Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Top 10 Consumer Service Companies To Own For 2014

WASHINGTON ��The cost of producing goods and services in the United States rose slightly in January, with higher food prices partly offset by cheaper gas. Overall, inflation remains mild.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that the producer price index, which tracks prices before they reach consumers, rose 0.2% in January. That followed a 0.1% increase in December and a flat reading in November. In the past year, producer prices have risen just 1.2%, below the Federal Reserve's preferred target rate.

Excluding the cost of food, energy and markups by wholesalers and retailers, so-called core prices ticked up just 0.1%.

January's producer prices are the first to be compiled since the government revamped its index to make it more comprehensive. Producer prices now include services and construction. Before last month, the index tracked only goods.

Hot Construction Material Stocks To Invest In 2015: Infosys Technologies Limited(INFY)

Infosys Ltd. provides information technology (IT) and consulting services worldwide. It offers IT services, such as application, architecture, independent validation and testing, information management, infrastructure, packaged application, SOA, systems integration, and knowledge services; product engineering services, manufacturing process and plant solutions, and product lifecycle management services; and consulting services in the areas of information and technology strategies, product innovation, next generation commerce, process excellence, and learning and complex change. The company also provides business process outsourcing solutions in the areas of business platforms, customer service outsourcing, finance and accounting, human resources outsourcing, legal services, sales and fulfillment, and sourcing and procurement outsourcing. In addition, it offers collaborative analytics solutions; digital consumer platform; Finacle universal banking solution; iProwe, a Web ac cessibility assessment product; mConnect, a real-time enterprise middleware; and research and analytical support services. Further, the company offers unified communications and collaboration solution that streamlines business processes between employees, customers, and suppliers; iTransform that helps healthcare organizations accelerate transition to new platforms; and supply chain visibility and collaboration product suite. It serves aerospace and defense, airlines, automotive, banking, capital markets, communication services, consumer packaged goods, manufacturing, education, energy, healthcare, high technology, hospitality and leisure, insurance, life sciences, logistics and distribution, publishing, resources, utilities, and retail industries. Infosys Ltd. has a strategic partnership with Alstom SA. The company was formerly known as Infosys Technologies Limited and changed its name to Infosys Ltd. on June 16, 2011. Infosys Ltd. was founded in 1981 and is headquartered i n Bengaluru, India.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Laura Brodbeck]

    Next week investors will be waiting for several key earnings reports including Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC), Alcoa (NYSE: AA), Family Dollar Stores (NYSE: FDO) and Infosys Limited (NASDAQ: INFY).

Top 10 Consumer Service Companies To Own For 2014: Vistaprint NV (VPRT)

Vistaprint N.V., incorporated on June 5, 2009, is an online provider of coordinated portfolios of customized marketing products and services to micro businesses worldwide. The Company offers a range of brand identity and promotional products, marketing services and digital solutions. While the Company focuses on micro business marketing products and services, consumers also purchases its products, such as invitations and announcements, greeting cards, photo books and calendars. Customers visiting the Company's Websites can select the type of product they wish to design from its range of available products and services for the business and home and family markets, including paper based, non-paper based, and digital and marketing services. Paper based products include brochures, business cards, data sheets, desk and wall calendars, envelopes, flyers, folded business cards, folded cards, holiday cards, and invitations and announcements. Its non-paper based products include banners, bottle openers, calculators, car door magnets, decals, drink koozies, embroidered apparel, hats, iphone cases, key chains, lawn signs, letter openers and luggage tags. Its digital and marketing services include blogs, custom Facebook pages, design tools and content, e-mail marketing services and logos.

When a product type has been selected, the customer can initiate the design process by using the Company's predefined industry styles and theme categories, by entering one or more keywords in its image search tool, or by uploading the customer's own design. If the customer chooses to do a keyword search, the Company's automated design logic will, in real time, create and display to the customer a variety of product templates containing images related to the customer's keyword. When the customer chooses a particular template for personalization, the Company's user-friendly, browser-based application enables the customer to quickly and easily perform a wide range of design and editing functions on the selected design,! for example, cropping images or entirely replacing images with other images or uploading customer images or logos.

