Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Top 10 Information Technology Stocks To Own For 2014

From the impact of Obamacare to cutting-edge research, biotech buyouts to FDA decisions, The Motley Fool's health-care team sits down each week�to discuss the most fascinating developments in health care and their implications for long-term investors. In this week's edition, the team talks about The Atlantic's fifth annual Health Care Forum, biotechs in the news, two stocks investors need to watch, and more.

In the segment below, health-care analyst David Williamson highlights key takeaways from the panel of Farzad Mostashari, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology for the United States. This part of the program focused on the future of health IT in the country and that while making big strides, the true impact of this technological revolution is still in the early innings.

Watch and find out and why it has captured the attention of venture capitalists and discover one stock investors may want to put on their radars.

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10 Best Low Price Stocks To Own For 2015: Vera Bradley Inc.(VRA)

Vera Bradley, Inc., through its subsidiary, Vera Bradley Designs, Inc., engages in the design, production, marketing, and retail of functional accessories for women under the ?Vera Bradley? brand. Its products include a range of handbags, accessories, and travel and leisure items. The company sells its products to independent retailers located in the United States, as well as to national retailers and third party e-commerce sites. As of January 29, 2011, Vera Bradley, Inc. sold its products directly through 35 full-price stores, 4 outlet stores,, and an annual outlet sale in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The company was founded in 1982 and is headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Lee Jackson]

    Jefferies also highlighted three other names in its report that also ranked extremely high when run through its metrics screen. Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF), Francesca�� Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: FRAN) and Vera Bradley Inc. (NASDAQ: VRA) could all draw the attention of private equity firms looking for a specialty retail play.

  • [By John Udovich]

    Small cap NASDAQ stocks Vera Bradley, Inc (NASDAQ: VRA), Ebix Inc (NASDAQ: EBIX) and Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp. (NASDAQ: SNTA) had the highest short interest as of late September according to with short interest of 57.46%, 52.28% and 47.09%, respectively. However, shorting a stock can be a dangerous business as the bears can and do sometimes get mauled by the bulls. With that in mind, let�� take a look at why the bulls or the bears may be right or wrong about these three shorted small cap stocks:�

Top 10 Information Technology Stocks To Own For 2014: Cenovus Energy Inc (CVE)

Cenovus Energy, Inc. (Cenovus), incorporated on January 1, 2011, is a Canadian integrated oil company. The Company�� operations include oil sands projects in northern Alberta, which use specialized methods to drill and pump the oil to the surface. It also has natural gas and oil production in Alberta and Saskatchewan. It operates in four segments: oil sands, conventional, refining and marketing, and corporate and eliminations. The Company has 50% ownership with Phillips 66 in two United States refineries, which includes Wood River (Illinois) and Borger (Texas) refineries. It has two producing steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) projects in the oil sands-Foster Creek and Christina Lake, as well as several emerging projects which are in various stages of development. Foster Creek and Christina Lake are 50%-owned by ConocoPhillips. It also produces heavy oil from the mobile Wabiskaw formation at its 100%-owned Pelican Lake operation in the Greater Pelican Region, about 300 kilometers north of Edmonton.

Its reserves and production are located in Canada, primarily within the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. As of December 31, 2012, it had a land base of approximately seven million net acres and Company Interest Before Royalties proved reserves of approximately 1,717 million barrels of bitumen, 184 million barrels of heavy crude oil, 115 million barrels of light and medium crude oil and NGLs and 955 billion cubic feet of natural gas. It also had Company Interest Before Royalties probable reserves of approximately 676 million barrels of bitumen, 105 million barrels of heavy crude oil, 56 million barrels of light and medium crude oil and natural gas liquefied (NGLs) and 338 billion cubic feet of natural gas as of December 31, 2012.

