Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS ) has locked down�superstar Robert Downey Jr. for another two helpings of Avengers. Downey's presence all but guarantees that the blockbuster franchise will continue to churn out several more billion-dollar megahits. The $4 billion Marvel acquisition is starting to look downright prescient these days.
The Downey deal is also great news for Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX ) , because both of these guaranteed silver-screen winners will fall in the window in which�Netflix owns the premium release rights for every Disney, Marvel, and Lucasfilm movie.
Robert Downey Jr. is an expensive asset for Disney, but he's worth every last penny. Between Iron Man 3 and the first Avengers title, he's helped Disney collect $2.7 billion in global box office receipts. In the video below, Fool contributor Anders Bylund talks about the game-changing impact Downey has made on Disney's bottom line, and why investors should breathe a sigh of relief now that his new contract is written in stone.
Hot Forestry Companies To Watch For 2015: Amcol International Corp (ACO)
AMCOL International Corporation (AMCOL), incorporated on December 3, 1959, is focused on the development and application of minerals and technology products and services to various industrial and consumer markets. It operates in five segments: performance materials, construction technologies, energy services, transportation and corporate. Its performance materials segment previously referred to as its minerals and materials segment is a supplier of bentonite related products. Its construction technologies segment previously referred to as its environmental segment provides products for non-residential construction, environmental and infrastructure projects worldwide. Its energy services segment previously referred to as its oilfield services segment offers a range of patented technologies, products and services for both upstream and downstream oil and gas production. Its transportation segment serves domestic subsidiaries, as well as third parties, is a dry van and flatbed carrier and freight brokerage service provider.
Performance Materials Segment
The Company supplies chromite and leonardite, and operates more than 25 mining or production facilities worldwide. It mines chromite, an iron chromium oxide, from open cast mines in South Africa and transport it to our nearby processing facility. Its primary uses include metalcasting, drilling fluid additive, and agricultural applications. Its performance materials segment conducts its business through wholly owned subsidiaries and investments in affiliates and joint ventures throughout the world. It consists of four product lines: metalcasting; specialty materials; basic minerals, and pet products. Its principal products are marketed under various registered trade names, including VOLCLAY, PANTHER CREEK, PREMIUM GEL, ADDITROL, ENERSOL, and Hevi-Sand.
The Company�� metalcasting products include blended mineral binders containing sodium and calcium bentonite and organic additives sold under the trade name ADDITROL. I! n the ferrous casting market, the Company specializes in blending bentonite of various grades by themselves or with mineral binders containing sodium bentonite, calcium bentonite, seacoal and other ingredients. It also has a line of formulated additives that introduce silicon and carbon in the melt phase of the casting process. In the steel alloy casting market, it sells a chromite product with a particle size distribution specific to a customer�� needs.
The Company�� specialty materials products contain bentonite and synthetic additives offering solutions for consumer and industrial applications. It also offers products for bio-agricultural applications. The markets and applications of its specialty materials products include fabric care, personal care, basic materials and pet products. It supply high-grade, agglomerated bentonite and other mineral additives used in fabric care products. It manufactures adsorbent polymers and purified grades of bentonite for sale to manufacturers of personal skin care products. The adsorbent polymers are used to deliver high-value actives in skin-care products. Microsponge and Poly-Pore are the principal trade names under which these products are sold. Its basic minerals product line supplies minerals to a variety of markets and industrial applications, including drilling fluid additives, ferro alloys and other industrial.
The Company�� pet products include sodium bentonite-based scoopable (clumping), traditional and alternative cat litters, as well as specialty pet products sold to grocery and drug stores, mass merchandisers, wholesale clubs and pet specialty stores throughout the United States. It is primarily a private-label producer of cat litter, and its products are marketed under various trade names. These products are sold solely in the United States from three principal sites from which it package and distribute finished goods. Its transportation segment provides logistics services and is a component of its capability in supplyi! ng custom! ers on a national basis.
Construction Technologies Segment
The Company�� construction technologies segment serves customers engaged in a range of construction projects, including site remediation, concrete waterproofing for underground structures, liquid containment on projects ranging from landfills to flood control, and drilling applications including foundation, slurry wall, tunneling, water well and horizontal drilling. Its construction technologies segment conducts its business through wholly owned subsidiaries and joint ventures throughout the world. This segment consists of four product lines: building materials; contracting services; drilling products, and lining technologies.
