Saturday, March 22, 2014

Yum CEO's pay falls amid KFC struggles in China

NEW YORK (AP) — Yum CEO David Novak saw his pay package drop 22% to $10 million last year as the parent company of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut fell short of its performance targets.

The drop in pay from $12.8 million the previous year was the result of a lower performance-based bonus, reflecting the troubles that have beset the company's important China division.

Yum Brands, based in Louisville, Ky., is the biggest Western fast-food operator in China with its KFC restaurants. China has been a critical growth driver for the company, with the unit accounting for about 40 percent of its operating profit.

But in late 2012, a report on Chinese TV said some of Yum's suppliers were giving chickens unapproved levels of antibiotics, touching off sensitivities about food safety in the country. Sales began to nosedive.

Top Performing Stocks To Watch For 2014

Executives have conceded they were slow to grasp the severity of the backlash before embarking on a marketing campaign to rebuild trust with customers. A few months later, however, the efforts were upended by a bird flu scare.

Beyond those two factors, Yum is also dealing with more competition in the Chinese market.

Back in the U.S., the company's Taco Bell division has been riding on the success of its popular Doritos Locos Tacos. But its KFC and Pizza Hut chains are struggling and saw sales declines at locations open at least a year.

Novak has stressed that China remains a key region for Yum and that the company plans to forge ahead in its expansion plans. The 61-year-old became chief executive in 2000 then took on the chairman title the following year.

For 2013, Novak's pay package included a base salary of $1.5 million, stock and options worth $6.8 million and a performance-based bonus of $939,600. The previous year, that performance-based portion of his bonus was $4.6 million.

Other compensation included ! use of the company aircraft, insurance premiums and home security.

But Novak's pay package may get a boost next year — the company has said it expects adjusted earnings-per-share growth of at least 20% in 2014 as it rebounds from the setbacks.

The Associated Press formula for executive compensation includes salary, bonuses, perks, above-market interest the company pays on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock and stock options awarded during the year. It does not count changes in the present value of pension benefits, which makes the AP total slightly different in most cases from the total reported by companies to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The value that a company assigned to an executive's stock and option awards was the present value of what the company expected the awards to be worth over time. The number is just an estimate and what an executive ultimately receives will depend on the performance of the company's stock.

Follow Candice Choi at

16 Pictures That Show There's Hope For Walmart

**To jump directly to the meat and potato pictures, click HERE for Page Three of this article.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In light of fallout from last Saturday's 24 Pictures From a Walmart That Make Sears Look Classy and the follow-up smash Mistreated Walmart Employees Speak Out Against Company, I need to set a few records straight before expressing -- in words and pictures -- some relatively positive Wal-Mart (WMT)-related sentiment: I'm not practicing Can we make Sarah Palin look dumber than we already think she is? "gotcha" journalism by finding, taking and publishing unflattering images of Walmart and Sears Holdings (SHLD) stores. The pictures are not the story; rather they contain and/or illustrate the story. Best case -- photographs lead to deeper explanations of what's going on. That's what happened as a result of the 24 I posted of the South LA Walmart. I'm not pro-union. I'm not anti-union. I'm agnostic, bordering on apathetic. The only time I had a chance to join a union -- AFTRA in Pittsburgh in 1996-97 -- I chose not to even though they said it was mandatory. I didn't see the utility at the time. I'm not anti-chain store (though, in my younger days, I was). My work on Starbucks (SBUX) attests to that. My coverage of Walmart isn't political. Not in the least bit. I simply have no dog in that fight. 

And, maybe most importantly, I've been interested in and writing about retail for quite some time. In fact, if you scroll my article history, you'll see I hit it from several angles. An interest in the well-established discipline of Walmart patheticism (my word) represents a natural progression. 

Sometimes I explore the general sorry state of a large swath of physical retail. Often, and pursuant to what the present article covers, I consider attempts by big box retail to become more urban (or produce smaller stores, which you generally need to do if you want to tap quintessential or decidedly more urban markets). For instance, as they started opening across Southern California, I visited several CityTarget stores -- that's Target's (TGT) alleged urban concept. In late 2012, I published CityTarget: Major Disappointment, but Is It an Epic Failure?. In that article, I came to a conclusion that still stands: Target missed a major opportunity to differentiate itself in urban neighborhoods. Walk into a CityTarget and you'll be hard pressed to distinguish it from the traditionally big box, suburban Targets you have come to know and have your personal banking information stolen from. In fact, as I described in the above-linked article, there's not even a noticeable square footage difference between Target store types: On average, SuperTargets take up the most square footage at 177,291 apiece. Expanded food stores come in at 129,281 per. General merchandise stores run 119,084 square feet each. And CityTargets are not too far behind thus far at 102,800 square feet per location. I ran the most recent numbers and there's been no meaningful change in those numbers over the last couple of years. 75,000 square feet might sound like a lot; however, in practice, it doesn't feel like it. CityTarget is little more than Target's slightly smaller stepchild.  In terms of doing urban (or smaller stores in pseudo-urban or suburban locations) and doing it relatively well, Walmart wins. In fact, it renders Target an embarrassment. Whereas Target made slight adaptations to its standard fare store, Walmart's urban (and smaller store) concept -- Walmart Neighborhood Market -- feels like a completely different experience. You don't feel quite like you're in a Walmart that just so happens to be smaller. You actually feel as if, on some level, Walmart reinvented itself for dense spaces inside core traditional city neighborhoods and to diversify its business in places where it already operates. Don't get me wrong -- Walmart hasn't necessarily innovated like (AMZN) with the neighborhood market concept. However, it didn't mail it in the way Target has. Relative to today's pitiful physical retail environment that's a small victory worth texting home about. And it speaks to the controversy last Saturday's article and the events of the past week triggered: Walmart can -- with a little love and attention -- do things well.

Stock quotes in this article: WMT, TGT, SHLD, WFM 

We'll drive ourselves insane trying to determine why one store's clean while another's a disgusting mess. But I think we can agree there's no excuse for the latter. And, as many of its own people stated so loudly and clearly, Walmart corporate deserves your scorn for its alleged mismanagement and mistreatment of many of its retail workers. Of course that's nothing new at Walmart. However, going into last week's articles I had no idea, for example, just how bad the problem of understaffing, which leads directly to the unkempt stores, is.

We can also agree that, where opportunity exists, Walmart can put its best foot forward.

I'm uncertain if Walmart Neighborhood Market staffers are any more content (or less discontent) than workers at "regular" Walmarts. Maybe we'll find out in the aftermath of this article. But I can state, with confidence, that on the basis of appearance, these smaller, urban-formatted operations provide hope that Walmart can do right by its customers as well as its brand (which, in many hearts and minds, is iconic if not respected).

I visited and photographed the Walmart Neighborhood Market on the perimeter of Downtown Los Angeles. It's part of a mixed-used development just past where Sunset Boulevard turns into Cesar Chavez Boulevard and makes its way into and past downtown. As the images and explanations on the subsequent pages of this article detail, this store represents pretty much the complete opposite -- in both look and feel -- of what we showed you last week from that South LA Walmart store. It's difficult to put into words, but from the moment you pull in the (well-organized and well-attended) parking garage of this Downtown LA Walmart Neighborhood Market, you feel the difference. It's an inviting space. Immediately, you receive the signal that somebody cares. Given Walmart's urban opportunity and its considerable success with the Neighborhood Market concept (the company will do over $8 billion in sales this fiscal year in that space), it's no surprise corporate cares, which appears to impact the way things get done on the ground. As a not-so-aside ... an interesting note from the investor conference transcript where I pulled the $8B stat in the last paragraph: ... you can put a neighborhood market in close proximity to a supercenter and we see an additional $300 a year from customer spent based on traceable tenders. So, its just additive to our business because they are different trips, because they shop differently, stock-up trip at the supercenter on the weekend, fill-in trip at the neighborhood market during the week. We also have had great success in new markets and with new customers who are now accessing our brand in a more convenient way right in their neighborhood. If I had the resources, I would love to do a study that measured the condition of Walmart Supercenters and such on the basis of their proximity to Neighborhood Markets. But I digress ... In the South LA images, when something was out of place, a shelf was empty or a cart was sitting in an isle, it looked bad. It looked like and -- I'm pretty confident in saying -- it was neglect. As a customer, I felt like I was slumming it ... that Walmart was providing me with an inferior experience. They were slapping me in the face. Maybe a visual can help explain what I mean ... Compare this ... ... to this ... There's a worker behind that cart full of boxes restocking a freezer. Throughout the store, if there was inventory on the floor, it was being attended to. That sends the signal to the customer that Walmart's on top of things. That it's making sure it's giving the customer what it needs with as little disruption or disarray as possible.

