Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Strong Stuff: Diageo Holds Up Well

Every investor is looking for that bullet-proof stock -- the one that holds up  against any and all market and economic conditions while others plunge.

As detailed before in a previous article on Benzinga, these equities with low betas have been proven to be high reward investment vehicles over time. While some, such as Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) and Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) are well known, Diageo (NYSE: DEO) has also proven itself to be a rewarding holding for long term investors no matter what the market brings.

Diageo is a leader in the wine and distilled spirits industry, and headquartered in London, England.

While recession-proof, there can be brand shifting during adverse economic conditions for wine and liquor. But due to its presence in emerging markets, Diageo held up reasonably well during the Great Recession. While falling in price, it did not collapse anywhere near the market as a whole.

What protects the total return of its shareholders is a dividend with a history of growth.

At present, Diageo pays a dividend of around 1.75 percent, while the average for a member of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index is around 1.9 percent. But the dividend growth rate for Diageo over the past five years has been 2.35 percent. For its industry, it has been a negative 1.23 percent.

That is very bullish for the future income stream of Diageo shareholders.

Even more positive are the company's financials. Its profit margin is 38.10 percent. That is about four times the average profit margin for a member of the Standard & Poor's Index -- and more than double the profit margin of Coca-Cola. The profit margin for Diageo is also about nine times that for Wal-Mart. Diageo's profit margin is much better than that for its industry, too.

10 Best Biotech Stocks To Invest In Right Now

Sales growth for Diageo is also double digits for the most recent quarter. That should remain strong, as more emerging market growth will lead to more consumers buying Diageo brand name labels such as Johnnie Walker and Ketel One.

"With nearly half of its revenues coming from emerging markets, where the growing middle class is enamored with recognizable high-end liquor brands, Diageo is a solid bet for long term growth,"noted Jim Kee, President of South Texas Money Management.

Another factor, shows that Diageo is able to stand up under a hail of unfavorable economic factors, is its low beta. Stocks with low betas have been proven to do better over time. There is no reason for a shareholder to sell if the stock if it is a good investment. As a result, the beta is below average as fewer sell than for high beta stocks.

The beta for Diageo's sector is 0.85, 15 percent lower than that for the stock market, as a whole. Diageo's beta is about 10 percent lower than that for its sector. Both Wal-Mart and Coca-Cola have below average betas, too. For long term investors, Diageo should continue to pour strong returns.

Posted-In: alcoholic beverage industry beverage food and beverage South Texas Money Management wine and spiritsLong Ideas News Emerging Markets Dividends Dividends Economics Markets Trading Ideas

(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Miami’s tech start-up scene is heating up

MIAMI — In a sunny, roomy office overlooking a vibrant bustling Miami Avenue below, Freddie Laker is putting the finishing touches on a potentially groundbreaking app that turns written text into video.

He's not shepherding his Gui.de in Silicon Valley, or even in one of the top start-up cities like New York, Boston or the Denver/Boulder area, but way far away at the extreme southeastern part of the country.

Miami? Home to hot temps, leggy South Beach models, a bustling Latin America scene and thousands of retirees?

"There's more talent here than people give us credit for," says Laker, son of the late British airline mogul of the same name. "Because it's Miami, people assume everyone will be by the pool. They forget that nerds are nerds and they're happy to be inside anywhere."

Great weather, cheaper real estate and labor and being the gateway to Latin America doesn't hurt either.

"You're lucky if you can carve out a corner for yourself in San Francisco or New York, but in Miami it's wide open," says Daniel Lafuente, co-founder of The Lab Miami, a tech-geared shared workspace in the Wynwood area.

The Lab this year expanded from its original 700 square foot location to a 10,000 square feet facility, due to demand for space.

On a recent visit, Wynwood was bustling with colorful factories awash in purples, greens and yellows. Just a few miles away from pricey South Beach, Wynwood is known for the hosting the well-attended Art Basel event in December and frequent weekend art walks.

Why settle in Miami? "You might enjoy its gorgeous winters, warm oceans, Latin American edge, world-class cultural happenings, art scene, Eastern time zone, pace, more manageable cost of living," says David Notik, a Miami-based developer who runs the Woven community website. "There are lots of great places to start, grow or invest in a company. Miami's one of them, and it might be right for you."

What Miami has yet to produce is a big success story. The San Francis! co area is known for Google and Apple, while New York has Kickstarter and AOL, and Boston has Trip Advisor. The biggest tech names to come from Miami so far are gaming PC manufacturer Alienware — a unit of Dell — and Open English, a website that teaches English in tutorial videos.

But things are brewing. The company .CO (go.co) is based here. It sells domain names to companies that want to use .co in their URL. Twitter's Vine app, which offer six second video clips, uses .co, as does Brit Moran's Brit.co household tips help site.

LiveNinja, an online learning site, raised $500,000 in seed funding and is working on its second round of capital.

Miami hasn't attracted the big-pocketed venture capitalists who pour millions into start-ups our west and elsewhere. But LiveNinja CEO Will Weinraub says Latin America money is a welcome alternative. About half of his investment has come from Latin America investors.

Laker says Miami needs to see a "PayPal Mafia" of sorts "to graduate and start investing in others." The term refers to PayPal founders and early employees who are serial entrepreneurs and investors. They include Elon Musk, who went on to found the Tesla electric car, and Peter Thiel, an early investor in Facebook.

Refresh Miami, a local tech support group, organizes many tech meetups. The Knight Foundation is a big financial supporter of the Miami tech scene, investing in the Lab and helping fund other projects. The organization — an outgrowth of the newspapers once owned by the Knight brothers, including the Miami Herald — has invested over $4 million locally this year. The goal is to keep talented young people in Miami. "If you look at 25- to 40-year-olds with college degrees, they want to go to San Francisco, Boston, Washington D.C., the research triangle in North Carolina or Austin," says Matt Haggman, Knight's Miami program director. "We want to be on that list."

The bottom line: Miami's a great place to live and work, and now, with a tech scene that'! s organiz! ed and united, the future can only hold promise.

Local street ion the Wynwood area of Miami(Photo: Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY)

"Our community is just now starting to see the growth and support it needed," says Michael McCord, CEO of LearnerNation, a video e-learning site. "It needed someone to turn around and say we're more than just hotels and coconuts. We're a community where there's actually business being done."

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Top 10 Gold Companies To Own For 2014

In case you haven't noticed, there are some serious consolidation efforts going around the cable and telecom industries. On one end, there are satellite TV providers chasing spectrum as if it's the gold rush of 1849. Now, it appears that Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC  ) may be courting Liberty Media (NASDAQ: LMCA  ) for a merger in an attempt to leverage Charter Communications' (NASDAQ: CHTR  ) �highly coveted network. Let's determine who is the biggest winner in this latest media M&A dance, and where you should be putting your funds.

The players�
Charter Communications is not as big a name as, say, Comcast, but it is the fourth-largest cable provider in the United States, at least by market cap. The company was recently beleaguered and underwater financially (entering bankruptcy in 2009), but has since become a market darling, largely fueled by buyout speculation. John Malone's Liberty Media currently holds a 27% position in the company, with the ability to gain as much as 40%.

Top 10 Gold Companies To Own For 2014: First Majestic Silver Corp.(AG)

First Majestic Silver Corp. engages in the production, development, exploration, and acquisition of mineral properties with a focus on silver in Mexico. The company owns interests in La Encantada Silver Mine comprising 4,076 hectares of mining rights and 1,343 hectares of surface land located in Coahuila; La Parrilla Silver Mine consisting of mining concessions covering an area of 69,867 hectares; and San Martin Silver Mine comprising approximately 7,841 hectares of mineral rights and approximately 1,300 hectares of surface land rights located in Jalisco. It also holds interests in Del Toro Silver Mine consisting of 393 contiguous hectares of mining claims and an additional 129 hectares of surface rights located in Zacatecas; Real de Catorce Silver Project comprising 22 mining concessions covering 6,327 hectares located in San Luis Potosi state; and Jalisco Group of Properties consisting of mining claims totalling 5,240 hectares located in Jalisco. The company was founded in 1979 and is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Doug Ehrman]

    It is no secret that precious metals companies have been taking a pounding for some time now. The SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEMKT: GLD  ) and iShares Silver Trust (NYSEMKT: SLV  ) , the gold and silver ETFs, have been hard hit and operating companies like First Majestic (NYSE: AG  ) and Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX  ) have been hit even harder. Through all of these struggles, and in some cases because of them, one precious metals company continues to look attractive for the long term: Silver Wheaton (NYSE: SLW  ) .

  • [By Doug Ehrman]

    In terms of individual companies, there are several good choices, but these can behave very differently. Pan American Silver (NASDAQ: PAAS  ) , for example, missed revenue expectations and beat earnings expectations in its last earnings release. But despite the beat, EPS shrank considerably from a year earlier on a GAAP basis. The stock has been fairly flat ever since. Conversely, First Majestic (NYSE: AG  ) reported strong revenue growth and a small bump in profits, sending the stock higher since the announcement. First Majestic reported increased cash costs and tightening margins, largely driven by lower silver prices. Each of these companies faces pressure from increasing production costs and environmental concerns.

