Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Top 10 Telecom Stocks To Watch Right Now

Vodafone, the second largest telecommunications company in the world, just got substantially bigger by prowling around in its own backyard.

The London-based company agreed Monday to buy the Spanish telecommunications giant Ono for $10 billion. The deal is widely regarded as a key part of Vodafone's strategic plan to greatly expand its business in the lucrative European market. Monday's deal marks Vodafone's second major acquisition in Europe, after its purchase of Kabel Deutschland last year.

The Vodafone name is familiar to American consumers because of its dealings with U.S. telecommunications giant Verizon. Last year, Vodafone engineered one of the largest deals in corporate history when it agreed to sell its stake in Verizon for $130 million in cash and stock. Now, it's got the cash on had to seek out other deals closer to home.

5 Best Safest Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Virgin Media Inc.(VMED)

Virgin Media Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides entertainment and communications services in the United Kingdom. The company offers cable broadband Internet, television, and fixed line telephone services under the Virgin Media brand to residential customers; mobile telephony services through Virgin Mobile, a mobile virtual network operator; broadband and telephone services to residential customers through third-party telecommunications networks; and video on demand services, including access to movies, television programs, music videos, and other on-demand content, as well as provides digital video recorders. It also offers voice, data, and Internet solutions to commercial customers comprising analog telephony and managed data networks and applications, as well as supplies communications services to health and emergency services providers. As of December 31, 2011, the company provided cable broadband services to approximately 4 million subscribers; cable television s ervices to approximately 3.76 million residential subscribers; cable telephony services to approximately 4.2 million residential subscribers; mobile telephony services to approximately 3 million customers; non-cable fixed line telephone services to approximately 163,300 subscribers; and voice, data, and Internet solutions to approximately 50,000 businesses and 250 public sector organizations. The company offers its products and services through telesales, customer care centers, and online, as well as through its sales force. It serves mobile and fixed-line service providers, systems integrators, and Internet service providers; and private and public sector organizations. The company was formerly known as NTL Incorporated and changed its name to Virgin Media Inc. in February 2007. The company was founded in 1993 and is based in New York, New York.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Tim Brugger]

    Upon Liberty Global's (NASDAQ: LBTYA  ) successfully closing its acquisition of Virgin Media (NASDAQ: VMED  ) , Tom Mockridge will assume CEO responsibilities of the U.K. communications firm, Liberty Global announced today.

  • [By Markos Kaminis]

    Whether the stock is overvalued or not does not matter at this point, because an impact to its subscriber base due to the data sharing news would probably change market expectations for the company's operations and affect both earnings estimates and valuation multiples. It would probably drive the shares lower in my view, and I see no reason to risk that by holding the stock. Long-term holders, of course, have tax considerations to consider, and the news is still filing out. If Verizon's peers are also implicated clearly, perhaps with the aid of a Verizon PR push, this issue would be effectively mitigated. Though even in that case, there could be market share loss by all major American firms, with companies like T-Mobile US (TMUS) and Virgin Media (VMED) benefiting, whether they have also been involved or not. In any event, for new stakeholders, or those willing to deal with tax implications; or for those interested in a potential short opportunity, I would sell the stock today. I see no reason to bear risk while this issue and its implications are still unraveling, and while VZ has thus far not been significantly discounted for it.

Top 10 Telecom Stocks To Watch Right Now: Telecom Argentina SA (TEO)

Telecom Argentina SA (Telecom) is an Argentina-based company primarily engaged in the provision of national fixed-line telecommunication services, international long-distance service, data transmission and Internet services and mobile telephony. The Company also offers such solutions as online business and Web hosting, virtual private network (VPN), mobile operating systems developed by Microsoft and Blackberry, toll-free telephone numbers, call centers and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) line, as well as other services mainly aimed at corporate clients. The Company�� subsidiaries are structured in two business segments: Fixed Telephony, comprising Telecom Argentina USA Inc and Micro Sistemas Sociedad Anonima, and Mobile Services, including Telecom Personal SA, Nucleo SA and Springville SA. As of December 31, 2010, the Company�� majority shareholder was Nortel SA, 54.74% of its interest.

Voice, Data and Internet

Telecom Argentina owns a local telephone line network, public long-distance telephone transmission facilities and a data transmission network in the Northern Region. Telecom Argentina also owns a network in the Southern Region. Voice, data and Internet services consists of basic telephone services, international long-distance services, data transmission and internet services, information and communication technology services and other basic telephone services. Telecom Argentina provides basic telephone services, including local and domestic long-distance telephone services and public telephone services. Telecom Argentina provides international telecommunications service in Argentina, including voice and data services and international point-to-point leased circuits.

Telecom Argentina provides data transmission and Internet connectivity services, including traditional dial-up and broadband connections, asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) dedicated lines, private networks, national and international broadcasting signal transport and videoconfe! rencing services. Telecom Argentina provides Information and Communications Technology (ICT) services and value-added solutions. Other services provided by Telecom Argentina include supplementary services, such as call waiting, call forwarding, conference calls, caller identification (ID), voice mail, video calls and itemized billing, and telecommunications consulting and telecommunications equipment and maintenance services.

Telecom Argentina is a provider of Basic telephone services in the Northern Region and provides Basic telephone services in the Southern Region. Telecom Argentina�� fixed-line telephone network includes installed telephones and switchboards, a network of access lines connecting customers to exchanges and trunk lines connecting exchanges and long-distance transmission equipment.

The Company competes with Grupo Telmex Argentina, Telephone2, Impsat, IPlan, Comsat, Telecentro, Telefonica, Netizen, Gigared, UOL, Ertach, Telecentro and Cablevision.

Wireless Telecommunication

Telecom Argentina provides wireless services through its subsidiaries in Argentina and Paraguay. Its subsidiary Telecom Personal S.A. (Telecom Personal) provides wireless telephone service throughout Argentina via cellular and personal communications service (PCS) networks. Telecom Personal�� service offerings include global system for mobile communications (GSM) and 3G wireless communication over universal mobile telecommunications system (UMTS)/high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) networks (including general packet radio service (GPRS), enhanced data for GSM evolution (EDGE) and HSDPA high-speed wireless, videoconferencing, full track download, multimedia messaging, online streaming, corporate mailing and BlackBerry solutions) and sale of wireless communication devices (cellular phones, 3G modems, 3G hotspots, wireless Internet and netbooks). The Company also provides cellular and PCS services in Paraguay through Nucleo S.A., a subsidiary of Telecom Pers! onal.

The Company competes with Telecom Personal, Telefonica Moviles, America Movil, Telefonica Celular del Paraguay S.A. and Hola Paraguay S.A.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By John Reese, Founder and CEO, Validea.com And Validea Capital Management]

    As you might imagine, the portfolio will tread into areas of the market others ignore, because of its contrarian bent. Right now, its holdings include some very unloved firms, including several financials, emerging market stocks, and much-maligned BP. Here's a look at five of the stock in our Dreman portfolio:

    Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM)

    BP Plc (BP)

    Telecom Argentina SA (TEO)

    China Mobile Limited (CHL)

    Vale SA (VALE)

    Subscribe to Validea here��/P>

Top 10 Telecom Stocks To Watch Right Now: Verizon Communications Inc.(VZ)

Verizon Communications Inc. provides communication services. The company operates through two segments, Domestic Wireless and Wireline. The Domestic Wireless segment offers wireless voice and data services; and sells equipment in the United States. The Wireline segment provides voice, Internet access, broadband video and data, Internet protocol network, network access, long distance, and other services in the United States and internationally. The company serves consumer, business, and government customers, as well as carriers. As of December 31, 2010, its network covered a population of approximately 292 million and provided service to a customer base of approximately 94.1 million. The company was formerly known as Bell Atlantic Corporation and changed its name to Verizon Communications Inc. in June 2000. Verizon Communications Inc. was founded in 1983 and is based in New York, New York.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Matt Thalman]

    Two of the Dow's big losers today are its telecommunications companies, AT&T (NYSE: T  ) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) , down 0.6% and 0.9, respectively. The drops are likely a result of the announcement on Friday that AT&T had made an offer to purchase Leap Wireless for $15 per share, or about $1.2 billion. Some investors may feel AT&T offered too much or that it will find itself in a bidding war, eventually overpaying for the small wireless company. As for Verizon, the company will soon find itself under increased pressure to make an acquisition itself, because if AT&T can lock down this deal, it may be able to influence the industry in its favor and challenge Verizon for the top telecom spot.

  • [By Matt Thalman]

    Shares of Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) have declined by 0.4% this afternoon on little news. But over the past few months, the company has found itself constantly making news headlines. Verizon's potential buyout of Vodafone's stake in the companies' joint venture, its fight with AT&T for dominance of the American consumer, and Sprint's ongoing buyout saga have clouded Verizon's long-term outlook. But Verizon did recently finish its rollout of its 4G LTE network, which now covers more than 99% of those who once had Verizon's 3G service. Today's move lower is unexplainable, and investors shouldn't be too concerned with it, as the company is financially strong and continues to lead telecommunications companies into the next generation of service.

  • [By Doug Ehrman]

    News that SoftBank was completing its $21.6 billion takeover of Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S  ) led the stock to trade as much as 10% higher during the next trading session. Helping matters was both an upgrade of the stock and news that the wireless carrier would be offering new rate plans designed to keep customers for life. Sprint continues to work hard to differentiate itself from both Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) and AT&T (NYSE: T  ) but has been playing catch up in terms of its network.

