Monday, March 31, 2014

Stock futures rise ahead of Yellen, Chicago PMI

MADRID (MarketWatch) — Hopes for stimulus measures from Chinese and European officials continued to underpin U.S. stock futures on Monday, the last trading day of the month and quarter. Investors were also looking ahead to a speech from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen and a Chicago regional manufacturing survey.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJM4)  rose 52 points, or 0.3%, to 16,292, while those for the S&P 500 index (SPM4)  rose 6.2 points, or 0.3%, to 1,856.60. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 (NDM4)  gained 14 points, or 0.4%, to 3,577.

Click to Play Russia foreign minister: Won't cross into Ukraine

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with a Russian journalist on Friday that the country has "absolutely no intention" of crossing the Ukrainian border.

The biggest data of the week will come on Friday, when the U.S. employment report for March is due. Economists are expecting a pop higher in those numbers, which could go some way toward soothing investor worries about the economy.

Monday's only piece of economic data is the Chicago purchasing managers index. Beating consensus, the Chicago PMI accelerated to 59.8 in February, and for March is expected to rise to 60. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion. That data is due at 9:45 a.m. Eastern Time.

Shortly afterward, Fed Chairwoman Yellen will speak on "strengthening communities" to the 2014 National Interagency Community Reinvestment Conference in Chicago at 9:55 a.m. Eastern. She will be introduced by Chicago Fed President Charles Evans.

Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Ava Trade, said Yellen's speech is unlikely to bring any new surprise to the market, with the same message of ending quantitative easing this year likely to be pressed home.

"The speculation of quantitative measures by the ECB (European Central Bank) and from the PBOC (People's Bank of China) is what's really pushing the markets today," Aslam said in emailed comments.

Economic data out of the euro zone showed inflation falling to the lowest level since 2009, which will add pressure on the ECB to introduce stimulus at its monetary-policy meeting on Thursday. The Stoxx Europe 600 (XX:SXXP)  remained firmer, while the euro (EURUSD)  fell sharply against the dollar on the inflation news, before moving higher.

Chinese stocks had a bumpy session, with the Shanghai Composite Index (CN:SHCOMP) finishing down 0.4%. It lost nearly 5% in the first quarter, for the sharpest quarterly loss since June, according to FactSet. But investors are clinging to hopes Chinese officials won't let the economy stumble amid a steady stream of downbeat news. The Financial Times published a report on Sunday that said bad loans written off by Chinese state banks had more than doubled last year.

Getty Images Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen in February.

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The Nikkei 225 index (JP:NIK)  finished up 0.9%, but closed out the quarter with a nearly 9% drop. That was its biggest quarterly fall since June 2012, according to FactSet.

Biotech and Internet stocks like Facebook Inc. will stay in the spotlight after sharp losses last week. Facebook (FB)  logged a more than 10% weekly drop. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (COMP)  suffered a 2.8% fall last week, its worst week in 17 months. The S&P 500 index (SPX)  ended Friday slightly higher, but fell 0.5% on the week. The index is set to finish March and the quarter on a largely flat note.

Earnings are expected from Cal-Maine Foods Inc. (CALM)  and UTI Worldwide Inc. (UTIW)  ahead of the opening bell. See Facebook, Biogen, Cal-Maine are stocks to watch

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

$1 Trillion Student Loan Debt Widens U.S. Wealth Gap

Wealth Gap Student Loans Evan Vucci/APNida Degesys graduated in May 2013 from Northeast Ohio Medical University with about $180,000 in loans. BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Every month that Gregory Zbylut pays $1,300 toward his law school loans is another month of not qualifying for a decent mortgage. Every payment toward their student loans is $900 Dr. Nida Degesys and her husband aren't putting in their retirement savings account. They believe they'll eventually climb from debt and begin using their earnings to build assets rather than fill holes. But, like the roughly 37 million others in the U.S. saddled with $1 trillion in student debt, they may never catch up with wealthy peers who began life after college free from the burden. The disparity, experts say, is contributing to the widening of the gap between rich and everyone else in the country. "If you graduate with a B.A. or doctorate and you get the same job at the same place, you make the same amount of money," said William Elliott III, director of the Assets and Education Initiative at the University of Kansas. "But that money will actually mean less to you in the sense of accumulating assets in the long term." Graduates who can immediately begin building equity in housing or stocks and bonds get more time to see their investments grow, while indebted graduates spend years paying principal and interest on loans. The standard student loan repayment schedule is 10 years but can be much longer. The median 2009 net worth for a household without outstanding student debt was $117,700, nearly three times the $42,800 worth in a household with outstanding student debt, according to a report co-written by Elliott last November. About 40 percent of households led by someone 35 or younger have student loan debt, a 2012 Pew Research Center analysis of government data found. Allen Aston is one of the lucky ones, having landed a full academic and financial-need scholarship at Ohio State University. The 22-year-old software engineer from Columbus estimates it let him avoid about $100,000 in debt. Without loans to repay, Aston is already contributing 6 percent of his salary to a retirement fund that is matched in part by his employer and doesn't have the same financial concerns his friends do. "I'm making the same money as them, but they have student loans they're paying back that I don't. So, it definitely seems noticeable," he said. At the other end of the spectrum is Zbylut, an accountant-turned-attorney in Glendale, Calif. He's been chipping away at nearly $160,000 in student debt since graduating in 2005 from law school at Loyola University in Chicago. Now 48, the tax attorney estimates he could have $150,000 to $200,000 in a 401(k) had the money he's paid toward loans gone there. "I'm sitting here in traffic. I've got a Mercedes behind me and an Audi in front of me and I'm thinking, 'What did they do that I didn't do?' " Zbylut said by cellphone from his Chevrolet. He's been turned down twice for the type of mortgage he needs to buy a home big enough for himself, the fiancee he would have married already if not for his debts and her 10-year-old son. "I have more education and more degrees than my father, as does she than her parents, and yet our parents are better off than we are. What's wrong with this picture?" he said. Student debt is the only kind of household debt that rose through the Great Recession and now totals more than either credit card or auto loan debt, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Both the number of borrowers and amount borrowed ballooned by 70 percent from 2004 to 2012. Of the nearly 20 million Americans who attend college each year, about 12 million borrow, according to the Almanac of Higher Education. Estimates show that the average four-year graduate accumulates $26,000 to $29,000 in loans, and some leave college with six figures worth of debt. The increases have been driven in part by rising tuition, resulting from reduced state funding and costlier campus facilities and amenities. Compounding the problem has been a trend toward merit-based, rather than need-based, grants as institutions seek to attract the higher-achieving students who will boost their standings. "Because there's a strong correlation in this country between things like SAT scores or ACT scores and wealth or income, the [grant] money ends up going disproportionately to students from wealthier families" who tend to perform better on those tests, said Donald Heller, dean of the Michigan State University College of Education. Those factors, along with stagnating family incomes and declining savings, have made student loans a much bigger part of funding higher education, Elliott said. Harvard Business School's Michael Norton wonders whether greater public awareness of the widening wealth gap in the United States would hasten policy change. Norton conducted a 2011 survey that found that people tend to think wealth is more equally distributed than it is. But with elected officials from President Barack Obama on down now talking about the wealth gap as an urgent public problem, a more complete picture seems to be emerging, he said. "Both parties are now saying, perhaps inequality has gotten to the point where it's not fair when people don't have a chance to rise, and we need to do something about it," Norton said. Targeting the soaring cost of higher education, Obama in August proposed the most sweeping changes to the federal student aid program in decades. His plan would link federal money to new college ratings and reward schools if they help low-income students, keep costs low and have large numbers of students earn degrees. Lawmakers in Congress also are debating how to address the issue, including proposals to allow graduates with high-interest loans to refinance at lower rates. The American Medical Student Association supports expanding the National Health Services Corps, which provides loan forgiveness in exchange for service in underserved areas. Nida Degesys, AMSA's president, graduated in May 2013 from Northeast Ohio Medical University with about $180,000 in loans. The amount has already swelled with interest to about $220,000. "There were times where this would make me stay up at night," Degesys said. "The principal alone is a problem, but the interest is staggering." Yet, as costly as medical school was, Degesys sees it as an investment in herself and her career, one she thinks will pay off with a higher earning potential. College degrees can pay off. College graduates ages 25 to 32 working full time earn $45,500, about $17,500 more than their peers with just a high school diploma, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of census data. Elliott says the country needs to re-think college financing options to bring debt down and graduation rates up. "We can't," he said, "let debt hinder a whole generation of people from beginning to accumulate wealth soon after graduating college."

One solution is to take advantage of some of the loan forgiveness opportunities that are already out there. The military, the federal government, and state governments offer dozens of programs that will wipe away at least part of your debt, in return for a few years of service. Most are tied to specific, in-demand professions in areas such as health care, law enforcement, and education. but others -- like the military, the Peace Corps, and AmeriCorps -- are open to people from a variety of majors and disciplines.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Ford mocks Cadillac's 'Poolside' ad

Cadillacs are for people with pools. Fords are for people with passions. That's the theme of the newest ad from Ford, which parodies a recent Cadillac commercial that's targeted to the affluent.

