Saturday, March 29, 2014

Best Bank Stocks To Watch Right Now

Best Bank Stocks To Watch Right Now: Washi ngton Federal Inc (WAFD)

Washington Federal, Inc., incorporated on November 15, 1994, is a bank holding company, which conducts its operations through a federally-insured savings association subsidiary, Washington Federal (Bank). The Bank is a federal savings association. The business of the Bank consists of attracting deposits from the general public and investing these funds in loans of various types, including first lien mortgages on single-family dwellings, construction loans, land acquisition and development loans, loans on multi-family and other income producing properties, home equity loans and business loans. It also invests in United States government and agency obligations and other investments permitted by applicable laws and regulations. As of September 30, 2013, Washington Federal had 182 full service branches located in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. Through its subsidiaries, the Company is also engaged in real estate investment and insurance brokerage activities. The principal sources of funds for the Company's activities are retained earnings, loan repayments (including prepayments), net deposit inflows, repayments and sales of investments and borrowings. Washington Federal's principal sources of revenue are interest on loans and interest and dividends on investments. Its principal expenses are interest paid on deposits, credit costs, general and administrative expenses, interest on borrowings and income taxes. On October 31, 2012, South Valley Bancorp, Inc. merged with and into the Company, followed by the merger of South Valley's wholly owned subsidiary, South Valley Bank & Trust, into the Bank.

Lending Activities

As of September 30, 2013, the Company's net portfolio of loans totaled $7.5 billion representing approximately 58% of its total assets. The Company concentrates its lend! ing activities on the origination of 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loans, which are neither insured nor gu aranteed by agencies of the United States government. Washin! gton Federal's lending activity is concentrated on the origination of loans secured by real estate, including long-term fixed-rate mortgage loans, adjustable-rate construction loans, adjustable-rate land development loans, fixed-rate multi-family loans and business loans.

The Company's lending activity is the origination of real estate mortgage loans to purchase or refinance single-family residences. The Company also originates a range of construction and land development loans, along with multi-family residential and commercial loans. As of September 30, 2013, single-family residential loans totaled $5.4 billion, or 67.2% of the Company's gross loan portfolio; construction- speculative loans totaled$131 million, or 1.6% of the Company's gross loan portfolio; construction - custom loans totaled $303 million, or 3.8% of the Company's gross loan portfolio; land acquisition and development loans totaled $82 million, or 1.0% of the Company's gross loan portfolio; la nd - consumer lot loans totaled $125 million, or 1.6% of the Company's gross loan portfolio; multi-family loans totaled $836 million, or 10.5% of the Company's gross loan portfolio; commercial real estate loans totaled $625 million, or 7.8% of the Company's gross loan portfolio; commercial and industrial loans totaled $326 million, or 4.1% of the Company's gross loan portfolio; home equity line of credit (HELOC) loans totaled $134 million, or 1.7% of the Company's gross loan portfolio and consumer loans totaled $55 million, or 0.7% of the Company's gross loan portfolio.

The Company originates 30 year fixed-rate loans secured by single-family residences. The Company originates construction loans to finance construction of single-family and multi-family residences, as well as commercial properties. Loans made to individuals for construction of their home! generall! y are 30 year fixed rate loans. Multi-family residential (five or more dwelling units) loans are secure d by multi-family rental properties, such as apartment build! ings.


The Company makes various types of business loans to customers in its market area for working capital, acquiring real estate, equipment or other business purposes, such as acquisitions. The terms of these loans range from less than one year to a maximum of 10 years. Consumer loans are home improvement loans made through third party originators that bear interest at rates of 10% and higher.

Investment Activities

As a federal association, the Bank is obligated to maintain adequate liquidity and does so by holding cash and cash equivalents and by investing in securities. These investments include, among other things, certain certificates of deposit, repurchase agreements, bankers' acceptances, loans to financial institutions whose deposits are federally-insured, federal funds, United States government and agency obligations and mortgage-backed securities.

Sources of Funds

Deposits are the source of the Company's funds for use in lending and other general business purposes. In addition to deposits, Washington Federal derives funds from loan repayments, advances from the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) and other borrowings and from investment repayments and sales. The Company's deposits are obtained from residents of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. The Company obtains advances from the FHLB upon the security of the FHLB capital stock it owns and certain of its loans, provided certain standards related to credit worthiness have been met. The Company also uses reverse repurchase agreements as a form of borrowing. Under reverse repurchase agreements, the Company sells an investment security to a dealer for a period of time and agrees to buy back that security at the end of the period and pay the dealer a stated interest rate for! the use ! of the dealer's funds. The Company also offers two forms of repurchase agreements to its customers. One form has an interest rate, which floats like that of a money market d! eposit ac! count. The other form has a fixed rate and is offered in a minimum denomination of $100,000. Both forms are fully collateralized by securities. As of September 30, 2013, the Company had $46.1 million of such agreements outstanding.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Eric Volkman]

    Washington Federal (NASDAQ: WAFD  ) is keeping its dividend level even as it effects a corporate transformation by the end of next month. The company has declared a quarterly distribution of $0.09 per share, to be paid on July 19 to shareholders of record as of July 5. That amount matches the firm's previous distribution, which was paid in April. Prior to that, it handed out a penny less at $0.08 per share.

  • [By Brian Pacampara]

    What: Shares of financial holding company Washington Federal (NASDAQ: WAFD  ) climbed as high as 10% today after its quarterly results topped Wall Street expectations. 

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Top 5 Casino Stocks To Invest In Right Now

Top 5 Casino Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Tropicana Entertainment Inc (TPCA)

Tropicana Entertainment Inc. (TEI) is an owner and operator of regional casino and entertainment properties located in the United States and one casino resort development located on the island of Aruba. TEI's United States properties include three casinos in Nevada, three casinos in Mississippi, and one casino in each of Indiana, Louisiana and New Jersey. Its properties offer a range of gaming options. TEI's properties include Tropicana AC in the East; Casino Aztar in Central; Tropicana Laughlin, River Palms and MontBleu in the West; Lighthouse Point, Jubilee, Belle of Baton Rouge, Horizon Vicksburg and Tropicana Aruba in the South and Other.

Tropicana AC

Tropicana Casino and Resort, Atlantic City (Tropicana AC) is situated on a 14-acre site with approximately 660 feet of ocean frontage in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In addition to gaming facilities, the property features The Quarter, a Havana-themed, Las Vegas-style, approximately 200,000 sq uare-foot indoor entertainment and retail center, hosting several restaurants, shops and an IMAX theatre. Other amenities include a 2,000-seat showroom, a full service spa and salon, a health club and indoor pool, a beach and pool bar and approximately 99,000 square feet of meeting and convention space.

Casino Aztar

Casino Aztar Evansville (Casino Aztar) is a casino hotel and entertainment complex in the state of Indiana. Over 60% of Casino Aztar's revenues come from customers within a 50-mile radius. The property's casino operations are located dockside on the three-deck City of Evansville riverboat. Located adjacent to the casino, the Company owns two distinctive hotels: the Casino Aztar Hotel, a 251-room hotel that offers guests a restaurant, conference rooms and banquet facilities; and Le Merigot Hotel, a luxurious 96-room b! outique hotel with an upscale martini lounge. A 44,000-square-foot pavilion adjacent to the riverboat features three resta urants, an entertainment lounge, gift shop, coffee shop, pla! yers club and VIP lounge. The District at Casino Aztar includes two restaurants and the Le Merigot Hotel. Casino Aztar also includes a seven-story parking garage, as well as surface parking.

Tropicana Laughlin

Tropicana Laughlin Hotel and Casino (Tropicana Laughlin) is located on an approximately 31-acre site on Casino Drive, Laughlin. The casino at Tropicana Laughlin features a gaming floor. Non-gaming amenities include a heated outdoor swimming pool, seven restaurants, three full service bars, an entertainment lounge with live music, a lounge for high-end players, an 800-seat multi-purpose showroom and concert hall, meeting space, retail stores, an arcade and a covered parking structure. The property features 1,495 hotel rooms.

River Palms

River Palms Hotel and Casino (River Palms) is located on an approximately 35-acre site also on Casino Drive, with approximately 1,300 feet of frontage on the Colorado River. Non-gami ng amenities include 1,001 hotel rooms, 10,500 square feet of meeting and convention space, an outdoor pool, fitness center, three restaurants, three full service bars, a showroom, two entertainment lounges with live music and a covered parking structure.


MontBleu Casino Resort & Spa (MontBleu) is situated on approximately 21 acres in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In addition to the casino, the property offers guests a choice of three restaurants and various non-gaming amenities, including retail shops, two nightclubs, a 1,500-seat showroom, approximately 14,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, a parking garage, a full service health spa and workout area, an indoor heated lagoon style pool with whirlpool and a 120-seat wedding chapel.

Lighthouse Poi! nt

Lighthouse Point Casino (Lighthouse Point) is a 210-foot, three-deck, dockside riverboat located in Greenville, Mississippi. In addition to slot machines, the riverboat inc! ludes a d! eli and bars on each floor while the dockside facility includes a buffet, a bar and 386 onsite surface parking spaces.