Once customers choose a pre-designed template or upload their own content for a product, they can instantly see what their design looks like on a range of other Vistaprint products and related services, including signage, Websites and e-mail marketing, business identity, direct mail services, apparel and promotional gifts. Customers who need help with their design or ordering process are able to reach the Company's customer service agents through phone, e-mail, and chat. The Company has six customer service facilities: Montego Bay, Jamaica; Berlin, Germany; the Hague, the Netherlands; Tunis, Tunisia; Sydney, Australia; and Mumbai, India. These centers provide phone, email and chat support for customers who speak English, Dutch, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Czech, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Danish, Turkish, Japanese and Hindi. Using the Company's design software applications, combined with voice over Internet protocol telephone transmission technology and call center management tools, its agents and designers provide customer service. Customers purchasing products check out either through a standard e-commerce self-service shopping basket or by providing their order and payment information through telephone to one of the Company's service agents.

The Company's design creation technologies enable customers, by themselves or together with the assistance of the Company's design support staff, to design and create marketing materials from their homes or offices. The Company's document model architecture and technology employs Internet-compatible data structures to define, process and store product designs as a set of separately searchable, combinable and modifiable component elements. The Company's auto-matching design software generates customized product designs in real-time based on key-word searches. VistaStudio is the Company's product ! design an! d editing software suite, which is downloaded to its customer's computer from its server and runs in the customer's browser. This browser-based software provides real-time client-side editing capabilities. A range of layouts, color schemes and fonts are provided and a selection of photographs and illustrations are available for use by customers in product design. Customers can also upload their own images and logos for incorporation into their product designs. The Company's Internet-based, remote, real-time, co-creativity and project management application and database enables customers and the Company's design agents to design a product across the Internet in real-time, while engaging in voice communication.

Albumprinter Downloadable and Online Editors enable the creation of a range of photo products, such as calendars, canvas prints, and greeting cards through an intuitive user interface. These editors allow the Company's customers the choice of creating their personalized products on their own computer or utilizing their preferred browser and enable functionality, such as auto generated layouts, creation of content, and font selection. Features available to the Company's customers include adding personal images, maps, electronic payment processing, downloadable files and contact forms. Pagemodo offers small businesses to create a professional looking custom Facebook page. Pagemodo allows customers to select from a range of templates to create custom tabs for their Fanpage, including welcome tabs, lead capture tabs and video tabs. Pagemodo also offers a template driven cover image designer, which lets customers create cover images for their Facebook pages through a simple click and edit interface.

The Company's pre-production and production technologies process and aggregate customer orders, prepare orders for high-quality production and manage production, addressing and shipment of these orders. DrawDocs is the Company's automated pre-printing press technology that prepares ! customer ! documents received over the Internet for high-resolution printing. The Company's VistaBridge technology allows the Company to store and process. The Company's aggregation software scans these pending jobs and analyzes a range of production characteristics, including quantity, type and format of raw material, color versus black and white, single or double-sided print, delivery date, shipping location, type of production system being used and type of product. For printed products, the VistaBridge software then automatically aggregates orders with similar production characteristics from multiple customers into a single document image that is transferred to either a digital press or to an automated plating system that produces offset printing plates. Viper is the Company's workflow and production management software for tracking and managing its global production facilities on a networked basis. Viper monitors and manages bar-code driven production batch and order management, pick and pack operations, and addressing and shipping of orders.

The Company uses its marketing technologies to generate and display additional products incorporating the customer's initial designs, facilitating the cross-sale of related products and services. VistaMatch Software generates and displays one or more additional customized product designs based upon a customer's existing design. Design elements and customer information are automatically transferred to the additional design.

Automated Cross-Sell and Up-Sell technology permits the Company to show a customer, while the customer is in the process of purchasing a product, marketing offers for one or more additional or related products. Localization/Language Map is the Company's content management system that permits all of its localized Websites, and the changes to those Websites, to be managed by the same software engine. Text and image components of the Company's Web pages are separated, translated and stored in its managed content database.

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

    Vistaprint N.V. (NASDAQ: VPRT) was started with an Underweight rating and a $48 price target (versus $54.21 close) at Barclays.

    Friday’s analyst upgrades had many more names than the downgrades.

  • [By John Udovich]

    Printing and the various forms of marketing communications that need to be printed (like business cards and stationary) are fundamental to the needs of every business, meaning the recent share surge of small cap Standard Register Co (NYSE: SR) after it announced an acquisition along with its long-term performance against better known peers like RR Donnelley & Sons Co (NASDAQ: RRD) and VistaPrint Limited (NASDAQ: VPRT) is worth taking a closer look at. After all, Standard Register is up 363.2% since the start of the year verses a return of 113.4% for RR Donnelley & Sons Co and�75.9% for VistaPrint Limited.