The controversial Cadillac ELR commercial features a middle-aged man (actor Neal McDonough) boasting about America's work ethic and consumer culture. In contrast, Ford's ad stars a young, philosophizing Detroit environmentalist.

The piece was spearheaded by Ford's ad agency, Team Detroit, for the Ford C-MAX. At the center of the ad is Pashon Murray, founder of Detroit Dirt, a sustainability consultancy and advocacy group, who's first seen standing by mounds of dirt and mud, and later is shot in a narrow apartment hallway.

Top Tech Companies To Invest In Right Now

"The C-MAX is sending a message about where we're going in the future and caring about conserving resources. This is a movement about changing Detroit and practicing sustainability. That's why they came at me," Murray told the Detroit Free Press, explaining why she was chosen by Team Detroit.

The parody had more than 50,000 views as of Friday afternoon on YouTube. The Cadillac ad had more than 1 million.

In the video, Murray says, "We're crazy entrepreneurs trying to make the world better. Some people might think we're nuts. Whatever. Me? I collect food scraps from restaurants, manure from zoos. Manure. Do you know why? To keep this stuff out of landfills and use it. It's pretty simple. You work hard. You believe that anything is possible and you try to make the world better. You try."

Like the Cadillac commercial, she ends by rhetorically asking the audience to agree, using the French phrase, "N'est-ce pas?" which means, "Is it not?"

In the "Poolside" ad — so named because it begins at a beautiful, private swimming pool — McDonough says, "Other countries, they work, they stroll home, they stop by the café. Th! ey take August off. Off. Why aren't you like that? Why aren't we like that? Because we're crazy, driven, hard-working believers. ... As for all the stuff, that's the upside of only taking two weeks off in August."

Ford spokeswoman Sara Tatchio described the video as "lighthearted."

"I don't think we're mocking a competitor. We're trying to showcase positive work being done in our community," she said.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pandora Hikes Prices; Spotify Offers a Deal to College Students Having Pandora (P) fish through its growing digital catalog to surprise music buffs with commercial-free tunes is getting more expensive. Pandora recently announced that the price for its Pandora One service will increase by 25 percent to $4.99 a month for new subscribers starting in May. Existing subscribers paying $3.99 a month will be able to continue at that rate, but the $36 a year premium plan will no longer be available. Will You Pay More? Unlike the groaning that followed the hike in's (AMZN) Prime, there has so far been minimal backlash for Pandora. That's because just 3.3 million of Pandora's 75.3 million active listeners pay for Pandora One. The other 72 million accept the ad blocks and the limited skips (Pandora limits free users to skipping six songs in an hour or 24 over the course of a day). Pandora perpetually tweaks its terms and limitations, but this is the first time that it has increased its Pandora One rate since it was introduced in 2009. Compared to satellite radio that has gone through a pair of increases since 2012 and the annual increases of most cable and satellite television providers, it's hard to paint Pandora as greedy. As Pandora explains in justifying the increase, the royalties that it pays to performers through SoundExchange for subscription listening have soared 53 percent over the past five years. Battle of the Bands It's probably just a coincidence that Spotify lowered its price to select users just days after Pandora's announced hike. Spotify announced on Tuesday that college students -- including two-year colleges and vocational schools -- could pay just $5 a month for its streaming service. It doubles to the $10 a month rate that everyone else pays after they graduate. Spotify is an on-demand platform that lets users pick the tracks that they want to hear and create play lists. Pandora is a music discovery service that crunches algorithms to serve up tracks that it thinks you will like based on your initial input and listening habits. However, it's still interesting that the two services will be priced nearly identically for college students, even though the ability to single out tracks among Spotify's millions of selections would be seen by many as superior. A cheaper Spotify for young listeners isn't Pandora's only problem. Apple (AAPL) introduced iTunes Radio in September, and it's a similar music discovery service that is free to use in its ad-supported form. Folks wanting to zap ads on iTunes Radio only need to pay $25 a year for iTunes Match.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Unscrambling Your Retirement Nest Egg

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At Investing Daily, we’ve grown increasingly concerned with the national trend toward underfunded retirement plans. For the next few weeks, we'll send you a complimentary series of focused briefs to get you thinking about new ways to maximize performance both inside and outside of a structured 401k or similar plan. We hope you'll find these briefs useful.

This is the fourth installment in a five-part series.

As part of our continuing effort to better serve loyal readers, we’ve answered the latest batch of "frequently asked questions" regarding 401k plans. The questions below run the gamut in sophistication and were posed by novice and seasoned investors alike. Chances are, at least a few of these topics have perplexed you as well.

What are the limits to 401k contributions?

This question is trickier than it seems. You can't just determine the limit and then assume the ceiling is fixed. As with anything that involves the government, the rules continually change and you need to monitor them.

The maximum pretax contribution dollar amount is established by the IRS and annually adjusted for inflation. The pretax contribution limit for 2014 is $17,500.

How much should I contribute?

We advise the maximum, but that's easier stated than done. Not everyone can afford it. Strive for at least 15-20 percent of your income during your earning years.

If your company is generous enough to offer a matching contribution, you should kick in enough to make the most of that match. For example, if your company matches $1.00 up to 10 percent of your contributions, you should contribute at least 10 percent.

Are there different ways in which employers offer a matching contribution?

Yes, your employer can choose among several methods for determining the percentage that it contributes. The most common are a fixed percentage of what you put into the plan; a! predetermined percentage of your pay; and a discretionary percentage that's subject to change according to how your company is performing.

To reiterate: Make it a point to contribute at least the minimum amount required to trigger your company's full match. Otherwise, you're refusing free money!

I'm self-employed. What are my 401k options?

Many people don’t realize that you don’t need to run a large full-time business to benefit from a self-employed retirement plan. Even if you moonlight, work part time, or freelance, self-employed retirement plans offer enormous tax benefits.

In fact, if your cash flow can handle it, you might be able to put 100 percent of your net profit as a self-employed person into a 401k plan—and deduct the money, too. Here’s a look at your options:

Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) Plan.

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 If your income from self-employment is relatively small, or if you’re newly self-employed, a SEP is your best bet.

The biggest enticement of a SEP is as its name implies: it’s simple. The IRS treats a SEP just as if it were an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), which means the paperwork to set up a SEP is minimal and, mercifully, the IRS imposes no requirements for annual tax reporting.

Annual contributions to a SEP are discretionary; if you’re hurting for cash one year and need to cut back, you’re free to do so. Moreover, SEP contribution limits are relatively high: 25 percent of net income, up to $52,000 for 2014, which is ample for most people. (The amount is subject to annual cost-of-living adjustments for later years.) Also, another convenience is that you can set up and fund a SEP after the end of the tax year.

Self-employed 401k

Also known as a solo 401k, this alternative involves more paperwork and must be established by December 31. T! his plan ! is limited to self-employed business owners with no employees other than a spouse. The major benefit: you can put in considerably more money every year than with a SEP.

Self-employed individuals and small business owners that have adopted a solo 401k plan for the 2014 taxable year will be able to make tax-deferral employee and employer contributions of up to $52,000. Those over the age of 50 have a limit this year of up to $57,500.

Annual contributions are discretionary and you can borrow from the plan.


Can I temporarily cease contributions if I can’t afford it, but start up again later?

It depends on your employer. Some allow it; some don't. However, most plans give you the latitude to stop contributing for a while. Check the rules with your HR department.

What are "hardship" withdrawals?

We advise against hardship withdrawals. Your best bet is to bite the bullet and find another source of money for whatever need has arisen. You should treat your 401k as sacrosanct. That's why it was troubling that during the Great Recession, many 401k savers tapped their accounts simply to make ends meet, further exacerbating the retirement crisis that faces America.

But again, that's easy to state and harder to do. Maybe your financial back is against the wall and you have no recourse but to crack your 401k piggy bank. If that's the case, the IRS allows the following reasons for a hardship distribution:

Medical expenses incurred by you, your spouse, children, dependents, beneficiaries beyond what is covered by insurance;Payment of funeral or burial expenses for your spouse, children, dependents, parents, or beneficiaries;Purchase of primary residence;Payment of tuition for post-secondary education for you or your spouse, childr! en, depen! dents or beneficiaries for the next semester or scholastic period;Prevention of eviction from your primary residence or foreclosure of the mortgage on your primary residence; andPayment of repair to your primary residence that qualifies for the casualty deduction of Internal Revenue Code Section 165.Check with your HR department for further details.

What are the rules regarding loans from 401k plans?

We advise against taking out a loan against your 401k. But if you urgently need money, this option is available to you, depending upon your employer's rules.

Companies are free to offer loans as part of a 401k plan, but nothing compels them to do so. Your Summary Plan Description or HR department can make this clear for you. Typically, you must repay the loan within five years.

You're allowed to borrow up to 50 percent of your vested account balance to a maximum of $50,000. Plans often establish a minimum amount and restrict the number of loans you can take at any one time. Repayment is usually n the form of installments automatically deducted from your paycheck.

