for a handful of potentially blockbuster treatments, with the latest positive news coming at the end of May when approval was obtained for two of the company's medicines to treat advanced melanoma in patients with certain gene mutations.

Of course, approvals are not guaranteed but it appears as though the company is, in sporting terminology, throwing a lot of darts so that it has a good chance of hitting the bull's-eye.

In addition, the shares currently trade on a P/E of 14.3 and offer fairly brisk earnings-per-share growth of around 6.5% per annum.

Although Glaxo's shares trade on a higher multiple than peers such as AstraZeneca and the market as a whole, I believe the potential for the company to deliver positive news flow means the shares remain attractive at the current price of 1,670 pence.

Even if the above is not enough to get your pulse racing, the shares sit at No. 19 in the top yielders of the FTSE 100 index. Buy them for an income, yes. Just don't think that's all you could be getting!

Let me finish by adding that if you already hold Glaxo shares and are looking for an alternative growth opportunity in the FTSE 350, this exclusive report reviews The Motley Fool's top growth share for 2013.

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Netflix: Where Do We Go From Here?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

THL Credit Floats New Stock Issue

THL Credit (NASDAQ: TCRD  ) stands to gross nearly $100 million in new financing if a fresh stock offering goes as planned. The company announced it's floating 6.6 million shares of its common stock at $14.62 apiece in an underwritten public offering. Additionally, its underwriters have been granted a 30-day purchase option for up to an additional 990,000 shares.

THL Credit said it expects the issue to raise around $96.5 million in gross proceeds. The company expects to use its share of to retire debt drawn from its revolving credit facility and for "general corporate purposes," which include working capital requirements.

The joint book-running managers of the issue are Bank of America's (NYSE: BAC  ) Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS  ) , and Barclay's (NYSE: BCS  ) . The offering is expected to close on or about June 24.

At the end of its Q1, THL Credit had 26.3 million shares outstanding. Its stock currently trades at $14.66 per share.

South America's Best Bet in Energy Might Not Be Brazil

Recent Volatility Shows Quantitative Easing Is More Trouble Than It's Worth

Over the past several weeks, financial markets have been extremely volatile. The yield on the 10 year U.S. Treasury increased by about 50 basis points (29%) to 2.15%, and the S&P 500 has swung up and down by 80 points (about 5%). The proximate cause of the increase in volatility was Fed Chairman Bernanke's May 22 Congressional testimony, where he suggested that the Fed could slow its purchases of assets from the current $85 billion monthly pace. By reducing longer term interest rates, Fed asset purchases suppress the discount rates applied to all future cash flows, which boosts stock and real estate prices. The recent volatility is a reminder of the extent to which asset prices have become dependent on Fed policy and the huge risks created by the Fed's ongoing intervention.

The case for quantitative easing is straightforward. The Fed has a "dual mandate" to achieve both price stability and full employment. With inflation low, unemployment elevated, and the employment-to-population ratio near its all-time low, the Fed would normally reduce interest rates. But since the Fed's main policy rate – the overnight federal funds rate – is already at zero, any additional loosening of monetary policy has to occur through "nonstandard" policies. These have generally taken the form of "quantitative easing", whereby the Fed purchases Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities (MBS) from banks with newly created reserves (i.e. "printing money.") By removing Treasury bonds and MBS from the market, the Fed makes them more scarce, which drives up their price and reduces their yield.

The direct impact of reductions in Treasury and MBS yields is to lower the effective borrowing costs of the Federal government and mortgage borrowers. This allows the Treasury to run larger deficits at a lower cost than would otherwise be the case. Lower borrowing costs spurs mortgage refinancing and new mortgage purchases, which increase household cash flow an! d increase house prices. Recent data suggest that house prices have increased by about 10% nationally since the beginning of 2012. Lower Treasury rates also lead to lower borrowing costs for nonfinancial businesses. By swapping out interest-bearing assets for bank reserves that pay just 0.25%, Fed policy also reduces the foreign exchange value of the dollar by reducing the aggregate interest payments in dollar money markets.

Finally, by reducing discount rates and increasing asset prices, Fed policy should also increase spending of households and businesses through "wealth effects". As households feel wealthier, they are willing to spend a greater portion of current income. Similarly, business investment is generally tied to the net worth of the business, so as stock prices increase, a business is naturally inclined to invest so as to capitalize on the higher multiple the market assigns to its assets and income.

While all of this may make a great deal of sense in theory, the problem is that the reduced financing costs and increased wealth have not translated into more spending by businesses and households. The bulk of the business borrowing done over the past four years has gone to refinance existing debt. This has increased business cash flow and cash holdings, but not translated to higher wages, employment or investment. All three remain historically weak. Households with good credit and lower than average loan-to-value ratios have been able to refinance mortgage debt, but tighter credit standards and the large share of mortgages "underwater" has limited the effectiveness of lower interest rates. Although house prices in Las Vegas and Phoenix have increased by about 25% from their lows, they remain about 50% below their 2006 peaks. As a result, homeowners who purchased in 2006 and 2007 still owe more than their house is worth, which prevents refinancing.

Businesses and households have not responded to higher asset prices for two reasons. First, as demonstrated by ! the recen! t volatility following Bernanke's testimony, there is a sense that current asset prices are artificially inflated. Households do not feel wealthier if they think the value of their portfolio is likely to fall as soon as the Fed removes accommodation; businesses are not likely to invest if they worry that a change in Fed policy could cause their stock price to fall suddenly. Second, wealth effects have historically arisen due to expectations of higher expected earnings. If the increase in asset prices are due to lower discount rates being applied to the same expected earnings, there is no increase in wealth because higher returns today are simply offset with lower expected returns in the future. Hence, manipulating stock prices higher is not likely to have the same effect on spending as stock price increases generated by expectations of higher future incomes.

If lower interest rates and higher asset prices do not spur more spending in the real economy, it is reasonable to wonder if quantitative easing is more trouble than it's worth. When longer-term interest rates shoot upwards by one-third and stocks lose 5% of their value when the Fed hints that it may slow asset purchase volumes, it is difficult to conclude that the current policy is generating durable gains in economic activity. The main effect of Fed policy is to generate large but temporary increases in asset prices. This benefits traders and other financial intermediaries whose compensation is tied to current period returns, but actually reduces the confidence of households and business managers when the asset prices increases are later shown to have been artificial as has been the case over the past several weeks.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Is a Type 1 Diabetes Cure Right Around the Corner?

For lack of a better phrase, those who have type 1 diabetes -- a form of diabetes whereby the person's own autoimmune system attacks or attempts to destroy cells in the pancreas responsible for producing insulin -- often get the short end of the stick.

Despite being the most common chronic disease in children, type 1 diabetes accounts for just 5% of all diabetes diagnoses. The remaining 95% are type 2 diabetics who see their glycemic imbalance brought upon because of a number of factors including genetic make-up, and a number of behavioral habits like smoking or obesity caused by poor diet or lack or exercise. With the pendulum swinging so decisively toward type 2 diabetes in number of diagnoses, it's not surprising to see so many pharmaceutical companies focusing their efforts on developing new type 2 medications.