Stock quotes in this article: WMT, TGT, SHLD, WFM 

The same goes for this shot from the pharmacy, which is actually located adjacent (you walk across a corridor that also connects to the parking garage) to the larger Neighborhood Market. The shopping carts absolutely contain items about to be stocked or restocked. However, unlike what we saw in South LA, there's an employee you can see moving about and set to make quick order of the task.

In the main store, same thing.

Empty magazine racks at the checkout ... it's being taken care of ... Same deal in bread and baked goods ... And even where you find empty spaces on shelves ... it's just not the same. The pictures tell the story ... South LA Walmart Downtown LA Walmart Neighborhood Market South LA Walmart Downtown LA Walmart Neighborhood Market There's even a "spill station" set up in some aisles at this Neighborhood Market ... 

Stock quotes in this article: WMT, TGT, SHLD, WFM 

It might be a bit of stretch, but, in all seriousness, if you stripped away the signage (the prices give it away!) and went in at your least critical, you could confuse the produce section at the Walmart Neighborhood Market with the same at Whole Foods Market (WFM).

That's high praise ...

Even the meat looks good ... As does the timely display (it's already warm in Southern California; in fact it has been for months!) when you walk in the door ... And, of course, it's Walmart so they carry the staples ... In the shell of a nut -- all else equal (as in I didn't know Walmart's history, never wrote last week's article and fielded the response to it) -- I would shop here. Gladly. Relative to what's out there, it's a beautiful store. Generally a step or two below great local markets and Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. But it works. And works well. Based on the $8 billion number, it appears that, in the literal sense, it's working really well for Walmart also. If Walmart could send some of the TLC this store obviously receives to South LA, the other trashed stores we have heard about this week and its employees across the board ... then we would really have something.  Follow @rocco_thestreet --Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Stock quotes in this article: WMT, TGT, SHLD, WFM  Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks. Rocco Pendola is a columnist for TheStreet. Whenever possible, Pendola uses hockey, Springsteen or Southern California references in his work. He lives in Santa Monica.

Top 5 Bank Stocks To Own For 2014

Top 5 Bank Stocks To Own For 2014: Western Alliance Bancorporation (WAL)

Western Alliance Bancorporation (WAL) is a bank holding company. The Company provides full-service banking and lending to locally owned businesses, professional firms, real estate developers and investors, local non-profit organizations, high net worth individuals and other consumers through its three wholly owned subsidiary banks (the Banks): Bank of Nevada (BON), operating in Southern Nevada; Western Alliance Bank (WAB), operating in Arizona and Northern Nevada, and Torrey Pines Bank (TPB), operating in California. In addition, the Company's non-bank subsidiaries, Shine Investment Advisory Services, Inc. (Shine) and Western Alliance Equipment Finance (WAEF), offer an array of financial products and services to small to mid-sized businesses and their proprietors, including financial planning, custody and investments, and equipment leasing nationwide. It operates in four segments: Bank of Nevada, Western Alliance Bank, Torrey Pines Bank and Other.

The Compan y provides a range of banking services, as well as investment advisory services, through its consolidated subsidiaries. As of December 31, 2011, WAL owned an 80% interest in Shine. As of December 31, 2011, the Company owned a 24.9% interest in Miller/Russell & Associates, Inc. (MRA), an investment advisor. MRA provides investment advisory services to individuals, foundations, retirement plans and corporations.

Lending Activities

Through the Company's banking segments, the Company provides a variety of financial services to customers, including commercial real estate loans, construction and land development loans, commercial loans, and consumer loans. Loans to businesses consisted 89.2% of the total loan portfolio at December 31, 2011. Loans to finance the purchase or refinancing of commercial real estate (CRE) and loans to finance inventory ! and working capital that are additionally secured by CRE make up the majority of its loan portfolio. These C RE loans are secured by apartment buildings, professional of! fices, industrial facilities, retail centers and other commercial properties. As of December 31, 2011, 49% of its CRE loans were owner-occupied. Owner-occupied commercial real estate loans are loans secured by owner-occupied nonfarm nonresidential properties for which the primary source of repayment (more than 50%) is the cash flow from the ongoing operations and activities conducted by the borrower who owns the property. Non-owner-occupied commercial real estate loans are commercial real estate loans for which the primary source of repayment is nonaffiliated rental income associated with the collateral property.

Construction and land development loans include multi-family apartment projects, industrial/warehouse properties, office buildings, retail centers and medical facilities. Commercial and industrial loans include working capital lines of credit, inventory and accounts receivable lines, mortgage warehouse lines, equipment loans and leases, and other commer cial loans. Commercial loans are primarily originated to small and medium-sized businesses in a variety of industries. Consumer loans are generally offered at a higher rate and shorter term than residential mortgages. Its consumer loans include home equity loans and lines of credit, home improvement loans, credit card loans, and personal lines of credit. As of December 31, 2011, its loan portfolio totaled $4.68 billion, or approximately 68.4% of its total assets.

Investment Activities

All of the Company's investment securities are classified as available-for-sale (AFS) or held-to-maturity (HTM). As of December 31, 2011, the Company had an investment securities portfolio of $1.48 billion, representing approximately 21.7% of its total assets. As of December 31, 2011, its investment securities portfolio consisted of the United States Gov! ernment s! ponsored agency securities, Municipal obligations, Adjustable-rate preferred stock, Mutual funds, Corporat e bonds, Direct the United States obligation and government-! sponsored! enterprise (GSE) residential mortgage-backed securities, private label residential mortgage-backed securities, Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) investments, Trust preferred securities, Private label commercial mortgage-backed securities, and Collateralized debt obligations.

Sources of Funds

The Company offers a variety of deposit products, including checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts and other types of deposit accounts, including fixed-rate, fixed maturity retail certificates of deposit. As of December 31, 2011, the deposit portfolio consisted of 27.5% non-interest bearing deposits and 72.5% interest-bearing deposits. Non-interest bearing deposits consist of non-interest bearing checking account balances. In addition to its deposit base, it has access to other sources of funding, including Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) and Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) advances, repurchase agreements and unsecured lines of credit with other fin ancial institutions.

Financial Products and Services

In addition to traditional commercial banking activities, the Company offers other financial services to customers, including Internet banking, wire transfers, electronic bill payment, lock box services, courier, and cash management services. Through Shine, a full-service financial advisory firm, the Company offers financial planning and investment management.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Investment Biker]

    Investment Summary: This article is on Western Alliance Bancorporation (WAL), a growth-oriented commercial lender in the Southwest. The banks looks set to improve profitability supported by economic recovery in Last Vegas, industry-leading revenue performance and operating leverage supported by expense control. The credit profile of the bank looks ! excellent! with limited exposure to residential mortgage and well poised to grow its loan portfolio by 20% annually over the next 3 years. It is also well set on a path to credit recovery with improving fundamentals that justifies premium valuation going forward.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Friday, March 21, 2014

Delamaide: Frictions show in financial reform

WASHINGTON — Susan Collins, the moderate Republican senator from Maine, is a bit fed up with the Fed.

She wrote an amendment that was incorporated into the Dodd-Frank financial reform act as Section 171 regarding capital requirements for financial institutions, designed to guard against the "too big to fail" situation that required government bailouts in the financial crisis.

In formulating the requirement, however, she had no intention of subjecting insurance companies to exactly the same capital standards as banks, since they have a different business model and their insurance activities are regulated at the state level.

She has since written letters to officials at the Federal Reserve, which is responsible for these new regulations, further clarifying the relevant section in Dodd-Frank. The Fed, however, remains unconvinced that according to the letter of the law they have much discretion in allowing different standards for insurers than for banks.

"As I have already said," Collins said at a Senate hearing last week, sitting on the other side of the dais testifying as a witness, "I do not agree that the Fed lacks this authority and find its disregard of my clear intent as the author of Section 171 to be frustrating, to say the least."

While maintaining that the law is already clear enough, Collins has proposed new legislation, which enjoys broad bipartisan support, specifying that insurers should not be subject to the same capital requirements as banks.

