Friday, October 18, 2013

Top High Tech Stocks To Watch Right Now

In the following video interview, Motley Fool CEO Tom Gardner speaks with Middleby CEO Selim Bassoul. Since becoming CEO in 2000, Bassoul has led a remarkable transformation at Middleby, the cooking-equipment maker, turning the stock into a nearly 50-bagger over that time. In the video, he discusses the culture of Middleby, and what gives the company such a high employee retention rate.

Middleby is one of Tom Gardner's favorite stocks, but you can never have too many great companies in your portfolio. If you're looking for more ideas, our chief investment officer has selected a different stock as his favorite for this year. Find out which stock it is in the free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2013." Just�click here�to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

Tom Gardner: So let's talk about the culture for employees, because maybe somebody watching us is thinking, "Wow, that would be terrible to be working on New Year's Eve." What is it like to work at Middleby? What makes it a unique place to work? How well do you think you're doing by the stakeholder that is your employee?

Top High Tech Stocks To Watch Right Now: First Financial Service Corporation(FFKY)

First Financial Service Corporation operates as the holding company for First Federal Savings Bank of Elizabethtown that provides various personal and corporate banking services. It offers a range of deposit instruments, including multiple checking accounts, NOW accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, health savings accounts, individual retirement accounts, and certificates of deposit. The company?s loan portfolio comprises residential mortgage products; specialized financing programs; mortgages for multifamily real estate; commercial real estate loans; commercial loans to businesses, including revolving lines of credit and term loans; real estate development loans; construction lending; agricultural lending; and consumer loans, including home equity lines of credit, auto loans, recreational vehicle, and other secured and unsecured loans. It also provides merchant bankcard, electronic funds transfer, debit and credit cards, and telephone and Internet banking se rvices. In addition, the company offers various mutual funds, equity investments, and fixed and variable annuities, as well as personal investment financial counseling services. It operates 22 full-service banking centers and a commercial private banking center in Hardin, Nelson, Hart, Bullitt, Meade, and Jefferson counties in Kentucky, as well as Harrison and Floyd counties in southern Indiana. The company was founded in 1923 and is headquartered in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

Top High Tech Stocks To Watch Right Now: Telus Corporation Com Npv (T.TO)

TELUS Corporation provides telecommunications products and services primarily in Canada. Its telecommunications products and services include wireless, data, Internet protocol (IP), voice, and television. The company operates through two segments, Wireless and Wireline. The Wireless segment provides digital personal communications, equipment sales, and wireless Internet services. The Wireline segment offers voice local and voice long distance services; data services, which include television, and managed and legacy data services, as well as Internet, enhanced data, and hosting services; and other telecommunications services. As of December 4, 2012, it has 13 million customer connections, including 7.6 million wireless subscribers, 3.5 million wireline network access lines, 1.3 million Internet subscribers, and 635,000 TELUS TV customers. TELUS Corporation was founded in 1993 and is based in Burnaby, Canada.

Top 10 Oil Stocks To Buy For 2014: Bottomline Technologies Inc. (EPAY)

Bottomline Technologies (de), Inc. provides cloud-based payment, invoice, and banking solutions to corporations, insurance companies, financial institutions, and banks worldwide. Its solutions are used to streamline, automate, and manage processes and transactions involving global payments, invoice receipt and approval, collections, cash and document management, risk mitigation, reporting, and document archive. The company’s products include cash management and treasury platforms that enable banks to offer ACH and BACS payments, wires, international payments, check production, balance and information reporting, and cash management facilities; and legal spend management solutions, which integrate with claims management, and time and billing systems to automate legal invoice management processes. It also offers Paymode-X, a business-to-business electronic settlement network, such as online access to purchase orders, invoices, payments, and remittance details, as well a s comprehensive workflow and turnkey vendor enrollment and support; and WebSeries and C-Series, the payment and document automation solutions that generate payment instructions along with consolidated bank reporting of cash activity. In addition, the company provides forms management, mobile documentation, workflow automation, and payments solutions to healthcare organizations. Further, it offers SWIFT access service that enables corporations exchange financial information with their banks and counterparties. Additionally, the company provides consulting, project implementation, and training services; and consumable products for laser check printing that comprise magnetic ink character recognition toner and blank-paper check stock, as well as printers and printer-related equipment. Bottomline Technologies (de), Inc. sells its products directly through sales force, as well as through various channel partners and resellers. The company was founded in 1989 and is headquartered in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Top High Tech Stocks To Watch Right Now: Appleton Exploration Inc (AEX.V)

Cornerstone Metals Inc. operates in the mining industry. It owns the Dora gold project that is located near Merritt, British Columbia. The company was formerly known as Appleton Exploration Inc. and changed its name to Cornerstone Metals Inc. in May 2012. Cornerstone Metals Inc. was incorporated in 2006 and is based in Vancouver, Canada.

Top High Tech Stocks To Watch Right Now: Rubicon Technology Inc.(RBCN)

Rubicon Technology, Inc. develops, manufactures, and sells monocrystalline sapphire and other crystalline products for light-emitting diodes (LED), radio frequency integrated circuits (RFICs), blue laser diodes, optoelectronics, and other optical applications. The company fabricates its products from the boules and sells them in various categories, including core, as-cut, as-ground, and polished forms in two, three, four, six, and eight inch diameter wafers. It manufactures sapphire substrates and optical windows, including two inch to four inch sapphire cores and wafers for use in LEDs and blue laser diodes for solid state lighting and electronic applications; six-inch polished sapphire wafers that are used in the LED applications and in silicon-on-sapphire RFICs; and eight inch wafers for research and development efforts, as well as sells sapphire products used for windows and lenses in military, aerospace, sensor, and other applications. The company also offers opticall y-polished windows and ground window blanks of sapphire and various fluoride compounds, such as calcium, barium, and magnesium fluoride. Rubicon Technology, Inc. sells its products primarily to wafer polishing companies and semiconductor device manufacturers in Asia, North America, and Europe. The company was incorporated in 2001 and is headquartered in Bensenville, Illinois.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    Rubicon Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: RBCN) was downgraded to Underperform from Perform at Oppenheimer.