The Company sells lining and other products for a variety of applications, most of which are directed to preserving or remediating environmental issues. It helps customers protect ground water and soil through the sale of geosynthetic clay liner products containing bentonite. It market these products under the BENTOMAT and CLAYMAX trade names principally for lining and capping landfills, mine waste disposal sites, water and wastewater lagoons, secondary containments in tank farms, and other contaminated sites. It also provides associated geosynthetic materials for these applications, including geotextiles and drainage geocomposites.
The Company�� lining technologies product line also includes specialized technologies to mitigate vapor intrusion in new building construction. It also provides reactive capping technologies and solutions to contain residual contamination, reduce costs associated with ex-situ remedies, and aid in environmental protection. Products offered include Liquid Boot, a liquid applied vapor barrier system; REACTIVE CORE-MAT, an in-situ sediment capping material; ORGANOCLAY, which absorbs organic containments, and QUIK-SOLID, a super absorbent media.
The Company offer a variety of active and passive waterproofing and greenroof technolog! ies for u! se in protecting the building envelope of non-residential constructions, including buildings, subways, and parkway systems. Its products include VOLTEX, a waterproofing composite comprised of two polypropylene geotextiles filled with sodium bentonite; ULTRASEAL, an advanced membrane using a active polymer core, and COREFLEX, featuring heat-welded seams for protection of critical infrastructure. In addition to these membrane materials, it also provides roofing products and a variety of sealants and other accessories required to create a functional waterproofing system.
The Company drilling products are used in environmental and geotechnical drilling applications, horizontal directional drilling, mineral exploration and foundation construction. The products are used to install monitoring wells, facilitate horizontal and water well drilling, and seal abandoned exploration drill holes. VOLCLAY GROUT, HYDRAUL-EZ, BENTOGROUT and VOLCLAY TABLETS are among the trade names for products used in these applications. It also offer a range of drilling products used in the excavation of foundations for large buildings, bridges and dams; these products include SHORE PAC and PREMIUM GEL. Contracting services, which involve installation of products, are occasionally offered to customers for select projects.
Energy Services Segment
The Company�� energy services segment provides services to improve the production, costs, compliance, and environmental impact of activities performed in the oil and gas industry. Operating as CETCO Energy Services, it offer a range of patented technologies, products and services for all phases of oil and gas production, transportation, refining, and storage throughout the world. It provide both land-based and offshore water treatment, well testing, pipeline separation, nitrogen, coil tubing and other services to the oil and gas industry. The Company provides its services through subsidiaries located in Australia, Brazil, Malaysia, Nigeria, the United Ki! ngdom, an! d the United States, principally in the Gulf of Mexico and the surrounding on-shore area. Its principal services include water treatment, coil tubing, well testing, nitrogen services and pipeline. The Company helps customers comply with regulatory requirements by providing equipment, technologies, personnel and filtration media to treat waste water generated during oil production.
The Company's coil tubing services utilize metal piping, which comes spooled on a large reel. It provide both equipment and operating personnel to perform services ranging from acid stimulation, reverse circulation, cementing, pressure control, nitrogen injection, and other operations that involve pumping fluids into a well. Horizontal wells and shale completions are a large component of its operations. It provide equipment and personnel to help customers control well production, as well as to clean up, unload, separate, measure component flow, and dispose of fluids from oil and gas wells. Nitrogen services are provided in jetting wells that are loaded with fluid; stimulating wells, including fracturizing and acidizing; displacing completion fluids prior to perforating; inflating flotation devices for offshore installations, and pressure testing and other maintenance activities.
The Company operates a long-haul trucking business through Ameri-Co Carriers, Inc., and a freight brokerage business through Ameri-Co Logistics, Inc. primarily for delivery of finished products throughout the continental United States. These services are provided to its subsidiaries, as well as third-party customers.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Seth Jayson]
AMCOL International (NYSE: ACO ) is expected to report Q2 earnings on July 26. Here's what Wall Street wants to see:
The 10-second takeaway
Comparing the upcoming quarter to the prior-year quarter, average analyst estimates predict AMCOL International's revenues will grow 1.6% and EPS will wither -16.9%.
- [By Jake L'Ecuyer]
Leading and Lagging Sectors
In trading on Friday, Basic Materials shares were relative leaders, up on the day by 0.78 percent. Top gainer in the sector was AMCOL International (NYSE: ACO), up 9 percent.