The imbroglio highlights a gray area in legislation — the concept of "legislative intent." Despite their best efforts, lawmakers will sometimes use language that is ambiguous, requiring interpretation. Courts, the ultimate arbiter in these cases, will themselves cite legislative intent in tilting an interpretation one way or the other.

Not, however, the Federal Reserve. Janet Yellen, in her debut as Fed chair last month before a Senate panel, maintained that the very amendment authored by Collins limits the! Fed's ability to set different capital standards for insurance companies.

"The Collins Amendment does restrict what is possible for the Federal Reserve in designing an appropriate set of rules," she said. "So it does pose some constraints on what we can do, and we will do our very best to craft an appropriate set of rules subject to that constraint."

If one didn't know better, that statement might be viewed as mildly passive-aggressive, since the Fed is taking its time not only on capital requirements but on numerous rules mandated under the complex Dodd-Frank legislation.

Of course it is not. It does reflect, however, a caution, not to say timidity, on the part of regulators in reacting to the financial crisis. Nearly four years after Dodd-Frank's enactment, regulators have finalized only about half of the new rules it calls for.

In the case of insurance companies, legislators are keen to avoid a repetition of the bailout of American International Group, an insurer that threatened to founder because it was overextended in derivatives contracts.

But they are cognizant that most insurers, which are regulated primarily by the states, do not engage in this kind of activity and do not pose that kind of risk.

The fear is capital standards calibrated primarily to the financial structure and risks of big banks will be overly burdensome for big insurers because of differences in the business model.

At last week's hearing before the Senate Banking subcommittee, it was not only Collins' fellow Republicans, like Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Mike Johanns of Nebraska, who spoke out in support of her plea for less restrictive capital requirements for insurers, but also the subcommittee chairman, Sherrod Brown, a liberal Democrat from Ohio.

Brown underscored the differences between insurers and banks. Their funding sources are different, he said, their investment timeline is different, and their risks are different. The feeling on Capitol Hill, it seems, is that the F! ed could ! resolve this issue if it put its mind to it.

"There is nearly universal agreement (among lawmakers) that this should not require legislation," Brown said at the hearing. The existing law, he said, "gives regulators the flexibility to treat insurance differently."

Collins, herself a former state insurance regulator, acknowledged that it is a complex and technical subject. She emphasized that nothing should be done that would weaken the intent of Dodd-Frank as a whole to ensure stable financial institutions.

But she and her Senate colleagues made it clear what their intent was and is regarding regulation of insurance companies, and pledged new legislation if necessary to bend regulators to their will.

The insurance brouhaha is a prime instance of the friction between legislators, who feel the pressure of a political backlash against financial institutions, and regulators, who have yet to demonstrate that they are fully on board with the financial reforms. It is a test case whether regulators are willing to follow the spirit of the law as well as the letter.

Darrell Delamaide has reported on business and economics from New York, Paris, Berlin and Washington for Dow Jones news service, Barron's, Institutional Investor and Bloomberg News service, among others. He is the author of four books, including the financial thriller Gold.

Future economy: Many lose jobs to computers

Want a secure job in the future? Don't compete with software.

[Editor's note: This is the first in a series of New Tech Economy columns called: Work in the 21st Century, which will appear here once a week in late March and April.]

Workers wanting secure employment in coming decades will need skills that complement software applications, rather than compete with them.

Those who don't possess such skills face a nearly-50 percent chance of having their occupations replaced by automation, according to two University of Oxford professors who studied technology's impact on employment over the last 500 years.

The career fields seen losing the most jobs include not just relatively low-skilled occupations such as telemarketing and retail sales, but also high-paying positions now held by accountants, auditors, budget analysts, technical writers and insurance adjusters, among others.

All of those jobs face at least an 85 percent chance of being automated, say Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne in their 2013 paper, "The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerisation?"

The jobs most at risk all have one thing in common: they're in occupations "mainly consisting of tasks following well-deļ¬ned procedures that can easily be performed by sophisticated algorithms," the pair wrote.

Even some highly-educated, technical occupations face relatively bleak chances of seeing growing employment in their field, as ever-smarter computers become better at analyzing massive amounts of data, to support all kinds of business decision-making.

Mathematicians, for example, face a 47 percent chance of seeing their jobs automated, the same percentage for all current occupations as a whole.

But there is a bright side to the new research out of Oxford, especially for those in occupations which software can't yet perform.

The jobs that will persist in the future include those that either take advantage of uniquely-human traits – such as manual dexterity, cr! eativity and emotional intelligence – or that improve the lives of other humans directly in a face-to-face setting.

For example, dentists, nutritionists, athletic trainers, podiatrists, elementary school teachers and occupational, recreational and mental health therapists all have a less than 1 percent chance of being replaced by computer software, say Frey and Osborne.

For similar reasons, firefighters have a much lower chance of being replaced by software than pilots, even though the latter have arguably more technical skills.

The first occupation is relatively secure (at least for now) because no computer can yet determine in an instant whether to lead other humans into a deadly blaze or merely spray water on it instead.

Conversely, as drones spread from military to civilian business uses, there will be less of a need for human pilots, despite the quick thinking and bravery their occupation requires.

There's another, less academic way of seeing which occupations are most at risk of automation, of course.

That is to make a survey of industries that have already suffered job losses due to innovation from growing technology companies, then predict where they will innovate next. CEO Jeff Bezos, for example, has kept his company's sales growing for two decades thanks to rapid, frequent innovation.

New ideas such as using so-called server farms -- huge warehouses jammed with Internet servers – have allowed Amazon to compile and analyze large amounts of data on its customers' purchasing habits.

With that knowledge, Amazon has been able to tailor its users' online experiences and suggest similar purchases in the future.

Because of this kind of software-powered automation, sales growth in the books, music and movie businesses has moved online, just as sales of hotel rooms and plane seats are also doing, thanks to flourishing Web travel sites like

Now that Amazon's Bezos has shown off the first of his planned delive! ry drones! , the writing is on the wall for workers at freight companies such as FedEx and UPS.

Shipping clerks, for example, face a 98 percent chance of seeing their jobs automated, according to the Oxford University researchers.

The days of delivery drivers (and cabbies) are also numbered, thanks to Google's driverless cars and other automated vehicles of the future.

Likewise, as new real estate Web sites such as Zillow and Trulia create savvier buyers and sellers, they're reducing the need for professional market expertise.

Real estate appraisers and brokers, for example, both face a better-than-85 percent chance of future job losses.

Regardless of their industry, workers of the future should begin learning how to add value that complements software-powered automation, before their jobs are replaced by it.

In the next column in the series, I'll report on how the pace of technology's impact on the employment market is accelerating.

Top 5 Dividend Stocks To Invest In Right Now

Top 5 Dividend Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Abbott Laboratories(ABT)

Abbott Laboratories engages in the discovery, development, manufacture, and sale of health care products worldwide. The company offers adult and pediatric pharmaceuticals for rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriasis, and Crohn's disease; dyslipidemia; HIV infection; prostate cancer, endometriosis and central precocious puberty, and anemia caused by uterine fibroids; respiratory syncytial virus; adult males who have low or no testosterone; secondary hyperparathyroidism; hypothyroidism; and pancreatic exocrine insufficiency, as well as anesthesia products. It also provides diagnostic products, such as immunoassay systems; chemistry systems; assays used for screening and/or diagnosis for drugs of abuse, cancer, therapeutic drug monitoring, fertility, physiological, and infectious diseases; instruments that automate the extraction, purification, and preparation of DNA and RNA from patient samples, and detect and measure infections agents; genomic-b ased tests; hematology systems and reagents; and point-of-care diagnostic systems and tests for blood analysis. In addition, the company offers a line of pediatric and adult nutritional products. Further, it provides coronary, endovascular, vessel closure, and structural heart devices, such as drug-eluting stent systems, coronary metallic stents, balloon dilatation products, coronary guidewires, vessel closure devices, carotid stent systems, percutaneous valve repair systems, and drug eluting bioresorbable vascular products. Additionally, the company provides blood glucose monitoring meters, test strips, data management software, and accessories for people with diabetes; and medical devices for the eye, including cataract surgery, lasik surgery, contact lens, and dry eye products, as well as branded generic pharmaceutical products. Abbott primarily serves retai! lers, wholesalers, hospitals, and health care facilities. Abbott was founded in 1888 and is headquartered in Abbott Park, Illinois.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Jim Jubak]

    Fourth quarter earnings and guidance for 2014, announced on January 22, make it clear that Abbott Laboratories (ABT) is a second half story for 2014.