That pendulum, though, may be ready to swing back in the other direction.

In one of the more exciting studies I've witnessed over the past few years, a research team at Boston Children's Hospital released its findings via a blog post last week that it had discovered the pathway responsible for causing type 1 diabetes. After testing hundreds of different pathways in animals, researchers, identified the ATP/P2X7R pathway as the one responsible for triggering T-cell attacks on the pancreas that render it incapable of producing insulin.

It's all about treating the symptoms

Source: Sarah G., Flickr.

As of right now, the primary treatment option associated with type 1 diabetes is insulin, as well as maintaining a healthy lifestyle through proper diet and exercise. Insulin comes in various forms, from the rapid-acting type to longer-lasting insulins.

Eli Lilly's (NYSE: LLY  ) Humalog, for example, is one of the most widely used rapidly acting insulins. Its duration time is only three to five hours, but it'll peak in effectiveness in as little as 30 minutes. It was also responsible for $2.4 billion, or 11%, of Eli Lilly's total pharmaceutical sales last year and works well if taken while a meal is being consumed.

On the other end of the spectrum is Sanofi's (NYSE: SNY  ) Lantus, which is a once-daily injection that can work in the body for up to 20-24 hours, but can also be combined with a short-acting insulin if needed. Lantus has been an absolute blockbuster diabetes drug up until now, garnering worldwide sales of more than $6 billion in 2012.

Another big beneficiary from type 1 diabetes is glucose-monitoring device makers. Perhaps the most exciting product in this space is Bayer's (NASDAQOTH: BAYRY  ) Contour Next Link. Bayer has partnered its device with Medtronic (NYSE: MDT  ) in such a way that it'll connect wirelessly to Medtronic's insulin pump, drastically reducing many instances of human error or forgetfulness, and delivering the right dosage of insulin to patients throughout the course of the day.

Soon, we may be curing the disease
But, the truth of the matter is that these are treatments for the symptoms associated with type 1 diabetes; they aren't cures. The research conducted at Boston Children's Hospital offers the possibility of an actual cure if a medication can be developed that suppresses autoimmune dysfunction based on this specific pathway. Admittedly, we could be looking at half a decade or longer before there's a big enough human trial to validate whether a cure can be derived, but this is exciting news nonetheless.

It would also make a lot of sense for a company like Eli Lilly or Sanofi to lead the way in terms of type 1 diabetes research, as Lilly's Humalog is set to lose patent protection next year and Sanofi's patents will expire in 2014/2015. These two pharmaceutical giants would love to replace the revenue that's almost certain to be lost because of generic competition. Building upon Boston Children Hospital's research could be one way of accomplishing this.

While we're still quite a ways from a cure, type 1 diabetes patients certainly have a reason to be a little more hopeful as it appears researchers are now one step closer.

With two of its top three drugs poised to lose patent protection this year, is Eli Lilly a dividend stock headed nowhere fast? In a new premium report, The Motley Fool's senior pharmaceuticals analyst breaks down all of Lilly's moving parts, including an in-depth analysis of the company's must-know opportunities and reasons to buy and sell today. To find out more click here to claim your copy today.

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity for British American Tobacco

LONDON -- With governments across the world enacting various pieces of legislation aimed at reducing the number of people who smoke, many investors are questioning the merits of investing in the tobacco sector.

Indeed, even the second-biggest cigarette market in the world, Russia, recently banned smoking in some public places. This follows Australia's plain-packaging law in December, which required all cigarettes to be sold in identical, dark-green packets.

The tide, it seems, is turning against tobacco companies such as British American Tobacco  (LSE: BATS  ) (NYSEMKT: BTI  ) .

However, while smoking tobacco may be a declining activity, a new and supposedly healthier variant could be the answer to the industry's prayers. 

Indeed, BAT announced earlier this year that it has appointed its former group operations director, Des Naughton, as managing director of its Next Generation Products division.

Alongside him will flow substantial investment, with the company expecting approval for a new "tobacco inhalation device" (which is not an electronic cigarette) by the end of this year. Furthermore, BAT hopes the product will launch by the end of 2014 and will be the change that is needed to offer a viable long-term future for the industry.

As mentioned, worldwide cigarette volumes are currently in decline, although with the world population forecast to hit 9 billion by 2050, a falling proportion of smokers may not equate to a decline in the total number of smokers. Whether lower cigarette volumes is due to government policies is debatable but, in any case, companies such as BAT are feeling the pinch.

As a result, tobacco firms are having to increase prices and reduce costs to deliver earnings per share (EPS) growth, but such measures cannot continue indefinitely, with growing revenue being a prerequisite of long-term survival for the industry. 

Therefore, new products such as BAT's tobacco inhalation device could be the structural shift that encourages more people to smoke, thereby arresting the current decline in cigarette volumes.

Of course, BAT not only offers long-term potential but the chance to make short-to-medium-term gains, too. 

With a P/E of 15.4 and annual EPS growth of around 9%, the shares do not seem to be overly expensive, especially when compared to the tobacco sector P/E of 16.3. A yield of 3.9% is above the FTSE 100 average of 3.4%, too.

As ever, government regulation remains a factor in the industry, but instead of viewing it as a negative, I would urge you to look upon it as a positive catalyst for change and quite possible as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for tobacco shareholders. 

Perhaps it is a push from governments that will, ironically, lead to the long-term survival and profitability of not only BAT but the entire industry.

Let me finish by adding that if you already hold BAT shares and are looking for alternative opportunities in the FTSE 100, this exclusive wealth report reviews five other attractive possibilities.

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Zillow Launches Platform to Help Agents, Buyers Communicate

Online real estate marketplace Zillow (NASDAQ: Z  ) has launched a new web and mobile co-shopping platform, Agentfolio, for direct communication among agents and homebuyers, the company announced today.

The platform is the result of Zillow's October 2012 buyout of collaborative shopping company Buyfolio, which is now called Agentfolio. Zillow says Agentfolio is the only platform for real estate that provides collaborative search options for multiple people. Zillow is offering the service for free among members of its Premier Agent program, and $25 a month for agents who are not subscribers. Zillow launched Agentfolio in Chicago and plans to roll it out in New York City, Boston, and other markets across the country.

Susan Daimler, Zillow's director of Agentfolio, said she believes the service will allow for more efficient communication in the processes of searching for and selling homes. "The home search has gotten too complicated for the inbox," she was quoted as saying. "Agentfolio provides a mobile and online workspace where agents and their clients can search, share, organize and discuss listings all in one place."


Top 5 Machinery Companies To Own For 2014

Now that we've gotten through five months of 2013, it's a good time to review which stocks have performed well for the year, which haven't, and whether you should own any of them. With the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) having increased by 15.35% year to date, there have clearly been more big winners than big losers this year. With Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) being the biggest Dow loser and down only 4.25% in 2013, and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) being the biggest winner, up 71.37% in 2013, the difference is dramatic. But, let's look at why these stocks have performed the way they have, and whether you should own either of them. My conclusion may shock you!