Oil Sands

The Oil sands segment includes the development and production of Cenovus�� bitumen assets at Foster Creek, Christina Lake and Narrows Lake, as well as heavy oil assets at Pelican Lake. This segment also includes the Atha! basca natural gas assets and projects in the early stages of development, such as Grand Rapids and Telephone Lake. Certain of the Company�� operated oil sands properties, notably Foster Creek, Christina Lake and Narrows Lake, are jointly owned with ConocoPhillips. As of December 31, 2012, it had bitumen rights of approximately 1,469,000 gross acres (1,097,000 net acres) within the Athabasca and Cold Lake areas, as well as the exclusive rights to lease an additional 478,000 net acres areas on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range on its behalf and/or its assignee�� behalf.

As of December 31, 2012, there were 56 wells producing. It operates an 80 megawatt natural gas-fired cogeneration facility in conjunction with the SAGD operation at Foster Creek. The steam and power generated by the facility is presently being used within the SAGD operation and the excess power generated is being sold into the Alberta Power Pool. It has 50% interest in Christina Lake, an oil sands property in northeast Alberta that uses SAGD technology and produces from the McMurray formation. During 2011, the Company drilled three wells at Christina Lake using its Wedge WellTM technology. As of December 31, 2012, there were six producing wells.

The Company holds 50% interest in Narrows Lake, an oil sands property within the Christina Lake Region in northeast Alberta. The project includes gross production capacity of 130,000 barrels per day (bbls/d) of bitumen to be developed in up to three phases, with the first phase expected to have production capacity of approximately 45,000 barrels per day of bitumen. Using a pattern, horizontal well polymer flood, it produces heavy crude oil from the Cretaceous Wabiskaw formation at its Pelican Lake property, which is located within the Greater Pelican Region in northeast Alberta. During 2012, it drilled 76 heavy oil wells. The Company holds a 38% non-operated interest in 110 kilometers, 20-inch diameter crude oil pipeline, which connects the Pelican Lake area to a pipelin! e that tr! ansports crude oil from northern Alberta to crude oil markets.

The Company�� new resource play assets include oil sands properties. Its Grand Rapids property is located in the Greater Pelican Region in northeast Alberta, where deposits of bitumen have been identified in the Cretaceous Grand Rapids formation. Its Telephone Lake property is located in the Borealis Region in northeast Alberta. The Steepbank and East McMurray properties are also located in the Borealis Region, southwest of Telephone Lake. It produces natural gas from the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range and several surrounding landholdings located in northeast Alberta and hold surface access and natural gas rights for exploration, development and transportation from areas. The majority of its natural gas production in the area is processed through wholly owned and operated compression facilities.


Conventional segment includes the development and production of conventional crude oil, NGLs and natural gas in Alberta and Saskatchewan. It includes the carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery project at Weyburn and emerging tight oil opportunities. As of December 31, 2012, it had an established land position of approximately 4.9 million gross acres, of which approximately 3.2 million gross acres are developed. The mineral rights on approximately 59% of its net landholdings are owned in fee title by Cenovus. It leases Crown lands in some areas in Alberta, mainly in the Early Cretaceous geological formations, primarily in the Suffield and Wainwright areas.

The Company holds interests in multiple zones in the Suffield, Brooks North, Langevin, Drumheller, and Wainwright areas in southern Alberta with a mix of medium and heavy crude oil production. Development in these areas focuses on infill drilling, optimization of existing wells and other specialized oil recovery methods. It operates water handling facilities to manage oil production. In the unitized portion of the Weyburn crude oil field ! in southe! ast Saskatchewan, it has 62% working interest. The Weyburn unit produces light and medium sour crude oil from the Mississippian Midale formation and covers 78 sections of land. As of December 31, 2012, approximately 90% of the approved CO2 flood pattern development at the Weyburn unit was completed. It holds interests in multiple zones in the Suffield, Brooks North, Langevin and Drumheller areas in southern Alberta.

Refining and Marketing

Refining and marketing segment is focused on the refining of crude oil products into petroleum and chemical products at two refineries located in the United States. The refineries are jointly owned with and operated by Phillips 66. This segment also markets Cenovus�� crude oil and natural gas, as well as third-party purchases and sales of product that provide operational flexibility for transportation commitments, product type, delivery points and customer diversification.