    And it's not just because you were able to cash in on our recommendation of Abbott Laboratories Inc. (NYSE: ABT), whose subsequent breakup into two companies has so far resulted in gains of 27% and 47%.

  • [By J. Royden Ward]

    Founded in 1888, Abbott Laboratories (ABT) is the leading provider of blood screening products used to detect pregnancy, heart disease, prostate cancer, hepatitis, HIV, sports doping, and other medical conditions.

  • [By Kelley Wright]

    Abbott Laboratories (ABT) is a well-established, global health care company with an S&P "A" Quality Ranking. Fiscal year free operating cash flow is three times its dividend, which is no surprise for this long-time Dividend Aristocrat. A solid anchor position for any portfolio.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Metabolix Just Left the Ground (CERPQ, KRA, MBLX)

Metabolix, Inc. (NASDAQ:MBLX) isn't exactly a name hat turns heads within the investment community. With a market cap of only $54.6 million, even big news from the company isn't a game-changer for the market. And, the fact that traders have a tough time defining what the company "does" hasn't helped the MBLX cause much either. Yet, the size of the company and the service it provides don't change the fact that the bullish Metabolix switch got flipped all the way to the on position on Tuesday.

In simplest terms (which still aren't all that simple), MBLX is a biochemistry company. Specifically, Metabolix makes polymers that are environmentally-friendly, meaning these polymers - plastic substitutes - are either biodegradable, and/or made from a biochemical process rather than traditional petroleum-based processes. The company also has developed processes and chemicals that can turn plant life into renewable chemicals or energy sources.

The whole thing may seem a little "out there" at first glance, but truth be told, what Metabolix, Inc. does isn't terribly unusual anymore. It's just a little less sexy than what traders and stock speculators usually want to see and hear with their picks. Kraton Performance Polymers Inc. (NYSE:KRA) and the now-bankrupt Cereplast Inc. (OTCMKTS:CERPQ) are/were in the same business, along with several others. [Don't let the Cereplast bankruptcy filing deter you - it wasn't a lack of opportunity that up-ended CERP.]

That's not the important part of the MBLX story right now, however. Neither is any recent news, because Metabolix hasn't generated any press activity since last year, other than to announce it would be presenting its technology at trade shows, and to announce when it would be hosing its Q4 and full-year-2013 conference call. (It's Thursday, March 27th, for those who are interested.) No, the most interesting story about this company right now is the one its chart is telling. The chart is saying the company's turned the corner, and now's the time to step in.

The daily chart of MBLX best illustrates the idea. As of last week, shares have crossed above all their key moving average lines, and as of yesterday they've hurdles a key ceiling at $1.54. Yesterday's breakout came on strong volume too, suggesting the surge has the interest and participation it needs to keep going.

The weekly chart doesn't exactly tell us anything we don't know already. But, the weekly chart does put into perspective just how big of a deal the sharp rebound (on high volume) from last November was. It looked like a major pivot for Metabolix shares then, and what we've seen since then - like support at the stock's long-term, 100-day moving average line (gray) - confirms that the November swing was indeed a pivot.

Bottom line? It looks like it's time to take a shot on MBLX.

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.

Top 10 Electric Utility Stocks For 2014

Although business headlines still tout earnings numbers, many investors have moved past net earnings as a measure of a company's economic output. That's because earnings are very often less trustworthy than cash flow, since earnings are more open to manipulation based on dubious judgment calls.

Earnings' unreliability is one of the reasons Foolish investors often flip straight past the income statement to check the cash flow statement. In general, by taking a close look at the cash moving in and out of the business, you can better understand whether the last batch of earnings brought money into the company, or merely disguised a cash gusher with a pretty headline.

Calling all cash flows
When you are trying to buy the market's best stocks, it's worth checking up on your companies' free cash flow once a quarter or so, to see whether it bears any relationship to the net income in the headlines. That's what we do with this series. Today, we're checking in on Cardtronics (Nasdaq: CATM  ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.

Top 10 Electric Utility Stocks For 2014: Spectrum Rare Earths Ltd (SPX)

Spectrum Rare Earths Limited, formerly TUC Resources Ltd, is engaged in the exploration and evaluation of rare earths, uranium, base metals and gold mineral interests. On October 2, 2012, holds approximately 18,000 square kilometer of prospective land package across 44 tenements. During the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011, the Company is focuses on its Stromberg Heavy Rare Earth Project. The Company has 50, 100% owned tenements in the Northern Territory. Tenements within the Pine Creek Project consist of EL's 24884, 25224, 25228 and uranium rights on EL24906. Parts of EL24906 and EL24884 are located within the Rum Jungle Mineral Field. The Arnhem Project encompasses all the Company�� tenement holdings in the East Alligator River region within 150 kilometer of the high grade Narbalek uranium mine. The Litchfield Uranium Project consists of granted licenses EL25195 and EL25176 and license applications 25472, 25473 and 25221. Advisors' Opinion:

    LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- Australia stocks started solidly lower Tuesday, weighed by large losses on Wall Street, with the S&P/ASX 200 (AU:XJO) retreating 0.8% to 5,248.90. Globally sensitive stocks were among the leading decliners after a 1.3% pullback for the S&P 500 (SPX) in the U.S., with financial major Macquarie Group Ltd. (AU:MQG) (MCQEF) falling 2.2%, News Corp. (AU:NWS) (NWS) -- the parent of MarketWatch, publisher of this report -- off 1.4%, and construction-material firm James Hardie Industries SE (AU:JHX) (JHIUF) 1.2% lower. Miners came under pressure, with BHP Billiton Ltd. (AU:BHP) (BHP) down 0.9% and Oz Minerals Ltd. (AU:OZL) (OZMLF) dropping 1%, while Forge Group Ltd. (AU:FGE) (FRGXF) tumbled 12.8% after issuing a profit warning. On the upside, mild gains overnight for Comex gold futures helped the fortunes of some gold extractors, helping Newcrest Mining Ltd. (AU:NCM) (NCMGF) and Evolution Mining Ltd. (AU:EVN) (CAHPF)

Top 10 Electric Utility Stocks For 2014: Baker Hughes Inc (BHI)

Baker Hughes Incorporated (Baker Hughes) is engaged in the oilfield services industry. Baker Hughes is a supplier of oilfield services, products, technology and systems to the worldwide oil and natural gas industry. It also provides industrial and other products and services to the downstream refining, and the process and pipeline industries. The Company may conduct its operations through subsidiaries, affiliates, ventures and alliances. It operates in more than 80 countries worldwide. The Company operates in five segments. Four of these segments represent its oilfield operations and their geographic organization: North America (U.S. Land, Gulf of Mexico and Canada), Latin America, Europe/Africa/Russia Caspian and Middle East/Asia Pacific. Its Industrial Services and Other segment includes downstream chemicals, process and pipeline services, and the reservoir development services group.

The geographic organization supports its oilfield operations and is responsible for sales, field operations and well site execution. Western Hemisphere operations consist of four regions - Canada, headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, and the United States Land, Gulf of Mexico and Latin America regions. Eastern Hemisphere operations consist of five regions - Europe, England; Africa, France; Russia Caspian, Russia; Middle East, United Arab Emirates, and Asia Pacific, Malaysia.

Oilfield Operations

The Company offers a suite of products and services to its customers worldwide. Its oilfield products and services fall into one of two groups, Drilling and Evaluation or Completion and Production. The Drilling and Evaluation group consists of Drill Bits, Drilling Services, Wireline Services, and Drilling and Completion Fluids. Drill Bits includes Tricone and PDC or diamond drill bits used for performance drilling, hole enlargement and coring. Drilling Services includes conventional and rotary steerable systems used to drill wells directionally and horizontally; measurement-while-drilling and! logging-while-drilling systems used to perform reservoir navigation services; drilling optimization services; tools for coil tubing drilling and wellbore re-entry systems; coring drilling systems, and surface logging.