    Universal Display Corp. (NASDAQ: OLED) was downgraded to Sell from Hold at Canaccord Genuity.

Top Performing Companies To Invest In Right Now

When looking for promising candidates for your stock portfolio, it's easy to just think about the prominent names of the day, such as Facebook, Ford, or Bank of America. But there are plenty of other possibilities, many of which have been under our nose for quite some time.

Permit me to introduce you to Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP  ) , for example. Here are a bunch of interesting things about the company and its stock.

The basics: The company traces its roots�back well before the Civil War, to 1848 and the completion of the first 10 miles of the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad. In 1862, President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railroad Act, authorizing the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroad companies to build a transcontinental railroad. Union Pacific's first rail was laid in Omaha in 1865.
� Today, Union Pacific is one of America's top railroad companies, with roughly 32,000 miles covering 23 states in the Western two-thirds of the country. As of the end of 2012, it employed 45,700 workers and sported 8,400 locomotives.
� Like other railroad companies, Union Pacific has been challenged by weakness in the coal market, but less so than its Eastern rivals CSX (NYSE: CSX  ) and Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC  ) . Union Pacific has been performing well in part by raising prices and expanding other businesses, such as transporting oil.
� Union Pacific and holders of Union Pacific stock do face some risks, though, such as the fact that Berkshire Hathaway's Burlington Northern Santa Fe�Railway is looking into powering its trains with natural gas, which could help it compete better on price and put pressure on its competition.
� Union Pacific stock is up about 54% over the past year, and it has averaged annual gains of 20.5% over the past decade and 12.6% over the past 30 years. Clearly, Union Pacific stock has been good to its shareholders.
� Holders of Union Pacific stock enjoy a dividend yield recently around 1.7%, with the dividend having been raised 15% last year and averaging an annual gain of about 26% over the past five years. The payout ratio is low, too, with Union Pacific paying out only about a third of its earnings, leaving plenty of room for further growth.
� A peek at some of the characteristics of Union Pacific stock via the company's financial statements offers reasons to smile, with measures such as net profit margins and return on invested capital rising steadily in recent years and free cash flow more than doubling over the past five years to $2.3 billion.
� The valuation of Union Pacific stock looks un-bargain-like, with a recent P/E ratio near 19, but its forward P/E ratio is around 14.6.

Demand for railroad services isn't likely to flag anytime soon, especially as rail transport is far more cost-effective than trucking. (Trains can transport a ton of cargo more than 400 miles on a single gallon of fuel.) Union Pacific stock is worth considering if you're looking for a solid long-term performer as well as dividend income. You might want to buy some now -- or add it your watch list, and hope that the price drops some, offering an entry point with greater margin of safety.

Top Performing Companies To Invest In Right Now: China Merchants Hldgs(PACIFIC)

China Merchants Holdings (Pacific) Limited, an investment holding company, engages in the property development, and toll roads operation and management businesses. It develops land and residential house buildings; and provides mortgage financing services for the purchase of residential houses. The company also manages and operates toll roads, including Yongtaiwen Expressway located in Zhejiang province; Guiliu Expressway in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region; Guihuang Highway located in Guizhou province; Yuyao Highway located in Zhejiang province; and Ningbo Beilun Port Expressway in Zhejiang province, the People�s Republic of China. It has operations in the People�s Republic of China, New Zealand, and Singapore. The company was incorporated in 1981 and is headquartered in Singapore. China Merchants Holdings (Pacific) Limited is a subsidiary of China Merchants Holdings (International) Company Limited.

Top Performing Companies To Invest In Right Now: Ultralife Corporation(ULBI)

Ultralife Corporation offers products and services ranging from portable and standby power solutions to communications and electronics systems. It operates through three segments: Battery & Energy Products; Communications Systems; and Energy Services. The Battery & Energy Products segment offers lithium 9-volt, cylindrical, and various other non-rechargeable batteries; and rechargeable batteries, uninterruptable power supplies, and accessories, such as cables. The Communications Systems segment provides power supplies, cable and connector assemblies, RF amplifiers, amplified speakers, equipment mounts, case equipment, integrated communication system kits, charging systems, and communications and electronics systems design. The Energy Services segment engages in the design, manufacture, installation, and maintenance of standby power and systems. The company offers its products under Ultralife Batteries, McDowell Research, RedBlack Communications, AMTI, Stationary Power Serv ices, U.S. Energy Systems, RPS Power Systems, and ABLE brands. It serves government, defense, and commercial customers internationally. Ultralife Corporation sells its products through original equipment manufacturers, industrial and retail distributors, and national retailers, as well as directly to U.S. and international defense departments. The company was formerly known as Ultralife Batteries, Inc. and changed its name to Ultralife Corporation in June 2008. Ultralife Corporation was founded in 1990 and is headquartered in Newark, New York.