Through WRB Refining LP (WRB), the Company has 50% ownership interest in both the Wood River and Borger Refineries located in Roxana, Illinois and Borger, Texas respectively. ConocoPhillips is the operator and manager of WRB. As of December 31, 2012, the Wood River refinery had a processing capacity of approximately 306,000 barrels per day of crude oil, including approximately 110,000 barrels per day of heavy crude oil. It processes light low-sulphur and heavy high-sulphur crude oil that it receives from North American crude oil pipelines to produce gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, petrochemical feedstocks and asphalt. As December 31, 2012, the Borger Refinery had a processing capacity of approximately 146,000 barrels per day of crude oil, including approximately 35,000 barrels per day of heavy crude oil, and approximately 45,000 barrels per day of NGLs. It processes crude oil and NGLs that it receives from North American pipeline systems to produce gasoline, diesel and jet fuel along with NGLs and solvents.

The Company's Marketing group is focused ! on enhanc! ing the netback price of its production. It manages the transportation and marketing of crude oil for its upstream operations. It also manages the marketing of its natural gas, which is primarily sold to industrials, other producers and energy marketing companies.

Corporate and Eliminations

The segment includes inter-segment eliminations that relate to transactions that have been recorded at transfer prices based on current market prices, as well as unrealized intersegment profits in inventory. The Corporate and Eliminations segment also includes Cenovus costs for general and administrative and financing activities.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Stephan Dube]

    Athabasca's most notable producers:

    Suncor Energy (SU) (Part 1), see article here.Suncor Energy (Part 2), see article here.Athabasca Oil (ATHOF.PK), see article here.Canadian Natural Resources, see article here.Imperial Oil, see article here.Cenovus Energy (CVE), see article here.MEG Energy (MEGEF.PK), see article here.Devon Energy, see article here.Royal Dutch Shell, see article here.Ivanhoe Energy (IVAN), see article here.Nexen (CNOOC) (CEO), see article here.

    An analysis of the current operations of the company will be examined with the objective to provide the most complete information available to potential investors before deciding to seize the opportunity that the 54,132 square miles of the Carbonate Triangle has to offer. Let's start by introducing Athabasca, a famous and most prolific region in the Canadian oil sands as well as one of the largest reserve in the world.

Top 10 Information Technology Stocks To Own For 2014: Kinder Morgan Energy Partners L.P. (KMP)

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. operates as a pipeline transportation and energy storage company in North America. Its Products Pipelines segment delivers gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, and natural gas liquids to various markets through approximately 8,600 miles of refined petroleum products pipelines; and operates 62 associated product terminals and petroleum pipeline transmix processing facilities. The company�s Natural Gas Pipelines segment gathers, transports, stores, treats, processes, and sells natural gas through approximately 33,000 miles of natural gas transmission pipelines and gathering lines, as well as natural gas storage, treating, and processing facilities. Its CO2 segment produces, markets, and transports carbon dioxide through approximately 1,500 miles of pipelines to oil fields. This segment also owns and operates 7 oil fields, and a 450 mile crude oil pipeline system in west Texas. The company�s Terminals segment transloads, stores, and delivers bulk, petroleum, petrochemical, and other liquids products through approximately 113 liquids and bulk terminal facilities; and approximately 35 rail transloading and materials handling facilities. Its Kinder Morgan Canada segment transports crude oil and refined petroleum products through approximately 2,500 miles of pipelines from Alberta, Canada to marketing terminals and refineries in British Columbia, the state of Washington, and the Rocky Mountains, as well as in the central regions of the United States. This segment also operates the Jet Fuel aviation turbine fuel pipeline that serves the Vancouver (Canada) International Airport. Kinder Morgan G.P., Inc. serves as the general partner of the company. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. was founded in 1992 and is headquartered in Houston, Texas.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Maxx Chatsko]

    Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (NYSE: KMP  )
    The pipeline leader has fallen under the spell of volatility this year, but some of that is inherent to limited partnerships. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners operates 46,000 miles of pipelines and 180 terminals that transport not just crude oil, but also natural gas, refined products, ethanol, biodiesel, and carbon dioxide. It is perhaps the most diverse way to play North America's energy boom, with major operations in Texas, Canada, and California, among other locations. The limited partnership has not only paid a distribution since its market debut in 2003, but has also managed to increase it each year. Investors should feel pretty comfortable getting paid on a regularly basis with this pipeline leader.

