Imagine how wonderful credit cards would be if they didn't charge interest. You'd get the safest way to pay, plus perks, extra consumer protections, and miles, points or cash back all for free -- unless you opted to pay an annual fee for extra services. For close to half of Americans, that's already a reality, because they never carry forward balances to the following month. The rest, probably a small majority, do sometimes, often or always have credit card debt. And they pay a high price.
Credit card rates today
According to the IndexCreditCards.com�rates monitor, the average consumer non-rewards card was charging 15.48 percent APR in mid-August, while the same figure for a consumer rewards card was 17.83 percent. That "APR" stands for "annual percentage rate," and represents the actual yearly cost of borrowing over the entire term of a loan. So short-term loans can be less expensive than they sound. For example, if you borrow $100 for three months, the actual interest you'd pay at 17.83 percent APR would be just $4.38, according to one of this site's credit card calculators.
Hot Consumer Stocks To Watch For 2015: Textainer Group Holdings Limited(TGH)
Textainer Group Holdings Limited, through its subsidiaries, engages in the purchase, ownership, management, leasing, and resale of a fleet of marine cargo containers worldwide. The company leases dry freight containers, as well as special-purpose containers to shipping lines, freight forwarding companies, and the United States military; manages a fleet of containers for and on behalf of the owners; and buys and resells used containers. It operates a fleet of approximately 1.6 million containers. The company was founded in 1979 and is headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda. Textainer Group Holdings Limited is a subsidiary of Halco Holdings Inc.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Selena Maranjian]
Textainer (NYSE: TGH ) is in the business of leasing big containers for use in intermodal shipping. The shipping business can be expected to pick up as the global economy gets back on its feet. Textainer has recently been expanding into the leasing of tanks, as well. The company offers not only an appealing dividend yield of 4.9%, but it also has been raising that payout significantly, more than doubling it over the past five years. Its payout ratio is below 50%, too, suggesting plenty of room for further growth. Textainer's stock seems reasonably or attractively priced, too, with its forward P/E ratio of 8.0 below its five-year average of 8.5. Bears don't like its rising debt or negative free cash flow, though (which is partly a result of beefing up its supply of containers), but there's still a lot to like about it.
Best Safest Stocks To Own For 2014: MDU Resources Group Inc (MRE)
MDU Resources Group, Inc.,incorporated on March 14, 1924, is a diversified natural resource company. Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. (Montana-Dakota) is a public utility division of the Company. Montana-Dakota, through the electric and natural gas distribution segments, generates, transmits and distributes electricity and distributes natural gas in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. Cascade Natural Gas Corporation (Cascade), which is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of MDU Energy Capital, distributes natural gas in Oregon and Washington. Intermountain Gas Company (Intermountain) distributes natural gas in Idaho. Great Plains Natural Gas Co. (Great Plains), which is a public utility division of the Company, distributes natural gas in western Minnesota and southeastern North Dakota. These operations also supply related value-added services. The Company�� segments include electric, pipeline and energy services, exploration and production, construction materials and contracting and construction services.
The Company, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Centennial Energy Holdings, Inc. (Centennial), owns WBI Holdings, Inc. (WBI Holdings) (consisting of the pipeline and energy services and the exploration and production segments), Knife River Corporation (Knife River) (construction materials and contracting segment), MDU Construction Services Group, Inc. (MDU Construction Services) (construction services segment), Centennial Energy Resources LLC (Centennial Resources) and Centennial Holdings Capital LLC (Centennial Capital) (both included in the Other category). The Company produces Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions primarily from its fossil fuel electric generating facilities, as well as from natural gas pipeline and storage systems, operations of equipment and fleet vehicles, and oil and natural gas exploration and development activities.
Montana-Dakota provides electric service at retail, serving more than 131,000 residential, commercial, indu! strial and municipal customers in 177 communities and adjacent rural areas as of December 31, 2012. The principal properties owned by Montana-Dakota for use in its electric operations include interests in 10 electric generating facilities and three small portable diesel generators, as further described under System Supply, System Demand and Competition, approximately 3,100 and 4,700 miles of transmission and distribution lines, respectively and 51 transmission and 268 distribution substations. Montana-Dakota has obtained and holds valid and existing franchises authorizing it to conduct its electric operations in all of the municipalities it serves where such franchises are required.
The Company, through the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc. (Midwest ISO), Montana-Dakota has access to wholesale energy, ancillary services and capacity markets. The Midwest ISO is a regional transmission organization responsible for operational control of the transmission systems of its members. The Midwest ISO provides security center operations, tariff administration and operates day-ahead and real-time energy markets, ancillary services and capacity markets. In 2012, Montana-Dakota purchased approximately 27 % of its net kilowatts-hour needs for its interconnected system through the Midwest ISO market.