Best Tech Companies To Own In Right Now: American Software Inc (AMSWA.O)

American Software, Inc. (American Software), incorporated in 1970, develops, markets and supports a portfolio of software and services that delivers enterprise management and collaborative supply chain solutions to the global marketplace. American Software operates three business segments: Supply Chain Management (SCM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Information Technology (IT) Consulting. The SCM segment consists of Logility, Inc. (Logility), which provides collaborative supply chain solutions for forecasting, production, distribution and management of products between trading partners. The ERP segment consists of American Software ERP, which provides purchasing and materials management, customer order processing, financial, e-commerce, flow manufacturing and manufacturing solutions, and New Generation Computing (NGC), which provides business software to both retailers and manufacturers in the apparel, sewn products and furniture industries. The IT Consulting s egment consists of The Proven Method, Inc., an IT staffing and consulting services firm. The Company also provides support for its software products, such as software enhancements, documentation, updates, customer education, consulting, systems integration services, and maintenance.

Supply Chain Management

The Company�� wholly owned subsidiary Logility provides SCM solutions, an integrated set of supply chain planning, inventory optimization, manufacturing, and transportation and logistics solutions. Logility provides SCM solutions to streamline and optimize the market planning, management, production, and distribution of products for manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and retailers. As of April 30, 2011, Logility�� customer base is approximately 1,250 companies located in more than 74 countries. Logility markets and sells the Demand Solutions product line to the global small and midsize enterprise (SME) market through the global VAR distri bution network of Demand Management, Inc. (DMI). Logility ! al! so offers the Logility Voyager Solutions suite.

Logility Voyager Solutions is an integrated software suite that provides SCM, including collaborative planning, strategic network design, multi-echelon inventory optimization, optimized supply sourcing, production management, warehouse management, and collaborative logistics capabilities. Logility Voyager Solutions incorporates performance management analytics for decision support for processes, such as demand management, inventory and supply optimization, manufacturing planning and scheduling, transportation planning and management and sales and operations planning (S&OP).

The Logility Voyager Solutions software suite is modular and scalable to meet the management requirements of global organizations involving products with manufacturing or distribution networks. In addition, the Logility Voyager Solutions suite interfaces with a range of existing enterprise applications deployed on a range of technic al platforms. Logility Voyager Solutions accelerates S&OP, as well as strategic partner collaboration. Voyager Sales and Operations Planning enables companies to streamline and accelerate the entire S&OP process. Voyager Collaborate enables companies to communicate across their organizations and share supply chain information with external trading partners.

Voyager Fashion Forecasting helps improve profits with capabilities that address the collection launches for fashion-driven businesses. Voyager Demand Planning helps reconcile differences between business planning and detailed product forecasting. Voyager Life Cycle Planning provides control to model each phase in a product�� sunrise-to-sunset lifecycle, including introduction, maturity, replacement, substitution and retirement. Voyager Event Planning integrates marketing strategies with forecasting, distribution and logistics planning to calculate the impact of promotional plans and demand shaping strategi es, such as price discounts, coupons, advertising, spe! cial p! a! ckaging ! and product placement.

Logility Voyager Solutions enables enterprises to set inventory targets at each node of a multi-echelon distribution network to match strategic inventory goals and service levels. Voyager Inventory Optimization optimizes inventory investments across multi-echelon manufacturing and distribution networks to meet business and service level objectives for supply chains with multiple stages of inventory. Logility Voyager Inventory Planning allows enterprises to measure the tradeoff of inventory investment and desired customer service levels.

Logility Voyager Solutions optimizes material, inventory, production and distribution assets by synchronizing supply and demand. Voyager Supply Planning optimizes sourcing and production decisions to balance supply, manufacturing and distribution constraints based on corporate goals. Voyager Replenishment Planning provides visibility of future customer demand, corresponding product and materia l requirements, and the actions needed to satisfy those demands. Voyager Manufacturing Planning creates optimized constraint-based manufacturing schedules and compares multiple schedule scenarios to determine the optimal trade-off between manufacturing efficiencies, inventory investments and greenhouse gas emissions.

Logility Voyager Solutions provides capabilities for optimizing both warehouse and transportation operations. Voyager WarehousePRO provides shipping and inventory accuracy by optimizing the flow of materials and information through distribution centers. Voyager Transportation Planning and Management provide a multi-modal solution for savings of time, effort and money. It enables automated shipment planning, shipment execution and freight accounting. Demand Solution�� supply chain software provides a transition from spreadsheet management to robust reporting and tracking. Demand Solutions offers two separate product suites: traditional and DSX. The Demand Solutions application suite predict futur! e demand ! an! d make in! formed decisions to optimize inventory turns, customer service levels and profitability. Demand Solutions Forecast Management provides a demand planning solution that fits virtually any industry and deploys. Demand Solutions Requirements Planning incorporates collaborative planning capabilities to streamline supply activities from the production line through delivery.

Demand Solutions Collaboration offers a certified collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment (CPFR) compliant collaborative planning solution that streamlines communications between a company and its customers and suppliers. Demand Solutions Sales & Operations Planning automates and continually analyzes the annual business planning process. Demand Solutions Advanced Planning and Scheduling is a production scheduling solution that supports both the process and discrete enterprise environment and produces accurate schedules taking into account machines, personnel, tooling and inventory co nstraints. Demand Solutions View (DS View) extends the value of Demand Solutions, empowering users to aggregate, rotate, filter, sort and otherwise manipulate large volumes of data into meaningful information. Demand Solutions Retail Planning enables manufacturers, distributors and retailers to collaboratively produce, ship and replenish product based on point-of-sale (POS) data.

