Saturday, January 18, 2014

SEC Full Funding Boost Request Goes Bust

SEC logoThe Securities and Exchange Commission is set to get $303 million less than what it was requesting under the House Appropriations Committee fiscal year 2014 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, released Tuesday.

The bill, to be considered in subcommittee Wednesday, includes $1.4 billion for the SEC, which is a $50 million increase from its fiscal 2013 budget but $303 million less than President Barack Obama requested.

SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White told the appropriations committee in early May that the agency’s $1.67 billion budget request for fiscal 2014 would help it fulfill one of its top priorities: to add 250 examiners for advisors.

The 250 examiners, White said, would increase the proportion of advisors examined each year, the rate of first-time examinations, and the examination coverage of investment advisors and newly registered private fund advisors.

The $1.67 billion budget request under Obama’s budget is a 27% increase, or $353 million, over the $1.32 billion provided by the continuing resolution (CR) the SEC was operating under this year.

Rep. José Serrano, D-N.Y., ranking member on the subcommittee, noted during the early May hearing that while it would be an “unwise investment choice” for the subcommittee to cut funding for the agency that’s the “cop on the beat” for Wall Street and that ensures “a fair playing field” for the nation’s markets, he told White that “further cuts” were likely.


Check out SEC’s White Gets Short Shrift from Congress.

Did CFP Board Shorten Exams to Lure Certificants?

CFPs are debating whether the CFP Board’s recent news that it would be transitioning to computer-based exams and reducing their length and duration is the Board’s way of growing the number of CFP certificants.

Advisor, blogger, Twitterphile and ThinkAdvisor contributor Michael Kitces raised this question in a recent Nerd’s Eye View blog, asking bluntly why the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards would chop the length of the exam by 40%, from 285 exam questions to only 170, and reduce the exam from a 10-hour, day-and-a-half exam into a 6-hour, single-day exam “if the goal wasn't to at least create the perception that the exam will be easier and therefore more appealing to take.”

The CFP Board noted in announcing that it was going to computer-based exams that the shortened exams would be “equally rigorous” to the longer paper ones, and that they would “maintain the same content detailed in CFP Board’s exam blueprint, representing the requisite knowledge and abilities to deliver financial planning services to clients.”

Hot Stocks To Own Right Now

Michele Warholic, managing director for examinations, education and talent at CFP Board, told ThinkAdvisor that the Board is “not lowering our standards” by changing the length and duration of the exam.

“If someone wouldn’t be able to pass a 10-hour exam then they won’t be able to pass a 6-hour exam," Warholic said. "The exam isn’t any easier or more difficult. It covers the same content and those who take the computer-based exam — and pass — will be just as qualified as someone who took the paper exam.”

Thanks to technology, Warholic continued, “the world of testing has changed dramatically over the last decade,” and “computers help create efficiencies in testing.”

She explained that the CFP Board’s process in determining the number of questions on an exam “is not arbitrary.” Scoring of the CFP certification exam, she said, “is based upon a variety of science-based approaches used across the professional testing industry — not just a focus on the number of questions or length of an exam.”

The Board is “confident that those who pass the CFP certification examination will be well-qualified, competent CFP professionals once they become certified, meeting the same high standards we have always had,” Warholic added.

But a number of CFPs were quick to post comments on Kitces’ blog with their thoughts about the shift. One CFP opined that “it just seems to me that asking fewer questions, by its very nature, makes for a less rigorous and comprehensive exam and serves to dilute the qualifications of CFP practitioners in the name of increasing the numbers.” As a fairly recent CFP certificant, the commenter was “not amused by this change — not because I care that others after me will have a shorter exam but I truly feel it undermines the exclusivity and accomplishment of those who did it the way it’s been since 1991.”

Kitces told ThinkAdvisor that while the transition to computer-based testing is “definitely a plus overall … and if just having more convenient computer-based testing (CBT) with more testing locations grows the CFP headcount, that’s great.” /* .premium-promo { border: 1px solid #ddd; padding: 10px; margin: 0 10px 10px 0; width: 200px; float: left; } .premium-promo li, .premium-promo ul { list-style-type: none; margin: 0; padding: 0; } .premium-promo li { margin: 0 0 10px; padding: 0 0 10px; border-bottom: 1px dotted #ddd; } .premium-promo h3 { text-transform: uppercase; font-size: 11px; } .premium-promo h4 { font-size: 16px; } .premium-promo a { text-decoration: none !important; } .premium-promo .btn { background: #0069a1; border-radius: 4px; display: inline-block; padding: 5px 10px; clear: both; color: #fff; font-weight: bold; } .premium-promo .btn:hover { background: #034c92; } */ However, he said that “the issue of why it has to be a 6-hour CBT instead of a 10-hour CBT is less clear.” The CFP Board “maintains it wasn’t making the exam easier; the gut response of the community seems to disagree, and the initial reaction of test-takers who are excited about the shorter exam would certainly confirm at least the PERCEPTION that it’s going to be easier.”

Said Kitces: “The feedback seems to be skewing negative, though there are certainly some who are supportive of the change — notably, especially those who haven’t taken the exam yet but plan to do so and are looking forward to the shorter one-day 6-hour version!”

Yet another CFP posted this comment to Kitces’ blog: “The test is now 35% fewer questions than the Series 7 with the same amount of allotted time to complete it. It’s definitely going to be easier, but the public isn't going to care one way or the other. Most don't even know what a CFP is, much less the fact that the bar to become one has been lowered dramatically.”

One CFP believes that the wirehouses are behind the changes. “Obviously Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley are behind this. They know this is the direction things are going but their guys can’t pass the 10-hour version of the exam.”

Then there was this comment from a CFP who believes the change is indeed a watering down of the CFP credential. “More and more I ‘sell’ my degree in financial planning and neglect to mention the CFP,” the advisor said. “This move [to modify exams] certainly does not help the way I view the exam and designation, which in my opinion barely scratched the surface of what one needs to know as an entry level planner--watering the exam down waters down the marks. I guess the Board is looking to expand revenue.”