If you leave your job, any unpaid portion of the loan will be calculated as income and be subject to taxation and, if you're under the age 59 1/2, a penalty.

John Persinos is editorial director of the investment advisories Personal Finance and 401k Millionaire, as well as their parent website Investing Daily. Follow John on Twitter.

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Or to ask a general question, please go to the main Stock Talk page found under the Resources menu for each publication. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

3 Stocks Spiking on Big Volume

DELAFIELD, Wis. (Stockpickr) -- Professional traders running mutual funds and hedge funds don't just look at a stock's price moves; they also track big changes in volume activity. Often when above-average volume moves into an equity, it precedes a large spike in volatility.

>>5 Stocks Ready for Breakouts

Major moves in volume can signal unusual activity, such as insider buying or selling -- or buying or selling by "superinvestors."

Unusual volume can also be a major signal that hedge funds and momentum traders are piling into a stock ahead of a catalyst. These types of traders like to get in well before a large spike, so it's always a smart move to monitor unusual volume. That said, remember to combine trend and price action with unusual volume. Put them all together to help you decipher the next big trend for any stock.

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With that in mind, let's take a look at several stocks rising on unusual volume recently.

Flowers Foods

Flowers Foods (FLO) produces and markets bakery foods in the U.S. This stock closed up 3.4% at $21.37 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 4.19 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 1.19 million

Volume % Change: 249%

From a technical perspective, FLO jumped higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $20.65 with above-average volume. This move is starting to push shares of FLO within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if FLO manages to take out its 200-day moving average of $21.76 to some more key overhead resistance levels at $22.10 to just above $22.50 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in FLO as long as it's trending above its 50-day moving average of $20.65 or above more support at $20 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 1.19 million shares. If that breakout starts soon, then FLO will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap-down-day zone from last November that started near $25.


Littelfuse (LFUS) designs, manufactures and sells circuit protection devices for use in the automotive, electronic and electrical markets worldwide. This stock closed up 4% at $96.20 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 380,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 85,323

Volume % Change: 366%

From a technical perspective, LFUS jumped sharply higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $92.04 with heavy upside volume. This move pushed shares of LFUS into breakout and new 52-week-high territory, after the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance at $96.07. Market players should now look for a continuation move higher in the short-term if LFUS manages to take out its new 52-week high at $97.40 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in LFUS as long as it's trending above Friday's low of $92.70 and then once it sustains a move or close above $97.40 with volume that's near or above 85,323 shares. If that move gets underway soon, then LFUS will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $105 to $110.

B/E Aerospace

B/E Aerospace (BEAV) designs, manufactures, sells and services cabin interior products for commercial aircraft and business jets in the U.S. and internationally. This stock closed up 1.5% at $87.98 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 2.29 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 1 million

Volume % Change: 123%

From a technical perspective, BEAV trended modestly higher here with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last two months, with shares moving higher from its low of $74.48 to its recent high of $88.17. During that uptrend, shares of BEAV have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. This spike higher on Friday is now starting to push shares of BEAV within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if BEAV manages to take out some key overhead resistance levels at $88.17 to its 52-week high at $88.43 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in BEAV as long as it's trending above $86 or $85 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 1 million shares. If that breakout starts soon, then BEAV will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $95 to $100.

To see more stocks rising on unusual volume, check out the Stocks Rising on Unusual Volume portfolio on Stockpickr.

-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Delafield, Wis.


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Follow Stockpickr on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

At the time of publication, author had no positions in stocks mentioned.

Roberto Pedone, based out of Delafield, Wis., is an independent trader who focuses on technical analysis for small- and large-cap stocks, options, futures, commodities and currencies. Roberto studied international business at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, and he spent a year overseas studying business in Lubeck, Germany. His work has appeared on financial outlets including and You can follow Pedone on Twitter at or @zerosum24.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Best Penny Companies For 2014

Best Penny Companies For 2014: Aerosonic Corporation(AIM)

Aerosonic Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the design, manufacture, and sale of aircraft instruments worldwide. It offers mechanical and digital altimeters, airspeed indicators, rate of climb indicators, microprocessor controlled air data test sets, and other flight instruments. The company also produces mechanical and electro-mechanical cockpit instruments, angle of attack stall warning systems, digital cockpit instruments, integrated flight display systems, aircraft sensors and monitoring systems, and integrated multifunction probes, such as integrated air data sensors. It markets its products to manufacturers of corporate and private jets, contractors of military jets, the United States government, and private aircraft owners. The company sells its products directly through its sales personnel, as well as through distributors and commissioned sales representatives who resell to aircraft operators. Aerosonic Corporation was founded in 1953 and is b ased in Clearwater, Florida.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Katia Dmitrieva]

    Aimia (AIM) Inc.'s decision to move its Aeroplan reward-partnership to Toronto-Dominion (TD) Bank is a blow to Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which stands to lose customers and as much as C$3 billion ($2.9 billion) in credit-card balances.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Pay-TV providers see first yearly customer loss

Americans may be falling out of love with pay-TV for good.

U.S. multichannel TV providers, including cable TV operators, posted its first full-year decline in subscriptions last year, according to research firm SNL Kagan.

About 100 million subscribers still pay $30 or more per month to receive pay-TV but the total fell by about 251,000 in 2013, continuing a downward trend that has worried cable executives for years. The industry added 40,000 video subscribers in the fourth quarter, slightly weaker than the year-earlier period and not enough to offset the losses in earlier months.

Rising prices, pay-TV operators' poor customer service, enhanced offerings from video streamers and other online distractions are pushing more TV watchers to ditch their monthly cable bills. Until 2013, the industry has been able to maintain its year-over-year growth despite the defections, as legions of customers still enjoy its easy-navigation tools and live programming.

But the full-year decline is a worrisome development that could signal an irrevocable downturn for the video segment of the industry that is scrambling to upgrade options to retain customers.

"While seasonally driven quarterly declines have become routine for industry watchers, the annual dip illustrates longer-term downward pressure even as economic conditions gradually improve," SNL's report said.

In an interview with USA TODAY's editorial board Tuesday, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said the nation's largest cable provider lost customers 26 quarters in a row until it eked out a gain in the fourth quarter last year.

To stem the loss in the video business, the Philadelphia-based company is offering more on-demand and other video options stored in the cloud and looking to introduce new subscription tiers, he said. "Our (profit) margin has gone back on video," he said, citing rising programming costs as a contributing factor.

The decline in video subscription is attributable partly to consumers who never bothered to o! rder new service as they moved into new homes. "Housing formation was modest but still outpaced new subscriptions," it said.

The cable operators suffered the highest rate of decline, losing nearly 2 million subscriptions to finish last year with fewer than 54.4 million.

The two main satellite TV providers, Dish Network and DirecTV, gained 170,000 subscribers, "forestalling an annual decline for perhaps another year," the report said. DirecTV contributed nearly all of their annual gain. There were 34.3 million satellite subscribers as of the year-end.

The "telco" segment, which includes the companies that offer fiber-optic based TV services, fared better than competitors. Verizon FiOS and AT&T's U-verse, the two dominant companies in the segment, gained 286,000 customers, reaching 10.7 million. Customers of CenturyLink's PrismTV totaled 175,000 after adding 9,000 new subscriptions. Consolidated Communications Holdings' IPTV added 1,000 to end the year at 110,000.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

10 Best Oil Stocks To Buy Right Now

10 Best Oil Stocks To Buy Right Now: CVR Refining LP (CVRR)

CVR Refining, LP, incorporated on September 17, 2012, is an energy limited partnership with refining and related logistics assets that operates in the mid-continent region. As of January 8, 2013, the Company owned two of only seven refineries in the underserved Group 3 of the PADD II region of the United States. It owns and operates a 115,000 barrels per day (bpd) coking medium-sour crude oil refinery in Coffeyville, Kansas and a 70,000 bpd medium complexity crude oil refinery in Wynnewood, Oklahoma capable of processing 20,000 bpd of light sour crude oils (within its 70,000 bpd capacity). In addition, it also controls and operates supporting logistics assets, including approximately 350 miles of owned pipelines, over 125 owned crude oil transports, a network of strategically located crude oil gathering tank farms, and over six million barrels of owned and leased crude oil storage capacity. On December 15, 2011, the Company's subsidiary Coffeyville Resources, LLC (Coffey ville Resources) acquired Wynnewood Energy Company, LLC, formerly Gary-Williams Energy Corporation.

The Company's Coffeyville and Wynnewood refineries are located approximately 100 miles and 130 miles from the crude oil hub at Cushing, Oklahoma. As of January 8, 2013, the Company gathered approximately 50,000 bpd of price-advantaged crudes from its gathering area, which includes Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas. The Company also has 35,000 bpd of contracted capacity on the Keystone and Spearhead pipelines that allows it to supply price-advantaged Canadian and Bakken crudes to its refineries. As of January 8, 2013, the Company had 145,000 bpd pipeline system that transports crude oil from its Broome Station tank farm to its Coffeyville refinery, as well as a total of 6 million barrels of owned and leased crude oil storage capacity, including approximat! ely 6% of the total crude oil storage capacity at Cushing.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Susan J. Aluise]

    CVI is structured into two Managed Limited Partnerships (MLPs): CVR Refining (CVRR) and the nitrogen fertilizer unit CVR Partners (UAN). CVR Energy owns 71% of CVR Refining and 53% of CVR Partners. This is an interesting play in the energy sector, given UAN's lower cost of ammonia and urea ammonium nitrate and CVRR's edge as an MLP refiner.