Bayou Caddy's Jubilee Casino (Jubilee), a 240-foot dockside riverboat, is located in Greenville. In addition to the casino facilities, the property includes a bar on each floor, a deli and approximately 700 parking spaces. The property also owns and operates the Greenville Inn & Suites, a 41-room suite hotel located less than a mile away, which offers free shuttle service to and from Jubilee and Lighthouse Point.

Belle of Baton Rouge

Belle of Baton Rouge Casino & Hotel (Belle of Baton Rouge) is a dockside riverboat situated on approximately 23 acres on the Mississippi River in the downtown historic district of Baton Rouge, across from the River Center, a 70,000-square-foot convention center. The three-deck, dockside riverboat casino is one of two casino facilities in the Baton Rouge market. Bato n Rouge is located 75 miles north of New Orleans. Non-gaming amenities include 300 hotel rooms, 25,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, an outdoor pool, a fitness center, two restaurants, a deli, and an entertainment venue inside a 50,000-square-foot glass atrium that also encloses a tropical lobby.

Horizon Vicksburg

Horizon Vicksburg Casino (Horizon Vicksburg) is a dockside riverboat situated on approximately six acres in downtown Vicksburg, Mississippi. The property features a 297-foot multi-level, antebellum style, dockside riverboat casino housing. Additional amenities include 117 hotel rooms, a restaurant, two covered parking garages as well as additional surface parking. In December 2010, the Company entered into an agreement to sell all of the assets and certain liabilities associated with th! e operati! on of Horizon Vicksburg.

Tropicana Aruba

The Company operates timeshare and rental units at Tropicana Aruba Resort & Casino (Tropicana Aruba), a casino resort und! er develo! pment in Noord, Aruba. This resort will have approximately 361 timeshare and rental units, an approximately 16,000 square foot permanent casino, two pools, a swim-up bar & grill, a fitness center and tennis courts, which will be located on approximately 14 acres near Eagle Beach.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Igor Greenwald]

    A majority stake in casino operator Tropicana Entertainment (TPCA) also began with a Chapter 11 restructuring.

    From January 1, 2000 to June 10, 2013, Icahn Enterprises has averaged a 20% annual return, multiplying investors' money nearly 12-fold. Berkshire-Hathaway (BRK-B) has managed only a triple over the same span.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Friday, March 28, 2014

How Lord Abbett Plays Momentum Stocks

This version has been expanded to include more discussion of Lord Abbett's portfolios.

Lord Abbett Developing Growth, a big fund that buys small stocks, is dazzling. Its rapid-fire trading has it magically buying into hot stocks and then getting out before they cool. It was up 48% over the 12 months through mid-March. It gets five out of five stars from Morningstar.

It's a tempting product, but there's a problem with it. It's expensive.

Developing Growth, like all funds that quickly turn over their portfolios, is costly in a way that is not obvious when you look at the prospectus. The prospectus tells you about the 1.1% annual expense burden (low, at least compared with other actively managed funds) and the 5.75% sales load. But it doesn't spell out another item that in the long run matters much more: the cost of trading.

How much is that? You can't put a precise number on the damage from getting into and out of positions. But statistical evidence says that trading is a big hidden cost at funds that specialize in the stocks of small companies.

Trading will cost you brokerage commissions and bid/ask spreads. A third item is at once the biggest and the hardest to measure: the tendency for trades to push a stock's price away. You won't feel this effect when you sell 1,000 shares of IBM. You definitely would feel it if you tried to unload 500,000 shares of a little company.

Developing Growth's problem is its very success. It has attracted $4 billion of customers' money, and since it invests in small companies it winds up with large percentages of them. Among its 124 holdings is $69 million worth of LifeLock, a fast-growing firm that sells an ID theft alert service. That's 6.7% of the float (shares available for trading).

What's going to happen when the fund unwinds this unwieldy stake? That will depend on a lot of things, like how quickly the portfolio managers make their exit and whether there happen to be bulls at that moment on the sidelines, ready to buy on a price dip.

For any one buy or sell order, then, the push-away effect is unknowable. But it is quite possible to look at hundreds of funds doing thousands of trades and come to some conclusions.

Gregory Kadlec, a finance professor at Virginia Tech, has been studying mutual fund costs for 16 years. In a study published last year in the Financial Analysts Journal, he and two other academics derived trading cost estimates by analyzing returns for 1,758 funds over a 12-year period ending in 2006.

Some skillful (or just lucky) funds beat the market and some fall behind. Collectively they do worse than the market, Kadlec says, the shortfall reflecting both the expense ratios and the invisible loss from trading.

On average, the analysis showed, small-company funds lose 1.5% when they go into or out of something and recoup a bit more than half the loss with portfolio improvement. A fund with 100% turnover in its portfolio stands to lose 1.2% a year to trading.

Turnover at the Lord Abbett fund has been running 200% and higher, suggesting a trading-cost headwind of 2.4%. That's how much it would lose to turnover if its managers were merely average in their ability to replace one stock in their portfolio with a better stock.

Lately they have been rather better than average; the fund clearly did better over the past year than it would have if it had stood pat with its positions. This is a momentum portfolio, one that aims to catch upswings after companies deliver pleasant surprises with their earnings or revenues and then get out when the mood turns sour.

Thomas O'Halloran, the fund's lead manager, explains the trading philosophy used here and a sister fund buying larger companies, Lord Abbett Growth Leaders: "It's like a physics concept. Mass times acceleration equals force." Lord Abbett has worked this concept well in the bull market, getting in and out of stocks like Crocs, Open Table and Facebook in reaction to Wall Street's emotions. Growth Leaders' turnover is an even more ferocious 451%, Morningstar reports. It has also been beating the market.

Top 5 Gas Utility Companies To Buy Right Now

Developing Growth owns, besides LifeLock, Hain Celestial, which has exploited the health food fad, and Generac, which sells back-up generators to fretful suburbanites. Such stocks do well in a bull market. What about a full cycle of up and down? The cost of trading is bound to hurt over time.

Asian shares rise; Hong Kong gains on China banks

Asian stocks steadied in morning trade to move modestly higher, led by gains in Hong Kong.

A rise in heavily-weighted Chinese bank stocks buoyed Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index 0.9% higher to 22,022.10. China's major banks this week have reported solid profits for 2013, easing for now lingering doubts around the sector's financial health.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the nation's largest bank by assets, late Thursday said its net profit for 2013 rose 10% from a year earlier. Shares rose 1.5% Friday.

In Sydney, stocks on the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.3% as the Australian dollar continued its run higher. The currency last traded at US$0.9293 from US$0.9257 late in New York.

Bloomberg Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (ICBC) signage is seen on one of the company's offices in Beijing, China.

"There is buying to get out of a short and buying to go long," said Marc Chandler, global head of foreign-exchange at Brown Brothers Harriman. "Shorts are getting out, and there are bottom-pickers coming in."

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index rose 0.1% after falling as much as 0.7% in early trading. Corporate news took the lion's share of attention. Shares of Yahoo Japan Corp. slid 9% after the company said it would pay ¥324 billion (US$3.15 billion) to acquire wireless service provider eAccess from majority shareholder SoftBank Corp. SoftBank shares fell 2.2%.

Traders were also digesting data showing that household spending fell in Japan last month, defying expectations for a consumer spending boom ahead of Japan's sales tax increase next week. Household spending fell 2.5% in February versus the 0.1% rise economists expected.

Korea's Kospi index rose 0.33% to 1984.42 while Taiwan's Taiex traded flat.

A weak session on Wall Street had put a damper on initial trading Friday. The world's largest stock market has struggled for direction this week amid mixed reports on the U.S. economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell less than 0.1% to close at 16264.23 Thursday. It had been down as many as 77.20 points, and up 31.95 points, during the session. The S&P 500 index lost 3.52 points, or 0.2%, to 1849.04.

More MarketWatch news:

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Bill Miller explains how to make money in a changing market

Thursday, March 27, 2014

How Not to Invest in Green Energy

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The prospect of a greener and more sustainable energy industry has been the dream of many a modern energy executive, including your correspondent, who has spent more than a decade analyzing green energy policies, business and development initiatives for investors, energy utilities and consulting clients.

Today, much like 10 years ago, there is a lot of talk about utility disruption and green revolutions, and it might be easy for investors to get caught up in the hyperbole, the sky-high stock valuations, and the heady promise of an investment that can possibly save the world.

It is my hope, with this column, to help investors keep their heads and their wallets when evaluating such investments, by advocating a no-nonsense, analytical investment approach that demands results.

This would seem intuitive, but too often investors have been swayed by the story to only find that a company’s prospects were pure fiction, time and time again. I’m also concerned that even as there are some promising new energy tech companies, there are also a lot of firms that offer more risk than reward. And the so-called forecast of the demise of the utilities industry has been overdone.

As we have noted in previous reports, although we do see the potential for industry disruption, the industry has yet to respond to the existential threat. And we would urge extreme caution when evaluating alternative energy investments in general, as it is still far from clear how the industry will evolve and which technologies or firms will be dominant.

The Wild, Wild West of Green Tech

My knowledge was gained the hard way: I witnessed the swift rise and sudden collapse of the last green energy bubble. In the early 2000s, when I was a young, idealistic junior securities analyst for a top investment bank, I was tasked with helping analyze the wave of green energy companies that were going public amid that era's tech! boom.