  • [By David Dittman]

    Answer: MLPs that look good based on price and potential for distribution growth include AmeriGas Partners LP (NYSE: APU) and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (NYSE: KMP). Energy Transfer Partners LP (NYSE: ETP) has bounced a bit after management’s announcement of third-quarter earnings and a new plan to grow the payout, but if you’re patient you can step in for good value.

  • [By Robert Rapier]

    We got a ton of questions in the chat about the relative merits of Kinder Morgan (NYSE: KMI) and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (NYSE: KMP). Several were answered, but perhaps it would be helpful to summarize our position here. Note that I will not offer specific Buy, Sell, or Hold recommendations here; those are reflected in the current MLP portfolios. Rather I will compare and contrast the two.

Top 10 Information Technology Stocks To Own For 2014: Destination Maternity Corporation(DEST)

Destination Maternity Corporation engages in the design and retail of maternity apparel. It offers casual and career wear, formal attire, lingerie, sportswear, and outerwear. As of September 30, 2011, the company operated 2,352 retail locations, including 658 stores in 50 states of the United States (U.S.), Puerto Rico, Guam, and Canada; and 1,694 leased departments located within department stores and baby specialty stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. It operates stores under the Motherhood Maternity, A Pea in the Pod, and Destination Maternity names. Motherhood Maternity brand serves the value-priced portion of the maternity apparel business with stores located in regional malls, strip and power centers, and central business districts. A Pea in the Pod brand serves the medium-priced and luxury portion of the maternity apparel business with stores located in regional malls, lifestyle centers, central business districts, and stand-alone stores. Destination Maternity brand provides Motherhood and Pea merchandise with stores located in regional malls and lifestyle centers. The company also sells its merchandise on the Internet through and brand-specific Web sites. In addition, Destination Maternity Corporation offers Two Hearts Maternity by Destination Maternity collection at Sears stores in the U.S. through a leased department relationship. Further, the company distributes its Oh Baby by Motherhood collection through a license arrangement at Kohl?s stores in the U.S. and through Additionally, it had 66 international franchised locations comprised of 15 stand-alone stores in the Middle East and South Korea under the Destination Maternity name; and 51 shop-in-shop locations in India and South Korea. The company was formerly known as Mothers Work, Inc. and changed its name to Destination Maternity Corporation in December 2008. Destination Maternity Corporation was founded in 1980 and is headquartered in Philad elphia, Pennsylvania.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Seth Jayson]

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

Top 10 Information Technology Stocks To Own For 2014: Etablissements Delhaize Freres et Cie le Lion SA (DEG)

Delhaize Group is Belgium-based food retailer, which operates in six countries and on three continents. The principal activity of the Company is the operation of food supermarkets in the United States, Belgium and Greece, with operations in Romania and Indonesia. The Company�� retail operations are conducted by its consolidated subsidiary, Delhaize America, LLC (Delhaize America); its businesses in Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (Delhaize Belgium), and the business of Alfa Beta Vassilopoulos S.A. (Alfa Beta) in Greece. On May 12, 2010, Delhaize The Lion Nederland B.V. (Delned) acquired approximately 90.83% interest in Alfa Beta. On July 7, 2009, the Company, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Mega Image closed the acquisition of four supermarkets in Romania previously operated under the Prodas name. On November 23, 2009, the Company, through Alfa Beta acquired the Greek retailer Koryfi, which operated 11 stores and a distribution center in the Northeast of Greece. On January 2, 2009, the Company completed the acquisition of Knauf Center Schmett SA and Knauf Center Pommerlach SA.

