Saturday, June 7, 2014

Finra will be in charge of crowdfunding platforms

crowdfunding, finra, broker-dealers, JOBS act

Usually the thought of Finra regulation sends a shudder through the target, but online platforms that will conduct equity sales in startup companies contend that they welcome the prospect.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. will oversee the portals under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, which eases securities registration for small companies. On Wednesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission and Finra released proposed rules for implementing the so-called crowdfunding provision of the measure.

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“Equity crowdfunding will not survive if there aren't rules to help protect both [issuers and investors],” said Ryan Caldbeck, co-founder and chief executive of CircleUp Network Inc., a crowdfunding site that focuses on consumer and retail companies. “Having a governing body overseeing those rules is positive for all the parties involved.”

Finra already regulates Mr. Caldbeck's site, which conducts equity crowdfunding for accredited investors. The rules that were proposed on Wednesday would extend access to crowdfunding to ordinary investors, who could buy equity offerings in small amounts.

“We've had a productive and positive relationship [with Finra],” Mr. Calbeck said. “They're receptive to how we're trying to help investors and companies connect.”

Finra's regulation of crowdfunding portals will be less stringent than its oversight of broker-dealers, according to Robert Colby, the regulator's chief legal officer. Portals will not be allowed to engage in brokerage activities, such as soliciting investments, making recommendations or maintaining custody of client funds.

“This is one of our first efforts to create a slimmed-down rule book for a limited-purpose type of entity,” Mr. Colby said. “It is lighter than regulation of brokers consistent with what [portals] do.”

Finra will be monitoring the relationships between portals and brokers.

“We want to make sure the conduct stays in the right channels,” Mr. Colby said. “What I worry about is that in the go-go [online] environment, funding portals may not understand that they cannot go into full sales operations.”

MicroVentures, another crowdfunding site that works with accredited investors, has been overseen by Finra for the last three years. It has been examined twice by Finra in the past three years.

“It's never easy,” said Bill Clark, founder and president of MicroVentures. “They're very thorough. They follow up on everything. For us, it wasn't very painful. It's just time-consuming.”

He said that his portal has two full-time compliance officers and spends about $100,000 to $150,000 annually on ensuring that all regulations are followed.

Judd Hollas, founder and chief executive of Equitynet, said that he is not concerned about Finra regulation. But, he noted, it will pos! e a burden for new crowdfunding sites, most of which are small startups themselves.

“I'm assuming that a lot of crowdfunding operators would view regulatory oversight as an added challenge to their already full plates,” Mr. Hollas said. “It's certainly going to be a material cost in the tens of thousands of dollars at a minimum.”

Finra's more relaxed approach to this sector can be seen in part by the faster approval process for new portals than for new brokerages – 60 days compared to 180 days, according to Jilliene Helman, chief executive of Realty Mogul Co.

“It seems that their oversight of funding portals is going to be less onerous than their oversight of broker-dealers,” Ms. Helman said. “It suggests Finra understands how quickly things move in the tech world.”

Taking on regulation of crowdfunding portals won't distract Finra from its traditional broker-dealer constituency, according to Mr. Colby. The organization currently oversees about 4,200 securities firms. The SEC estimates that fewer than 100 crowdfunding portals will be operating when rules are approved. Finra has communicated with about 39 portals in a voluntary pre-registration initiative.

“If there are 50 to 100 portals, that's not a material change,” Mr. Colby said.

Mr. Clark said that he doesn't detect a culture clash between Finra and the online capital-formation community.

“The people I work with in [Finra's] Dallas district and in New York are open to crowdfunding, as long as they can have access to information they need to protect investors, which is the No. 1 goal,” Mr. Clark said.

Diversification Is Futile; Economy a ‘House of Cards’: Axel Merk

This time is different, and traditional investment principles — including even the hallowed precept of diversification — can no longer be relied upon in a “house of cards” financial structure that may soon “come down on the heads of investors.”

So says currency portfolio manager Axel Merk of Merk Investments in his latest investment analysis.

Merk argues that “instead of a rebirth following the global financial crisis,” we got a broad decline in economic and political stability across the globe. In the U.S. that is indicated by fiscal and monetary policies that kick the can down the road together with a rise in populist movements on the left and right, Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party; Merk cites populist Abenomics in Japan and the revolts of the Arab Spring in the Middle East.

In this kind of “house of cards” economy, investors must recognize that their interests are not aligned with those of policymakers.

“A government in debt has an incentive to debase the value of its debt, whereas investors have an interest in earning a positive real return on their savings,” Merk writes.

Indeed, citing Stanford University economist Martin Schneider, Merk points out that both government and citizens would benefit from inflation today. That is because inflation would debase both government and consumer debt.

“If you are a consumer with savings, sorry, you are in the minority and your interests will have to take a back seat,” he writes, adding that the same subordination will apply to foreigners who own U.S. Treasuries.

Merk foresees continued political decline and a continued blowing up of bubbles, making bonds and the U.S. dollar particularly vulnerable.

Moreover, in today’s environment, “traditional diversification can’t be relied upon as asset prices reflect the next perceived move of policymakers rather than fundamentals.”

For all these reasons, investors need their own toolbox consisting of gold and currencies to counter the toolbox policymakers use to debase the currency and spur inflation.

Gold’s value lies in its tendency to hedge against inflation and low correlation to other assets; currencies also have a low correlation to other asset classes and are less volatile than gold, Merk says.

Late last month, Merk launched just such a tool for investors who share his persuasion — a novel gold ETF that lets shareholders trade shares for physical possession of bullion. In a discussion of the new Merk Gold Trust (OUNZ) posted to the Merk Funds site earlier this week, Merk says that other ETFs allowing for physical delivery may be more restrictive than shareholders suspect — allowing only “authorized participants” to take possession.

Another unique feature of the fund, Merk says, is that “taking delivery is not a taxable event as investors merely take delivery of the gold they already own. With other gold ETFs, investors need to sell their shares, a taxable event, before they can deploy the proceeds to buy coins.”

The gold and currencies manager also notes that their belief in gold is so strong that they get paid in gold rather than cash (through shares of OUNZ that shareholders pay as their management fee, which is equivalent to a 0.4% expense ratio).

Ultimately, Merk’s case for gold rests on the strength of the trend he sees toward negative real interest rates among the world’s monetary policymakers. While gold pays no interest, zero is preferable to the negative real rate he sees in the world’s money centers.

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The U.S., he says is biased toward inflation, and even if policymakers were not of this view, Merk argues the U.S. simply can’t afford positive real rates:

“Looking at the projections of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a decade from now we may be paying over $900 billion a year in interest on government debt (marketable Treasury securities), up from about $200 billion currently. And the CBO does not think the average interest rate we will be paying on our debt will go back up to what has been the historic average; if it were, we would pay $1.2 trillion a year in interest expense alone. Fear not, I don't think this is going to happen; the price for this, however, may well be negative real interest rates, providing a potential catalyst for inflation and a weaker dollar.”

Merk similarly sees Japan as structurally incapable of positive real rates and the eurozone as fully committed to negative real rates.


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Maria Bartiromo talks to Alcoa’s Klaus Kleinfeld

Now that the government has reopened and President Obama has nominated Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen to succeed Ben Bernanke, the betting on Wall Street is that the so-called "tapering," or the winding down of the Fed's stimulus program, won't happen until mid-2014. That stimulus has been a key catalyst for the stock rally this year, as low rates have pushed investors to seek higher yields. The Fed says the decision to taper depends on the economic data to come. But some economists expect a weak fourth quarter because of the shutdown. I caught up with an industrial leader to get the deal on exactly where the economy is. Klaus Kleinfeld is the CEO of aluminum maker Alcoa, a metal used in everything from cars to your home and beyond. Our interview follows, edited for clarity and length.

Q: What are you seeing right now in terms of the global economy?

A: We have seen an air of confidence return to the world economy. But the lack of action in Washington acts like a Taser, basically freezing all economic activity. The administration must find immediate solutions to solve this. What is happening in every boardroom around the country is people saying, "Well, lets not invest. Let's wait a couple of weeks until this thing has sorted out, and I can see a clearer picture."

Q: Are you worried about what America is looking like to the rest of the world with these uncertainties?

A: I'm more worried about what the consequences would be of a default and what the consequences are of a continued conversation. Every day that goes by continues to take confidence away. Activity is frozen because everybody's worried what the next day would bring.

Q: What would be the consequences of a default?

