LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE ) is finally picking up a bit today after a flat start to the week, gaining 0.56% to reach 6,466 by 8:40 a.m. EDT. The banks have led the way as hopes rise of further economic easing by central banks ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's next policy decision later today. The European Central bank will also meet tomorrow amid expectations of a further interest rate cut.
Sadly, not all our companies are enjoying similar rises. Here are three that look set to lag the index today.
Home Retail Group has seen its share price drop 3.7% to 150 pence this morning after the owner of the U.K.'s Argos and Homebase chains reported a fall in full-year profit. For the year to March 2, sales were pretty much flat at 5.5 billion pounds, but underlying pre-tax profit fell 10% to 91 million pounds, with earnings per share down 11% to 7.7 pence.
Although the transformation of Argos is going well, with a rise in like-for-like sales for the first time in five years boosting underlying operating profit by 6.5% to 100 million pounds, underlying operating profit at Homebase slumped 50% to just 11 million pounds.
Hot Life Sciences Stocks To Own Right Now: Vitacost.com Inc (VITC)
Vitacost.com, Inc. (Vitacost), incorporated in May 20, 1994, is an online retailer of health and wellness products, including dietary supplements such as vitamins, minerals, herbs and other botanicals, amino acids and metabolites, as well as cosmetics, natural personal care products, pet products, sports nutrition and health foods. The Company sells these products directly to consumers primarily through its Website, www.vitacost.com. It offers its customers the selection of healthy living products. It offers its customers a selection of approximately 40,000 Stock Keeping Units (SKUs), from over 2,000 third-party brands, such as New Chapter, Nature�� Way, Twinlab, Source Naturals, Jarrow Formulas, Jason, Desert Essence, Atkins, Bob�� Red Mill, BSN, Optimum Nutrition, USP Labs and MuscleTech in addition to its own brands: Vitacost, Cosmeceutical Sciences Institute (CSI), Best of All, and Smart Basics. As of December 31, 2012, the Company had approximately 2.1 million customers.
The Company offers products in a range of potency levels and dosage forms, such as tablets, capsules, vegi-capsules, softgels, gelcaps, liquids and powders. It offers products that encompass four main categories: Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs and Supplements; Sports Nutrition; Beauty; and Natural and Organic Food.
Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs and Supplements (VMHS)
VMHS products are taken to maintain or improve health and address specific health conditions. In its dietary supplements category, the Company offers its offer its Vitacost branded products as well as third-party brands such as Nature�� Way, Twinlab, Jarrow, Carlson and Rainbow Light. Vitamin and mineral products include multi-vitamins, lettered vitamins, such as Vitamin A, C, D, E and B-complex, along with minerals such as calcium, magnesium, chromium and zinc.
Herbal products include whole herbs, standardized extracts, herb combination formulas and teas. Supplements include essential fatty acids, probiotics, anti-o! xidants, phytonutrients and condition-specific formulas.
Sports nutrition products are used in conjunction with cardiovascular conditioning, weight training and sports activities. Major categories in sports nutrition include protein and weight gain powders, meal replacements, nutrition bars, sport drinks and pre and post-workout supplements. The Company offers bodybuilding and sports products from third parties, such as Optimum Nutrition, CytoSport and BSN as well as our Vitacost branded sports nutrition products.
Natural care products consist of a variety of natural products for skin, body, hair and oral health. The Company offers hundreds of natural personal-care products from companies, such as JASON, and Kiss My Face, as well as its CSI-branded products. These products appeal to allergen-conscious and environmentally-conscious consumers seeking products that are made without harsh chemicals and additives.
Natural and Organic Food
Natural and organic food products consist of organic and specialty products such as organic peanut butter, gluten free foods and low mercury tuna and salmon. The Company offers third-party brands, such as Kashi, Eden Foods and Amy�� Organic, as well as its Best of All natural food products.