Check out Top 3 Issues Advisors Will Face in 2014, Part 1: Robo-Advisors by Michael Kitces on ThinkAdvisor.

Friday, January 17, 2014

How To Monetize Your YouTube Channel

Plenty of people have discovered innovative ways to make money on the Internet. One highly-popular method of generating income from the Internet is to monetize a YouTube channel. Whether you are hosting a video blog, promoting products you sell on a website or trying to get your band some much-needed attention from music lovers on the web, monetizing a YouTube channel is an excellent way to create a strong cash flow, if you do it right. There are plenty of ways to earn money from a YouTube channel: here is a look at a few.

The YouTube Partner Program
A highly-effective way to monetize your YouTube channel is to participate in the YouTube Partner Program. This program gives contributors a chance to earn money while building and broadening an audience, and increasing their skills. In order to be eligible and maintain good standing with the YouTube Partner Program, some strict guidelines must be followed. Nevertheless, as long as the rules are abided by, the YouTube Partner Program can be an excellent opportunity for online entrepreneurs.

One of the guidelines for the YouTube Partner Program is to ensure that your content is not sexually explicit, profanity-laden or violent. Other rules include agreeing not to click on ads on your own YouTube channel. The amount of money you earn from the program largely depends on how many views you receive.

Promoting Your Business or Product
YouTube can also be used to effectively promote your business or product to an expansive audience. Many companies use YouTube to build an audience and promote their products and services. An effective way to do this is to present your online audience with a vibrant, informational video with all the pertinent information, and include a link to your website or blog. By doing this, you are directing your audience to your website, where they can purchase your merchandise and learn more about your services. This in turn increases your potential and growth.

Additionally, if your website or blog is monetized through a service such as AdSense, each visitor who is directed to your site from your YouTube channel will earn you money. By doing this, you are making your YouTube channel work for you, instead of vice versa. For optimal results, you want to make sure that you select a unique title for your video, so that it will be among one of the first hits in search engine queries.

Expanding Your Potential for Growth and Sales
Promoting your content, whether it be a company website, a music video for an unsigned indie band, a blog for a wedding coordinator or any other website, YouTube is highly-effective at expanding brand popularity and growth. With YouTube being one of the most prominent and popular websites on the Internet, it is easy to see why many people are drawn to the website and try to promote their businesses, blogs and other content there. Even if you decide to opt out of YouTube's Partner Program (and do not have a monetized blog or website), by simply diverting viewers to your website, you are helping to increase your site's potential for growth and sales.

The Bottom Line
YouTube is one of many social networking sites that you can monetize. Its members can share videos, build channels, follow others and even promote their own businesses or interests. YouTube offers its members the opportunity to build a strong network of followers and p! otentially cement their place in the online business world. Communicate with your followers, consider the constructive feedback in the comment section and present a positive online presence.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Top 10 Casino Companies For 2014

Ex-dividend dates are very important to dividend investors, since you must purchase a stock prior to its ex-dividend date in order to receive its upcoming dividend payout. For more information, check out Everything Investors Need to Know About Ex-Dividend Dates.

Below are seven big stocks going ex-dividend on Wednesday, December 18.

Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Casino resort operator Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) offers a dividend yield of 1.81% based on Monday’s closing price of $77.38 and the company’s quarterly dividend payout of 35 cents per share. The stock has gained 67% year-to-date. currently rates LVS as a “Neutral” with a DARS��rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars.

Top 10 Casino Companies For 2014: Wynn Resorts Limited(WYNN)

Wynn Resorts, Limited, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the development, ownership, and operation of destination casino resorts. The company owns and operates Wynn Las Vegas casino resort in Las Vegas, which includes approximately 22 food and beverage outlets comprising 5 dining restaurants; 2 nightclubs; 1 spa and salon; 1 Ferrari and Maserati automobile dealership; wedding chapels; an 18-hole golf course; meeting space; and foot retail promenade featuring boutiques. Wynn Las Vegas casino resort also features approximately 147 table games, 1 baccarat salon, private VIP gaming rooms, 1 poker room, 1,842 slot machines, and 1 race and sports book. It also owns and operates an Encore at Wynn Las Vegas resort, a destination casino resort located adjacent to Wynn Las Vegas that features a 2,034 all-suite hotel, as well as a casino with 95 table games, 1 sky casino, 1 baccarat salon, private VIP gaming rooms, and 778 slot machines. In addition, the company operates Wyn n Macau casino resort located in the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People?s Republic of China. Wynn Macau casino resort features approximately 595 hotel rooms and suites, 410 table games, 935 slot machines, 1 poker room, 1 sky casino, 6 restaurants, 1 spa and salon, lounges, meeting facilities, and retail space featuring boutiques. Further, it operates Encore at Wynn Macau resort located adjacent to Wynn Macau. Encore at Wynn Macau resort features approximately 410 luxury suites and 4 villas, as well as casino gaming space, including a sky casino consisting of 60 table games and 80 slot machines, 2 restaurants, 1 luxury spa, and retail space. The company was founded in 2002 and is based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ: WYNN) is estimated to post its Q3 earnings at $1.65 per share on revenue of $1.36 billion.

    VeriSign (NASDAQ: VRSN) is expected to post its Q3 earnings at $0.57 per share on revenue of $240.61 million.

  • [By Holly LaFon]

    His largest new buys in the first quarter are: Penn Virginia Group Holdings LP (PVG), Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN), Methanex Corp. (MEOH), Solutia Inc. (SOA) and Georgia Gulf (GGC). Of his top eight stocks, five are from the chemicals industry.

  • [By Daniela Pylypczak]

    Wynn Resorts (WYNN) announced on Tuesday that it plans to run its online gaming business in Caesars Entertainment Corp’s hotel in New Jersey.