Losers go first
Following top index loser Caterpillar is aluminum giant Alcoa (NYSE: AA  ) , whose shares have fallen 2.07% year to date. The most likely reasons both companies have fallen this year are a struggling economy in Europe and a slowing one in China. Both companies need strong construction and manufacturing in the major world markets, and with all the issues in Europe, construction and development are stuck in the concrete -- which has lowered the need for Caterpillar's heavy machinery and for massive amounts of aluminum building materials.

Top 5 Machinery Companies To Own For 2014: Terex Corporation(TEX)

Terex Corporation manufactures capital goods machinery products worldwide. Its Aerial Work Platforms segment offers portable material lifts, portable aerial work platforms, trailer-mounted articulating booms and light towers, self-propelled articulating and telescopic booms, scissor lifts, telehandlers, and bridge inspection and utility equipment under the Terex and Genie brands. The company?s Construction segment provides off-highway trucks and material handlers; loader backhoes, compaction equipment, mini and midi excavators, site dumpers, compact track loaders, skid steer loaders, wheel loaders, and tunneling equipment; and asphalt and concrete equipment, and landfill compactors principally under the Terex name. Its Cranes segment offers mobile telescopic and tower cranes, lattice boom crawler and truck cranes, and truck-mounted cranes; and straddle and sprinter carriers, gantry cranes, ship-to-shore cranes, reach stackers, empty and full container handlers, and genera l cargo lift trucks under the Terex brand. The company?s Material Handling and Port Solutions segment provides standard and process cranes, rope and chain hoists, electric motors, and light crane systems; and crane components and port equipment, such as mobile harbor and automated stacking cranes, and automated guided vehicles, as well as terminal automation technology, including software under the Demag and Gottwald names. Its Materials Processing segment offers crushers, washing systems, screens, apron feeders, chippers, and related components and replacement parts under the Terex and Powerscreen brands. The company provides financing solutions to assist customers in the rental, leasing, and acquisition of its products. It serves construction, infrastructure, quarrying, mining, manufacturing, shipping, transportation, refining, energy, and utility industries through dealers, rental companies, direct sales, and major accounts. The company was founded in 1925 and is based i n Westport, Connecticut.

Top 5 Machinery Companies To Own For 2014: Caterpillar Inc.(CAT)

Caterpillar Inc. manufactures and sells construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives worldwide. It operates through three lines of businesses: Machinery, Engines, and Financial Products. The Machinery business offers construction, mining, and forestry machinery, including track and wheel tractors, track and wheel loaders, pipelayers, motor graders, wheel tractor-scrapers, track and wheel excavators, backhoe loaders, log skidders, log loaders, off-highway trucks, articulated trucks, paving products, skid steer loaders, underground mining equipment, tunnel boring equipment, and related parts. It also manufactures diesel-electric locomotives; and manufactures and services rail-related products and logistics services for other companies. The Engines business provides diesel, heavy fuel, and natural gas reciprocating engines for Caterpillar machinery, electric power generation systems, marine, petrol eum, construction, industrial, agricultural, and other applications. It offers industrial turbines and turbine-related services for oil and gas, and power generation applications. This business also remanufactures Caterpillar engines, machines, and engine components; and offers remanufacturing services for other companies. The Financial Products business provides retail and wholesale financing alternatives for Caterpillar machinery and engines, solar gas turbines, and other equipment and marine vessels, as well as offers loans and various forms of insurance to customers and dealers. It also offers financing for vehicles, power generation facilities, and marine vessels. The company markets its products directly, as well as through its distribution centers, dealers, and distributors. It was formerly known as Caterpillar Tractor Co. and changed its name to Caterpillar Inc. in 1986. Caterpillar Inc. was founded in 1925 and is headquartered in Peoria, Illinois.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Sam Collins]

    Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) is the world’s largest producer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, and industrial gas turbines. The stock has been in a bull market since the market bottomed in March 2009. CAT was one of our Top Stocks to Buy for December because of its position as a major supplier to the third world and China. The company should also be a beneficiary of orders from Japan due to the damage from earthquakes and the tsunami.

    Revenues in 2011 are expected to increase by 36%, according to S&P, and margins are expected to increase, as well. Earnings for 2012 are forecast at $9.10, up from $7.50 this year, and S&P has a target of $142 over the next 12 months.

    Technically CAT has strong support at $95 and currently appears to be oversold, according to Moving Average Convergence/Divergence (MACD). If it is able to hold at the support line, look for a rally to $110 within 30 days. Longer term the stock could trade north of $125.

Hot Casino Companies For 2014: Cummins Inc.(CMI)

Cummins Inc. designs, manufactures, distributes, and services diesel and natural gas engines, electric power generation systems, and engine-related component products worldwide. It operates in four segments: Engine, Power Generation, Components, and Distribution. The Engine segment offers a range of diesel and natural gas powered engines under the Cummins and other customer brand names for the heavy-and medium-duty truck, bus, recreational vehicle, light-duty automotive, agricultural, construction, mining, marine, oil and gas, rail, and governmental equipment markets. This segment also provides new parts and service, as well as remanufactured parts and engines. The Power Generation segment offers power generation systems, components, and services, including diesel, natural gas, gasoline, and alternative-fuel electrical generator sets for use in recreational vehicles, commercial vehicles, recreational marine applications, and home stand-by or residential applications. This segment also provides components that make up power generation systems, such as engines, controls, alternators, transfer switches, and switchgears. The Components segment supplies filtration products, turbochargers, aftertreatment systems, intake and exhaust systems, and fuel systems for commercial diesel applications. This segment offers filtration and exhaust systems for on-and off-highway heavy-duty and mid-range equipment, as well as supplies filtration products for industrial and passenger car applications. This segment also develops after treatment and exhaust systems to help customers meet emissions standards and fuel systems. The Distribution segment provides parts and services, as well as service solutions, including maintenance contracts, engineering services, and integrated products. The company sells its products to original equipment manufacturers, distributors, and other customers. Cummins Inc. was founded in 1919 and is headquartered in Columbus, Indiana.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Matthew Scott]

    While trucking manufacturing Cummins (NYSE: CMI) is hardly a sexy stock, fleets of environmentally friendly trucks will be essential for many world economies to remain competitive as they slowly make their way out of the last recession. The price of Cummins’ stock has increased more than five and a half times in two years, jumping from $19.09 on March 9, 2009 to $109.62 at the end of the first quarter this year. As world economies begin to improve, transportation companies will begin replacing trucks so that they can move higher volumes of products more efficiently, and Cummins will benefit.