Enterprise Resource Planning

The Company�� enterprise solutions are global solutions that link critical functions throughout an enterprise. The e-Intelliprise solution is a Web-based ERP system that a customer can run over the Internet, Intranet or Extranet utilizing the IBM iSeries servers. This allows functions within the ERP system to be deployed over the Internet using a Webpage capability. The e-Intelliprise solution is a global system, capable of operating in multiple languages and logistical organizations. Its e-applications are solutions for conducting business on the Internet that can Web-enable specific b! usiness f! unction! s through! integration with existing ERP or legacy systems. The e-applications are available for the applications, which include e-procurement, e-store, e-expenses, e-forms, e-payables, e-receivables, Purchase Order Tracking and Vendor Collaboration, Requisition Tracking, Shipment Tracking, e-process management and e-connect a seamless, XML-enabled data exchange.

The Company�� product line consists of software and services that operate on three strategic computer platforms, which includes IBM System z Mainframe or compatible, IBM System i (AS/400), and Intel-based servers and clients that operate Windows 2000, 2003, XP and Vista. It has written its products in various standard programming languages used for business application software, including ANSI COBOL, Micro Focus COBOL, C, C++, Visual Basic, JAVA, JAVA2 and other programming languages. Many have both on-line and batch capabilities.

IT Consulting

The Proven Method, Inc., the Company�� wholly owned subsidiary, is a technology services firm that specializes in assisting customer base to solve business issues with technology solutions. The solutions the Company provides ranges from Web applications to complex Business Intelligence applications and solutions. Business Intelligence consists of the development and implementation of a reporting process for dealing with data and multiple business entities/components. Its customers are Internet savvy and knowledgeable in wireless solutions, social networking and channeling implementations, server and desktop virtualization, and deployment of interactive applications. The Proven Method has customers, such as Aon, IBM, UPS, Norfolk Southern, Xerox, SunTrust Bank, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Kubota Manufacturing of North America, The Home Depot, AT&T, State of Georgia, CompuCom, Zep Inc, Chick-fil-A, Global Payments, Verizon, Catlin Group Ltd, Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, Fulton Paper, Aaron Rents, AutoTrader.com, Nalco Chemical, Georgia Tech Research Ins! titute an! d numerous! other cu! stomers throughout the United States.

The Company competes with SAP, Oracle, Infor, JDA Software and Red Prairie.

Top Performing Companies To Invest In Right Now: Brownstone Ventures Inc (BWN.V)

Brownstone Ventures, Inc. is a principal investment firm specializing in direct investments in energy sector. The firm seeks to invest in oil & gas exploration projects, oil & gas lands and investments in energy-focused issuers across the whole world. Brownstone Ventures, Inc was founded in 1987 and is based in Toronto, Canada with an additional office at Alberta, Canada.

Top Performing Companies To Invest In Right Now: Gastar Exploration Ltd (GST)

Gastar Exploration Ltd (Gastar) is an independent energy company engaged in the exploration, development and production of natural gas and oil in the United States. The Company�� principal business activities include the identification, acquisition, and subsequent exploration and development of natural gas and oil properties with an emphasis on unconventional reserves, such as shale resource plays. As of December 31, 2011, it is pursuing the development of liquids-rich natural gas in the Marcellus Shale in the Appalachia area of West Virginia and, to a lesser extent, central and southwestern Pennsylvania. The Company also holds prospective acreage in the deep Bossier play in the Hilltop area of East Texas and conduct limited coal bed methane (CBM) development activities within the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana. The Company is a holding company. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By David Smith]

    Earlier, the company had pocketed $75.2 million by selling to Gastar Exploration (NYSEMKT: GST  ) leasehold acreage in Oklahoma's Kingfisher and Canadian counties. It'll obviously require a passel of sales of that magnitude to shore up an overweight balance sheet.

  • [By Josh Young]

    The parallel to Goodrich in the transaction is Gastar Exploration (GST), which has approximately 100,000 net acres in the Hunton (excluding additional exposure from the WEHLU deal). Gastar, similar to Goodrich prior to the Sanchez TMS deal, seems to trade at a discount to a $2,000 per acre implied value for its unconventional oil acreage. In fact, Gastar's CEO recently said he thought the current liquidation value of Gastar's Marcellus assets would be $4-7 per share, net of debt, versus the current $4.25 share price.

  • [By Heather Ingrassia]

    Gastar Agreement: On April 1st it was announced that Gastar Exploration, Ltd. (GST) had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire proven reserves and undeveloped leasehold interests in Kingfisher and Canadian counties of Oklahoma from Chesapeake Energy Corporation, repurchase Chesapeake's common shares of the Company and settle all litigation for $1 million. Although smaller in scope than most of Chesapeake's previous asset-shedding transactions, the agreement with Gastar accomplishes two things. First, is the fact the settlement resolves the legal wrangling both companies were engaged in and as a result Chesapeake walks away with $85 million of the potential $130 million they were suing for. Second, is the fact Chesapeake wipes it hands of acreage, that although producing, may not be producing as much as Chesapeake had once hoped, and therefore was worth much more to Gastar in the long run.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

FTC Approval of OfficeMax Deal Appears Certain

NEW YORK (The Deal) -- The Federal Trade Commission appears to have accepted Office Depot's (ODP) argument that the company faces stiff competition in the office supply market from both general and online retailers, eliminating any regulatory roadblock to the company's pending $1.2 billion acquisition of rival OfficeMax (OMX).

The transaction would leave only Office Depot and Staples (SPLS) as big box office supply retailers, but they face competition not only from traditional rivals like stationers and direct distributors but now from superstores such as Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) and Target (TGT) as well as online retailing giants such as Amazon (AMZN).

In recent conversations with investors, executives for the parties as well as Staples CEO Ronald Sargent have said the entry of the general retailers and Amazon altered the market dramatically since the FTC thwarted Staple's 1997 bid to acquire Office Depot, leaving little reason for the deal to be blocked or saddled with any significant divestiture orders.

