Boy was I wrong when I wrote that momentum stocks would rise again at the end of March. Since that article ran on March 29, the iShares MSCI USA Momentum Factor ETF (MTUM) has fallen 1.7%, while the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) has gained 0.2%. But there’s one part of that column I’m feeling o.k. about–Humana (HUM).
Now, Humana is not generally thought of as a momentum stock, but when I wrote that column it had been exactly that–one of the best performing stocks of the past year. It had a tough time during the momentum meltdown–Humana’s shares had dropped 2.6%–but its jumped after releasing earnings today and Humana has now gained 3.7%.
How good were Humana’s earnings? Humana reported a profit of $2.35 a share, beating forecasts for $1.94, on sales of $11.71 billion, topping the Street consensus for $11.52 billion. Cantor Fitzgerald’s Joseph D. France digs in:
Humana reported substantially better-than-expected 1Q:14 results, largely because utilization remains low, although $297 million of favorable development also helped…We expected that the chief headwinds in 2014 would be tough comparisons with favorable development, which as at record levels in 2013, and higher utilization, but there is little evidence of either so far…Management did not raise earnings guidance, but it did raise the enrollment outlook, and we expect the new business development and startup costs that weighed on the company in 1Q:14 will moderate over the balance of the year.
Hot Quality Stocks To Invest In 2015: Alvarion Ltd.(ALVR)
Alvarion Ltd. supplies top-tier carriers, Internet service providers (ISPs), and private network operators with solutions based on the worldwide interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) standard, as well as other wireless broadband solutions. The company provides WiMAX and non-WiMAX wireless broadband systems, and launched 250 commercial WiMAX deployments worldwide. Its solutions are designed to cover a range of frequency bands with fixed, portable, and mobile applications to enable the delivery of personal broadband services, business and residential broadband access, corporate virtual private network (VPN), toll quality telephony, mobile base station feeding, hotspot coverage extension, and services for various vertical markets, such as municipalities, public safety, mining, utilities, video surveillance, and border control. The company?s business mainly focuses on solutions, based on the WiMAX standard, that are used for primary wireless broadband access. In addit ion, Alvarion sells its non-WiMAX products, which address point-to-point and point-to-multipoint architectures for various end-user profiles, including residential, small office/home office, small/medium enterprises, multi-tenant/multi-dwelling units, and large enterprises, as well as provides network management solutions for its wireless solutions. Its solutions provide high-speed wireless ?last mile? connection to the Internet for homes and businesses in both developed and emerging markets. The company was formerly known as BreezeCOM Ltd. and changed its name to Alvarion Ltd. as result of merger with Floware Wireless Systems Ltd. in August 2001. Alvarion Ltd. was founded in 1992 and is headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Eric Volkman]
Alvarion (NASDAQ: ALVR ) is now on the hunt for a new chief executive. Hezi Lapid has resigned as CEO, although he will stay in the position until "such time that a smooth transition is completed," the company said in a press release announcing the move.