A: A strong reduction of economic growth at a time when the economy has just begun to recover. In the U.S., we've been going into a phase that could bring us 3% growth again. We absolutely need that, because we need jobs to come back.

Q: What about your business? You reported strong earn! ings. Where are you seeing the vibrancy right now?

A: Aerospace continues to be very strong — there's an eight-year order backlog in this industry. It's very, very, good that we are in there so dominantly. Automotive, particularly here in the U.S., is coming back. All the car companies are doing really well. The most interesting thing for us is that we are going through a historic change here. As fuel efficiency becomes more important, and companies are going for light weight, aluminum is the material of choice. That's another great market for us, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Finally, building and construction, which we are No. 1 in here in the U.S., that market is coming back. On top of that, the requirements are changing. People don't want to waste energy. They want to have a more energy-efficient building. We have products that cater to this market need.

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Q: For a long time, we talked about fuel efficiency. But it wasn't really gaining traction. You're saying now it is?

A: On the automotive side, it depends on which segment you're looking at. Fuel efficiency for planes has always been an issue. Otherwise, it will not lift off the ground. That's one of the big contributions that aluminum brought to this world 125 years ago. Without aluminum, we would not have flight, and certainly, we would not have seen the world from outer space. Now, it's coming to automotive.

Q: What about the rest of the world? How would you characterize Europe and the emerging markets? These were the two areas of weakness for many companies in the last year or two.

A: As Henry Kissinger has said so wisely, there is not one telephone number for Europe. Therefore, you see very different pictures in Europe. Germany continues to do very well. They just came out with the lowest unemployment numbers for a long time. Spain ju! st did a ! refinancing of a long-term bond, and demand for those long term bonds has been strong in spite of the crisis. Even with a government crisis in Italy, Italian bonds don't show any signs of instability there.

Europe is finding a way out of the crisis. It's slow, but it's slowly recovering. Asia continues to be strong; China is pulling it. There are a lot of other tigers that are coming along with it.

Q: You are celebrating a big anniversary for Alcoa this year.

A: Yes, our 125th anniversary. It's a very cool story. It all started with two young kids in their early '20s more than 125 years ago. Young Charles Martin Hall was the sweet age of roughly 20. Asked his professor at Oberlin College, "What do I have to do to become the richest man on this planet?" The professor didn't have to think much. He said, "If ever anybody found a way how to make this miracle metal called aluminum in an industrial weight, I am sure that person will become the richest man on this planet." That gave him the shot in the arm. He had a great help, which is another great story with Julia, his older sister, who was also studying at Oberlin College. They both cracked the code. And here we are 125 years later. They brought industrial aluminum making to us.

Bartiromo is anchor of CNBC's Closing Bell and anchor and managing editor of the nationally syndicated On The Money with Maria Bartiromo. Follow her on Twitter @mariabartiromo. To see previous columns, go to

Friday, June 6, 2014

11 Best Cheap Stocks Under $10 to Buy Now

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Identifying cheap stocks is increasingly difficult as the market continues to hit new highs. But even if you have a long list of cheap stocks trading for a low share price, that in itself is no guarantee of success.

two ten dollar bills 6301 300x227 11 Best Cheap Stocks Under $10 to Buy Now Source: Flickr

That's because the best cheap stocks aren't battered companies that sat out the past few years of the bull market — they are cheap stocks that will become expensive in a hurry thanks to favorable growth prospects.

Sometimes the best cheap stocks have underperformed, but are on the cusp of a turnaround. Other times the best cheap stocks are simply sleepy companies that have been overlooked and actually are worth much more than investors are currently paying per share.

But the bottom line is that "cheap" isn't just based on the headline price you're paying – it's about a fair price, with a good value and the realistic hope of big returns down the road.

So what are the best cheap stocks to buy now? Here's my list of 11 picks under $10 that could deliver big returns during the next few months:

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Best Cheap Stocks – Northwest Biotherapeutics (NWBO)

Northwest Biotherapeutics NWBO stock 185 11 Best Cheap Stocks Under $10 to Buy NowPrice as of 6/5/14: $5.71

No list of high-growth, low-priced stocks would be complete without a risky biotech play in there … so I'll start with Northwest Biotherapeutics (NWBO).

Northwest is your typical big-risk, big-reward biotech small-cap stock. The $330 million company is unprofitable as it burns cash on expensive drug research and trials, primarily regarding treatments that are designed to help patients' own immune systems gain strength and fight off certain kinds of cancer. Some of the most promising treatments right now target brain cancer and prostate cancer.

You can read up more on NWBO trials and treatments here and elsewhere around the web, but the bottom line is that this is a speculative stock that will live or die based on the success of its current research and subsequent FDA approval.

Shares have been quite volatile, but it's worth noting that Northwest Biotherapeutics is up 50% year-to-date — and was up by even more just a few months ago.

Shares still trade around $6 apiece, however, so if you want to take a flier on tomorrow's cancer cures, then consider a small position in NWBO. Just make sure you understand the risk and volatility involved with unprofitable, early-stage biotech stocks like this. They can rack up big wins, but also big losses if things don't go right.

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Best Cheap Stocks – RF Micro Devices (RFMD)

RF Micro Devices RFMD stock 185 11 Best Cheap Stocks Under $10 to Buy NowPrice as of 6/5/14: $9.65

RF Micro Devices (RFMD) is not an incredibly sexy business, creating chips and electronic components that deal largely with radio waves. This includes amplifiers and modulators, as well as cellular products for mobile use.

RFMD stock got caught up in the dot-com boom, peaking at $80 a share (adjusted for splits) before crashing to single digits, where it has remained for most of the time since 2002. However, after the obvious bubble valuations of 2001 evaporated and the company's stock splits proved all for naught, the company has been quite stable ever since.

RF Micro Devices surely has had its challenges, including a recent restructuring that included the layoff of 120 employees at its North Carolina headquarters last year. But RFMD has emerged more profitable, and is projecting that the current fiscal year will be the most profitable since the Great Recession on an earnings-per-share basis.

Revenue is moving in the right direction, and with a broad tailwind for the electronics industry as consumers and businesses start spending more — especially on mobile technologies — RFMD could be on the cusp of a big move. Shares already are up an impressive 88% since Jan. 1 on strong earnings, so there clearly is a wind at this company's back … meaning it won't be cheap for long.

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Best Cheap Stocks – BlackRock Kelso Capital Corp. (BKCC)

BlackRockKelso185 11 Best Cheap Stocks Under $10 to Buy NowPrice as of 6/5/14: $8.70

BlackRock Kelso Capital Corp. (BKCC) is a business development company, or BDC, which generates revenue from investments in and loans to midsized companies. As that capital generates returns, BlackRock Kelso shares generate big dividends for shareholders.

Of course, that also means BKCC lives and dies by its underlying investments.

You can look into its full list of investments here for more detail. But be careful, because performance of BlackRock as a stock might not be as straightforward as it seems based on these component investments. For instance, BKCC stock actually declined in 2013 despite a roaring stock market. And right now, the company actually trades for a 10% discount to its book value and a single-digit forward P/E.

That's in part because nothing is for certain, and an economic downturn would take a bite out of many underlying investments in the BlackRock Kelso portfolio. Similarly, interest-rate risks may exist for some loans should rates move higher.

But the good news is that even if shares just stay steady, you can generate a double-digit return from dividends alone. BlackRock Kelso currently boasts a monstrous dividend yield of more than 12% (calculated from four previous payments of 26 cents over the last four quarters). Also, BKCC paid 32 cents a share as recently as 2010.

If the economy turns a corner and more midsize companies look to expand, BlackRock Kelso will benefit handsomely. There is the risk of a dividend cut too, sure, but there seems to be plenty of room for error with a yield like this.

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Best Cheap Stocks – Shanda Games (GAME)

shanda 11 Best Cheap Stocks Under $10 to Buy NowPrice as of 6/5/14: $6.71

China is a huge market for gaming, with the mobile video game business alone set to hit $3 billion this year — double what it was a short while ago.

As one of the most popular Internet video game portals in the nation, Shanda Games (GAME) is uniquely positioned to benefit from this growing entertainment business in China. Shanda's massive online role-playing games span fantasy, strategy and martial arts themes. It also has a range of mobile games for the Apple (AAPL) iPad or Google (GOOG) Android devices to ensure it's not tethered to PC or console gaming like some of the other players out there.

