Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Best Defensive Companies To Watch For 2014

Because the stock market has moved to a level of higher risk this month, I have selected several ultra-conservative defensive securities, says J. Royden Ward, editor of Cabot Benjamin Graham Value Investor.

iShares MSCI USA Minimum Volatility Index ETF (USMV) seeks investment results that correspond to the price and yield performance of the MSCI USA Minimum Volatility Index. The ETF invests at least 90% of its assets in securities of the Index or in depositary receipts, representing securities in the Index.

USMV shares sell very near to their net asset value. The price to earnings ratio (P/E) of the stocks contained in the ETF is 25.4, and the price to book value ratio (P/BV) is 5.76. Both ratios are a little high, but the beta, which measures volatility, is a low 0.94. Management fees total 0.15%.

USMV is very well-diversified, with risk spread out over 140 holdings. The largest position consumes only 1.57% of the total portfolio. The ten largest holdings, in order of size, are ADP, Merck, Wal-Mart, Paychex, Exxon Mobil, UPS, Johnson & Johnson, AT&T, McDonald's, and Verizon.

Hot Cheap Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Express Scripts Holding Co (ESRX)

Express Scripts Holding Company, incorporated in 2011, provides healthcare management and administration services on behalf of its clients, which include health maintenance organizations (HMOs), health insurers, third-party administrators, employers, union-sponsored benefit plans, workers compensation plans, and government health programs. The Company operates in two segments: Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) and Emerging Markets (EM). PBM services include network claims processing, home delivery services, patient care and direct specialty and fertility home delivery to patients, benefit plan design consultation, drug utilization review, formulary management, drug data analysis services, distribution of injectable drugs to patients homes and physicians offices, bio-pharma services, and fulfillment of prescriptions to low-income patients through manufacturer-sponsored patient assistance programs. EM segment provides distribution of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to providers and clinics, healthcare account administration and implementation of consumer-directed healthcare solutions. In September 2013, it announced the acquisition of the SmartD Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP).

On July 20, 2011, Express Scripts, Inc. (ESI) entered into a merger agreement (the Merger Agreement) with Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (Medco). During the year ended December 31, 2011, it reorganized its FreedomFP line of business from its EM segment into its PBM segment. On April 2, 2012, the Company completed the Merger Agreement, and after which ESI and Medco became the wholly owned subsidiaries of the Company. The Company�� customers include HMOs, health insurers, third-party administrators, employers, union-sponsored benefit plans, government health programs, office-based oncologists, renal dialysis clinics, ambulatory surgery centers, primary care physicians, retina specialists and others.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Express Scripts Holding (Nasdaq: ESRX  ) is expected to report Q2 earnings on July 29. Here's what Wall Street wants to see:

    The 10-second takeaway
    Comparing the upcoming quarter to the prior-year quarter, average analyst estimates predict Express Scripts Holding's revenues will wither -7.9% and EPS will grow 25.0%.

  • [By Alexander J. Poulos]

    Script count, a metric used to determine the health of the pharmacy business is showing tremendous growth which augurs well for the future health of the company. Particularly impressive is the roughly 1% market share gain. WAG needs to continue to win back the business lost during the messy Express Scripts (ESRX) battle that was waged last year.

Best Defensive Companies To Watch For 2014: Stereotaxis Inc.(STXS)

Stereotaxis, Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets cardiology instrument control systems for use in a hospital?s interventional surgical suite or interventional lab for the treatment of arrhythmias and coronary artery diseases in the United States and internationally. The company provides Niobe system, which includes Niobe Magnetic Navigation System that navigates catheters, guidewires, and other delivery devices through complex paths in the blood vessels and chambers of the heart to carry out treatment; Navigant, a user interface or physician control center, which physicians use to visualize and track procedures and to provide instrument control commands that govern the motion of the working tip of the catheter, guidewire, or other interventional device; Cardiodrive, a catheter advancement system to remotely advance and retract the catheter in the patient?s heart. It also offers Odyssey enterprise solutions, which provides information solutions to manage, control, rec ord, and share procedures across networks; acquires remote view of the lab capturing synchronized procedure data for review of important events during cases; and review recorded cases and create snapshots following procedures for clinical reporting, auditing, and presentation. In addition, the company provides disposable interventional devices comprising automated catheters, coronary guidewires, and navigation and ablation systems. It markets its products through its direct sales force, distributors, and sales agents. The company was founded in 1990 and is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Roberto Pedone]

    One under-$10 health care player that looks poised for a potentially large move higher is Stereotaxis (STXS), which designs, manufactures and markets an advanced cardiology instrument control system for use in a hospital's interventional surgical suite to enhance the treatment of arrhythmias and coronary artery disease. This stock has been on fire so far in 2013, with shares up big by 43%.