Top 10 Telecom Stocks To Watch Right Now: Vivendi SA (VIVHY.PK)

Vivendi SA (Vivendi), incorporated on December 18, 1987, is a communications and entertainment company. As of December 31, 2009, the Company had six business segments: Activision Blizzard, Universal Music Group, SFR, Maroc Telecom Group, GVT (Holding) S.A. (GVT) and Canal+ Group. Activision Blizzard develops, publishes and distributes interactive entertainment software, online or on other media (such as console and personal computer (PC)). Universal Music Group is engaged in the sale of recorded music (physical and digital media), exploitation of music publishing rights, as well as artist services and merchandising. SFR is engaged in the phone services (mobile, broadband Internet and fixed) in France. Maroc Telecom Group is a telecommunication operator (mobile, fixed and Internet) in Africa, principally in Morocco, as well as in Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Gabon and Mali. GVT is a Brazilian fixed and broadband operator. Canal+ Group is engaged in publishing and distribution of pay-television mainly in France, in both analog and digital (terrestrially, via satellite or ADSL), as well as film production in Europe. In July 2013, Vivendi SA and Universal Music Group announced the completion of the sale of Parlophone Label Group to Warner Music Group Corp.

On November 13, 2009, Vivendi acquired an aggregate of 29.9% of GVT�� outstanding voting shares from Swarth Investments LLC, Swarth Investments Holdings LLC and Global Village Telecom (Holland) BV. In addition, Vivendi acquired from third parties an additional 8% interest in GVT's outstanding shares. On December 28, 2009, Canal+ Group, Vivendi�� subsidiary, acquired TF1�� 9.9% interest in the capital of Canal+ France. On July 31, 2009, Maroc Telecom acquired 51% controlling interest in Sotelma. On August 27, 2009, CID, a company 40% owned by SFR and 60% by other financial investors, acquired the 62% interest in 5 sur 5.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Mike Arnold]

    I normally don't look at charts much, but comparing Orange to its competitors in the French telecommunications market is quite fascinating. As one can see, incumbents Bouygues (BOUYF.PK) and Vivendi (VIVHY.PK) (owner of SFR) saw similar price declines. The market, on the other hand, rapidly bid up the price of new entrant Iliad SA (ILIAF.PK), as a result of forecasts for Iliad to capture significant mobile market share (which it did, around 10%). The wide divergence in price relative to changes in underlying value favor going long the incumbents, including Orange. Because this time it's different.

  • [By Eric Rodawig]

    Activision Blizzard (ATVI) is the world's largest and most successful video game developer, and is majority owned (61%) by French telecom and media conglomerate Vivendi (VIVHY.PK). Vivendi has been undergoing a massive strategic review with the intent to reduce debt and unlock the value of its assets that has fueled speculation surrounding ATVI. In conjunction with this, ATVI CFO Dennis Durkin announced on the 4Q12 earnings call

Top 10 Telecom Stocks To Watch Right Now: Corning Incorporated(GLW)

Corning Incorporated manufactures and processes specialty glass and ceramics products worldwide. It operates in five segments: Display Technologies, Telecommunications, Environmental Technologies, Specialty Materials, and Life Sciences. The Display Technologies segment manufactures liquid crystal display (LCD) glass for flat panel displays used primarily in notebook computers, flat panel desktop monitors, and LCD televisions. The Telecommunications segment produces optical fiber and cable, and hardware and equipment products, such as cable assemblies, fiber optic hardware, fiber optic connectors, optical components and couplers, closures and pedestals, splice and test equipment, and other accessories for optical connectivity to the telecommunications industry. This segment also offers optical fiber technology products for various applications, such as premises, fiber-to-the-home access, metropolitan, long-haul, and submarine networks. The Environmental Technologies segment manufactures ceramic substrates and filter products for emissions control in mobile and stationary applications. The Specialty Materials segment manufactures products that provide approximately 150 material formulations for glass, glass ceramics, and fluoride crystals used in commercial and industrial markets. The Life Sciences segment provides scientific laboratory products, such as general labware and equipment, as well as tools for cell culture and bioprocess, genomics and proteomics, and high-throughput screening. This segment also develops and produces various technologies, such as the Corning HYPERFlask Cell Culture Vessel for increased cell yields; and other novel surfaces, which include the Corning CellBIND Surface and the Corning Osteo-Assay surface. The company was formerly known as Corning Glass Works and changed its name to Corning Incorporated in April 1989. Corning Incorporated was founded in 1851 and is based in Corning, New York.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Steve Symington]

    In addition, the stock had already jumped 10% just two days earlier after an MIT Technology Review�article�pitched its sapphire tech as a promising potential alternative to Corning's (NYSE: GLW  ) Gorilla Glass product. Of course, overcoming Corning is easier said than done, considering just last week the company�informed elated investors that its�Specialty Materials segment sales should improve sequentially in the 15% to 20% range next quarter. Of course, that was all thanks to -- you guessed it -- strong demand for Gorilla Glass.�


    Corning provides essential products used in the production process of smartphones, notebooks, tablets, and other related products to companies and consumers around the world. Samsung is reportedly set to purchase a large number of shares of the company. The stock has been moving higher and is currently trading at highs for the year. Over the last four quarters, earnings and revenue figures have increased, which has left investors pleased with the company. Relative to its peers and sector, Corning has been a weak year-to-date performer. Look for Corning to OUTPERFORM.

  • [By Vanin Aegea]

    The electronic components industry is one of the many industries hit by the economic recession. Growth for the short- and mid-term is very well limited by smaller disposable incomes. With a recovering economy, and the introduction of new technologies during the last decade, prospects for Emerson Electric (EMR) and Corning (GLW) defy a weak environment. Whether profits are on the way is the subject at hand. Let�� take a closer look.

Top 10 Telecom Stocks To Watch Right Now: Telstra Corporation Ltd (TLSYY.PK)

Telstra Corporation Limited (Telstra) telecommunications and information services company providing telecommunications and information services for domestic and international customers. The Company operates in nine segments: Telstra Consumer and Country Wide (TC&CW); Telstra Business (TB); Telstra Enterprise and Government (TE&G); Telstra Wholesale (TW); Telstra Media Group; Telstra International Group; TelstraClear; Telstra Operations and Other. On July 6, 2011, Telstra announced changes to its organisational structure. Effective August 1, 2011, the entire sales and retail customer service workforce, was unified in a single business unit, Telstra Customer Sales and Service, responsible for sales and services to all segments, including consumer, business, enterprise and government customers. On March 27, 2012, the Company sold its 67% shareholding in Dotad Media Holdings Limited, and on July 21, 2011, it sold its 64.4% shareholding in Adstream (Aust) Pty Ltd. On 17 May 2012, the Company acquired an additional 11% interest in Autohome Inc. Effective August 22, 2013, Telstra Corp Ltd acquired NSC Group, a provider of industrial automation services. In November 2013, Telstra Corporation Limited increased its Autohome shareholding from 66% to 71.5%. Effective January 21, 2014, Telstra Corp Ltd acquired O2 Networks, a developer of data networking and network security software.

Telstra Consumer and Country Wide

The TC&CW segment is responsible for providing the full range of telecommunication products, services and solutions (across Mobiles, Fixed and Wireless Broadband, Telephony and Pay TV) to consumer customers in metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas of Australia. This is achieved through inbound and outbound call centres, Telstra Shops (owned and licensed), Telstra Dealers and Telstra Digital. Telstra Digital is responsible for delivering self service capabilities for all Telstra customers, across all phases of the customer experience from browsing to buying and bill ! and service requests.

Telstra Business (TB)

TB is responsible for providing Australia's small to medium enterprises. It provides a range of telecommunications products, services and solutions, including the latest in cloud computing.

Telstra Enterprise and Government (TE&G)

TE&G is responsible for provision of network services and applications and integrated voice, data and mobile solutions. It provides these solutions via Telstra Next Generation Services to enterprise and government customers.

Telstra Operations (TOps)

TOps is responsible for overall planning, design, engineering and architecture of Telstra networks, technology and information technology; construction of infrastructure for its Company's fixed, mobile, Internet protocol (IP) and data networks; delivery of customer services across these networks; operation, assurance and maintenance, including activation and restoration of these networks, and supply and delivery of informationtechnology solutions to support its products, services, customer support functions and its internal needs. It also delivers network-centric professional services, managed services and outsourcing services for Telstra customers.

Telstra Wholesale (TW)

TW is responsible for the provision of a range of telecommunication products and services delivered over Telstra networks and associated support systems to non-Telstra branded carriers, carriage service providers and Internet service providers. Telstra Wholesale also provides services to NBN Co Limited.

Telstra Media Group (TMG)

TMG is responsible for the management and growth of the domestic directories and advertising business, including print, voice and digital directories, digital mapping and satellite navigation, digital display advertising and business information services. This includes the management of Yellow Pages, White Pages, Whereis, Citysearch, 1234 and Quotify. It also mana! ges of it! s investment in Digital Media content, services and applications, including Trading Post, Telstra Advertising Network, BigPond content including music, movies, sport and games, Internet Protocol television (IPTV), online portals and the FOXTEL partnership.

Telstra International Group (TIG)

TI is responsible for managing Telstra�� assets outside Australia and New Zealand. It includes CSL New World Mobility Limited, which is its 76.4% owned Hong Kong-based subsidiary in, responsible for providing full mobile services, including handset sales, voice and data products to the Hong Kong market. These services are delivered over CSL�� third generation (3G) and 4G Long Term Evolution networks. Its mainland China business provides digital media services in auto, IT and consumer electronics (this includes the Autohome and Sequel IT businesses). Its managed services and international connectivity business, provides managed network services, international data and voice, and satellite across Asia Pacific, China, India, Europe, and Africa.


TClear is the Company�� New Zealand subsidiary. TClear is responsible for providing full telecommunications services to the New Zealand market.