Best Construction Material Companies To Own For 2014: Holcim Ltd (HOLN)Holcim Ltd (Holcim) is a Switzerland-based holding company that specializes in the manufacture, distribution and marketing of building materials. The Company operates four business segments, including Cement, Aggregates, Other construction materials and services, and Corporate. The Cement segment is engaged in the development of cement and comprises clinker and other cementitious materials, among others. The Aggregates business segment includes crushed stone, gravel and sand. The Other construction materials and services business segment comprises ready-mix concrete, concrete products, asphalt, construction and paving, and trading, among others. Additionally, other construction materials and services segment provides environmental services, including waste management, among others. The Corporate segment is engaged in holding activities and general management. It operates through subsidiaries in Asia Pacific, Latin America, Europe, North America, Africa and Middle East regions. Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Sofia Horta e Costa]
Holcim Ltd. (HOLN) lost 0.9 percent to 68.15 francs in Zurich. Bank of America Corp.�� Merrill Lynch unit cut its rating on the world�� largest cement maker to underperform, similar to a sell recommendation, from neutral. Merrill Lynch cited the company�� exposure to emerging markets.
Best Construction Material Companies To Own For 2014: Boral Ltd (BLD)Boral Limited (Boral), is engaged in the manufacture and supply of building and construction materials in Australia, the United States and Asia. The Company�� operating segments include Construction Materials & Cement, Building Products, Boral Gypsum, and Boral USA. The Construction Materials & Cement is engaged in quarries, concrete, asphalt, transport, landfill, property, cement and concrete placing. The Building Products segment is engaged in Australian bricks, roof tiles, masonry, timber products and windows. The Boral Gypsum involves Australian and Asian plasterboard. The Boral USA is engaged in Bricks, cultured stone, roof tiles, fly ash, concrete and quarries. Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Eric Lam]
Ballard Power (BLD), which designs and manufactures hydrogen fuel cells, slumped 15 percent to C$1.42, the biggest decline since March. The company yesterday said it will sell about 9 million units at $1.40 a unit for proceeds of about $12.6 million. The cash generated will be used to fund working capital, support growth and general corporate purposes, the company said.
Best Construction Material Companies To Own For 2014: Societe Libanaise des Ciments Blancs SAL (CBN)Societe Libanaise des Ciments Blancs SAL is a Lebanon-based joint stock company that operates in the construction materials industry sector. The Company is engaged in the production and sale of white cement. The Company is a 65.99% owned by Holcim (Liban) SAL. Advisors' Opinion:
- [By CanadianValue]
Nigeria�� reformed banking system has provided many foreigners with an attractive means to invest in the fast-growing domestic economy. The banking industry is important, not only because of the rise of microfinance, but because of the move by banks into consumer banking. Until recently, banks were mainly financing large businesses or the government through bond purchases. Following a banking crisis in 2008, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) conducted an audit of the commercial banking sector. All banks that failed the audit had their CEOs replaced. The state-owned Asset Management Corporation (AMCON) was created to purchase non-performing loans and recapitalize the unhealthy banks. A recent review of the country�� banks by the IMF showed a dramatic increase in profits for the industry in 2012, while the capital adequacy ratio was above the minimum requirement of 10% and non-performing loans were below the mandated threshold of 5%5.
Best Construction Material Companies To Own For 2014: Eagle Materials Inc (EXP)
Eagle Materials Inc., incorporated on January 27, 1994, manufactures and distributes gypsum wallboard and also manufactures and sells cement. Gypsum wallboard is distributed throughout the United States with particular emphasis in the geographic markets nearest to its production facilities. The Company sells cement in six regional markets, including northern Nevada and California, the greater Chicago area, the Rocky Mountain region, the Central Plains region and Texas. Its gypsum wallboard business is supported by its recycled paperboard business, while its cement business is supported by its concrete and aggregates business. The Company operates in Cement and Concrete and Aggregates, and Gypsum Wallboard and Recycled Paperboard segments. As of March 31, 2013, the Company operated six cement plants (one of which belongs to its joint venture company), five gypsum wallboard plants, one recycled paperboard plant, seventeen concrete batching plants and four aggregates facilities. The Company�� products are used in the construction and renovation of houses, roads, bridges, commercial and industrial buildings and other, newer generation structures like wind farms.
Cement, Concrete and Aggregates Operations
The Company�� cement production facilities are located in or near Buda, Texas; LaSalle, Illinois; Laramie, Wyoming; Sugar Creek, Missouri; Tulsa, Oklahoma and Fernley, Nevada. The Company�� cement subsidiaries are wholly-owned except the Buda, Texas plant, which is owned by Texas Lehigh Cement Company LP, a limited partnership joint venture owned 50% by the Company and 50% by Lehigh Cement Company LLC, a subsidiary of Heidelberg Cement AG. Its LaSalle, Illinois plant operates under the name of Illinois Cement Company; the Laramie, Wyoming plant operates under the name of Mountain Cement Company; the Fernley, Nevada plant operates under the name of Nevada Cement Company and its Sugar Creek, Missouri and Tulsa, Oklahoma plants operate under the name Central Plains Cement Com! pany. The Company produces and distributes ready-mix concrete from Company-owned sites north of Sacramento, California; Austin, Texas and the greater Kansas City area. The Company�� activities in its frac sand business are in the Utica, Illinois area and in south Texas. The Company sells aggregates to building contractors and other customers engaged in a variety of construction activities.