Top 10 Gold Companies To Own For 2014: Iamgold Corporation(IAG)

IAMGOLD Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the exploration, development, and production of mineral resource properties worldwide. It primarily explores for gold, silver, zinc, copper, niobium, diamonds, and other metals. The company holds interests in eight operating gold mines, a niobium producer, a diamond royalty, and exploration and development projects located in Africa and the Americas. Its advanced exploration and development projects include the Westwood project in Canada; and the Quimsacocha project, which consists of 3 mining concessions covering an aggregate area of approximately 8,030 hectares in Ecuador. The company was formerly known as IAMGOLD International African Mining Gold Corporation and changed its name to IAMGOLD Corporation in June 1997. IAMGOLD Corporation was founded in 1990 and is based in Toronto, Canada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Inyoung Hwang]

    Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc sank 3.3 percent after reporting results and naming the head of its U.K. consumer unit as chief executive officer. William Hill Plc (WMH) dropped the most in four years after the bookmaker posted earnings that missed analysts��projections. International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (IAG) rose to a five-year high as the parent of British Airways reported an operating profit in the second quarter.

  • [By Patricio Kehoe]

    In addition to overexpansion at the wrong time, Golden Star�� position has weakened due to its comparably less efficient operations. Unlike industry peers, such as IamGold Corp. (IAG) or Gold Fields Ltd. (GFI), the majority of the Toronto-based miner�� assets contain refractory ore, which is far more expensive to extract than non refractory ore. And, in an attempt to switch production to the lower cost gold ore, and thus increase margins, Golden Star has depleted its mines��non refractory ore. With low reserves and mounting cash costs, the firm inevitably turned to new acquisitions.

  • [By Namitha Jagadeesh]

    HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA), Europe�� largest bank, slid 2.1 percent. International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (IAG) declined 2 percent as it canceled some of its flights following a disruption caused by one of its planes at Heathrow airport. Next Plc (NXT) retreated 2.4 percent as Morgan Stanley cut its recommendation on the shares.

Best Medical Stocks To Invest In 2014: Agnico-Eagle Mines Limited(AEM)

Agnico-Eagle Mines Limited, through its subsidiaries, engages in the exploration, development, and production of mineral properties in Canada, Finland, and Mexico. The company primarily explores for gold, as well as silver, copper, zinc, and lead. Its flagship property includes the LaRonde mine located in the southern portion of the Abitibi volcanic belt, Canada. The company was founded in 1953 and is based in Toronto, Canada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    In the longer term, IAMGOLD could potential challenges from higher taxes on some of its holdings. The Canadian province of Quebec is considering changing the current 16% profit tax either to what amounts to a gross revenue tax or to a more progressive profit tax with higher rates on high-margin mining operations. Under current conditions, those taxes might not have much effect either on IAMGOLD or rivals Agnico-Eagle (NYSE: AEM  ) and Goldcorp (NYSE: GG  ) , both of which also have projects in the province, but it's hard to predict how a changes might affect future results if they take effect.

  • [By Markus Aarnio]

    Other gold miners that have seen intensive insider buying during the past four months include St. Andrew Goldfields (STADF.PK), Continental Gold (CGOOF.PK), Kinross (KGC) and Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM).

Top 10 Gold Companies To Own For 2014: CME Group Inc.(CME)

CME Group Inc. operates the CME, CBOT, NYMEX, and COMEX regulatory exchanges worldwide. The company provides a range of products available across various asset classes, including futures and options on interest rates, equity indexes, energy, agricultural commodities, metals, foreign exchange, weather, and real estate. It offers various products that provide a means of hedging, speculation, and asset allocation relating to the risks associated with interest rate sensitive instruments, equity ownership, changes in the value of foreign currency, credit risk, and changes in the prices of commodities. CME Group owns and operates clearing house, CME Clearing, which provides clearing and settlement services for exchange-traded contracts and counter derivatives transactions; and also engages in real estate operations. Its primary trade execution facilities consist of its CME Globex electronic trading platform and open outcry trading floors, as well as privately negotiated transact ions that are cleared and settled through its clearing house. In addition, the company offers market data services comprising live quotes, delayed quotes, market reports, and historical data services, as well as involves in index services business. CME Group?s customer base includes professional traders, financial institutions, institutional and individual investors, corporations, manufacturers, producers, and governments. It has strategic partnerships with BM&FBOVESPA S.A., Bursa Malaysia Derivatives, Singapore Exchange Limited, Green Exchange, Dubai Mercantile Exchange, Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and Bolsa Mexicana de Valores, S.A.B. de C.V., as well as joint venture agreement with Dow Jones & Company. The company was formerly known as Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings Inc. and changed its name to CME Group Inc. in July 2007. CME Group was founded in 1898 and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Sue Chang]

    CME (CME) �is projected to report third-quarter earnings of 73 cents a share, according to a consensus survey by FactSet.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    Among exchanges, the action is beyond the stock market. With the rise in trading of futures, options, and other derivative investments, NYSE Euronext's ownership of the NYSE Liffe exchange in London was a key element of ICE's interest. CME Group (NASDAQ: CME  ) and CBOE Holdings (NASDAQ: CBOE  ) have worked hard to preserve their respective strength in futures and options, and rising market turbulence has made many of their products look a lot more enticing. Given that derivatives can help hedge market risk and reduce overall exposure, all of the exchange companies have an opportunity to bolster their presence in the derivatives market with innovative products that meet the new needs investors have in a more turbulent financial environment.

  • [By Russ Krull]

    CME Group (NASDAQ: CME  ) made a market for its own debt, selling $750 million of 5.3% 30-year paper. The money will be used to redeem $750 million of 5.75% paper maturing next February. The refi will save CME a little more than $3 million per year in debt service.

Top 10 Gold Companies To Own For 2014: Claude Resources Inc.(CGR)

Claude Resources Inc. engages in the acquisition, exploration, and development of precious metal properties, as well as production and marketing of minerals in Canada. It primarily explores for gold in northern Saskatchewan and northwestern Ontario. The company holds interests in the Seabee gold mine located at Laonil Lake, northern Saskatchewan; and the Madsen property that consists of 6 contiguous claim blocks totaling approximately 10,000 acres, located in the Red Lake Mining District of northwestern Ontario. It also holds interest in the Amisk Gold project, which covers an area of 13,800 hectares in the province of Saskatchewan. The company was founded in 1980 and is based in Saskatoon, Canada.

Top 10 Gold Companies To Own For 2014: Goldman Sachs Group Inc.(The)

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides investment banking, securities, and investment management services to corporations, financial institutions, governments, and high-net-worth individuals worldwide. Its Investment Banking segment offers financial advisory, including advisory assignments with respect to mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, corporate defense, risk management, restructurings, and spin-offs; and underwriting securities, loans and other financial instruments, and derivative transactions. The company?s Institutional Client Services segment provides client execution activities, such as fixed income, currency, and commodities client execution related to making markets in interest rate products, credit products, mortgages, currencies, and commodities; and equities related to making markets in equity products, as well as commissions and fees from executing and clearing institutional client transactions on stock, options, and fu tures exchanges. This segment also engages in the securities services business providing financing, securities lending, and other prime brokerage services to institutional clients, including hedge funds, mutual funds, pension funds, and foundations. Its Investing and Lending segment invests in debt securities, loans, public and private equity securities, real estate, consolidated investment entities, and power generation facilities. This segment also involves in the origination of loans to provide financing to clients. The company?s Investment Management segment provides investment management services and investment products to institutional and individual clients. This segment also offers wealth advisory services, including portfolio management and financial counseling, and brokerage and other transaction services to high-net-worth individuals and families. In addition, it provides global investment research services. The company was founded in 1869 and is headquartered in New York, New York.

Top 10 Gold Companies To Own For 2014: Goldcorp Incorporated(GG)

Goldcorp Inc. engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, and operation of precious metal properties in Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Central and South America. It produces and sells gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc. The company was founded in 1954 and is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    As a result, Chidley and team upgraded Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM) and�Yamana Gold (AUY) to Neutral from Underweight, and raised Barrick Gold (ABX), Goldcorp (GG) and Iamgold (IAG) to Overweight from Neutral.�Gold Fields (GFI) was downgraded “due to increased risk and also reduced expectations for the South Deep operation,” Chidley says.

Top 10 Gold Companies To Own For 2014: Newmont Mining Corporation(Holding Company)

Newmont Mining Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the acquisition, exploration, and production of gold and copper properties. The company?s assets or operations are located in the United States, Australia, Peru, Indonesia, Ghana, Canada, New Zealand, and Mexico. As of December 31, 2009, it had proven and probable gold reserves of approximately 93.5 million equity ounces and an aggregate land position of approximately 27,500 square miles. The company was founded in 1916 and is headquartered in Greenwood Village, Colorado.

Top 10 Gold Companies To Own For 2014: Golden Star Resources Ltd(GSS)

Golden Star Resources Ltd., a gold mining and exploration company, through its subsidiaries, engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, and production of gold properties. It owns and operates the Bogoso/Prestea gold mining and processing operation that covers approximately 40 kilometers of strike along the southwest-trending Ashanti gold district in western Ghana; and the Wassa open-pit gold mine located to the east of Bogoso/Prestea in southwest Ghana. The company also has an 81% interest in the Prestea underground gold mine located in Ghana. In addition, it holds interests in various gold exploration projects in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Cote d?Ivoire, as well as holds and manages exploration properties in Brazil in South America. The company was founded in 1984 and is based in Littleton, Colorado.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Patricio Kehoe] ating price of the commodity, along with the geopolitical risks involved in mining in African nations such as Ghana, are just two of the obstacles the firm is facing. In addition, as one of the smallest gold mining firms in the industry, with a market cap of just $122 million, Golden Star has had a very difficult time financing its latest expansion projects. With share prices tumbling towards all-time lows, gurus such as Steven Cohen, Chuck Royce and Arnold Schneider have already sold out their positions in the troubled firm.

    Why Have Gurus Lost Faith in Golden Star?