Telstra Innovation, Products and Marketing

TIPM is responsible for innovation, product, promotion and pricing across Telstra. TIPM is also responsible for the overall brand, sponsorship, promotion and advertising direction of Telstra, as well as maintaining industry analyst relations and embedding market-based management across the Company. This is done by delivering data-driven customer insights that put the customer at the centre of everything Telstra does.

Corporate areas

Corporate areas provides operational and strategic legal support and advice across the Company; manages Telstra's public policy and communications; provides the functions of corporate

planning, accounting and administration, treasury, risk ma! nagement ! and assurance, investor relations, mergers and acquisitions and corporate strategy. The segment also supports in organisational design and change, implementation of people and culture initiatives, leadership development, talent and succession management, health, safety and wellbeing, professional development, workplace relations and all employment and remuneration policies. The segment provides the functions of credit management, billing and procurement.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By David Hunkar]

    Current Dividend Yield: 4.91%
    Sector: Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels
    Country: Italy

    Company: Telstra Corp Ltd (TLSYY.PK)

    Current Dividend Yield: 6.43%
    Sector: Telecom
    Country: Australia

Top 10 Telecom Stocks To Watch Right Now: Mobile TeleSystems (MBT)

Mobile TeleSystems OJSC, together with its subsidiaries, provides telecommunications services primarily in the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Armenia, and Belarus. The company provides a range of mobile and fixed line voice and data telecommunications services, including transmission, broadband, pay-TV, and various value-added services; and sells equipment and accessories. It also offers network access services, including mobile cellular voice and data communication services; automatic roaming services; GPRS and Internet access services; and 3G technology. In addition, the company�s services include the design, construction, and installation of local voice and data networks capable of interconnecting with fixed line operators; installation and maintenance of cellular payphones; lease of digital communication channels; and provision of access to open computer databases and data networks, including the Internet, as well as video conferencing, and fixed, local, and long-distance telecommunications services. Its value-added services comprise call divert/forwarding, caller ID and anti-caller ID display, conference calling, WiFi, GPRS, intelligent call assistant, APN remote access point, fixed mobile convergence, enhanced data rates for GSM Evolution, call barring, SMS, mobile office, voicemail, mobile banking, wireless application protocol, MTS-Connect, SIM-browser, point-to-point transfer, unstructured supplementary services data, downlink packet access, mobile TV, call waiting, MMS, ring tones, missed call alert, itemization of monthly bills, information and directory, international access, WEB and WAP portal, customer care system, ring back tone, collect call, and location-based services. As of December 31, 2011, the company had a mobile subscriber base of approximately 101.14 million. It has a strategic partnership with Vodafone. The company was founded in 1993 and is headquartered in Moscow, the Russian Federation.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Jake L'Ecuyer]

    Telecommunications services sector was the leading decliner in the US market today. Telecommunications services stocks dropped 0.43% in today's trading. Among the stocks, Mobile Telesystems OJSC (NYSE: MBT) was down more than 4.8%, while Telecom Argentina SA (NYSE: TEO) tumbled around 2.5%.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Best Net Payout Yield Companies To Watch For 2014

Ford (NYSE: F  ) had a great April.

The car manufacturer announced that sales in April rose 18% when pitted against April of last year. Car sales were up 21%, along with a 16% increase in trucks and utilities.�

This is great news for Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI  ) . New car sales are the lifeblood of subscriber growth. Satellite radio receivers are now factory installations in more than two thirds of all new cars, and buyers of new vehicles are converting to premium subscribers at a 44% clip after participating in the free trial plans.�

Sirius XM already announced healthy subscriber growth during the first three months of the year, closing out the month of March with 24.4 million subscribers. Strong car sales in April at Ford and other auto makers bode well for Sirius XM's future.

In this video, longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz explains why this matters, even at a time when Sirius XM keeps pointing to the used car market and connected cars as its incremental opportunities for growth.

Top 5 Machinery Companies To Invest In Right Now: iShares U.S. Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (IEO)

iShares Dow Jones U.S. Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Index Fund (the Fund) seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance of the Dow Jones U.S. Select Oil Exploration & Production Index (the Index). The Index measures the performance of the oil exploration and production sub-sector of the United States equity market. The Index includes companies that are engaged in the exploration for and extraction, production, refining and supply of oil and gas products.

The Fund will concentrate its investments in a particular industry or group of industries to approximately the same extent as the Index is so concentrated. Since all of the securities included in the Index are issued by companies in the oil exploration and production sub-sector, the Fund will be concentrated in the exploration and production industry. The Fund�� investment advisor is Barclays Global Fund Advisors.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By John Udovich]

    At first glance, you might think it strange that we have both the ProShares UltraShort DJ-UBS Crude Oil ETF (NYSEARCA: SCO), a bearish bet on oil, and the iShares Dow Jones US Oil & Gas Ex Index ETF (NYSEARCA: IEO), a more bullish bet on both domestic oil and gas, in our SmallCap Network Elite Opportunity (SCN EO) portfolio. But there is a method to our apparent madness as one can be both bearish and bullish on oil and/or gas at the same time.

  • [By Selena Maranjian]

    Exchange-traded funds offer a convenient way to invest in sectors or niches that interest you. If you'd like to add some gas and oil stocks to your portfolio, the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Oil and Gas Exploration Index ETF (NYSEMKT: IEO  ) could save you a lot of trouble. Instead of trying to figure out which companies will perform best, you can use this gas and oil ETF to invest in lots of them simultaneously.

    The basics
    ETFs often sport lower expense ratios than their mutual fund cousins. The gas and oil ETF's expense ratio -- its annual fee -- is a relatively low 0.47%. The fund is on the small side, too, so if you're thinking of buying, beware of possibly large spreads between its bid and ask prices. Consider using a limit order if you want to buy in to this gas and oil ETF.

Best Net Payout Yield Companies To Watch For 2014: Piper Jaffray Companies(PJC)

Piper Jaffray Companies provides investment banking, institutional brokerage, asset management, and related financial services to corporations, private equity groups, public entities, non-profit entities, and institutional investors in the United States, Asia, and Europe. The company raises capital through equity financings; provides advisory services, primarily relating to mergers and acquisitions for its corporate clients; underwrites debt issuances; and offers financial advisory and interest rate risk management services. Its public finance investment banking capabilities focus on state and local governments, as well as healthcare, higher education, housing, hospitality, transportation, and commercial real estate industries, as well as operates in business and financial services, clean technology and renewables, consumer, and industrial growth, as well as media, telecommunications, and technology industries. The company also offers equity and fixed income advisory and t rade execution services for institutional investors, and government and non-profit entities; and is involved in proprietary trading, as well as has equity sales and trading relationships with institutional investors. In addition, it provides asset management services to separately managed accounts, private funds or partnerships, and open-end and closed-end registered investment companies or funds; and offers an array of investment products comprising small and mid-cap value equity, and master limited partnerships focused on the energy industry, as well as fixed income. Further, the company engages in merchant banking activities, which comprises proprietary debt or equity investments in late stage private companies, and investments in private equity and venture capital funds, as well as other firm investments and forfeiture of stock-based compensation. Piper Jaffray Companies was founded in 1895 and is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Piper Jaffray Companies (NYSE: PJC) is expected to report its Q3 earnings at $0.52 per share on revenue of $117.55 million.

    W.W. Grainger (NYSE: GWW) is estimated to report its Q3 earnings at $3.03 per share on revenue of $2.42 billion.

  • [By Jake L'Ecuyer]

    Top losers in the sector included Alto Palermo SA (NASDAQ: APSA), off 5.5 percent, and Piper Jaffray Companies (NYSE: PJC), down 3.5 percent.

    Top Headline
    J.P. Morgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) reported a 19% drop in its first-quarter profit. J.P. Morgan's quarterly profit declined to $5.3 billion, or $1.28 per share, versus a year-ago profit of $6.53 billion, or $1.59 per share. Its revenue slipped 8% to $22.99 billion versus $25.12 billion. J.P. Morgan's investment banking net income dropped 15%. However, analysts were estimating earnings of $1.39 per share on revenue of $24.43 billion.

  • [By EXPstocktrader]

    3) Piper Jaffray (PJC): Recent weakness is unwarranted as the landscape for Acthar remains favorable: OVERWEIGHT (BUY) rating and $74 PT

    4) CRT Capital: BUY rating and $79 PT.

Best Net Payout Yield Companies To Watch For 2014: Maverick Minerals Corp (MVRM)

Maverick Minerals Corporation (Maverick), incorporated on August 27, 1998, is an exploration-stage company. The Company is engaged in the acquisition, exploration, and development of prospective oils and gas properties and mineral properties. During the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company's business focus was to implement the terms of the Farmout Agreement pursuant to which were to earn an interest in certain oil and gas mineral leases located in Fort Bend and Wharton Counties, Texas.

The Company�� subsidiary includes Eskota Energy Corporation. On January 22, 2011, the Company completed drilling of its Initial Test Well on the Company's 4,513 acre Farm-Out property in Fort Bend County, Texas. As of December 31, 2011, the Company had not generated any revenues.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Peter Graham]

    On Friday, small cap mining stocks Maverick Minerals Corp (OTCMKTS: MVRM) and Liberty Coal Energy Corp (OTCMKTS: LBTG) plus oil stock Gray Fox Petroleum Corp (OTCBB: GFOX) sank 30.9%, 16.67% and 11.2%, respectively. However, only one of these stocks appears to have been the subject of some kind of paid promotion in the form of an investment in some shares. So will these three small cap mining or oil stocks keep coming up empty for investors this week? Here is a closer look:

    Maverick Minerals Corp (OTCMKTS: MVRM) Has Been Quiet Lately

    Small cap Maverick Minerals Corp is an exploration stage company involved in the acquisition, exploration, and development of prospective oil and gas properties and mineral properties. On Friday, Maverick Minerals Corp sank 30.9% to $0.38 for a market cap of $6.13 million plus MVRM is up 280% over the past year and up 322.2% over the past five years according to Google Finance.