  • [By Anna Prior]

    VistaPrint NV(VPRT) agreed to acquire most of e-commerce printing firm Pixartprinting SRL for roughly EUR127 million ($175 million), expanding the breadth of the online printing-services provider’s range of product offerings.

Top 10 Consumer Service Companies To Own For 2014: Elisa Oyj (ELI1V)

Elisa Oyj is a Finland-based Company engaged in the provision of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services in Finland and Estonia. The Company operates within two business segments: Consumer Customers and Corporate Customers. The Consumer Customers segment provides consumers and households with telecommunications services, such as voice and data services. The Corporate Customers segment provides to the corporate and community customers voice and data services, ICT solutions and contact center services. All the services are provided under the Elisa and Saunalahti brands. The Company�� global alliance partners are Vodafone and Telenor. The Company operates through its subsidiaries, including Appelsiini Finland Oy, Arediv Oy, Ecosite Oy and Elisa Eesti As, among others. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Adam Ewing]

    A sale would provide the shareholders with cash, while potentially strengthening DNA against larger rivals Elisa Oyj (ELI1V) and TeliaSonera AB. (TLSN) The IPO could be the biggest in Finland, home of Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) and ��ngry Birds��maker Rovio Entertainment Oy, since 2005.

Top 10 Consumer Service Companies To Own For 2014: Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd (FRFHF)

Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (Fairfax) is a financial services holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, is principally engaged in property and casualty insurance and reinsurance and the associated investment management. The Company�� segments consist of Insurance, Reinsurance, Insurance and Reinsurance Other, Runoff, and Corporate and Other. On December 22, 2011, the Company completed the acquisition of 75% interests in Sporting Life Inc. On August 16, 2011, the Company acquired William Ashley China Corporation. On March 24, 2011, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Fairfax completed the acquisition of The Pacific Insurance Berhad. On February 9, 2011, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Fairfax completed the acquisition of First Mercury Financial Corporation. In October 2012, its RiverStone runoff subsidiary acquired all the outstanding shares of Brit Insurance Limited. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Tim Brugger]

    Citing the letter of intent to be acquired�for $9 a share signed Monday with a consortium led by its largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial (NASDAQOTH: FRFHF  ) , BlackBerry� (NASDAQ: BBRY  ) �has opted to cancel its conference call and webcast following the 7 .a.m EST release of Q2 earnings this Friday, the company announced yesterday.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    That business model has been so successful that other, smaller insurance companies have emulated it. For instance, Fairfax Financial (NASDAQOTH: FRFHF  ) and Markel (NYSE: MKL  ) have used the same investing model to take advantage of their respective core insurance businesses. Both Fairfax and Markel have had substantial success, showing the power of using temporarily available premium reserves to make higher-return investments.

Top 10 Consumer Service Companies To Own For 2014: Hallador Energy Company(HNRG)

Hallador Energy Company, through its subsidiary, Sunrise Coal, LLC, engages in the production and sale of steam coal in the United States. It owns interests in the Carlisle mine, an underground coal mine located in western Indiana. The company also owns a 45% equity interest in Savoy Energy, L.P., an oil and gas company with operations in Michigan; and a 50% interest in Sunrise Energy LLC, an entity engaged in natural gas operations. As of December 31, 2010, it had approximately 46.7 million tons of recoverable coal reserves. The company was formerly known as Hallador Petroleum Company and changed its name to Hallador Energy Company in December 2009. Hallador Energy Company was founded in 1949 and is headquartered in Denver, Colorado.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By John Udovich]

    Obama�� war on coal has claimed another victim as James River Coal Company (NASDAQ: JRCC) files for Chapter 11, but coal stocks Westmoreland Coal Company (NASDAQ: WLB), Alliance Resource Partners, L.P. (NASDAQ: ARLP) and Hallador Energy Co (NASDAQ: HNRG) have still managed to put in a decent performance for investors���despite the industry headwinds coming from the White House. Just consider this: By 2025, 300 of America�� coal plants will close due to EPA policies for a total of 44,000 megawatts of generating capacity in 33 states to be taken off line. Moreover, Democrats have been putting up roadblocks to stop coal exports���one potential industry bright spot as the US�has the largest coal repository in the world.

  • [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 Hallador Energy (Nasdaq: HNRG  ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.