Montana-Dakota serves markets in portions of western North Dakota, including Bismarck, Mandan, Dickinson and Williston; eastern Montana, including Glendive and Miles City; and northern South Dakota, including Mobridge. The maximum electric peak demand experienced to date attributable to Montana-Dakota's sales to retail customers on the interconnected system was 573,587 kilowatts in July, 2012. The interconnected system consists of nine electric generating facilities and three small portable diesel generators, which has an aggregate nameplate rating attributable to Montana-Dakota's interest of 488,905 kilowatts. Through the Sheridan System, which is a separate electric system o! wned by M! ontana-Dakota, Montana-Dakota serves Sheridan, Wyoming, and neighboring communities. The maximum peak demand attributable to Montana-Dakota sales to retail customers on that system was approximately 61,501 kilowatts in July, 2012.
Montana-Dakota's four principal generating stations are steam-turbine generating units, which uses coal for fuel. The nameplate rating for Montana-Dakota's ownership interest in these four stations , including interests in the Big Stone Station and the Coyote Station, aggregating 22.7 % and 25%, respectively is 327,758 kilowatts. Two combustion turbine peaking stations, two wind electric generating facilities, a heat recovery electric generating facility and three small portable diesel generators supply the balance of Montana-Dakota's interconnected system electric generating capability.
The Coyote coal supply agreement provides for the purchase of coal necessary to supply the coal requirements of the Coyote Station or 30,000 tons per week, whichever may be the greater quantity at contracted pricing. The Heskett and Lewis & Clark coal supply agreements provide for the purchase of coal necessary to supply the coal requirements of these stations at contracted pricing. Montana-Dakota estimates the Heskett and Lewis & Clark coal requirement to be in the range of 450,000 to 550,000 tons and 250,000 to 350,000 tons per contract year, respectively
Natural Gas Distribution
The Company's natural gas distribution operations consist of Montana-Dakota, Great Plains, Cascade and Intermountain, which sell natural gas at retail, serving over 859,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in 334 communities and adjacent rural areas across eight states as of December 31, 2012, and provide natural gas transportation services to certain customers on their systems. These services are provided through distribution systems aggregating approximately 18,200 miles.
The Company's purchased natural gas is supplied by a po! rtfolio o! f contracts specifying market-based pricing and is transported under transportation agreements with WBI Energy Transmission, Northwest Pipeline GP, Northern Natural Gas, Gas Transmission Northwest LLC, Northwestern Energy, Viking Gas Transmission Company and Ruby Pipeline LLC. The natural gas distribution operations have contracts for storage services to provide gas supply during the winter heating season and to meet peak day demand with various storage providers, including WBI Energy Transmission, Questar Pipeline Company, Northwest Pipeline GP and Northern Natural Gas. In addition, certain of the operations have entered into natural gas supply management agreements with various parties.
Pipeline and Energy Services
WBI Energy Transmission, the regulated business of this segment, owns and operates approximately 3,800 miles of transmission, gathering and storage lines in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. WBI Energy Midstream owns a 50% undivided interest in certain midstream assets located in western North Dakota. Three underground storage fields in Montana and Wyoming provide storage services to local distribution companies, producers, natural gas marketers and others, and serve to enhance system deliverability. WBI Energy Transmission's system is located near five natural gas producing basins, making natural gas supplies available to WBI Energy Transmission's transportation and storage customers. The system has 13 interconnecting points with other pipeline facilities allowing for the receipt and/or delivery of natural gas to and from other regions of the country and from Canada.
WBI Energy Midstream, the non-regulated pipeline business of this segment, owns and operates gathering facilities in Colorado, Kansas, Montana and Wyoming. It also owns a 50% undivided interest in certain midstream assets located in western North Dakota that were acquired in 2012, which include a natural gas processing plant, both oil and gas gathering pipelines, an ! oil stora! ge terminal and an oil pipeline. Prairielands is an energy services business,which provides natural gas purchase and sales services to local distribution companies, producers, other marketers and a limited number of end-users, primarily using natural gas produced by the Company's exploration and production segment. WBI Energy Transmission's underground natural gas storage facilities has a storage capacity of approximately 353 billion cubic feet, including 193 billion cubic feet of working gas capacity, 85 billion cubic feet of cushion gas and 75 billion cubic feet of native gas.