In those days, my boss, who had been designated an "All-Star Analyst" by The Wall Street Journal, believed that electric deregulation and green energy tech were going to produce a new breed of energy company that would displace staid utilities. He thought fuel-cell technology, in addition to wind and solar, energy trading and independent power companies would emerge to replace the old-line utilities industry, which would become wires companies and fade away.

And he was far from alone in making such predictions. Numerous banks and consultants were touting a new energy paradigm, where consumers could choose their electric supplier, competition between utilities would lead to lower prices, and the adoption of a carbon-pricing regime would spur a new energy revolution.

Today, many believe that solar and renewable battery technology will be the next killer application. And it is similarly predicted that utilities will be relegated to managing the wires once the bulk of companies are forced to reorganize due to huge, unsustainable infrastructure costs.

Moreover, utilities, many have said, will no longer be able to collect income on billions of uneconomic or shuttered power plants that have been disrupted by these new green energy technologies. In fact, Goldman Sachs, in a report issued in late March, forecasted that prices for solar panels and battery storage will decline to such levels that by 2033 homeowners will no longer need to be on the grid.

Of course, such bold predictions hearken back to what I heard during the last green energy wave. At the time, I admittedly drank the Kool-Aid. After all, who wouldn’t want to be part of something that was going to change the world for the better by producing cleaner, cheaper energy?

Unfortunately, that dream was not supported by reality. Electric competition was only realized in a few regions of the country, utilities' costs were still significantly cheaper than the new technologies, and the independent power p! roducers ! overbuilt, took on gargantuan amounts of debt and largely found themselves in bankruptcy.

Part of the problem was that many of these new green energy companies were commercialized too early, and much like their dot-com brethren had no income, and similar cash-burn rates.

In the old days, a company had to produce years of steady earnings before banks would even consider helping it go public. However, that all changed during the Internet bubble, when investors would snap up each public offering as if it were the next Microsoft, certain that metrics such as sticky eyeballs or page views suggested eventual financial success.

And just like their dot-com peers, many of these green energy companies would regularly miss forecasts for earnings, production, sales, or technology development.

Under normal circumstances, when a public company fails to meet goals set by management or falls short of earnings forecasts, it suffers the wrath of investors. But for a time at least, investors who bought the story about green technology were willing to look past these disappointments and push share prices to dizzying heights.

I was so scarred by their subsequent crash that when I heard a portfolio manager rhapsodizing about the recent performance of Plug Power Inc (NSDQ: PLUG), Fuelcell Energy Inc (NSDQ: FCEL) and Capstone Turbine Corp (NSDQ: CPST), I could scarcely believe it. These were names that I had not heard in years, names that many investors would like to forget. Indeed, even with the recent run-up in their share prices, the value of these firms today is just a small fraction of what it was back then.

Chart A: Will the Green Energy Boom End as in the 2000s?

2014-03-27-U&I-Chart A

Created with YCharts

What happened to them? The dot-com bubble burst, the recession hit, fundamentals changed, and investors realized that these companies�! �� techno! logies, though promising, weren't quite ready for primetime.

In fact, a similar scenario occurred two decades prior, when the green technology industry was still in its infancy. Ironically, even as disaster loomed once more, my boss, who covered green energy companies in the 1970s, would reminisce about his own disappointment when wind energy's potential failed to meet investor expectations during that decade.

As everyone now knows, it would be more than three decades before substantial progress would be made in this area. Now that wind is an energy technology that’s ubiquitous, one can only guess when fuel cells will eventually follow suit.

Is Past Prologue?

Perhaps it will be different this time. But after so many false starts, it's hard to know whether the so-called revolution in green energy is truly at the beginning of the beginning–or whether investors will be burned once again by overhyped technologies, just as they were in the 1970s and early 2000s.

Certainly, the economics have improved, as wind and solar power are now cheaper and more efficient than they were previously. And if the cost to produce solar power declines by 3 percent per year over the next two decades, as some analysts forecast, while storage costs came down, then these two trends could very well disrupt the utilities industry.

Still, there is much debate as to how many customers would be willing to unplug from the grid and adopt new technologies without a utility back-up. And as we've written previously, it’s not clear how utilities will respond to these challenges.

As such, it's too soon to conclude that green energy firms will supplant utilities, since the latter have successfully countered such existential threats in the past.

Meanwhile, on the legislative front, there does seem to be more momentum for green energy legislation than we've seen in past years. Various congressmen recently attempted to revive climate legislation that would establish a c! arbon pri! ce.

And the Environmental Protection Agency is set to unveil new greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) standards in early June. These will affect 1,000 existing power plants, the bulk of which burn coal to generate electricity.

Although these developments bode well for the sector, there is still concern that it is overvalued. First Solar Inc (NSDQ: FSLR), SunEdison Inc (NYSE: SUNE), and even electric car company Tesla Motors Inc (NSDQ: TSLA), to name a few, have seen stellar appreciation in their stock values.

Chart B: Another Green Energy Bubble in 2014?

2014-03-27-U&I-Chart B

Created with YCharts

But their business fundamentals have yet to align with their market valuations. Tesla hasn't posted a single profitable year since going public, and the last 12 quarters’ return on equity has been negative, by double and triple digits.

Even First Solar and SunEdison, which have rallied from their lows by 138 percent and 359 percent, respectively, still trade about 77 percent below their all-time highs.

First Solar's profits have been choppy over the trailing year, swinging up or down by $50 million. And SunEdison hasn’t seen a profitable year since 2010.

Over the last few years, some of the weakest solar-power companies have crumbled, including the infamous Solyndra, which received a $535 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy in September 2009 and subsequently declared bankruptcy in 2011. Then there's Evergreen Solar, a high-flyer that traded for over $103 per share in late 2007, but later filed for bankruptcy in 2011.

In the battery storage space, lithium-ion battery developer A123 Systems filed for bankruptcy in 2012, followed by utility-scale battery maker Extreme Power, which filed for bankruptcy in 2014.

Though chastened by my past experience, I’m still optimistic about wind a! nd solar ! power, as well as battery storage. When conducting investment research, however, investors should maintain a laser-like focus on green energy companies' financials and keep their money on the sidelines until these firms show real performance. Whatever you do, don’t believe the hype.

Utility Forecaster subscribers get to read the full update, which includes our analysis of the few green energy stocks that are actually worthwhile.

10 Best International Stocks To Watch Right Now

Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS) announced its intentions to resume talks with parties interested in purchasing its metals warehousing business – many of these companies are based outside of U.S borders.

The metals warehouse business, dubbed Metro International Trading Services, has become something of a burden to the company as it is not only subject to new rules and regulations, but has also been a point of controversy for the financial giant. The warehouse stores aluminum and other metals as a part of the London Metal Exchange (LME).

The latter fact is important due to the controversy surrounding U.S. financial instutions and the physical commodity world. Goldman was accused of intentionally increasing wait times and prices for metals buyers in order to turn a profit. Amid all the speculation and accusations of wrongdoing, which is nothing new for Goldman, it seems that the company is looking to unload the unit that has become a liability in recent months.

10 Best International Stocks To Watch Right Now: Primoris Services Corporation(PRIM)

Primoris Services Corporation, a specialty contractor and infrastructure company, provides a range of construction, fabrication, maintenance, replacement, water and wastewater, and product engineering services in the United States and internationally. It offers construction services, including installation of underground pipeline, cable, and conduits for entities in the petroleum, petrochemical, and water industries; installation and maintenance of industrial facilities for petroleum, petrochemical, and water industries; installation of commercial and industrial cast-in-place structures; and construction of highways, as well as industrial and environmental constructions. The company also engages in designing, supplying, and installing high-performance furnaces, heaters, burner management systems, and related combustion and process technologies for clients in the oil refining, petrochemical, and power generation industries, as well as furnishes turnkey project management se rvices and delivers custom engineering solutions. It serves public utilities, petrochemical companies, energy companies, municipalities, state departments of transportation, and other customers. Primoris Services Corporation is based in Dallas, Texas.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Holly LaFon] ris is a contractor and infrastructure company founded in 1946. It provides services related to construction fabrication, maintenance, replacement, water and wastewater and engineering to clients that are typically major public utilities, petrochemical companies, energy companies, municipalities and others. It doubled its size in 2009 and 2010 when it purchased the James Construction Group and Rockford Corporation, respectively. Primoris��predecessor company, Rhapsody acquisition Corp., had its IPO in 2006, and Primoris merged with Rhapsody in 2008.

    Joel Greenblatt bought 59,076 shares at an average price of $13.56 in the fourth quarter. After being relatively flat since its IPO, Primoris��stock price began to rise dramatically in 2011, and Greenblatt bought on a dip in the fourth quarter. In the last year it has appreciated 87 percent.

    Primoris��free cash flow and revenue in 2010 bounced back from a down year in 2009 and EBITDA grew each year in the same span of time. Return on equity and return on assets have both declined over the three years, but in the third quarter of 2011 came back strongly. ROE increased to 29.3 percent from 16.1 at year-end 2010, and ROA has increased to 11.4 percent from 4.8 percent at year-end 2010.