Wireline Services includes tools for both open hole and cased hole well logging used to gather data to perform petrophysical and geophysical analysis; reservoir evaluation coring; casing perforation; fluid characterization; production logging; well integrity testing; pipe recovery, and seismic and microseismic services. Drilling and Completion Fluids includes emulsion and water-based drilling fluids systems; reservoir drill-in fluids, and fluids environmental services.

The Completion and Production group consists of Completion Systems, Wellbore Intervention, Intelligent Production Systems, Artificial Lift, Tubular Services, Upstream Chemicals and Pressure Pumping. Completion Systems includes products and services used to control the flow of hydrocarbons within a wellbore, including sand control systems; liner hangers; wellbore isolation; expandable tubulars; multilaterals; safety systems; packers and flow control, and tubing conveyed perforating. Wellbore Intervention includes products and services used in existing wellbores to improve their performance, including thru-tubing fishing; thru-tubing inflatables; conventional fishing; casing exit systems; production injection packers; remedial and stimulation tools, and wellbore cleanup.

Intelligent Production Systems includes products and services used to monitor and dynamically control the production from individual wells or fields, including production decisions services; chemical injection services; well monitoring services; intelligent well systems, and artificial lift monitoring. Artificial Lift includes electric submersible pump systems; progressing cavity pump systems; gas lift systems, and surface horizontal pumping systems used to lift large volumes of oil and water when a reservoir is no long! er able t! o flow on its own. Tubular Services includes hammer services; tubular running systems, and completion assembly systems. Upstream Chemicals includes chemicals and chemical application systems to provide flow assurance, integrity management and production management for upstream hydrocarbon production. Pressure Pumping includes cementing, stimulation, including hydraulic fracturing, and coil tubing services used in the completion of new oil and natural gas wells and in remedial work on existing wells, both onshore and offshore.

The Company competes with Schlumberger, Halliburton, Weatherford, National Oilwell Varco, Champion Technologies, Ecolab, Newpark Resources, and Frac Tech Services.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Eric Volkman]

    Also taking a slot on the S&P 100 will be insurance giant AIG (NYSE: AIG  ) , taking the position currently held by Baker Hughes (NYSE: BHI  ) . The latter's total market capitalization is now below $21 billion, which S&P Dow Jones Indices says "is no longer representative of the megacap market space." The stock will, however, remain on the S&P 500.

  • [By Brian Pacampara]

    Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, oilfield service specialist Baker Hughes (NYSE: BHI  ) has earned a respected four-star ranking.

  • [By Lee Jackson]

    Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE: BHI) supplies oilfield services, products, technology and systems to the oil and natural gas industry worldwide. It offers drilling and evaluation products and services, including drill bits for performance drilling, hole enlargement and coring, as well as conventional and rotary steerable systems used to drill wells. UBS has a $54 price target, and the consensus is at $54 as well. Shareholders are paid a 1.3% dividend.

Top 5 Penny Stocks To Own Right Now: Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LLOY)

Lloyds Banking Group plc 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. It 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. Wealth, Asset Finance and International provides private banking and asset management and asset finance. Insurance provides long term savings, protection and investment products and provides general insurance to personal customers. In January 2014, Westpac Banking Corporation completed the acquisition of Lloyds Banking Group Plc�� Australian asset finance business, Capital Finance Australia Limited, and its Australian corporate loan portfolio, BOS International (Australia) Ltd. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Inyoung Hwang]

    BP rallied the most since January 2011 after Europe�� third-largest oil company also increased its dividend. Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), the region�� biggest crude producer, rose 1.5 percent. Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY) lost 2 percent after reporting that its loss widened in the third quarter.

  • [By Ruth David]

    Governments seeking to cut debt were some of the biggest sellers of equities in the third quarter. Sweden sold a $3.4 billion stake in Nordea Bank, the Nordic region�� largest lender, on Sept. 25. The deal came a week after the U.K. sold a 3 billion-pound ($4.8 billion) holding in Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY), its first disposal since bailing out the lender in 2008.

Top 10 Electric Utility Stocks For 2014: SeaWorld Entertainment Inc (SEAS)

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., incorporated on October 2, 2009, is a theme park and entertainment company. The Company is engaged in delivering personal, interactive and educational experiences that blend imagination with nature and enable its customers to celebrate, connect with and care for the natural world. The Company own or license a portfolio of globally recognized brands including SeaWorld, Shamu and Busch Gardens. The Company has built a diversified portfolio of 11 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States. Its theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests. In addition to its theme parks, it has recently begun to leverage its brands into media, entertainment and consumer products.

The Company generates revenue primarily from selling admission to its theme parks and from purchases of food, merchandise and other spending. During the year ended December 31, 2012, it hosted more than 24 million guests in its theme parks, including approximately 3.5 million international guests from over 55 countries and six continents. In 2012, the Company opened new attractions in seven of its theme parks. In November 2012, the Company acquired Knott�� Soak City, a standalone Southern California water park, from an affiliate of Cedar Fair L.P. The Company�� products and services include Admission Tickets, Theme Park Operations, Culinary Offerings , Merchandise , Licensing and Consumer Products , Group Events and Conventions and Corporate Sponsorships and Strategic Alliances.

Admission Tickets, which generate most of its revenue from selling admission to its theme parks. The Company also offers a Fun Card at select theme parks that allows additional visits throughout that calendar year. In addition, visitors can purchase vacation packages with preferred hotels, behind-the-scenes tours, specialt! y dining packages and front of the line access to enhance their experience. Theme Park Operations delivers a level of service, safety and security at its theme parks. It comprised of rides, shows and attractions operations, safety, security, environmental, water park and guest arrival services (including parking, tolls, admissions, guest relations, entry and exit), the theme park operations team manages the planning and execution of the overall theme park experience on a daily basis.

Culinary Offerings delivers a variety of high quality, creative and memorable culinary experiences to its guests. Culinary operations are strategically organized into five key guest-oriented disciplines designed to drive in-park per capita spending: restaurants, catering, carts and kiosks, specialty snacks and vending. The Company�� culinary team focuses on providing creative menu offerings that appeal to our diverse guest base. Merchandise offers guests the opportunity to capture memories through its products and services, including through traditional retail shops, game venues and customized photos and videos. It focuses on effort to leverage the emotional connection of the theme park experiences, capitalize on trends and optimize brand alignment with its merchandise product offerings.

Licensing and Consumer Products capitalize on its brands, it has begun to leverage its intellectual property and content through media and consumer strategic licensing arrangements. It extended the reach of its brands through outbound media licensing in areas such as films, television programs and digital e-books, as well as its first-ever multi-platform mobile app game, TurtleTrek, which launched on iTunes in November 2012. Group Events and Conventions host a variety of different group events, meetings and conventions at its theme parks both during the day and at night. Its venues offer indoor and outdoor space for meetings, special events, entertainment shows, picnics, teambuilding events, group tours and spec! ial group! ticket packages. Park buy-outs allow groups to enjoy exclusive itineraries, including meetings and shows, up-close encounters with animals and behind the scenes tours. Corporate Sponsorships and Strategic Alliances seek to secure long-term corporate sponsorships and strategic alliances with companies and brands that share its core values, deliver brand marketing value and influence and drive mutual business gains. Its current corporate sponsors include, among others, Southwest Airlines, which has been a sponsor for over 20 years, and The Coca-Cola Company.


SeaWorld is recognized as the marine-life theme park brand in the world. Its SeaWorld theme parks, located in Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego, each rank among the most highly attended theme parks in the industry and offer up-close interactive experiences and a variety of live performances, including shows featuring Shamu in specially designed amphitheaters. It offers its guests numerous animal encounters, including the opportunity to work with trainers and feed marine animals, as well as themed thrill rides and theatrical shows that creatively incorporate its animal collection.

Busch Gardens

Its Busch Gardens theme parks are family-oriented destinations designed to immerse guests in foreign geographic settings. They are renowned for their beauty and landscaping and gardens and allow its guests to discover the natural side of fun by offering a family experience featuring a range of attractions and rollercoasters in a richly-themed environment. Busch Gardens Tampa presents its collection of animals from Africa, Asia and Australia.


Its Aquatica branded water parks are premium, family-oriented destinations that are based in a South Seas-themed tropical setting. Aquatica water parks build on the aquatic theme of its SeaWorld brand and feature high-energy rides, water attractions, white-sand beaches ande entertaining presentation of marine and terrestrial an! imals. Th! e Company positions its Aquatica water parks as companion water parks to its SeaWorld theme parks in Orlando and San Diego and it has an Aquatica water park situated within its SeaWorld San Antonio theme park.