Top 5 Machinery Companies To Own For 2014: AGCO Corporation (AGCO)

AGCO Corporation manufactures and distributes agricultural equipment and related replacement parts worldwide. The company provides tractors, including compact tractors for small farms and specialty agricultural industries comprising dairies, landscaping, and residential areas; utility tractors, such as two-wheel and all-wheel drive versions for small and medium-sized farms, and specialty agricultural industries consist of dairy, livestock, orchards, and vineyards; and horsepower tractors for large farms and on cattle ranches for hay production. It also offers application equipment, which includes self-propelled, three and four-wheeled vehicles, and related equipment for use in the application of liquid and dry fertilizers, and crop protection chemicals; chemical sprayer equipment for planting crops; and related equipment that comprises vehicles for waste application, as well as provides combines. In addition, the company offers hay tools and forage equipment consisting rou nd and rectangular balers, self-propelled windrowers, disc mowers, spreaders and mower conditioners for harvesting and packaging vegetative feeds; and engines, such as diesel engines, gears, and generating sets. Further, it provides implements, including disc harrows for improving field performance; heavy tillage to break up soil and mix crop residue; and field cultivators for preparing smooth seed bed and destroy weeds, as well as offers tractor-pulled planters and loaders. Additionally, the company provides precision farming technologies to enhance productivity and profitability on the farm; and other advanced technology precision farming products to gather information, such as yield data, as well as offers wholesale financing and retail financing. It markets its products under the Challenger, Fendt, Massey Ferguson, and Valtra brand names through a network of independent dealers and distributors. AGCO Corporation was founded in 1990 and is headquartered in Duluth, Georgia .

Top 5 Machinery Companies To Own For 2014: Danaher Corp (DHR)

Danaher Corporation (Danaher) designs, manufactures and markets professional, medical, industrial and commercial products and services. The Company�� research and development, manufacturing, sales, distribution, service and administrative facilities are located in more than 50 countries. It operates in five segments: Test & Measurement; Environmental; Life Sciences & Diagnostics; Dental; and Industrial Technologies. In April 2011, the Company sold its Pacific Scientific Aerospace (PSA) business. On June 30, 2011, the Company acquired Beckman Coulter, Inc. (Beckman Coulter). In January 2012, the Company sold its Accu-Sort businesses. In February 2012, the Company sold its Kollmorgen Electro-Optical (KEO) business. During the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company acquired EskoArtwork, On February 6, 2012, L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc. acquired Kollmorgen Electro-Optical unit of the Company. In January 2013, the Company acquired Navman Wireless.


The Company�� Test & Measurement segment is a provider of electronic measurement instruments and monitoring, management and optimization tools for communications and enterprise networks and related services. The segment�� products are used in the design, development, manufacture, installation, deployment and operation of electronics equipment and communications networks and services. Customers for these products and services include manufacturers of electronic instruments; service, installation and maintenance professionals; manufacturers who design, develop, manufacture and install network equipment, and service providers who implement, maintain and manage communications networks and services.

The Company�� business designs, manufactures, and markets a variety of compact professional test tools, thermal imaging and calibration equipment for electrical, industrial, electronic and calibration applications. These test products measure voltage, current, resistance, power quality, frequency, p! ressure, temperature and air quality. Typical users of these products include electrical engineers, electricians, electronic technicians, medical technicians, and industrial maintenance professionals. Its business also offers general purpose test products and video test, measurement and monitoring products used in electronic design, manufacturing and advanced technology development. The business��general purpose test products, including oscilloscopes, logic analyzers, signal sources and spectrum analyzers, are used to capture, display and analyze streams of electrical data. The Company sells these products into a variety of industries with electronic content, including the communications, computer, consumer electronics, education, military/aerospace and semiconductor industries.

Typical users include research and development engineers who use its general purpose test products to design, de-bug, monitor and validate the function and performance of electronic components, subassemblies and end-products. Its video test products include waveform monitors, video signal generators, compressed digital video test products and other test and measurement equipment used to enhance a viewer�� video experience. Typical users of these products include video equipment manufacturers, content developers and traditional television broadcasters. Products in this business are marketed under the FLUKE, TEKTRONIX, KEITHLEY, RAYTEK, FLUKE BIOMEDICAL, AMPROBE and MAXTEK brands.

The communications businesses offer network management solutions, handheld and fixed diagnostic equipment and security solutions, as well as related installation and maintenance services, for a range of private network applications, as well fixed and mobile communications systems. Typical users of the business��products include network engineers, installers, operators, and technicians. Its network management tools help network operators continuously manage network performance and optimize the utilization, uptime and servi! ce qualit! y of the network. Products in this business are marketed under the TEKTRONIX, FLUKE NETWORKS, ARBOR, VISUAL NETWORKS and AIRMAGNET brands.

Matco Tools manufactures and distributes professional tools, toolboxes and automotive equipment through independent mobile distributors, who sell primarily to professional mechanics under the MATCO brand. Hennessy Industries is a North American full-line wheel service equipment manufacturer, providing brake lathes, vehicle lifts, tire changers, wheel balancers, and wheel weights under the AMMCO, BADA and COATS brands. Typical users of these products are automotive tire and repair shops. Sales are generally made through its direct sales personnel, independent distributors, retailers, and original equipment manufacturers.


The Company�� Environmental segment provides products that help protect its water supply and air quality and serves two primary markets: water quality and retail/commercial petroleum. Danaher�� water quality business is engaged in water quality analysis and treatment, providing instrumentation and disinfection systems to help analyze and manage the quality of ultra pure, potable and waste water in residential, commercial, industrial and natural resource applications. Its water quality operations design, manufacture and market a range of analytical instruments, related consumables, and associated services that detect and measure chemical, physical, and microbiological parameters in ultra pure, potable and waste water as well as groundwater and ocean bodies; ultraviolet disinfection systems, which disinfect billions of gallons of municipal, industrial and consumer water every day in more than 35 countries, and industrial water treatment solutions, including chemical treatment solutions intended to address corrosion, scaling and biological growth problems in boiler, cooling water and industrial waste water applications, as well as associated analytical services. Typical users of its analytical in! struments! , ultraviolet disinfection systems, industrial water treatment solutions and related consumables and services include professionals in municipal drinking water and waste water treatment plants and industrial process water and waste water treatment facilities, third-party testing laboratories and environmental field operations. Its water quality business provides products under a variety of well-known brands, including HACH, HACH/LANGE, TROJAN TECHNOLOGIES and CHEMTREAT. Manufacturing facilities are located in North America, Europe, and Asia.

The Company has served the retail/commercial petroleum market through its Veeder-Root business. Gilbarco Veeder-Root is a provider of products and services for the retail/commercial petroleum market, including environmental monitoring and leak detection systems; vapor recovery equipment; fuel dispensers; point-of-sale and secure electronic payment technologies for retail petroleum stations; submersible turbine pumps, and remote monitoring and outsourced fuel management services, including compliance services, fuel system maintenance, and inventory planning and supply chain support. Typical users of these products include independent and Company-owned retail petroleum stations, high-volume retailers, convenience stores, and commercial vehicle fleets. The Company markets its retail/commercial petroleum products under a variety of brands, including GILBARCO, VEEDER-ROOT, and GILBARCO AUTOTANK. Manufacturing facilities are located in North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America. Sales are generally made through independent distributors and its direct sales personnel.


The Company�� diagnostics businesses offer a range of analytical instruments, reagents, consumables, software and services that hospitals, physician�� offices, reference laboratories and other critical care settings use to diagnose disease and make treatment decisions. Its life sciences businesses offer a range of research and clinical ! tools tha! t are used by scientists to study cells and cell components to gain a better understanding of complex biological matters. Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, universities, medical schools and research institutions use these tools to study the causes of disease, identify new therapies and test new drugs and vaccines. The diagnostics business consists of its core lab, acute care and pathology diagnostics businesses.