Top 10 Consumer Service Companies To Own For 2014: Verisk Analytics Inc (VRSK)

Verisk Analytics, Inc. (Verisk) is a provider of information about risk to professionals in insurance, healthcare, mortgage, government, supply chain, and risk management. Verisk enable risk-bearing businesses to understand and manage their risks. The Company provides its customers by supplying data that, combined with its analytic methods, creates embedded decision support solutions. Verisk organizes its business in two segments: Risk Assessment and Decision Analytics. Its Risk Assessment segment provides statistical, actuarial and underwriting data for the United States property and casualty (P&C) insurance industry. Its Decision Analytics segment provides solutions its customers use to analyze the processes of the Verisk Risk Analysis Framework: Prediction of Loss, Detection and Prevention of Fraud, and Quantification of Loss. On June 17, 2011, it acquired the net assets of Health Risk Partners, LLC (HRP). On April 27, 2011, it acquired 100% interest of Bloodhound Technologies, Inc. (Bloodhound).

Risk Assessment Segment

Verisk�� Risk Assessment segment serves P&C insurance customers and focuses on the first two decision making processes in its Risk Analysis Framework: loss prediction, and selection and pricing of risk. The Company also provides solutions to help its insurance customers comply with their reporting requirements in each United States in which they operate. The Company�� customer includes most of the P&C insurance providers in the United States. It aggregates the data and, as a licensed statistical agent in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, it reports these statistics to insurance regulators. The Company uses its technology to assemble, organize and update amounts of detailed information submitted by its customers. It supplements this data with publicly available information. Each year, P&C insurers send the Company approximately 2.9 billion detailed individual records of insurance transactions, such as insurance premiums collected ! or losses incurred. It maintains a database of over 15.8 billion statistical records, including approximately 6.1 billion commercial lines records and approximately 9.7 billion personal lines records. It collects unit-transaction detail of each premium and loss record, which enhances the validity, reliability and accuracy of the data sets and its actuarial analyses.

The Company provides actuarial services to help its customers price their risks as they underwrite. It projects future losses and loss expenses utilizing a range of data. It provides loss costs by coverage, class, territory, and many other categories. Its customers can use its estimates of future loss costs in making independent decisions about the prices charged for their policies. It makes a number of actuarial adjustments, including loss development and loss adjustment expenses before the data is used to estimate future loss costs. Its actuarial services are also used to create the analytics underlying its industry-standard insurance programs. In addition, its actuarial consultants provide customized services for its clients, which include assisting them with the development of independent insurance programs, analysis of their own underwriting experience, development of classification systems and rating plans, and a wide variety of other business decisions. It also supplies information to a range of customers in other markets, including reinsurance, government agencies and real estate.

The Company gathers information on individual properties and communities. Its property-specific rating and underwriting information allow the customers to understand, quantify, underwrite, mitigate, and avoid potential loss for residential and commercial properties. Its database contains loss costs and other vital information on over 3.3 million commercial buildings in the United States and also holds information on more than six million individual businesses occupying those buildings. It also provides analytic measures of the ab! ility of ! individual communities to mitigate losses from important perils. It provides field-verified and validated data on the fire protection services for more than 46,000 fire response jurisdictions. It also offers services to evaluate the effectiveness of community enforcement of building codes. It provides information on the insurance rating territories, premium taxes, crime risk, and hazards of windstorm, earthquake, wildfire, and other perils.

The Company competes with National Independent Statistical Service, the Independent Statistical Service, American Association of Insurance Services, Mutual Services Organization, Overland Solutions, Inc., Regional Reporting, Inc., CDS, Inc., Deloitte Consulting LLP, Pinnacle Consulting and EMB.

Decision Analytics Segment

In the Decision Analytics segment, the Company supports all four phases of its Risk Analysis Framework. It develops predictive models to forecast scenarios and produce both standard and customized analytics. It is a provider of fraud-detection tools for the P&C insurance industry. Its fraud solutions improve its customers��profitability by both predicting the likelihood that fraud is occurring and detecting suspicious activity after it has occurred. When a claim is submitted, its system searches its database and returns information about other claims filed by the same individuals or businesses (either as claimants or insurers), which help the customers determine if fraud has occurred. Its system also includes name and address searching to perform intelligent searches and improve the overall quality of the matches.

The Company provides data, analytic and networking products for professionals involved in estimating all phases of building repair and reconstruction. It provides solutions for every phase of a building�� life, including quantifying the ultimate cost of repair or reconstruction of damaged or destroyed buildings; aiding in the settlement of insurance claims, and tracking the process o! f repair ! or reconstruction and facilitating communication among insurers, adjusters, contractors and policyholders. It also offers customers access to wholesale and retail price lists, which include structural repair and restoration pricing for 467 separate economic areas in North America.