Presumably Sargent has also delivered that message to FTC officials in the course of their investigation of the merger. Sources following the deal said they believe the parties certified compliance with the FTC's second request for information on the deal at the end of September. Given that the companies entered a timing agreement not to consummate the merger until at least 45 days after certifying compliance with the second request, the FTC now appears set to approve the deal no later than mid-November. Despite being blocked in its bid to acquire Office Depot 16 years ago, Staples is said to support the merger of its two closest big box rivals because it and Office Depot will be better positioned to compete against Wal-Mart, Target and Amazon. Further indication that FTC approval is near came last month when OfficeMax CEO Ravi Saligram took himself out of the running to head the merged company. Saligram's announcement was seen as a sign that the prospective CEO will be announced soon, a step the companies would be unlikely to take if they were still uncertain of the FTC's direction. Office Max shares have been steadily rising since late August, when they traded around the $10.50 range as prospects for FTC approval have become clearer. As of midday trading Thursday, they hovered around $14.50, eliminating the spread on Office Depot's offer to provide 2.69 of its shares for each of Office Max's. -- Written by Bill McConnell in Washington

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

10 Best Undervalued Stocks To Watch For 2014

We firmly believe that our broadly diversified portfolios of undervalued stocks will appreciate in the intermediate- and long-term, given reasonable valuations, historically low interest rates, lack of significant investor enthusiasm and healthy corporate profits and balance sheets.

Here's a look at two new featured stocks, both in the real estate sector: Anworth Mortgage (ANH), a mortgage real estate investment trust, and MDC Holdings (MDC), a builder and seller of homes and an originator of mortgage loans for home buyers.

Anworth focuses primarily on U.S. mortgage-backed securities issued or guaranteed by an agency of the U.S. (Ginnie Mae) or a U.S. government-sponsored entity (Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac).

10 Best Undervalued Stocks To Watch For 2014: Tupperware Corporation(TUP)

Tupperware Brands Corporation operates as a direct seller of various products across a range of brands and categories through an independent sales force. The company engages in the manufacture and sale of kitchen and home products, and beauty and personal care products. It offers preparation, storage, and serving solutions for the kitchen and home, as well as kitchen cookware and tools, children?s educational toys, microwave products, and gifts under the Tupperware brand name primarily in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Asia Pacific, and North America. The company provides beauty and personal care products, which include skin care products, cosmetics, bath and body care, toiletries, fragrances, nutritional products, apparel, and related products principally in Mexico, South Africa, the Philippines, Australia, and Uruguay. It offers beauty and personal care products under the Armand Dupree, Avroy Shlain, BeautiControl, Fuller, NaturCare, Nutrimetics, Nuvo, and Swissgar de brand names. The company sells its Tupperware products directly to distributors, directors, managers, and dealers; and beauty products primarily through consultants and directors. As of December 26, 2009, the Tupperware distribution system had approximately 1,800 distributors, 61,300 managers, and 1.3 million dealers; and the sales force representing the Beauty businesses approximately 1.1 million. The company was formerly known as Tupperware Corporation and changed its name to Tupperware Brands Corporation in December 2005. The company was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Orlando, Florida.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By John Udovich]

    Everyone is familiar with�the Tupperware brand from�consumer products stock Tupperware Brands Corporation (NYSE: TUP) and you are probably familiar with the brands�of mid cap stock Jarden Corp (NYSE: JAH) along with small cap stocks Libbey Inc (NYSEMKT: LBY) and Lifetime Brands Inc (NASDAQ: LCUT); but what about the stocks themselves? Chances are, their brands or products are right under your nose at home and you probably don�� know anything about the mid cap or small cap stock behind them.

  • [By Arie Goren]

    After running this screen on May 21, 2013, before the markets' open, I discovered the following eight stocks: Sunoco Logistics Partners LP (SXL), Leggett & Platt Inc (LEG), Copa Holdings SA (CPA), RPC Inc. (RES), Tupperware Brands Corp. (TUP), Herbalife Ltd. (HLF), John Wiley & Sons Inc. (JW.A) and C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. (CHRW).

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    Where growth will come from
    One area that Newell Rubbermaid still has to tap fully is emerging markets. The company has done a good job of expanding overseas, with 17% annual growth in Latin America. But with barely a quarter of its sales coming from outside the U.S. and Canada, the company has a lot further to go. Storage rival Tupperware (NYSE: TUP  ) gets fully 60% of its total revenue from emerging markets, and it too has seen impressive gains in South America as well as the Asia-Pacific region.

  • [By Brian Pacampara]

    Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, household products company Tupperware Brands (NYSE: TUP  ) has earned a coveted five-star ranking.

10 Best Undervalued Stocks To Watch 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 Dan Dzombak]

    Today's Dow leader is Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) , up 3% on no real news. Caterpillar is on the five most shorted stocks on the Dow with 3% of its shares outstanding sold short. As the mining industry around the world starts to be challenged by falling commodity prices, Caterpillar's business will not be as robust going forward. It's this worry that Caterpillar will get hurt by the boom-bust cycle of commodities that has investors pricing the shares at just 11 times earnings. That said, some investors still think Caterpillar is worth buying. Fool contributor Daniel Ferry recently laid out three reasons to buy Caterpillar.

  • [By ANUP SINGH]

    Coal consumption growth in China is estimated to have slowed down to 4% year on year in 2012, down from 10% in 2011. An economic slowdown in�the country�has affected demand, and this has been one of headwinds for Joy because it has substantial exposure to China. Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) , one Joy's competitors, is also facing trouble in China of late.