The Company�� core lab diagnostics business is a manufacturer and marketer of biomedical testing instrument systems, tests and supplies that are used to evaluate and analyze samples made up of body fluids, cells and other substances. The information generated is used to diagnose disease, monitor and guide treatment and therapy, assist in managing chronic disease and assess patient status in the hospital, outpatient and physician office settings. Its chemistry systems use electrochemical detection and chemical reactions with patient samples to detect and quantify substances of diagnostic interest in blood and other body fluids. Commonly performed tests include glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, electrolytes, proteins and enzymes.

The Company�� immunoassay systems also detect and quantify chemical substances of diagnostic interest in body fluids, particularly in circumstances where more specialized diagnosis is required. Commonly performed immunoassay tests assess thyroid function, screen and monitor for cancer and cardiac risk and provide important information in fertility and reproductive testing. Its cellular analysis business includes hematology, flow cytometry and coagulation products. The business��hematology systems use principles of physics, optics, electronics and chemistry to separate cells of diagnostic interest and then quantify and characterize them, allowing clinicians to study formed elements in blood (such as red and white blood cells and platelets). The business also distributes coagulation products, which rely on clotting, chromogenic! and immu! nologic technologies to provide the detailed information that clinicians require to diagnose bleeding and clotting disorders and to monitor anticoagulant therapy. It also offer systems and workflow solutions that allow laboratories to automate a number of steps from the pre-analytical through post-analytical stages including sample barcoding/information tracking, centrifugation, aliquotting, storage and conveyance. These systems along with the analyzers above are controlled through laboratory level software that enables laboratory managers to monitor samples, results and lab efficiency.

The Company�� acute care diagnostics business is a provider of instruments and related consumables and services that are used in both laboratory and point-of-care environments to rapidly measure critical parameters, including blood gases, electrolytes, metabolites and cardiac markers. Typical users of these products include hospital central laboratories, intensive care units, hospital operating rooms and hospital emergency rooms. Its pathology diagnostics business is engaged in the anatomical pathology market, offering a suite of instrumentation and related consumables used across the entire workflow of a pathology laboratory. Its pathology diagnostics products include tissue embedding, processing and slicing (microtomes) instruments and related reagents and consumables; chemical and immuno-staining instruments, reagents, antibodies and consumables; slide coverslipping and slide/cassette marking instruments, and imaging instrumentation including slide scanners, microscopes, cameras and associated software. Typical users of these products include pathologists, lab managers and researchers. Its diagnostics business generally markets its products under the BECKMAN COULTER, LEICA BIOSYSTEMS, RADIOMETER and SURGIPATH brands. Manufacturing facilities are located in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. The businesses sell to customers primarily through direct sales personnel and to a lesser extent through ! independe! nt distributors.

The Company�� microscopy business is a provider of professional microscopes designed to manipulate, preserve and capture images of, and enhance the user�� visualization of, microscopic structures. Its microscopy products include laser scanning (confocal) microscopes; compound microscopes and related equipment; surgical and other stereo microscopes; specimen preparation products for electron microscopy; and digital image capture and manipulation equipment. The Company also offers workflow instruments and consumables that help researchers analyze genomic, protein and cellular information. Key product areas include sample preparation equipment, such as centrifugation and capillary electrophoresis instrumentation and consumables; liquid handling automation instruments and associated consumables; flow cytometry instrumentation and associated antibodies and reagents; and particle characterization instrumentation. The business also offers genome profiling services. Researchers use the business��products to study biological function in the pursuit of basic research, therapeutic and diagnostic development. Typical users of these products include pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, universities, medical schools and research institutions and in some cases industrial manufacturers.

The Company�� mass spectrometry business is a provider of high-end mass spectrometers. Mass spectrometry is a technique for identifying, analyzing and quantifying elements, chemical compounds and biological molecules, individually or in complex mixtures. Its products utilize various combinations of quadrupole, time-of-flight and ion trap technologies, and are typically used in conjunction with a third party liquid chromatography instrument. Its mass spectrometer systems are used in numerous applications, such as drug discovery and clinical development of therapeutics as well as in basic research, clinical testing, food and beverage quality testing and environmental testing. To s! upport it! s installations around the world, it provides implementation, validation, training, maintenance and support from its global services network. Typical users of its mass spectrometry products include molecular biologists, bioanalytical chemists, toxicologists, and forensic scientists, as well as quality assurance and quality control technicians. It also provides high-performance bioanalytical measurement systems, including microplate readers, automated cellular screening products and associated reagents, and imaging software. Typical users of these products include biologists and chemists engaged in research and drug discovery, who use these products to determine electrical or chemical activity in cell samples. Its life sciences business generally markets its products under the LEICA MICROSYSTEMS, BECKMAN COULTER, AB SCIEX and MOLECULAR DEVICES brands. Manufacturing facilities are located in Europe, Australia, Asia and North America.


The Company�� Dental segment is a provider of a range of consumables, equipment and services for the dental market, which encompasses the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and ailments of the teeth, gums and supporting bone. Its dental businesses develop, manufacture and market dental consumables and dental equipment orthodontic bracket systems and lab products; impression, bonding and restorative materials; endodontic systems and related consumables; infection prevention products, and diamond and carbide rotary instruments. Typical customers and users of these products include general dentists, dental specialists, dental hygienists, dental laboratories and other oral health professionals, as well as educational, medical and governmental entities. Its dental products are marketed primarily under the KAVO, GENDEX, iCAT, INSTRUMENTARIUM DENTAL, SOREDEX, PELTON & CRANE, DEXIS, ORMCO, KERR, PENTRON, SYBRON ENDO and TOTAL CARE brands.


The Company�� Industrial Technologies segment ! designs a! nd manufactures components and systems that are typically incorporated by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and systems integrators for sale into a diverse set of applications and end-markets. The businesses in this segment also provide service and support, including helping customers with integration and installation and providing services to ensure performance and up-time. Danaher�� product identification business is a global provider of equipment and consumables for variable printing, marking and coding on a variety of consumer and industrial products. Its businesses design, manufacture, and market a variety of equipment used to print bar codes, date codes, lot codes, and other information on primary and secondary packaging. Its equipment can apply alphanumeric codes, logos and graphics to a range of surfaces at a variety of line speeds, angles and locations on a product or package.

EskoArtwork, the business is a service solutions provider for the digital packaging design and production market. Typical users of the product identification business��products include food and beverage manufacturers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, retailers and commercial printing and mailing operations. Its product identification products are primarily marketed under the VIDEOJET, LINX, FOBA and ESKOARTWORK brands. Manufacturing facilities are located in North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. The Company is a provider of electromechanical motion control solutions for the industrial automation and packaging markets. Its businesses provide a range of products including standard and custom motors; drives; controls, and mechanical components, such as ball screws, linear bearings, clutches/brakes, and linear actuators.