Top 10 Performing Companies To Invest In 2014: Gale Pacific Ltd (GAP)Gale Pacific Limited is an Australia-based company engaged in marketing, sales, manufacture and distribution of screening, shading and home improvement products to global markets.The Company operates in one business segment, being the branded shading, screening and home improvement products. The Company products are sold to consumer and industrial markets including the retail and home furnishing, architectural, construction, and agribusiness markets. The Company manufactures sources and markets advanced durable knitted and woven polymer fabrics and structures made from these fabrics. The Company's retail products are marketed under the Coolaroo brand. The Company's retail product lines include items such as shade fabrics, exterior window furnishings, gazebos, shade sails and a range of pet products. The Company sells its products in Australia, the Unites States, Europe, the Middle East, New Zealand and a number of other export markets. Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Dimitra DeFotis]
Some trends and percentages:Department store Thanksgiving online sales grew by 60% vs 2012, with mobile sales growing by 44% year over year. Perhaps a boost for clothing purveyors like Gap (GAP), whose shares are up 1% in morning trading : total online sales of apparel on Thanksgiving grew by about 41% vs. 2012, with mobile sales growing by close to 62.4% year over year. Shares of�Macy’s�(M) are flat this morning, while shares of women’s clothing seller Chico�� Fas�(CHS) are down 0.4%. Mobile represented nearly 26
Top 10 Performing Companies To Invest In 2014: Rudolph Technologies Inc.(RTEC)
Rudolph Technologies, Inc. designs, develops, manufactures, and sells process control defect inspection, metrology, and process control software systems to microelectronics device manufacturers. The company provides yield management solutions for use in wafer processing and final manufacturing through a range of standalone systems for macro-defect inspection, test systems, and transparent and opaque thin film measurements. It also offers a range of process control software solutions for semiconductor, solar, and LED manufacturing. It provides products for various applications in the areas of macro-defect detection and classification, diffusion, etch, lithography, CVD, PVD, and CMP. The company sells its products and solutions to logic, memory, data storage, and application-specific integrated circuit device manufacturers. It sells its products in the United States, Taiwan, China, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and Europe. The company was founded in 1940 and is based in Fla nders, New Jersey.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Seth Jayson]
In this series, I examine inventory using a simple rule of thumb: Inventory increases ought to roughly parallel revenue increases. If inventory bloats more quickly than sales grow, this might be a sign that expected sales haven't materialized. Is the current inventory situation at Rudolph Technologies (Nasdaq: RTEC ) out of line? To figure that out, start by comparing the company's inventory growth to sales growth. How is Rudolph Technologies doing by this quick checkup? At first glance, not so great. Trailing-12-month revenue increased 17.6%, and inventory increased 32.2%. Comparing the latest quarter to the prior-year quarter, the story looks potentially problematic. Revenue dropped 8.9%, and inventory grew 32.2%. Over the sequential quarterly period, the trend looks worrisome. Revenue dropped 23.3%, and inventory grew 10.8%.
- [By Seth Jayson]
When judging a company's prospects, how quickly it turns cash outflows into cash inflows can be just as important as how much profit it's booking in the accounting fantasy world we call "earnings." This is one of the first metrics I check when I'm hunting for the market's best stocks. Today, we'll see how it applies to Rudolph Technologies (Nasdaq: RTEC ) .
- [By John Emerson]
Orbotech (ORBK) and Rudolph Technologies (RTEC) Sizable Net-Nets in the AOI Sector
As noted previously, I rode the elevator up and then back down on Camtek (CAMT), a tiny Israeli automated optical inspection (AOI) company. By late 2008 the company had fallen to below $1 per share. Both of Camtek�� larger rivals, RTEC and ORBK, had dropped to absurdly low levels by November 2008. I used the opportunity to switch out of CAMT and some of my other losing propositions in favor of these superior companies. In the process, I created a large amount of tax loss carry-forwards which would allow me to minimize my future taxation when I decided to sell these cyclical entities.
Top 10 Performing Companies To Invest In 2014: STARWOOD PROPERTY TRUST INC.(STWD)
Starwood Property Trust, Inc., a real estate investment trust, primarily focuses on originating, investing in, financing, and managing commercial mortgage loans and other commercial real estate debt investments, commercial mortgage-backed securities, and other commercial real estate-related debt investments. It also focuses to invest in commercial properties subject to net leases, residential mortgage loans, and residential mortgage-backed securities. SPT Management, LLC serves as the manager of Starwood Property Trust, Inc. The company qualifies as a real estate investment trust for federal income tax purposes and would not be subject to federal corporate income taxes, if it distributes at least 90% of its taxable income to its stockholders. Starwood Property Trust was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Amanda Alix]
Other companies are currently mulling single-family REIT IPOs, too. Colony recently announced�that it plans to spin off its Colony American Homes, which owns over 9,500 homes with average monthly rents of $1,277. Barry Sternlicht, CEO of commercial mortgage investment REIT Starwood Property Trust (NYSE: STWD ) has also said that he is seriously considering�spinning off his company's real estate holdings into a single-family REIT within the next few months.