Gypsum Wallboard and Recycled Paperboard Operations
The Company owns five gypsum wallboard manufacturing facilities. As of March 31, 2013, the Company�� gypsum wallboard production totaled 1,950 million square feet. Total gypsum wallboard sales were 1,909 million square feet during the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013 (fiscal 2013). The Company also manufactures alternative products, including containerboard grades (such as linerboard and medium) and lightweight packaging grades (such as bag liner). In addition, recycled industrial paperboard grades (tube/core stock and protective angle board stock) are produced to maximize manufacturing efficiencies. The Company�� manufactured recycled paperboard products are sold to gypsum wallboard manufacturers and other industrial users.
The Company competes with USG Corporation, National Gypsum Company and Koch Industries.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Dan Caplinger]
Tomorrow, Eagle Materials (NYSE: EXP ) will release its latest quarterly results. The key to making smart investment decisions on stocks reporting earnings is to anticipate how they'll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise. That way, you'll be less likely to make an uninformed knee-jerk reaction to news that turns out to be exactly the wrong move.
Best Construction Material Companies To Own For 2014: Texas Industries Inc (TXI)
Texas Industries, Inc., incorporated on April 19, 1951, is a supplier of construction materials in the southwestern United States. The Company operates in three segments: cement, aggregates and consumer products. Its cement segment produces gray portland cement and specialty cements. The Company�� cement production and distribution facilities are concentrated primarily in Texas and California. Its aggregates segment produces natural aggregates, including sand, gravel and crushed limestone. The Company�� consumer products segment produces ready-mix concrete. It is also a supplier of natural aggregates and ready-mix concrete in Texas and northern Louisiana and in Oklahoma and Arkansas. As of May 31, 2013, the Company had 123 manufacturing facilities in five states.
The Company produces specialty cements, such as masonry and oil well cements. Its cement production facilities are located at Midlothian, Texas, south of Dallas/Fort Worth, Hunter, Texas, between Austin and San Antonio, and Oro Grande, California, near Los Angeles. It also operates a cement terminal and packaging facility at its Crestmore plant near Riverside, California, and the Company operates its gray portland cement grinding facility on an as needed basis. During the fiscal year ended May 31, 2013 (fiscal 2013), it produced approximately 4.3 million tons of finished cement. The Company shipped approximately 4.4 million tons during fiscal 2013, of which 3.8 million tons were shipped to outside trade customers.
The Company�� operations are conducted from facilities primarily serving the Dallas/Fort Worth and Austin areas in Texas; the southern Oklahoma area, and the Alexandria and Monroe areas in Louisiana. The Company produced approximately 14.2 million tons of natural aggregates during fiscal 2013. It shipped approximately 14.8 million tons of natural aggregates during fiscal 2013, of which 11.3 million tons were shipped to outside trade customers! . The Company shipped approximately 1.0 million cubic yards of lightweight aggregates during fiscal 2013, of which approximately 0.9 million cubic yards were shipped to outside trade customers.
Consumer Products Segment
The Company�� ready-mix concrete operations are situated in three areas in Texas (the Dallas/Fort Worth/Denton area of north Texas, the Austin area of central Texas and from Beaumont to Texarkana in east Texas), in north and central Louisiana, and in southwestern Arkansas. It is also a 40% partner in a joint venture that has ready mix concrete operations in the northern part of central Texas area centered around Waco, Texas. It shipped approximately 2.8 million cubic yards of ready-mix concrete during fiscal 2013. The Company manufacture and supply a substantial amount of the cement and aggregates raw materials used by our ready-mix plants. The Company also marketed its Maximizer packaged concrete mixes in southern California.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Monica Gerson]
Analysts expect Texas Industries (NYSE: TXI) to post its Q1 earnings at $0.01 per share on revenue of $233.63 million. Texas Industries shares gained 1.82% to close at $67.52 yesterday.
- [By Monica Gerson]
Texas Industries (NYSE: TXI) is expected to post its Q1 earnings at $0.01 per share on revenue of $233.63 million.
National American University Holdings (NASDAQ: NAUH) is projected to post a Q1 loss at $0.01 per share on revenue of $30.58 million.