The products are sold in various precision motion markets, such as the markets for packaging equipment, medical equipment, robotics, circuit board assembly equipment, elevators and electric vehicles (such as lift trucks). Its motion products are marketed under a vari! ety of br! ands, including KOLLMORGEN, THOMSON, DOVER and PORTESCAP. Manufacturing facilities are located in North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Its sensors and controls products include instruments that monitor, sense and control discrete manufacturing variables such as temperature, position, quantity, level, flow and time. Users of these products span a wide variety of manufacturing markets. Certain businesses included in this group also make and sell instruments, controls and monitoring systems used by the electric utility industry to monitor their transmission and distribution systems, as well as automatic identification solutions. The products are marketed under a variety of brands, including DYNAPAR, HENGSTLER, IRIS POWER, WEST, GEMS SENSORS, SETRA and QUALITROL. Sales are generally made through our direct sales personnel and independent distributors.

The Company�� defense business designs, manufactures, and markets energetic material systems. Typical users of these products include defense systems integrators and prime contractors. defense products are typically marketed under the PACIFIC SCIENTIFIC ENERGETIC MATERIALS COMPANY brand. The KEO business designs, develops, manufactures and integrates highly engineered, stabilized electro-optical/ISR systems that integrate into submarines, surface ships and ground vehicles. Jacobs Vehicle Systems (JVS) is a supplier of supplemental braking systems for commercial vehicles, selling JAKE BRAKE brand engine retarders for class 6 through 8 vehicles and bleeder and exhaust brakes for class 2 through 7 vehicles. Customers are primarily manufacturers of class 2 through class 8 vehicles, and sales are typically made through its direct sales personnel. Manufacturing facilities of its sensors and controls, defense and JVS businesses are located in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Kathy Kristof]

    Headquarters: Washington, D.C.

    52-Week High: $56.06

    52-Week Low: $40.36

    Annual Sales: $16.1 bill.

    Projected Earnings Growth: 15% annually over the next five years 

    Danaher was an industrial conglomerate made up of disparate cyclical businesses. Then, in 1990, management opted to restructure to focus on five key areas in which it believed it could become a global leader. 

    The wisdom of the strategy proved itself in 2009 as the nation struggled with the recession precipitated by the financial crisis, says Morningstar analyst Daniel Holland. Although revenues of many of its rivals were cut in half that year, Danaher saw its sales drop about 12% and bounce back nicely in 2010. Revenues and profits have continued to rise by double-digit percentages. Second-quarter profits and sales jumped 31% and 28% respectively from the year-earlier period. 

    Danaher’s growth is primarily fueled by acquisitions, which it does unusually well. Danaher’s latest purchase, of Beckman Coulter last year, has not only proved profitable, it has put 40% of the company’s sales in the rapidly growing health care sector.

Bernanke: The Accidental Fed Chairman

Washington Post columnist Neil Irwin stopped by to discuss his book, The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire. It's a great read on the history of central banks, including how they responded to the financial crisis and the challenges they face in the future.

In this video segment, Neil describes the man who never intended to be chairman of the Fed, and how his past experiences came together to prepare him for the task he faced in 2008. A full transcript follows the video.

Morgan Housel: How was Bernanke different when he was a professor, 10 years ago, than he is now?

Neil Irwin: I didn't know him at the time, but from everyone I've talked to, very cerebral, very quiet. It's interesting. He was the Economics Department chair at Princeton, and he jokes -- it's kind of a joke -- he said, "My biggest responsibility was to decide whether to bring bagels or doughnuts to a faculty meeting."

Department chairs in a university, it's not a lot of pure power. It's more the power to influence and guide a department.

But I think there's something relevant there, which is his experience was in these settings where his job is not just to make unilateral decisions. His job is to persuade a group of people, to guide a group of people, toward an answer, toward a solution -- preferably his own preferred solution.

It's one where you can't just boss people around. You have to use force of intellect, force of persuasion. Just as at Princeton, deciding, "OK, we're going to do this with the curriculum," he had to persuade his fellow faculty members, "This is the direction we're going to go."

At the Federal Reserve, he can't make a ton of decisions unilaterally. He has to persuade the Federal [Open] Market Committee, this group of economists who get around the table eight times a year, that this is the course we're going to take, this is the best thing to do.

I think there are some real parallels in his previous life, and how he's behaved as Fed chair.

Housel: His academic background focused on the Great Depression. Then here we were in 2008, facing what might have been the next Great Depression, so in many ways Bernanke was the perfect Fed chairman, in terms of his academic background, right?

Irwin: Yeah. In a lot of ways, if you went back in time and told George W. Bush in 2005, "You know, as you're choosing a Fed chair, you ought to know there's going to be a big crisis, so you'd better think about that," I'm not sure if that would have led you to say, "Oh, well, I need Ben Bernanke," because he didn't have a financial markets background. He had never worked on Wall Street.

He was viewed as kind of this quiet, deliberative professor, who got along with everybody, was very thoughtful, seemed to exhibit a good, level head, some good leadership qualities, but was not a savvy Washington guy, not a savvy Wall Street markets guy.

But as it turned out, he was able to learn a lot of that stuff, and really learn on the job how to deal with the market aspects, and his academic training turned out to be a unique match for the moment.

My understanding is, when he was interviewing in the White House for the Fed chairmanship, his academic background on the Depression didn't come up at all, but it turned out to be shockingly relevant to his experience, and the same with his study of Japan.

It's not just the Great Depression. He also was one of these scholars criticizing Japan in the '90s and early 2000s.

I think if you look, not at the crisis response, not the initial bank bailouts and all that, but the different rounds of quantitative easing, QE1, 2, 3 ... that's been about the Fed trying to prevent us from becoming Japan, settling into deflation, so I think that experience has been relevant as well.

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Best Supermarket Companies To Watch In Right Now

It might not be obvious to the casual observer, but right now, today, Kroger (NYSE: KR  ) stock offers one of the best values available in the supermarket industry. Why?

Three reasons.

Kroger is cheap
When you stack up Kroger stock against a couple of its smaller, faster-growing rivals -- Harris Teeter (NYSE: HTSI  ) and The Fresh Market (NASDAQ: TFM  ) , it's clear that Kroger is the cheapest of the three. Its 12.0 price-to-earnings ratio is barely half the price Harris Teeter stock-shoppers pay, and less than a third of the price of a share of Fresh Market.

Now as I just mentioned, both Harris Teeter and Fresh Market are growing faster than Kroger. Analysts have Kroger pegged for a bit more than 7% annual earnings growth over the next five years, while Harris is expected to grow a bit less than twice as fast, and Fresh Market a bit less than three times as fast. Emphasis on "a bit less" -- as in, the disparities in growth rates aren't big enough to justify the discounts on Kroger stock: about two times versus Harris, and more than three times versus Fresh Market.