  • [By Robert Rapier]

    Icahn Enterprises (NASDAQ: IEP) led all MLPs in 2013 with a capital gain of 136 percent. IEP is an unconventional MLP involved in nine primary business segments: Investment, Automotive, Energy, Gaming, Railcar, Food Packaging, Metals, Real Estate and Home Fashion. IEP invests in energy-related companies such as CVR Refining (NYSE: CVRR) and American Railcar Industries (Nasdaq: ARII), but nearly 60 percent of its assets are invested in the automotive sector and in investment funds. Since 2000, IEP has achieved an average annual return of 23.8 percent, and units currently yield 4.4 percent. MLP Profits subscribers had a chance at a 58 percent capital gain between the Sept. 9 Buy recommendation for IEP and its Dec. 16 liquidation from the Aggressive Portfolio.

  • [By alicet236]

    CVR Refining LP (CVRR) Reached the Five-Year Low of $22.11

    The prices of CVR Refining LP (CVRR) shares have declined to close to the five-year low of $22.11, which is 42.2% off the five-year high of $35.98. CVR Refining LP is owned by two Gurus we are tracking. Among them, zero have added to their positions during the past quarter. Zero reduced their positions. CVR Refining LP is an independent downstream energy limited partnership with refining and related logistics assets that operates in the mid-continent region. CVR Refining LP has a market cap of $3.25 billion; its shares were traded at around $22.11 with a P/E ratio of 5.20 and P/S ratio of 0.52. The dividend yield of CVR Refining LP stoc! ks is 14.! 65%.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Top 5 Tech Stocks To Buy Right Now

Top 5 Tech Stocks To Buy Right Now: Orbotech Ltd.(ORBK)

Orbotech Ltd. engages in designing, developing, manufacturing, marketing, and servicing yield-enhancing and production solutions for specialized applications in the supply chain of the electronics industry. The company?s products include automated optical inspection (AOI), automated optical repair, laser direct imaging, digital legend printing, laser drilling, laser plotters, computer-aided manufacturing, and engineering solutions for printed circuit boards (PCBs) and other electronics component manufacturing; and AOI, test, repair, and process monitoring systems for flat panel display (FPD) manufacturing. It also develops and markets character recognition solutions and services primarily to banks, financial institutions, and other payment processing institutions for use in check and healthcare payment processing. In addition, the company is involved in the research and development of products for the deposition of anti-reflective coating on crystalline silicon photovolta ic wafers for solar energy panels. It primarily serves manufacturer of PCB, FPD, liquid crystal displays, and other electronic components worldwide. The company was formerly known as Optrotech Ltd. and changed its name to Orbotech Ltd. as a result of its merger with Orbot Systems Ltd. in October 1992. Orbotech Ltd. was founded in 1981 and is headquartered in Yavne, Israel.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Seth Jayson]

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

  • [By John Emerson]

    Orbotech (ORBK) ! and Rudolph Technologies (RTEC) Sizable Net-Nets in the AOI Sector

    As noted previously, I rode the elevator up and then back down on Camtek (CAMT), a tiny Israeli automated optical inspection (AOI) company. By late 2008 the company had fallen to below $1 per share. Both of Camtek's larger rivals, RTEC and ORBK, had dropped to absurdly low levels by November 2008. I used the opportunity to switch out of CAMT and some of my other losing propositions in favor of these superior companies. In the process, I created a large amount of tax loss carry-forwards which would allow me to minimize my future taxation when I decided to sell these cyclical entities.

  • [By John Emerson]

    AOI companies had little in the way of competition since they held a specialty niche and their systems were protected by patents. Years of R&D would be required to unseat them by way of technological superiority; therefore it made more sense for a larger company to assimilate them should they wish to enter the AOI sector. That said, CAMT was much smaller than its archrival Orbitech (ORBK) in the PCB AOI sector; thus their key to long term growth lied in their penetration into the rapidly expanding semiconductor AOI sector. In that area, their main completion was August Semiconductor.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Best Penny Companies To Buy For 2014

Best Penny Companies To Buy For 2014: Ever-Glory Internatio nal Group Inc.(EVK)

Ever-Glory International Group, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture, distribution, and sale of apparel for women, men, and children. Its products include coats, jackets, slacks, skirts, shirts, trousers, vests, skiwear, down jackets, knitwear, and jeans. The company offers its products to the casual wear, sportswear, and outerwear brands, as well as retailers, such as department stores, flagship stores, stores-within-a-store, and specialty stores primarily in Europe, the United States, Japan, and the People?s Republic of China. As of December 31, 2010, it operated 293 retail stores in the People?s Republic of China. The company is based in West Covina, California.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By John Udovich]

    Small cap apparel stock G-III Apparel Group, Ltd (NASDAQ: GIII) has been making bullish moves lately plus the stock is up 97.1% since the start of the year, making it the third best performing apparel stock (according to stock screener Finviz) after small cap Ever-Glory International Group Inc (NYSEMKT: EVK) and mid cap Fifth & Pacific Companies Inc (NYSE: FNP) followed by mid cap Hanesbrands Inc (NYSE: HBI). But is the G-III Apparel Group dressed for long term success for investors?

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Money Mic: I'm Scared to Pay Off My Student Loans

Student Loans debt Butch Dill/AP . If all goes according to plan, my last student loan will be paid in full this June. I'll be debt-free at 29. The thing is, nearly $40,000 and eight years later, I know how to be in debt. Debt-free? Not so much. I'm good at being in debt. I know how to juggle payments and budget for automatic debits and track my payoff progress. I know what I'm supposed to do with my money when I'm in debt: Use it to pay my debts down. When I'm debt-free, what should I do with my extra cash? Save for retirement? Take a vacation? The options are overwhelming, and I'm afraid I'll make the wrong choice. I feel like paying off my student loans represents some kind of line in the sand: On one side, it's O.K. to be unsure and unsettled. On the other side, it's not. I'm moving toward that other side, and I haven't made it to sure and settled quite yet. How I Got Used to Living With Debt My relationship with debt began at the tender age of 21, when I started my one-year master's program in education. Courtesy: Lyndsay Meredith via LearnVestThe author I was lucky enough to have my parents pay for my undergraduate degree, so the concept of being in debt was abstract, and I was blasé. After all, this was before the recession, when credit cards were handed out like candy bars on college campuses and everyone I knew was up to their eyeballs in debt. I quite literally didn't think twice about signing on to $25,000 in student loans, or getting a candy bar -- er, credit card -- and charging it to the max. I'd pay it off later, right? By the time I started my first "real" job as a high school history teacher in the fall of 2007, I had come to rely on that credit card. Living in one of the most expensive zip codes in the nation, near Washington, D.C., didn't help matters. My rent ate up over half of my monthly income, and I had so many other bills to pay that I was barely able to make a dent in my debt. Around the time I got that first job, I had taken out a personal loan to pay off my credit card debt at a lower interest rate than the card offered. Smart, right? Well, not if you turn around and charge your credit card up again ... which, of course, I did. At the point that I realized I had almost doubled my debt to nearly $40,000 in less than a year -- a low, low moment that led to my first full-blown panic attack -- I vowed to get my finances under control. Almost overnight, I started working more and spending less. I froze my credit card in a block of ice and switched to using only cash. I canceled my cable, stopped eating out and signed on to work in every after-school tutoring program that would take me. I even had a friend cut my hair to save money on salon costs. I had no free time and got very little sleep during those months, but I didn't care: I was going to pay off my credit cards or I was going to die trying. My All-Out Effort to Whittle It Down I used the extra cash to pay off my $6,000 of credit card debt, then my $5,500 private student loan, then my $10,000 car loan. I was good at being in debt, and I got really good at paying it off; I had become addicted to the high that came with cutting down the balance of a loan. I started to live for the pleasure of seeing a $0.00 in the 'total due' section of my online accounts. To be honest, I started to become a little insufferable after a while -- I was a woman obsessed, and nothing was going to stop me from becoming debt-free. However, I slowed down once my only remaining debt was $10,000 of my $18,500 federal student loan. I knew that at the end of my rapidly approaching seventh year of teaching I would be entitled to student loan forgiveness, because I was teaching at a Title I (high-poverty) school. So, ready for a break from the extreme frugality of the last five years, I decided to just make minimum payments until that time. Besides, my minimum of $219.72 per month was hardly a king's ransom -- I could definitely live with that payment for a few more years. Slowly, I started loosening the purse strings. I got my cable back, and rehired my hairstylist. I allowed myself to get takeout once a week and went on a few weekend trips. Life was feeling comfortable again, and much less stressful -- I wasn't wasting money, but I wasn't driving myself nuts trying to conserve it either. Then, about six months ago, I started thinking about how my life would be changing soon. My debt would be gone -- for good. It suddenly occurred to me that I'd have to make real decisions about what to do next with my finances and, by extension, my life. And that is when I started to panic. Why It's Hard Saying Goodbye Deep down I know that the reason I'm not as enthusiastic about my student loan payoff as I should be is because to me, those payments represent my last tie to my early adulthood, a time when the world seemed full of possibilities and my optimism was endless, and I'm holding on to that tie for dear life right now. Because "full of possibilities" and "optimistic" are definitely not how I would describe my outlook at the moment. Take, for example, my career. For the first five years of teaching, I was one of the happiest public educators in the profession. But recently, the job has changed substantially, in ways I don't particularly like. (Since I'm still reporting to the classroom every day, I'm not going to get into how, but suffice it to say that for the first time ever, I have to force myself out of bed in the morning.) I don't like this feeling, and I want to go back to the time when I was excited about going to work.