Discovery Cove

Discovery Cove is a reservations only, all-inclusive, marine-life day resort adjacent to SeaWorld Orlando. Discovery Cove offers guests personal, signature experiences, including the opportunity to swim and interact with dolphins, take an underwater walking reef tour and enjoy pristine white-sand beaches and landscaped private cabanas. Discovery Cove presently limits its attendance to approximately 1,300 guests per day and features premium culinary offerings in order to provide guests with a more relaxed, intimate and high-end luxury resort experience.

Sesame Place

Sesame Place is the only United States theme park based entirely on the television show Sesame Street. It is located between Philadelphia and New York City, Sesame Place is a destination where parents and children can share in the spirit of imagination and experience Sesame Street together through whirling rides, water slides, colorful shows and furry friends. In addition, it has introduced Sesame Street brands in its other theme parks through Sesame Street-themed rides, shows, children�� play areas and merchandise.

The Company competes with The Walt Disney Company, Universal Studios, Six Flags, Cedar Fair, Merlin Entertainments and Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By John Udovich]

    SeaWorld Entertainment Inc (NYSE: SEAS) had its IPO earlier in the year to join other amusement park stocks like Six Flags Entertainment Corp (NYSE: SIX) and Cedar Fair, L.P. (NYSE: FUN) on the NYSE. Moreover, the SeaWorld Entertainment IPO has�been a killer whale of a deal for the Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX), its biggest shareholder, but what about for ordinary�investors?

  • [By Lauren Pollock]

    Private-equity firm Blackstone Group L.P(BX). plans to trim its ownership stake in SeaWorld Entertainment Inc.(SEAS) by 15 million shares, following the theme-park operator’s public listing in April. The stock sale would cut Blackstone’s ownership to 46%, not including an underwriter option, resulting in SeaWorld no longer being a “controlled company” under New York Stock Exchange governing standards.

  • [By John Udovich]

    As the year draws to a close, theme park stocks like SeaWorld Entertainment Inc (NYSE: SEAS), Six Flags Entertainment Corp (NYSE: SIX), Cedar Fair, L.P. (NYSE: FUN) and Independent Film Development Corporation (OTCMKTS: IFLM) still have some news for investors to digest for the year closes. Just consider the following news:

Top 10 Electric Utility Stocks For 2014: Drew Industries Inc (DW)

Drew Industries Incorporated, incorporated on March 20, 1984, is a supplier of components for recreational vehicle (RVs) and manufactured housing. The Company operates in two segments: the RV products segment (RV Segment), and the manufactured housing products segment (MH Segment). The Company�� operations are conducted through its wholly owned subsidiaries, Lippert Components, Inc. and its subsidiaries (Lippert) and Kinro, Inc. and its subsidiaries (Kinro), each of which has operations in both the RV Segment and the MH Segment. During the year ended December 31, 2012, the RV Segment accounted for 87% of net sales and the MH segment accounted for 13% of net sales. On February 21, 2012, the Company acquired the business and certain assets of the United States RV entry door operation of Euramax International, Inc. In February 2014, the Company's wholly-owned subsidiary, Lippert Components, Inc has acquired Innovative Design Solutions, Inc. (IDS).

RV Segment

The Company through its wholly owned subsidiaries manufactures and markets a variety of products used in the production of RVs, including steel chassis for towable RVs, axles and suspension solutions for towable RVs, slide-out mechanisms and solutions, thermoformed bath, kitchen and other products, manual, electric and hydraulic stabilizer and lifting systems, aluminum windows and screens, chassis components, furniture and mattresses, entry, baggage, patio and ramp doors, entry steps, awnings, and other accessories. The Company also supplies certain of these products to the RV aftermarket, and to adjacent industries, including manufacturers of truck caps, buses and trailers used to haul boats, livestock, equipment and other cargo. Operations of the Company's RV Segment consist primarily of fabricating, welding, painting and assembling components into finished products. The Company's RV Segment operations are conducted at 23 manufacturing and warehouse facilities throughout the United States, located in proximity to the cus! tomers they serve. Of these facilities, six also conduct operations in the Company's MH Segment. It markets extruded aluminum parts to manufacturers in other industries. The Company's RV Segment products are sold primarily to manufacturers of RVs such as Thor Industries Forest River (a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, and other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and to distributors of aftermarket products.

MH Segment

The Company through its wholly owned subsidiaries manufactures and markets a variety of products used in the production of manufactured homes and to modular housing and mobile office units, including vinyl and aluminum windows and screens, steel chassis, steel chassis parts, axles, thermoformed bath and kitchen products, steel and fiberglass entry doors, and aluminum and vinyl patio doors. The Company also supplies windows, doors, and thermoformed bath products as replacement parts to the manufactured housing aftermarket, and to adjacent industries. MH Segment customers manufacture both manufactured homes and modular homes, and certain of the products manufactured by the Company are suitable for both types of homes. Operations of the Company's MH Segment consist primarily of fabricating, welding, thermoforming, painting and assembling components into finished products. The Company's MH Segment operations are conducted at 13 manufacturing and warehouse facilities throughout the United States, located in proximity to the customers they serve. Of these facilities, six also conduct operations in the Company's RV Segment. The Company's manufactured housing products are sold primarily to producers of manufactured homes such as Clayton Homes, Cavco Industries, Inc., Champion Home Builders, Inc., Skyline Corporation, and other OEMs, and to distributors of aftermarket products.

The Company competes with Kober Corporation and Dexter Axle Company.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Grace L. Williams]

    Shares of Winnebago have gained 4.4% to $28.47 today at 3pm. Thor Industries (THO), which also makes recreational vehicles, has ticked up 0.1% to $57.56, Drew Industries (DW) has risen 0.3% to $48.74, Arctic Cat (ACAT) has advanced 1% to $59.87 and Polaris Industries (PII) has fallen 0.3% to $132.08.

Top 10 Electric Utility Stocks For 2014: Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc.(PCRX)

Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company, engages in the development, commercialization, and manufacture of pharmaceutical products for use in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. The company develops pharmaceutical products based on its proprietary DepoFoam drug delivery technology. Its product portfolio includes EXPAREL, a long-acting non-opioid postsurgical analgesic for postsurgical pain management; DepoCyt for the treatment of lymphomatous meningitis, a cancer of the immune system; DepoDur for controlling post operative pain; DepoNSAID, which is in preclinical trials for the relief of acute pain; and DepoMethotrexate that is in preclinical trials for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis oncology. The company was formerly known as Pacira, Inc. and changed its name to Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in October 2010. Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc. was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Pacira Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: PCRX  ) is expected to report Q1 earnings on May 8. 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 Pacira Pharmaceuticals's revenues will increase 69.4% and EPS will remain in the red.

  • [By Selena Maranjian]

    Pacira Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: PCRX  ) surged 81%, and one of its directors might be thinking that it's overvalued, too, as he sold more than $2 million worth of shares recently. (He might simply have been generating cash for some other purpose, however. While insider buying is a bullish sign, insider selling can mean many things.) Several other insiders have also sold shares, though not quite so many. The company has a pain management treatment, Exparel, which is being studied to treat additional conditions, with promising results so far. Pacira's last quarter featured growing revenue but disappointing earnings. The stock has been downgraded by Wall Street, due in part to its debt, which is coupled with net losses and negative free cash flow.

Top 10 Electric Utility Stocks For 2014: Protalix Biotherapeutics Inc (PLX)

Protalix BioTherapeutics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of recombinant therapeutic proteins based on its ProCellEx protein expression system, ProCellEx. Using its ProCellEx system, the Company is developing a pipeline of biosimilar or generic versions of recombinant therapeutic proteins based on its plant cell-based expression technology, which focuses pharmaceutical markets and that rely upon known biological mechanisms of action. ProCellEx protein expression system consists of a set of technologies and capabilities for the development of recombinant proteins, including advanced genetic engineering technology and plant cell-based protein expression methods. Its ProCellEx protein expression system is built on flexible custom-designed bioreactors made of polyethylene and optimized for the development of complex proteins in plant cell cultures. In June 2010, it had completed the preliminary phase I clinical trial of PRX-105.