Best Supermarket Companies To Watch In Right Now: PIMCO Income Strategy Fund II(PFN)

PIMCO Income Strategy Fund II is a closed-ended fixed income mutual fund launched and managed by Allianz Global Investors Fund Management LLC. It is co-managed by Pacific Investment Management Company LLC. The fund invests in the fixed income markets of the United States. It invests in securities of companies operating across the diversified sectors. The fund invests in floating-rate debt instruments primarily high-yield senior floating-rate loans. It employs fundamental analysis with top-down approach to create its portfolio. The fund conducts an in-house research to make its investments. It was formerly known as PIMCO Floating Rate Strategy Fund. PIMCO Income Strategy Fund II was formed on June 30, 2004 and is domiciled in the United States.

Best Supermarket Companies To Watch In Right Now: Calgon Carbon Corp (CCC)

Calgon Carbon Corporation is a provider of products, services, and solutions for purifying water and air. The Company operates in three reportable segments: Activated Carbon and Service, Equipment, and Consumer. The Activated Carbon and Service segment manufactures granular and powdered activated carbon for use in applications to primarily remove organic compounds from water, air and other liquids and gases. The service aspect of the segment consists of reactivation and the leasing, monitoring and maintenance of carbon adsorption equipment. The Equipment segment provides solutions to customers��air and water purification problems through the design, fabrication, installation, and sale of equipment systems that utilize a combination of the Company�� enabling technologies: carbon adsorption, ultraviolet light (UV), Ballast Water Treatment (BWT), and advanced ion exchange separation (ISEP). The Consumer segment primarily consists of the manufacture and sale of carbon cloth. On March 31, 2011 the Company completed the acquisition of Calgon Carbon Japan KK (CCJ).

Activated Carbon and Service

The sale of activated carbon is the principle component of the Activated Carbon and Service business segment. Activated carbon is a porous material that removes organic compounds from liquids and gases by a process known as adsorption. In adsorption, unwanted organic molecules contained in a liquid or gas are attracted and bound to the surface of the pores of the activated carbon as the liquid or gas is passed through. The primary raw material used in the production of the Company�� activated carbons is bituminous coal which is crushed, sized and then processed in low temperature kilns followed by high temperature furnaces. The Company also markets activated carbons from other raw materials, including coconut shell and wood. The Company produces and sells a range of activated, impregnated or acid washed carbons in granular, powdered or pellet form. Granular activated carbon (GAC) particl! es are irregular in shape and generally used in fixed filter beds for continuous flow purification processes.

Another component of the Activated Carbon and Service business segment are the optional services associated with supplying the Company�� products and systems required for purification, separation, concentration, taste and odor control. The Company offers a variety of treatment services at customer facilities, including carbon supply, equipment leasing, installation and demobilization, transportation and spent carbon reactivation. Other services include feasibility testing, process design, performance monitoring and maintenance of Company-owned equipment. The central component of the Company�� service business is reactivation of spent carbon and re-supply. The Company provides reactivation/recycling services in packages ranging from a 55 gallon drum to truckload quantities.


Along with providing activated carbon products, the Company has developed a portfolio of standardized, pre-engineered, adsorption systems capable of treating liquid flows from 1 gallons per minute to 1,400 gallons per minute, which can be delivered and installed at treatment sites. These self-contained adsorption systems are used for vapor phase applications, such as volatile organic compound (VOC) control, air stripper off-gases, and landfill gas emissions. Liquid phase equipment systems are used for applications of potable water, process purification, wastewater treatment, groundwater remediation and de-chlorination. The Company produces a range of odor control equipment, which typically utilizes catalytic activated carbon to control odors at municipal wastewater treatment facilities and pumping stations. The Company�� variety of equipment systems treats the odors that emanate from municipal wastewater treatment facilities and the sewage collection systems that bring the waste to the treatment plant.

The ISEP (Ionic Separator) continuous ion exchange units ! are used ! for the purification and recovery of many products in the food, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries. The ISEP Continuous Separator units perform ion exchange separations using countercurrent processing. The ISEP and CSEP (chromatographic separator) systems are used at over 300 installations worldwide in more than 40 applications in industrial settings, as well as in environmental applications, including perchlorate and nitrate removal from drinking water. The Hyde GUARDIAN System was developed as a chemical-free, International Maritime Organization (IMO) type approved, ballast water management solution. The system is designed to meet the needs of ship owners to install treatment system.


The primary product offered in the Consumer segment is carbon cloth. Carbon cloth, which is activated carbon in cloth form, is manufactured in the United Kingdom and sold to the medical, military, and specialty markets. Zorflex Activated Carbon Cloth can be used in numerous additional applications, including sensor protection; filters for ostomy bags; wound dressings; conservation of artifacts, and respiratory masks.

The Company competes with Norit, N.V., Mead/Westvaco Corporation, Siemens Water Technologies, Trojan Technologies, Inc., Xylem, Wedeco Ideal Horizons, Panasia, Alfa Lavel Tumba AB, Hyde Marine, Inc. and Wartsila.

Hot Japanese Stocks To Watch For 2014: Mitchells & Butlers(MAB.L)

Mitchells & Butlers plc operates pub restaurants and managed pubs. It primarily operates drink- and food-led sites. The company?s restaurants and pubs brands include the Crown Carveries, Ember Inns, Harvester, Metro Professionals, Miller & Carter, Premium Country Dining Group, Scream, Sizzling Pubs, Toby Carvery, Vintage Inns, All Bar One, Browns, Nicholson?s, O?Neill?s, Alex, Village Pub & Kitchen, and Innkeeper's Lodge. As at September 25, 2010, it operated 1,909 sites, including 86 leased and franchised sites in the United Kingdom, and 43 pub restaurants in Germany. In addition, the company manages and operates its freehold and long leasehold property portfolio. Mitchells & Butlers plc was founded in 1898 and is based in Birmingham, the United Kingdom.

Best Supermarket Companies To Watch In Right Now: Lian Beng Group Ltd (L03.SI)

Lian Beng Group Ltd., an investment holding company, engages in general building construction and civil engineering works primarily in Singapore. The company�s Construction segment engages in constructing residential, institutional, industrial, and commercial properties; and undertaking civil engineering projects in both private and public sectors. Its Engineering and Leasing of Construction Machinery segment is involved in the provision of construction related services, such as scaffolding and electrical installations; and leasing metal formworks, and construction machinery and equipment. This segment manages a fleet of equipment for lease and sales, including generators, air compressors, gondolas, and other building materials, such as external scaffolds and metal forms; and provides services, including erection and dismantling of external scaffolds, and the repair and maintenance of construction equipment and machinery. The company�s Property Development segment engage s in the development, sale, and rental of residential, commercial, and industrial properties, as well as offers property management services. Its Manufacturing of Concrete segment is involved in the manufacture and supply of ready-mixed concrete and sand. In addition, Lian Beng Group Ltd. engages in trading construction materials; training construction workers; and providing formwork services. Further, it is involved in shipping operations, including the chartering of ships. The company has strategic partnership with LaSalle Investment Management Pte Ltd. and Duke Development Pte Ltd. for the development of condominiums. Lian Beng Group Ltd. was founded in 1973 and is headquartered in Singapore.