    Wynn, which does not have any casinos in New Jersey, will run its online gaming business through computers at Caesars hotel in Atlantic city. Both Caesars and Wynn will be working with 888 Holdings Plc, one of Europe’s largest online gambling operators.

    Currently, Wynn owns two destination casinos:�Wynn Las Vegas and Wynn Macau. The two casinos feature roughly 186,000 and 275,000 square feet of casino gaming space, respectively.

    Wynn shares gained 0.70% during Tuesday’s session. Year-to-date, the stock is up 31.30%.

Top 10 Casino Companies For 2014: Umax Group Corp (UMAX)

Umax Group Corp., incorporated on March 21, 2011, is a development-stage company. The Company focuses to develop and distribute its product to the arcade and entertainment industry. The Company�� products include Rocket Launch, is Strength testing game which allows players to test their pushing/ throwing strength; Space Hockey, is a two player hockey game - each player must score as many as possible goals and Boxer, is a Simple punch testing game: insert coin/token/bill, press start button, hit the punch bag, wait for result, and try to beat opponent�� score or high score.

As of April 30, 2013, the Company had no revenues. The Company has developed its business plan, and executed exclusive distribution contract GEO a private enterprise, where it engages GEO as an independent contractor for the specific purpose of developing, manufacturing and supplying games for the Company.

Hot Undervalued Stocks To Buy For 2014: Penn National Gaming Inc.(PENN)

Penn National Gaming, Inc. and its subsidiaries own and manage gaming and pari-mutuel properties in the United States. It operates approximately 27,000 gaming machines; 500 table games; and 2,000 hotel rooms in 23 facilities in 16 jurisdictions, including Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ontario. The company was formerly known as PNRC Corp. and changed its name to Penn National Gaming, Inc. in 1994. Penn National Gaming, Inc. was founded in 1982 and is based in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Stocks on the Move: BlackBerry Ltd. (NASDAQ: BBRY) is down 16.4% at $6.50 after announcing that no buyout bid will be forthcoming. Penn National Gaming Inc. (NASDAQ: PENN) is down 76.7% at $13.75 after spinning-off its real-estate holdings into a REIT. Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (NYSE: STP) is up 15.5% at $1.53 following the acquisition of its major operations in Wuxi.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Penn National Gaming Inc. (NASDAQ: PENN) completed on Monday the spin-off of its real-estate holdings into a new REIT, Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. (G&LP) (NASDAQ: GLPI). The spin-off was first announced a year ago. Shares in GLPI are trading at around $46.51 after opening at $45.76 this morning.

  • [By Roberto Pedone]


    Penn National Gaming (PENN) is a diversified, multi-jurisdictional owner and manager of gaming and pari-mutuel properties. This stock closed up 1.4% at $56.13 in Monday's trading session.


    Monday's Volume: 1.11 million

    Three-Month Average Volume: 824,334

    Volume % Change: 73%



    From a technical perspective, PENN jumped modestly higher here right above some near-term support at $54.71 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of PENN within range of triggering a breakout trade. That trade will hit if PENN manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $57.44 to some past resistance at $58 with high volume.


    Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PENN as long as it's trending above Monday's low $55.65 or above more support at $54.71 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that this near or above 824,334 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then PENN will set up to re-test or possibly take out its 52-week high at $59.93. Any high-volume move above $59.93 will then give PENN a chance to hit $65.


Top 10 Casino Companies For 2014: (XTRN)

Las Vegas Railway Express Inc. focuses to re-establish a conventional passenger train service between the Las Vegas and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. It plans to establish a ?Vegas-style? passenger train service. The company is based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Top 10 Casino Companies For 2014: NanoTech Entertainment Inc (NTEK)

NanoTech Entertainment, Inc. (NanoTech), formerly Aldar Group, Inc., is a provider of gaming technology for the coin-op arcade, casino gaming and consumer gaming markets. The Company operates as a manufacturer, developing technology and games, and then licensing them to third parties for manufacturing and distribution. As of June 30, 2009, the Company�� products included MultiPin, Xtreme Rally Racing, NanoNET Online System, Pinball Wizard, Mot-Ion Adapter, Opti-Gun Adapter and Retr-IO Adapter. In April 2009, the Company acquired NanoTech Entertainment, Inc. In July 2013, NanoTech Entertainment Inc completed the acquisition of Clear Memories, Inc. of Napa California. Effective August 9, 2013, NanoTech Entertainment Inc acquired Worldwide Global Entertainment, a developer of prepackaged software.

The Company�� physics engine and motion sensors allow MultiPin to accurately recreate the experience of a mechanical pinball machine, while providing players with a variety of classic and modern pinball games to choose from. Xtreme Rally Racing is a driving machine that features three modes of game play: Xtreme Off-Road-Race Head to Head against other players and the computer to checkpoints while driving anywhere on the map with no preset course; Timed Rally Stages-Classic Rally Racing on real world courses. Players will be able to race in five different countries on real world rally courses, and Xtreme Stadium Racing-Custom Stadiums designed for Xtreme racing, including a figure eight multi-lap course with huge jumps. NanoNET Online System is remote operator control of machines, including diagnostics, accounting reports, and automatic software updates and enhancements downloaded over the net.

The Company has created the input device designed to give the pinball players a way to experience real pinball controls on their personal computer. Based on the technology developed for the MultiPin product it has built a controller that lets people play pinball using traditional controls and! the ability to shake and nudge the table. The Mot-Ion adapter is a universal serial bus (USB) adapter that allows do it yourself Pinball enthusiasts to build their own cabinet using real pinball controls providing analog inputs for nudging and bumping. The OptiGun adapter is a USB adapter that allows players to connect Arcade Light Guns to any USB based system. The Retr-IO adapters provide a standard JAMMA interface for USB based systems.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Bryan Murphy]

    Call them hunches (because that's all they are), but now would be a great time to get out of a NanoTech Entertainment, Inc. (OTCMKTS:NTEK) position and/or get into an ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ACAD). NTEK looks like its reached its maximum potential - for the time being - while ACAD looks like it's ready to start rolling higher again.