  • [By Rich Smith]

    In this regard, Westport noted in its press release that it is collaborating with Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) to build next-generation LNG-powered locomotives, and expects to demo the first one in 2014.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    When the Dow's movements don't make sense, it's more important to focus on fundamentals in your investing. For instance, Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) has struggled recently because of its high exposure to the slowing Chinese economy, and that has held the stock back despite the Dow's record run. Yet with an attractive valuation of just 11 times trailing earnings, Caterpillar offers a margin of safety even if the reductions in future earnings estimates that we've seen recently continue. You'd have to see substantial further deterioration in the global economic environment before Caterpillar's stock would look expensive at these levels.

Top Growth Stocks For 2014: Dollar Tree Inc.(DLTR)

Dollar Tree, Inc. operates discount variety stores in the United States and Canada. Its stores offer merchandise primarily at the fixed price of $1.00. The company operates its stores under the names of Dollar Tree, Deal$, Dollar Tree Deal$, Dollar Giant, and Dollar Bills. Its stores offer consumable merchandise, including candy and food, and health and beauty care, as well as household consumables, such as paper, plastics, household chemicals, in select stores, and frozen and refrigerated food; variety merchandise, which includes toys, durable housewares, gifts, party goods, greeting cards, softlines, and other items; and seasonal goods, such as Easter, Halloween, and Christmas merchandise. As of April 30, 2011, it operated 4,089 stores in 48 states and the District of Columbia, as well as 88 stores in Canada. The company was founded in 1986 and is based in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By ANUP SINGH]

    Dollar Tree (NASDAQ: DLTR  ) is among the most successful single-price-point retailers in the U.S. It operates more than 4,842 stores across 48 states in the U.S. and five Provinces in Canada. The chart below shows that the company has been performing consistently well over the past five years.

  • [By Lawrence Meyers]

    As a convenience store, it doesn’t have direct competition from�Dollar Tree (DLTR) or Family Dollar (FDO) because these dollar stores aren�� exclusively focused on food (and they have no gasoline or cigarette sales), and they��e targeted at the folks who are trying to save money over convenience, not vice versa. The convenience angle is another reason why�Walmart (WMT) and Costco (COST)�aren’t competitors, since those behemoths are about a total shopping experience.

  • [By Demitrios Kalogeropoulos]

    Costly market share gains
    The problem is that Family Dollar has had to pay up for its increasing market share and sales levels. The company's gross profit margin fell by more than a full percentage point, to 34.7% last quarter. In contrast, Dollar Tree (NASDAQ: DLTR  ) booked an expansion of profits, to 35.2%, continuing a trend that's seen it pull away from Family Dollar.

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Deep discounter Dollar Tree (NASDAQ: DLTR  ) announced today that its current chief operating officer, Gary Philbin, will now also carry the title of president, a position previously held by company CEO Bob Sasser.

10 Best Undervalued Stocks To Watch For 2014: Schlumberger N.V.(SLB)

Schlumberger Limited, together with its subsidiaries, supplies technology, integrated project management, and information solutions to the oil and gas exploration and production industries worldwide. The company?s Oilfield Services segment provides exploration and production services; wireline technology that offers open-hole and cased-hole services; supplies engineering support, directional-drilling, measurement-while-drilling, and logging-while-drilling services; and testing services. This segment also offers well services; supplies well completion services and equipment; artificial lift; data and consulting services; geo services; and information solutions, such as consulting, software, information management system, and IT infrastructure services that support oil and gas industry. Its WesternGeco segment provides reservoir imaging, monitoring, and development services; and operates data processing centers and multiclient seismic library. This segment also offers variou s services include 3D and time-lapse (4D) seismic surveys to multi-component surveys for delineating prospects and reservoir management. The company?s M-I SWACO segment supplies drilling fluid systems to improve drilling performance; fluid systems and specialty tools to optimize wellbore productivity; production technology solutions to maximize production rates; and environmental solutions that manages waste volumes generated in drilling and production operations. Its Smith Oilfield segment designs, manufactures, and markets drill bits and borehole enlargement tools; and supplies drilling tools and services, tubular, completion services, and other related downhole solutions. The company?s Distribution segment markets pipes, valves, and fittings, as well as mill, safety, and other maintenance products. This segment also provides warehouse management, vendor integration, and inventory management services. Schlumberger Limited was founded in 1927 and is based in Houston, Texas.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    Halliburton's share-price gains began early in the quarter after the company reported its first-quarter results. Although the company took a massive $637 million charge related to the 2010 Gulf disaster, Halliburton managed to hold its own on the domestic front in a weak environment. Internationally, the company cleaned up, with sales rising 21% and at more than twice that rate in the Eastern Hemisphere. But, perhaps most importantly, Halliburton looked favorably on the near-future for domestic drilling, noting gains in margins, and some pricing power expected to enhance profitability from rising well production. That's consistent with the results we saw from Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB  ) this morning, as the industry leader beat earnings expectations with a nearly 50% jump in its net profits, coming largely from overseas activity, but also posting a 2% revenue increase in North America.

Three Buys for a Cautious Market

Stocks are trading at a P/E ratio of about 24, which is higher than the long-term P/E of 16. There are those who say that the market is still reasonably valued, but that's not a position I feel comfortable taking, cautions Dennis Slothower, Editor of Stealth Stocks.

If earnings continue to deteriorate, we could quickly see stock prices fall, and the current P/E will plunge to its long-term average of 16. This brings us to what is coming ahead in October with the announcement of third-quarter earnings.

Should earnings disappoint, which looks like a given to me, especially with oil prices above $100, the earnings component in the P/E ratio will head even higher.

Oil prices trending above $100 a barrel for more than a quarter is damaging consumer spending. To support the stock market when P/E ratios are soaring will likely prove a huge challenge for the Fed...even with the current QE bond purchases of $85 billion per month.