Best Supermarket Companies To Watch In Right Now: Arris Group Inc(ARRS)

Arris Group, Inc. develops, manufactures, and supplies telephony, data, video, construction, rebuild, and maintenance equipment for the broadband communications industry worldwide. The company operates in three segments: Broadband Communications Systems (BCS); Access, Transport, and Supplies (ATS); and Media and Communications Systems (MCS). The BCS segment provides VoIP and high speed data products, including CMTS edge routers, 2-line residential EMTA, multi-line EMTA for residential and commercial services, wireless gateway, and high speed data cable modems; video/IP products comprising CMTS edge routers, broadband and universal EdgeQAM, and whole home gateway and media players; and video processing products, such as switched digital video systems, digital video encoders, transcoders, transraters, and statistical multiplexers. The ATS segment offers hybrid fiber-coaxial plant equipment products comprising headend and hub products, optical transmitters, optical amplifiers , optical repeaters, optical nodes, WiFi access points, ePON optical network units and line terminals, RF over glass optical network units, and radio frequency amplifiers; and infrastructure products for fiber optic or coaxial networks, which include cable and strand, vaults, conduit, drop materials, tools, connectors, and test equipment. The MCS segment provides media, delivery, and monetization platform products, such as video on demand management and distribution, and linear and advanced advertising; operations management systems comprising network and service assurance, and mobile workforce management; and fixed mobile convergence platform products, such as mobility application servers for continuity of services in wireless and PacketCable networks, and voice call continuity application servers for continuity of services in IP multimedia subsystem networks. The company offers its services to cable system operators. Arris Group, Inc. was founded in 1969 and is headquarter ed in Suwanee, Georgia.

Best Supermarket Companies To Watch In Right Now: Potlatch Corporation(PCH)

Potlatch Corporation operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT) that owns and manages timberlands located in Arkansas, Idaho, Minnesota and Wisconsin in the United States. The Resource Management Division manages its timberlands, harvests timber, procures other wood fiber, sells logs and leases land for hunting and other recreational activity. The Real Estate Division develops and sells land parcels, as well as invests in timberlands. The Wood Products Division manufactures lumber, plywood, and particleboard in Arkansas, Idaho, Michigan, and Minnesota. This segment's products are sold to wholesalers primarily for use in home building and other construction activities. Potlatch was founded in 1903 and is headquartered in Spokane, Washington.

Best Services Companies To Invest In Right Now

Nuverra Environmental Solutions (NYSE: NES  ) , known until last Friday as Heckmann, began its first day with a new name by announcing a brand-new acquisition.

Nuverra will be acquiring a 60-acre, oil-field-disposal landfill from Ideal Oilfield Disposal, located in McKenzie County, N.D. The landfill could have a potential capacity of 5.8 million cubic yards.

The acquisition is just another sign that Nuverra is building a huge moat around itself when it comes to providing the energy industry with all the water services it needs to drill for oil and natural gas, all while minimizing environmental impact, and trying to recycle as much water as possible.

The acquisition will increase Nuverra's capital expenditures by $6 million-$8 million, but the company expects the site to "produce approximately $18 to $20 million in annual run-rate revenue." Paying $8 million today to make $20 million per year consistently into the future sounds like a great deal for the company.

Best Services Companies To Invest In Right Now: Diana Containerships Inc.(DCIX)

Diana Containerships Inc. owns and operates containerships in Greece. The company engages in the seaborne transportation of semi-finished and finished consumer and industrial products. As of February 23, 2012, its fleet consisted of 8 containerships with a carrying capacity of approximately 32,693 twenty-foot equivalent units. Diana Containerships Inc. was founded in 2010 and is based in Athens, Greece.

Best Services Companies To Invest In Right Now: Halliburton Company(HAL)

Halliburton Company provides various products and services to the energy industry for the exploration, development, and production of oil and natural gas worldwide. It operates in two segments, Completion and Production, and Drilling and Evaluation. The Completion and Production segment offers production enhancement services, completion tools and services, cementing services, and Boots & Coots. Its production enhancement services include stimulation and sand control services; completion tools and services comprise subsurface safety valves and flow control equipment, surface safety systems, packers and specialty completion equipment, intelligent completion systems, expandable liner hanger systems, sand control systems, well servicing tools, and reservoir performance services; cementing services consist of bonding the well and well casing, while isolating fluid zones and maximizing wellbore stability, and casing equipment; and Boots & Coots include well intervention services , pressure control, equipment rental tools and services, and pipeline and process services. The Drilling and Evaluation segment provides field and reservoir modeling, drilling, evaluation, and wellbore placement solutions that enable customers to model, measure, and optimize their well construction activities. Its services comprise fluid services, drilling services, drill bits, wireline and perforating services, testing and subsea services, software and asset solutions, and integrated project management and consulting services. The company serves independent, integrated, and national oil companies. Halliburton Company was founded in 1919 and is headquartered in Houston, Texas.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Conrad]

    Halliburton (HAL-N32.381.876.13%), like Schlumberger, is an oilfield-services company, with completion and production as well as drilling and evaluation segments. Halliburton is scheduled to release fourth-quarter results this morning. Analysts forecast an adjusted profit of 63 cents, equivalent to 126 per cent year-over-year growth, and $4.9-billion of sales, equivalent to 32 per cent year-over-year growth. In the third quarter, Halliburton posted 87 per cent profit growth, beating the consensus expectation by 3.4 per cent, but its stock still fell 4.8 per cent on the announcement. Analysts are bullish on Halliburton, with 89 per cent advising clients to purchase shares. A $53.21 me dian target implies 37 per cent upside.

    Bullish Scenario: Deutsche Bank predicts that the stock will soar 61 per cent to $63 in 2011.

    Bearish Scenario: Sanford Bernstein rates the stock “market perform” with a $46 target.

Top Gold Stocks To Own For 2014: Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc.(NXST)

Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc., a television broadcasting and digital media company, focuses on the acquisition, development, and operation of television stations and interactive community Websites in medium-sized markets in the United States. It provides free over-the-air programming to television viewing audiences. The company, through various local service agreements, also offers sales, programming, and other services to stations and digital multi-cast channels owned and/or operated by independent third parties. As of December 31, 2011, it owned, operated, programmed, or provided sales and other services to 55 television stations and 11 digital multi-cast channels in 32 markets in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Texas, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, New York, Florida, Wisconsin, and Michigan. The company?s stations reach approximately 10.6 million viewers. Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc. was founded in 1996 and is based in Irving, Texas.

Best Services Companies To Invest In Right Now: FLYING BRANDS UTS(FBDU.L)

Flying Brands Limited operates as a home shopping retailer in the Channel Islands, the United Kingdom, Australasia, Europe, and internationally. It operates through four segments: Garden, Gifts, Entertainment, and Greetings Direct. The Garden segment sells gardening products, including bedding plants, fruit and vegetables, garden hardware, and wild bird foods. The Gift segment provides floral bouquets and pot plants delivered as gifts. The Entertainment segment offers audio books, memorabilia music, and DVDs. The Greetings Direct segment provides greetings cards. The company sells its products through catalogue promotions, press advertising, and Internet. Flying Brands Limited is headquartered in St Lawrence, the Channel Islands.

Best Services Companies To Invest In Right Now: 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.