Shanda had a pretty stagnant top line in 2013, and admittedly saw revenue decline slightly in its latest earnings report. But with an estimated annual growth rate of 10% across each of the next five years, the long-term outlook remains strong. And considering the poor growth prospects elsewhere, the tailwind for GAME stock looks even more impressive in this tough market.

Shanda is up 60% in the past year in part thanks to buyout rumors, but remains one of the best cheap stocks out there.

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Best Cheap Stocks – Huntington Bank (HBAN)

huntington 11 Best Cheap Stocks Under $10 to Buy NowPrice as of 6/5/14: $9.52

Huntington Bancshares (HBAN) has largely tracked the rest of the market in the past year. But the prospect of brisk growth in commercial and consumer lending across the Midwest — and, of course, dividend increases to come with that expansion — could lift the regional bank across the next 12 to 18 months.

Unlike a lot of cheap stocks on this list, HBAN shares pay a decent dividend worth a 2.1% yield — only slightly less than Treasuries right now — and the company is soundly profitable with room for dividend increases down the road; Right now, Huntington's dividend is roughly a quarter of profits.

Sure, the U.S. Federal Reserve has to sign off on any dividend increase in the wake of the financial crisis; however, HBAN continues to improve and was not identified as a problem bank in the most recent round of "stress tests" from the Fed.

Sure, banks are a highly cyclical business and Huntington still trades for a slight premium to book value. However, an improving macro picture will continue providing a tailwind to HBAN going forward … and at $9 and change per share, this stock won't stay under $10 for long.

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Best Cheap Stocks – QuickLogic (QUIK)

quicklogic 11 Best Cheap Stocks Under $10 to Buy NowPrice as of 6/5/14: $xxx

QuickLogic (QUIK) is a "fabless" semiconductor company, meaning it designs and markets chips but does not fabricate them itself. QUIK semiconductors power tablets, smartphones and other devices — but unlike a company like Intel (INTC), you don't have to worry about the capital expense of massive manufacturing infrastructure with this company.

QuikLogic simply designs the chips, sells them to gadget companies and allows a third-party company to make the actual products.

The stock has popped more than 100% in the past year, proving the power of QUIK. Even more impressive is that this strength has taken place even as some of the most fashionable, high-growth names in tech have flamed out — including (AMZN) and Twitter (TWTR), among others.

Now, QUIK stock did step off a cliff in May after weak guidance and poor earnings, giving up about 30% in short order. But after a steep decline, investors rapidly changed course and started buying the stock back as the bullish predictions for the long term outweighed short-term setbacks. Now, the stock is right back where it was before it reported earnings.

You're clearly in store for volatility with QuikLogic. However, there also are myriad reasons to be bullish, including a big deal with Samsung (SSNLF) to use its chip designs in its flagship Galaxy smartphones.

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Best Cheap Stocks – CEMIG (CIG)

CEMIG 11 Best Cheap Stocks Under $10 to Buy NowPrice as of 6/5/14: $7.22

Utility stocks underperformed as the market went "risk on" in 2013. At the same time, emerging markets have taken a beating thanks to a slowdown in Latin America and China.

So why would you stick your neck out CEMIG (CIG), a South American utility that has been quite challenged as of late?

Simple: Because things will turn around eventually — and when they do, CEMIG will soar.

CEMIG is a great opportunity to play growth in Brazil in a low-risk way — because after residential customers and businesses get on the electric grid, they tend to stay on it. Additionally, CIG stock yields a dividend of about 8% based on its last two payouts.

Admittedly, growth is choppy and distributions are volatile. But getting a juicy dividend will help ease the pain if CEMIG stock goes nowhere even as U.S. stock chug higher — and best of all, you'll have a good footprint in emerging markets for the inevitable change in sentiment.

Unless you think South American stocks will never bounce back, it's time to start considering a bargain buy in the region while valuations are so depressed. CEMIG is a good low-risk way to increase your exposure there without as much volatility as higher-growth emerging market stocks — and it's a cheap stock to boot, at around $7 per share.

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Best Cheap Stocks – Lionbridge Technologies (LIOX)

liox 11 Best Cheap Stocks Under $10 to Buy NowPrice as of 6/5/14: $5.61

Lionbridge (LIOX) is the kind of cheap, small-cap stock that investors love.

This tech stock has good medium-term and long-term performance, with 88% returns in the past 12 months, and roughly 150% returns since January 2010. And while the stock is off materially from 52-week highs set in February, it is actually pretty flat since late January after a post-earnings pop proved a bit overdone.

Beyond the performance, the positioning is good. LIOX provides language translation services for some of the leading international industrial and technology companies, including Microsoft (MSFT) and Google (GOOG). In the past few years, the company has grappled with cutbacks and soft enterprise spending from its major clients … but recent news that Skype (a MSFT property) will be rolling out impressive translation functionality bodes quite well for LIOX stock if they have a piece of that pie going forward.

Sure, revenue at Lionbridge Technologies has been steadily rising and a lot of the previous success has been baked in. However, anyone who is bullish on enterprise technology spending going forward should consider LIOX as a cheap way to get exposure to this segment.

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Best Cheap Stocks – Exco Resources (XCO)

exco185 11 Best Cheap Stocks Under $10 to Buy NowPrice as of 6/5/14: $5.12

Exco Resources (XCO) is an onshore oil and natural gas play focused mainly on shale operations. Its focus is on using horizontal drilling to extract gas from shale formations in east Texas, north Louisiana, Appalachia and the Permian Basin in west Texas.

XCO is one of many oil and gas small-caps that could be great long-term buys, but has faced underperformance as of late; XCO stock is flat in 2014 and down about 35% in the last 12 months.

However, Exco has been right-sizing itself for several years, including a big drilling rig reduction (from 24 to five) in 2012, as well as shaving 60% of its contractors and a sixth of its full-time workers. And currently, XCO is working reducing debt and improve liquidity – including a partnership with Phil Falcone's iconic Harbinger Group — to improve its capital structure.

The good news is that results seem to be paying off, and the harsh environment for energy stocks seems to have abated a bit. The last five straight quarters show year-over-year sales growth, and as a result, Exco is set to see significant earnings improvement this year and a return to consistent profitability.

The fact that the stock offers a highly sustainable 3.8% dividend to tide you over as you wait for a recovery in energy prices or demand means this is a reasonable cheap stock to buy.

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Best Cheap Stocks – Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASX)

asx logo 11 Best Cheap Stocks Under $10 to Buy NowPrice as of 6/5/14: $6.42

Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASX) builds and distributes integrated circuits and other electronics. While that's not as sexy as other chipmakers that play to mobile, it's still a good business, considering the general demand for microchips in everything from cars to computers to TVs.

The Taiwan-based company is close to many Asian electronics manufacturers. And those manufacturers don’t need to crank out anything as sexy as Apple’s iPhone; ASX still will have a strong baseline simply from the sheer number of high-tech devices out in the world.

Moreover, ASX is not a chip designer, just a manufacturer. That means while it doesn't have the same big margins as the companies who create the next hot chip, it also doesn't have the same risk to get it right with R&D. Advanced Semiconductor's diverse business makes it a stable player for the long haul, and not as finicky as companies that rely heavily on laptops an desktops. That stability is somewhat reflected in the form of a 2.8% dividend yield.

ASX isn’t an exciting business in the least, but its returns are — ASX is up 58% in the past year and 33% year-to-date. With a decent dividend, decent revenue and profit growth and momentum for share prices, ASX could be the best stock to buy for around the $5 mark right now.

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Best Cheap Stocks – Hercules Offshore (HERO)

Hercules Offshore 11 Best Cheap Stocks Under $10 to Buy NowPrice as of 6/5/14: $4.48

Oil stocks haven't really been all that kind to investors over the last few years as weak pricing coupled with weaker energy demand in emerging markets has hurt the bottom line. And one stock that has taken a beating is offshore oil drilling services company Hercules Offshore (HERO).

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But the bottom line is that crude oil prices have moved to above $100 a barrel and are staying there, helping margins. And at the same time, the world's easy oil is gone and energy companies are increasingly turning to harder-to-access offshore oil and gas fields to bolster reserves. That means a long-term tailwind for oil services stocks like HERO despite past troubles.

Now, Hercules’ stock price is down more than 30% in the last year. But the company divested a number of barge-based rigs in 2013, and has posted a profit in four of the past five quarters — with revenue growth to boot.

HERO appears to be right-sized now for the current market environment and has decent upside potential if investment in oil and gas drilling stays strong.

After a big drop during the past few years, much of the negativity has been priced into this cheap stock.