    Despite aggressive expansion over the past decade, the Toronto-based gold mining firm has not been able to take advantage of its increased production output. Gold prices might have exploded over a ten-year period, yet the recent six-month decline has put a huge strain on Golden Star. The expedited maturation of its mines is particularly troubling, since the accelerated extraction rates, which allowed for short-term profits, are now falling considerably. The impact of the company�� excessive overproduction on profits and growth is clear: decreasing gold reserves mean less production, and thus reduced revenue for the gold miner. When the decline in metal prices are taken into account, the outlook is even more grim.

    In addition to overexpansion at the wrong time, Golden Star�� position has weakened due to its comparably less efficient operations. Unlike industry peers, such as IamGold Corp. (IAG) or Gold Fields Ltd. (GFI), the majority of the Toronto-based miner�� assets contain refractory ore, which is far more expensive to extract than non refractory ore. And, in an attempt to switch production to the lower cost gold ore, and thus increase margins, Golden Star has depleted its mines��non refractory ore. With low reserves and mounting cash costs, the firm inevitably turned to new acquisitions.

    Overpriced Acquisitions and Geopolitical Risk

    The purchase

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Clash of the titans
    When bears are raging on the gold bullion market, it's not surprising to see gold stocks getting mauled as well. Golden Star Resources (NYSEMKT: GSS  ) was the biggest loser in the sector, losing a quarter of its market cap on no company-specific news, though a report last Friday indicated that a large number of hedge funds had recently dumped their positions in the mid-tier miner. Yet it wasn't all that much better among the majors, either, as Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX  ) fell almost 13% and Kinross Gold (NYSE: KGC  ) was down 14%.

  • [By Sean Williams]

    Golden Star Resources (NYSEMKT: GSS  )
    It's simple physics: The bigger they are, the harder they fall. When gold prices nosedived earlier this week, gold miners with historically higher operating costs took the brunt of the hit. For the most part, that meant that development-stage miners, and those operating in Africa, where labor and political costs make cost-effective mining a challenge, took it on the chin. Possibly no stock was hammered more than Golden Star Resources, a gold miner in Ghana, which lost about one-quarter of its value on Monday alone.

Top 10 Gold Companies To Own For 2014: Thompson Creek Metals Company Inc.(TC)

Thompson Creek Metals Company Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in mining, milling, processing, and marketing molybdenum products in the United States and Canada. The company?s principal properties include the Thompson Creek Mine and mill in Idaho; a metallurgical roasting facility in Langeloth, Pennsylvania; and a joint venture interest in the Endako Mine, mill, and roasting facility in British Columbia. It also holds interests in development projects comprising the Davidson molybdenum property and the Berg copper-molybdenum-silver property located in northern British Columbia; the Howard?s Pass property, a lead and zinc project situated in the Yukon territory-northwest territories border; and the Maze Lake property, a gold project located in the Kivalliq district of Nunavut. The company produces molybdenum products, primarily molybdic oxide and ferromolybdenum, as well as soluble technical oxide, pure molybdenum tri-oxide, and high purity molybdenum disulfide. As o f December 31, 2010, its consolidated recoverable proven and probable ore reserves totaled 462.2 million pounds of contained molybdenum in the Thompson Creek Mine and the Endako Mine. The company was formerly known as Blue Pearl Mining Ltd. and changed its name to Thompson Creek Metals Company Inc. in May 2007. Thompson Creek Metals Company Inc. is based in Denver, Colorado.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Selena Maranjian]

    The biggest new holdings are Chesapeake Energy�puts, and shares of Discovery Communications. Other new holdings of interest include Halcon Resources (NYSE: HK  ) , and Thompson Creek Metals (NYSE: TC  ) . Oil and gas company Halcon, operating in the promising Bakken region, as well as Texas's productive Eagle Ford shale region, among others, is expected to grow by 30% annually over the coming years. It recently reported 2012 net daily production 128% higher than year-ago levels, and proven reserves up 417%. Halcon was recently one of my colleague Joel South's top two energy holdings, and analysts at Stifel recently upped its rating�from Hold to Buy.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Tesla Is The New Bubble Stock

If it looks like a bubble and acts like a bubble, it's a bubble.

Tesla Motors (TSLA) is the new bubble stock.

There is a lot of money to be made and lost in a bubble stock, but the trouble is bubble stocks are for trading not investing.

Once a bubble is underway almost anything can happen in the short term, but in the long term the outcome of a return to market normality is extremely likely. That doesn't mean you can't make a lot of money out of the madness, it's just a very dangerous game.

Risk equals reward and bubbles are immensely risky, which is why there is reward to be had. As such, bubble stocks draw investors to them like the clichéd moths to a flame.

10 Best Cheap Stocks To Own Right Now

Bubbles are lovely to behold. Look at this delightful chart:

Let's go closer. Fascinating. What's that burning smell? Wow it's me!

Of course the best thing to do is ignore these kinds of stocks but that sadly is not going to happen. The reason TSLA has gone to the moon–shares are up more than 500% over the last 12 months–is everyone wants in. Saying "avoid" is futile.

Saying Tesla's stock price is too high is not the same as saying Tesla is not a brilliant company. Tesla has done a great job. The stock isn't through the roof for nothing. You just have to see one of its cars on the road to want to own it. It is so "lick-able" it looks like an iPhone with wheels.

What did they do to the paint job to give it that opalescence? Or is that the new owners just polish it 24/7? Who knows, we shouldn't care. Perception can only be reality for so long.

We should stick to the land of comparative valuations and likely outcomes. So Tesla is a great company with a great product, but is it a good value investment? Let's keep that for later, but you can guess right off what my opinion is: no it isn't.

Is its stock going to rise? Why not? Once "superstar" status is achieved normal laws of the market no longer apply.

If Tesla wasn't a superstar stock it would be the easiest call in the world to short Tesla, but with the U.S. market's bi-polar tendencies, this is the first thing to avoid doing at this stage. There is always plenty of time to short Tesla and it will be a long time after it made perfect sense to do so. Superstar stocks can stay in orbit a lot longer than you'd ever guess.

So go long? Going long Tesla is purely a trading position, there is no long-term reason to cling onto this company at these heady valuations. Not unless TSLA invents anti-gravity paint.

I know no one wants to hear this but Tesla is worth twice Fiat, the owners of Ferrari.  Tesla and Porsche are worth about the same. You could buy Peugeot Peugeot five times over. Should Tesla be worth half of GM? The market thinks so and the market is always correct. Right?

Special Offer: Get the names of five rock–solid companies with real, tangible growth drivers and big money making potential in the free report 5 Bargain Stocks To Buy Now.

So how to play the stock? Well first off, if you aren't in, leave this one alone unless you want to play a high risk gambling game with your money. Tesla is now pure speculation.

Friday, December 27, 2013

IBM Downgraded to “Equal-Weight” at Barclays (IBM)

Barclays Capital reported on Monday that it has cut its rating on International Business Machines Corp. (IBM).

The firm has downgraded IBM from “Overweight” to “Equal-Weight,” and has cut its price target from $215 to $190. This new price target suggests a 15% increase from the stock’s current price of $182.50.

Top Dividend Companies To Own For 2014

An analyst from the firm noted: "It is increasingly clear to us that investors will evaluate IBM on cash flow more than earnings until revenue starts to grow meaningfully. As a result, we are moving our rating for IBM to Equal Weight from Overweight even though shares have been down over the past several months. The mainframe 'catalyst’ has passed and positive benefits from analytics seem to be offset by secular shits to SaaS and Cloud, which seem to adversely impact all of IBM’s segments in some way. We have recently performed several surveys that show the disruptive impact of cloud and SaaS are only in the early innings and are set to be more disruptive in 2014 for our whole sector."

IBM shares were down $1.70, or 0.92%, during Monday morning trading. The stock has been mostly flat YTD.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Rieder: Obama, CBS pay price for stonewalling

It's just so basic: Never defend an indefensible position.

No good ever comes of it.

The more you dig in, the worse you look, the more you compound the damage. It's much better to confront the truth, no matter how difficult that is, apologize and move on.

To do the opposite, to borrow the great line from Talleyrand, is not only a disgrace, it's a mistake.

We were reminded of this lesson again this week by President Obama and CBS News.

Obama on Thursday at last apologized to Americans who are losing their health insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act, even though he had reassured them over and over and over that there was no way that would happen.

On Friday morning, CBS correspondent Lara Logan issued an unusual on-air apology for a clearly problematic 60 Minutes report on the 2012 attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya.

Both mea culpas are welcome. But both came after periods of refusal to confront obvious problems.

The difficulties with the Oct. 27 "60 Minutes" report, which included a purported eyewitness account of the raid from a security guard, surfaced in a Washington Post report Nov. 1. (USA TODAY also posted a story based on the "60 Minutes" report.) The article revealed that the guard, who went by the pseudonym Morgan Jones in the report but whose real name is Dylan Davies, had told his employer he had been unable to get "anywhere near" the scene of the deadly assault because of roadblocks.

Sounds like a problem, right? Your eyewitness had previously said his eyes hadn't witnessed anything that particular night. You figure you'd want to check that out, particularly given that Davies' declarations on the program had rekindled the partisan sniping over Benghazi.

In fact, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) and other Republicans repeatedly cited the 60 Minutes report at a press conference at which Graham threatened to block confirmation of all of Obama's appointees until the administration let government witnesses talk to Congr! ess about Benghazi.

So what was CBS's response? "We stand firmly by the story we broadcast last Sunday."

Not "We'll look into it." Not "We'll check it out." Just the reflex dip into the defensive crouch.

As questions continued to surface, the network continued to stonewall, as The Huffington Post's Michael Calderone has chronicled.