Taliglucerase Alfa

Taliglucerase alfa is a plant cell expressed recombinant glucocerebrosidase enzyme (GCD) for the treatment of Gaucher disease. The Company has commenced pre-clinical studies of an oral form of taliglucerase alfa. Its oral taliglucerase alfa is a plant cell expressed form of GCD that is naturally encapsulated within carrot cells genetically engineered to express the GCD enzyme. Pre-clinical studies of oral taliglucerase alfa demonstrate the stability of the enzyme in the cell and the capacity of the cell�� cellulose wall to protect the enzyme against degradation in the digestive tract in an in-vitro model of the stomach and intestines. Additionally, rats fed with lyophilized carrot cells expressing GCD have accumulated the active enzyme in the target organs; the spleen and liver. As of December 31, 2010, the Company had completed Phase III Clinical Trial.


The Company is developing PRX-102, its plant cell expressed modified version of the recombinant ! alpha-GAL-A protein, a therapeutic enzyme for the treatment of Fabry disease. Fabry disease is a rare, hereditary, genetic lysosomal storage disorder in humans caused by an X-lined deficiency of the alpha-GAL-A enzyme. The Company is in the animal evaluation testing phase of the development of PRX-102, which tests are based on a mouse model for Fabry disease.


Protalix Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company is licensed the rights to certain technology under a research and license agreement with Yissum Research and Development Company (Yissum) and the Boyce Thompson Institute, Inc. Pursuant to the agreement, the Company is developing PRX-105, a plant cell-based acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and its molecular variants for the use in several therapeutic and prophylactic indications, as well as in a biodefense program and an organophosphate-based pesticide treatment program.

As of December 31, 2010, its in-vitro experiments of PRX-105 have shown that the acetylcholinesterase enzyme in its ProCellEx protein expression system demonstrates biological activity on biochemical and cellular levels. In addition, early animal studies demonstrated that the acetylcholinesterase expressed in its ProCellEx protein expression system was able to treat animals exposed to the nerve gas agent analogues, both when injected with its acetylcholinesterase product candidate immediately before exposure or when injected after exposure. In March 2010, it initiated a preliminary phase I clinical trial of PRX-105, which the Company completed in June 2010.


pr-antiTNF is a candidate for the treatment of certain autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, ankylosing, spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and plaque psoriasis. The Company has designed the antiTNF as pr-antiTNF. pr-antiTNF is a plant cell-expressed recombinant fusion protein made from the soluble form of the human TNF receptor (TNFR), f! used to t! he Fc component of a human antibody domain. pr-antiTNF has an identical amino acid sequence to Enbrel and its in-vitro and preclinical animal studies have demonstrated that pr-antiTNF exhibits similar activity to Enbrel. Specifically, pr-antiTNF binds TNF thereby inhibiting it from binding to cellular surface TNF receptors and protects L929 cells from TNF-induced apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner.

The Company competes with Genzyme, Actelion, Crucell N.V., Biolex, Inc., Chlorogen, Inc., Greenovation Biotech GmbH, Symbiosys, Novartis AG/Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, BioGeneriX AG, Stada Arzneimittel AG, BioPartners GmbH and Teva.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Keith Speights]

    Other investors might wish that Pfizer would use some of its cash to acquire a few smaller companies. Protalix BioTherapeutics (NYSEMKT: PLX  ) has been mentioned as one possible candidate. The two companies already partner together on Gaucher disease drug Elelyso. In February, Protalix spurred rumors that Pfizer could be interested in buying the company after it announced that it had engaged Citigroup to pursue a "broad array of strategic alternatives."

  • [By Maxx Chatsko]

    Industrial biotech isn't the only industry headed to Brazil. Protalix (NYSEMKT: PLX  ) entered into a technology transfer agreement with Brazil's Ministry of Health last week that will pay the company $280 million. The deal is big news for Protalix's first product, Elelyso/Uplyso, which was developed with partner Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) . The treatment is approved as an enzyme replacement therapy, or ERT, for adults with type 1 Gaucher disease, and it marks a huge step forward for the future of biomanufacturing. In the following video, Fool contributor Maxx Chatsko explains what this means for the product's commercialization and the adoption of Protalix's novel plant cell-based expression system for therapeutic proteins.

Top 10 Electric Utility Stocks For 2014: Diana Shipping inc. (DSX)

Diana Shipping Inc. provides shipping transportation services. It transports dry bulk cargoes that include commodities, such as iron ore, coal, grain, and other materials along worldwide shipping routes. As of December 31, 2010, the company?s fleet consisted of 23 dry bulk carriers, including 14 Panamax, 1 Post-Panamax, and 8 Capesize dry bulk carriers with a combined carrying capacity of approximately 2.5 million deadweight tonnage. Its customers include national, regional, and international companies. The company was formerly known as Diana Shipping Investments Corp. and changed its name to Diana Shipping Inc. in February 2005. Diana Shipping Inc. was founded in 1999 and is based in Athens, Greece.

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

    Dianna�Shipping Inc. (NYSE: DSX) was raised to Neutral from Underperform at Credit Suisse.

    Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) was started as Buy with a $50 fair value at Janney Capital.

  • [By James E. Brumley]

    The recent strength from Sino-Global Shipping America, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SINO) and the now-renewed strength from Safe Bulkers, Inc. (NYSE:SB) would suggest those two stocks are among the very best ways to play the rebound currently unfurling in the shipping sector. And to be fair, both are fine companies in their own right. The top play in the dry goods maritime shipping arena, however, may well be Diana Shipping Inc. (NYSE:DSX). No, DSX isn't one of the fun and exciting small caps in the maritime shipping space. But, there's a lot to be said for size and stability, which SB and SINO can't offer.

Top 10 Electric Utility Stocks For 2014: Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. (BBW)

Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. operates as a specialty retailer of plush animals and related products. The company�s merchandise comprises various styles of animals to be stuffed; clothing, shoes, and accessories for the stuffed animals; and other brand appropriate toy and accessory items. It also licenses its Build-A-Bear Workshop brand to third parties to manufacture and sell merchandise to other retailers. As of January 31, 2013, the company operated approximately 400 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide, including the company-owned stores in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, as well as franchised stores in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, Mexico, and South America. The company also sells its products through a Web store. Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. was founded in 1997 and is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Tabitha Jean Naylor]

    Build-A-Bear Workshop (NYSE: BBW).��Unlike traditional toy manufacturers that make toys and games and distribute them to retailers, Build-A-Bear has flipped the toy-making concept on its ear. The idea of making a stuffed animal from scratch has taken the toy market by storm, and has carved out a nice little niche market for the company.

Top 10 Electric Utility Stocks For 2014: F5 Networks Inc.(FFIV)

F5 Networks, Inc. provides application delivery networking technology that optimizes the delivery of network-based applications, and the security, performance, and availability of servers, data storage devices, and other network resources in the Americas, EMEA, Japan, and the Asia Pacific. The company offers BIG-IP, an application delivery controller; VIPRION, a chassis-based application delivery controller; and FirePass, an appliance that provides SSL VPN access for remote users of Internet protocol networks, and applications connected to the networks from Web browser on any device. It also offers Application Security Manager, an application firewall; WebAccelerator that speeds Web transactions by optimizing individual network object requests, connections, and end-to-end transactions from browser to databases; WAN Optimization Manager, which integrates application delivery with WAN optimization technologies; Access Policy Manager that provides secure, granular, and contex t-aware control of access to applications; Edge Gateway, a remote access product, which offers context-aware, policy controlled, and remote access to applications at LAN speed; Enterprise Manager that allows customers to discover and view company?s products in a single window; and ARX product family, a series of high performance and enterprise-class intelligent file virtualization devices. In addition, F5 Networks provides Data Manager, a software product, which interfaces with file storage devices; iControl, an application programming interface that allows customers to control their products in the network; iRules, a programming language embedded in TMOS architecture; and consulting, training, maintenance, and other technical support services. The company sells its products to enterprise customers and service providers through various channels, including distributors, value-added resellers, and systems integrators. F5 Networks, Inc. was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Seattle, Washington.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Muhammad Bazil]

    There is a looming monumental change in the information technology sector that will obviously benefit some existing producers of technology networking equipment but unfortunately, some will be drowned in the ensuing storm. The size of the networking equipment industry where Cisco Systems (CSCO) currently plays a prominent role is massive: The industry is worth about $50 billion in annual spending. Cisco is a tech manufacturing company that manufactures and markets Internet protocol-based switches and routers commonly used by networking companies and professionals for data and voice transmission across networks. Other major players in this industry include F5 Networks (FFIV), Juniper Networks (JNPR) and Brocade (BRCD).