  • [By Peter Graham]

    Nyxio Technologies Corp (OTCMKTS: NYXO), COREwafer Industries Inc (OTCMKTS: WAFR) and NanoTech Entertainment, Inc (OTCMKTS: NTEK) are three small cap stocks in some very diverse industries. In fact, one of these stocks just bought a 3D ice sculpture business. So will investors see their investment melt with that small cap stock�along with the other two? Here is a closer look to help you decide for yourself:��

Top 10 Casino Companies For 2014: MGM Resorts International(MGM)

MGM Resorts International, through its subsidiaries, primarily owns and operates casino resorts in the United States. The company?s resorts offer gaming, hotel, dining, entertainment, retail, and other resort amenities. It also owns and operates golf courses and a golf club. As of December 31, 2010, the company owned and operated 15 properties located in Nevada, Mississippi, and Michigan; and has 50% investments in 4 other casino resorts in Nevada, Illinois, and Macau. In addition, MGM Resorts International has an agreement with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, which owns and operates a casino resort in Connecticut, to carry the ?MGM Grand? brand name. The company was formerly known as MGM MIRAGE and changed its name to MGM Resorts International in June 2010. MGM Resorts International was founded in 1986 and is based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Travis Hoium]

    Las Vegas is on a comeback and MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM  ) will benefit from its growth, but this isn't the only opportunity for the company. A new resort on Cotai and the potential for online gaming in the U.S. make this an attractive stock in the gaming market. Gaming analyst Travis Hoium goes over the company's biggest opportunities in the video below.�

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    The real question is whether Zynga can hold off experienced casino operators if online gambling becomes a reality. Already, alliances are forming, with Boyd Gaming (NYSE: BYD  ) and MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM  ) having linked up with -- the same company Zynga tapped for its real-money Zynga Poker -- to help Boyd take advantage of newly legal online gambling in New Jersey. Zynga has the obvious edge with its social savvy, but established casino companies will have huge incentives to defend their turf if Zynga starts to make a serious dent in the industry.

  • [By Monica Wolfe]

    MGM Resorts International (MGM)

    Paulson�� fifth largest position is in MGM Resorts International. The guru holds on to 34 million shares of the company�� stock, representing 3.5% of his total portfolio and 6.94% of the company�� shares outstanding.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    On Thursday, MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM  ) will release its latest quarterly results. The key to making smart investment decisions on stocks reporting earnings is to anticipate how they'll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise. That way, you'll be less likely to make an uninformed knee-jerk reaction to news that turns out to be exactly the wrong move.

Top 10 Casino Companies For 2014: Pinnacle Entertainment Inc.(PNK)

Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. owns, develops, and operates casinos, and related hospitality and entertainment facilities in the United States. It operates casinos, such as L'Auberge du Lac in Lake Charles, Louisiana; River City Casino and Lumiere Place in St. Louis, Missouri; Boomtown New Orleans in New Orleans, Louisiana; Belterra Casino Resort in Vevay, Indiana; Boomtown Bossier City in Bossier City, Louisiana; and Boomtown Reno in Reno, Nevada. The company also operates River Downs racetrack in southeast Cincinnati, Ohio. As of May 26, 2011, it operated seven casinos and one racetrack. The company was formerly known as Hollywood Park, Inc. and changed its name to Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. in February 2000. Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. was founded in 1935 and is based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Travis Hoium]

    What: Shares of Ameristar Casinos (NASDAQ: ASCA  ) and Pinnacle Entertainment (NYSE: PNK  ) fell as much as 11% today after the government brought into question the merger of the two companies.

Top 10 Casino Companies For 2014: Boyd Gaming Corporation(BYD)

Boyd Gaming Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a multi-jurisdictional gaming company in the United States. As of December 31, 2011, the company owned and operated 1,042,787 square feet of casino space, containing approximately 25,973 slot machines, 655 table games, and 11,418 hotel rooms. It also owned and operated 16 gaming entertainment properties located in Nevada, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Indiana, and New Jersey. In addition, the company owns and operates a pari-mutuel jai-alai facility located in Dania Beach, Florida, as well as a travel agency in Hawaii. Further, it holds a 50% controlling interest in the limited liability company that operates Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Boyd Gaming Corporation was founded in 1988 and is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Travis Hoium]

    Even if a federal bill does pass, there's no guarantee Zynga would win. Online poker is all about gaining a critical mass of users, and it's a uphill battle. MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM  ) and Boyd Gaming (NYSE: BYD  ) have already partnered with for a U.S. online gaming venture. is one of the largest real-money online poker companies in the world, and with PokerStars likely shut out of the U.S. in the near future, this would be a formidable opponent. Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ: CZR  ) has also had its eyes on online poker for some time, and with the World Series of Poker brand, it has a big draw for players. Caesars thinks so much of online poker that it's spinning off its "growth" assets, and online games are a key part of the new company.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    MGM has built a history of being the odd player out in many of the most lucrative opportunities in the gaming industry. In Macau, the company is stuck in the slower-growth area of the Asian gaming destination. In Las Vegas, the new CityCenter area in the mid-Strip has watered down MGM's opportunities and has created another potential barrier for patrons coming from the northern end of the Strip to its namesake MGM Grand property. And in New Jersey, where online gaming has boosted prospects for Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ: CZR  ) and Boyd Gaming (NYSE: BYD  ) , MGM has no exposure.

  • [By Travis Hoium]

    What: Shares of Boyd Gaming (NYSE: BYD  ) jumped 10% today after the company got an analyst upgrade.