Jeff Reeves is the editor of and the author of The Frugal Investor's Guide to Finding Great Stocks. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Write him at or follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP. 

10 Trends The Washington Compromise Will Not Change At All

A deal between Democrats and Republicans has supposedly been reached in Washington D.C. to end the government shutdown and to end the debt ceiling expiration. While many people expect that this will prevent Treasury defaults, the reality is that many other trends are not likely to change at all in the weeks and months ahead. It is unfortunate to say that the inverse may not be true if the deal falls apart.

24/7 Wall St. has been tracking many of these and other trends before and during this last round of infighting in Washington D.C. Some trends have been rather obvious. Others have been harder to assume or predict. What we wanted to alert our readers to is what the settlement in Washington does not really change at all.

This is a quick-hit list of bullet points of what to look for in the coming weeks and months. One caveat has to be made that these set in stone issues are based upon a settlement actually going through.

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Here are ten things that will not likely be changed at all versus what you saw before the government shutdown and during the shutdown.

1) D.C. Crisis Management Will Continue

The first thing to consider is that this is not the last crisis management in Washington. It appears that this is simply kicking the can down the road a few months, and 2014 is an election year. This Congress and this President seem only able to come together when all failed efforts are shown to come with an outcome that is far worse than coming together. Washington D.C. management simply moves from one crisis to another and that will continue. The media loves this frenzy too because it keeps people interested, so you might even be led to think there is a big fight even if there is just a small argument.

2) Long Live QE!

The second consideration is that Quantitative Easing is likely to continue. Janet Yellen’s appointment as the next Chairman of the Federal Reserve is one which is aimed at continuing low interest rates and other measure. This will follow Ben Bernanke’s move of keeping the $85 billion in monthly bond purchases alive into 2014, being very dovish on interest rates ahead, and targeting unemployment. We do expect the Janet Yellen appointment to be confirmed even if it is a process. The Fed’s latest Beige Book was already suggesting weaker growth and that was before the full impact of the federal government shutdown. It is shocking to us how the Federal Reserve balance sheet is approaching $4 trillion, and we think that $4 trillion in assets will be hit in December of January. To put that in context, the Fed’s balance sheet is now larger than Germany’s GDP.

3) U.S. Credit Rating Risks Remain

The third consideration to keep in mind is that Fitch’s warning about the “full faith and credit” will remain relevant. If the debt ceiling debate is pushed out only until January or February, we are soon to be right back at the same place again. It will feel like you were sent back to Go, without collecting $200 and without a new role of the dice. Fitch’s warning was more dire once you get inside the report for the hidden meaning. Fitch may even announce very soon that they are removing the Rating Watch Negative bias, but this will come right back on the table if the infighting in January and February is a repeat of October. Will the U.S. get a downgrade? Perhaps not, but the risks to the downside are likely to remain higher than risks to the upside.

Tesla Motors Gains as New Jersey Committee Votes to Allow Direct Sales

Shares of Tesla Motors (TSLA) are gaining today, and while I would chalk that up to the overall good vibes emanating from the market, it certainly doesn’t hurt that a New Jersey Assembly committee voted to allow Tesla to sell directly to customers.

Getty Images has the details:

When his appointees at the Motor Vehicle Commission banned Tesla Motors from selling its electric cars at New Jersey stores, Gov. Chris Christie said his administration was merely enforcing a decades-old state law and that it was up to the Legislature to change it.

Today, an Assembly panel took him up on that challenge.

Top 5 High Dividend Companies To Watch For 2015

A month and a half after Tesla was forced to halt direct sales at its two stores in Short Hills and Paramus, the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee approved a bill (A3216) that would allow it to restart the sales – and open two more stores.

The vote was 4-0.

The vote came just about three weeks after the FTC said states shouldn’t ban direct sales of Teslas.  Shares of Tesla Motors have gained 1.4% to $206.87 at 3:16 p.m. today, more than twice the S&P 500′s 0.6% rise.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Top Construction Material Stocks To Watch Right Now

Top Construction Material Stocks To Watch Right Now: Boral Ltd (BLD)

Boral Limited (Boral), is engaged in the manufacture and supply of building and construction materials in Australia, the United States and Asia. The Companys operating segments include Construction Materials & Cement, Building Products, Boral Gypsum, and Boral USA. The Construction Materials & Cement is engaged in quarries, concrete, asphalt, transport, landfill, property, cement and concrete placing. The Building Products segment is engaged in Australian bricks, roof tiles, masonry, timber products and windows. The Boral Gypsum involves Australian and Asian plasterboard. The Boral USA is engaged in Bricks, cultured stone, roof tiles, fly ash, concrete and quarries. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Eric Lam]

    Ballard Power (BLD), which designs and manufactures hydrogen fuel cells, slumped 15 percent to C$1.42, the biggest decline since March. The company yesterday said it will sell about 9 million units at $1.40 a unit for proceeds of about $12.6 million. The cash generated will be used to fund working capital, support growth and general corporate purposes, the company said.

  • source from Top Penny Stocks For 2015:

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Top 10 Biotech Companies To Own For 2015

Top 10 Biotech Companies To Own For 2015: IsoRay Inc (ISR)

IsoRay, Inc. (IsoRay), incorporated on June 15, 2004, develops, manufactures and sells isotope-based medical products and devices for the treatment of cancer and other malignant diseases. IsoRay International LLC (International) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company. IsoRay obtained clearance from the Food and Drug Association (FDA) for treatment for all solid tumor applications using Cesium-131. Such applications include prostate cancer; ocular melanoma; head, neck and lung tumors; breast cancer; liver cancer; brain cancer; colorectal cancer; gynecological cancer; esophageal cancer, and pancreatic cancer. The seed may be used in surface, interstitial and intracavity applications for tumors with known radio sensitivity. The Company has an existing distribution agreement with UralDial LLC (UralDial) that allows UralDial to distribute Proxcelan Cs-131 brachytherapy seeds in Russia. The Company, through UralDial, has regulatory approval to sell Cs-131 seeds in Russia. < /p>

IsoRay markets the Proxcelan Cesium-131 brachytherapy seed for the treatment of prostate cancer; lung cancer; ocular melanoma; head and neck cancers; colorectal cancer, brain cancer; and gynecological cancer. The Company focuses to market Cesium-131 for the treatment of other malignant disease, such as breast cancer, in the near future through the use of existing technologies that have received FDA-clearance. Cesium-131 is a radioactive isotope that can be produced by the neutron bombardment of Barium-130 (Ba-130). When placed into a nuclear reactor and exposed to a flux of neutrons, Ba-130 becomes Ba-131, the radioactive material that is the parent isotope of Cesium-131. The radioactive isotope Cesium-131 is normally produced by placing a quantity of stable non-radioactive barium (ideally barium enriched in isotope Ba-130) into the neutron flux of a nuclear react! or. The irradiation process converts a small fraction of this material into a radioactive form of ba rium (Ba-131). The Ba-131 decays by electron capture to the ! radioactive isotope of interest (Cesium-131).

As of June 30, 2011, IsoRay had agreements with several independent radiopharmacies to assay, preload, and sterilize loose seeds. During the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011, the Company loaded approximately 90% of Mick cartridges in the Company's own facility, which accounted for approximately 61% of seeds sold. Approximately 33% of seeds sold are strand configurations, including strands preloaded in needles and the remaining 6% of seeds are sold as loose seeds.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By James E. Brumley]

    Ugh. It's fun to be right about a stock, but it's exhausting to be too right, too fast. Case in Point? IsoRay, Inc. (NYSE: ISR). Yours truly posted some bullish comments on ISR just a couple of days ago, explaining how that day's move above a key ceiling meant a new bull trend was underway, and more gains from that price would be far easier to muster. Well, good news for those who heeded the advice - IsoRay shares are up 44% today.

  • [By Vanina Egea]

    Strengthening portfolio and business stability is to be reinforced by the introduction of new products. Last December, Textron announced the successful first flight of the Scorpion Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR)/Strike aircraft. "The Scorpion compares very favorably to more costly aircraft currently used for low-threat missions," pilot Dan Hinson said. The new product is expected to accommodate the budget constraints and shifting mission requirements of the US Department of Defense. The same department has granted the firm an additional contract worth $22.5 million to "deprocess" Mobile Strike Force vehicles and train the Afghan Army.