Exploration and Production
Fidelity is involved in the acquisition, exploration, development and production of oil and natural gas resources. Fidelity continues to seek additional reserve and production growth opportunities through these activities. Fidelity's business is focused primarily in two core regions: Rocky Mountain and Mid-Continent/Gulf States.
Fidelity's Rocky Mountain region includes Bakken areas , which includes oil targets in which Fidelity holds approximately 16,000 net acres in Mountrail County, North Dakota, approximately 51,000 net acres in Stark County, North Dakota, and approximately 60,000 net acres in Richland County, Montana; Cedar Creek Anticline, which is in primarily in eastern Montana, the Company has a long-held net profits interest in this oil play. Paradox Basin holds approximately 83,000 net acres located in Grand and San Juan Counties, Utah, targeting oil; Big Horn Basin includes approximately 33,000 net acres in Wyoming, targeting oil and Natural gas liquids (NGL); Green River Basin properties primarily includes natural gas targets in Wyoming in which the Company holds approximately 36,000 net acres; Baker Field is a long-held natural gas properties in which Fidelity holds approximately 99,000 net acres in southeastern Montana and southwestern North Dakota; Bowdoin Field is a long-held natural gas properties in which Fidelity holds approximately 127,000 net! acres in! north-central Montana, and Other includes other exploratory oil projects in the Niobrara play in Wyoming and the Heath Shale in Montana; along with the Powder River Basin natural gas properties, which Fidelity is pursuing divestment of and various non-operated positions.
Fidelity's Mid-Continent/Gulf States region includes South Texas area includes approximately 9,000 net acres in the Tabasco, Texan Gardens and Flores fields, this area has NGL content associated with the natural gas. East/Central Texas holds approximately 27,000 net acres, primarily natural gas and associated NGL. Other includes various non-operated onshore interests, as well as offshore interests in the shallow waters off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana. At December 31, 2012, there were 44 gross (17 net) wells in the process of drilling or under evaluation, 39 of which were development wells and 5 of which were exploratory wells.
Construction Materials and Contracting
Knife River operates construction materials and contracting businesses. These operations mine, process and sell construction aggregates (crushed stone, sand and gravel); produce and sell asphalt mix and supply ready-mixed concrete for construction, including roads, freeways and bridges, as well as homes, schools, shopping centers, office buildings and industrial parks. Although not common to all locations, other products include the sale of cement, liquid asphalt for various commercial and roadway applications, various finished concrete products and other building materials and related contracting services.
MDU Construction Services specializes in constructing and maintaining electric and communication lines, gas pipelines, fire suppression systems, and external lighting and traffic signalization equipment. This segment also provides utility excavation services and inside electrical wiring, cabling and mechanical services, sells and distributes electrical materials, and manufactures ! and distr! ibutes specialty equipment. These services are provided to utilities and manufacturing, commercial, industrial, institutional and government customers. MDU Construction Services operates a fleet of owned and leased trucks and trailers, support vehicles and specialty construction equipment, such as backhoes, excavators, trenchers, generators, boring machines and cranes. In addition, as of December 31, 2012, MDU Construction Services owned or leased facilities in 17 states. This space is used for offices, equipment yards, warehousing, storage and vehicle shops.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Eric Lam]
Martinrea International Inc. (MRE), a metal auto-parts maker, slumped 10 percent to C$10.96 after the company said it received a press release discussing a claim from Nat Rea, former vice chairman of the company. Martinrea has not received the claim or reviewed the allegations and will ��espond appropriately in due course.��
Best Safest Stocks To Own For 2014: California Water Service Group (CWT)
California Water Service Group, incorporated on August 2, 1999, is a holding company. The Company operates California Water Service Company (Cal Water), New Mexico Water Service Company (New Mexico Water), Washington Water Service Company (Washington Water), Hawaii Water Service Company, Inc. (Hawaii Water), and CWS Utility Services and HWS Utility Services LLC are collectively called Utility Services. Cal Water, New Mexico Water, Washington Water, and Hawaii Water are regulated public utilities. Utility Services provides non-regulated services to private companies and municipalities. The Company�� business is conducted through its operating subsidiaries. Its bulk business consists of the production, purchase, storage, treatment, testing, distribution and sale of water for domestic, industrial, public and irrigation uses, and for fire protection. It also provides non-regulated water-related services under agreements with municipalities and other private companies. The non-regulated services include full water system operation, billing and meter reading services. Non-regulated operations also include the lease of communication antenna sites, lab services, and promotion of other non-regulated services.