    So what: Morgan Stanley upgraded shares to overweight today, and gave the stock a $12 price target. The analyst cited the potential for online gaming as the driver of the stock, potentially bringing as much revenue to the industry as Las Vegas and Atlantic City combined. �

  • [By Travis Hoium]

    Earnings from Boyd Gaming (NYSE: BYD  ) surprised investors last week, but there's still a lot of fundamental weakness for the company. Revenue is declining across the country as more supply is added to the market, and the only way to grow is through acquisitions. The Fool's Erin Miller sat down with Travis Hoium to see how to play the gaming market now.�

Top 10 Casino Companies For 2014: Nevada Gold & Casinos Inc (UWN)

Nevada Gold & Casinos, Inc., incorporated on April 7, 1977, is primarily a gaming company involved in financing, developing, owning and operating gaming projects. Through the Company's wholly owned subsidiary, Gold Mountain Development, LLC, the Company owns approximately 268 acres of undeveloped land in the vicinity of Black Hawk, Colorado. On January 27, 2012, through the Company's wholly owned subsidiary, NG South Dakota, LLC, the Company acquired A.G. Trucano, Son & Grandsons, Inc. (South Dakota Gol). On July 18, 2011, through the Company's wholly owned subsidiary, NG Washington III, LLC, the Company acquired Red Dragon mini-casino in Mountlake Terrace, Washington (Washington III). On May 25, 2012, the Company sold all of the assets, including rights in the Colorado Grande name and gaming-related liabilities, of the Colorado Grande Casino to G Investments, LLC (GI).

Commercial Gaming Projects

The Company owns and operates 10 gaming facilities in Washington, and a slot machine route operation in South Dakota. These properties are wholly owned and operated by the Company: the Crazy Moose Casinos in Pasco and Mountlake Terrace, Washington, the Coyote Bob�� Casino in Kennewick, Washington, the Silver Dollar Casinos in SeaTac, Bothell and Renton, Washington, the Club Hollywood Casino in Shoreline, Washington, the Royal Casino in Everett, Washington, the Golden Nugget Casino in Tukwila, Washington, and the Red Dragon Casino in Mountlake Terrace, Washington (Washington Gold), and the South Dakota Gold slot route operation in Deadwood, South Dakota.

Commercial Casino Projects

The Company own two mini-casinos operating in Mountlake Terrace. The Red Dragon mini-casino, located in western Washington State, has a total of 15 table games, including Player Banked Poker, Baccarat, and other banked table games. The mini-casino is located within 14 miles of downtown Seattle. South Dakota Gold is a slot machine route that operates over 900 slots at approximate! ly 20 locations in Deadwood, South Dakota, which represent about 24% of the total number of slot machines in that market. Deadwood is a town of 1,300 residents located in the Black Hills, South Dakota, in the southwest corner of the state.

Top 10 Casino Companies For 2014: Caesars Entertainment Corp (CZR)

Caesars Entertainment Corporation, incorporated on November 2, 1989, is a diversified casino-entertainment provider. The Company�� business is primarily conducted through a wholly owned subsidiary, Caesars Entertainment Operating Company, Inc. (CEOC), although certain material properties are not owned by CEOC. As of December 31, 2012, it owned, operated, or managed, through various subsidiaries, 52 casinos in 13 United States states and seven countries. The majority of these casinos operate in the United States, primarily under the Caesars, Harrah��, and Horseshoe brand names, and in England. In November 2012, the Company sold its Harrah's St. Louis casino to Penn National Gaming, Inc. In December 2012, the Company purchased all of the net assets of Buffalo Studios, LLC, a social and mobile games developer and owner of Bingo Blitz.

The Company�� casino entertainment facilities include 33 land-based casinos, 11 riverboat or dockside casinos, three managed casinos on Indian lands in the United States, one managed casino in Cleveland, Ohio, one managed casino in Canada, one casino combined with a greyhound racetrack, one casino combined with a thoroughbred racetrack, and one casino combined with a harness racetrack. The Company�� land-based casinos include nine in England, two in Egypt, one in Scotland, one in South Africa and one in Uruguay. As of December 31, 2012, its facilities had an aggregate of approximately three million square feet of gaming space and approximately 43,000 hotel rooms. In southern Nevada, Caesars Palace, Harrah�� Las Vegas, Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, Bally�� Las Vegas, Flamingo Las Vegas, Paris Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, The Quad Resort & Casino (formerly the Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino), Bill�� Gamblin��Hall & Saloon, and Hot Spot Oasis are located in Las Vegas and draw customers from throughout the United States. Harrah�� Laughlin is located near both the Arizona and California borders and draws customers primarily from! the southern California and Phoenix metropolitan areas and, to a lesser extent, from throughout the United States through charter aircraft. In northern Nevada, Harrah�� Lake Tahoe and Harveys Resort & Casino are located near Lake Tahoe and Harrah�� Reno is located in downtown Reno. These facilities draw customers primarily from northern California, the Pacific Northwest, and Canada.

The Company�� Atlantic City casinos, Harrah�� Resort Atlantic City, Showboat Atlantic City, Caesars Atlantic City, and Bally�� Atlantic City, draw customers primarily from the Philadelphia metropolitan area, New York, and New Jersey. Harrah�� Philadelphia (formerly Harrah's Chester) is a combination harness racetrack and casino located approximately six miles south of Philadelphia International Airport and draws customers primarily from the Philadelphia metropolitan area and Delaware. The Company�� Chicagoland dockside casinos, Harrah�� Joliet in Joliet, Illinois, and Horseshoe Hammond in Hammond, Indiana, draw customers primarily from the greater Chicago metropolitan area. In southern Indiana, it owns Horseshoe Southern Indiana, a dockside casino complex located in Elizabeth, Indiana, which draws customers primarily from northern Kentucky, including the Louisville metropolitan area, and southern Indiana, including Indianapolis. In Louisiana, the Company owns Harrah�� New Orleans, a land-based casino located in downtown New Orleans, which attracts customers primarily from the New Orleans metropolitan area. In northwest Louisiana, Horseshoe Bossier City, a dockside casino, and Harrah�� Louisiana Downs, a thoroughbred racetrack with slot machines, both located in Bossier City, cater to customers in northwestern Louisiana.