- [By Doug Fabian]
This fund is pegged to the FTSE NAREIT All Mortgage Capped Index, a benchmark measure that includes top names in the space such as Annaly Capital (NLY), American Capital Agency Corp. (AGNC), Starwood Property Trust (STWD) and Two Harbors Investment Corp. (TWO).
- [By Chris Hill]
In this installment, our analysts discuss some of the day's big movers and shakers.�Shares of Level 3 Communications (NYSE: LVLT ) rise after Deutsche Bank initiates coverage with a buy rating. Trading in Herbalife (NYSE: HLF ) is halted after the company's auditor resigns. Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE: CLF ) gains ground on the news that inflation in China is slowing. And Starwood Property Trust (NYSE: STWD ) declines after the real estate company announces a secondary stock offering.�
Top 10 Performing Companies To Invest In 2014: Aon Corporation(AON)
Aon Corporation provides risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human resource consulting and outsourcing services primarily in the United States, the Americas, the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia Pacific. The company?s Risk Solutions segment offers retail brokerage products and services, including affinity products, general underwriting management services, placement services, and captive management services; and advisory services to technology, financial services, agribusiness, aviation, construction, health care, and energy industries, as well as facilitates various risk management solutions for property liability, general liability, professional liability, directors' and officers' liability, workers' compensation, and various healthcare products. This segment also provides risk consulting services comprising captive management; eSolutions products that enable clients to manage risks, policies, claims, and safet y concerns through an integrated technology platform; reinsurance brokerage services, such as actuarial, enterprise risk management, catastrophe management, and rating agency advisory services; property and casualty reinsurance; and specialty lines, which include professional liability, medical malpractice, accident, life, and health, as well as capital management transaction and advisory services. Its HR Solutions segment offers human capital services in the areas of health and benefits, retirement, compensation, and strategic human capital; and benefits administration and human resource business process outsourcing services. The company was founded in 1919 and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Holly LaFon]
Company Dell Inc. (DELL) Chesapeake Energy (CHK) DirecTV (DTV) Loews (L) Walt Disney (DIS) Aon Plc (AON) The Travelers Companies (TRV) Level 3 Communications (LVLT) FedEx (FDX) Bank of New York Mellon (BK)
Learn more about Mason and his views on the present economy in his second-quarter letter here. See his portfolio here.
- [By Reuters]
Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images NEW YORK -- Walgreen is moving 120,000 employees to a private health insurance exchange from coverage provided directly from carriers, the company will announce Wednesday. The pharmacy chain will join 17 other large employers on the Aon Hewitt Corporate Health Exchange as part of a growing movement to offer employees fixed dollar amounts to purchase their own plans on such exchanges. The end-cost to employees depends on the plan chosen, but they typically get more options than under traditional arrangements. Private exchanges mimic the coverage mandated as part of the Affordable Care Act. Enrollment in the public exchanges starts Oct. 1. "What happens to employer contributions over time? Will they put in as much as they put in the past? These are unanswered questions but potential negatives," says Paul Fronstin, a senior research associate with the Employee Benefit Research Institute. The benefit to Walgreen and other employers is unknown at this point, as their cost-savings aren't clear. Of the 180,000 Walgreen (WAG) employees eligible for health care insurance, 120,000 opted for coverage for themselves and 40,000 family members. Another 60,000 employees, many of them working part-time, weren't eligible for health insurance. Aon Hewitt (AON) says other participants in its program include retailer Sears Holding (SHLD) and Darden Restaurants (DRI). These new additions raise enrollment to 330,000 from 100,000 last year, and Aon Hewitt estimates enrollment will jump to 600,000 next year, a fivefold increase from 2012. By 2017, nearly 20 percent of employees nationwide could get their health insurance through a private exchange, according to Accenture Research (ACN). A recent report by the National Business Group on Health said that 30 percent of large employers are considering moving active employees to exchanges by 2015. Other major providers of private exchanges include Mercer, a division of Marsh & Mc