    The third quarter was good in other ways. The company reached its highest revenue and net income in its 60-year history. However, fluctuations in revenue and earnings may occur over the next several quarters as it completes several major projects. On November 30, it announced $181 million in new contracts.

    Primoris��P/E, P/S and P/B ratios:

    PRIM pe,ps,pb Interactive Chart

    Caribou Coffee (CBOU)

    Caribou Coffee is a gourmet coffee company that owns the second-largest number of coffeehouses in the U.S. After rising significantly in the second quarter of 2011, its stock price dropped in the fourth quarter, when Joel Greenblatt purchased it. He bought 52,794 shares at an average price of $13.27.

10 Best International Stocks To Watch Right Now: Belden Inc (BDC)

Belden Inc. (Belden), incorporated on May 18, 1988, designs, manufactures and markets cable, connectivity, and networking products in markets including industrial, enterprise, and broadcast. The Company operates in three segments: the Americas segment, the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) segment and the Asia Pacific segment. The Company�� offers cable, connectivity and networking products, including power generation and distribution, data centers, oil and gas, broadcast, transportation, healthcare and industrial automation. In December 2012, Carlisle Companies Inc acquired Thermax-Raydex business from the Company. In December 2012, the Company sold Consumer Electronics Assets in China to Shenzhen Woer Heat-Shrinkable Material Co Ltd. During the year ended December 31, 2012, the Company acquired Miranda Technologies Inc. (Miranda).

The categories of cable products are copper cables, including shielded and unshielded twisted pair cables, coaxial cables, and stranded cables, fiber optic cables, which transmit light signals through glass or plastic fibers and composite cables, which are combinations of multiconductor, coaxial, and fiber optic cables jacketed together or otherwise joined together to serve complex applications and provide ease of installation. Connectivity products include fiber and copper connectors for the enterprise, broadcast, broadband, and industrial markets. Networking products include Industrial Ethernet switches and related equipment and security features, fiber optic interfaces and media converters used to bridge fieldbus networks over long distances, networking infrastructure for the television broadcast, cable, satellite and IPTV industry, and load-moment indicators for mobile cranes and other load-bearing equipment.

For industrial end markets, the Company supplies cable, connectivity, and networking products for applications ranging from advanced industrial networking and robotics to traditional instrumentation and control systems. The Compa! ny�� cable products are used in discrete manufacturing and process operations involving the connection of computers, programmable controllers, robots, operator interfaces, motor drives, sensors, printers and other devices. The Company sells its industrial products primarily through value-added resellers, industrial distributors, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). It designs, manufactures and markets Industrial Ethernet switches and related equipment, both rail-mounted and rack-mounted, for factory automation, power generation and distribution, process automation, and infrastructure projects, such as bridges, wind farms and airport runways. It also designs, manufactures and markets fiber optic interfaces and media converters. In addition, it designs, manufactures, and markets a range of industrial connectors for sensors and actuators, cord-sets, distribution boxes, and fieldbus communications. These products are used both as components of manufacturing equipment and in the installation and networking of such equipment. The Company also designs, manufactures and markets load-moment indicators. Its switches, communications equipment, connectors, and load-moment indicators are sold directly to industrial equipment OEMs and through a network of distributors and system integrators.

For enterprise end markets, the Company supplies structured cabling solutions, connectors, and networking products for the electronic and optical transmission of data, sound, and video over local- and wide- area networks. Products for this market include copper cables including 10-gigabit Ethernet technologies, fiber optic cables, connectors, wiring racks, panels, interconnecting hardware, intelligent patching devices, and cable management solutions for complete end-to-end network structured wiring systems. End-use customers include hospitals, financial institutions, governments, service providers, and data centers. Its systems are installed through a network of trained system integrators and are supplied t! hrough au! thorized distributors.

For broadcast end markets, the Company is a provider of hardware and software solutions for the television broadcast, cable, satellite and IPTV industry. Its solutions also span the full breadth of television operations, including production, playout and delivery. The Company also manufactures a variety of multiconductor and coaxial cable and connector products, which distributes audio and video signals for use in broadcast television including digital television and high definition television, broadcast radio, pre- and post-production facilities, recording studios, and public facilities such as casinos, arenas, and stadiums. Its audio/video cables are also used in connection with microphones, musical instruments, audio mixing consoles, effects equipment, speakers, paging systems, and consumer audio products.

The Company manufactures networking infrastructure products for the television broadcast, cable, satellite and IPTV industry. Its primary market channels for this broadcast, music, and entertainment products are broadcast specialty distributors and audio systems installers. It also sells directly to music OEMs and the television networks including ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. The Company also provides specialized cables for security applications such as video surveillance systems, airport baggage screening, building access control, motion detection, public address systems, and advanced fire alarm systems. It manufactures flexible, copper-clad coaxial cable and associated connector products for the high-speed transmission of data, sound, and video (broadband) that are used for the drop section of cable television (CATV) systems and satellite direct broadcast systems.

For the broadband end market, Belden manufactures and develops connectivity solutions in several product categories: coax connector products that allow for connections from the provider network to the subscribers��devices, hardline connectors that allow service providers to dist! ribute th! eir services within a city, a town or a neighborhood and entry devices that serves to manage and remove network signal noise that could impair performance for the subscriber, and traps and filtering devices that allow service providers to control the signals that are transmitted to the subscriber.

During 2012, the Americas segment contributed approximately 64% of its consolidated revenues. This segment sells the full array of its products for the industrial, enterprise,and broadcast markets. The EMEA segment contributed approximately 19% of its consolidated revenues. This segment sells the full array of its products for the industrial, enterprise,and broadcast markets. The Asia Pacific segment contributed approximately 17% its consolidated revenues. This segment sells the full array of its products for the industrial, enterprise,and broadcast markets.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Signal transmission specialist�Belden� (NYSE: BDC  ) �announced yesterday�its second-quarter dividend of $0.05 per share, the same rate it has paid since 2004 when it first began making a payout.

  • [By Damian Illia]

    Finally, I always like to see one of the most important financial ratios applying to stockholders, the best measure of performance for a firm's management: the return on equity. The ratio has decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. Currently, a ROE of 45.9% is higher than all the 1,805 companies in the Diversified Industrials industry. Competitors such General Cable Corp. (BGC) has a very low ROE of 0.3% which is clearly not attractive. An alternative could be Belden Inc. (BDC) with a positive ROE of 24%.

Hot Performing Stocks To Buy For 2014: Fifth Street Finance Corp (FSC)

Fifth Street Finance Corp. is a specialty finance company that lends to and invests in small and mid-sized companies in connection with investments by private equity sponsors. The Company�� investment objective is to maximize its portfolio's total return by generating current income from its debt investments and capital appreciation from its equity investments. As of September 30, 2011, 90.9% of its portfolio consisted of debt investments that were secured by first or second priority liens on the assets of its portfolio companies. As of September 30, 2011, it held equity investments consisting of common stock, preferred stock or other equity interests in 27 out of 65 portfolio companies. It is managed and advised by Fifth Street Management LLC. In June 2013, Fifth Street Finance Corp. announced that it has closed its portfolio company acquisition of Healthcare Finance Group, LLC (HFG).


The Company tailors the terms of its debt investments to the facts and circumstances of the transaction and prospective portfolio company. As of September 30, 2011, it directly originated a majority of its debt investments. It is focusing its origination efforts on first lien, second lien and subordinated loans. Its first lien loans have terms of four to six years, provide for a variable or fixed interest rate, contain prepayment penalties and are secured by a first priority security interest in all existing and future assets of the borrower. Its first lien loans may take many forms, including revolving lines of credit, term loans and acquisition lines of credit. Its second lien loans have terms of four to six years, provide for a fixed interest rate, contain prepayment penalties and are secured by a second priority security interest in all existing and future assets of the borrower. Its second lien loans often include payment-in-kind (PIK), interest, which represents contractual interest accrued and added to the principal that generally becomes due at maturity. Its unsecured inve! stments have terms of five to six years and provide for a fixed interest rate. It may make unsecured investments on a stand-alone basis, or in connection with a senior secured loan, a junior secured loan or a one-stop financing. Its unsecured investments may include payment-in-kind (PIK), interest, which represents contractual interest accrued and added to the principal that becomes due at maturity, and an equity component, such as warrants to purchase common stock in the portfolio company.

In addition, the Company from time to time non-control, equity co-investments in connection with private equity sponsors. It structures equity investments, such as direct equity co-investments, to provide the Company with minority rights provisions and event-driven put rights. The Company make investments in the private equity funds of certain of its equity sponsors. It makes these investments where it has a long term relationship and is comfortable with the sponsor�� business model and investment strategy. As of September 30, 2011, it had investments in six private equity funds, which represented less than 1% of the fair value of its assets as of such date.

Portfolio Management

As a business development company, the Company offers managerial assistance to its portfolio companies and to provide it if requested. It monitors the financial trends of each portfolio company to assess the appropriate course of action for each company and to evaluate overall portfolio quality. It has several methods of evaluating and monitoring the performance of its investments, which includes review of monthly and quarterly financial statements and financial projections for portfolio companies; periodic and regular contact with portfolio company management; attendance at board meetings; periodic formal update interviews with portfolio company management, and assessment of business development, including product development, profitability and the portfolio company�� overall adherence to its busine! ss plan.

