Monday, September 30, 2013

Stocks to Watch: Achillion, Active Network, Harvest Natural

Among the companies with shares expected to actively trade in Monday’s session are Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc.(ACHN), Active Network Inc.(ACTV) and Harvest Natural Resources Inc.(HNR)

Achillion Pharmaceuticals said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has decided to not lift its clinical hold on sovaprevir, the company’s experimental hepatitis C treatment. Shares plunged 53% to $3.37 in premarket trading as the company said the FDA’s response indicated that while Achillion’s submission addressed all the issues noted in the FDA’s June 29 letter, the FDA concluded that the removal of the clinical hold isn’t warranted.

Technology and media company Active Network will be taken private by Vista Equity Partners in a cash deal valued at about $1.05 billion. The company, which makes software used to build websites that help people find and register for events online, last month disclosed its board had established a committee to evaluate strategic options. Vista will acquire Active for $14.50 a share in cash, a 27% premium to Friday’s close. Shares surged 26% to $14.41 premarket.

Harvest Natural entered into exclusive negotiations to sell the company’s 67% interest in Dussafu Marine Permit PSC, offshore Gabon, for $137 million in cash to Vitol S.A., as the energy company moves forward with its plans to sell off the company. Shares climbed 7.2% to $5.50.

Omeros Corp. said its treatment for Huntington’s disease was granted orphan drug status by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, accelerating the drug’s development. The designation, for novel drugs or biologics that treat a rare disease or condition, can provide the drug developer with a seven-year period of U.S. marketing exclusivity. Shares rose 4.6% to $10.31 premarket.

Cal-Maine Foods Inc.’s fiscal first-quarter earnings slipped 7% as the egg producer’s margins weakened, though revenue continued to strengthen. Chief Executive Dolph Baker said the latest quarter’s improved revenue reflected higher volumes and higher average selling prices. However, overall production costs were higher than the year-ago period, with feed costs up 6.7%.

Charm Communications Inc., an advertising agency in China, said it received a preliminary and nonbinding offer to be taken private from a consortium including its chairman and founder, He Dang, that values the company at about $180 million. The consortium offered to pay $4.70 in cash for each American depositary share, a 17% premium over Friday’s close. Shares were halted premarket.

Eli Lilly & Co. said it is disappointed that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has denied patient access to its Amyvid drug, which is used in imaging brain scans for use in patients who are being assessed for Alzheimer’s disease.

Ingersoll-Rand(IR) PLC said Friday its security business unit, Allegion, has completed $1.3 billion in financing using loans and bonds. Allegion plans to use the net proceeds from the offering of the notes and the senior secured term loan facilities to pay a special cash distribution to Ingersoll-Rand prior to its proposed spinoff, with any remaining amounts used for general corporate purposes, said Ingersoll-Rand.

Philip Morris International Inc. agreed to acquire a 49% interest in Arab Investors-TA for $625 million, a deal that aims to strengthen the cigarette maker’s profits in the Algerian market. The maker of Marlboro and L&M brand cigarettes has been seeking to increase its presence in emerging markets as cigarette sales volumes continue to weaken in many developed countries.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Top 10 Penny Stocks To Invest In 2014

It's been more than three years since the spill at the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, and day by day the prospects for oil exploration there seem to get better. A recent report by Wood MacKenzie shows that production in the Gulf went up 6% last year, and another 4% is expected this year. By 2018, the research group�believes�that the Gulf will be back to its pre-Macondo-spill high in�production�of 2 million barrels per day. �

For this to happen, though, exploration and production companies will need to spend a pretty penny. Between now and 2015, E&P companies are expected to spend somewhere around $20 billion. In this video, contributor Tyler Crowe looks at what this could mean for oil services companies that specialize in offshore regions such as the Gulf.

Top 10 Penny Stocks To Invest In 2014: Wireless Telecom Group Inc.(WTT)

Wireless Telecom Group, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the design, manufacture, and supply of noise source products, electronic testing and measurement instruments, and passive components to commercial customers, the U.S. Government, and prime defense contractors. The company offers a range of noise source products, including components and instruments that are primarily used as a method of testing to determine if communications systems are capable of receiving the information being transmitted; and a line of broadband test equipment to cable television and cable modem industries for measuring CATV equipment, data-over-cables, and digital TVs. Its noise source products are used as a reference standard in test instruments that measure unwanted noise and interference in devices and components utilized in various communications equipment; coupled with other electronic devices for use as a means of jamming, blocking, and disturbing enemy radar and other commu nications; and used in radar systems as part of built-in test equipment to monitor the radar receiver and in satellite communications. The company also designs and produces electronic testing and measuring instruments, including power meters; passive inter modulation test equipment for cellular transmission signals; voltmeters; capacitance meters; audio and modulation meters; and accessory products. In addition, it designs and manufactures passive microwave components for the wireless infrastructure market and for other commercial, aerospace, and military markets. The company?s passive components are used in microwave systems, UMTS, PCS and cellular communications base stations, television transmitters, avionic systems, and medical electronics. It markets its products through its in-house sales people, as well as through manufacturers? representatives and distributors worldwide. Wireless Telecom Group, Inc. was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey.< /p>