The store format consists of retail food supermarkets. The sales network also includes other store formats such as proximity stores and specialty stores. In addition to food retailing, the Company is engaged in food wholesaling and non-food retailing of products, such as pet products and prescription drugs. Delhaize Group SA is the parent company of a number of direct and indirect subsidiaries.

United States

The Company is engaged in one line of business in the United States, the operation of food supermarkets in the southeastern, mid-Atlantic and northeastern regions of the United States under the banners Food Lion, Hannaford, Sweetbay Supermarket, Bloom, Bottom Dollar Food, Reid�� and Harveys. During the year ended December 31, 2009, the Company opened 30 new stores in the United States, closed and relocated seven stores, and decided to close 17 other stores. As of De! cember 31, 2009, the Company operated 1,607 supermarkets in 16 states in the eastern United States. In 2009, it re-opened 53 supermarkets in the United States. It included 35 Food Lion renewals in the Columbia, South Carolina market and five in the Daytona Beach, Florida market.

The Company�� United States-based supermarkets sell a range of groceries, produce, meats, dairy products, seafood, frozen food, deli/bakery products and non-food items, such as prescriptions, health and beauty care and other household and personal products. The stores offered nationally and regionally advertised brand name merchandise as well as products manufactured and packaged under private brands. Food Lion offers between 15,000 and 20,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) in its supermarkets, Harveys between 15,000 and 20,000 SKUs, Bloom between 21,000 and 25,000 SKUs, Bottom Dollar Food between 6,500 and 8,000 SKUs, Sweetbay between 28,000 and 40,000 SKUs and Hannaford between 31,000 and 45,000 SKUs.

Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

In Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the sales network consists of several banners, depending on the specialty, the store size and whether the store is company-operated, franchised or affiliated. At December 31, 2009, the sales network consisted of 792 stores in Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The network included 369 supermarkets under the Delhaize Le Lion, AD Delhaize and Red Market banners, 287 stores primarily under the Proxy Delhaize, Delhaize City and Shop �� Go banners. It also included 136 pet food and products stores operated under the Tom & Co. banner. At December 31, 2009, the Company operated 41 stores in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. In 2009, the Company divested its German operations, which consisted of four stores.

The supermarkets operated by the Company in Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg carry the Delhaize Le Lion banner. At December 31, 2009, there were 144 company-operated supermarket! s of whic! h 14 supermarkets were remodeled. The AD Delhaize supermarkets have an average size of 1,142 square meters and offer approximately 12,000 SKUs.

In 2009, the Company opened the first two Red Market stores. At December 31, 2009, the Company�� network of proximity stores in Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg consisted of 287 stores under the Delhaize City, Proxy Delhaize and Shop �� Go banners. Proxy Delhaize stores have an average selling area of approximately 500 square meters and offer approximately 6,500 SKUs.

Caddy-Home, the food products home delivery banner in Belgium, sells food products to customers for which orders can be placed by the Internet, telephone or fax. As of December 31, 2009, Caddy-Home delivered in 17 cities throughout Belgium, offering approximately 5,500 SKUs to customers. In 2009, Delhaize Belgium launched Delhaize Direct, allowing customers to order their groceries through the Internet and pick them up at their local store.

Tom & Co. is a specialty chain focusing on food and accessories for pets. At December 31, 2009, the stores were operated under franchise agreements with independent operators.

The supermarkets in Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg sell a range of groceries, produce, meats, dairy products, seafood, frozen food, deli/bakery products and nonfood items, such as health and beauty care and other household and personal products. Delhaize Belgium is also selling a basic offering of lottery and postal products in part of its network.


In 2009, the Company operated a total of 216 stores in Greece. As of December 31, 2009, Alfa Beta directly operated 142 supermarkets under the Alfa Beta banner, 10 cash and carry stores under the ENA banner, 13 AB City stores and served 39 affiliated stores operated under the AB Food Market and AB Shop & Go banners and 10 Koryfi stores.

Rest of the World

As of December 31, 2009, Mega Image operated 51 super! markets i! n Romania. The stores offer private brand ranges, including 365, Care and the house brands available at Delhaize Belgium and Alfa Beta. In 2009, Mega Image introduced a private brand for Romanian products called Gusturi Romanesti. As of December 31, 2009, the Company operated 66 stores in Indonesia.