The Company�� database contains information on nearly 800 million claims. Insurers and other participants submit new claim reports, more than 239,000 a day on average, across all categories of the United States P&C insurance industry. It also provides a service allowing insurers to report thefts of automobiles and property; a service that helps owners and insurers recover stolen heavy construction and agricultural equipment; a scoring system that helps distinguish between suspicious and meritorious claims, and products that use link-analysis technology to help visualize and fight insurance fraud. The Company is a provider of automated fraud detection, compliance and decision-support tools for the mortgage industry. Utilizing its own loan level application database combined with actual mortgage loan performance data, it has established a risk scoring system which increases its customers��ability to detect fraud.

The Company provides solutions that detect fraud through each step of the mortgage lifecycle and provide regulatory compliance solutions that perform instant compliance reviews of each mortgage application. Its database contains more than 21 million current and historical loan applications collected over the past ten years. This database contains data from loan applications, as well as supplementary third-party data. It also provides forensic audit services for the mortgage origination and mortgage insurance industries. Its predictive screening tools predict, which defaulted loans are the candidates for full audits for the purpose of detecting fraud.

The Company offers solutions that help healthcare claims payors detect fraud, abuse and overpayment. It runs its customers��cla! ims throu! gh its analytic system to identify potential fraud, abuse and overpayment, and then a registered nurse, physician or other clinical specialist skilled in coding and reimbursement decisions reviews all suspect claims and billing patterns. It analyzes the patterns of claims produced by individual physicians, physicians��practices, hospitals, dentists, and pharmacies to locate the sources of fraud. It also offers Web-based reporting tools that let payors take definitive action to prevent overpayments or payment of fraudulent claims. The tools provide the documentation that helps to identify, investigate and prevent abusive and fraudulent activity by providers.

The Company is a provider of healthcare business intelligence and predictive modeling. It provides analytical and reporting systems to health insurers, provider organizations and self-insured employers. Those organizations use its solutions to review their healthcare data, including information on claims, membership, providers and utilization, and provide cost trends, forecasts and actuarial, financial and utilization analyses. It also provides its customers healthcare services using complex clinical analyses to uncover reasons behind cost and utilization increases. It provides financial and actuarial analyses, clinical, technical and implementation services and training services to help its customers manage costs and risks to their practices.

The Company competes with Risk Management Solutions, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, MSB, Solera, Computer Sciences Corporation, Fair Isaac Corporation, OptumInsight, McKesson, Medstat, MedAssurant, iHealth, CoreLogic and DataVerify Corporation.

Advisors' Opinion:

    Shares of Verisk Analytics, Inc. (VRSK), a provider of data and analytics to insurance, health care and financial end markets, declined on tepid results for the fourth quarter 2013. Trends in its health care unit improved modestly, although this strength was offset by slightly slower growth in its core insurance units. Verisk is investing aggressively across its businesses to broaden and deepen its set of data and analytics, particularly in healthcare, where we believe the long-term opportunity is significant. While this investment weighs on near-term margins, we are confident that this strategy will lead to sustained organic growth.

Top 10 Consumer Service Companies To Own For 2014: Mostostroy No6 OAO (MSTF)

Mostostroy No6 OAO (Mostostroitel��yi trest No 6 OAO or Bridge Construction Trust N 6 OJSC) is a Russia-based company engaged in the construction industry. Its services portfolio includes the design, construction, reconstruction and renovation of bridges, railways, highways, tunnels and subways, nuclear and thermal power stations, residential and industrial facilities, among others. Mostostroitel��yi trest No 6 OAO provides its services mainly to companies engaged in the transportation, hydraulic engineering, industrial, civil and nuclear construction sectors and its customers include ROSATOM and Russian Railways, among others. The Company operates through 10 branches, as well as two representative offices, located in Moscow and Sochi. In addition, it has five wholly owned subsidiaries. As of March 4, 2011, the Company�� major shareholder was Malakhit OOO with a stake of 19.85%. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Tom Taulli]

    But again, the most glaring red flag is the valuation of GOOG stock. Shares of Google stock are currently trading at a P/E ratio of 30, which is certainly rich. Consider that�Apple (AAPL) and �Microsoft (MSTF) sport multiples of only about 14. These companies also have decent dividend yields.

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