Best Net Payout Yield Companies To Watch For 2014: Mentor Graphics Corporation(MENT)

Mentor Graphics Corporation provides electronic design automation software and hardware solutions to automate the design, analysis, and testing of complex electro-mechanical systems, electronic hardware, and embedded systems software. It offers ModelSim, a hardware description language mixed-language digital simulator; Questa tool for the verification of systems and ICs; analog/mixed signal simulators, including Eldo, ADVance MS, and ADiT tools; and Veloce, a hardware emulation system. The company also provides Calibre DRC and Calibre LVS physical verification tools; Calibre xRC and xACT transistor-level extraction and device modeling tools; Calibre lithography tools; Calibre PERC tool for checking the electrical design of an IC; and Olympus-SoC place and route solution. In addition, it offers Expedition Series PCB design products; PADS, a PCB design and layout solution; I/O Designer that integrates FPGA input/output planning with PCB design tools; XtremePCB tool for simul taneous design; XtremeAR, a PCB routing product; and FloTHERM, a 3D computational fluid dynamics software. Further, the company provides software tools for the design of complex wire harness systems and automotive electronic components; and a suite of real-time operating systems, Linux and Android products, middleware, and associated development and debugging tools for developing embedded software. Additionally, it offers software support, hardware support, and customer training services; professional consulting services; and methodology development and refinement services to improve product development processes. The company sells and licenses its products through direct sales force, distributors, and sales representatives primarily to large companies in military and aerospace, communications, computer, consumer electronics, semiconductor, networking, multimedia, and transportation industries worldwide. Mentor Graphics Corporation was founded in 1981 and is headquartered in Wilsonville, Oregon.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Steven Russolillo]

    WATCH FOR:�Weekly Jobless Claims (8:30 a.m. Eastern Time): seen 310K; previously 297K. May Markit “Flash” PMI (9:45). April Existing Home Sales (10:00): seen +2.0% at 2.68M; previously -0.2% at 4.59M. April Leading Index (10:00): seen +0.5%; previously +0.8%. May Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Survey (11:00): seen 8; previously 7. Aeropostale, Best Buy(BBY), Borcade, Buckle, Dollar Tree(DLTR), GameStop(GME), Gap(GPS), Hewlett-Packard(HPQ), Marvell Tech(MRVL), Mentor Graphics(MENT), Ross Stores(ROST) and TiVo are among companies scheduled to report quarterly results.

Best Net Payout Yield Companies To Watch For 2014: Comcast Corporation(CMCSK)

Comcast Corporation provides entertainment, information, and communications products and services in the United States and internationally. The company?s Cable Communications segment provides video, high-speed Internet, and voice services to residential and business customers. As of December 31, 2011, its cable systems served 22.3 million video, 18.1 million high-speed Internet, and 9.3 million voice customers. Its Cable Networks segment operates cable entertainment networks, such as USA Network, Syfy, E!, Bravo, Oxygen, Style, G4, Chiller, Cloo, and Universal HD; cable news and information networks, including CNBC, MSNBC, and CNBC World; cable sports networks comprising Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network; regional sports and news networks; international cable networks, such as CNBC Europe, CNBC Asia, and its Universal Networks International networks; cable television production studio; and digital media properties primarily comprising brand-aligned and other Websites, s uch as DailyCandy, Fandango, and iVillage. The company?s Broadcast Television segment primarily operates NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks; NBC and Telemundo owned local television stations; broadcast television production operations; and related digital media properties, which primarily include brand-aligned Websites. Its Filmed Entertainment segment operates Universal Pictures, which produces, acquires, markets, and distributes filmed entertainment and stage plays worldwide in various media formats for theatrical, home entertainment, television, and other distribution platforms. The company?s Theme Parks segment operates Universal theme parks in Orlando and Hollywood. Comcast Corporation also operates the Philadelphia Flyers and the Wells Fargo Center, a multipurpose arena in Philadelphia; provides facilities management services; and offers food services for sporting events, concerts, and other events. The company was founded in 1969 and is based in Philadelphia, Penn sylvania.

Advisors' Opinion:

    Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images College students use Apple (AAPL), Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOG) products every day, so it's not much of a surprise that those companies are high on their lists of potential employers. But a new survey also shows Boeing (BA), the National Institutes of Health and Disney (DIS) at the top. The annual survey by Universum, an international consulting and brand marketing firm, asked 50,000 students for their top choices -- undergraduates in business, engineering, computer sciences, natural sciences and humanities plus those working on their master's of business administration. Google placed first in three categories and in the top six in all of them. "It is perception-based, so a lot of these companies have really strong brand recognition," said Kortney Kutsop, senior account director at Universum. "We're trying to understand what makes students tick, what they're looking for in a career." Government Agencies Do Well Students were given 230 potential employers to choose from. NASA, the Department of Energy, the CIA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Defense Department, the FBI and the Air Force all ranked in the top 40 for engineering students. Kutsop says this is partly because of the desire among students to "give back and be part of the greater good." Oil and gas companies have also climbed in the rankings among engineering students. Exxon Mobil (XOM) came in No. 6, while Shell Oil (RDS-A), Chevron (CVX) and BP (BP) all made the top 25. "This generation is looking for employers that provide development, training and mentorship," said Kutsop. "They want to become leaders of the world." She says they also want jobs that offer some flexibility, work-life balance and job security. She says there's a perception about millennials that they like to change jobs frequently, but in fact many are seeking job security. "They may stay if they see the opportunity to grow and advance." Potential employers are working h

  • [By Steve Birenberg]

    Despite merger and acquisition rumors popping up all around the cable and satellite industry, Comcast (CMCSK) shares have not moved higher. This makes sense since Comcast is by far the biggest company in U.S. pay TV industry, with 25 million subscribers. Charter Communications, now 25% owned by cable industry pioneer John Malone's Liberty Media (LMCA), has just 4 million subscribers. Charter is hoping to buy Time Warner Cable, the second largest cable company with 10 million subscribers.

  • [By Rick Munarriz]

    If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA  ) (NASDAQ: CMCSK  ) Universal Orlando theme park resort in Florida is lavishing Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) with heaps of praise.�

Best Net Payout Yield Companies To Watch For 2014: Micropac Industries Inc (MPAD)

Micropac Industries, Inc. (Micropac), incorporated on March 3, 1969, manufactures and distributes various types of hybrid microelectronic circuits, solid state relays, power operational amplifiers, and optoelectronic components and assemblies. Micropac�� products are used as components in a range of military, space and industrial systems, including aircraft instrumentation and navigation systems, power supplies, electronic controls, computers, medical devices, and high-temperature (200o degree Celsius) products. The Company�� products are either custom (being application-specific circuits designed and manufactured to meet the particular requirements of a single customer) or standard components. During the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011 (fiscal 2011), its custom-designed components accounted for approximately 34% of its revenue and standard components accounted for approximately 66% of its revenue.

Micropac occupies approximately 36,000 square feet of manufacturing, engineering and office space in Garland, Texas. The Company owns 31,200 square feet of that space and leases an additional 4,800 square feet. It also sub-contracts some manufacturing to Inmobiliaria San Jose De Ciuddad Juarez S.A. DE C.V, a maquila contract manufacturer in Juarez, Mexico.

Micropac provides microelectronic and optoelectronic components and assemblies along with contract electronic manufacturing services, and offers a range of products sold to the industrial, medical, military, aerospace and space markets. The Microcircuits product line includes custom microcircuits, solid state relays, power operational amplifiers, and regulators. During fiscal 2011, microcircuits product line accounted for 51% of its revenue and the optoelectronics product line accounted for 62% of its business respectively. The Company�� core technology is the packaging and interconnects of miniature electronic components, utilizing thick film and thin film substrates, forming microelectronics circuits. Other technologi! es include light emitting and light sensitive materials and products, including light emitting diodes and silicon phototransistors used in its optoelectronic components, and assemblies.

The Company�� basic products and technologies include custom design hybrid microelectronic circuits, solid state relays and power controllers, custom optoelectronic assemblies and components, optocouplers, light-emitting diodes, Hall-Effect devices, displays, power operational amplifiers, fiber optic components and assemblies, and high temperature (200o degree Celsius) products. Micropac�� products are primarily sold to original equipment manufacturers (OEM��) who serve major markets, which includes military/aerospace, such as aircraft instrumentation, guidance and navigations systems, control circuitry, power supplies and laser positioning; space, which include control circuitry, power monitoring and sensing, and industrial, which includes power control equipment and robotics.

The Company�� products are marketed throughout the United States and in Western Europe. During fiscal 2011, approximately 21% of the Company�� revenue was from international customers. The Company�� major customers include contractors to the United States Government. During fiscal 2010, sales to these customers for the Department of Defense (DOD) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) contracts accounted for approximately 62% of its revenues. The Company�� customers are Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Rockwell Int��, and NASA.

The Company compete with Teledyne Industries, Inc., MS Kennedy, Honeywell, Avago and International Rectifier.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Geoff Gannon] % of NCAV, has similar (slightly better) z- and f-scores, a FCF margin of 6%, but has ROA of 28%.

    ADDvantage (AEY) sells at 95% of NCAV, has similar (in the ballpark) scores and FCF and ROA of 23%.

    The slightly better businesses are currently more expensive in terms of price/NCAV. They have less asset-based downside protection, but they are better businesses.