It was only after The New York Times reported Thursday night that Davies had also told the FBI he hadn't been at the scene that 60 Minutes shifted gears. "We are currently looking into this serious matter to determine if he misled us, and if so, we will make a correction," it said in a statement.

Friday morning, Logan, the correspondent on the story, took to CBS This Morning to say, "We will apologize to our viewers, and we will correct the record on our broadcast on Sunday night."

Clearly, CBS is not so good at learning from history, particularly its own. Its initial tone-deaf response is so similar to the way it first reacted to the obvious problems that immediately surfaced with Dan Rather's 2004 report on President George W. Bush's National Guard service. (USA TODAY had its own problems with the National Guard story.)

Almost immediately after the story aired, again on 60 Minutes, it became clear that there were questions about the documents upon which the piece was based. But instead of taking them seriously, Rather and CBS aggressively counterpunched for a week. The network ultimately apologized for a story and convened a commission to find out how things had gone so terribly wrong.

"I think that their delaying and obvious resistance to acknowledge the evident realities has kept the story alive a lot longer than it needed to be and was a lot more damaging to CBS than it needed to be," Alex Jones, director of Harvard University's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, said at the time.

Obama has made a similar mistake over his completely discredited promise that people could keep their health ins! urance po! licies under the new law. "If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what," the president had vowed. Doesn't get more definitive than that.

RIEDER: Obama should apologize over broken health care promise

But as numerous Americans had their policies canceled starting last month, the administration also opted to play defense. It wasn't until Thursday that Obama faced up to reality.

"I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me," Obama said in an interview with NBC News. "We've got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and we are going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this."

He would have been so much better off if he had forthrightly engaged the issue weeks ago.

You would think it would be clear to everyone. The classic Chico Marx defense -- "Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes" -- just doesn't work very often.

President Barack Obama speaks at Boston's historic Faneuil Hall about the federal health care law.(Photo: Stephan Savoia, AP)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Today's 3 Best Stocks

It was certainly an interesting day, with emphasis on the word "interesting." A midday hack of the Associated Press' Twitter feed sent the markets tumbling in eye-blinking fashion after a fake tweet involving two bombings at the White House were made. The report and tweet were quickly debunked, and the markets regained all of their lost ground, but it was something on the nature of a mini-flash crash.

When the markets weren't focused on the ongoing security issues with high-profile Twitter accounts, they were paying attention to key second-quarter earnings reports and new-home sales from the homebuilding sector. Both succeeded in pushing the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) higher, as the majority of S&P 500 companies are beating on EPS, and new-home sales pushed higher by 1.5% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 417,000.

Following the shenanigans, the S&P 500 finished higher by 16.28 points (1.04%) to close at, 1,578.78. In spite of the strong move higher, earnings news and economic data helped push these three stocks much higher than the S&P's roughly 1% gain.

The star of the day was streaming content provider Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX  ) which shot out of a cannon for a second-straight quarter, advancing 24.4%, after reporting better-than-expected first-quarter results. For the quarter, Netflix tacked on 2 million domestic streaming subscribers and an additional 1 million internationally to boost its worldwide subscriptions to 36.3 million. DVD subscriptions dropped by 241,000. Revenue jumped to $1.02 billion from $869 million in the year-ago period and profit of $0.31 per share. Wall Street had only been looking for a profit of $0.19. In spite of these strong results, and a multitude of price target increases by brokerage firms, I stand firm in my assessment that Netflix is grossly overvalued and would recommend caution with the stock now over $215.

5 Best Heal Care Stocks To Invest In Right Now

Handbag and accessories maker Coach (NYSE: COH  ) shook off the rust and leapt 9.8% after reporting better-than-expected third-quarter results. Shares surged as buyers returned to what had been a weak domestic market in recent months. North American sales rose 7% to $792 million, while sales in China soared 40%. Overall, Coach reported revenue of $1.19 billion and EPS of $0.84 -- 10% higher than the year-ago period. Wall Street had projected a profit of only $0.80 on $1.18 billion in sales. Coach has incredible brand value and a perfect price niche that puts it within most people's budgets, as this report showed. It may have significant long-term upside even following today's beat.

Finally, homebuilding stocks Lennar (NYSE: LEN  ) and PulteGroup (NYSE: PHM  ) both jumped notably higher following the aforementioned strong new-home sales data. Lennar managed to outdo PulteGroup by a hair -- 6.9% versus 6% -- but the thesis for the sector remains the same: Stronger home sales and less inventory will lead to higher selling prices and better homebuilding margins. If homebuilders can keep from flooding the market with supply they have a pretty decent shot at maintaining their pricing power. The question is, can they resist the temptation?

Can Netflix head even higher?
The tumultuous performance of Netflix shares since the summer of 2011 has caused headaches for many devoted shareholders. While the company's first-mover status is often viewed as a competitive advantage, the opportunities in streaming media have brought some new, deep-pocketed rivals looking for their piece of a growing pie. Can Netflix fend off this burgeoning competition, and will its international growth aspirations really pay off? These are must-know issues for investors, which is why The Motley Fool has released a premium report on Netflix. Inside, you'll learn about the key opportunities and risks facing the company, as well as reasons to buy or sell the stock. The report includes a full year of updates to cover critical new developments, so make sure to click here and claim a copy today.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Best Safest Companies For 2014

Pipeline blaze in the Gulf. Photo credit: AP Photo/US Coast Guard, Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Vega.

So far, 2013 isn't shaping up to be the energy industry's safest year. A number of disasters have occurred, which have brought unwanted attention to the industry. Here's a look at the industry's five biggest blunders so far this year.

A Herculean disaster averted in the Gulf
Just this past week, a blowout occurred on a Hercules (NASDAQ: HERO  ) -owned rig operating in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Natural gas leaking from a well off the coast of Louisiana caught fire and spread to the Hercules rig. Fortunately, all 48 personnel in the rig were safely evacuated. However, the incident underscores the risks of drilling offshore. It could have been a lot worse, as no one was hurt, and this is a natural gas well so the environmental threats are far less than if it were an oil well. While the well is not yet under control, Hercules investors appear to have caught a break, which is why stock was down only about 4% on the week.�

Best Safest Companies For 2014: Fluor Corporation(FLR)

Fluor Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides engineering, procurement, construction, maintenance, and project management services worldwide. Its Oil & Gas segment offers design, engineering, procurement, construction, and project management services to upstream oil and gas production, downstream refining, chemicals, and petrochemicals industries. This segment also provides consulting services comprising feasibility studies, process assessment, and project finance structuring and studies. The company?s Industrial & Infrastructure segment offers design, engineering, procurement, and construction services to the transportation, wind power, mining and metals, life sciences, manufacturing, commercial and institutional, telecommunications, microelectronics, and healthcare sectors. Its Government segment provides engineering, construction, logistics support, contingency response, management, and operations services to the United States government focusing on the Departme nt of Energy, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense. The company?s Global Services segment offers operations and maintenance, small capital project engineering and execution, site equipment and tool services, industrial fleet services, plant turnaround services, temporary staffing services, and supply chain solutions. Its Power segment provides engineering, procurement, construction, program management, start-up and commissioning, and operations and maintenance services to the gas fueled, solid fueled, plant betterment, renewables, nuclear, and power services markets. The company also offers unionized management and construction services in the United States and Canada. Fluor Corporation was founded in 1912 and is headquartered in Irving, Texas.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By The Energy Report]

    JH: One of the areas where the U.S. for decades has been the leading technological power is in small nuclear reactors. We've used them on our aircraft carriers and on our nuclear submarines safely and efficiently. The U.S. has an advantage in understanding small modular nuclear reactors. One of the companies that we have followed for a long time that's working on that is Babcock & Wilcox Co. (BWC). There's also Fluor Corp. (FLR), which is working on small modular nuclear reactors. President Obama and the Department of Energy are funding research on the implementation of small modular nuclear reactors.

  • [By Louis Navellier]

    If we look at the sector using Portfolio Grader, we see that many of the big names in the group like Flour (FLR), Granite Construction (GVA) and KBR incorporated (KBR) are rated ��ell.��The anticipated spending for both government and private industry simply hasn�� materialized, and the companies are not seeing revenue or profit growth.

  • [By CRWE]

    Fluor Corporation�� (NYSE:FLR) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, David Seaton, and Chief Financial Officer, Biggs Porter, will give a presentation to investors at the Credit Suisse 2012 Engineering & Construction Conference in New York on Thursday, June 7 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    South America has become an unsettled region to mine in. Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM  ) had its Peruvian Conga project brought to a short stop over environmental concerns, while Vale (NYSE: VALE  ) recently abandoned an Argentinean project because of the country's policies.�Costs for Pascua-Lama have ballooned over the past decade and now stand at about $8.5 billion, putting it at risk of becoming an albatross around the miner's neck even before the court decision. Barrick even resorted to bringing in engineering specialist Fluor (NYSE: FLR  ) to expand the scope of its project management before the court order.

Best Safest Companies For 2014: Under Armour Inc.(UA)

Under Armour, Inc. develops, markets, and distributes performance apparel, footwear, and accessories for men, women, and youth primarily in the United States, Canada, and internationally. It offers products made from moisture-wicking synthetic fabrics designed to regulate body temperature and enhance performance regardless of weather conditions. The company provides its products in three fit types: compression (tight fitting), fitted (athletic cut), and loose (relaxed) extending across the sporting goods, outdoor, and active lifestyle markets. Its footwear offerings comprise football, baseball, lacrosse, softball, and soccer cleats; slides; performance training footwear; and running footwear. The company also provides baseball batting, football, golf, and running gloves, as well as licenses bags, socks, headwear, custom-molded mouth guards, and eyewear that are designed to be used and worn before, during, and after competition. Under Armour sells its products through retai l stores, as well as directly to consumers through its own retail outlets and specialty stores, Website, and catalogs. The company was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland.