To be honest, I started to become a little insufferable after a while -- I was a woman obsessed, and nothing was going to stop me from becoming debt-free.

Plus, being student-loan-free means I'm old. Like, thirties old. As in, I should have my life figured out by now. I should be married (which I'm not), have kids (which I don't) and know what I want to do career-wise (again, I don't -- not anymore). I'm almost 29 and don't know what the rest of my life will look like. The closer I get to the end of my student loan days, the more anxious I become. And then I feel silly for being anxious. I know a lot of people who would love to have the problem of not knowing what to do with their extra funds every month. Pretty soon I'll have this $219 freed up, but I'm still not sure what to do with it. Sure, I'm planning to divert some of it to retirement and some of it to general savings (I guess that would become my emergency fund), but I don't have a "big thing" in mind that I'll save for next ... and that stresses me out. Instead of holding on to my student loans as a totem from a past I felt comfortable in, I'm going to have to start looking at the unfamiliar as inviting, and the foreign as an opportunity. I'll get there, but it won't be easy.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Weibo IPO Makes Twitter Look Profitable, Less Diversified

Top 5 Asian Stocks To Buy For 2014

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Weibo, often referred to as the Chinese version of Twitter (TWTR), has filed for an initial public offering in the U.S with a placeholder amount of $500 million. At first glance, the fast-growing company makes its U.S. micro-blogging counterpart look profitable but less diversified.

In China, Weibo provides a way for users and organizations to publicly express themselves in real time and interact with others in a similar fashion to Twitter in the U.S. The company was founded in 2009 and is majority owned by Chinese internet company SINA (SINA).

In early 2013, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group invested $585.8 million in Weibo for approximately 18% of the company's outstanding shares. According to a disclosure on Weibo's "investor option liability," Alibaba can increase its stake in the company to 30%.

Alibaba is partially owned by Yahoo! (YHOO), which has a 24% stake in the Chinese Internet giant. As of the end of 2013, Weibo had 129.1 million monthly active users and 61.4 million average daily active users, a significant increase from the previous year . Over 70% of the company's monthly active users in accessed Weibo through mobile devices in December. According to the company's F-1 filing, Weibo generated $188 million in revenue in 2013, a near quadrupling of sales versus year-ago levels. The company, however, only saw its net loss narrow from $102 million in 2012 to $38 million this year. Beijing-based Weibo generates revenues from advertising and marketing, similar to Twitter, but generates a lot of advertising revenue from one client, Alibaba, which is looking into its own IPO later this year. The company noted its advertising and marketing revenues increased by 191% from $51.0 million in 2012. However, advertising sold to Alibaba accounted for $49.1 million, or 33.1%, of its advertising and marketing revenues in 2013. The company also has other revenue streams, including game-related services, and VIP memberships. Other revenues rose 168% year-over-year to $39.9 million in 2013.

Revenue from game-related services increased jumped to $22.9 million in 2013 from $12.7 million in 2012, while VIP membership revenue rose to $11.1 million from $2.2 million in 2012. The company ended 2013 with 700,000 VIP members, up from 400,000 in 2012. "Our introduction of additional sources of other revenues in 2013 to further monetize our user base and the content on our platform, including data licensing, also contributed to the increase," the company noted in the F-1 filing. On a measure of adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) Weibo's annual loss narrowed from $80 million in 2012 to a loss of $6.3 million in 2013. Were it not for Weibo's "investor option liability" the company would have generated positive EBITDA in 2013. Still, by any measure, the Chinese version of Twitter appears less profitable than Twitter as it moved towards a November 2013 initial public offering.

In the nine months prior to Twitter's IPO, the company generated $30.7 million in adjusted EBITDA and had a user base of nearly double that reported by Weibo.

Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse will lead Weibo's IPO.

-- Written by Antoine Gara and Chris Ciaccia in New York.

Stock quotes in this article: SINA, TWTR 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Top Tech Stocks For 2014

Top Tech Stocks For 2014: Insys Therapeutics Inc (INSY)

Insys Therapeutics, Inc., incorporated on June 15, 1990, is a pharmaceutical company that develops and seeks to commercialize pharmaceutical products that target the unmet needs of cancer patients, with an initial focus on cancer-supportive care. The Company's pharmaceuticals portfolio consists of one approved product and a number of product candidates targeting cancer-supportive care and cancer therapy. The Company's product candidate includes Subsys, Dronabinol SG Capsule, Dronabinol RT Capsule, Dronabinol Oral Solution, Dronabinol Inhalation Device, and Dronabinol IV Solution. The Company is also developing cancer therapeutics, which is LEP-ETU, a formulation of paclitaxel, the active ingredient in the cancer drugs Taxol and Abraxane. On August 19, 2011, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved its Dronabinol SG Capsule product, a generic equivalent to Marinol, for the treatment of chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting (CINV), and anorexia associated with we ight loss in patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).


The Company's Subsys is a single-use product that delivers fentanyl, an opioid analgesic, in seconds for transmucosal absorption underneath the tongue. Subsys is a transmucosal product to show pain relief when measuring the sum of pain intensity difference at five minutes in a Phase 3 breakthrough cancer pain (BTCP) clinical trial using fentanyl.

Dronabinol Product Family

The Company has an approved dronabinol product and is developing several dronabinol product candidates for the treatment of CINV and appetite stimulation in patients with AIDS, as well as other indications where dronabinol could have potential therapeutic benefits. Dronabinol, the active ingredient in Marinol, is a synthetic cannabinoid whose chemical name is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). I! ts portfolio consists of its Dronabinol SG Capsule product and Dronabinol RT Caps ule product candidate, which are intended to be generic equi! valents to Marinol, in addition to three formulations, including Dronabinol Oral Solution. Dronabinol SG Capsule is a dronabinol soft gelatin capsule intended to be a generic equivalent to Marinol. Dronabinol RT Capsule is a dronabinol soft gel capsule that is stable at room temperature. Dronabinol Oral Solution is a ynthetic THC in an oral liquid formulation.

Cancer Therapeutics

In addition to its cancer-supportive care products, the Company intends to develop cancer therapeutics targeting limitations of existing commercial products. LEP-ETU, it advanced cancer therapeutic, is a NeoLipid liposomal, or microscopic membrane-like structure created from lipids, formulation that incorporates paclitaxel. LEP-ETU completed a Phase 2 clinical trial of 70 patients with metastatic breast cancer.

The Company competes with Cephalon, Inc., BioDelivery Sciences International, Inc., ProStrakan Group plc, Nycomed International Management GmbH, Archimedes P harma Ltd., TEVA Pharmaceuticals USA, Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc., AcelRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Akela Pharma Inc., Abbott Laboratories, Pharmaceutical International, Inc., Par Pharmaceutical Companies Inc., sanofi-aventis, Eisai Inc., Helsinn Group, Roche Holding AG, Par Pharmaceutical Companies Inc., GlaxoSmithKline plc, ProStrakan Group plc, Merck & Co, GW Pharmaceutical, A.P. Pharma, Inc., Aphios Corp., Roche Holding, Tesaro, Inc., Cornerstone Pharmaceutical, Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene Corporation, Laboratories, Amgen Inc., AstraZeneca PLC., Bayer AG, Biogen Idec Inc., Eisai Co., Ltd., F. Hoffmann- LaRoche Ltd., Johnson and Johnson, Merck and Co., Inc., Novartis AG, Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc., Pfizer Inc., and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Louis Navellier]

    INSYS Therapeutics (INSY) is a biotech company that focuses on dev! eloping p! harmaceutical products that target the unmet needs of cancer patients, with a focus on cancer-supportive care. Their products include drugs that help patients deal with pain form the disease and help alleviate nausea and pain from chemotherapy. The company reported earnings this week and both profits and sales have exploded higher.

  • [By Matt Jarzemsky]

    Among companies that went public in the U.S. last year, FireEye has seen the second-biggest share rally since its IPO, trailing only pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics Inc.(INSY)

  • [By Jake L'Ecuyer]

    Equities Trading DOWN
    Shares of INSYS Therapeutics (NASDAQ: INSY) were down 15.94 percent to $38.00 after the company received subpoena from Office of Inspector General.