    How do you quantify and qualify what is cheap enough? To me, there's a big difference in relative cheapness in a company selling at 74% of NCAV versus one selling at 95%. I'm wondering if I'm putting too much weight on this cheapness measurement instead of acknowledging that any decent business selling at less than NCAV is cheap enough. Yet, one has to have some quantifiable idea of when something is not cheap enough anymore.

    Can you help me put this into a unified framework?


    There�� a great post over at Oddball Stocks called: �� Stock is a Business�� Read it. Then go over to Richard Beddard�� Interactive Investor Blog. Bookmark that blog. Read it religiously. He looks at Ben Graham type stocks in the U.K. And he looks at them not just as stocks but as pieces of a business.

    Here�� what Richard said in a post called ��iving Up on Mastery of the Universe��

    I need to know:

    1. Whether the managers have made good decisions in the past, and whether their incentives work in the interests of the owners, because those kind of managers often add value to a company.

    2. The products a company sells will still be in demand for years to come, because if they��e not then the past, which we know, does not tell us anything about the future, which we don��.

    3. A company is financially strong enough to withstand the kinds of shocks companies typically experience bearing in mind some are more sensitive to events than others.

    4. How to judge whether the share price undervalues the company, bearing in mind the preceding three factors.

  • [By Geoff Gannon] strong>ADDvantage Technologies (AEY)

    路 Solitron Devices (SODI)

    路 OPT-Sciences (OPST)


    Micropac is 76% owned by Heinz-Werner Hempel. He�� a German businessman. You can see the German company he founded here. He�� had control of Micropac for a long-time. I don�� have an exact number in front of me. But I would guess it�� been something like 25 years.


    ADDvantage Technologies is controlled by the Chymiak brothers. See the company�� April 4 press release explaining their decision to turn over the CEO position to an outsider. Regardless, the Chymiaks still control 47% of the company. Ken Chymiak is now chairman. And David Chymiak is still a director and now the company�� chief technology officer. Clearly, it�� still their company.

    By the way, the name ADDvantage Technologies has nothing to do with the Chymiaks. Today�� AEY really traces its roots to a private company called Tulsat. The Chymiak brothers acquired that company about 27 years ago. So, effectively, when you buy shares of AEY you are buying into a 27-year-old family-controlled company.

    That�� pretty typical in the world of net-nets.


    Solitron Devices is 29% owned by Shevach Saraf. He has been the CEO for 20 years. The post-bankruptcy Solitron has never known another CEO. Before the bankruptcy, Solitron was a much bigger, much different company. So even though we are not talking about the founder here ��and even though 70% of the company�� shares are not held by the CEO ��we��e still talking about a company where one person has a lot of control. Solitron only has three directors. Saraf is the chairman, CEO, president, CFO and treasurer. Neither of the other two directors joined the board within the last 15 years. So, we aren�� talking about a lot of tumult at the top.

    In fact, profitable net-nets seem to be especially common candidates for abandoning the responsibilities of a public comp

Sunday, March 29, 2015

AbbVie Q1: Story of Humira and the 7 Dwarfs

In its first four months of existence, AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV  ) rewarded investors with gains of almost 26%. Going into month five, those gains seem likely to increase. The spinoff of Abbott Labs (NYSE: ABT  ) announced solid first-quarter results before the market opened on Friday. Shares increased more than 1% in early trading. Here are the highlights from the quarter.

By the numbers
AbbVie reported adjusted earnings for the first quarter of $0.68 per share. That result beat the company's prior guidance as well as the average analyst estimate of $0.66 per share. On a GAAP basis, first-quarter diluted earnings were $0.60 per share.

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The company announced first-quarter revenue of nearly $4.33 billion, which beat the consensus analysts' estimate of $4.29 billion. This level reflects a 3.7% increase compared with first-quarter results from 2012, when the brands now belonging to AbbVie were part of Abbott. When the impact of foreign exchange fluctuations is excluded, revenue grew at an even more impressive 16% rate. 

Behind the numbers
My nickname for AbbVie's product lineup is "Humira and the Seven Dwarfs." That moniker was certainly applicable to the first quarter.

Humira powered the company's revenue, with sales totaling over $2.2 billion. This reflects a 16% year-over-year increase excluding the impact of foreign exchange. Humira sales in the U.S. grew 23.7%, driven largely by the launch of the drug as a treatment of ulcerative colitis.

AbbVie counts seven other drugs with sales exceeding $100 million during the first quarter. Of these "seven dwarfs," only AndroGel experienced increased sales -- by only 3.4% year over year. The company did see nice growth from lower-selling Creon during the quarter, though. Sales increased by 32.4% to $90 million.

Now that the spinoff and the "spinner," Abbott, have both reported first-quarter results, how did the two compare? AbbVie looks to be the winner.

Abbott had pretty good results. Both companies beat earnings estimates. However, Abbott missed analysts' revenue estimates, while AbbVie topped revenue expectations. Round one to the spinoff.

Looking ahead
The company confirmed previous full-year guidance of $2.66 to $2.76 in diluted earnings per share on a GAAP basis and adjusted earnings of $3.03 to $3.13 per share. Analysts expect adjusted earnings per share of $3.11 for the full year.

Prospects for Humira still look very strong. The recent European rejection of Pfizer's (NYSE: PFE  ) rheumatoid arthritis drug Xeljanz helps improve those prospects. While Pfizer intends to appeal this decision, the absence of Xeljanz in European markets means great news for AbbVie.

However, with AbbVie still depending on Humira for nearly 52% of total revenue, the company definitely needs other strong revenue sources. That will become even more important when Humira goes off-patent in a few years.

The company can't count on AndroGel to help too much. Perrigo (NYSE: PRGO  ) gained approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in February for a generic version of a less concentrated form of the gel in February.

AbbVie does have some good candidates in the pipeline, but it will have to see some staggering successes to make up for eventual revenue declines when Humira loses exclusivity. My view is that the stock should continue to do well throughout 2013 and into the next couple of years. However, the future looks much murkier beyond that point.

In the pharma business, great success comes with a caveat. AbbVie is a perfect example, as investors in the new company are left wondering what the future holds once the company's golden goose, Humira, is cooked. The Fool's brand-new premium report on the company answers the high-profile questions that AbbVie investors are asking. Simply click here now to claim your copy today.

Top 10 Forestry Companies To Buy For 2015

Top 10 Forestry Companies To Buy For 2015: Lithia Motors Inc. (LAD)

Lithia Motors, Inc. operates as an automotive franchisee and retailer of new and used vehicles in the United States. The company sells new and used cars, and trucks; offers replacement parts; provides vehicle maintenance, warranty, paint, and repair services; and arranges related financing, service contracts, protection products, and credit insurance. As of February 22, 2013, the company offered 27 brands of new vehicles and various brands of used vehicles in 87 stores, as well as online at Lithia.com. Lithia Motors, Inc. was founded in 1946 and is based in Medford, Oregon.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Garrett Cook]

    In trading on Monday, cyclical consumer goods & services shares were relative laggards, down on the day by about 0.66 percent. Top losers in the sector included Lithia Motors (NYSE: LAD), down 19 percent, and Shutterfly (NASDAQ: SFLY), off 9.8 percent.

  • [By ovenerio]

    The company has a current ROE of 14.85% which is higher than the industry median. In general, analysts consider ROE ratios in the 15-20% range as representing attractive levels for investment. So for investors looking those levels or more, AutoNation (AN), CST Brands (CST), Lithia Motors (LAD) and AutoZone (AZO) could be the options. It is very important to understand this metric before investing and it is important to look at the trend in ROE over time.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Lithia Motors (LAD) fell8.3% to $63.31 despite beating earnings forecasts on lower guidance.

    Monarch Casino & Resort (MCRI) fell 15% to $18.71 after revenue missed forecasts today.

  • [By Namitha Jagadeesh]

    Ladbrokes Plc (LAD) sank 8 percent to 190.3 pence after the U.K. gambling company forecast 2013 operating profit at the lower end of analysts' estimates because of weaker-th! an-projected trading in the first quarter. Analysts in a Bloomberg survey had predicted operating profit of 188 million pounds ($288 million) to 215 million pounds.

  • source from Top Stocks For 2015:http://www.topstocksblog.com/top-10-forestry-companies-to-buy-for-2015-2.html

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Small Investor Who Got Twitter at $26, Did You? (Update 2)

Updated from 1:58 p.m. ET, Friday, on Page Two with reports from individual investors and their TWTR IPO experiences.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- TheStreet's Antoine Gara is out with an excellent article Friday afternoon -- Maybe Facebook (FB) Priced Its IPO Better Than Twitter (TWTR).

Gara does an excellent job detailing differences between the two offerings. Here's a key excerpt: Reports from CNBC's David Faber indicate that Twitter's offering was oversubscribed by a multiple of 30. In contrast, interviews show that Facebook's underwriters were putting out calls to small institutional accounts and left large allocations for retail investors in order to fill the mammoth stock offering. Ordinary investors basically had the ability to buy as many Facebook shares as they wanted.