Top 10 Penny Stocks To Invest In 2014: Oneida Financial Corp.(ONFC)

Oneida Financial Corp. operates as the bank holding company for The Oneida Savings Bank that provides community banking services primarily in Madison and Oneida Counties in New York, and surrounding counties. Its deposit products include savings accounts, interest-bearing demand accounts, non interest-bearing checking accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, and individual retirement accounts. The company?s loan products portfolio comprises one-to-four family residential and commercial real estate loans, consumer loans, and commercial business loans. It also offers trust and investment services, including fiduciary services for trusts and estates, money management, and custodial services. In addition, the company sells insurance; provides employee benefits consulting services; and offers risk management services to help mitigate and prevent work related injuries. It operates through 10 full service branch offices in Madison and Oneida Counties; and 1 full service branch office in Onondaga County in New York. The company was founded in 1866 and is based in Oneida, New York. Oneida Financial Corp. is a subsidiary of Oneida Financial MHC.

Hot China Companies For 2014: Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Inc.(RMCF)

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Inc. operates as a franchiser, confectionery manufacturer, and retail operator. It offers a range of chocolate candies and confectionery products. The company?s products include clusters, caramels, creams, mints, and truffles. As of March 31, 2010 it operated 11 owned, 29 franchised/licensed owned, and 305 franchised Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory stores in 36 states in the United States, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates. The company was founded in 1981 and is headquartered in Durango, Colorado.

Top 10 Penny Stocks To Invest In 2014: Empresas Ica Soc Contrladora (ICA)

Empresas ICA, S.A.B. de C.V., through its subsidiaries, engages in the construction and related activities in Mexico. The company?s Civil Construction segment focuses on infrastructure projects that include the construction of roads, highways, mass transit systems, bridges, dams, hydroelectric plants, tunnels, canals, and airports; and on the construction, development, and remodeling of multi-storied urban buildings, such as office buildings, hotels, multiple-dwelling housing developments, and shopping centers. This segment also engages in demolition, clearing, excavation, de-watering, drainage, embankment fill, structural concrete construction, concrete and asphalt paving, and tunneling activities. Its Industrial Construction segment focuses on the engineering, procurement, construction, design, and commissioning of manufacturing facilities comprising power plants, chemical plants, petrochemical plants, fertilizer plants, pharmaceutical plants, steel mills, paper mills, d rilling platforms, and automobile and cement factories. Empresas ICA?s Rodio Kronsa segment engages in sub-soil construction involving the construction of tunnels, underpasses, and retaining walls. The company?s Housing Development segment engages in the development, trading, ownership, sale, assistance, operation, and administration activities. Its Infrastructure segment involves in the operation and maintenance of concessioned airports, highways, bridges and tunnels, water supply systems, and waste treatment systems. The company also provides a range of services that include feasibility studies, conceptual design, engineering, procurement, project and construction management, construction, maintenance, technical site evaluation, and other consulting services. It serves public and private sector clients. Empresas ICA, S.A.B. de C.V. was founded in 1947 and is based in Mexico.

Top 10 Penny Stocks To Invest In 2014: WSI Industries Inc.(WSCI)

WSI Industries, Inc. engages in precision contract metal machining business in the United States. The company offers metal components in medium to high volumes requiring tolerances in accordance with customer specifications. It primarily serves aerospace/avionics/defense, recreational vehicles, energy, and bioscience industries. The company was founded in 1950 and is headquartered in Monticello, Minnesota.

Top 10 Penny Stocks To Invest In 2014: Anthera Pharmaceuticals Inc.(ANTH)

Anthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a development stage biopharmaceutical company, focuses on developing and commercializing therapeutics to treat diseases associated with inflammation, including cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases. Its primary product candidates include varespladib methyl (A-002), which has completed its Phase 2 clinical studies for the treatment of acute coronary syndrome; varespladib sodium (A-001) that is in a Phase 2 clinical study for the prevention of acute chest syndrome associated with sickle cell disease; and A-623, which has completed Phase 1 clinical studies for the treatment of B-cell mediated autoimmune diseases. The company has license agreements with Eli Lilly and Company, and Shionogi & Co., Ltd. to develop and commercialize secretory phospholipase A2 or sPLA2 inhibitors for the treatment of cardiovascular disease and other diseases; and Amgen Inc., to develop and commercialize A-623. Anthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. was founded in 2004 and is headquartered in Hayward, California.