  • [By James E. Brumley]

    I hate to be the one to say I told you so, but, I told you so. Back on February 2! 6th I sug! gested IsoRay, Inc. (NYSEMKT:ISR) shares were a budding breakout play. The 48% rally that's played out for ISR in the meantime unfurled right on cue. While overbought in the very short run, this small cap stock looks like it's earning the right to be compared to the likes of bigger brothers in the cancer-treatment space... names like Roche Holding Ltd. (OTCMKTS:RHHBY) or Theragenics Corporation (NYSE:TGX).

  • source from Top Stocks For 2015:

8 reasons why Alan Mulally is better for Motown than Microsoft

allan mulally 2 (Fortune) Ford CEO Alan Mulally is doing his best to tamp down speculation that he has become the frontrunner among the candidates to succeed Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft. He tells USA Today that "I love serving Ford and have nothing new to add to (my) plans to continue serving Ford." Executive chairman Bill Ford underscored the point in an interview with Bloomberg television, saying "The plan is, he's going to stick around."

Mulally's demurral, if not exactly Shermanesque ("I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.") shows good sense. He is far better off to stay in his current job. A lot of the chatter saying otherwise seems misguided to me. Mulally is often described as a turnaround expert, and he has, in fact, arrested a long decline at Ford (F, Fortune 500) and made it reasonably profitable again.

But Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) doesn't need a turnaround. This is a company that last year made a profit of $16 billion -- three times more than Ford and on a little more than half the turnaround. What Microsoft needs is a sense of purpose, something it hasn't had since the iPhone replaced the desktop computer as the default personal and Internet communication device. It needs to focus on what it does best and exit those businesses where it is an also-ran. That's not currently part of Mulally's current skill-set.

To be sure, those who see Mulally as Ballmer's successor have some convenient facts on which to build their arguments. Ballmer and Mulally are friends, and Mulally lived in Seattle when he ran Boeing's (BA, Fortune 500) commercial aviation business, and still has ties to the area. In addition, Mulally is interested in technology, for instance, regularly attending the Consumer Electronics show, and Ford has worked with Microsoft to develop in-car control and entertainment systems.

But for Mulally to leave the metal-bending, 110-year-old No. 10 company on the Fortune 500 for Bill Gates' baby, No. 35, would be bad for both Ford and Microsoft. Here's why:

1. Complexity

At both Boeing and Ford, Mulally ran businesses with single product lines -- planes and cars -- and faced off against big, visible competitors like Airbus, General Motors (GM, Fortune 500), and Toyota (TM). Not so with Microsoft. Besides software, it makes tablets and home entertainment devices, operates an Internet search engine, and recently bought phone maker Nokia. It faces competitors everywhere, including such juggernauts as Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500), Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500), Oracle (ORCL, Fortune 500), and Google (GOOG, Fortune 500). Getting up to speed in all those businesses for someone just coming into the tech industry would require an impossibly steep learning curve.

2. Focus

Mulally's signature move at Ford was to abandon its old house-of-brands approach an! d focus exclusively on mass-market Ford cars and trucks. He called it One Ford. That strategy wouldn't work at hydra-headed Microsoft with its multiple product lines. In fact, many analysts believe is that Microsoft doesn't need focus as much as it needs dismemberment -- a division of the company and eventual divestiture -- along product lines.

Ford Fusion now made in U.S.   Ford Fusion now made in U.S.

3. Resources

Ford was so cash-poor when Mulally arrived that he was forced to borrow $24 billion to keep the doors open after he arrived in 2006. The boom in auto sales has eased the cash squeeze, but successfully running a car company still requires a sharp pencil to make the most efficient use of assets. Microsoft, by comparison, is sitting on $60 billion in cash, as it hunts for acquisitions -- some more successfully (Nokia) than others (Yahoo). A mindset trained in scarcity doesn't easily make the transition to one that is rich with resources.

4. Teamwork

Ford is a happier and more productive place to work today because Mulally has tamped down intra-company feuds through his insistence on transparency and the force of his own personality. Microsoft would benefit from the same kind of overhaul -- any company would -- but its multiple product lines would dilute any such efforts.

5. Technology

Despite degrees in aeronautical and astronautical engineering, Mulally has something of a black thumb when it comes to consumer applications. Ford was one of the first to introduce touch-screen controls, but MyFord Touch, which was developed with Microsoft, has been plagued by owner complaints and pounded Ford's scores in third-party quality ratings. Mulally promised improvements in the system nearly two years ago, but problems persist.

6. Public image

Microsoft sometimes comes off as a giant bull! y -- and ! has the antitrust scars to show for it -- but Ford has been equally clumsy lately. In addition to being less than nimble in upgrading MyFord Touch, it was recently found to be overstating the fuel economy of its C-Max hybrid crossover and has been compensating owners for their missing mileage.

7. Unfinished business

In November, Mulally will end his seventh year as Ford CEO. While he has stabilized the company, created a cohesive management team, and instituted a methodical management system that should serve his successor well, he has much left to do. Ford still needs to successfully relaunch Lincoln, restructure its European operations, and catch up to other foreign automakers in China after a late start. In an unusually critical cover story headlined "Blue Oval Blues," Automotive News declared that Mulally's initiatives in quality, technology, and fuel economy so far have fallen short. Ford's board expects Mulally to remain on the job until the end of 2014, and he will need all of that time to get his house in order.

8. Age

Mulally may be the most energetic senior citizen around and loves his work, but he is still 68. Streamlining and optimizing a company of Microsoft's size and complexity is not a job that can be handed to a short-timer. Methodical as he is, Mulally spent weeks analyzing Ford's strategic assets before making a plan to go forward. Microsoft is too diversified and the tech industry moving too fast to allow the leisure for that kind of analysis.

Mulally is an uncommonly remarkable and successful executive, but he is the wrong person to run Microsoft. Both it and Ford will be better off if he stays where he is. To top of page

Top Energy Stocks To Own For 2015

Top Energy Stocks To Own For 2015: Nuverra Environmental Solutions Inc (NES)

Nuverra Environmental Solutions, Inc., formerly Heckmann Corporation, incorporated on May 29, 2007, provides environmental solutions to protect, enhance and advance environmental sustainability. Nuverra provides full-cycle environmental solutions to a national customer base consisting of two distinct end markets: Shale Solutions and Industrial Solutions.

The Company is focused on the removal, treatment, recycling, transportation and disposal of restricted solids, fluids and hydrocarbons for E&P customers. It also provides a one-stop-shop for energy recovery, re-refining and recycling of used motor oil and oily wastewater; plus a closed loop spent antifreeze program for retail, automotive and manufacturing customers. Nuverra specializes in providing environmentally compliant and sustainable solutions to a national footprint of customers.

Shale Solutions

Shale Solutions provides environmental solutions for unconventional oil and gas ex ploration and production, including the delivery, collection, treatment, recycle, and disposal of restricted environmental products used in the development of unconventional oil and natural gas fields. The Company operates in select shale areas in the United States, including the Marcellus/Utica, Eagle Ford, Bakken, Haynesville, Barnett, Permian, Mississippian Lime and Tuscaloosa Marine Shale areas. It serves customers seeking fresh water acquisition, temporary water transmission and storage, transportation, treatment or disposal of fresh water and complex water flows, such as flowback and produced brine water, in connection with shale oil and gas hydraulic fracturing drilling or hydrofracturing operations. The Company also transports fresh water for production and provides services for site preparation, water pit excavations and remediation.

Industrial Solutions

Industrial Solutions provides environmental and waste recy! cling solutions to its custom ers through collection and recycling services for waste prod! ucts, including UMO, which the Company processes and sells as RFO, oily water, spent antifreeze, used oil filters and parts washers, and provision of complementary environmental services for a diverse commercial and industrial customer base. Industrial Solutions operates a scalable network infrastructure of 34 processing facilities, approximately 385 tanker trucks, vacuum trucks and trailers and over 200 railcars. With a geographic presence in 19 states in the Western United States stretching from Washington to Texas, Industrial Solutions provides its services to a diverse range of more than 20,000 commercial and industrial customer locations.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Matt DiLallo]

    Oil and gas environmental service provider, Heckmann (NYSE: NES  ) , reported first-quarter earnings on May 8. The company missed slightly on both the top and bottom lines which sent shares dipping in after-hours trading. However, all was not lost on the quarter so let's dig in and see what happened.

  • [By Matt DiLallo]

    Nuverra Environmental Solutions (NYSE: NES  )
    It was a tough quarter for Nuverra as its name change didn't help boost its stock price, which declined by almost 33%. Other than slightly missing earnings due to weather issues, it was a fairly quiet quarter for the company. The only other real news during the quarter was the company's acquisition of a solid waste disposal site in the Bakken.