As far as I'm concerned this speaks to my outrage over the IPO process. It's a black box for smallish investors. In most cases, particularly the most lucrative ones, they can't get shares at the offer, leading to, as Gara reports, lots of retail activity in a name such as TWTR right out of the gate. Often not a good thing. Meantime, the Facebook IPO was apparently put out in front of hype-consuming, Peter Lynch-influenced and, in many cases, novice or brand new investors. But, hey, let's not balk at the SEC putting so much energy toward the dog and pony motions of chasing insider trading cases. Maintain. The. Status. Quo! That said, I came across an ordinary investor who actually received Twitter shares through his broker at the offer price. In other words, he put in a request and, his brokerage -- TD Ameritrade (AMTD) -- filled it. Here's his confirmation (though he will not disclose the number of shares he received): Did you get shares in TWTR? And, for that matter, FB? At the offer ahead of the respective IPO's open. If so, Tweet some screen shots and related information to me @Rocco_TheStreet. Also, if you didn't get shares of TWTR or FB at the offer, but bought either sometime during day one of trading, what's your situation with that position at this juncture? Here's an official statement from a TD Ameritrade spokesperson on the TWTR IPO as it relates to the firm: We have not disclosed the amount of our allocation, but as a minor participant you should assume that it was relatively small and that demand far outpaced the supply. All of our allocation went to retail investors - either self-directed investors or the clients of independent registered investment advisors who custody their assets with us. ... TWTR was our top traded equity yesterday, but only amounted to 5% of our clients' total trading volume. Some added color - we did see a great deal of interest and excitement around this IPO, which was expected given the popularity of the Twitter brand, but it was not at the same levels that we saw when Facebook went public. The TD Ameritrade spokesperson added that, on average, through October 25, 2013, its clients executed approximately 419,000 trades per day in the month of October (as of the 25th). The company released this data in its 10/29 quarterly earnings report. If we assume -- and the TD Ameritrade spokesperson did not confirm this -- that 419,000 trades took place via its platform Thursday, roughly 20,950 would have involved TWTR, using the above-mentioned 5% figure.

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I put the call out on Twitter for other investors who tried (and failed or succeeded) to get shares, at the offer, for the TWTR IPO. While this hardly qualifies as scientific research, it accomplishes something.

First, it provides hope that anything's possible. Generally, to get shares from your broker, you need a track record. Part of the black box that is the IPO process is that nobody really knows what that means because the brokerages don't explicitly tell us. And, of course, the SEC doesn't require them to.

Is a track record merely a large dollar value account or is it number of holdings, trades, types of positions, risk aversion profile? It would be nice if the application for IPO shares looked more like the standard process brokerages use to qualify customers to trade options. That's much easier to make sense of as you answer the regulator-mandated questions and submit your form. There are various approval levels. You can move between them. You know where you stand and, relative to the IPO situation, a better idea of why.

Back in the day when I was vying for IPO shares (I'm not that old; I just can't own individual stocks anymore!), I routinely asked for shares and never received any. Those experiences mean I can empathize with this guy: @Rocco_TheStreet last thing I wanna say. As a small investor who is learning my way as an AAPM, just felt duped. "Small"— jeremy rogers (@jjrog3) November 8, 2013 At the same time, I'm not naive. I understand the notion of supply and demand as well as the need to exercise control over it. However, we require some balance between top down-supplied order in the IPO process and color on how many shares get placed here and there. Jack Dorsey probably deserves every dime he receives in this process (though that's certainly arguable), but does the father-in-law of a hot shot who works for an IPO underwriter "deserve" shares any more than you do? I reckon not. Frankly, I'd love to see a list, detailing who (by rank in society!) asked for shares and a list of who actually received them. And why. Speaking of transparency, the following series of trade confirmation screenshots and Tweets from some readers of TheStreet not only let you know you're not alone as a smallish individual investor, but hope does exist even in what can feel like a crooked racket. @Rocco_TheStreet I asked Schwab for 200 shares of Twitter and got 100.— Loudoun (@rctmat) November 8, 2013 @Rocco_TheStreet Bid for 3,000 shared thru Fidelity. Got a big 0. No position now either.— Pete (@broncos1991) November 8, 2013 Smart man (^^). @TheStreet @jimcramer @Rocco_TheStreet I didn't get any shares through my broker, Fidelity :-(( I wish I had— Dragana Mendel (@DraganaMendel) November 8, 2013 You might be better off. I could see this thing dropping below the original offer price! That confirmation comes from a friend of mine, known as @CraigScott31 on Twitter, who told me -- and, despite being a New York Islanders fan, I have no reason to not believe him -- he was told not to sell inside 90 days if he wanted to sniff even a part of the Alibaba IPO. He also reports that ahead of the Facebook IPO, he received a call from his broker saying, "Great news! You asked for 1,000 shares, well I got you 5,000 shares." At that point, Craig notes, "I knew I was (expletive)." Just like the 2013 version of the Islanders. There's no doubt, the deck's stacked against the individual investor. All you can do is fight the good fight and put your foot to the floor, darling, and don't look back. Follow @rocco_thestreet --Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is a columnist and TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola makes frequent appearances on national television networks such as CNN and CNBC as well as TheStreet TV. Whenever possible, Pendola uses hockey, Springsteen or Southern California references in his work. He lives in Santa Monica.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

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Finally, some good news arrived at Ariad Pharmaceuticals'  (ARIA) doorstep.

The European Medicines Agency said Friday that Ariad will be allowed to continue marketing its embattled leukemia drug Iclusig, with extra safety precautions to safeguard patients against an increased risk of blood clots.

Ariad shares are up 37% $3.53 in early Friday trading. 

Here's the European announcement: The CHMP recommends that Iclusig should not be used in patients who have had a heart attack or stroke in the past, unless the potential benefits to them outweigh the risks. In addition, the cardiovascular risks of all patients should be assessed and measures should be taken to reduce risks before starting and during treatment with Iclusig. Patients who have high blood pressure should have their blood pressure controlled, and treatment with Iclusig should be stopped immediately in any patient with signs of blood clots obstructing arteries or veins. Iclusig was removed from the U.S. market temporarily last month because of new safety showing the drug caused far more blood clots and heart-related side effects than previously believed. 

-- Reported by Adam Feuerstein in Boston. Follow Adam Feuerstein on Twitter.

5 Best Machinery Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Ctrip.com International Ltd.(CTRP)

Ctrip.com International, Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, provides travel services for hotel accommodations, airline tickets, and packaged tours in the People?s Republic of China. It also sells independent leisure travelers bundled package-tour products, which include transportation and accommodation, as well as guided tours covering various domestic and international destinations. In addition, the company offers Internet-related advertising, aviation casualty insurance, and air-ticket delivery services. Further, it sells Property Management System, a hotel information software; travel guidebooks, which provide information for independent travelers; and VIP membership cards that allow cardholders to receive discounts from various restaurants, clubs, and bars. The company was founded in 1999 and is headquartered in Shanghai, the People?s Republic of China.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Rick Munarriz]

    Priceline may have gotten its start attracting penny pinchers with its namesake "name your own price" portal, but it has evolved into a global juggernaut by acquiring Europe's Booking.com and making an enhanced push into Asia with its recent $500 million convertible bond investment in China's Ctrip.com (NASDAQ: CTRP  ) . The majority of the dot-com darling's gross travel bookings are actually generated internationally. Its $2.6 billion deal for restaurants reservation hub OpenTable closed late last month, so naturally it didn't play a role in Priceline's blowout quarter.�

  • [By Jim Jubak]

    Among stocks that are available to US investors through a listing in New York, the list includes Ctrip.com International (CTRP), China's biggest online travel retailer; Qihoo 360 (QIHU), a leading mobile security company; 58.com (WUBA), the Craigslist-like operator of a classified site, and SouFun Holdings (SFUN), the owner of China's biggest real-estate site.

  • [By Brian Pacampara]

    What: Shares of Chinese travel website Ctrip.com International (NASDAQ: CTRP  ) surged 19% today after its quarterly results and outlook topped Wall Street expectations. �

Top Sliver Stocks To Watch Right Now: Avery Dennison Corp (AVY)

Avery Dennison Corporation (Avery Dennison), incorporated on February 23, 1977, is engaged in the production of pressure-sensitive materials, and a variety of tickets, tags, labels other converted products, and office and consumer products through embossing, printing, stamping and die-cutting. The Company operates in two segments: Pressure-sensitive Materials and Retail Branding and Information Solutions. In addition to its reportable segments, the Company has other specialty converting businesses comprised of Vancive Medical Technologies (Vancive) and Designed and Engineered Solutions (DES). Some are sold by the Company in converted form as printable media, tapes and reflective sheeting. The Company also manufacture and sells office and consumer products, other converted products and items not involving pressure-sensitive components, such as binders, organizing systems, markers, fasteners and business forms, as well as tickets, tags, radio-frequency identification (RFID) inlays and tags, and imprinting equipment and related services for retailers and apparel manufacturers. In 2012, the PSM and RBIS segments contributed approximately 71% and 25%, of its total sales, respectively. In 2012, international operations constituted a substantial majority of its business, representing approximately 72% of its sales. As of December 29, 2012, the Company operated approximately 200 manufacturing and distribution facilities worldwide, employed approximately 30,000 persons, and had operations in over 50 countries. In July 2013, Avery Dennison Corp completed the sale of its Office and Consumer Products and Designed and Engineered Solutions businesses to CCL Industries Inc.

Pressure-sensitive Materials Segment

Pressure-sensitive Materials segment manufactures and sells Fasson-,JAC -, and Avery Dennison-brand pressure-sensitive label and packaging materials, Avery- and Avery Dennison-brand graphics and graphic films, Avery Dennison-brand reflective products, and performance polymers (largel! y used to manufacture pressure-sensitive materials). The business of this segment tends not to be seasonal, except for certain outdoor graphics and reflective products and operations in Europe. Pressure-sensitive materials consist primarily of papers, plastic films, metal foils and fabrics, which are coated with company-developed and purchased adhesives, and then laminated with specially coated backing papers and films. They are sold in roll or sheet form with either solid or patterned adhesive coatings, and are available in a wide range of face materials, sizes, thicknesses and adhesive properties. These label and packaging materials are sold worldwide to label printers and converters for labeling, decorating, fastening, electronic data processing and special applications in the home and personal care, beer and beverage, durables, pharmaceutical, wine and spirits, and food market segments. A pressure-sensitive, or self-adhesive, material is one that adheres to a surface by press-on contact.