Advisors' Opinion:

    Under CEO Kevin Plank�� guidance, Under Armour has established a growing domestic presence. With revenue growth of more than 20 percent each quarter, the company continues to resonate with American consumers. However, it faces an uphill battle in trying to compete with giants Nike and Adidas in European and Asian markets, both of which have already established strongholds abroad. Additionally, niche player Lululemon could threaten Under Armour�� female customer base in the U.S.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Let’s say you’re Under Armour (UA). You’ve just reported a profit of 68 cents, topping analyst forecasts for 66 cents. Your revenue also topped expectations and you raised your full year revenue guidance above your previous range. Your shares should be heading higher, right?


    Not quite. Sure the numbers looked good, but Under Armour’s stock had gained nearly 70% this year and sometimes good just isn’t good enough.

    The Buckingham Research Group’s John Zolidis and Patrick O’Grady note that Under Armour’s revenue raise only brought the company’s guidance in-line with what analysts were already expecting, and its EPS guidance when to $1.40 to $1.42, from $1.37 to $1.42, below forecasts for $1.45.

    Their conclusion: “…shares are ahead of themselves at current prices.” They write:

    We believe the company has created an aspirational brand and is developing a product pipeline and strategy that will allow it to continue to grow at robust rates over the foreseeable future. However, we believe this outlook is more than factored into analyst estimates and the stock�� valuation at current levels (47x FY14 EPS). We advise investors to be patient and wait for a better entry point.

    Zolidis and O’Grady offer a better choice, too: Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS), which is Under Armour’s largest wholesale customer.

    Shares of Under Armour have dropped 5.2% to $79.59 at 1:21 p.m., while Dick’s has dropped 0.8% to $51.32. Nike (NKE) is little changed at $75.58, Skechers USA (SKX) has dropped 2.2% to $28.53 and Columbia Sportswear (COLM) has declined 0.1% to $62.75.

  • [By Teresa Rivas]

    Safeway (SWY) was up nearly 4% after an upgrade to Outperform at Credit Suisse, which also upgraded lululemon (LULU), sending shares up 1%, and downgraded Under Armour (UA)��hares were down 1.6%.

Top Stocks For 2014: Goldman Sachs Group Inc.(The)

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides investment banking, securities, and investment management services to corporations, financial institutions, governments, and high-net-worth individuals worldwide. Its Investment Banking segment offers financial advisory, including advisory assignments with respect to mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, corporate defense, risk management, restructurings, and spin-offs; and underwriting securities, loans and other financial instruments, and derivative transactions. The company?s Institutional Client Services segment provides client execution activities, such as fixed income, currency, and commodities client execution related to making markets in interest rate products, credit products, mortgages, currencies, and commodities; and equities related to making markets in equity products, as well as commissions and fees from executing and clearing institutional client transactions on stock, options, and fu tures exchanges. This segment also engages in the securities services business providing financing, securities lending, and other prime brokerage services to institutional clients, including hedge funds, mutual funds, pension funds, and foundations. Its Investing and Lending segment invests in debt securities, loans, public and private equity securities, real estate, consolidated investment entities, and power generation facilities. This segment also involves in the origination of loans to provide financing to clients. The company?s Investment Management segment provides investment management services and investment products to institutional and individual clients. This segment also offers wealth advisory services, including portfolio management and financial counseling, and brokerage and other transaction services to high-net-worth individuals and families. In addition, it provides global investment research services. The company was founded in 1869 and is headquartered in New York, New York.

Best Safest Companies For 2014: Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.- Petrobras(PBR)

Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. primarily engages in oil and natural gas exploration and production, refining, trade, and transportation businesses. The company?s Exploration and Production segment involves in the exploration, production, development, and production of oil, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and natural gas in Brazil. This segment supplies its products to the refineries in Brazil, as well as sells surplus petroleum and byproducts in domestic and foreign markets. Its Supply segment engages in the refining, logistics, transportation, and trade of oil and oil products; export of ethanol; and extraction and processing of schist, as well as holds interests in companies of the petrochemical sector in Brazil. The Gas and Energy segment involves in the transportation and trade of natural gas produced in or imported into Brazil; transportation and trade of LNG; and generation and trade of electric power. In addition, the segment has interests in natural gas transportation and d istribution companies; and thermoelectric power stations in Brazil, as well engages in fertilizer business. The Distribution segment distributes oil products, ethanol, and compressed natural gas in Brazil. The International segment involves in the exploration and production of oil and gas, as well as in supplying, gas and energy, and distribution operations in the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Asia. Further, the company involves in biofuel production business. Petroleo Brasileiro was founded in 1953 and is based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Jonathan Yates]

    For investors, the rebound of YPF SA (NYSE: YPF) and Petrobras Argentina (NYSE: PZE), both oil and gas firms in Argentina, should serve as profitable examples for remaining bullish about the long term prospects of Petrobras Brasileiro (NYSE: PBR).

  • [By Selena Maranjian]

    Brazilian oil giant Petrobras (NYSE: PBR  ) plunged 37%, burdened by significant debt. Bulls have been heartened by rising production numbers as some offshore rigs are brought back into service, and some are hopeful that solid car sales in Brazil will boost Petrobras' business. But others point out the Brazilian government's heavy influence on the company's fortunes.

  • [By Arjun Sreekumar]

    But over the past few years, the world's largest integrated oil companies have also joined the party. For instance, Brazilian oil major Petrobras (NYSE: PBR  ) is preparing to drill exploration wells offshore Tanzania, where it holds 50% stakes in two offshore exploratory blocks, while ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM  ) has turned its attention to exploratory prospects off the coast of South Africa, where it acquired a 75% stake in blocks owned by Impact Oil & Gas late last year.�

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Edmunds: Success in business and relationships

Hello Gladys: I have a question that I am pretty sure you haven't come across in the past. I have been in business for almost 20 years. I am single. I have never been married nor have I had a long-term, truly-committed relationship. I would love to find a really decent guy. Usually when I meet someone we get along just fine until he learns that I own a very successful business. After that the relationship seems to decline at a fairly rapid rate.

I have many girlfriends that are in the same position. They are women who are business owners and high-powered professional women and we often discuss this missing love link in our lives. Why can't women be both successful in business and have love at the same time? I'm getting older and a solid relationship is important to me. But so is the financial security that my business brings. Do I have to give up one in order to have the other? — S. K.

I remember several years ago having dinner with a friend, whom I will call Sue. She owns a nutritional consulting company and was single for many years following the death of her husband. Every time we would get together she would make comments on how lonely she was and how she wished and even prayed to be able to find a good man who wanted to settle down. She even signed up for a number of online dating services and had no luck finding Mr. Right.

5 Best Stocks To Buy For 2014

Finally, one day I asked her why she hadn't found someone to her liking and she responded by saying, "My business keeps me so busy, I don't have time to play nursemaid to a man. And every guy I meet is either married, a loser, totally boring, or looking for someone to mother him. And when I meet someone that seems like the kind of fellow I could get into he gets intimidated by my business success."

I told her that whether we believe it or not, people can sense where we are coming from before we hardly speak a word. I reminded her of th! e time that I went with her to buy a car. While we looked under the hood and in the trunk, and got inside and sat behind the wheel, the car salesman gawked at us like we were idiots who knew nothing about buying a car. I reminded Sue how insulted she was at his behavior and how she left the car dealers and purchased her car elsewhere.

We laughed as we recalled the event. I told Sue that the salesman never said anything derogatory or insulting to us but he made us feel uncomfortable. I went on to say that if I met a man who believed that all the women he met were either losers or totally boring. I would be able to feel his thoughts in the same way we felt the negative thoughts of the car salesman. Needless to say I would want nothing to do with that man.

Perhaps you might want to recheck the kind of energy you're putting out there toward men. I have witnessed women putting their bios on the table with the first date. I could be mistaken, but I don't think a man wants that on the first date.

There is a wonderful poem written by Oriah Mountain Dreamer called 'The Invitation'. The opening passage goes like this:

"It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
And if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing."

You can read the entire poem at www.oriahmountaindreamer.com. After reading the poem, review your thoughts and feelings when dating: pay attention to both your verbal and non-verbal communication when you are out on a date.

You do not have to trade your business for a meaningful relationship. I believe that there is someone for you.

When "Mr. Right" shows up you want to be ready and not make him run away. So check to make certain that you are not harboring thoughts and feelings that will find their way into your body language and words.

Gladys Edmunds, founder of Edmunds Travel Consultants in Pittsburgh, is an author and coach/consultant in business development. Her column appears Wednesdays. E-mail her a! t gladys@! gladysedmunds.com. An archive of her columns is here. Her website is gladysedmunds.com.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Facebook to Launch Video Ads and Test User Loyalty

Facebook Inc. (NYSE: FB) will begin to offer marketers video ads this week, according to The Wall Street Journal. Since most companies pay more for these that they do for static ads, the decision could sharply increase Facebook’s ad revenue, as it has for many of the other largest websites in the world that have sold video ads in ever greater numbers. However, Facebook has to wrestle with the disdain many of its users have for any advertising at all, a disdain that is likely to grow with the new and more intrusive format.

Only two months ago, media reported that Facebook would hold off the launch of video ads because of fears of user reaction. It now looks as if the world’s largest social network cannot overcome the lure of extra ad dollars. But the video ad program may not stay in place if the user reaction is violent and widespread. Facebook would be faced with the embarrassing decision whether to eliminate or cut back the new video initiative or be overwhelmed by a revolt that could grow rapidly, hurting Facebook’s prized relationship with its members.