  • [By Chris Preston]

    INSYS Therapeutics (INSY) is one recent IPO that jumps out. The Arizona-based pharmaceutical company markets a synthetic marijuana drug to treat cancer pain. It went public in May at $8 per share. It opened at over $46 per share.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Hot Casino Stocks To Buy Right Now

Hot Casino Stocks To Buy Right Now: Wynn Resorts Limited(WYNN)

Wynn Resorts, Limited, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the development, ownership, and operation of destination casino resorts. The company owns and operates Wynn Las Vegas casino resort in Las Vegas, which includes approximately 22 food and beverage outlets comprising 5 dining restaurants; 2 nightclubs; 1 spa and salon; 1 Ferrari and Maserati automobile dealership; wedding chapels; an 18-hole golf course; meeting space; and foot retail promenade featuring boutiques. Wynn Las Vegas casino resort also features approximately 147 table games, 1 baccarat salon, private VIP gaming rooms, 1 poker room, 1,842 slot machines, and 1 race and sports book. It also owns and operates an Encore at Wynn Las Vegas resort, a destination casino resort located adjacent to Wynn Las Vegas that features a 2,034 all-suite hotel, as well as a casino with 95 table games, 1 sky casino, 1 baccarat salon, private VIP gaming rooms, and 778 slot machines. In addition, the company operates Wyn n Macau casino resort located in the Macau Special Administrative Region of the People?s Republic of China. Wynn Macau casino resort features approximately 595 hotel rooms and suites, 410 table games, 935 slot machines, 1 poker room, 1 sky casino, 6 restaurants, 1 spa and salon, lounges, meeting facilities, and retail space featuring boutiques. Further, it operates Encore at Wynn Macau resort located adjacent to Wynn Macau. Encore at Wynn Macau resort features approximately 410 luxury suites and 4 villas, as well as casino gaming space, including a sky casino consisting of 60 table games and 80 slot machines, 2 restaurants, 1 luxury spa, and retail space. The company was founded in 2002 and is based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Lawrence Meyers]

    Finally, if you're smoking and drinking coffee, you may as well belly up to the cr! aps table at Wynn Resorts (WYNN).

    It's not an addiction pure play, because Wynn relies on both its hospitality segment as well as its gaming segment. So in that regard, you can just say you are protecting your addiction play with diversification. WYNN stock is the world-class name here. Things were looking a little ragged for awhile for all the gaming stocks, but Macau has really juiced everyone's fortunes.

  • [By Will Ashworth]

    Even if Caesars Entertainment pays down $2 billion of its total debt, it will still have a level of debt 11 times adjusted EBITDA (approximately $1.9 billion in fiscal 2013). Neither Las Vegas Sands (LVS) or Wynn Resorts (WYNN) carry nearly as much debt, and their businesses are much stronger.


    Shares of casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) increased as revenue trends in the company's key Macau market were quite positive in the quarter. The company has commenced construction of a large additional casino in Macau, the $4 billon Wynn Palace, which is scheduled to open in 2016. We believe that this casino ev entually will generate a substantial positive return for Wynn. In addition, there is increased speculation that the Japanese government will legalize casino gaming in advance of the 2020 Summer Olympics, and Wynn is seen by many as a strong contender for a possible gaming license.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    In the U.S., casinos with significant exposure to Macau are also taking a hit. Las Vegas Sands is down the least, at about 1.3% at the noon hour Tuesday. MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) is down nearly 2%, Wynn Resorts Ltd. (NASDAQ: WYNN) is down about 2.6%, and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. (NASDAQ: MPEL) is down about 4.5%.

  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Best Asian Stocks To Buy For 2015

Best Asian Stocks To Buy For 2015: Allstate Corp (ALL)

The Allstate Corporation (Allstate), November 5, 1992, is a holding company for Allstate Insurance Company. The Company's business is conducted principally through Allstate Insurance Company, Allstate Life Insurance Company and their affiliates. It is engaged, principally in the United States, in the property-liability insurance, life insurance, retirement and investment product business. Allstate's primary business is the sale of private passenger auto and homeowners insurance. The Company also sells several other personal property and casualty insurance products, select commercial property and casualty coverages, life insurance, annuities, voluntary accident and health insurance and funding agreements. Allstate primarily distributes its products through exclusive agencies, financial specialists, independent agencies, call centers and the Internet. It conducts its business primarily in the United States. Allstate has four business segments: Allstate Protection, Allstate Financial, Discontinued Lines and Coverages and Corporate and Other. The Company is a personal lines insurer in the United States. Customers can access Allstate products and services, such as auto insurance and homeowners insurance through nearly 12,000 exclusive Allstate agencies and financial representatives in the United States and Canada. In October 2011, the Company acquired Esurance and Answer Financial from White Mountains Insurance Group.


In this segment, the Company principally sells private passenger auto and homeowners insurance through agencies and directly through call centers and the Internet. These products are marketed under the Allstate, Encompass and Esurance brand names. The Allstate Protection segment also includes a separate organization called Emerging Businesses, which comprises Business Insurance (commercial p! roducts for small business owners), Consumer Household (specialty products including moto rcycle, boat, renters and condominium insurance policies), A! llstate Dealer Services (insurance and non-insurance products sold primarily to auto dealers), Allstate Roadside Services (retail and wholesale roadside assistance products) and Ivantage (insurance agency). The Company also participates in the involuntary or shared private passenger auto insurance business in order to maintain its licenses to do business in many states. In some states, Allstate exclusive agencies offer non-proprietary property insurance products. Allstate brand auto and homeowners insurance products are sold primarily through Allstate exclusive agencies and serve customers who prefer local personal advice and service and are brand-sensitive. In most states, customers can also purchase certain Allstate brand personal insurance products, and obtain service, directly through call centers and the Internet.

During the year ended December 31, 2011, total Allstate Protection premiums written were $25.98 billion. Its broad-based network of approximately 10,000 Allstate exclusive agencies in approximately 9,700 locations in the United States produced approximately 86% of the Allstate Protection segment's written premiums in 2011. It provides personal property and casualty insurance products through independent agencies in the United States. Additionally, Allstate distribution, through brokering arrangements, offers non-proprietary products to consumers when an Allstate product is not available.


Allstate Financial segment provides life insurance, retirement and investment products, and voluntary accident and health insurance products. Its principal products are interest-sensitive, traditional and variable life insurance; fixed annuities, including deferred and immediate; and voluntary accident and health insurance. Its institutional products consist of funding agreements sold to! unaffili! ated trusts that use them to back medium-term notes issued to institutional and individ ual investors. Banking products and services were offered to! customer! s through the Allstate Bank through September 2011. In 2011, after receiving regulatory approval to voluntarily dissolve, Allstate Bank ceased operations.

The Company sells Allstate Financial products to individuals through multiple intermediary distribution channels, including Allstate exclusive agencies and exclusive financial specialists, independent agents, specialized structured settlement brokers and directly through call centers and the Internet. The Company sells products through independent agents affiliated with approximately 125 master brokerage agencies. Independent workplace enrolling agents and Allstate exclusive agencies also sell its voluntary accident and health insurance products primarily to employees of unaffiliated businesses. Its mortgage loan portfolio, which is primarily held in the Allstate Financial portfolio, totaled $7.14 billion as of December 31, 2011

Allstate Financial, through several companies, is authorized to sell life insurance and retirement products in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States, Virgin Islands and Guam. Allstate Financial distributes its products to individuals through multiple distribution channels, including Allstate exclusive agencies and exclusive financial specialists, independent agents (including master brokerage agencies and workplace enrolling agents), specialized structured settlement brokers and directly through call centers and the Internet.


The Company's Corporate and Other segment consistsof holding company activities and certain non-insurance operations. It's Discontinued Lines and Coverages segment includes results from insurance coverage that it no longer writes and results for certain commercial and other businesses in run-off. Its exposure to asbestos, environ! mental an! d other discontinued lines claims is presented in the segment. The segment also includes the hist orical results of the commercial and reinsurance businesses ! sold in 1! 996.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By John Kell]

    Allstate Corp.(ALL) said its fourth-quarter profit more than doubled, boosted in part by rising insurance policies in several units and fewer catastrophes.

  • [By Wallace Witkowski]

    Insurers such as Aflac Inc. (AFL) , Allstate Corp. (ALL) , Aetna Inc. (AET) , Cigna Corp. (CI)  and Prudential Financial Inc. (PRU)  will also report, along with exchange operators Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. (NDAQ)  and CME Group Inc. (CME) . 

  • [By Laura Brodbeck]


    Earnings Expected: Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL), Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR), Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), GlaxoSmithKline PLC (NYSE: GSK), Twitter, Inc. (NYSE: TWTR), Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) Economic Releases Expected: German trade balance, Italian unemployment, eurozone retail sales, eurozone unemployment rate, Irish retail sales, US crude oil inventories, US FOMC minutes, Chinese CPI, Chinese PPI


  • source from Top Stocks Blog:

Monday, March 10, 2014

Rieder: Newsmagazines aim for a comeback

Against all odds, the old weekly newsmagazine brands are back in the news.