The Company competes with Wal-Mart, Kroger, Harris Teeter, Bi-Lo, Lowes Food, Save-A-Lot, Supervalu, Price Chopper, DeMoulas, Royal Ahold, Publix, Winn-Dixie, Carrefour, Louis Delhaize-Cora, Aldi, Makro-Metro, Lidl, Intermarche, Colruyt and Mestdagh.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By patokehoe]

    Traditional grocers such as Kroger Co (KR) and Delhaize Group SA (DEG) are having an increasingly hard time dealing with competition from nontraditional grocers. Both of these firms have tried to adapt to the pressure stemming from rival discounters, with varying degrees of success. Whereas Kroger has been able to utilize its scale to leverage fixed costs, Delhaize has struggled to maintain margins, and is being forced to lower prices.
    Fending off competitors Investment gurus John Hussman of Hussman Economtrics Advisors and Joel Greenblatt of Gotham Capital own considerable positions in Kroger, one of the largest retailers in the U.S. The firm currently operates over 2,400 supermarkets, 750 convenience stores, and 325 jewellery stores across 31 states. Shareholders have reason to be optimistic, as the company recently acquired Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc (HTSI). The $2.44 billion deal means Kroger will be looking at an 8% increase in its store base and a 4% boost in revenue.

  • [By Brian Pacampara]

    What: Shares of Brussels-based supermarket operator Delhaize Group (NYSE: DEG  ) climbed 10% today after its preliminary quarterly results and outlook topped Wall Street expectations.

Top 10 Information Technology Stocks To Own For 2014: Tri-Continental Corp (TY)

Tri-Continental Corporation (the Fund) is a diversified closed-end management investment company. The Fund�� portfolio consists primarily of large-capitalization stocks representing a range of industry sectors.

Tri-Continental Corporation invests to produce future growth of both capital and income, while providing reasonable current income. The Fund�� investment manager is J. & W Seligman & Co. Incorporated.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Rick Aristotle Munarriz]

    Alamy What if there was a way to buy Apple (AAPL) -- recently trading near $568 a share -- for just $500? It's not an outlandish scenario. That's essentially what investors buying into Tri-Continental (TY) are doing. Like many closed-end stock funds, Tri-Continental trades for less than the value of its underlying assets. In Tri-Continental's case, its close on Dec. 24 of $20.18 is a 12 percent discount to its net asset value of $22.95 a share. Tri-Continental invests in some of the country's largest companies across various different industries. Apple just happens to be its largest holding at nearly 3 percent of the portfolio, but it's one of the many stocks in Tri-Continental that investors are buying into for pennies on the dollar. If this sounds too good to be true, you would be right. There's a catch -- and a big catch, at that. But let's first explore the largely ignored universe of closed-end funds. Fun with Funds When investors think about mutual funds they are probably referring to the wide universe of open-ended funds. Led by iconic fund families including Vanguard, Fidelity and T. Rowe Price (TROW), these conventional funds sell an unlimited number of shares. They typically are priced just once at the end of every trading day. Buyers invest and sellers cash out at that day's net asset value, or the closing value of all of the stocks and investments in the funds after subtracting any liabilities that is then divided by the number of shares outstanding. Closed-end funds don't play that way. They trade throughout the day on public exchanges. Tri-Continental, for example, trades on the New York Stock Exchange. A closed-end fund doesn't create new shares when investors want to buy or subtract them when those shares are redeemed. There's a set number of shares, and the free markets of supply and demand dictate their price. Tri-Continental isn't new. The fund has been around since 1929, the same year of a historic market crash. It's one of the hund

Top 10 Information Technology Stocks To Own For 2014: Echo Global Logistics Inc (ECHO)