This makes it a little more challenging to find stocks that are attractively priced. Stocks fairly priced can suddenly become very expensive if earnings get thumped.

It is one thing to see a stock appreciate with the market recognizing value and bidding up prices to higher multiples supported by real growth. But it's quite another to have a company's P/E ratios spike because earnings collapse beneath it.

That is why I closely follow the impact GDP growth and oil prices will have on corporate earnings. If earnings growth continues to shrink next year, stocks will become very expensive by historical standards.

Despite our concerns, there are still bargains in the stock market. Our principal objective is to earn excess returns by uncovering undervalued, competitively advantaged businesses.

While the stock market, as a whole, is likely to become overvalued given the Fed's recent decision to prolong its bond purchases, our objective is to remain on the hunt to identify great companies selling at a discount. During times when the stock market rises, it becomes a bit harder.

Several of the stocks in our portfolio have become even more attractive while the stock market discounts their future growth:

Delek Holdings (DK), a petroleum refiner, has a P/E ratio of 4, pays a 2% dividend, and has a 30%+ return on equity.

HollyFrontier (HFC), also a petroleum refiner, has a P/E ratio of 5.5, pays a 3% dividend, and is growing revenue by more than 40%.

CF Holdings (CF), one of the largest fertilizer companies in the world, has a P/E ratio of 8 and a rock-solid balance sheet.

We are in a point in the economic cycle where it is crucial to own stocks currently trading below the underlying worth of the business.

That can mean we end up owning some ugly ducklings that aren't popular at this time. But do keep in mind that our goal is not to pick the popular stocks...just the ones that will make money.

The stock market looks vulnerable at this juncture, and any sell-off will give us the opportunity to add financially solid companies at even bigger discounts.

Subscribe to Stealth Stocks here…

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

DonĂ¢€™t Dunk into Yum! Yet

Strong insider activity has been registered at Yum! Brands (YUM) lately. Several people related to the company have purchased its stock following the third quarter earnings call, which took place last week. The acquisitions also coincided with the announcement of a quarterly dividend, scheduled for Friday, Nov. 1 (applicable to investors of record on Friday, Oct. 11). The company will yield about 2% of the current stock price, rewarding those who bet on the company.

However, Oct. 11 is already past and thus, new stockholders will not receive the upcoming dividend. So, is Yum still a worthy investment for the long term? Are these insider purchases worth following? Or are there better choices in the restaurant industry?

International Expansion Is Key

Yum is the world´s largest restaurant company and, as such, has attracted many investors over the years. However, the business´ last quarterly results have failed to meet its expectations. Yum missed revenues and earnings consensus estimates last quarter, mainly due to weak results in China and a tax increase. Nevertheless, these problems should only impact on short-term results, as they can be mostly attributed to macro-related issues. So, one question remains: What about the long-term?

Yum´s exposure to international markets, especially emerging economies, where penetration is low and consumers´ discretionary spending power continues to rise, provides it with plenty of growth opportunities. Furthermore, increasing urban population should drive results even further.

Best China Stocks For 2014

Holding some of the strongest brand names in the world, like KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, and a good level of international presence, analysts calculate that 50,000 Yum locations are possible by 2020 (Morningstar). This would mean an increase in its store base of more than 25% over the next six years. Nevertheless, growth projections are substant! ially more conservative among other analysts. Consensus estimates point towards average annual EPS growth rates around 11% for the next five years.

Although analysts cannot reach an agreement with respect to Yum´s prospects, one thing is for sure: In terms of valuation, the company looks quite attractive. Trading at 21.9 times its earnings, it carries a 7% discount to the industry average.

In addition, U.S. segments are rebounding slowly, while a refranchising strategy increasingly safeguards Yum's earnings.

Size Is Not Everything

Dunkin Brands (DNKN) is not nearly as big as Yum is (its market cap is about one-sixth that of Yum's), but its prospects are still very interesting. As Morningstar analysts clearly put it, "Dunkin' Brands offers investors one of the more compelling domestic and international growth stories in consumer cyclicals with an exceptionally strong free cash flow profile. We've awarded it a narrow economic moat rating because of its intangible asset in the form of the Dunkin' Donuts brand and a cohesive franchisee system, particularly in the Northeastern U.S."

The company's strong brand equity should help it expand in the U.S. going forward, as there are plenty of underpenetrated areas and a highly fragmented market to capture. Furthermore, the improvement of franchisee returns over the last few years bodes very well for Dunkin's future. With cash-on-cash returns running at 25% to 30%, store base expansion should not be an issue for a decade, at least.

Outside the U.S., Dunkin's situation also looks quite promising. Holding the fourth-largest overseas restaurant business, behind Yum, McDonald's (MCD), and Subway, but ahead of Starbucks (SBUX), expansion potential in emerging markets abounds, and its brand name recognition should certainly help it achieve this goal.

Although its valuation at 39 times its earnings makes the stock slightly less attractive, its industry-leading margins, above 40%, make up for it. Moreover, Dunkin face! s better ! growth projections than Yum analysts expect Dunkin to deliver average annual EPS growth rates around 16% over the next five years. Finally, a 1.66% dividend yield makes the deal even sweeter.

What About Returns?

One efficient way to compare both firms would be looking at their returns on equity. While Yum offers a 65.4% return on equity, more than double its peers´ mean, Dunkin only boasts 23.2%. Although this wide difference should concern Dunkin investors, I still believe that the company offers compelling growth prospects, based on an asset-light model and plenty of expansion opportunities, both domestically and internationally.

Just like me, Jim Simons seems to be placing his bets on Dunkin, as he has reduced his participation at Yum substantially over the last few months, while increasing his stake at Dunkin. In addition, other big investors like Steven Cohen's SAC Capital Advisors, are also betting strong on the company, and have already perceived plenty of stock price upside.