  • source from Top Penny Stocks For 2015:

GasLog Partners: This New Listing Has High Growth Potential

GasLog Partners (GLOP) is a limited partnership firm which owns, operates and acquires LNG carriers under long-term charter of five years or more. The company has an initial fleet of three LNG carriers with long-term contracts scheduled to expire in 2018 and 2019.

GasLog (GLOG) is the parent company of GasLog Partners. The company is an owner, operator and manager of LNG carriers and works as a part of LNG logistics chain. In April 2012, the company had a fleet of 10 LNG carriers and since then GasLog has increased its capacity by 111% to 21 fully owned ships.

This article discusses the investment positives for the recently listed GasLog Partners. The investment conclusion is that the company is a strong buy for the long term.

Key Investment Positives: Modern Fleet with Visible Growth

GasLog Partners' initial fleet consists of three LNG carriers with contract expiry in 2018 and 2019. In addition to this, GasLog Partners has the option to purchase 12 LNG carriers over the next three years.

These vessels are expected to be delivered to GasLog by 2016 and have charter duration of 5.5 to 10 years with BG Group and Shell. The current vessels and the new deliveries provide GasLog Partners with sound revenue and cash flow visibility. Further, contract with financially stable companies like BG Group and Shell minimizes GasLog Partners' counterparty risk.

The advantage with the initial three vessels is that they are young with an average age of less than one year, which happens to be the youngest in the industry. Going forward, GasLog Partners also stands to benefit from the high specification LNG carriers expected to be delivered over the next few years.

Revenue Visibility Provides Financial Stability

The company has an average remaining contracted life of 4.1 years with staggered maturities. This ensures a steady cash flow for the company. This brings me to an important discussion on the company's revenue growth and shareholder value creation. Considering 363 numbers of days in operation and a day rate of $76,826 for each of the three vessels, the forecasted revenue for fiscal 2014 is $83.7 million.

Value in dollar

No.of days of operation



GasLog Shanghai




GasLog Santiago




GasLog Sydney








Total in million



Based on the company's assumptions on operating expenses and depreciation, the forecasted EBITDA for fiscal 2014 is $59.9 million, a 21% increase over the previous year. An increasing EBITDA provides strong distribution coverage for the investors.

Value in dollar millions

Historical Year Ended December 31, 2013

Forecast Twelve Months Ending March 31, 2015




Vessel operating costs






General and administrative expenses



Profit from Operations



Financial costs including gain/(loss) on interest rate swaps



Financial income



Profit Attributable to GasLog Partners LP Owners




Adjusted EBITDA Reconciliation


Profit Attributable to GLOP LP Owners



Financial Income



Financial costs including gain/(loss) on interest swaps






Foreign exchange losses



Adjusted EBITDA



The company estimates $33.8 million of available cash for distribution and with distribution unit coverage of 1.125x, GasLog Partners plans to distribute $1.50 annually. At current market price of $28 implied dividend yield of 5.3% is a fairly good return. Also, unit coverage of 1.125x suggests that the company has a cushion of 12.5% of the available cash after paying dividend.


In terms of valuation the company is trading at an attractive price and investors can consider this as a good investment point. GasLog Partners has the lowest EV/EBITDA and EV/Revenue compared to peers such as Golar LNG (GLNG) and Teekay LNG Partners (TGP). A low EV/EBITDA and EV/Revenue suggests undervaluation of the company and hence a good value investment.














Increased global LNG production with growing demand for LNG ships supports secured cash flow of the company. Also, strong relationship with GasLog enhances operational and financial efficiency of the company. I would strongly recommend this high dividend yield stock with definite growth plans as a BUY for income investors.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

ZBB Energy is Reenergized (ZBB)

OK, my last bullish call on ZBB Energy Corporation (NYSEMKT:ZBB) didn't work out so well. It looks like it was just too soon to expect a bounce from ZBB back on April 2nd when it was still in the shadow of a huge runup and a subsequent pullback. The dust has fully settled now, however, and most of the clues are now pointing in a bullish direction.

ZBB Energy is a power storage and a power management name that's found a market by serving the renewable energy and small-scale energy niche. It's been lumped in with similar plays like Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ:PLUG) and Ballard Power Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:BLDP), and it's not an inappropriate comparison. Though much smaller than BLDP and PLUG, ZBB lives and dies by the same sword that Plug Power and Ballard Power Systems live and die by. There's one difference between ZBB Energy and its peers right now, however - ZBB is knocking on the door of a breakout.

The chart below tells the tale. Still feeling the weight of a wild gain in early March, ZBB just wasn't ready to recover in mid-March. In retrospect, we now know it was going to take a retreat all the way back to the all-important 200-day moving average line (green) to hit the reset button on the bullishness. After feeling around that level for a few days when April turned into May, the 200-day line finally became a pushoff point, sparking a new rally. In the meantime we've seen a steady string of higher highs and higher lows.

While the momentum is solid, there's one final line in the sand that ZBB Energy needs to cross before traders can feel fully comfortable about getting into a new position - the stock needs to clear the ceiling at $2.00. That resistance has been tested three times since mid-May (the third time being today). The fact that the bulls aren't giving up is a good sign that ZBB will eventually punch through... and probably soon. Once it does, we could see a repeat of the kind of crazy bullishness we saw in early March.

Is it fundamentally justified? No, probably not. The whole energy capture and self-sufficient energy production space has been more dependant on hype than results to keep its stocks propped up, and that's not changed much. That doesn't mean you can't rent ZBB for a quick ride up, however.

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 5 Financial Companies To Watch In Right Now

Top 5 Financial Companies To Watch In Right Now: Argo Group International Holdings Ltd.(AGII)

Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. underwrites specialty insurance and reinsurance products in the property and casualty market worldwide. The company?s Excess and Surplus Lines segment underwrites casualty, property, transportation, and binding authority for commercial enterprises, including restaurants, contractors, day care centers, apartment complexes, condominium associations, manufacturers, and distributors; and offers policies for medical facilities within the social services, miscellaneous healthcare, and long term care markets, as well as for lawyers, miscellaneous professions, employment practices, and real estate related accounts. This segment also provides package policies for environmental consultants and contractors, storage tanks, dry cleaners pollution liability, as well as other environmental related liability exposures; and coverage for architects and engineers, accountants, and insurance agents. Its Commercial Specialty segment offers property casu alty and surety coverages; and underwrites business coverage for small commercial businesses comprising office, retail operations, light manufacturing, services, and restaurants. This segment also provides general and automobile liability, automobile physical damage, property, inland marine, crime, public official?s and educator?s legal liability, employment practices, law enforcement liability, environmental and lawyers professional liability, student accident, police and firefighters accident, workers compensation, inmate medical, and tax interruption coverages. In addition, the company?s International Specialty segment covers claims arising from catastrophic events, such as hurricanes, windstorms, hailstorms, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, fires, industrial explosions, freezes, riots, floods, and other man-made or natural disasters. Further, its Syndicate 1200 segment underwrites property and non-U.S. liability insurance. The! company was founded in 1986 and is based in Pembroke, Bermuda.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By CRWE]

    Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. (Nasdaq:AGII), an international underwriter of specialty insurance and reinsurance products, reported that its board of directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend of 12 cents per share on the company’s common stock.

  • source from USA Best Stocks:

Top 5 Gas Utility Stocks To Watch Right Now

Top 5 Gas Utility Stocks To Watch Right Now: American Assets Trust Inc (AAT)

American Assets Trust, Inc. is a full-service vertically integrated and self-administered real estate investment trust (REIT). The Company owns, operates, acquires and develops retail, office, multi-family and mixed-use properties primarily in Southern California, Northern California, Oregon and Hawaii. The Company operates in four business segments: retail, office, multi-family and mixed-use. As of December 31, 2011, its portfolio consisted of 10 retail shopping centers; six office properties; a mixed-use property consisting of a 369-room all-suite hotel and a retail shopping center, and four multi-family properties. As of December 31, 2011, it owned land at five of its properties that the Company classified as held for development. On January 24, 2012, it acquired One Beach Street, consisting of approximately 97,000 rentable square feet in a renovated office building located along the Embarcadero in San Franciscos North Waterfront District. On August 30, 2011, it sold Valencia Corporate Center.