The Company�� graphics and reflective businesses sell a variety of films and other products to the architectural, commercial sign, digital printing, and other related market segments. The Company also sells durable cast and reflective films to the construction, automotive and fleet transportation market segments; and reflective films for traffic and safety applications. The Company provides sign shops, commercial printers and designers a range of pressure-sensitive materials to enable the creation of impactful and informative, brand and decorative graphics. The Company has an array of pressure-sensitive vinyl and specialty materials designed for digital imaging, screen printing and sign cutting applications.

The Company�� performance tapes business manufactures and sells coated tapes and adhesive transfer tapes for use in non-mechanical fastening, bonding and sealing systems in various industries. These tapes are sold to industrial original equipment manufacturers, converters, and dispo! sable dia! per producers worldwide in roll form and are available in a range of face materials, sizes, thicknesses and adhesive properties. Performance polymer products include a range of solvent- and emulsion-based acrylic polymer adhesives, protective coatings and other polymer additives for internal use, as well as for sale to other companies.

The Company competes with Raflatac, MacTac, Ritrama, Inc., Flexcon Corporation, Inc., Orafol Group, Inc., 3M, Tesa-SE, and Nitto Denko Corporation.

Retail Branding and Information Solutions Segment

The Company�� Retail Branding and Information Solutions segment (RBIS) designs, manufactures and sell a wide variety of branding and information solutions to retailers, brand owners, apparel manufacturers, distributors and industrial customers on a worldwide basis. RBIS branding solutions include creative services, brand embellishments, graphic tickets, tags, and labels, and sustainable packaging. RBIS information solutions include RFID-enabled inventory accuracy, visibility and loss prevention solutions, price ticketing and marking, care and content or origin compliance solutions, and brand protection and security solutions.

The Company competes with SML Group, R-pac Internation Corporation, and Checkpoint Systems.

Other specialty converting businesses

The Company�� specialty converting businesses include its designed and engineered solutions and Vancive businesses. These businesses manufacture and sell specialty tapes, engineered films, pressure-sensitive postage stamps and other converted products. These businesses are generally not seasonal, except for certain automotive products due to plant shutdowns by automotive manufacturers. It�� designed and engineered solutions business manufactures custom pressure-sensitive labels and multi-layer film constructions for durable goods, electronics and consumer packaged goods. These products are sold primarily to original equipment manufacturers, tie! r supplie! rs and packaging converters. For the automotive market segment, the businesses manufactures custom pressure-sensitive and heat-seal labels, and pressure-sensitive films, which are sold primarily to original equipment manufacturers and their suppliers. Its Vancive business manufactures an array of pressure-sensitive adhesive products for surgical, wound care, ostomy, and electromedical applications. These products are sold primarily to medical supply and device manufacturers and healthcare providers.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    3M has also done a good job of defending its intellectual property. Late last month, the company announced that it had won a lawsuit against Avery Dennison (NYSE: AVY  ) for patent infringement, and the court dismissed counterclaims that Avery had filed against 3M.

  • [By ovenerio]

    In this article, let's take a look at Avery Dennison Corporation (AVY), a $4.55 billion market cap company, which is a leading worldwide manufacturer of pressure-sensitive adhesives and materials, labels, and retail systems.

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Pressure-sensitive materials producer Avery Dennison (AVY) raised its quarterly dividend 21% to 35 cents per share payable June 18 to shareholders of record June 4.
    AVY Dividend Yield: 2.88%

Top Sliver Stocks To Watch Right Now: Carlisle Companies Incorporated (CSL)

Carlisle Companies Incorporated operates as a diversified manufacturing company in the United States and internationally. Its Construction Materials segment manufactures and sells rubber and thermoplastic polyolefin roofing systems; rigid foam insulation panels for various roofing applications; and liquid and spray-applied waterproofing membranes, vapor and air barriers, and HVAC duct sealants and hardware for the commercial and residential construction markets, as well as markets and sells polyvinyl chloride membrane and accessories. The company�s Transportation Products segment offers bias-ply, steel-belted radial trailer tires, stamped or roll-formed steel wheels, non-automotive rubber tires, and tire and wheel assemblies; and power transmission products, such as industrial belts and related components. Its Brake and Friction segment provides off-highway braking systems and friction products for off-highway, on-highway, aircraft, and other industrial applications. The company�s Interconnect Technologies segment offers wire, cable, contacts, fiber optic, RF/microwave, and specialty filtered connectors; specialty cable assemblies; integrated wired racks; trays; and airframe subsystem solutions primarily for the aerospace, defense electronics, and test and measurement industries. Its FoodService Products segment provides commercial and institutional foodservice permanentware, table coverings, cookware, display pieces, lighting equipment, and supplies to restaurants, hotels, hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and correctional facilities; and industrial brooms, brushes, mops, and rotary brushes. The company markets its products to original equipment manufacturers, distributors, and end-users. It serves customers in commercial roofing, energy, agriculture, lawn and garden, mining and construction equipment, aerospace and electronics, dining and food delivery, and healthcare markets. The company was founded in 1917 and is headquartered in Charl otte, North Carolina.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Adam Haigh]

    CSL Ltd. (CSL), a maker of blood-derived therapies that gets more than a third of its sales in the U.S., advanced 3.1 percent in Sydney. Toyota Motor Corp. gained 1.1 percent in Tokyo as the yen weakened against the dollar, boosting the earnings outlook for Asia�� largest carmaker. Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd. fell 4.7 percent in Sydney as the gold miner reported an 18 percent drop in quarterly output.

Top Sliver Stocks To Watch Right Now: BGC Partners Inc.(BGCP)

BGC Partners, Inc. operates as a financial intermediary to the financial markets specializing in the brokering of various financial products. It provides electronic marketplaces, including government bond markets, spot foreign exchange, foreign exchange options, corporate bonds, and credit default swaps in various financial markets through its eSpeed- and BGC Trader- branded trading platform which can be accessed through its high speed data network, over the Internet, or third party communication networks. The company?s brokerage services include trade execution, broker-dealer services, clearing, processing, information, and other back office services, as well as cover various products, including fixed income securities, interest rate swaps, foreign exchange, equities, equity derivatives, credit derivatives, commodities, futures, and structured products. It also provides financial technology solutions, market data, and analytics related to financial instruments and markets . In addition, the company offers customized screen-based market solutions, which enables its clients to develop a marketplace, trade with their customers, issue debt, trade odd lots, access program trading interfaces, and access its network and intellectual property. Further, it licenses intellectual property portfolio and software solutions to various financial markets participants; and provides software development, software maintenance, customer support, infrastructure, and internal technology services to support electronic trading platforms. The company serves banks, broker-dealers, investment banks, trading firms, hedge funds, governments, investment firms, professional trading firms, futures commission merchants, and other professional market participants and financial institutions in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and other Americas. The company was founded in 1999 and is based in New York, New York.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Selena Maranjian]

    Finally, Tudor Investment's biggest closed positions included Apple�and the iShares MSCI Emerging Market Index Fund ETF. Other closed positions of interest include Frontier Communications (NASDAQ: FTR  ) and BGC Partners (NASDAQ: BGCP  ) . Frontier, recently yielding more than 9%, is a rural telecom specialist. It's weighed down with considerable debt, and is shifting its business focus, favoring business customers more. It's been posting declining revenue lately, though, and its credit rating took a hit in recent months, also. Some worry that its acquisition of landline business from Verizon�may not be as lucrative as expected, and fear a dividend cut.

  • [By Tom Rojas var popups = dojo.query(".socialByline .popC"); popups.forEach(func]

    BGC Partners Inc.(BGCP) on Wednesday said it again extended its unsolicited offer for fellow broker-dealer GFI Group Inc.(GFIG) until the date of a special meeting when shareholders will vote on GFI’s deal with CME Group Inc.(CME) Shares of BGC and GFI were inactive premarket.

  • [By Brian Womack]

    ��t�� a defensive strategy because R&D costs are going up and the number of customers is going down,��said Amir Anvarzadeh, a manager of Japanese equity sales at BGC Partners Inc. (BGCP) in Singapore. ��his tells you there�� a problem in the industry.��

  • [By Eric Volkman]

    BGC Partners (NASDAQ: BGCP  ) is waxing optimistic about its current quarter. The company updated its previously issued guidance, indicating that its nearly complete Q2 will come in at the higher end of the range for revenues and EPS. The former was for distributable earnings revenue of $435 million-$465 million, while the latter anticipated pre-tax distributable earnings of $42 million-$53 million.

Top Sliver Stocks To Watch Right Now: Corporate Executive Board Co (CEB)

Corporate Executive Board Company (CEB), incorporated on September 11, 1997, is an advisory company that equips senior executives and their teams with actionable solutions to drive corporate performance. The Company operates in two segments: SHL Group Holdings I and its subsidiaries (SHL) and CEB. The CEB segment includes its membership programs for senior executives and their teams to drive corporate performance by identifying and building on the practices of companies. The SHL segment provides cloud-based solutions for talent assessment and talent mobility, as well as professional services to support those solutions. Personnel Decisions Research Institutes, Inc. (PDRI) is included in the CEB segment. PDRI provides customized personnel assessment tools and services to various agencies of the United States government. In February 2012, it acquired Valtera, Inc. In August 2012, it acquired SHL Group Holdings I. In February 2014, Corporate Executive Board Co acquired Talent Neuron, a provider of market intelligence technology.