The Company owns the Grand Casino Biloxi, located in Biloxi, Mississippi, which caters to customers in southern Mississippi, southern Alabama, and northern Florida. Harrah�� North Kansas City dockside casino draws customers from the Kansas City metropolitan ar! ea. Harra! h�� Metropolis is a dockside casino located in Metropolis, Illinois, on the Ohio River, drawing customers from southern Illinois, western Kentucky, and central Tennessee. Horseshoe Tunica, Harrah�� Tunica, and Tunica Roadhouse Hotel & Casino, dockside casino complexes located in Tunica, Mississippi, are approximately 30 miles from Memphis, Tennessee and draw customers primarily from the Memphis area and, to a lesser extent, from throughout the United States through charter aircraft. Horseshoe Casino and Bluffs Run Greyhound Park, a land-based casino and pari-mutuel facility, and Harrah�� Council Bluffs Casino & Hotel, a dockside casino facility, are located in Council Bluffs, Iowa, across the Missouri River from Omaha, Nebraska. At Horseshoe Casino and Bluffs Run Greyhound Park, the Company owns the assets other than gaming equipment, and leases these assets to the Iowa West Racing Association (IWRA), a nonprofit corporation, and it manages the facility for the IWRA under a management agreement expiring in October 2024. The license to operate Harrah�� Council Bluffs Casino & Hotel is held jointly with IWRA, the qualified sponsoring organization.

The Conrad Resort & Casino located in Punta Del Este, Uruguay (the Conrad), draws customers primarily from Argentina and Uruguay. In November 2012, the Company announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement with Enjoy S.A. (Enjoy) to form a strategic relationship in Latin America. Under the terms of the agreement, Enjoy will acquire 45% of Baluma S.A., its subsidiary, which owns and operates the Conrad, and the Company will become a 10% shareholder in Enjoy upon consummation of the agreement. Upon the closing of the transaction, which is subject to certain conditions, including the receipt of all regulatory and governmental approvals, Enjoy will assume primary responsibility for management of the Conrad. Enjoy will have the option to acquire the remaining stake in Baluma S.A. between years three and five following closing. The cl! osing of ! the transaction remains subject to a number of conditions, including regulatory and governmental approvals in both Uruguay and Chile.

The Company owns four casinos in London: the Sportsman, the Golden Nugget, The Playboy Club London, and The Casino at the Empire. Its casinos in London draw customers primarily from the London metropolitan area, as well as international visitors. The Company also owns Alea Nottingham, Alea Glasgow, Alea Leeds, Manchester 235, Rendezvous Brighton, and Rendezvous Southend-on-Sea in the provinces of the United Kingdom, which primarily draw customers from their local areas. Pursuant to a concession agreement, it also operates two casinos in Cairo, Egypt, The London Club Cairo (which is located at the Ramses Hilton) and Caesars Cairo (which is located at the Four Seasons Cairo), which draw customers primarily from other countries in the Middle East. Emerald Safari, located in the province of Gauteng in South Africa, draws customers primarily from South Africa. It owsn and operates Bluegrass Downs, a harness racetrack located in Paducah, Kentucky.

The Company owns three casinos for Indian tribes: Harrah�� Phoenix Ak-Chin, located near Phoenix, Arizona, Harrah�� Cherokee Casino and Hotel, and Harrah�� Rincon Casino and Resort, located near San Diego, California. The Company manages Caesars Windsor, located in Windsor, Ontario, which draws customers primarily from the Detroit metropolitan area, Horseshoe Cleveland casino in Ohio, which it manages for Rock Ohio Caesars LLC (ROC), a venture with Rock Ohio Ventures, LLC (Rock Gaming), in which it has a 20% equity interest, and the Horseshoe Cincinnati casino in Ohio for ROC for a fee under a management agreement that will expire in March 2033. It also has a minority interest in Sterling Suffolk Racecourse, LLC (Suffolk Downs), which owns a horse-racing track in Boston, Massachusetts, and the right to manage a future gaming facility. The Company also owns ans operates a golf course on 175 acres of prime real! estate t! hrough a land concession on the Cotai strip in Macau.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Roberto Pedone]

    Caesars Entertainment (CZR) is a casino-entertainment provider and a diverse U.S. casino-entertainment company. This stock closed up 4.2% at $18.36 in Friday's trading session.

    Friday's Volume: 1.55 million

    Three-Month Average Volume: 636,136

    Volume % Change: 205%

    From a technical perspective, CZR jumped higher here and broke out into new all-time high territory above $18.37 with heavy upside volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last two months, with shares moving higher from its low of $11.90 to its intraday high on Friday of $18.73. During that move, shares of CZR have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action.

    Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CZR as long as it's trending above Friday's low of $17.39 or above more near-term support at $16, and then once it sustains a move or close above its all-time high at $18.73 with volume that's near or above 636,136 shares. If we get that move soon, then CZR will set up to enter new all-time-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $22 to $25.

  • [By Travis Hoium]

    Even if a federal bill does pass, there's no guarantee Zynga would win. Online poker is all about gaining a critical mass of users, and it's a uphill battle. MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM  ) and Boyd Gaming (NYSE: BYD  ) have already partnered with for a U.S. online gaming venture. is one of the largest real-money online poker companies in the world, and with PokerStars likely shut out of the U.S. in the near future, this would be a formidable opponent. Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ: CZR  ) has also had its eyes on online poker for some time, and with the World Series of Poker brand, it has a big draw for players. Caesars thinks so much of online poker that it's spinning off its "growth" assets, and online games are a key part of the new company.

  • [By Rick Munarriz]

    Paula Deen has seen her future earnings prospects dim after her admission of using a racial slur. She lost her show. Several retailers have stopped stocking the celebrity chef's products. However, Deen has also lost lucrative endorsements with casino operator Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ: CZR  ) and packaged pork products producer Smithfield Foods (NYSE: SFD  ) .

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Proctor & Gamble Remains a Steady Dividend Holding

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Welcome to the Stock of the Day.