On March 11, 2011, the Company acquired First & Main, an approximately 361,000 square foot, 16-story, office building located at 100 SW Main Street, in Portland, Oregon. On July 1, 2011, it acquired the Lloyd District Portfolio, consisting of approximately 610,000 rentable square feet on more than 16 acres located in the Lloyd District of Portland, Oregon. On September 20, 2011, it acquired the Solana Beach-Highway 101 property, consisting of approximately 1.7 acres located in Solana Beach, California. On December 14, 2011, it acquired an additional 0.2 acres adjacent to such location.

The Company is the sole general partner of American Assets Trust, L.P., a Maryland limited partnership (the Operating Partnership). The Company, as the sole general partner has control of its Operating Partnership and owned 67.8% of its Operating Partnership as of December 31, 2011. At December 31, 2011, its opera! ting portfolio had approxi mately 705 leases with office and retail tenants, of which s! even expired on December 31, 2011 and 15 had not yet commenced. Its residential properties had approximately 753 leases with residential tenants at December 31, 2011, excluding Santa Fe Park RV Resort. The retail portion of its mixed-use property had approximately 64 leases with retailers.


The products for its retail segment primarily include rental of retail space and other tenant services, including tenant reimbursements, parking and storage space rental. The Companys retail properties include Carmel Country Plaza, South Bay Marketplace, Rancho Carmel Plaza, Lomas Santa Fe Plaza, Solana Beach Towne Centre, The Shops at Kalakaua, Waikele Center and Alamo Quarry Market. Its retail portfolio included 10 properties with a total of approximately three million rentable square feet available for lease as of December 31, 2011. As of December 31, 2011, these properties were 95% leased. During the year ended December 31, 2011, it signed 69 retail leases for 247,560 square feet. During 2011, the retail segment contributed 41.2%, of its total revenue.


The products for its office segment primarily include rental of office space and other tenant services, including tenant reimbursements, parking and storage space rental. The Companys office properties include Torrey Reserve, Solana Beach Corporate Centre, 160 King Street and The Landmark at One Market. Its office portfolio included six properties with a total of approximately 2.2 million rentable square feet available for lease as of December 31, 2011. As of December 31, 2011, these properties were 94.4% leased. During 2011, it signed 56 office leases for 233,213 square feet. During 2011, the office segment contributed 30.7% of its total revenue.


The products for its multi-family segment include rental of apartments and other tenant services. Its multi-family portfolio ! included ! three apartment pr operties, as well as an RV resort, with a total of 922 units! (includi! ng 122 RV spaces) available for lease as of December 31, 2011. As of December 31, 2011, these properties were 91.8% leased. Its multi-family leases, other than at its RV Resort, generally have lease terms ranging from 7 to 15 months, with a majority having 12-month lease terms. The Companys multi-family properties include Loma Palisades, Imperial Beach Gardens, Mariners Point and Santa Fe Park RV Resort.

Mixed-Use Property

The products of its mixed-use segment include rental of retail space and other tenant services, including tenant reimbursements, parking and storage space rental and operation of a 369-room all-suite hotel. Waikiki Beach Walk Retail and Hotel is a mixed-use property. Its mixed-use property consists of 97,000 rentable square feet of retail space and a 369-room all-suite hotel. Revenue from the mixed-use property consists of revenue earned from retail leases, and revenue earned from the hotel, which consists of room revenue, f ood and beverage services, parking and other guest services. As of December 31, 2011, the retail portion of the property was 99.2% leased, and during 2011, the hotel had an average occupancy of 88.4%.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Life Sciences Report]

    AF: Kamada Ltd. (KMDA) is a relatively unknown Israeli company that is doing very well. It is listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. It has an intravenous form of a drug for alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency, which causes lung and liver disease, that is partnered with Baxter International Inc. (BAX).

  • source from Top Penny Stocks For 2015:

Monday, June 2, 2014

Taper Talk and Safety Plays

Best Growth Companies To Invest In Right Now

Keith Fitz-Gerald was one of the few market gurus to accurately predict that the Fed would not begin tapering at its latest meeting. Here, he updates his forecast for Fed action and what that portends for the markets.

Steve Halpern: We are here today with Keith Fitz-Gerald, editor of Money Morning and Strike Force. How are you doing, Keith?

Keith Fitz-Gerald: I'm doing great. Thanks for having me back.

Steve Halpern: No topic has received more attention recently than the Federal Reserve and expectations for tapering, yet across the board, the financial media and Wall Street analysts were in agreement the tapering would begin last week.

The only real contention was how much tapering would occur, yet you stood alone in your forecast in June, July, and August. You consistently said that this thing would not ease. What led you to be right, when everybody else was so wrong?

Keith Fitz-Gerald: Well, you know, thanks for pointing that out. It's tough to be right all the time, so really what I tried to do was just apply the benefit of common sense. The Fed is busy chasing its tail. It's using antiquated statistics that are badly out of touch with the markets that we live with today.

Investors have become dulled to the concept of cheap money, and the importance of actual earnings and profits, which is something that we talk about incessantly in the Money Map Report.

Because, good earnings lead inevitably to good prices, and there's a linkage that is absolutely immutable and cannot be broken no matter how hard the Fed actually tries.

I simply took a look around Steven, and said, this is not going to change. The Fed cannot take its foot off the gas, because the market is addicted to cheap money.

Steve Halpern: Now, at some point, the Fed is going to begin tapering. Where on the horizon do you see that occurring?

Keith Fitz-Gerald: Well, there's no question they're going to, and in my mind, all they've done is delayed the inevitable. Whether that inevitable is next month, next year, five years from now, we don't know. They're going to play the music for as long as they can to keep the party going.

The sad thing about this is that the next opportunity we're going to have to look at is, I think, the December meeting, which puts this into whole life. I think we're going to see, perhaps a rally into fall.

It depends on now, the budget battle and some other things going on in the Middle East, obviously, but I think, my take on it is, the Fed is going to have to pick up the pieces and they're going to view further quantitative easing as the only means available for them to do it.

Steve Halpern: Now fast forward to the point where the Fed does begin tapering; whether or not that's at the next meeting or a following meeting. What impact do you think will that have on the stock market and are these delays going to even change that impact when it does occur?

Keith Fitz-Gerald: Well, let's tackle the second question first. I think the delays are actually going to make the impact of it worse when it does happen. I think what is going to happen is we're going to get the equivalent of a two-year-old temper tantrum, only it's going to be a taper tantrum.

We got a little taste of that in, I think it was April or May of this year, when Bernanke floated a trial balloon out there, mentioning that he was even thinking about doing tapering.

The markets really didn't like that. All we have to do is look to Japan as to an example as to what is actually going to happen, and I think there's going to be a sharp violent correction when that happens.

Steve Halpern: Now, are there any investment strategies that you could recommend, or that you put in place for your readers to help counter that, or to help add a level of safety to overall portfolio planning?

Keith Fitz-Gerald: You bet. In particular right now, you've got to think like a boxer. You've got to be the old Mohammed Ali; look like a butterfly and sting like a bee, or whatever that saying was that he used to use. He always thought in terms of one-two combinations.

Short-term/long-term is how I see that playing out for investors. To me, the fact that Bernanke blinked, points out two opportunities for investors right now. It made it clear that every central banker on the planet is guilty and has his hands into this quantitative easing.

I like the PIMCO Strategic Global Government Fund. The ticker is (RCS). The reason I like that, is it pays a hefty income; it's a bet on increased stability through further quantitative easing.

On the other hand, I think longer-term, it is very clear to me that Bernanke is in the early stages of losing control of the bond market.

What that says is that rates are ultimately going to rise, and I think they're going to rise for a very long time to come, once they gain that momentum. My favorite investment to play, that is the ProShares 20+ Year Short ETF. The ticker is (TBF).

Again, these are short-term/long-term, fake-left and hit-right combinations of things. I don't believe investors need to make an all or nothing decision right now.

There's plenty of time for this to play out, but it is going to be a monster move once it gets started. I certainly want people to take advantage of it, rather than be taken advantage of.

Steve Halpern: Well, we really appreciate your insights. Thank you for joining us today.

Keith Fitz-Gerald: It's my pleasure. Thanks for having me, Steven.

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The expert featured in this column, Keith Fitz-Gerald, may or may not own positions in any investment vehicle mentioned here. The views and opinions expressed are his or her own.