One of the primary disadvantages of businesses like Facebook and Twitter Inc. (NASDAQ: TWTR) is that the “customers” of these social networks believe that they, and not the companies, control the network and its content because these networks are built on their private pages and messages. Their accounts are, after all, theirs and not the social networks’, based on the fact that they have created the content that makes the social network possible, rather than consuming content from sites like the three major portals.

It is this “consumer creation,” compared to “consumer consumption,” that makes many Facebook members so independent. For some of them, standard websites own their own real estate, and thus should have the right to post what kind of advertising they want to. However, if Facebook does not own its real estate, as far as members are concerned, it cannot intrude on users — unless it wants to come up against the effects of the wide belief that Facebook should not be allowed to post any advertising at all.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Asia stocks lower as China data disappoint

Asian stock markets traded lower on Monday, with the results of an economic meeting in Beijing and slowing manufacturing growth weighing on China, while a stronger yen hit Japanese stocks.

China was a focus on Monday, after a major economic meeting last Friday ended with a reiteration of pledges to boost urbanization — coming within expectations and failing to lift the sentiment in mainland China, where the Shanghai Composite (CN:SHCOMP)  fell 1.4%.

In addition, Chinese markets were reacting to economic news, as HSBC's preliminary December manufacturing data for China fell to 50.5, compared with a final reading of 50.8 in November. A reading above the 50 mark indicates an expansion in factory activity.

Earlier in the year, preliminary manufacturing data was a major driver of regional markets, as it fluctuated between growth and contraction. The latest reading was a three-month low, pointing to slowing growth in the country's all-important manufacturing sector.

Shutterstock Enlarge Image

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index (HK:HSI)  fell 0.7%.

Away from China, the upcoming Fed policy meeting continued to weigh on sentiment in Asia, with some expecting the central bank to start cutting its stimulus measures at its policy meeting that concludes on Wednesday.

Speculation over the Fed's monetary-policy plans has been a major focus for global markets ever since the summer, when fears that the central bank's easy-money plans would begin to roll back resulted in a series of selloffs in Asia.

As a result, most regional markets drifted lower on Monday, with South Korea's Kospi (KR:SEU) down 0.2%, and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 (AU:XJO) 0.5% lower

Click to Play China lands its first unmanned probe on the moon

China successfully lands its first unmanned space probe on the moon. The probe carries a moon rover called "Yutu," or "Jade Rabbit," that will embark on a three-month scientific exploration. Photo: CCTV VNR

The caution was also evident in a stronger yen (USDJPY) , with the dollar trading at ¥102.71 on Monday, compared with ¥103.23 late Friday in New York.

The firmer yen weighed on Japanese shares, with the Nikkei Average (JP:NIK)  down 1.2%, overshadowing a mixed outcome from the Bank of Japan's quarterly tankan survey. Although the survey showed that the country's major manufacturers are at their most upbeat in six years, it indicated that big companies lowered their investment plans for the current financial year.

Shares in Softbank Corp. (JP:9984)   (SFTBF)  — one of the largest constituents on the Nikkei Average — fell 2.2% after The Wall Street Journal reported that the firm's Sprint (S)  unit is considering a takeover of its smaller rival T-Mobile US (TMUS) , with a bid potentially coming in the first half of 2014.

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Will the New Coca-Cola Be More Successful Than New Coke?

If, Coca-Cola’s (KO) stock price is anything to go by, the beverage company has been in need of a new look for a while now. And last night it delivered big changes that it hopes will beget a more successful, new Coca-Cola, not the success of New Coke.

European Pressphoto Agency

Coca-Cola has gained 8.7% this year, while PepsiCo (PEP) has risen 18% and Monster Beverage (MNST) has advanced 17%. Dr. Pepper Snapple (DPS) is up 7.9% in 2013.

So what’s actually changed? Let Deutsche Bank explain:

Coke announced the resignation of Steve Cahillane, former head of the Americas and on the short list of candidates to ultimately succeed Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent when the time comes. As part of this move, former President of North America Sandy Douglas is returning to his old role while continuing to hold his position as Global Chief Customer Officer. Additionally, Coca-Cola Refreshments, the company’s owned and currently refranchising North American bottling operations will become part of the bottler triage group, Bottling Investments Group, run by President Irial Finan. With so much in flux and a no or low calorie naturally flavored soft drink using proprietary and exclusive Reb X likely forthcoming next year, the timing of these changes is interesting and hopefully signals an acceleration in the pace of US bottler divestitures.

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Credit Suisse’s Michael Steib believe the moves bring additional clarity for investors:

While these are significant steps, ultimately the goal is to return the North American business to more of an organizational separation of concentrate manufacturer and bottler – CEO Kent has always stressed the company's commitment to the traditional franchise model. Investors have been waiting for information regarding the next stages and we think today's announcements should provide much-needed clarity.

Alliance Bernstein’sAli Dibadj and team say Coca-Cola’s announcement actually makes the situation murkier. They write:

To us, the specific timing of this announcement is odd—6:46pm on a slow December evening, right on the heels of a thorough round of investor meetings where it was suggested that nothing is afoot. We cannot help but wonder what might be going on behind the scenes. Moreover, although we had perceived increased desire for KO’s next refranchisement moves over the past few days among investors and bottlers, we have always argued that an increasing profit pool may be an important prerequisite for a successful, sustainable refranchisement. Under that assumption, with the recent weakness of the company’s and the category’s North American pricing and volume performance—and in particular KO’s recent pricing “irrationality”—the timing of this organizational change simply seems baffling to us. Does KO believe that a favorable North America operating environment is nonessential to refranchisement, or is it expecting its financial results in this key market to soon improve from here? Could the company be incentivized by other factors (e.g., housing the business under BIG so that it can effectively buy more time to fix the problems that may be bigger than management had previously realized)?

Net-net, we believe that the changes may not all be positive despite the indicated possibility of refranchisement acceleration…

Shares of Coca-Cola have gained 0.2% to $39.30 today, while PepsiCo has dropped 0.5% to $80.91, Dr. Pepper Snapple has risen 0.7% to $47.65 and Monster Beverage has ticked down 0.1% to $61.54.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Will truce in budget wars aid stocks?

NEW YORK — Government gridlock and political policy uncertainty have arguably been among the biggest impediments to the stock market in the past few years.

But political brinkmanship as a major stock market headwind might finally be abating, thanks to a two-year bipartisan budget deal hammered out by Democrats and Republicans late Tuesday.

While the deal is not perfect, and still requires congressional and White House approval, it could mark a turning point in the political wars that have hounded Wall Street in recent years.

"The deal reduces the potential for fiscal brinkmanship surrounding the budget that has clouded the U.S. (economic) outlook in recent years and led to the short-term federal government shutdown this past October," Michael Gapen, an economist at Barclays, said in a research note.

MARKETS: As stocks hit record highs, so do profit warnings

The deal will also benefit the economy, as it will reduce the estimated drag from fiscal policy in 2014 roughly in half, to about 0.25% from 0.5%, Gapen said. Less fiscal drag means a "modest" boost to GDP.

More important, it could also put an end to nasty stock market sell-offs caused by policy uncertainty.

In the summer of 2011, the Dow Jones industrial average suffered its last major correction, caused largely by government infighting about raising the debt ceiling.

The Dow also pulled back in late 2012 amid fears that the nation's economy would fall over the "fiscal cliff," as well as in October during the government shutdown.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Why Investors Ought to Cheer a 5-Day Losing Streak

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

How is a spate of good economic data bad for the stock market? Because "investor-traders" (as opposed to genuine, long-term investors) become concerned that an improving economy will spur the Fed to begin curtailing its bond-buying program ("quantitative easing") earlier than anticipated.

That appears to be the working hypothesis to explain Thursday's fifth consecutive day of losses for U.S. stocks despite an upward revision in the third-quarter GDP growth rate and lower-than-expected initial jobless claims for the week ended November 30. The S&P 500 and the narrower, price-weighted Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) both lost 0.4%.

That explanation found some support in today's Yahoo! Finance main page poll, which asked investors: "The latest reading on GDP suggests a strengthening economy, does this make you more bullish on stocks?" More than a fifth of respondents (21%) chose "No, the stronger the economy, the sooner the Fed will taper." Nearly a third (31%) answered that they had faith neither in stocks nor in the economy!

While the former result suggests that stocks are vulnerable to a correction -- the rally has been partially driven by traders' overreliance on Fed accommodation -- the latter result shows why any talk of a stock market bubble at this juncture is almost certainly misguided. Assuming the poll respondents are even a half-decent proxy for the population of interested investors, we can't be in the middle of a bubble with nearly a third of retail investors saying they don't have faith in stocks.

Streaks everywhere you look
This week's series of consecutive daily losses threatens to end another streak. With one trading day left in the week, the S&P 500's eight-week winning streak -- the longest such streak in almost a decade -- looks likely to end. However, I think it's less worrisome for it to to end than it would be for it to continue. Stocks' upward march this year has simply been too regular, with too little (downside) volatility along the way.

That lack of volatility has been reflected in the depressed values of the CBOE Volatility Index (VOLATILITYINDICES: ^VIX  ) , which reflects investor expectations for stock market volatility looking out 30 days. However, with stocks on a losing stretch, the VIX has put together eight consecutive days of gains of its own -- its longest streak in 19 months.

Does the rise in the VIX signal a correction is imminent? No, but as institutional investors adjust their portfolios for the year-end, there may be a growing realization that volatility will not be suppressed indefinitely, particularly since the Fed ultimately wishes to have less influence on the stock market, not more.