Under its Vitacost brand, the Company offers over 900 products including multivitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, anti-oxidants and others. Under its CSI brand, it markets and sells health and beauty products such as facial cleanser, facial and body moisturizing creams and lotions, and other beauty and skincare products. Under its Best of All brand, it markets and sells organic food products such as banana chips, trail mix, almonds, cashews and more. Under its Smart Basics brand, it markets and sells organic fruit juices and extracts and related dietary supplements. Under its Walker Diet brand, it markets and sells low carb powders used to assist in weight loss and ! managemen! t.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 Vitacost.com (Nasdaq: VITC ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.
- [By Seth Jayson]
Margins matter. The more Vitacost.com (Nasdaq: VITC ) keeps of each buck it earns in revenue, the more money it has to invest in growth, fund new strategic plans, or (gasp!) distribute to shareholders. Healthy margins often separate pretenders from the best stocks in the market. That's why we check up on margins at least once a quarter in this series. I'm looking for the absolute numbers, so I can compare them to current and potential competitors, and any trend that may tell me how strong Vitacost.com's competitive position could be.
Top 10 Heal Care Companies To Watch For 2014: Chesapeake Granite Wash Trust (CHKR)
Chesapeake Granite Wash Trust (the Trust) is a trust formed to own royalty interests for the benefit of Trust unitholders conveyed to the trust by Chesapeake Energy Corporation (Chesapeake). The royalty interests held by the Trust (Royalty Interests) are derived from Chesapeake�� interests in specified oil and natural gas properties located in the Colony Granite Wash play in Washita County in the Anadarko Basin of western Oklahoma. Chesapeake conveyed the Royalty Interests to the Trust from its interests in 69 existing horizontal wells (Producing Wells) and Chesapeake�� interests in 118 horizontal development wells (Development Wells) to be drilled on properties within the Area of Mutual Interest (AMI). The AMI is limited to only the Colony Granite Wash formation, where Chesapeake held approximately 45,400 gross acres (29,300 net acres) as of December 31, 2011. The Colony Granite Wash is located at the eastern end of a series of Des Moines-age granite wash fields that extend along the southern flank of the Anadarko Basin, approximately 60 miles into the Texas Panhandle. The Colony Granite Wash is a formation encountered at depths between approximately 11,500 feet and 13,000 feet that lies between the top of the Des Moines formation (or top of Colony Granite Wash A) and the top of the Prue formation (or base of Colony Granite Wash C). Colony Granite Wash is primarily a natural gas and natural gas condensate reservoir based on reserve volumes.
As of December 31, 2011, the all of the Producing Wells were completed, 66 Producing Wells were producing and approximately 11.5 Development Wells were completed and producing. As of December 31, 2011, the remaining three Producing Wells were temporarily offline. As of July 1, 2011, Chesapeake owned on average a 52.8% net revenue interest in the Producing Wells, and Trust received an average 47.5% net revenue interest in the Producing Wells, and Chesapeake on average owned a 52.0% net revenue interest in the Development Wells. As of March 15, 2012! , Chesapeake owned 61,100 net acres (of which 29,300 net acres are subject to the Royalty Interests). As of March 15, 2012, Chesapeake operated 95% of the Producing Wells and the completed Development Wells.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Matt DiLallo]
Chesapeake Granite Wash Trust (NYSE: CHKR )
Created by Chesapeake Energy, the Granite Wash Trust owns royalty interests in 69 currently producing wells and 118 wells that are still to be drilled in Oklahoma in an area of mutual interest. The wells within the trust are producing out of the Granite Wash formation of the Anadarko Basin.�As you can see on the map below, the trust has a very focused area of interest.
Top 10 Heal Care Companies To Watch For 2014: Whiting Petroleum Corporation(WLL)
Whiting Petroleum Corporation engages in the acquisition, development, exploitation, exploration, and production of oil and gas primarily in the Permian Basin, Rocky Mountains, Mid-Continent, Gulf Coast, and Michigan regions of the United States. As of December 31, 2010, its estimated proved reserves were 304.9 million barrels equivalent of oil; and had interests in 9,698 gross productive wells covering approximately 1,115,000 gross developed acres. The company sells its oil and gas to end users, marketers, and other purchasers. Whiting Petroleum Corporation was founded in 1983 and is Denver, Colorado.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Arjun Sreekumar]
Pad drilling methods have also allowed operators to use fewer rigs to drill the same number of wells. For instance, Whiting Petroleum (NYSE: WLL ) , another major Bakken operator, reported a substantial decline in drilling expenses over the past year because of a successful transition toward multi-pad drilling, allowing the company to drill the same number of wells with fewer rigs.