    If you take a look at the chart for Stereotaxis, you'll notice that this stock has formed a major bottom pattern over the last three months, since this stock has found buying interest each time it has pulled back towards $3.50 and $3.10 a share. Buyers have stepped in at those levels and have not let the sellers pressure STXS lower. Shares of STXS are now starting to spike higher today right off its 50-day moving average of $3.59 a share. That spike is quickly pushing shares of STXS within range of triggering a big breakout trade above a key downtrend line.

    Traders should now look for long-biased trades in STXS if it manages to break out above some near-term overhead resistance at $4 a share with high volume. Look for a sustained move or close above that level with volume that hits near or above its three-month average action of 1.98 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then STXS will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $5 to $6.24 a share. Any high-volume move above $6.24 a share will then give STXS a chance to re-fill some of its previous gap down zone from August that started at $10 a share.

    Traders can look to buy STXS off any weakness to anticipate that breakout and simply use a stop that sits right below those key support levels at $3.50 to $3.10 a share. One can also buy STXS off strength once it clears $4 a share with volume and then simply use a stop that sits a comfortable percentage from your entry point.

Best Defensive Companies To Watch For 2014: Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc.(QCOR)

Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, provides prescription drugs for the treatment of auto-immune diseases. The company?s primary product is H.P. Acthar Gel (repository corticotropin injection), an injectable drug for the treatment of acute exacerbations of multiple sclerosis; infantile spasms in infants and children under two years of age; nephrotic syndrome; and Lupus. Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. was founded in 1990 and is headquartered in Anaheim, California.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Questcor Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: QCOR  ) reported earnings on April 30. Here are the numbers you need to know.

    The 10-second takeaway
    For the quarter ended March 31 (Q1), Questcor Pharmaceuticals whiffed on revenues and whiffed on earnings per share.

  • [By EXPstocktrader]

    Questcor Pharmaceuticals (QCOR) is a 2013 high-performing biotech that I first wrote about in November 2012. Year to date, revenue is up about 60% over 2012 and share price is up more than 125%. These impressive numbers are mainly due to prescription growth from its flagship product H.P. Acthar Gel(TM) and it's 19 FDA-approved indications including: infantile spasms, acute exacerbations of multiple sclerosis, nephrotic syndrome and the newly-marketed therapeutic area, rheumatology disorders including dermatomyositis/polymyositis (DM/PM), psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Best Defensive Companies To Watch For 2014: Pope Resources(POPE)

Pope Resources, a Delaware Limited Partnership, engages in the management of timber resources. It operates in three segments: Fee Timber, Timberland Management & Consulting, and Real Estate. The Fee Timber segment involves in growing, harvesting, and marketing timber to domestic and the Pacific Rim markets from its 175,000 acres of tree farms. The Timberland Management & Consulting segment provides investment management, disposition, and technical forestry services to the timberland owners. The Real Estate segment engages in securing permits, entitlements, and installing infrastructure for raw land development; and selling the land to buyers, who sell it to home buyers, operators, or lessors of commercial property. This segment also engages in the rental of residential and commercial properties in Port Gamble and Kingston, Washington. Pope Resources sells its logs to lumber mills and other wood fiber processors located in western Washington and northwest Oregon. As of Dece mber 31, 2010, it owned 114,000 acres of timberland in western Washington; 61,000 acres of timberland for the funds in Washington and Oregon; and 2,800 acres of real estate held for sale or development. Pope MGP, Inc. and Pope EGP, Inc. operate as the general partners of the company. The company was founded in 1985 and is based in Poulsbo, Washington.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Timberland manager�Pope Resources� (NASDAQ: POPE  ) announced today�it would be paying�its second-quarter distribution of $0.45 per unit, the same rate it paid for the last four quarters after it raised the payout �from $0.35 per unit.

Best Defensive Companies To Watch For 2014: Barratt Developments PLC (BDEV)

Barratt Developments PLC is a holding company. The Company�� principal activities consists of acquiring and developing land, planning, designing and constructing residential property developments and selling the homes it builds. The Company operates in two segments: housebuilding and commercial developments. The Company operates across a spectrum of the market from flats to family homes and urban regeneration schemes. The Company also has a focused commercial developments business. The Company builds a range of homes ranging from those for first-time buyers, to family homes, to high-rise flats and affordable housing. The Company�� housebuilding business trades under the Barratt Homes, David Wilson Homes and Ward Homes brands. The Company�� subsidiaries include BDW Trading Limited, BDW North Scotland Limited, David Wilson Homes Limited and Wilson Bowden Developments Limited. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Inyoung Hwang]

    U.K. homebuilders declined as increasing bond yields spurred concern rising interest rates may hinder the housing recovery. Barratt Developments Plc (BDEV) sank 7.4 percent, Persimmon Plc fell 3.6 percent and Taylor Wimpey Plc lost 3.7 percent.