Regardless of market direction, this is the one stock to own for 2014
The market stormed out to huge gains across 2013, leaving investors on the sidelines burned. However, opportunistic investors can still find huge winners. The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has just hand-picked one such opportunity in our new report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014." To find out which stock it is and read our in-depth report, simply click here. It's free!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

5 Best Stocks To Own Right Now

Next Tuesday, Walgreen (NYSE: WAG  ) will release its latest quarterly results. Amid plenty of news pointing to the company's growth prospects, the stock recently hit all-time highs, but its gains appear to have plateaued over the past several months as investors seek further catalysts for gains.

Walgreen already has an enviably strong position within the drugstore business, and its recent strategic moves aim to broaden its appeal on a global scope. Yet, investors are still concerned about damage that a major dispute might have done to its long-term business prospects. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with Walgreen over the past quarter, and what we're likely to see in its quarterly report.

Stats on Walgreen

Analyst EPS Estimate


Change From Year-Ago EPS

5 Best Stocks To Own Right Now: Nam Tai Electronics Inc.(NTE)

Nam Tai Electronics, Inc. provides electronics manufacturing and design services to the original equipment manufacturers of telecommunication and consumer electronic products. The company?s Consumer Electronic and Communication Products segment manufactures mobile phone accessories, such as headsets containing Bluetooth wireless technology, and phone cradles, as well as snap-on portable music speaker, FM radio adaptors, and GPS adaptors; entertainment devices, including USB Web cam for interactive games, USB microphone and converter box Karaoke, and buzzer devices for quiz games; educational products consisting of digital pens, calculators, and electronic dictionaries; and optical devices comprising CMOS imaging sensor modules for notebook computers, portable media players, and recording cameras for the automotive industry. Its Telecommunication Component Assembly segment offers subassemblies and components, such as color and monochrome LCD modules for PDA phones, smart p hones, mobile phones, and telephone systems; RF modules for integration into mobile phones; DAB modules for digital radio products, including home tuners, kitchen radios, in-car receivers, CD players, clock radios, boom boxes, midi-systems, and handheld portable devices; FPC subassemblies for LCD modules and electronic devices; FPC boards for mobile phones, PDAs, office automation, and laptop computers; front and back light panels for handheld video game devices; and high-frequency cordless telephones and home feature phones. The company?s LCD Products segment manufactures LCD panels for watches and medical instruments, white goods and industrial applications, automotive parts and appliances, car audio systems, hand held products, VoIP phones, and office automation applications. It sells its products to customers in Hong Kong, North America, Europe, Japan, the People?s Republic of China, and Korea. The company was founded in 1975 and is headquartered in Shenzhen, the Peopl e?s Republic of China.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Rick Munarriz]

    Nam Tai Electronics� (NYSE: NTE  ) -- $6.78
    Shares of Nam Tai took a hit three months ago after posting uninspiring quarterly results.

  • [By Evan Niu, CFA]

    What: Shares of Nam Tai Electronics (NYSE: NTE  ) got crushed today by as much as 37% after the company reported earnings.

    So what: Revenue in the first quarter more than doubled to $177.5 million, which translated into earnings per share of $0.11. Both figures handily topped consensus estimates, which were calling for $150 million in sales and $0.05 per share in profit. The real cause for concern was within Nam Tai's guidance.

  • [By Roberto Pedone]

    Another stock that's starting to move within range of triggering a big breakout trade is Nam Tai Electronics (NTE), which is an electronics manufacturing and design services provider to a select group of the world's leading OEMs of telecommunications and consumer electronic products. This stock has been destroyed by the sellers so far in 2013, with shares off sharply by 41%.

    If you look at the chart for Nam Tai Electronics, you'll notice that this stock has been uptrending for the last month and change, with shares moving higher from its low of $6.05 to its recent high of $8.38 a share. During that uptrend, shares of NTE have been making mostly higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of NTE within range of triggering a big breakout trade.

    Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NTE if it manages to break out above some key near-term overhead resistance levels at $8.38 to $8.79 a share with high volume. Look for a sustained move or close above those levels with volume that hits near or above its three-month average action of 647,483 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then NTE will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap down zone from April that started near $11.50 a share. If this stock gets into that gap with volume, then the upside is tremendous and we could easily see NTE hit $11 to $12 a share.

    Traders can look to buy NTE off any weakness to anticipate that breakout and simply use a stop that sits right below its 50-day at $7.42 a share, or below more key support at $7.22 a share. One can also buy NTE off strength once it takes out that breakout levels with volume and then simply use a stop that sits a comfortable percentage from your entry point.

5 Best Stocks To Own Right Now: SK Telecom Corporation Ltd.(SKM)

SK Telecom Co., Ltd. provides wireless telecommunications services using code division multiple access (CDMA) and wide-band CDMA technologies. It offers cellular voice services, such as wireless voice transmission services; and wireless global roaming services. The company also provides wireless data transmission services, such as wireless Internet access services, which allow subscribers to access online digital contents and services, as well as to send and receive text and multimedia messages. In addition, it offers broadband Internet and fixed-line telephone services, such as video-on-demand and IP TV services; and local, domestic, and international long-distance fixed-line telephone services to residential and commercial subscribers. Further, the company provides wireless entertainment-related contents and services, wireless finance-related contents and m-commerce services, and wireless news and search services; and international calling services, such as direct-dial, pre and post paid card calling services, bundled services for corporate customers, voice services using Internet protocol, Web-to-phone services, and data services. Additionally, it offers satellite digital media broadcasting services; telematics services; and fixed-line and online community portal services. The company also operates 11th Street, an online shopping mall; and T Store, an online open marketplace for mobile applications. As of March 31, 2011, SK Telecom Co. had 26 million wireless subscribers. It has strategic alliances with Bridge Alliance; Orange SA; Telecom Italia Mobile S.p.A.; T-Mobile International AG & Co; and Teliasonera Mobile Networks AB. The company was formerly known as Korea Mobile Telecommunications Co., Ltd. and changed its name to SK Telecom Co., Ltd. in March 1997. SK Telecom Co., Ltd. was founded in 1984 and is based in Seoul, South Korea.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Chris Neiger]

    SK Telecom (NYSE: SKM  ) launched the world's first 4G LTE-Advanced network in South Korea today, providing the fastest available data speeds for the same price as 4G LTE.�

Top Heal Care Companies To Invest In 2014: Motopia Ltd (MOT)

Motopia Limited (Motopia), formerly Medic Vision Limited, is an Australia-based company engaged in the advertising and marketing industry. It is active in mobile marketing, as well as branded content creation, licensing and distribution. During the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011, the Company operated through four business segments: digital marketing, which relates to messaging, media and direct marketing solutions; mobile marketing solutions, which provides mobile marketing solutions; app development, which involves the development of mobile and tablet applications; and discontinued operations, which comprises the supply and development of medical and surgical tools in Australia, United Kingdom and Asia.

5 Best Stocks To Own Right Now: Photronics Inc.(PLAB)

Photronics, Inc. engages in the manufacture and sale of photomasks primarily in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Photomasks are high precision photographic quartz plates containing microscopic images of electronic circuits, which are used in the manufacture of semiconductors and flat panel displays; and used as masters to transfer circuit patterns onto semiconductor wafers and flat panel substrates during the fabrication of integrated circuits, various flat panel displays, and other types of electrical and optical components. The company sells its photomasks to semiconductor designers, manufacturers, foundries, and other high performance electronics manufacturers through its sales personnel and customer service representatives. Photronics, Inc. was founded in 1969 and is headquartered in Brookfield, Connecticut.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Ben Axler]

    In the table below, we've listed a sample of small-cap semiconductor capital equipment stocks such as Entegris (ENTG), Advanced Energy Industries (AEIS), ATMI Inc. (ATMI), MKS Instruments (MKSI), Photronics Inc. (PLAB), Rudolph Technologies (RTEC),FormFactor (FORM) and Mattson Technology (MTSN). The peers trade at approximately 1.0x and 15.5x 2014E revenues and EPS, respectively. Furthermore, the average peer trades at 2.1x tangible book value. However, these multiples are based on average 2014E industry revenue and earnings growth of 18% and 119%, respectively. Axcelis is poised to grow at a rate substantially above the industry average.

  • [By Evan Niu, CFA]

    What: Shares of Photronics (NASDAQ: PLAB  ) have gotten crushed today, down by as much as 11% after the company reported earnings.

    So what: Revenue in the fiscal second quarter totaled $106.7 million, down 9% from a year ago and below the $108.5 million consensus estimate. That also led to a bottom-line miss, with Photronics posting earnings per share of $0.08, near the lower end of guidance and also shy of the $0.09-per-share profit that investors were expecting.

  • [By James Brumley]

    RDN also is on pace to swing back into the black during the coming year, which could be a huge catalyst.

    Photronics (PLAB)

    12/2 Price: $8.65

5 Best Stocks To Own Right Now: MicroFinancial Incorporated(MFI)

Microfinancial Incorporated, through its subsidiaries, operates as a specialized commercial finance company that provides microticket equipment leasing and rental, and other financing services in the United States. The company provides financing alternatives, and leases and rents commercial equipment to start-up and established businesses for use in their daily operations. It leases water filtration systems, food service equipment, security equipment, point-of-sale cash registers, salon equipment, health care and fitness equipment, and automotive equipment. The company primarily sources its originations through a network of independent equipment vendors, sales organizations, and other dealer-based origination networks. Microfinancial Incorporated was founded in 1987 and is headquartered in Woburn, Massachusetts.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Eric Lam]

    Alacer Gold Corp. and Iamgold Corp. rallied at least 5.9 percent as the metal traded at its highest in 11 weeks. Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (MFI) jumped 7.8 percent as it agreed to sell a unit for C$645 million ($614 million). Penn West Petroleum (PWT) Ltd. added 1.7 percent after cutting 25 percent of its workforce to reduce costs.