Disclosure: Damian Illia holds no position in any stocks mentioned.

Monday, October 14, 2013

3 Obamacare Stocks That Could Be Perfect for Your IRA

Peanut butter and jelly; thunder and lightning; IRAs and Obamacare. Three somewhat unrelated pairings, yet perfect complements to one another, as I'll demonstrate.

Source: Tax Credits, Flickr.

October is perhaps an inauspicious time to be talking about individual retirement accounts, but we're basically at the halfway point of fiscal 2013 when it comes to making a contribution to your IRA -- the cutoff date being April 15, 2014. Have you maxed out your contribution yet, or have you been twiddling your thumbs on the sidelines?

Have you contributed?
IRAs are one of the truly few and great tools the individual long-term investor has to use the power of compounding gains and dividends to their advantage. History has proved time and again that letting your winners ride and feeding off dividends are a solid path to long-term outperformance and a comfortable retirement.

There are two types of unique IRAs for investors to choose from: traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs. Technically, you don't have to choose at all and can actually contribute to both as long as you don't surpass the annual contribution limit, which is capped at $5,500 in 2013 -- which is also the first time the IRA contribution limit has been increased since 2008.

A traditional IRA allows investors to deduct up to $5,500 on their taxes annually (depending on their adjusted gross income); however, all long-term gains will eventually be taxable once withdrawals begin after age 59 1/2. By contrast, a Roth IRA gives investors no upfront tax benefits; however, all stock gains remain exempt from taxation thereafter on any withdrawals after age 59 1/2.

The two caveats to either IRA: All non-qualifying withdrawals before age 59 1/2 will result in a 10% penalty, so it's often best to let your money compound in good long-term businesses than to attempt to take the money and run, and contribution limits depend on income -- higher-income earners often have little or zero contribution capability, so it's always best to check what's best for your situation.

Obamacare and IRAs: two peas in a pod
Now that you have a better understanding of your IRA choices and how they can affect your tax situation in the near term and long term, let's have a look at a few ways the recent health-reform law known as Obamacare – officially the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- can be beneficial to those looking to contribute to their IRA.

Simply put, I believe Obamacare and IRAs have an opportunity to be as complementary as bacon is to eggs. With the individual mandate being fully implemented this upcoming January, and Medicaid expanding to millions of new lower-income individuals and families, a number of incredible opportunities are opening up for investors to benefit over the long run. Here are three companies to consider for your IRA to take advantage of this health-care industry shift:

Xerox (NYSE: XRX  )
Why Xerox? Because Xerox is involved in everything from processing Medicaid claims for the entire state of California, to collecting electronic-health record reimbursements for individual states, and even the design of Nevada's state-run health exchange. Considering that California is expanding its Medicaid program to include up to 1.4 million newly insured people, Xerox could be primed to see its IT-processing and service demand shoot through the roof.

Xerox is also much more than just Obamacare. It recently signed a five-year, $100 million deal with the Texas Department of Transportation to provide toll processing and invoicing. Xerox has moved well beyond its printing roots of just 10 years ago. Whether or not Obamacare is even a success, its IT-services business, along with its 2.2% dividend yield, could provide all the spark long-term investors are looking for.

WellPoint (NYSE: WLP  )
Initially, I thought insurers were getting the short end of the stick when Obamacare was unveiled because of the medical-loss ratio cap of 80%. However, insurers such as WellPoint, the company behind Blue Cross Blue Shield, look poised to benefit in a big way regardless of whether Obamacare lives up to expectations.

Under Obamacare, WellPoint is poised to gain a significant number of new government-sponsored members with its agreement to purchase Amerigroup last year for $4.5 billion. Although Medicaid patients don't come with the best margins, their sheer growth in numbers will add noticeably to WellPoint's bottom line.

But even if Obamacare proved to be unsuccessful or were repealed, WellPoint should still be among the leaders in pricing power and margins. As one of the larger insurers in the industry and with a focus on small businesses, WellPoint is able to utilize its premium pricing power better than nearly all of its competitors. That's also the reason WellPoint boasts a respectable 1.7% yield, which is more than I can say for some of its peers.

Walgreen (NYSE: WAG  )
Finally, what better way to take advantage of more doctor visits and prescriptions than with a drugstore/pharmacy company like Walgreen!

Walgreen is already one of Obamacare's top promoters, teaming up with WellPoint to put out LearnAboutReform.com, a website dedicated to educating the public about Obamacare. The assumption would be that as health insurance coverage expands, more people who wouldn't have gone to the doctor will get preventative checkups and prescriptions. Walgreen's pharmacy business is what drives loyal consumers, so Obamacare could be a gigantic growth boost for the company.

However, like Xerox and WellPoint before it, Walgreen would also be just fine sans Obamacare. Walgreen's $6.7 billion, 45% stake in Alliance Boots gives it European and rapidly growing Asia-Pacific exposure, and Walgreen was already in line to benefit from a rapidly aging baby boomer population whether or not Obamacare was enacted. Tack on a 38-year streak of dividend increases and a 2.3% yield, and you have a very intriguing IRA candidate.

These are Obamacare's biggest beneficiaries
Obamacare is rewriting the rules for the health-care industry, and in the process of doing so, it's creating massive opportunities for investors to get ridiculously rich. How? By investing in a handful of specific health-care stocks. In this free report, our analysts walk you through these opportunities and the companies that are positioned to exploit them. The informational edge contained in it is invaluable, but can only be exploited profitably while the rest of the market remains in the dark. To access this free report instantly, simply click here now.