- [By Robert Rapier]
So did the latest set of strong quarterly numbers reported last week by two of our favorite Bakken oil drillers, Aggressive Portfolio holding Continental Resources (NYSE: CLR) and Growth Portfolio pick Whiting Petroleum (NYSE: WLL). They have returned 42 percent and 37 percent, respectively, since we recommended them a year ago, and by the looks of the latest numbers are far from done. �
- [By Jesse Solomon]
Energy bet may not have paid off: The funds plowed over two billion dollars into Whiting Petroleum (WLL), Valero Energy Corporation (VLO, Fortune 500), Talisman Energy (TLM), and Cameron International (CAM, Fortune 500).
Top 10 Heal Care Companies To Watch For 2014: Grana y Montero SAA (GRAM)Grana y Montero SAA is a Peru-based holding company primarily engaged in the four business areas: Construction and Engineering Industry, Real Estate, Oil Services, and Operation of Public Concessions and Business Support Services. Through its subsidiaries, the Company provides such services as the development and management of real estate properties and leisure facilities; the exploration, production and sale of oil, natural gas and its derivates; the storage and distribution of combustibles; information technology services; engineering consultancy; the operation and maintenance of rails and roads concessions; as well as the execution and management of projects related to the generation of electric power; among others. The Company owns such subsidiaries as GMD SA, Concar SA, Survial SA, Norvial SA and Promotores Asociados de Inmobiliarios SA, among others. Advisors' Opinion:
- [By alicet236]
Grana y Montero SAA (GRAM) Reached the Five-Year Low of $20.90
The prices of Grana y Montero SAA (GRAM) shares have declined to close to the five-year low of $20.90, which is 17.3% off the five-year high of $22.14. Grana y Montero SAA is owned by four Gurus we are tracking. Among them, four have added to their positions during the past quarter. Zero reduced their positions. Grana y Montero SAA was established in Peru on August 12, 1996 as a result of the equity spin-off of Inversiones GyM S. Grana Y Montero Saa has a market cap of $2.75 billion; its shares were traded at around $20.90 with a P/E ratio of 24.60 and P/S ratio of 1.24.
Top 10 Heal Care Companies To Watch For 2014: Accuray Incorporated(ARAY)
Accuray Incorporated designs, develops, and sells medical radiation systems for the treatment of tumors anywhere in the body. The company offers the CyberKnife system, an image-guided robotic radiosurgery system used for the treatment of solid tumors. The system tracks, detects, and corrects for tumor and patient movement in real-time during the procedure, enabling delivery of precise, high dose radiation typically with sub-millimeter accuracy. The company also offers the TomoTherapy system, which consists of an integrated and versatile radiation therapy system used for the treatment of a range of cancer types. Accuray Incorporated markets its product through a direct sales force and distributors worldwide. The company was incorporated in 1990 and is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By John Udovich]
Small cap robotic stock Adept Technology (NASDAQ: ADEP) has put in a very good performance this month verses its immediate peer�iRobot Corporation (NASDAQ: IRBT) as well as against medical robotic stocks like MAKO Surgical (NASDAQ: MAKO), Accuray Incorporated (NASDAQ: ARAY) and Hansen Medical, Inc (NASDAQ: HNSN). I should also mention that we have recently added Adept Technology to our SmallCap Network Elite Opportunity (SCN EO) portfolio (we are up 9% since last week) because we feel robotics is an improving sector as companies aim to reduce overhead and improve efficiencies through machine to machine (M2M) automation.
- [By John Kell]
Accuray Inc.(ARAY) shares jumped after the company posted a narrower loss than expected in its fiscal second quarter and raised its revenue estimate for the year. Shares rose 9.1% to $10.08 premarket.