  • [By Gerrit De Vynck]

    Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (MFI), the Canadian producer of foods from hamburgers to frozen pasta, has drawn bids for its bread unit from Grupo Bimbo SAB, Flowers Foods Inc. (FLO) and several private-equity firms, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Top Companies To Watch For 2014

At the most basic level, a share of stock entitles you to a share of profits -- and profits are what ultimately bolster a stock price. Recently, profits have been at all-time highs -- not only nominally, but as a percentage of GDP. Some observers believe this trend is unsustainable and that corporate profits will revert to their historical mean. And if profits do fall and revert to the mean, stock prices will fall as well.

Why does all this matter right now? Because profits this past quarter just fell by a significant amount.

The numbers

As a percentage of GDP, corporate profits have averaged 6.2% of GDP since 1947. Today, they hover around 11%. Against the recent upward trend, however, the latest quarter's profit numbers have fallen. Corporate profits after tax dropped 2% from the fourth quarter of 2012. That's the biggest drop since the first quarter of 2011, a year when the�S&P 500� (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) ended flat. The difference now, though, is that profits are even higher and have further to fall if they do revert.

Top Companies To Watch For 2014: Tranzyme Inc.(TZYM)

Tranzyme, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, engages in the discovery, development, and commercialization of small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of acute and chronic gastrointestinal (GI) motility disorders in the United States and internationally. The company?s clinical product candidates include ulimorelin, an intraveneous ghrelin agonist, which is in the Phase III clinical development stage for the treatment of acute upper GI motility disorders; and TZP-102, an orally-administered ghrelin agonist that has commenced Phase IIb clinical development stage for the treatment of diabetic gastroparesis. Its preclinical product candidates comprise TZP-201, a motilin antagonist for the treatment of various forms of moderate-to-severe diarrhea; and TZP-301, an oral ghrelin antagonist for the treatment of metabolic diseases. The company has strategic collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company to discover, develop, and commercialize additional novel co mpounds; and a license agreement with Norgine B.V to develop and commercialize ulimorelin in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, and north and South Africa. Tranzyme, Inc. was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Durham, North Carolina.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By CRWE]

    Tranzyme Pharma (Nasdaq:TZYM) reported that it has closed the previously announced underwritten registered direct offering of approximately 3.0 million shares of its common stock at a price of $3.85 per share for gross proceeds, including the over-allotment option, of approximately $11.5 million.

Top Companies To Watch For 2014: Midway Gold Corporation(MDW)

Midway Gold Corp., an exploration stage company, engages in the acquisition, exploration, and development of mineral properties in North America. Its principal properties include the Spring Valley, Midway, Pan, and Gold Rock gold and silver mineral properties located in Nevada; and the Golden Eagle gold mineral property located in Washington. The company was formerly known as Red Emerald Resource Corp. and changed its name to Midway Gold Corp. in July 2002. Midway Gold Corp. was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Englewood, Colorado.

Top Heal Care Stocks For 2014: Taylor Devices Inc.(TAYD)

Taylor Devices, Inc. engages in the design, development, manufacture, and marketing of shock absorption, rate control, and energy storage devices for use in various types of machinery, equipment, and structures. The company provides seismic dampers that ameliorate the effects of earthquake tremors on structures; Fluidicshoks, which are small and compact shock absorbers for primary use in the defense, aerospace, and commercial industry; and crane and industrial buffers for industrial application on cranes, ships, container ships, railroad cars, truck docks, ladle and ingot cars, ore trolleys, and car stops. It also offers self-adjusting shock absorbers that automatically adjust to different impact conditions for high cycle applications primarily in heavy industries; liquid die springs, which are used as component parts of machinery and equipment used to manufacture tools and dies; and vibration dampers that are primarily used by the aerospace and defense industries to contr ol the response of electronics and optical systems subjected to air, ship, or spacecraft vibration. Taylor Devices, Inc. primarily sells its products through sales representatives and distributors in the United States, Asia, North America, Europe, South America, and Australia. The company was founded in 1955 and is based in North Tonawanda, New York.

Top Companies To Watch For 2014: Exide Technologies(XIDE)

Exide Technologies engages in the production and sale of lead-acid batteries for transportation and industrial applications. It offers transportation batteries, which include ignition and lighting batteries for cars, trucks, off-road vehicles, agricultural and construction vehicles, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, marine, and other applications, such as micro-hybrids and lead-acid batteries used on full electrical vehicles. The company sells its batteries under the Centra, DETA, Exide, Exide Extreme, Exide NASCAR Select, Orbital, Fulmen, and Tudor brand names, as well as under various private labels. It also provides industrial energy products that consist of motive power batteries, which are used in material handling industry for electric forklift trucks, floor cleaning machinery, powered wheelchairs, railroad locomotives, mining, and the electric road vehicles markets. In addition, the company offers network power batteries, which are used for back-up power applicati ons in telecommunications systems, computer installations, hospitals, air traffic control, security systems, utility, railway, and military under the Absolyte and Sonnenschein brand names. Further, Exide Technologies offers battery chargers and related equipments for the operation and maintenance of battery-powered vehicles. It sells its transportation products through mass merchandisers, auto parts outlets, wholesale distributors, battery specialists, national account customers, retail stores, original equipment manufacturers (OEM) dealers, automotive parts and battery wholesalers, auto centers, service installers, and oil companies; and industrial energy products to OEM suppliers of lift trucks, industrial companies, retail distributors, warehousing companies, and manufacturers. The company operates in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Poland, as well as internationally. Exide Technologies was founded in 1888 and is headquartered in Milton, Georgia.

Top Companies To Watch For 2014: Oracle Corporation(ORCL)

Oracle Corporation, an enterprise software company, develops, manufactures, markets, distributes, and services database and middleware software, applications software, and hardware systems worldwide. It licenses of database and middleware software, including database management software, application server software, service-oriented architecture and business process management software, data integration software, business intelligence software, identity and access management software, content management software, portals and user interaction software, development tools, and Java; and applications software comprising enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, enterprise performance management, supply chain management, business intelligence applications, enterprise portfolio project management, Web commerce, and industry-specific applications software. The company also offers customers with rights to unspecified software product upgrades and maintenance releases; Internet access to technical content; and Internet and telephone access to technical support personnel. In addition, its hardware systems products consist of computer server and hardware-related software, including the Oracle Solaris Operating System; and storage products, such as tape, disk and networking solutions for open systems and mainframe server environments. Its hardware systems support solutions include software updates for the software components. Further, the company offers consulting solutions in business and IT strategy alignment, enterprise architecture planning and design, initial product implementation and integration, and ongoing product enhancements and upgrades; cloud services, including Oracle Cloud Services and Advanced Customer Services; and education solutions comprising instructor-led, media-based, and Internet-based training in the use of its software and hardware products. The company was founded in 1977 and is headquartered in Redwood Ci ty, California.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Mani]

    The team of Larry Ellison, the founder and Chief Executive of Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL), may have won the thirty-fourth America's Cup. However, it could be difficult for Ellison's corporate team to escape the discontent from shareholders, who are against higher pay packages for Oracle executives amid mixed results.

Top Companies To Watch For 2014: P.A.M. Transportation Services Inc.(PTSI)

P.A.M. Transportation Services, Inc., through its subsidiaries, operates as a truckload transportation and logistics company in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The company engages in transporting general commodities. Its freight consists primarily of automotive parts, expedited goods, and consumer goods, including general retail store merchandise, as well as manufactured goods, such as heating and air conditioning units. The company also provides brokerage and logistics services, which include transportation scheduling, routing, mode selection, transloading, and other value added services related to the transportation of freight. As of December 31, 2010, it operated a fleet of 1,768 trucks and 4,632 trailers. The company was founded in 1979 and is headquartered in Tontitown, Arkansas.

Top Companies To Watch For 2014: PIMCO New York Municipal Income Fund(PNF)

PIMCO New York Municipal Income Fund is a mutual fund launched and managed by Allianz Global Investors Fund Management LLC. The fund is co-managed by Pacific Investment Management Company LLC. It operates as a nondiversified, closed-end management investment company. The fund invests primarily in municipal securities. The fund?s investment portfolio includes investments in hospital, water and sewer, tobacco, state and local general obligations, education, lease, tax, and power sectors. PIMCO New York Municipal Income Fund was formed in 2001 and is domiciled in United States.

Top Companies To Watch For 2014: Akela Pharma Inc He Company] (AKL.TO)

Akela Pharma, Inc. operates as a specialty contract pharmaceutical formulation developer in the United States. It offers contract pharma services comprising formulation and process development of drug in tablets, capsules, multiparticulates, fast formulations, oral and topical liquids, powders for suspension/reconstitution, and semi-solid forms. The company also provides analytical services, which include research and development analytical testing and support for formulation development; analytical method development and phase-appropriate validation; quality control testing for API and raw materials release; and stability testing and ICH compliant stability storage. In addition, it offers drug delivery solutions, such as hot melt extrusion for amorphous dispersions, spray-drying for amorphous dispersions, controlled release dosage forms, liquid solutions (encapsulated and bottled), and novel dosage forms, as well as beads, granulation, and drug layering services. Further, the company�s contract services consist of handling of potent compounds; pharmaceutical patent litigation support services; GMP clinical and commercial manufacturing; clinical labeling and packaging; and IP validation and contestation consulting services. The company was formerly known as LAB International Inc. and changed its name to Akela Pharma, Inc. in June 2007. Akela Pharma, Inc. was founded in 1979 and is headquartered in Austin, Texas.