California water operations are conducted by the Cal Water and CWS Utility Services entities, which provide service to approximately 473,100 customers in 83 California communities through 25 separate districts. Of these 25 districts, 23 districts are regulated water systems, which are subject to regulation by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Cal Water operates two leased water systems, the City of Hawthorne and the City of Commerce, which are governed through their respective city councils and are outside of the CPUC's jurisdiction. California water operations account for approximately 94% of its total customers and approximately 94% of its total consolidated operating revenue.
Hawaii Water provides service to approximately 4,2! 00 water and wastewater customers on the islands of Maui and Hawaii, including several resorts and condominium complexes. Hawaii's regulated operations are subject to the jurisdiction of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. Hawaii Water accounts for less than 1% of its total customers and approximately 3% of its total operating revenue.
Washington Water provides domestic water service to approximately 15,800 customers in the Tacoma and Olympia areas. Washington Water's utility operations are regulated by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. Washington Water accounts for approximately 3% of its total customers and approximately 2% of its total consolidated operating revenue.
New Mexico Water provides service to approximately 7,600 water and wastewater customers in the Belen, Los Lunas and Elephant Butte areas in New Mexico. New Mexico's regulated operations are subject to the jurisdiction of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission. New Mexico Water accounts for approximately 2% of its total customers and approximately 1% of its total consolidated operating revenue.
Non-regulated activities consist primarily of operating water and waste water systems, which are owned by other entities; providing meter reading and billing services; leasing communication antenna sites on its properties; operating recycled water systems; providing lab services for water quality testing; billing of optional third-party insurance program to its residential customers; selling surplus property, and other services as requested by the client. The Company provides operating and maintenance, meter reading and customer billing services for several municipalities in California. It also provides sewer and refuse billing services to several municipalities. The Company leases antenna sites to telecommunication companies, which place equipment at various Company-owned sites. The antennas are used in cellular phone and personal communic! ation app! lications.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Marc Bastow]
Utility holding company California Water (CWT) raised its quarterly dividend 1.5% to 16.25 cents per share, payable on Feb. 21 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 10.
CWT Dividend Yield: 2.78%
- [By Richard Band]
California Water Service (CWT) is the third-largest publicly traded water utility in the country��nd the largest west of the Mississippi River. The company has raised its dividend for 47 years in a row.
Best Safest Stocks To Own For 2014: Simon Property Group Inc.(SPG)
Simon Property Group, Inc. is a real estate investment trust. The firm engages in investment, ownership, and management of properties. It invests in the real estate markets across the globe. The firm?s portfolio includes regional malls, premium outlet centers, the mills, community / lifestyle centers, and international properties. Simon Property Group was founded in 1960 and is based in Indianapolis, Indiana.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Ben Fox Rubin]
Among the companies with shares expected to actively trade Friday are Anadarko Petroleum Corp.(APC), Simon Property Group Inc.(SPG) and Qualcomm Inc.(QCOM)
- [By Jonas Elmerraji]
First up is Simon Property Group (SPG), a $51 billion name that tips the scales as the largest U.S. real estate investment trust. SPG owns a wide collection of retail real estate assets, with U.S. regional malls and outlet centers making up approximately 90% of net lease income. Simon also owns a 29% stake in Klepierre, which gives the firm exposure to European retail properties as well. Funds picked up 2.27 million shares of SPG last quarter.
Simon's scale is one of its biggest benefits. The firm is better able to secure access to cheap capital than its smaller peers, and it's able to participate in larger projects that a smaller firm would require a partner for. The decision to spin off its smaller strip mall properties into Washington Prime Group (WPG) is a positive for the SPG shareholders. It retains the highest-quality assets under the SPG banner while unlocking shareholder value at a time when REITs are looking comparatively attractive in the marketplace.
In many cases, SPG also gets added exposure to retail sales. Because the firm's main properties are malls, lease agreements typically include a cut of store revenue. That's an attractive sweetener in an environment where consumer spending continues to be on the upswing.
Right now, SPG pays out a 3.16% dividend yield. While this stock isn't the beefiest payout, it's a staid bet for investors looking for their first taste of REIT exposure.
- [By Michael Lewis]
Another tax-law provision gives favorable tax status to real-estate investment trusts. REITs make investments in real estate-related assets, and they're required to pay out almost all their income to their shareholders annually. Simon Property Group (SPG) is one of the biggest REITs, focusing on shopping malls and paying a 3 percent yield. But other specialty areas of the REIT universe pay much higher dividends, with REITs like Annaly Capital (NLY) that invest in mortgage-backed securities topping the list with double-digit percentage yields.