Top 10 Penny Stocks To Invest In 2014: Skystar Bio-Pharmaceutical Company(SKBI)

Skystar Bio-Pharmaceutical Company engages in the research, development, production, marketing, and sale of veterinary healthcare and medical care products in the People?s Republic of China. Its products include veterinary medicine for poultry and livestock; micro-organism products; bio-pharmaceutical veterinary vaccines; and feed additives. The company offers its products through distributors and directly to customers. Skystar Bio-Pharmaceutical Company is headquartered in Xi?an, the People?s Republic of China.

Top 10 Penny Stocks To Invest In 2014: Tutor Perini Corporation(TPC)

Tutor Perini Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, provides diversified general contracting, construction management, and design-build services to private clients and public agencies worldwide. It operates in three segments: Civil, Building, and Management Services. The Civil segment involves in public works construction, and the repair, replacement, and reconstruction of infrastructure. This segment?s civil contracting services include construction and rehabilitation of highways, bridges, mass transit systems, and wastewater treatment facilities. The Building segment provides services to various specialized building markets for private and public works clients, such as the hospitality and gaming, transportation, healthcare, municipal offices, sports and entertainment, education, correctional facilities, biotech, pharmaceutical, industrial and high-tech markets, electrical and mechanical, plumbing, and HVAC services. The Management Services Segment offers diversifie d construction and design-build services to the United States military and government agencies, surety companies, and multi-national corporations in the United States and internationally. This segment also provides rapid response and contract completion services; and management or general contracting services to fulfill the contractual and financial obligations of the surety on notification from the surety of a contractor bond default. The company was founded in 1894 and is headquartered in Sylmar, California.

Top 10 Penny Stocks To Invest In 2014: Resource Capital Corp.(RSO)

Resource Capital Corp. operates as a specialty finance company that focuses primarily on commercial real estate and commercial finance in the United States. The company?s commercial real estate-related investments include first mortgage loans, first priority interests in first mortgage real estate loans, subordinate interests in first mortgage real estate loans, mezzanine loans, and commercial mortgage-backed securities. It also invests in commercial finance assets, including senior secured corporate loans, other asset-backed securities, equipment leases and notes, trust preferred securities, and debt tranches of collateralized debt and loan obligations. The company qualifies as a real estate investment trust (REIT) for federal income tax purposes. As a REIT, it is not subject to federal corporate income tax to the extent that it distributes 90% of its REIT taxable income. The company was founded in 2005 and is based in New York, New York.

Top 10 Penny Stocks To Invest In 2014: Pervasive Software Inc.(PVSW)

Pervasive Software, Inc. provides embeddable software and SaaS services for data management, data integration, B2B exchange, and analytics. Its embeddable Pervasive PSQL database engine provides database reliability in a near-zero database administration environment for packaged business applications. Pervasive Software?s multi-purpose data integration platform, available on-premises and in the cloud, accelerates the sharing of information between multiple data stores, applications, and hosted business systems, and allows customers to re-use the same software for diverse integration scenarios. Pervasive DataRush is an embeddable parallel-processing platform enabling data-intensive applications, such as claims processing, risk analysis, fraud detection, data mining, predictive analytics, sales optimization, and marketing analytics. The company serves customers in approximately 150 countries. Pervasive Software, through Pervasive Innovation Labs, also invests in the explorat ion and creation of solutions for the data analysis and data delivery challenges. Pervasive Software, Inc. has a strategic alliance with A.D.A.M. Inc. The company was founded in 1994 and is headquartered in Austin, Texas with additional offices in Greenville, South Carolina; Brussels, Belgium; Frankfurt, Germany; Paris, France; and London, the United Kingdom.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By CRWE]

    Pervasive Software(R) Inc. (NASDAQ:PVSW), a global leader in cloud-based and on-premises data innovation, reported that it is in receipt of an unsolicited non-binding letter from Actian Corporation proposing to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Pervasive common stock for $8.50 per share in cash.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Volatility Can Be A Friend

True, the markets were buoyed last week by the unexpected change of heart from the White House on Syria, but we suspect that those concerned enough about the Middle East to significantly alter their asset allocations last week feel no better (if not worse) about the situation today. In fact, given the way it has played out this week, the Middle East will continue to dominate the headlines.

In times like this, we are reminded of course that volatility is always in the eye of the beholder as the measuring stick utilized can quickly change one's perspective. For example, on a closing basis, last Friday was one of the least volatile trading days of the year, given the minimal change measured from the end of trading on Thursday, despite the fact that Mr. Putin's comments that day hit the U.S. equity markets hard, turning an early-morning advance into a big decline just minutes later. The selloff, which sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average skidding to a nearly 150 point loss, was short-lived, with the major market averages rallying back into positive territory before again pulling back to end the day near where they began. To further the point, the S&P 500 index actually closed last Friday with a gain of just 0.09 points, less than one-tenth of a percent.