Top 10 Heal Care Companies To Watch For 2014: ING US Inc (VOYA)
ING U.S., Inc., incorporated on April 7, 1999, is a retirement, investment and insurance company serving the financial needs of approximately 13 million individual and institutional customers in the United States. The Company offers its products and services through a group of financial intermediaries, independent producers, affiliated advisors and dedicated sales specialists throughout the United States. The Company operates its principal businesses through three business lines: Retirement Solutions, Investment Management and Insurance Solutions. In addition, it also has closed Blocks and corporate reporting segments. Closed Blocks consists of three businesses where it has placed its portfolios in run-off-Closed Block Variable Annuity, Closed Block Institutional Spread Products and Closed Block Other. The Company�� corporate segment includes its corporate activities and corporate-level assets and financial obligations.
The Company is a provider of retirement services and products in the United States. The Company provides a product range addressing both the accumulation and income distribution needs of customers, through a distribution footprint of nearly 2,500 affiliated representatives and thousands of non-affiliated agents and third party administrators (TPAs). The Company�� Retirement Solutions business consists of two financial segments: Retirement and Annuities.
Retirement provides tax-deferred, employer-sponsored retirement savings plans and administrative services to more than 49,000 plan sponsors covering approximately 5.3 million plan participants in corporate, education, healthcare and government markets. Retirement also provides rollover IRAs, and other retail financial products as well as comprehensive financial advisory services to individual customers. Annuities provide fixed and indexed annuities, tax-qualified mutual fund custodial products and payout annuities for pre-retirement wealth accumulation and post-retirement i! ncome management sold through multiple channels.
The Company is a service asset manager delivering client-oriented investment solutions and advisory services. The Company serves both individual and institutional customers, offering them domestic and international fixed income, equity, multi-asset and alternative investment products and solutions across a range of geographies, investment styles and capitalization spectrums.
The Company is a provider of life insurance in the United States. The Company�� Insurance Solutions business consists of two financial segments: Individual Life and Employee Benefits. Individual Life provides wealth protection and transfer opportunities through universal, variable, and term products, distributed through independent channels to meet the needs of a range of customers from the middle-market through affluent market segments. Employee Benefits provides stop loss, group life, voluntary employee-paid and disability products to mid-sized and large businesses.
The Company separated its Closed Block Variable Annuity and Closed Block Institutional Spread Products segments from its other operations, placing them in run-off, and made a strategic decision to stop actively writing new retail variable annuity products with substantial guarantee features and to run-off the institutional spread products portfolio over time. The Company�� focus in managing its Closed Block Variable Annuity segment is on protecting regulatory reserves.
The Company competes with Fidelity, Vanguard, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, TIAA-CREF and Ameriprise.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Jessica Alling]
The life and retirement segments at Genworth Financial (NYSE: GNW ) , Hartford Finanical (NYSE: HIG ) , and ING (NYSE: VOYA ) were among 11 insurers slapped with a new settlement for unpaid benefits. In the video below, Motley Fool contributor Jessica Alling discusses how the insurers misconduct lead to unpaid monies, how much the settlement is, and how investors should be looking at the situation.
Top 10 Heal Care Companies To Watch For 2014: iShares S&P 500 Value Index Fund (IVE)
iShares S&P 500 Value Index Fund (the Fund) seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance of the Standard & Poor's 500/Citigroup Value Index (the Index). The Index measures the performance of the large-capitalization value sector of the United States equity market. It is a subset of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, and consists of those stocks exhibiting the strongest value characteristics in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, representing approximately 51% of the market capitalization of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.
The Fund uses a representative sampling strategy in seeking to track the Index. Barclays Global Fund Advisors (BGFA) serves as an advisor to the Fund.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By David Fabian]
In addition, this sector has likely benefited from the rotation out of high-beta growth stocks and into value-oriented segments that are more defensive in nature.� The energy sector is the second largest allocation in the iShares S&P 500 Value ETF (NYSE: IVE), with more than 15 percent of the underlying holdings.