Newsweek, its print version left for dead, sprang back to life late last week with a relaunch whose cover story attracted lots of attention — and triggered lots of controversy. More on that later.

And Time, the reigning champion in what's left of the field, last week launched a much-delayed and much-needed digital overhaul.

MEDIA FRENZY: 'Newsweek' ID of Bitcoin founder sparks controversy

OVERHAUL: 'Time' magazine's a-changing

Which raises a question: Is there a future for these vestiges of the pre-digital world?

The newsweeklies' stock-in-trade used to be summing up the events of the previous week, putting them in context, providing insight. But newspapers long ago started producing far more, well, magazine-like content. Now smart, up-to-to-the minute commentary and analysis as well as more expansive long-form journalism can be found all over the Web.

U.S. News & World Report dumped its print edition in 2010 and Newsweek followed suit two years later. Time endures but continues to struggle for relevancy in a crowded, brutally competitive media landscape.

So is it completely insane for Newsweek, owned by relative newcomer IBT Media, to plunge back into print's murky waters?

Not necessarily, says the man so obsessed with magazines that he trademarked Mr. Magazine as his nickname.

Samir Husni, founder and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi, is serenely untroubled by the print-is-dead drumbeat we've all heard for years. Husni thinks this is a great time for journalism in general and magazines in particular. He loves the fact that a number of digital outlets, Politico among them, have started up print magazines.

"The marketplace is sending the signal that there is value in print, that there is money in print," he says.

But, Husni cautions, the stakes have been raised dramatically. To win the hearts and minds — and ! pocketbooks — of readers in a bursting marketplace, and with everyone's time at a premium, you've got to be really, really good.

The Week, an idiosyncratic success in the newsweekly field with its smartly selected smorgasbord of material from all over, succeeds by offering tasty "nuggets," he says. But it's important, Husni adds, to stop thinking of Time and Newsweek as traditional newsmagazines. If they are to flourish, they have to feature ambitious, highly engaging, elegantly written content.

"They have to become monthlies that come out on a weekly basis," he says. "They have to put out Esquire on a weekly basis."

Time, he says, set the standard for such high-quality fare with Steven Brill's 26,000-word treatise on the nation's medical care system last year.

The need to be truly excellent is a particular burden for the reborn Newsweek, whose cover price is a pricey $7.99. Husni has already shelled out $150 to get access to the venerable title on all platforms. "If I give you $150," he says, "you better give me more than Lady Gaga."

But that newsstand price, and Newsweek's overall business strategy, may doom the print rebirth, says Ken Doctor, a leading media analyst.

Newsweek redux in print could work, Doctor says, but "it's a long shot, and at $8 it's even more of a long shot." He adds, "That pricing is awfully high for the revival of a ghost publication."

Doctor has long been a proponent of the once-anathema but now widely accepted notion that news outlets should charge for digital content. But Newsweek may be taking this approach a couple of steps too far.

Most news outlets are trying to survive and thrive with a mix of revenue streams: subscribers, advertisers, events, marketing services, whatever. But Newsweek is aiming to get 80% or more of its money from paying customers.

"That's much too heavily reliant on readers," Doctor says. "They need balance, other revenue sources. And the magazine is overpriced. The business model is flawed."


Then t! here's the question of its opening foray, the cover story which purported to identify the shadow figure who invented the trendy but trouble-plagued digital currency Bitcoin. No sooner had the story surfaced than the alleged inventor said he wasn't the guy. Many critics felt the piece was heavily circumstantial and took a more definitive tone than was warranted. The question looms: Did Newsweek, in an attempt to make a splashy debut, move too quickly?

If it turns out that the story was wrong, the damage to its credibility could profoundly harm Newsweek's chances of pulling off a successful comeback.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Syrian Electronic Army attacks

The Syrian Electronic Army, the cyber wing of Bashar al-Assad's army, attacked website Friday, compromising user data, defacing webpages and posting a fake story to the site.

In a security message on, a message posted over the weekend from Forbes staff said, "The email address for anyone registered with may have been exposed." The site has temporarily disabled user logins.

The SEA announced the hacking on Twitter on Valentine's Day, posting a story titled "Hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army" under cybersecurity correspondent Andy Greenberg's byline.

The hacking group, whose members are anonymous, claimed in an email sent to and published by the International Business Times that they targeted Forbes because the financial publication's "hate for Syria is very clear and flagrant in their articles."

On Friday, the Twitter account of the SEA had this post: "#Forbes users table (1,071,963 user-email-password) was dumped successfully, Anyone want to buy it?" And in a later tweet, the SEA warned that it was planning to publish a database of all Forbes users as soon as it could find "a secure host" on which to upload it.

The hackers also defaced a number of other pages on the site, and they hijacked the Twitter accounts @ForbesTech, @TheAlexKnapp and @Samsharf, according to published reports by IBT, tech news website CNET and Romensko, a media news website.

Alex Knapp is the social media manager for the Forbes site, and two published reports claimed the site had been accessed through his Twitter account. Samantha Sharf is a personal finance/markets reporter for the magazine.

The Forbes security message also warns users to "be wary of emails that purport to come from Forbes, as the list of email addresses may be used in phishing attacks." Phishing attacks are mounted, using fake emails that appear to be from legitimate companies or institutions and asking for personal information such as passwords and! credit card information.

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It went to "strongly encourage" users to change their passwords once it makes sign-on available again.

"We have notified law enforcement. We take this matter very seriously and apologize to the members of our community for this breach."

A media inquiry for more details about the hacking incident was not immediately returned.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Top Blue Chip Stocks To Buy Right Now

BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- No doubt about it: Traders love low-priced stocks.

I'll let you in on a little secret: Share price doesn't really have an impact on your potential investment gains. At least not directly.

But indirectly, it's true that lower-priced stocks also tend to have lower market capitalizations, a fact that makes them statistically more volatile -- and more apt to make noticeable price moves. That, coupled with the psychological effects of buying sub-$10 stocks makes them worth taking a closer look at.

That's especially true after the 24% rally that we've seen in the S&P 500. Since smaller, more speculative names tend to see their most impressive gains after the more staid blue chips have already made their moves, now is a very good time to take a closer look at stocks that trade for $10 or less.

So, today, we're taking a closer technical look at five of them.

If you're new to technical analysis, here's the executive summary.

Top Blue Chip Stocks To Buy Right Now: Visa Inc.(V)

Visa Inc., a payments technology company, engages in the operation of retail electronic payments network worldwide. It facilitates commerce through the transfer of value and information among financial institutions, merchants, consumers, businesses, and government entities. The company owns and operates VisaNet, a global processing platform that provides transaction processing services. It also offers a range of payments platforms, which enable credit, charge, deferred debit, debit, and prepaid payments, as well as cash access for consumers, businesses, and government entities. The company provides its payment platforms under the Visa, Visa Electron, PLUS, and Interlink brand names. In addition, it offers value-added services, including risk management, issuer processing, loyalty, dispute management, value-added information, and CyberSource-branded services. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Stocks rebounded from yesterday’s rout today as 3M (MMM), Visa (V), Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN), Allergan (AGN) and Mosaic (MOS) helped lead the major indexes higher.

Top Blue Chip Stocks To Buy Right Now: International Business Machines Corporation(IBM)

International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) provides information technology (IT) products and services worldwide. Its Global Technology Services segment provides IT infrastructure and business process services, including strategic outsourcing, process, integrated technology, and maintenance services, as well as technology-based support services. The company?s Global Business Services segment offers consulting and systems integration, and application management services. Its Software segment offers middleware and operating systems software, such as WebSphere software to integrate and manage business processes; information management software for database and enterprise content management, information integration, data warehousing, business analytics and intelligence, performance management, and predictive analytics; Tivoli software for identity management, data security, storage management, and datacenter automation; Lotus software for collaboration, messaging, and so cial networking; rational software to support software development for IT and embedded systems; business intelligence software, which provides querying and forecasting tools; SPSS predictive analytics software to predict outcomes and act on that insight; and operating systems software. Its Systems and Technology segment provides computing and storage solutions, including servers, disk and tape storage systems and software, point-of-sale retail systems, and microelectronics. The company?s Global Financing segment provides lease and loan financing to end users and internal clients; commercial financing to dealers and remarketers of IT products; and remanufacturing and remarketing services. It serves financial services, public, industrial, distribution, communications, and general business sectors. The company was formerly known as Computing-Tabulating-Recording Co. and changed its name to International Business Machines Corporation in 1924. IBM was founded in 1910 and is based in Armonk, New York.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Rich Smith]

    How much does IT cost?
    On Friday, the Pentagon opened up a firm-fixed-price, multiple-award, task-order contract�under its Information Technology Enterprise Solution-2 program, or ITES-2S, allocating $494 million in funds to pay for Army IT hardware and software purchases. ITES-2 �is a program that simplifies and streamlines the process for buying IT hardware and software for the Army. The Pentagon gave Dell, IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) , and four privately owned companies the right to bid on individual "task orders" placed under ITES-2S, as and when the Army puts such mini-contracts up for bid.