Procter & Gamble PG stockThe Sochi Winter Olympics are just weeks away and as one of the event’s biggest sponsors, Procter & Gamble (PG) will be front and center on the airwaves.

With the big games, earnings season and a quarterly dividend around the corner, let’s revisit PG and see if it’s a good buy at current prices.

Company Profile

With $84.6 billion in annual sales and 121,000 employees, Procter & Gamble is one of the world’s largest multinational consumer goods companies. Every day, millions of homes use Procter & Gamble brands, whether it’s Pantene, Oral-B, Old Spice, NyQuil, Dawn or Bounty. All told, Procter & Gamble’s $25 billion brand portfolio covers 4.6 billion consumers in 180 countries.

Earnings Buzz

Procter & Gamble is scheduled to report fiscal second-quarter results before the opening bell on January 24. Judging from the latest analyst estimates, this earnings announcement isn’t going to turn any heads. Right now, Procter & Gamble is headed towards 0.9% annual sales growth and a 0.8% drop in earnings. The picture does brighten as you look further ahead, however. Looking ahead to the fiscal third quarter, analysts forecast 2.6% sales growth and 10.1% earnings growth.

Dividend Breakdown

PG shares go ex-dividend on January 22. Shareholders of record will receive 60.15 cents per share on February 18. At current prices, the stock has a 2.97% annual dividend yield–ranking seventh highest in the Personal Products industry (out of 124 companies. Procter & Gamble boasts a strong dividend track record–over the past six years it has more than doubled its quarterly dividend payment. Procter & Gamble has paid dividends for 122 years and this is the 58th consecutive year that the company has increased the dividend.

Current Ratings

Before you buy any stock, you should always run it through my free Portfolio Grader ratings system. While this Conservative stock spent much of 2013 in buy territory, 2014 has proven to be a less exciting year for the household products company.

Right now, PG receives a C for both its Fundamental Grade and its Quantitative Grade. The Quantitative Grade indicates the stock’s risk-to-return ratio.

Breaking down the company’s financials, Procter & Gamble scores well on operating margin growth (B) and return on equity (B), but has mediocre sales growth (C) and earnings growth (C). And P&G could really stand to work on earnings momentum (D) and earnings surprises (D).

Bottom Line: As of this posting I consider PG a C-rated Hold.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Ariad Pharmaceuticals - The Calm Before the Storm (ARIA)

In a perfect world, a stock would always - and accurately - reflect all the information known (and/or presumed) about a particular company. We don't live or trade in a perfect world though. In the real world, a stock's value is forever changing, caught between a fear and greed cycle that may or may not jive with a reasonable perception of the company's worth. That's not necessarily a bad thing, however, as you can use that ongoing volatility to your advantage. Enter Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARIA). Anybody who was mulling an position in ARIA needs to know that a pretty persistent technical pattern has developed, and though it may not look red hit right now, that's the perfect time to wade in.

If the name Ariad Pharmaceuticals rings a bell, it may be because yours truly has penned a couple of bullish thoughts on the stock following its October plunge. For those willing to listen to either the December 19th or the December 23rd optimism with ARIA, well, you're not actually up any. I'll tell you the same thing I said the last two times I looked at this stock, however - though it's been up and down and will continue to be up and down for the foreseeable future, when you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, Ariad is in an uptrend. The trick is just finding the right entry spot, and then finding the willingness to be patient.

I can't speak to where being patient will take us as for as Ariad Pharmaceuticals hitting a high point and translating into a profit, but I can speak to the timing of any entry... now's a great time to get into ARIA.

Yes, I know the stock's been dead money for nearly three weeks now, but it's been dead money before, and bolted higher out of nowhere. It's happened twice now, the second time in mid-December around the same point in time when Ariad Pharmaceuticals found a floor around a combination of moving average lines, and then used them as a springboard. If you look closely, you'll see that the sideways movement since mid-December has bought the 20-day moving average line some time to catch up with the stock. I suspect we'll get the same springboard action we got the last time the 20-day moving average line was brushed.

Top 10 Insurance Companies To Buy Right Now

As for where ARIA could end up, that's a great question. The stock could keep rising as long as the company continues to share encouraging news that undoes October's disastrous announcement. Realistically though, the pre-plunge price around $19.00 is about all I'd be interested in aiming for right now.

For more trading ideas and insights like these, be sure to sign up for the free SmallCap Network newsletter. You'll get stock picks, market calls, and more, every day. Here's what you've missed recently.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Will Morgan Stanley Continue Its Recovery?

With shares of Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) trading around $25, is MS an OUTPERFORM, WAIT AND SEE or STAY AWAY? Let's analyze the stock with the relevant sections of our CHEAT SHEET investing framework:

T = Trends for a Stock’s Movement

Morgan Stanley is a global financial services company that, through its subsidiaries and affiliates, provides its products and services to a range of clients and customers, including corporations, governments, financial institutions and individuals. The company operates in three segments: Institutional Securities, Global Wealth Management Group, and Asset Management. Morgan Stanley provides financial advisory and capital-raising services; equity, fixed income, and alternative investments; and merchant banking services. It participates in an industry that powers most other types of businesses around the world. As economies continue to grow, Morgan Stanley is at the stem of that growth, providing the products and services required to form solid operating bases well into the future.

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T = Technicals on the Stock Chart are Strong

Morgan Stanley stock has witnessed its fair share of selling pressure extending back to the 2008 Financial Crisis. The stock is now attempting to reverse its downtrend and shoot for higher prices. Analyzing the price trend and its strength can be done using key simple moving averages. What are the key moving averages? The 50-day (pink), 100-day (blue), and 200-day (yellow) simple moving averages. As seen in the daily price chart below, Morgan Stanley is trading above its rising key averages which signal neutral to bullish price action in the near-term.


(Source: Thinkorswim)

Taking a look at the implied volatility (red) and implied volatility skew levels of Morgan Stanley options may help determine if investors are bullish, neutral, or bearish.