Top 10 Performing Companies To Invest In 2014: Spectra Energy Corp(SE)
Spectra Energy Corp, through its subsidiaries, engages in the ownership and operation of a portfolio of complementary natural gas-related energy assets in the United States and Canada. The company operates in four segments: U.S. Transmission, Distribution, Western Canada Transmission and Processing, and Field Services. The U.S. Transmission segment engages in the transportation and storage of natural gas for customers in various regions of the northeastern and southeastern United States and the Maritime Provinces in Canada. Its natural gas pipeline systems consist of approximately 19,000 miles of transmission pipelines; and storage capacity comprises 305 billion cubic feet in the United States and Canada. The Distribution segment engages in the natural gas storage, transmission, and distribution in Western Canada and the United States. This segment has approximately 37,600 miles of distribution main and service pipelines serving approximately 1.3 million residential, comme rcial, and industrial customers. The Western Canada Transmission and Processing segment provides natural gas transportation, and gas gathering and processing services; and provides services to natural gas producers to remove impurities from the raw gas stream including water, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and other substances. This segment serves local distribution companies, end-use industrial and commercial customers, marketers, and exploration and production companies. The Field Services segment gathers and processes natural gas, as well as fractionates, markets, and trades natural gas liquids. It engages in gathering raw natural gas through gathering systems located in nine natural gas producing regions consisting of the Mid-Continent, Rocky Mountain, east Texas-north Louisiana, Barnett Shale, Gulf Coast, South Texas, Central Texas, Antrim Shale, and Permian Basin. The company is headquartered in Houston, Texas.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Tom Rojas var popups = dojo.query(".socialByline .popC"); popups.forEach(func]
Spectra Energy Corp.(SE) said its second-quarter profit fell 26%, reporting weaker-than-expected results as plant turnarounds dented revenue growth and increased costs.
- [By Justin Loiseau]
NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE ) announced Friday that it's teaming up with Spectra Energy (NYSE: SE ) to improve Florida's natural gas infrastructure. NextEra subsidiary Florida Power & Light had previously put out a request for proposals to improve its offerings, and this project beat out the next closest idea by almost $600 million.
- [By Robert Rapier]
As for Tortoise Pipeline and Energy, it芒���s a two-year-old fund offered by a respected MLP asset manager, with the bulk of its portfolio in midstream energy infrastructure, mostly such corporate MLP sponsors as Spectra Energy (NYSE: SE) and Williams (NYSE: WMB). Traditional MLPs make up the 25 percent maximum of the portfolio permitted by law, and oil and gas producing corporations account for another 15 percent.
- [By Marc Bastow]
Natural gas asset and infrastructure company Spectra Energy (SE) raised its quarterly dividend 9.8% to 33.5 cents per share, payable March 10 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 14.
SE Stock Dividend Yield: 3.8%
Top 10 Performing Companies To Invest In 2014: Silver Spruce Resources Inc (SSE)Silver Spruce Resources Inc. is a junior exploration company. The Company�� operations consist of the exploration for precious and base minerals with a focus on uranium, mainly in the Central Mineral Belt of Labrador, which include Popes Hill, the Popes Hill JV with Great Western Minerals Group, and the MRT, RWM and Straits properties. The Company�� projects include Double Mer Property, Mount Benedict Property, Big Easy Property, MRT Property, Pope�� Hill area, Red Wine Mountains and Straits Property. The Snegamook Lake property is located just to the southeast of Snegamook Lake in central Labrador, in the western part of the Central Mineral Belt (CMB), consists of 86 claims. The Fishhawk lake is located to the southeast of Snegamook Lake in central Labrador, in the western part of the CMB, consists of 164 claims. On August 22, 2012, the Company purchased a uranium exploration property in the CMB of Labrador from Virginia Energy Resources Inc. Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Namitha Jagadeesh]
SSE Plc (SSE) slid 5.8 percent to 1,489 pence as Citigroup said in a note that the supplier of gas and electricity would suffer the most from price caps or other forms of government intervention because it gets 97 percent of revenue from the U.K.