In addition to various risk management and monitoring tools, the Company uses an investment rating system to characterize and monitor the credit profile and expected level of returns on each investment in itd portfolio. It uses a five-level numeric rating scale. In the event that it determines that an investment is underperforming, or circumstances suggest that the risk associated with a particular investment has significantly increased, it monitors the effected portfolio company.

Valuation of Portfolio Investments

As a business development company, the Company invests in illiquid securities, including debt and equity investments of small and mid-sized companies. The Company perform valuations of its debt and equity investments on an individual basis, using market, income, and bond yield approaches as appropriate. Under the market approach, it estimates the enterprise value of the portfolio companies, in which it invests. To estimate the enterprise value of a portfolio company, it analyze various factors, including the portfolio company�� historical and projected financial results. It requires portfolio companies to provide annual audited and quarterly and monthly unaudited financial statements, as well as annual projections for the upcoming fiscal year.

Under the income approach, the Company prepares and analyze discounted cash flow models based on projections of the future free cash flows of the business. Under the bond yield approach, it uses bond yield models to determine the present value of the future cash flow streams of its debt investments. It reviews various sources of transactional data, including private mergers and acquisitions involving debt investments with similar characteristics, and assess the information in the valuation process.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    But one concern is that investors are paying too much for BDCs. Like Ares, peers Prospect Capital (NASDAQ: PSEC  ) and Fifth Street Finance (NASDAQ: FSC  ) also carry share prices that are higher than the net value of the assets on their books. Yet Ares trades at a substantially higher premiums to NAV than Prospect or Fifth Street, suggesting that they're more comfortable with the quality of Ares' assets compared to its rivals.

10 Best International Stocks To Watch Right Now: Network Exploration Ltd (NET)

Network Exploration Ltd. is an exploration and development-stage company. The Company�� principal business activities include the exploration of minerals in its mineral properties. It focuses on base and precious metal properties in North and South America. Its activities include the process of exploring its mineral properties, reviewing and subsequently acquiring mineral properties and conducting exploration programs to determine whether these properties contain ore reserves that are recoverable. The Picha copper-silver project is located within the Tertiary Volcanic Arc of Southern Peru. The Pistala project is located east of the NW-SE trending Incapquio fault system in the Department of Tacna, Southern Peru. The Company is in the business of mineral exploration in Canada, Chile and Peru. Network Exploration Chile Limitada is its wholly owned subsidiary. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Holly LaFon]

    The MSCI World Index (Net) is a free float-adjusted market capitalization weighted index that is designed to measure the global equity market performance of developed markets. This benchmark calculates reinvested dividends net of withholding taxes using Luxembourg tax rates. This index is unmanaged and investors cannot invest directly in this index.

  • [By Damian Illia]

    Although the company is overly relying on Afrezza, there is to say that MannKind has inked some deals in the recent past. These were primarily aimed to furthering its pipeline development but with less risk and with less research and development expenditure directly for the firm. In November, 2012 it signed a license agreement with Colby Pharmaceutical Company granting the latter exclusive rights to its early stage cancer program. Currently, the firm is also looking for partners regarding Afrezza. Last year in July, it entered one with Deerfield that ensured financing worth $160 million for MannKind. Also, in October 2012, the company raised $86 million (net) through the issuance of shares and has almost $120 million left under its credit facility. This has removed some concerned about a financial crisis in the company, although it hasn't done so throughly.

  • [By Jason Rivera]

    Assets:Book Value:Reproduction Value:Current AssetsCash And Cash Equivalents506506Accounts Receivable (Net)3,6193,076Inventories10,0006,000Deferred Income Taxes919460Prepaid Expenses799400Total Current Assets15,8439,986PP&E Net2,4151,449Equity and Other Investments4,5763,432Intangible Assets3,1391,570Deferred Income Taxes991496Total Assets26,96417,387
    Number of shares is 7,383.

10 Best International Stocks To Watch Right Now: Spansion Inc(CODE)

Codere, S.A. engages in the management of gaming machines, bingo halls, horse racing tracks, casinos, and off-track betting facilities in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Panama, and Uruguay. As of December 31, 2008, the company managed 54,818 slot machines and electronic bingo terminals, 137 bingo halls with 30,803 seats, 106 off-track betting facilities, 3 horse racing tracks, and 6 casinos. It also operated 15,963 AWP machines in approximately 10,886 bars and restaurants in Spain. Codere, S.A. was founded in 1980 and is headquartered in Alcobendas, Spain.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Tim Brugger]

    Based on a review of "preliminary financial results," embedded systems solutions provider Spansion (NYSE: CODE  ) has lowered its second quarter 2013 revenue and earnings guidance, the company announced today.

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Spansion (NYSE: CODE  ) reported earnings on April 30. Here are the numbers you need to know.

    The 10-second takeaway
    For the quarter ended March 31 (Q1), Spansion missed estimates on revenues and beat expectations on earnings per share.

  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) was up over 4% at $14.59 and hit a new multiyear high of $15.27 earlier on Wednesday. SanDisk Corp. (NASDAQ: SNDK) is up right at 3% at $56.95 against a 52-week range of $38.47 to $63.97. Jefferies also reiterated its Buy rating and $21 price target for Micron. We are seeing similar gains in Spansion Inc. (NYSE: CODE), up 2.3% at $10.69, but we would warn that its 52-week range is $9.96 to $14.54. Wells Fargo initiated coverage with an Outperform rating and a $12 to $14 valuation.

10 Best International Stocks To Watch Right Now: 1st NRG Corp (FNRC)

1st NRG Corp., incorporated on January 18, 1988, is an exploration and production company. The Company is engaged in the development of the Clabaugh Ranch Field, which is a project developing and producing coal bed methane reserves (CBM). This project includes a development of 6,025 gross acres in the Powder River Basin in northeast Wyoming. The Company is expanding its activities into unconventional shale through a participation agreement covering approximately 7,000 acres initially and subsequently acquired acreage covering an Area of Mutual Interest in South Eastern Ohio. Its production revenues are entirely from the natural gas produced at Clabaugh Ranch.

The targeted coal seams in the Powder River Basin are part of the Tongue River Member of the Fort Union formation and have been mapped as natural resource developments and exploration have occurred throughout the region. The Company has 42 drilled wells, which have encountered developed coal seams in the Werner, Upper and Lower Smith, Wyodak/Anderson Lower, Gates and Wall formations. In total the Company has identified 515 separate coals seams for development of which only 126 (42 wells X 3 seams) have been completed.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Peter Graham]

    What�� the Catch With Quantum Energy Inc? According to various disclosures, transactions of $2k and $3.5k have or will occur to mention Quantum Energy in various investment newsletters. On Friday, Quantum Energy released the pricing of its recently announced $5,000,000 BDC funding to be arranged by Data Capital Corp (DCC) where the latter has agreed to assist the former in the formation of a Business Development Company (BDC) by forming Quantum Funding, Inc. as a BDC to raise an initial $5,000,000. Upon receipt of the funding, Quantum Funding, Inc. will then be acquired as a subsidiary by QEGY in a share exchange where the $5,000,000 subsidiary will be acquired for 10,000,000 shares of newly issued restricted common stock for a valuation of $0.50 cents per share. Otherwise and early in the month, Quantum Energy announced it was shifting its focus from the West Texas Barnett Shale fields to North Dakota with the opening of an office in Williston, North Dakota. However, a quick look on Google Finance (as there are no up to date financials on Yahoo! Finance) reveals Quantum Energy has no revenues; a net loss of $0.01M (most recent reported quarter), net income of $2.01M and a net loss of $0.02M for the past three fiscal quarters; and $0.01M in cash to cover $0.34M in current liabilities at the end of last August. Then again, the recent financing deal could get things moving for Quantum Energy next year.

    1st NRG Corp (OTCMKTS: FNRC) Gives a Drilling and Production Update

    Small cap 1st NRG Corp is an exploration and production company currently developing and producing coal bed methane reserves (CBM) in Wyoming. On Friday, 1st NRG Corp fell 25% to $0.0003 for a market cap of $5.02 million plus FNRC is down 97.1% since the start of the year and down 99.8% since July 2010 according to Google Finance.

10 Best International Stocks To Watch Right Now: Janus Capital Group Inc (SLS)

Janus Capital Group Inc., and its subsidiaries (JCG), incorporated on January 23, 1998, provide investment management, administration, distribution and related services to financial advisors, individuals and institutional clients through mutual funds, other pooled investment vehicles, separate accounts and sub advised relationships (collectively referred to as investment products) in both domestic and international markets. JCG provides investment management competencies across a range of disciplines, including fundamental the United States and global equities (growth and value), mathematical equities, fixed income and alternatives through its subsidiaries, Janus Capital Management LLC (Janus), INTECH Investment Management LLC (INTECH) and Perkins Investment Management LLC (Perkins). JCG's investment products are distributed through three primary channels: retail intermediary, institutional and international.