Implied Volatility (IV)

30-Day IV Percentile

90-Day IV Percentile

Morgan Stanley Options




What does this mean? This means that investors or traders are buying a very significant amount of call and put options contracts, as compared to the last 30 and 90 trading days.

Put IV Skew

Call IV Skew

July Options



August Options



As of today, there is an average demand from call buyers or sellers and low demand by put buyers or high demand by put sellers, all neutral to bullish over the next two months. To summarize, investors are buying a very significant amount of call and put option contracts and are leaning neutral to bullish over the next two months.

On the next page, let’s take a look at the earnings and revenue growth rates and the conclusion.

E = Earnings Are Improving Quarter-Over-Quarter

Rising stock prices are often strongly correlated with rising earnings and revenue growth rates. Also, the last four quarterly earnings announcement reactions help gauge investor sentiment on Morgan Stanley’s stock. What do the last four quarterly earnings and revenue growth (Y-O-Y) figures for Morgan Stanley look like and more importantly, how did the markets like these numbers?

2013 Q1

2012 Q4

2012 Q3

2012 Q2

Earnings Growth (Y-O-Y)





Revenue Growth (Y-O-Y)





Earnings Reaction





Morgan Stanley has seen improving earnings and revenue figures over the last four quarters. From these figures, the markets have expected a little more from Morgan Stanley’s recent earnings announcements.

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P = Average Relative Performance Versus Peers and Sector

How has Morgan Stanley stock done relative to its peers, UBS (NYSE:UBS), Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW), TD Ameritrade (NYSE:AMTD), and sector?

Top 10 Financial Companies To Watch For 2014

Morgan Stanley


Charles Schwab

TD Ameritrade


Year-to-Date Return






Morgan Stanley has been an average relative performer, year-to-date.


Morgan Stanley provides essential financial services to companies and consumers worldwide. The stock has not done so well since the 2008 Financial Crisis but is now attempting to reverse this trend and head higher. Over the last four quarters, earnings and revenue figures have improved a bit, however, investors have expected more from the company. Relative to its peers and sector, Morgan Stanley has been an average year-to-date performer. Look for Morgan Stanley to OUTPERFORM.

What Will the Next GMO-Free Cereal Be?

In the start of what may be a growing trend among food manufacturers, General Mills (NYSE: GIS  ) announced that Original Cheerios will be produced GMO-free. While the actual amount of genetically modified seed used in the manufacture of Original Cheerios is small, the results of the move could be broad-reaching if other food manufacturers follow General Mills' move with efforts to remove GMOs from their own products.

There are some clear obstacles that will slow any massive GMO-free movement from occurring in the next year, but there are nonetheless other cereals produced by General Mills and its competitors like Kellogg  (NYSE: K  ) and PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP  ) , which make for strong candidates to undergo reformulations that enable the GMO-free label.

Why GMO-free may not catch on quickly
Regardless of the consumer demand for organic and GMO-free food products, major food producers are limited by simple supply chain logistics that make the sourcing of substantial non-GMO ingredients both difficult and costly. The amount of GMO-based products in Original Cheerios is limited to just small amounts of corn starch and sugar, whereas other cereals even under the Cheerios brand would make the necessary large-scale ingredient sourcing difficult.

Top Low Price Companies To Invest In 2014

That said, there is a significantly longer list of cereals unlikely to go GMO-free than there are cereals able to make the transition. In general, cereals falling under general classifications as sugary, corn-based, or soy-based will have a more difficult transition to GMO-free, and thus are not likely among the next products to be labeled as such. Even Kellogg's Kashi brand cereals, which tout a reputation for being 'natural,' will struggle through a long transition period to become certified as GMO-free. According to Kellogg:

By the end of 2014, all existing Kashi® GOLEAN® cereals and Kashi® Chewy Granola Bars—representing Kashi's biggest offerings—will be Non-GMO Project Verified. Beginning in 2015, all new Kashifoods introduced into the market will contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients and will also be Non-GMO Project Verified. 

Kashi consumers are much more likely to push for the switch to GMO-free products than consumers feasting on cereals represented by cartoon mascots, making Froot Loops and PepsiCo's Cap'n'Crunch unlikely to go GMO-free for reasons beyond just ingredient sourcing.

Who can make the transition?
Conversely, low-sugar and oat-, wheat-, rice- and barley-based cereals would have easier transitions in going GMO-free (though GMO wheat, rice, and barley are under development).

My (somewhat lame) prediction of the next cereal to be labeled as GMO-free will likely be PepsiCo's Quaker Oats. The transition should be nearly seamless, as the product already contains 100% oats, which are already GMO-free, making the transition a marketing issue rather than a recipe issue. The one obstacle that may impede the labeling of GMO-free oats is the fear that it will draw more attention to the vast majority of the company's other product offerings that do contain GMOs.

Following the same line of logic, don't be surprised if Post (NYSE: POST  ) Grape-Nuts soon carry the GMO-free label. They are currently marketing Vintage Grape-Nuts which do not contain the likely GMO-laden isolated soy protein that is found in their current formulation of the cereal. Presumably with a little consumer demand, the transition back to the original recipe would be easy and enable the GMO-free label.

Original Cheerios was the only one of the top 10 best-selling cereal brands that could easily make the transition, as the remaining cereals on the list are heavily sugared products that often have a corn-base. The one remaining exception that could feasibly make the switch given a little more transition time is Kellogg's Special K brand. Special K cereals are mostly rice- and wheat-based. Though when compared with Original Cheerios, original Special K contains roughly four times more sugar, the resourcing to non-GMO cane sugar is still feasible. Furthermore, the switch to GMO-free matches the already established health-emphasized marketing of Special K brands.

The takeaway
General Mills made a small reformulation to Original Cheerios that may serve as the catalyst for other food manufacturers to reformulate their own cereals in order to achieve a GMO-free label. If consumers respond to these switches with their wallets instead of just their words, expect the trend to grow more rapidly and possibly even facilitate enough of a backing for the mandatory labeling of GMOs in all food products.