Echo Global Logistics, Inc. (Echo) is a provider of technology enabled transportation and supply chain management services. Its Web-based technology platform compiles and analyzes data from its network of over 24,000 transportation providers to serve its clients' shipping and freight management needs. Its technology platform, composed of Web-based software applications and a database, enables it to identify excess transportation capacity, obtain competitive rates, and execute thousands of shipments every day. It focuses on arranging transportation across truckload (TL) and less than truck load (LTL), and it also offers small parcel, inter-modal (which involves moving a shipment by rail and truck), domestic air, expedited and international transportation services. Its logistics services include rate negotiation, shipment execution and tracking, carrier management, routing compliance, freight bill audit and payment and performance management reporting, including executive dashboard tools. Effective January 1, 2011, the Company acquired Nationwide Traffic Services, LLC. (Nationwide) Effective July 1, 2011, the Company acquired Advantage Transport, Inc. (Advantage). Effective December 1, 2011, the Company acquired the stock of Trailer Transport Systems (TTS). In June 2012, the Company acquired Plum Logistics, LLC. In July 2012, it acquired all of the assets of Shipper Direct Logistics, Inc. In October 2012, the Company acquired Sharp Freight Systems, Inc.

The Company�� clients fall into two categories, enterprise and transactional. Its enterprise clients outsource their transportation management function to Echo. It enters into multi-year contracts with its enterprise clients. As part of its value proposition, it also provides core logistics services to these clients, including the management of both freight expenditures and logistical issues surrounding freight to be transported. It provides transportation and logistics services to its transactional clients on a shipment-by-shipment basis.! It is a non-asset-based provider of technology enabled transportation and logistics services. Through its carrier network, it provides transportation services using a range of modes of transportation.

Transportation Services

The Company provides Truckload (TL) services across all TL segments, including dry vans, temperature-controlled units and flatbeds. Using its LaneIQ technology, it provide advanced dispatch, communication and data collection tools and capacity information to its clients on a real-time basis. The Company provides less than truckload (LTL) services involving the shipment of single or multiple pallets of freight. Using its RateIQ 2.0 technology, it obtains real-time pricing and transit time information for every LTL shipment from its database of LTL carriers. It provides small parcel services for packages of all sizes. Using its EchoPak technology, it delivers cost saving opportunities to its clients. Inter-modal transportation is the shipping of freight by multiple modes, using a container that is transferred between ships, railcars or trucks. It offers inter-modal transportation services for its clients, which utilizes both trucks and rail. The Company provides domestic air and expedited shipment services for its clients when traditional LTL services do not meet delivery requirements. It uses ETM track and trace tools for up to date information to its clients through EchoTrak. The Company provides air and ocean transportation services for its clients, offering a comprehensive international delivery option to its clients.

Logistics Services

In addition to arranging for transportation, the Company provides logistics services, either on-site (in the case of some enterprise clients) or off-site, to manage the flow of those goods from origin to destination. Its core logistics services include rate negotiation; procurement of transportation, both contractually and in the spot market; shipment execution and tracking; carrier management, ! reporting! and compliance; executive dashboard presentations and detailed shipment reports; freight bill audit and payment; claims processing and service refund management; design and management of inbound client freight programs; individually configured Web portals and self-service data warehouses; enterprise resource planning (ERP) integration with transactional shipment data, and integration of shipping applications into client e-commerce sites. Customers communicate their freight needs, typically on a shipment-by-shipment basis, to the individual or team responsible for their account. Customers communicate with it by means of telephone, fax, Internet, e-mail, or Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).

Technology Platform

The Company�� ETM technology platform allows it to analyze its clients' transportation requirements and provide customized shipping recommendations. It collects and store pricing and market capacity data in its ETM database from each interaction with carriers, and its database expands as a result of these interactions. It has also developed data acquisition tools, which retrieve information from both private and public transportation databases, including subscription-based sources and public transportation rate boards, and incorporate that information into the ETM database. Its clients communicate their transportation needs to it electronically through its EchoTrak web portal, other computer protocols, or by phone. ETM generates pricing and carrier information for its clients by accessing pre-negotiated rates with preferred carriers or using present or historical pricing and capacity information contained in its database. If a client enters its own shipment, ETM automatically alerts the appropriate account executive. After the carrier is selected, either by it or the client, its account executives use its ETM technology platform to manage all aspects of the shipping process.