Best Defensive Companies To Watch For 2014: Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LYG)

Lloyds Banking Group plc, incorporated on October 21, 1985, is a holding company. The Company is a financial services group providing a range of banking and financial services, primarily in the United Kingdom, to personal and corporate customers. The Company operates in four segments: Retail, Commercial Banking, Wealth, Asset Finance and International and Insurance. Retail provides banking, mortgages and other financial services to personal customers in the United Kingdom. Commercial Banking provides banking and related services to business clients, from small businesses to large corporate. Wealth, Asset Finance and International provides private banking and asset management and asset finance in the United Kingdom and overseas and operates the Company�� international retail businesses. Insurance provides long term savings, protection and investment products in the United Kingdom and Europe and provides general insurance to personal customers in the United Kingdom.


The Retail division operates the retail bank in the United Kingdom and is a provider of current accounts, savings, personal loans, credit cards and mortgages. This includes a range of current accounts including packaged accounts and basic banking accounts. It is also the provider of personal loans in the United Kingdom, as well as being the United Kingdom�� credit card issuer. Retail is the private sector savings provider in the United Kingdom. It is also a general insurance and bancassurance distributor, offering a range of long-term savings, investment and general insurance products.

Commercial Banking

The Commercial Banking division supports the Company�� business clients from small businesses to corporate. Commercial Banking provides support to corporate clients through the provision of core banking products, such as lending, deposits and transaction banking services whilst also offering clients expertise in capital markets (private placements, bonds and syndicated loans), ! financial markets (foreign exchange, interest rate management, money market and credit) and private equity.

Wealth, Asset Finance and International

Wealth, Asset Finance and International consists of the Company�� the United Kingdom and international wealth businesses, the Company�� the United Kingdom and international asset finance and online deposit businesses along with its international retail businesses. The Wealth business consists of private banking and asset management. Wealth�� private banking operations cater to the range of wealth clients from affluent to Ultra High Net Worth within the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, and internationally. Asset Finance consists of a number of leasing and speciality lending businesses in the United Kingdom, including Lex Autolease and Black Horse Motor and Personal Finance along with its leasing and specialty lending businesses in Australia and its European online deposit business. The international business comprises its non-core banking business outside the United Kingdom, with the exception of corporate business written through the Commercial Banking division. This primarily consists of Ireland, Retail Europe and Asia.


The Insurance division provides long-term savings, protection and investment products and general insurance products to customers in the United Kingdom and Europe. The United Kingdom Life, Pensions and Investments business provides long-term savings, protection and investment products distributed through the bancassurance, intermediary and direct channels of the Lloyds TSB, Halifax, Bank of Scotland and Scottish Widows brands. The European Life, Pensions and Investments business distributes products primarily in the German market under the Heidelberger Leben and Clerical Medical brands. The General Insurance business is a distributor of home insurance in the United Kingdom, with products sold through the branch network, direct channels and strategic corporate! partners! . It operates primarily under the Lloyds TSB, Halifax and Bank of Scotland brands.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By David O��ara]

    The sector
    All three have had a great 12 months. In the last year, shares in�Barclays� (LSE: BARC  ) (NYSE: BCS  ) are up 46.2%.�Lloyds Banking Group� (LSE: LLOY  ) (NYSE: LYG  ) is up 80.7%, and�Royal Bank of Scotland� (LSE: RBS  ) is ahead 22.3%.

Best Defensive Companies To Watch For 2014: BreitBurn Energy Partners L.P.(BBEP)

BreitBurn Energy Partners L.P. engages in the acquisition, exploitation, and development of oil and gas properties in the United States. The company?s properties include natural gas, oil, and midstream assets comprising fields in the Antrim Shale in Michigan, and the New Albany Shale in Indiana and Kentucky; and fields in the Evanston and Green River basins in southwestern Wyoming, the Wind river and Big Horn basins in central Wyoming, the Powder River basin in eastern Wyoming, the Los Angeles basin in California, and fields in Florida?s Sunniland Trend. As of December 31, 2011, its total estimated proved reserves were 151.1 million barrels of oil equivalent. BreitBurn GP, LLC serves as the general partner to the company. BreitBurn Energy Partners L.P. was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Los Angeles, California.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Matt DiLallo]

    There has been a lot of drama in the upstream oil and gas MLP sector this year. Negativity from a variety of sources has pulled down�LINN Energy� (NASDAQ: LINE  ) , while also taking down peers like�BreitBurn Energy Partners� (NASDAQ: BBEP  ) . This has created quite a headache for both management teams, making it tough for them to do what they do best, which is acquire mature oil and gas properties.

  • [By Matt DiLallo]

    Among its peers in the MLP and LLC space, LINN by far hedges the most production. BreitBurn Energy Partners (NASDAQ: BBEP  ) , for example, has hedged roughly 75% of its production through 2015, whereas LINN is 100% hedged through 2016. BreitBurn almost exclusively uses swaps as its hedge of choice. It's a similar story at Vanguard Natural Resources (NASDAQ: VNR  ) , which also uses swaps to almost exclusively hedge natural gas while using three-way collars to hedge about a third of its oil production. While LINN could get more creative, one thing I'd be surprised to hear is that it's going to join these two peers and leave some of its production unhedged.

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