The institutional channel serves the United States corporations, endowments, foundations, Taft-Hartley funds and public fund clients and focuses on distribution direct to the plan sponsor and through consultants. As of December 31, 2012, assets in the institutional channel totaled 24% of total Company assets under management. The international channel primarily serves professional retail and institutional investors outside of the United States, including central and local government pension plans, corporate pension plans, multi-managers, insurance companies and private banks. International products are offered through separate accounts, sub advisory relationships and Janus Capital Funds Plc, a mutual fund trust. As of December 31, 2012, assets in the international channel totaled 11% of total Company assets under management. JCG operates international offices in London, Paris, Milan, Munich, Frankfurt, The Hague, Dubai, Zurich, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Melbourne and Taipei. The retail intermediary channel serves financial advisors, third-party intermediaries and retirement platf! orms in the United States. In addition, this channel serves existing individual investors who invest in JCG products through a mutual fund supermarket or directly with JCG. As of December 31, 2012, assets in the retail intermediary channel totaled 65% of total Company assets under management.


Janus manages primarily growth equity portfolios. As of December 31, 2012, Janus managed 63% of total Company assets under management. The Janus Overseas Fund is included in the assets managed by Janus and represented approximately 6% during the year ended December 31, 2012.


INTECH has managed institutional portfolios. INTECH's investment process is based on a mathematical theorem that seeks to add value for clients by capitalizing on the volatility in stock price movements. As of December 31, 2012, INTECH managed 26% of total Company assets under management.


Perkins has managed value-disciplined investment products. With its fundamental research and careful consideration for downside risk, Perkins has established itself as a value manager. Perkins offers value equity investment products across a range of the United States asset classes and global equity. As of December 31, 2012, Perkins managed 11% of total Company assets under management.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Victor Selva]

    In addition, leading the solid rocket propellant market should ensure increased annual revenue. The new Space Launch System (SLS), for which ATK is working with the NASA, is expected be as successful as the Space Shuttle program years ago.

10 Best International Stocks To Watch Right Now: Hillshire Brands Co (HSH)

The Hillshire Brands Company, incorporated on September 4, 1941, is a manufacturer and marketer of food products. The Company�� portfolio includes brands, such as Jimmy Dean, Ball Park, Hillshire Farm, State Fair, Sara Lee frozen bakery and Chef Pierre pies, as well as artisanal brands Aidells and Gallo Salame. The Company operates in two segments: Retail and Foodservice/Other. Retail sells a variety of packaged meat and frozen bakery products to retail customers in North America. Foodservice/other sells a variety of meat and bakery products to foodservice customers in North America. On February 4, 2013, the Company completed the sale of its Australian bakery business.


Products in the retail segments include hot dogs and corn dogs, breakfast sausages, breakfast convenience items, including breakfast sandwiches and bowls, dinner sausages, deli and luncheon meats and cooked hams, as well as frozen pies, cakes, cheesecakes and other desserts. The Company�� brands include Jimmy Dean, Ball Park, Hillshire Farm, State Fair and Sara Lee, as well as artisanal brands Aidells and Gallo Salame. The sales of the Retail business are generated in the United States Sales are made in the retail channel to supermarkets, warehouse clubs and national chains. Retail�� business accounted for 74% of the Company�� sales during the fiscal year ended June 29, 2013 (fiscal 2013).


Products in the foodservice/other segment include hot dogs and corn dogs, breakfast sausages and sandwiches, dinner sausages, deli and luncheon meats, ham, beef and turkey, as well as a variety of bakery products, including pastries, muffins, frozen pies, cakes and cheesecakes. Sales are made in the foodservice channel to distributors, restaurants, hospitals and other large institutions. Foodservice/Other�� business accounted for 26% of the Company�� sales in fiscal 2013.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Reuters]

    Toby Talbot/AP NEW YORK -- A voluntary effort by the world's largest food and beverage companies to remove billions of calories from the products they sell in the United States to help combat the nation's obesity epidemic has far exceeded its five-year goal, according to an independent evaluation released Thursday. In May 2010, 16 of the nation's biggest food and beverage companies, from Coca-Cola (KO) to Kraft Foods Group (KRFT), pledged to remove 1 trillion calories from the U.S. marketplace by 2012 and 1.5 trillion by 2015, compared with a 2007 baseline. In fact, as of 2012 they sold 6.4 trillion fewer calories, found an analysis by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Reports like this, and the fact that they exceeded their commitment by fourfold, really shows that you can make progress in giving American families more healthy options," said Larry Soler, president of the Partnership for a Healthier America, a non-profit chaired by first lady Michelle Obama. The group was formed in 2010 to work with the private sector on anti-obesity strategies. At the time, critics said the Partnership relied too heavily on the good will of the industry and couldn't replace the role of tighter regulation on how food is manufactured and marketed. Such voluntary efforts by industry "are not a magic bullet," said Jeff Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health, a non-profit policy group. "Particularly with kids, there is a role for regulation" in reducing demand for unhealthy, high-calorie fare. It isn't clear yet how the companies accomplished the dramatic calorie reduction, said UNC public health researcher Barry Popkin, who led the analysis funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation's largest public health philanthropy. Some of the decline may have come from the recession, as financially strapped families cut back on junk food. When the pledge was announced, companies said they would substitute lower-calorie pro

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    Although the Hostess acquisition was high profile, Flowers has made many similar though smaller acquisitions in recent years, taking advantage of the fragmented bakery industry to pick off targets individually with attractive buyout offers. Moreover, late last year, the company bought licensing rights for the Sara Lee brand in California, after Sara Lee changed its name to Hillshire Brands (NYSE: HSH  ) and shifted its focus toward meat products. The move helped Sara Lee reap more money from its brand while giving Flowers more market share in the important California market.

  • [By Matt Thalman]

    And finally, Hormel. The stock fell after the CEO of Hillshire Brands (NYSE: HSH  ) said that his company will look to make some acquisitions in the coming year and focus more on chicken products as consumers begin to demand healthier options. It is clear that the competition will continue to intensify for Hormel in the coming months and years and, as Hillshire is still a smaller company, it could change very quickly if the acquisition-happy CEO goes on a shopping spree. With many of these food brands, it is all about shelf space and location within a store and, more times than not, the bigger the player, the better the location. Hormel investors shouldn't be overly concerned today, but need to watch how things play out in the future. �

10 Best International Stocks To Watch Right Now: Spdr S&P Retail Etf (XRT)

SPDR S&P Retail Exchange Traded Fund (The Fund) seeks to replicate as closely as possible, before expenses, the performance of an index derived from the retail segment of the United States total market composite index. The Fund uses a passive management strategy designed to track the total return performance of the S&P Retail Select Industry Index (the Retail Index).

The Retail Index represents the retail sub industry portion of the S&P TMI. The S&P TMI tracks all the United States common stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), American Stock Exchange (AMEX), National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation (NASDAQ) National Market and NASDAQ Small Cap exchanges.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By John Udovich]

    Small cap storage and organization system retailer Container Store Group Inc (NYSE: TCS) is the latest hot consumer IPO to�temp�investors�and while there are no direct peers for the quirky but money loosing retailer, could investors just�be better off sticking with retail ETFs like the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (NYSEARCA: XRT) or�more traditional large cap home improvement stocks like�Lowe's Companies, Inc (NYSE: LOW) and The Home Depot, Inc (NYSE: HD)?

  • [By Anthony Mirhaydari]

    As a result, the Retail SPDR (XRT) is looking about as appealing as a cold shower, falling out of its month-long trading range on a surge of negative volume. Here are five industry stocks you need to avoid, or could even consider playing on the short side:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Shares of J.C. Penney have dropped 2.5% to $13.48 today, while Vornado has fallen 1.7% to $81.44. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) has fallen 0.4% to $165.75, and the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) is of 0.8% at $79.42.

  • [By John Udovich] has a shocking�post entitled, ��0 Facts About The Great U.S. Retail Apocalypse That Will Blow Your Mind,��which might make you want to consider shorting or reevaluating any investment strategies involving retail or retail ETFs like the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (NYSEARCA: XRT), PowerShares Dynamic Retail ETF (NYSEARCA: PMR), Market Vectors Retail ETF (NYSEARCA: RTH) and Direxion Daily Retail Bull 3X Shares (NYSEARCA: RETL).�Before you dismiss something from a blog with the words ��conomic Collapse��in it (they are, after all, peddling ��oom and gloom�� because the Obama administration plus Joe Biden�and their surrogates in the media keep telling you there is an economic recovery along with growth in jobs, consider just the following retail store closure plans or job cuts mentioned in the post:

10 Best International Stocks To Watch Right Now: Herbalife Ltd (HLF)

Herbalife Ltd., incorporated on April 4, 2002, is a global network marketing company that sells weight management, nutritional supplements, energy, sports and fitness products and personal care products through a network of approximately 2.7 million independent distributors, except in China, where the Company sells its products through retail stores. The Company is a network marketing company that sells a range of weight management products, nutritional supplements and personal care products. As of December 31, 2011, the Company sold products in 79 countries throughout the world. Herbalife�� products are grouped in four principal categories: weight management, targeted nutrition, energy, sports and fitness and Outer Nutrition, along with literature and promotional items. The Company�� generates revenue from its six regions: North America, Mexico, South and Central America; EMEA, which consists of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific (excluding China), and China. On December 31, 2012, the Company acquired a manufacturing facility in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

The Company�� products are manufactured by third party providers and by the Company in its Suzhou, China facility and in its manufacturing facility located in Lake Forest, California, and then are sold to independent distributors who sell Herbalife products to retail consumers or other distributors. As of December 31, 2011, Herbalife marketed and sold 138 products encompassing over 4,400 stock keeping units (SKUs) through its distributors.