  • [By Nikolaj Gammeltoft]

    F5 Networks Inc. (FFIV) declined 4.9 percent to $79.16 for the biggest drop in the S&P 500. Morgan Stanley downgraded its rating on the maker of data-management equipment to equal weight, similar to a neutral rating, from overweight.

  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    F5 Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Goldman Sachs.

    Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP) was raised to Buy from Neutral with a $46 price target at Goldman Sachs.

Best Undervalued Companies To Invest In Right Now

Best Undervalued Companies To Invest In Right Now: Dollar Tree Inc.(DLTR)

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

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Lawrence Meyers]

    This isn't some growing new industry set to take the world further into the 21st century. It's an old concept that hasn't innovated, won't innovate, and will slowly but surely die out over this century. When I walk into a Walgreens, I see a miniature Target (TGT), a more expensive Dollar Tree (DLTR), and a provider of prescriptions in a world where everything is becoming mail order.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    The other stock the firm likes is Dollar Tree Inc. (NASDAQ: DLTR). The company's shares have lost about 4.6% since reporting an earnings per share (EPS) miss for the third quarter and the Sterne Agee analysts see the lower price as a "great entry point" for buying the stock. Dollar Tree raised fiscal year 2013 EPS guidance from a range of $2.66 to $2.77 to a new range of $2.72 to $2.78, effectively raising the mid-point by $0.04. Sterne Age! e reiterated its Buy rating on the stock with a price target of $63. Dollar Tree's shares are trading down nearly 0.4% at $55.99 in a 52-week range of $37.47 to $60.19.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Top 10 Bank Stocks To Invest In 2014

Top 10 Bank Stocks To Invest In 2014: Julius Baer Gruppe AG (BAER)

Julius Baer Gruppe AG (the Group) is a Switzerland-based private banking group, with an exclusive focus on servicing and advising private clients and independent asset managers. The Group has a global presence with approximately 50 locations in more than 25 countries and jurisdictions. Julius Baer Gruppe AG was established through spin off from Julius Baer Holding AG's businesses into two independent entities, namely the Company, together with its subsidiaries, comprising Bank Julius Baer & Co Ltd as its principal operating entity, and GAM Holding, together with its subsidiaries, comprising GAM and the Julius Baer-branded asset management business, which includes the private label funds business that formerly was part of Julius Baer Holding Ltd's Bank Julius Baer segment. The Group diversifies its operations into geographical segments, including Switzerland, rest of Europe, Americas, and Asia and Other Countries. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Corinne Gretler]

    Julius Baer Group Ltd. (BAER) rallied 5.7 percent to 42.04 francs. Switzerland's third-biggest wealth manager said increased client trading boosted margins as it integrated Merrill Lynch businesses acquired from Bank of America Corp. last year. The gross margin, which reflects how much the bank makes in revenue on managed client assets, rose to 102 basis points in the first half, from 98 basis points in the year-earlier period.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Kyle Bass and Paul Singer Top Guru Buys of the Week

The following information is a highlight of the real-time guru activity we saw this week. To view more information on these gurus, check out their guru portfolios. The "Real Time Picks" reports the stock purchases and sells that Gurus have made within the prior two weeks. If a Guru makes a purchase or sell of a company in which they own a greater-than 5% stake, SEC regulations require them to report their transaction within two days. This week we saw notable increases and buys in Real Time activity from Kyle Bass (Trades, Portfolio) and Paul Singer (Trades, Portfolio).Kyle Bass (Trades, Portfolio) Over the past week Kyle Bass (Trades, Portfolio) made a notable increase in to Nationstar Mortgage Holdings (NSM). The guru added a total of 3,673,972 shares of the company's stock. He bought these shares at an average price of $31.27 per share, and since then the price per share has gone up about 5% to $32.80 per share.Bass now holds on to 4,759,610 shares of Nationstar Mortgage holdings, representing 5.26% of the company's shares outstanding.Bass's historical holding history as of the close of the fourth quarter 2013:1395066227016.pngNationstar Mortgage provides residential mortgage loan services. It services residential mortgage loans throughout the United States. Nationstar is one of the largest servicers in the US, with a residential mortgage servicing portfolio of over $391 billion in unpaid principal balance as of Dec. 31, 2013.Nationstar Mortgage's historical revenue and net income:1395068933626.pngThe company recently released its fourth quarter and full year financial results which highlighted:- 2013 GAAP EPS of $2.40 on net income of $217 million.- Ending servicing portfolio UPB of $391 billion.- 2013 servicing portfolio growth of 88%.- 2013 return on equity of 25%.- Funded volume of $24 billion in 2013.The company also recently announced that they had receiv! ed a letter from Benjamin Lawsky, Superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services, which inquires about Nationstar's servicing portfolio growth and mortgage servicing practices in 2013. In response to the letter and requests for information, CEO Jay Bray said, "We intend to comply fully and transparently with Mr. Lawsky's request as we do when working with the dozens of state and federal regulators who oversee our business and industry on a daily basis."The Peter Lynch Chart suggests that the company is currently undervalued:1395069018106.pngNationstar Mortgage Holdings has a market cap of $3.01 billion. Its shares are currently trading at around $33.27 with a P/E ratio of 13.80, a P/S ratio of 1.70 and a P/B ratio of 3.00.Paul Singer (Trades, Portfolio)Over the past week Paul Singer (Trades, Portfolio) made fairly large moves in two of his holdings. The guru upped his stake in Juniper Networks (JNPR) while cutting his holdings in Riverbed Technology (RVBD).On March 12, Singer increased his position in Juniper Networks 825.42% by purchasing 21,402,285 shares of the company's stock. He bought these shares at an average price of $25.39 per share which has since then gone up approximately 1% to $25.62 per share.Singer now holds on to 23,995,185 shares of the company's stock, representing 4.73% of Juniper Networks' shares outstanding.Singer's historical holding history:1395072595068.pngJuniper Networks designs, develops and sells innovative products and services that together provide its customers with high-performance network infrastructure built on simplicity, security, openness and scale. The company serves the high-performance networking requirements of global service providers, enterprises, and public sector organizations.Juniper Network's historical revenue and net income:1395075083!   325.pngThe analysis on Juniper Networks reports that the company's price is near a 2-year high and its Piotroski F-Score is at 9, indicating a very healthy situation. The GuruFocus analysis also notes that its gross and operating margins have been in a long term decline, with an average annual rate of decline being -1.6% and -9.6% respectively.Juniper Networks has a market cap of $12.67 billion. Its shares are currently trading at around $25.28 with a P/E ratio of 29.50, a P/S ratio of 2.80 and a P/B ratio of 1.77. The company had an annual average earnings growth of 6.10% over the past five years.Singer cut his holdings in Riverbed Technology on March 11, making a -35% reduction in his position. The guru sold a total of 5,150,756 shares at an average price of $20.06 per share, and since then the price per share has dropped a slight -1% to $19.89 per share. Singer now holds on to a total of 9,565,690 shares of Riverbed Technology stock, representing 5.82% of the company's stock. Singer's historical holding history:1395089657199.pngRiverbed develops innovative and comprehensive solutions to the fundamental problems of IT performance across wide area networks. Its products enable its customers improve the performance of their applications and access to their data over WANs, and provide global application performance, reporting and analytics.Riverbed Technology's historical revenue and earnings growth:1395089749852.pngThe analysis on Riverbed reports that the company's asset growth is significantly faster than its revenue growth, its price is close to a 1-year high and its P/S ratio is also at a 1-year high.Riverbed Technology has a market cap of $3.16 billion. Its shares are currently trading at around $19.77 with a P/S ratio of 3.10 and a P/B ratio of 3.88. Riverbed had an annual average earnings growth of 42.60% over the past five years.Check out more guru real time picks h! ere.Try a! free 7-day premium membership trial here.
Also check out: Kyle Bass Undervalued Stocks Kyle Bass Top Growth Companies Kyle Bass High Yield stocks, and Stocks that Kyle Bass keeps buying Paul Singer Undervalued Stocks Paul Singer Top Growth Companies Paul Singer High Yield stocks, and Stocks that Paul Singer keeps buying

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