The Company delivers its products and services to a global customer base primarily through two relationship models: an annual, fixed-fee subscription for membership programs and engagement-based fees for assessment services, development curriculum, customized analytics reports, and best practice implementation. It spans more than 100 countries, 10,000 individual organizations, and 225,000 business professionals. Its membership programs deliver research and advisory services that align with executive leadership roles and enable members to focus efforts to address emerging and recurring business challenges.

The Company serves executives and professionals in corporate functions at corporate and middle market institutions in more than 100 countries. The corporate functions, which it considers its primary end market includes human resources, finance, legal and compliance, sales and marketing, and technology. It also serves operational leaders in the global f! inancial services industry and United Sates government. For both the financial services industry and the United States government, it delivers a product and service portfolio of practices, operational insights, analytical tools, and peer collaboration designed to drive executive decision making.

The Company helps senior executives and their teams drive corporate performance by equipping them with the actionable insights, analytic tools, and advisory support they need to improve performance. It sells a combination of resources to address business challenges, such as best practices and decision support, talent management and measurement, and management tools and solutions. It helps its members set direction for their team, function, and company by providing performance insights, benchmarks, and best practices. It also provides members with networking opportunities, including through online peer discussion groups, on-request advice, feedback, and other peer interaction at both in-person and virtual events. It helps organizations select, engage, and align their organizational talent against corporate objectives. The Company�� assessment and development solutions help companies identify and manage talent investments. Its talent management and measurement products generally are implemented into pre-hire and post-hire assessments. The offerings include cognitive ability assessments, skills and/or knowledge assessments, personality questionnaires, and job/role simulations.

The Company helps organizations secure performance gains through consulting and technology. It delivers a suite of professional services, including best practice implementation, survey and diagnostic tools, and executive education. It offers targeted survey and diagnostic technology to aid executives in assessing the performance of their functions, processes, and teams. It provides additional implementation support to executives seeking to improve their functional performance. For executives seeking to enhance ski! ll develo! pment for themselves or their staff members, it delivers an executive education curriculum supported by e-learning resources. The curriculum may include skills diagnostic reports, learning portal access, classroom-based development sessions, Webinars, and virtual office hours with faculty.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Corporate advisory specialist�Corporate Executive Board� (NYSE: CEB  ) �announced yesterday�its second-quarter dividend of $0.225 per share, the same rate it paid last quarter after it raised the payout 29% from $0.175 per share.

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Corporate Executive Board (NYSE: CEB  ) reported earnings on May 1. Here are the numbers you need to know.

    The 10-second takeaway
    For the quarter ended March 31 (Q1), Corporate Executive Board missed slightly on revenues and beat expectations on earnings per share.

Top Sliver Stocks To Watch Right Now: Global Sources Ltd.(GSOL)

Global Sources Ltd. operates as a business-to-business media company primarily in greater China. It provides sourcing information to volume buyers and integrated marketing services to suppliers. The company offers trade information using online media, print media, and face-to-face events. Its products and services comprise online product information and listing services; organizing trade shows; and advertising and marketing creative services; trade publications in print and digital formats; and china sourcing reports. The company uses English-language media to facilitate trade from Greater China to the world, as well as utilizes Chinese-language media to enable companies to sell to, and within, Greater China. It delivers information on approximately 5.7 million products and approximately 262,000 suppliers annually through 14 online marketplaces, 13 monthly print and 18 digital magazines, approximately 90 sourcing research reports, and 73 specialized trade shows a year in 9 cities. The company was founded in 1970 and is based in Hamilton, Bermuda.

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 Global Sources (Nasdaq: GSOL  ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.

Top Sliver Stocks To Watch Right Now: Digital Cinema Destinations Corp (DCIN)

Digital Cinema Destinations Corp., incorporated on July 29, 2010, operates eight theatres and 73 screens located in Westfield, New Jersey (Rialto), Cranford, New Jersey (Cranford), Bloomfield, Connecticut (the Bloomfield 8) and five theatres located in central Pennsylvania (Cinema Centers). During the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012 (fiscal 2012), the Company operates eight theatres, two in New Jersey, with a total of 11 screens, one in Connecticut, with a total of 8 screens and five in central Pennsylvania, with a total of 54 screens. In March 2014, the Company announced that it has completed the acquisition of a seven screen theater in Churchville, MD from Flagship Cinemas.

The Rialto is a six-screen theatre located in downtown Westfield, New Jersey, which has a population of approximately 30,000 people. The Bloomfield 8 is an eight-screen theatre located at the Wintonbury Mall in the town of Bloomfield, Connecticut, which is a New England town of over 20,000 people that is home to many sites that are on the National Register of Historic Places and is approximately 5.5 miles from downtown Hartford, Connecticut. Cinema Centers consists of a chain of five theatres with 54 screens located throughout central Pennsylvania. All of the Cinema Centers theatres are in free zones. The 11-screen Cinema Center of Bloomsburg theatre is located in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. Bloomsburg, a college town of approximately 13,000 people, is located midway between Wilkes Barre and Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The 12-screen Cinema Center of Camp Hill theatre is located in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, just outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Harrisburg is the state capital of Pennsylvania with a population of approximately 50,000 people.

The 10-screen Cinema Center at Fairgrounds Square Mall is located in Reading, Pennsylvania. The Company�� Cinema Centers, had one digital projector, RealD 3D enabled. The 12-screen Cinema Center at Selinsgrove is located in Selinsgove, Pennsylvania. Selinsgrove is ! a historic town located on the Susquehanna River with a population of approximately 27,000 people located within five miles of the theatre. The nine-screen Cinema Center of Williamsport is located in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

The Company competes with Regal Entertainment Group, AMC Entertainment Inc., Clearview and Cinemark USA, Inc.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Erin McCarthy]

    Carmike Cinemas Inc.(CKEC), the nation’s fourth-largest movie theater chain, said Thursday it is acquiring Digital Cinema Destinations Corp.(DCIN), a smaller rival that does business as Digiplex.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Skinny on Coke and Pepsi's New Lo-Cal Promise

The world's largest beverage makers just committed to cut the number of calories people consume from beverages by 20% by 2025. It's a lofty goal and though it sounds like they're cutting the legs out from under their business model, it just might be an easier sell than you would think.

Beverage makers agree to take on the weighty issue of obesity. Photo: Flickr user Stab At Sleep | Tallahassee

In partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation -- a do-good group put together by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation -- Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) , PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP  ) , and DrPepper Snapple (NYSE: DPS  ) agreed to decrease beverage calories in the American diet.

Having previously joined together to cut the amount of soda that's shipped to schools by 90%, they've gone back to the well to expand the initiative nationwide and have everyone drink less soda.

Choice of a new generation
That's not as bad as it sounds since they're agreeing to do it at a time when people are already rejecting, in large numbers, the amount of soda they consume, particularly diet soda, because of the artificial ingredients used to sweeten them. Though natural alternatives like stevia-sweetened beverages remain unproven, the beverage companies have an arsenal of non-carbonated drinks they're pushing to offset the decline.

Although there are many causes of obesity, beverage makers are once again being singled out as a primary culprit. Some would argue, though, the government may be just as much of the problem because it pushes grains as the biggest component of a person's daily diet and more doctors are seeing grains like wheat as a leading cause of making us fat. Yet the USDA recommends eating two to three times more bread than healthier items like fruits and vegetables.

Reducing our consumption of processed foods and sugar will undoubtedly be a step in the right direction toward a healthier diet, but singling out soda as the main bugaboo is disingenuous, even if the beverage makers find their calorie-reduction goals within reach.

Diet sodas have lost their fizz with consumers. Data: Coca-Cola and PepsiCo SEC filings.

No longer the pause that refreshes
Both Coke and Pepsi have seen sales of diet soda plunge over the years as consumers reject the use of aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, and acesulfame potassium. It's no wonder why DrPepper's Core 4 TEN line of lo-cal beverages never caught on: They lowered the drinks' calorie count by using all of those ingredients.

The soda makers are testing out alternatives, but it's not certain any will gain traction. Coke had to pull its Vitaminwater made with stevia after consumers reacted harshly to the change in the drink's taste profile as many people complained of a chemical aftertaste, meaning its recently introduced Coca-Cola Life may not have any mass appeal.

Pepsi also sells a stevia-sweetened Pepsi Next in Australia and Dr Pepper is trialing sodas flavored with both stevia and sugar.

A new sweetener from Japanese food additives giant Ajinomoto  (NASDAQOTH: AJINY  )  called advantame is said to be 20,000 times sweeter than sucrose and 100 times sweeter than aspartame and holds the promise of lowering both costs and calories, but its artificial nature may still prove to be a hurdle too high.

Maybe all we really want is to do everything big. Really big. Photo: Flickr user Zach Schueller

So what the drink makers plan to do is go with the flow and go where its customers were heading anyway by pushing water and other lo- and no-calorie beverages. They'll also advocate smaller portion sizes, though that didn't go over well with the public when New York City's Mayor Bloomberg tried to impose it on them.

So-called still beverages have been a growing portion of the soda makers' portfolio, and last quarter Coke saw still beverage volumes grow 1% on the strength of packaged water, sports drinks, and teas, though juice and juice drinks suffered falling volumes. Pepsi also saw a 1% rise in non-carbonated beverage volumes, but DrPepper suffered a 4% drop in NCBs. On the bright side, it did see a 4% gain in water and it earned new distribution markets for its coconut water, Vita Coco.

Sipping from a fire hose
It may seem counterintuitive that soda makers would push initiatives that undercut what looks like their bread-and-butter business, but the fact is consumers have been making the choice for them. Hopping aboard is actually an easy thing for them to do while winning them brownie points for making the public effort.

A 20% reduction may be ambitious, but trends were already heading in that direction so Coke, Pepsi, and DrPepper may as well go along for the ride.

Top dividend stocks for the next decade
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