Weight Management

Weight Management is the Company�� largest product category representing 62.5% of its net sales during the year ended December 31, 2011. Formula 1, its product, is a healthy meal with soy protein, essential vitamins, minerals, herbs and nutrients that is available in seven flavors and can help support weight management. Personalized Protein Powder is a soy and whey protein product designed as a boost to Formula 1 to personalize a pe! rson�� daily protein intake to help achieve their desired weight and shape. Weight-loss enhancers, including Herbal Tea Concentrate, Total Control and Prolessa Duo address specific challenges associated with dieting, such as lack of energy, hunger and food craving, fluid retention, decreased metabolism and digestive challenges, by building energy, boosting metabolism, curbing appetite and helping to promote weight loss. Healthy snacks are formulated to provide between-meal nutrition and appetite satisfaction.

Targeted Nutrition

Herbalife markets numerous dietary and nutritional supplements designed to meet its customers��specific nutritional needs. Each of these supplements contains botanicals, vitamins, minerals and other natural ingredients and focuses on specific life stages of its customers, including women, men, children and those with health concerns, including heart health, healthy aging, digestive health, or immune solutions. Niteworks is a product that supports energy, circulatory and vascular health and enhances blood flow to the heart, brain and other vital organs. Garden 7 is designed to provide the phytonutrient benefits of seven servings of fruits and vegetables and has anti-oxidant and health-boosting properties. Best Defense is an effervescent drink that helps boost immunity. In 2011, the Company expanded distribution of its Active Fiber line by introducing its Apple flavored Active Fiber Complex in the South and Central America region.

Energy, Sports and Fitness

Herbalife entered into the energy drink with the introduction of Liftoff, an energy drink containing a blend of B-vitamins, guarana, ginseng, ginkgo and caffeine to increase energy and improve mental clarity for better performance throughout the day. It launched H3Otm Fitness Drink to provide hydration, sustained muscle energy plus antioxidant protection for people living a healthy, active lifestyle. It also introduced H30 Pro in EMEA to provide an isotonic drink to indivi! duals par! ticipating in high activity sports.

Outer Nutrition

The Company�� Outer Nutrition products complement its weight management and targeted nutrition products and aim to improve the appearance of the body, skin and hair. These products include skin cleansers, toners, moisturizers and facial masks, shampoos and conditioners, body-wash items and a selection of fragrances for men and women. Its Herbal Aloe line is its introductory line providing distributors with cleansers, lotions and soaps that help sooth the skin. NouriFusion Multivitamin skin care products are formulated with antioxidant Vitamins A, C and E. It launched a line of anti-aging products as an extension of its Skin Activator product, an advanced face cream that contains a collagen-building Glucosamine Complex to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also launched a number of regional products including a Soft Green Body Care line in Brazil, the Whitening Serum under the NouriFusion brand in the Asia Pacific region, and the Lively Fragrances perfume line.

Literature, Promotional and Other Products

Herbalife also sells literature and promotional materials, including sales aids, informational audiotapes, videotapes, compact discs (CDs) and digital versatile discs (DVDs) designed to support its distributors��marketing efforts, as well as start-up kits called International Business Packs for new distributors. It introduced BizWorks, a customizable retail Website for its distributors to enhance the on-line experience.

The Company competes with NuSkin Enterprises, Nature�� Sunshine, Alticor/Amway, Melaleuca, Avon Products, Oriflame, Tupperware and Mary Kay, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, General Nutrition Centers and Wal-Mart.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Anora Mahmudova]

    Herbalife Ltd. (HLF) �shares initially rose after the company said it plans to offer $1 billion of convertible notes and use the proceeds to buy back shares. However, shares fell 2.4%.

  • [By Marshall Hargrave]

    In a trade that has turned into a proverbial clash of the hedge fund titans, Ackman is still on the short side of Herbalife (NYSE: HLF) -- only the sixth short position in Pershing's history -- and it's estimated he could be down as much as $300 million on the trade. Ackman continues to stand by his short, defending it against major hedge funds on the long side, which include Carl Icahn and George Soros. Ackman built his short position in late 2012 after publicly calling Herbalife a pyramid scheme. Ackman has also launched a website and put together a 334-slide presentation to support his thesis. Ackman also engaged in a war of words during a half-hour CNBC segment with Icahn, who has said that Herbalife could turn out to be the mother of all short squeezes. 

  • [By John Maxfield]

    He invested in Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX  ) when it was trading below $100 a share at the end of last year; the video-streaming company is now selling for $215 a share -- that's a 210% increase versus the S&P 500's (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) 13%. He's going toe-to-toe with hedge fund manager Bill Ackman over Herbalife (NYSE: HLF  ) ; Ackman claims the multilevel marketing company is a Ponzi scheme, while Icahn's amassed a 15.8% long stake in it. He purchased shares of Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK  ) , after the natural gas company's chief executive officer was exposed for a variety of misdeeds. And Icahn has now thrown himself into the middle of the proposed buyout of personal-computer maker Dell (NASDAQ: DELL  ) . Indeed, like the G.I. Joe theme song, wherever there's trouble, Carl Icahn is there.

  • [By Hibah Yousuf]

    Ackman also is sitting on a huge loss on paper with his short against nutritional supplement maker Herbalife (HLF). Shares of Herbalife have more than doubled this year even though Ackman has claimed on numerous occasions that he thinks the company is a pyramid scheme that has no value.

10 Best Canadian Stocks To Own For 2014

10 Best Canadian Stocks To Own For 2014: STMicroelectronics N.V.(STM)

STMicroelectronics N.V., an independent semiconductor company, engages in the design, development, manufacture, and marketing of a range of semiconductor integrated circuits and discrete devices. Its products include discrete and standard commodity components, application-specific integrated circuits, custom devices and semi-custom devices, and application-specific standard products for analog, digital, and mixed-signal applications. The company also offers subsystems and modules for the telecommunications, automotive, and industrial markets comprising mobile phone accessories, battery chargers, ISDN power supplies, and in-vehicle equipment for electronic toll payment, as well as provides Smartcard products. Its products are used in various microelectronic applications consisting of automotive products, computer peripherals, telecommunications systems, consumer products, industrial automation, and control systems. The company sells its products through distributors and ret ailers. STMicroelectronics N.V. was founded in 1987 and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Vanina Egea]

    Reed Elsevier NV (ENL) is a diversified publisher and information provider. It works on a wide range of market segments that include scientific, technical and medical (STM); legal; risks solutions and business information and exhibitions. The key of the company's growth, however, lies almost exclusively in two brands: Elsevier and LexisNexis.

  • [By Tyler Laundon]

    Analog Devices (ADI) is one of the largest semiconductor companies in the motion-sensing space, with a market cap of $15.87 billion. STM Electronics (STM) is a slightly smaller manufacturer; its market cap is $7.6 billion.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:h! ttp://

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hot Cheap Stocks To Watch Right Now

Hot Cheap Stocks To Watch Right Now: Lattice Semiconductor Corporation(LSCC)

Lattice Semiconductor Corporation designs, develops, manufactures, and markets programmable logic products and related software. The company offers field programmable gate array (FPGA) products, including LatticeECP family for deployment in wireless infrastructure and wireline access equipment, as well as in video and imaging applications; and LatticeXP for the security, surveillance, and display markets. It also provides programmable logic device (PLD) products comprising various versions of ispMACH4000 in-system programmable complex programmable logic device family; MachXO family that is designed for a range of low density applications; platform manager, power manager, and ispClock programmable mixed signal devices; and software development tools and intellectual property cores. The company sells its products directly to end customers through a network of independent manufacturers? representatives and indirectly through a network of independent sell-in and sell-through d istributors. It primarily serves original equipment manufacturers in the communications, computing, consumer, industrial, military, automotive, and medical end markets. The company was founded in 1983 and is headquartered in Hillsboro, Oregon.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Lee Jackson]

    Lattice Semiconductor Corp. (NASDAQ: LSCC) is a top chip stock to buy at Jefferies. The company announced last month three new complete reference designs that will make it easier for electronic OEMs to deliver media-rich experiences to their end users by taking advantage of low-cost, industry-standard MIPI (Mobile Industry Processor Interface) camera, application processor and display technologies. The Jefferies price objective for the stock is $6.50, and the consensus is also at $6.50. Lattice closed yesterday at $4.63.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Rieder: Happier news about the news business

What a difference a year makes.

Each year the Pew Research Center offers up its annual report on the state of the news media.

It's generally a grim document, packed with depressing statistics about plummeting ad revenue and shrinking rosters of reporters at legacy news outlets.

But the latest version released early Wednesday has a radically different tone. While hardly declaring the embattled field has turned the corner and found the elusive formula for surviving and thriving in the digital age, it sees lots of reasons for hope.

It's not quite the irrational exuberance of Internet pioneer Marc Andreesen, who thinks we may be entering a golden age of journalism. But it's not gloom and doom.