The Company�� FastLane is an Internet-based Web portal, which allows its carriers! to view ! shipments available for tender, update equipment availability and preferred lanes, check on the status of all unpaid invoices, unbilled shipments, shipments in transit and other information used to resolve any billing discrepancies. There is also a mobile FastLane application, which allows carriers to view similar information remotely. eConnect is a set of tools, which allows the Company�� clients and carriers to interact directly with ETM electronically through any of several computer protocols, including EDI, extensible markup language (XML) and file transfer protocol (FTP). The eConnect tools serve as an electronic bridge between the other elements of its ETM technology platform and its clients' enterprise resource planning (ERP), billing, accounts receivable, accounts payable, order management, back office and e-commerce systems. Through eConnect, its clients are able to request shipping services and receive financial and tracking data using their existing systems.

EchoTrak is an Internet-based Web portal, which connects and integrates its clients with ETM. By entering a username and password, its clients are able to enter orders, display historical and active shipments in the ETM system using configurable data entry screens sorted by carrier, price, delivery date, destination and other relevant specifications. EchoTrak also generates automatic alerts to ensure that shipments are moving in accordance with the client specifications and timeline. There is also a mobile EchoTrak application, which allows customers to perform similar functions remotely. RateIQ2.0 is a pricing engine, which manages LTL tariffs and generates rate quotes and transit times for LTL shipments. RateIQ2.0 also provides integrated tools to manage dispatch, communications, data collection and management functions relating to LTL shipments. LaneIQ is a pricing engine, which generates rate quotes for TL shipments. LaneIQ also provides integrated tools to manage dispatch, communications, headhaul and backhaul data col! lection a! nd management functions relating to TL shipments. EchoPak is a small parcel pricing and audit engine. For each small parcel shipped, EchoPak audits carrier compliance with on-time delivery requirements and pricing tariffs. In addition, EchoPak tracks information for each parcel and is able to aggregate and analyze that data for clients. For instance, clients are able to view shipments by date, business unit, product line and location, and clients can access information regarding service levels and pricing.

The Company�� Shipment Tracking stores shipment information en-route and after final delivery. The shipment data is acquired through its carrier EDI integration, allowing its clients to track the location and status of all shipments on one screen, regardless of mode or carrier. Final delivery information is permanently archived, allowing it to provide its clients with carrier performance reporting by comparing actual delivery times with the published transit time standards.

Document Imaging allows the Company to store digital images of all shipping documents, including bills of lading and delivery receipts. CAS (Cost Allocation System) automatically audits carrier invoices against its rating engine and accounts payable accrual system. If the amounts match, the invoice is automatically released for payment. If the amounts do not match, the invoice is sent to various administrative personnel for manual processing and resolution. CAS also integrates to its general ledger, accounts receivable and accounts payable systems. Accounting includes its general ledger, accounts receivable and accounts payable functions. Accounting is integrated with CAS and EchoIQ. EchoIQ stores internally and externally generated data to support its reporting and analytic functions and integrate all of its core applications with ETM. ETM supports its logistics services, which it provides to its clients as part of its value proposition. Its ETM technology platform is able to track individual shipments ! and provi! de customized data and reports throughout the lifecycle of the shipment, allowing it to manage the entire shipping process for its clients. It also market Flex TMS.

The Company competes with C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Total Quality Logistics, UPS, FedEx, Schneider, Conway, JB Hunt and ABF.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Seth Jayson]

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

  • [By Will Ashworth]

    Without further adieu, here are my five best stocks for the next 20 years:

    Best Stocks #1 (Small Cap): Echo Global Logistics (ECHO)

    Echo Global Logistics (ECHO) uses web-based proprietary technology to provide business process outsourcing to the transportation industry. Founded in 2005, ECHO serves more than 28,500 small- and midsize customers who use its technology to access the best shipping prices from a network of 24,000 carriers in a matter of seconds.

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