Hot Rising Stocks To Own For 2015

Hot Rising Stocks To Own For 2015: Brocade Communications Systems Inc.(BRCD)

Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. supplies networking equipment comprising end-to-end Internet protocol based Ethernet and storage area networking solutions. Its Data Storage segment provides infrastructure products and solutions, including directors, switches, routers, fabric-based software applications, distance/extension products, management applications, and utilities to centralize data management; and host bus adapters, converged network adapters, mezzanine cards, and switch modules for bladed servers. The company?s Ethernet Products segment offers Open Systems Interconnection Reference Model (OSI) Layer 2-3 switches and routers, which enable the use of bandwidth-intensive network business applications and digital entertainment on local area networks and wide area networks; and OSI Layer 4?7 switches that allow enterprises and service providers to build network infrastructures to direct the flow of traffic, and file area network products and associated management s olutions. The company?s Global Services segment provides break/fix maintenance, extended warranty, installation, consulting, network management, and related software maintenance and support services; consulting and support services that assist customers in designing, implementing, deploying, and managing networking solutions; and post-contract customer support and extended warranties. It serves various businesses and organizations, which include global enterprises and service providers, such as telecommunication firms, cable operators, and mobile carriers. The company has a strategic partnership with LG-Ericsson. It offers its products and services to end-user customers directly, and through various distribution partners comprising original equipment manufacturers, distributors, systems integrators, and value-added resellers in the United States, western Europe, Jap! an, and the greater Asia Pacific region. The company was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in San Jose, Cal i fornia.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Anders Bylund]

    Networked storage specialist Brocade Communications Systems (NASDAQ: BRCD  ) kicked out its poison pill plan in 2007, following an annual policy review that found it unnecessary. The company has often been the subject of buyout speculation in a rapidly consolidating storage market, but is still standing alone. Brocade shares have only gained 3% since the plan change, trailing the S&P 500's 29% returns.

  • [By Harry Boxer]

    Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (BRCD)  had a very significant breakout on Tuesday on earnings, up 67 cents, or 8.3%, to 8.77 on 15.3 million shares. With the breakout across multiple tops over the last few months, it sure looks like a parallel channel is forming, which could lead to 10.00, maybe 11.00, on this stock.

  • [By Lauren Pollock]

    Brocade Communications Systems Inc.'s(BRCD) fiscal fourth-quarter earnings rose 19% as stronger margins and decreased costs offset lower revenue for the maker of data and storage-network products. Adjusted profit for the period exceeded the company’s expectations, sending shares up 5.3% to $8.52 premarket.

  • [By Jake L'Ecuyer]

    Shares of Brocade Communications Systems (NASDAQ: BRCD) got a boost, shooting up 8.40 percent to $8.77 after the company reported a better-than-expected Q4 profit.

  • source from Top Stocks For 2015:

Dollar up as ‘data junkie’ market seeks direction

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — The U.S. dollar edged up Tuesday against most major rivals as investors examined economic data and speeches from Federal Reserve officials for insight into when the central bank could begin to slow its monthly asset purchases.

Consumer Data Key To Wall Street on TuesdayWall Street traders will have a keen eye on consumer confidence Tuesday. Plus, plans are set for the highest-level engagement between the U.S. and Iran at the U.N. in more than 30 years. Photo: Getty Images.Home prices increased 1.8% in July, down from 2.2% in June, according to a gauge from S&P/Case-Shiller on Tuesday. The seasonally adjusted July gains were 0.6%, the lowest since September, with pressure likely coming from higher mortgage rates. A separate home-price report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency showed a seasonally adjusted increase of 1% in July.

Also released Tuesday, the Conference Board's consumer-confidence gauge for September fell to 79.7 from a revised 81.8 in August on labor-market worries. Economists had expected a decline in the index to 79.5, according to a MarketWatch poll.

Among major pairs, the British pound (GBPUSD)  fell to $1.579 from $1.6047 late Monday while the euro (EURUSD)  edged down to $1.3475 from Monday's level of $1.3493.

/quotes/zigman/4867933/sampled EURUSD 1.3493, 0.0000, -0.0030% Euro vs. dollar

The market has become a "data junkie searching for direction," said Scotiabank analysts led by Camilla Sutton in a note Tuesday.

Best Shipping Stocks To Own Right Now

The Fed last week determined the economy wasn't strong enough to start reducing monetary stimulus and decided to keep buying $85 billion in securities each month, a stance considered negative for the dollar.

In the euro zone, German business sentiment was slightly better in September, with the Ifo business-confidence index inching up to 107.7 from a revised 107.6 in August. But the increase was less than economist expectations of a rise to 108.0 in September.

The business-sentiment data are the latest to show the "growing discrepancy" between the improvement in euro-zone domestic demand and weakness in the export sector, said Valentin Marinov, a strategist at Citi, in a note on Tuesday.

"All that could keep concerns about the viability of Eurozone's export-based growth model in place," he wrote. "In turn, this could keep the [European Central Bank's] growth assessment quite cautious next week, resulting in potential headwinds for the euro in coming days."

On Monday, ECB Mario Draghi said the central bank could consider increasing stimulus in order to protect economic recovery and maintain interest rates at suitable levels. The potential additional stimulus could come in the form of long-term refinancing operation, or LTRO, loans, he said in testimony to the European Parliament.

The ICE dollar index (DXY) , which measures the greenback against a basket of six rival currencies, rose to 80.583 from 80.452 late Monday in North America.

The WSJ Dollar Index (XX:BUXX) , which uses a wider comparison basket, increased to 72.99 from 72.88.

The dollar indexes had fallen Monday after two Fed officials offered downbeat views of the pace of U.S. economic recovery. Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said the economy is losing some of its dynamism, while New York Fed President William Dudley said the economy was too weak for the central bank to reduce bond buying.

The dollar stumbled against major rivals after the Fed's decision to hold monetary policy steady, and the "Fed's dovish tone gave some breathing space to emerging-market currencies which were sold-off heavily due to capital flight fears," said analysts at IS Investment in a report Monday.

The Brazilian real (USDBRL) , the Turkish lira (USDTRY)  and the Malaysian ringgit (USDMYR)  were among emerging-market currencies that advanced against the greenback after the Fed decision.

The Fed also said last week that rising mortgage rates and reduced federal spending could slow improvement in the economy.

Tapering of asset purchases by the Fed may be postponed to the start of 2014, said IS Investment. "However, the markets will increasingly react to the U.S. data, in our view. Besides the unemployment rate, data including inflation and bank-loan growth are likely to create volatility in the following weeks."

The closely watched monthly U.S. employment report is due out Oct. 4.

In other trades Tuesday, the dollar (USDJPY)  bought 98.60 Japanese yen, lower than ¥98.77 on Monday.

But the Australian dollar (AUDUSD)  fell to 93.74 U.S. cents from 94.39 U.S. cents, wiping out gains built after HSBC on Monday said its gauge of manufacturing activity in China jumped to a six-month high in September. Australian assets tend to be sensitive to data from China, Australia's largest trading partner.

Top 10 High Tech Companies To Invest In 2015

Top 10 High Tech Companies To Invest In 2015: Liberty Global Inc.(LBTYA)

Liberty Global, Inc. provides video, broadband Internet, and telephony services primarily in Europe and Chile. The company offers broadband services over cable distribution systems, including video, broadband Internet, and telephony; and video services through direct-to-home satellite, or through multichannel multipoint distribution systems. Its analog video services comprise basic and expanded basic programming; and digital cable services include basic and premium programming, digital video recorders, and high definition programming, as well as pay-per-view programming, such as video-on-demand and near video-on-demand. In addition, the company offers voice-over-Internet-protocol and circuit-switched telephony services, as well as mobile telephony services using third-party networks. Further, it owns programming networks that provide video programming channels to multi-channel distribution systems owned by the company and the third parties. As of December 31, 2011, the com pany owned and operated networks that passed 33,262,100 homes; and served 18,405,500 video subscribers, 8,159,300 broadband Internet subscribers, and 6,225,300 telephony subscribers. Liberty Global, Inc. was founded in 2004 and is based in Englewood, Colorado.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Tim Brugger]

    Upon Liberty Global's (NASDAQ: LBTYA  ) successfully closing its acquisition of Virgin Media (NASDAQ: VMED  ) , Tom Mockridge will assume CEO responsibilities of the U.K. communications firm, Liberty Global announced today.

  • [By Leo Fasciocco]

    The company, Liberty Global PLC (LBTYA), owns interests in broadband distribution and content companies in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, although the company is based in California.

  • source from Top Penny Stocks For 2015:! ompanies-to-invest-in-2015.html