"In many ways, 2013 and early 2014 brought a level of energy to the news industry not seen for a long time," the report states. "Even as challenges of the past several years continue and new ones emerge, the activities this year have created a new sense of optimism – or perhaps hope – for the future of American journalism."

Why the happy face? For one thing, Pew is excited about the digital players who are plunging deeply into the serious side of the news business. BuzzFeed, identified with such fare as "Which Rock Star Should You Hook Up With?" has a news staff of 170 and has plunged into investigative reporting, foreign news and longform journalism. Vice Media has 35 foreign bureaus. Vox Media is launching a website for explanatory journalism under the leadership of highly regarded policy wonk Ezra Klein, formerly of The Washington Post. Tech site Mashable has 70 news staffers in the lineup.

For the first time, the project tried to quantify the number of journalism positions at digital-only news organizations. It found about 5,000 working for 30 major digital news outlets and 438 smaller ones.

The study's authors also are encouraged by the fact that very wealthy new players, some form the trendy world of tech, are entering the news game. founder and CE! O Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post. Boston Red Sox owner John Henry purchased The Boston Globe. And eBay founder Pierre Omidyar is creating a brand new player from scratch, First Look Media, to the tune of $250 million.

Philanthropists and venture capitalists are also getting into the mix.

The report makes clear that problems persist at traditional news outlets. Newspaper newsroom jobs declined by 6.4% in 2012 and there were doubtless more losses in 2013, it says, adding that despite all the cool new kids in the game, "the vast majority of bodies producing original reporting still lie within the newspaper industry."

The document reminds us that "a year ago, the State of the News Media report struck a somber note, citing evidence of continued declines in the mainstream media that were impacting both content and audience satisfaction." And many of those problems persist.

"Still," it continues, "the level of new activity this past year is creating a perception that something important, perhaps even game-changing, is going on. If the developments in 2013 are at this point only a drop in the bucket, it feels like a heavier drop than most."

I share the authors' enthusiasm about the promising green shoots. The fact that so many new players see a value in powerful journalism is good news indeed. Particularly heartening is the substantial investment in investigative reporting and foreign coverage.

But there's one serious area of concern: Who is going to pay for local reporting? Many local outfits continue to decline. Many digital start-ups are doing fine work at the local level, but they are largely complementary to the big dog in town rather than large enough to fully cover an entire region.

And first-rate local journalism is critical in a democracy.

I look forward to one year reading in Pew's annual report that we've got that one covered as well.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ask Matt: China Internet stocks have risk, reward

USA TODAY markets reporter Matt Krantz answers a different reader question every weekday. To submit a question, e-mail Matt at

Q: Why are Chinese Internet stocks doing so well?

A: When stocks are going straight up, investors start feeling brave. And it's hard to find a corner of the market that takes more nerves than Chinese Internet stocks.

Shares of the KraneShares CSI China Internet ETF is up roughly 8% this year. Chinese Internet stocks are jumping, such as Internet security firm Qihoo 360, Chinese search engine Baidu and online travel site Ctrip.

Hot Gas Stocks For 2014

The rally in the Chinese stocks has two reasons. Investors are on a ravenous search for growth and Chinese Internet stocks have been expanding. Qihoo 360, for instance, saw its revenue more than double last year to $671.1 million last year. And at Baidu, revenue gained 43% last year, blowing away the 19% growth at Google.

But investors are also looking for speculative plays. Shares of Chinese Internet stocks tend to swing by large amounts, so traders are hoping to catch the upswings. Chinese Internet stocks, at least the ones owned by the KraneShares CSI China Internet ETF, have a beta of 1.16, meaning they're more volatile than the market, says Morningstar.

Meanwhile, investors are preparing for what could be the biggest Chinese stock of them all: Alibaba. The Hangzhou, China-based Internet company is in the process of preparing its initial public offering to be listed on a U.S. exchange. The deal, if it goes well, might spur even more interest in the fast-growing Chinese Internet market.

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Follow Matt Krantz on Twitter: @mattkrantz.

Top 10 Penny Companies For 2014

Top 10 Penny Companies For 2014: Telestone Technologies Corp.(TSTC)

Telestone Technologies Corporation offers wireless local-access network technologies and solutions primarily in the People?s Republic of China. Its access-network solutions include the research and development, and application of access network technology. The company designs and sells electronic equipments, such as wireless fiber-optic distribution system products, RFPA products, passive components, repeaters, radio frequency peripherals, and base station antennas used to provide access network solutions for 2G, 3G, broadband access, and CATV networks. It also offers project design, project management, installation, maintenance, and other after-sales services. In addition, Telestone provides various solutions to the telecommunications industry, which cover indoor and outdoor environments comprising hotels, residential estates, office buildings, airports, exhibition centers, underground stations, and highways and tunnels. Further, the company engages in the design, develop ment, production and installation, and trading of wireless telecommunication coverage system equipment. It also markets its products to 29 countries, including Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, and Vietnam. The company was founded in 1987 and is headquartered in Beijing, China.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By insider]

    The valuation box will also clearly indicate it if a company is traded at below its net current asset value (NCAV). Please see the valuation box for Telestone (TSTC) below.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Top 5 Oil Stocks To Invest In Right Now

Top 5 Oil Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Karoon Gas Australia Ltd (KRNGF)

Karoon Gas Australia Ltd (Karoon Gas) is an Australia-based exploration company. The Company is principally engaged in the hydrocarbon exploration and evaluation in Australia, Brazil and Peru. The Company operates in three segments: Australia, Brazil and Peru exploration. The Company's Australia segment is involved in the exploration and evaluation of hydrocarbons in four offshore permit areas: WA-314-P, WA-315-P, WA-398-P and WA-482-P; The Company in its Brazil segment is involved in the exploration and evaluation of hydrocarbons in five offshore blocks including Block S-M-1037, Block S-M-1101, Block S-M-1102, Block S-M-1165 and Block S-M-1166. The Company under its Peru exploration segment is involved in the exploration and evaluation of hydrocarbons in two blocks in Peru, including Block 144 (onshore) and Block Z-38 (offshore). Advisors' Opinion:

    LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- Australian stocks gave ground in early Friday trading, with banks broadly lower after overnight losses in the U.S., where investors worried that better-than-expected data would prompt the Federal Reserve to roll back stimulus soon. The S&P/ASX 200 (AU:XJO) lost 0.4% to 5,178.30, as National Australia Bank Ltd. (AU:NAB) (NAUBF) fell 1.8%, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group (AU:ANZ) (ANEWF) lost 0.8%, and Macquarie Group Ltd. (AU:MQG) (MCQEF) retreated 1.3%. Among the resource shares, losses for gold both in New York and in early Asi! an electronic trade helped send Evolution Mining Ltd. (AU:EVN) (CAHPF) down 1.9% and Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd. (AU:KCN) (KSKGF) off 4.5%, though Newcrest Mining Ltd. (AU:NCM) (NCMGF) held the drop to 0.4%. Oil prices managed a modest gain, however, resulting in a 0.2% rise for Oil Search Ltd. (AU:OSH) (OISHF) and Karoon Gas Australia Ltd. (AU:KAR) (KRNGF) , while Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (AU:WPL)


    LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- Australian stocks seesawed in early Monday trade, with gains for miners and energy names helping support the market, as the S&P/ASX 200 (AU:XJO) sat 0.1% higher at 5,325.90 after changing direction several times. Official Chinese data showing manufacturing holding its growth rate in October appeared to help some miners, as did gains for some commodity prices. Shares of Rio Tinto Ltd. (AU:RIO) (RIO) rose 0.5%, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. (AU:FMG) (FSUMF) added 0.7%, Oz Minerals Ltd. (AU:OZL) (OZMLF) advanced 1%, and Whitehaven Coal Ltd. (AU:WHC) improved by 1.! 9%. Likew! ise, an advance for gold futures sent Newcrest Mining Ltd. (AU:NCM) (NCMGF) rallying 3.4%, and Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd. (AU:KCN) (KSKGF) up 2.9%. Energy shares also traded higher, with Oil Search Ltd. (AU:OSH) (OISHF) up 1.3%, and Karoon Gas Australia Ltd. (AU:KAR) (KRNGF) adding 1.7%. On the downside, retailers were mostly lower, with David Jones Ltd. (AU:DJS) (DVDJF)

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Monday, March 24, 2014

Active managers win the bull market

stocks, midcap, large cap, small cap, s&p, market, active, passive

At the end of 2010, the Eventide Gilead Fund was ranked in the 87th percentile in its Morningstar Inc. category — midcap growth — trailing not just its competitors but its benchmark too.

But by the end of last year, the actively managed fund didn't just beat most of its competitors, it also achieved another distinction — beating its benchmark, the S&P MidCap 400, by more than 20 percentage points.

Active managers made hay in last year's bull market, with many who were focused on growth picks beating their benchmarks, according to a new report looking at their performance.

Comparable benchmarks beat active managers only 42.6% of the time in large-cap-growth funds and 36.7% in midcap-growth funds, according to the annual S&P Indices Versus Active Funds U.S. Scorecard, which is produced by a McGraw-Hill unit that licenses services to index fund sponsors.

(Look who's going active.)

Still, advocates of passive fund management said the funds' topsy-turvy performance dispersion could mean that that trend may be as fleeting as your