  • [By Johanna Bennett]

    Technology stocks performed well on Wednesday. Former Dow component Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) rallied after a better-than-expected earnings report. International Business Machines (IBM) led gainers in the Dow industrials.

  • [By Matt Thalman]

    And to me, HP's problem is just that. It isn't doing anything different, and in some areas where it is, customers are opting for an even more innovative solution. HP recently released its newest line of servers, the Moonshot system. (I must note that it's a great name, considering the company was shooting for the moon with this product.) The problem here is that, again, HP missed the boat. The same transformation that killed the company when customers move to tablets and delayed PC upgrades is happening again. Customers are moving to the cloud instead of buying their own servers; they are opting to pay someone else a monthly fee. This transition isn't only hurting HP, but industry server titan IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) as well. Both companies rely on new customers regularly upgrading their servers, but with the cloud they no longer need to do that.

Top Sliver Stocks To Own Right Now: Philip Morris International Inc(PM)

Philip Morris International Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products in markets outside of the United States. Its international product brand line comprises Marlboro, Merit, Parliament, Virginia Slims, L&M, Chesterfield, Bond Street, Lark, Muratti, Next, Philip Morris, and Red & White. The company also offers its products under the A Mild, Dji Sam Soe, and A Hijau in Indonesia; Diana in Italy; Optima and Apollo-Soyuz in the Russian Federation; Morven Gold in Pakistan; Boston in Colombia; Belmont, Canadian Classics, and Number 7 in Canada; Best and Classic in Serbia; f6 in Germany; Delicados in Mexico; Assos in Greece; and Petra in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It operates primarily in the European Union, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Canada, and Latin America. The company is based in New York, New York.

Advisors' Opinion:

    Philip Morris provides cigarette and tobacco products through established brands to an increasing consumer base around the world. The stock has done very well over the last few years and is now trading at all-time high prices. Earnings and revenue figures have been increasing and decreasing, in recent quarters, which has confused investors a bit. Relative to its strong peers and sector, Philip Morris has been an average year-to-date performer. Look for Philip Morris to OUTPERFORM.

Top Blue Chip Stocks To Buy Right Now: Colgate-Palmolive Company(CL)

Colgate-Palmolive Company, together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and markets consumer products worldwide. It offers oral care products, including toothpaste, toothbrushes, and mouth rinses, as well as dental floss and pharmaceutical products for dentists and other oral health professionals; personal care products, such as liquid hand soap, shower gels, bar soaps, deodorants, antiperspirants, shampoos, and conditioners; and home care products comprising laundry and dishwashing detergents, fabric conditioners, household cleaners, bleaches, dishwashing liquids, and oil soaps. The company offers its oral, personal, and home care products under the Colgate Total, Colgate Max Fresh, Colgate 360 Advisors' Opinion:

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    Lately, Johnson & Johnson has presented two different faces to investors. On one hand, the company has faced the challenge of dealing with a weak consumer-products business, as multiple recalls and close regulatory oversight of its production facilities have exacerbated J&J's problems. With its more focused consumer-goods business, Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE: CL  ) has worked harder at taking advantage of international growth opportunities than many of its rivals, and Colgate's strong overseas sales, in comparison to J&J's international weakness, show the effectiveness of that strategy. In particular, Asia has been a focus point for Colgate, with revenue from the region having risen 9% year over year compared with less than 3% growth overall. Moreover, Latin America represents Colgate's biggest region for sales, with more than half again the revenue its U.S. segment produces.

  • [By Dividend Growth Investor]

    In a previous article, I outlined that it is getting more difficult to find quality dividend paying stocks to buy. Most of the usual suspects like Kimberly-Clark (KMB) or Colgate-Palmolive (CL) are very overvalued today, which prevents me from adding to my positions there. Other companies like Chevron (CVX) are attractively valued today, but unfortunately my portfolio is overweight in them. Currently I find the oil sector to be cheap and have some of the lowest P/E ratios in the market. However, I would hate to be concentrated in one sector which is exposed to the fluctuating prices in its commodity products.

Top Blue Chip Stocks To Buy Right Now: McDonald's Corporation(MCD)

McDonald?s Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a worldwide foodservice retailer. It franchises and operates McDonald?s restaurants that offer various food items, soft drinks, coffee, and other beverages. As of December 31, 2009, the company operated 32,478 restaurants in 117 countries, of which 26,216 were operated by franchisees; and 6,262 were operated by the company. McDonald?s Corporation was founded in 1948 and is based in Oak Brook, Illinois.

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

    This week we have seen dividend hikes from Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)�components Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) and McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD). 24/7 Wall St. expects that there will be five, maybe six, more big dividend hike announcements from major companies before the end of 2013.

Top Blue Chip Stocks To Buy Right Now: Chevron Corporation(CVX)

Chevron Corporation, through its subsidiaries, engages in petroleum, chemicals, mining, power generation, and energy operations worldwide. It operates in two segments, Upstream and Downstream. The Upstream segment involves in the exploration, development, and production of crude oil and natural gas; processing, liquefaction, transportation, and regasification associated with liquefied natural gas; transportation of crude oil through pipelines; and transportation, storage, and marketing of natural gas, as well as holds interest in a gas-to-liquids project. The Downstream segment engages in the refining of crude oil into petroleum products; marketing of crude oil and refined products primarily under the Chevron, Texaco, and Caltex brand names; transportation of crude oil and refined products by pipeline, marine vessel, motor equipment, and rail car; and manufacture and marketing of commodity petrochemicals, plastics for industrial uses, and fuel and lubricant additives. It a lso produces and markets coal and molybdenum; and holds interests in 13 power assets with a total operating capacity of approximately 3,100 megawatts, as well as involves in cash management and debt financing activities, insurance operations, real estate activities, energy services, and alternative fuels and technology business. Chevron Corporation has a joint venture agreement with China National Petroleum Corporation. The company was formerly known as ChevronTexaco Corp. and changed its name to Chevron Corporation in May 2005. Chevron Corporation was founded in 1879 and is based in San Ramon, California.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Arjun Sreekumar]

    3 companies seeing success in the Gulf
    Chevron (NYSE: CVX  ) , for instance, has had a string of exploration successes in the region, including its most recent deepwater oil discovery in the Coronado prospect about 200 miles off the Louisiana coast. The company's test well, jointly owned with ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP  ) , has a 35% interest, and Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC  ) , which has a 15% interest, unveiled more than 400 feet of oil-bearing rocks.

Top Blue Chip Stocks To Buy Right Now: Apple Inc.(AAPL)

Apple Inc., together with subsidiaries, designs, manufactures, and markets personal computers, mobile communication and media devices, and portable digital music players, as well as sells related software, services, peripherals, networking solutions, and third-party digital content and applications worldwide. The company sells its products worldwide through its online stores, retail stores, direct sales force, third-party wholesalers, resellers, and value-added resellers. In addition, it sells third-party Mac, iPhone, iPad, and iPod compatible products, including application software, printers, storage devices, speakers, headphones, and other accessories and peripherals through its online and retail stores; and digital content and applications through the iTunes Store. The company sells its products to consumer, small and mid-sized business, education, enterprise, government, and creative markets. As of September 25, 2010, it had 317 retail stores, including 233 stores in the United States and 84 stores internationally. The company, formerly known as Apple Computer, Inc., was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in Cupertino, California.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Rick Munarriz]

    1. Apple will close higher on the week
    It's time for Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) to shine. The consumer-tech giant has been a disappointing investment since the iPhone 5 came out, and it probably doesn't help matters that many of Apple's tech peers posted uninspiring quarterly results this past week.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Carl Icahn Just Bought Another $500 Million Worth of Apple

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Its earnings report and guidance was not strong enough to convince growth investors that the recent move into China is nothing, but something that came too late to make a huge difference. And Carl Icahn is back out swinging against Apple wanting more buybacks.

Icahn now uses Twitter to communicate his messages rapidly, and the latest tweet shows that he just bought $500 million more in Apple stock. He even joked that his buying is the same as the company’s and that he wants the company to win in that race.

Icahn has been pressing for Apple to boost its stock buyback efforts massively. CEO Tim Cook has so far managed to fend off that effort. Unfortunately, Cook is also fending off the temptation to do anything aggressive when it comes to buybacks.

It remains a guess as to what Icahn and Cook will reach for an equilibrium. Having a pre-earnings market cap of almost $500 billion makes it extremely hard for any outsider to get in and make much of a difference when it comes to voting.

Sometimes even billionaires have limits on what they can accomplish. That pertains to Icahn as well.

Apple shares are still down 7.3% (or $40.50) at $510.00, and the 21.3 million shares that had traded as of 11:15 is already basically twice a normal day’s trading volume. Apple traded just under 20 million shares on Monday, going into the earnings report. This is already a record volume day for the past three months.

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Icahn Apple Tweet Jan 28Source: Twitter