We do not mean to suggest that investors simply ignore intraday gyrations, but as we work with a multi-year time horizon, we trust like-minded folks took Friday's roller coaster ride in stride. Alas, we wish we could have said the same about a turbulent 2011 as we know that the wild swings that year spooked many folks out of the market, even as the full year ended up as one of the least volatile in market history. Incredibly, from start to finish, the S&P 500 was virtually flat for all of 2011, even as there were daily swings of greater than 5% in both directions on more days than we may care to remember.

Truth be told, we like volatility, for without the market's gyrations, we would not be able to practice the art of value investing. After all, it is tough to buy low and sell high if there is little in the way of price movement.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Financial fraud is rampant but most people can't spot it: Survey

financial fraud, red flags

Most people in the United States have been targeted by financial fraudsters, while nearly half are unable to spot classic red flags of fraud.

For example, more than 40% of people surveyed for the Financial Fraud and Fraud Susceptibility in the United States report, which was released today, found an annual return of 110% for an investment to be appealing, while 43% felt that way about “fully guaranteed” investments.

“These outsized returns are highly improbable, as are any sort of guaranteed returns,” said Gerri Walsh, president of the Finra Investor Education Foundation, which issued the report.

“Bernie Madoff was offering guaranteed returns of 12%, which isn't even an outsized number,” Ms. Walsh said. “But the market conditions didn't matter. He was offering consistent annual returns.”

The survey found that more than 80% of respondents had been solicited to participate in potentially fraudulent financial schemes, while 40% could not identify some classic red flags of fraud.

The large share of Americans still attracted to persuasive conmen doesn't shock Ms. Walsh. What was more surprising to her was the extent to which defrauded investors underreported their status as victims.

Although 11% of respondents said they lost money when they were prompted by specific types of schemes (such as e-mail scams and free-lunch sales pitches), only 4% admitted to being a victim of a fraud when asked directly. “That's an estimated 60% underreporting rate,” she said.

Of those who admitted to being defrauded, 45% reported the fraud to someone, but the remainder found reasons not to. Among those who chose not report, the most common reason was, they didn't think it would have made a difference, followed by not knowing to whom they should turn. Embarrassment also played a key role in underreporting, according to the survey.

Though the report points to the elderly as easy targets for financial scams, the group willing to take the most risk in hopes of higher returns is well-represented among younger males with high income and education levels.

To combat the encroachment of schemers, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. foundation has been engaged in an investor protection campaign for a number of years.

“The first thing consumers need to understand is that many of us are at risk, not just the little old ladies sitting at home all day without a lot of means,” Ms. Walsh said. “We're also trying to educate consumers about the power of persuasion.”

But there's still no tried-and-true method of foreseeing whether that glimmerin! g investment is a diamond in the rough or just a piece of broken glass in the dirt. “When people look at financial fraud, hindsight's always 20/20,” she said.

The foundation surveyed nearly 2,400 U.S. adults 40 and older. Like what you've read?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Opening Print and S&P Levels to Watch

We used to have an old saying that you can always come in late the day of a Fed announcement, but that may not be the case today. As unpredictable as the stock markets are, the Fed can be even more unpredictable. The Asian markets closed mixed and Europe is trading higher after a quiet night in the global markets. This morning's economic calendar starts with the mortgage applications, housing starts and the API.

What we know for sure is that the E-mini S&P futures (CME ticker ESZ) has been on a tear. As of yesterday's close the S&P futures have closed higher 9 out of the first 11 trading days in September and up 7 out of the last 8. Instead of increased volatility and trade leading up to the two-day Fed meeting, we are actually seeing a lull.

Yesterday's 1.4 million ESZs traded sounds low, but when you take out the 400,000 ESZ traded in Globex pre-open and the 550k ESU/Z spreads (S&P e-mini spread), the total day session volume drops down to an astonishingly low 450,000 contracts traded.

S&P 1700, Dow 16,000 and NASDAQ 3800 are all considered big figures. Currently the ESZ has rallied back to its all-time contract highs but has failed to hold above the big figure. What we do know is that all the major indices are trading at or near their respective highs.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) closed below 14 yesterday. The majority of the floor traders we spoke to said they felt the Fed would announce a $10bil taper and that the public has already accepted the idea.

Our view:

Let's face it, the markets are not going to like it when the headlines hit the tape that the Fed is pulling back from QE3. That said, the locals are right, the public and trading community have accepted the idea of the Fed pulling back, but this leaves the question, with the S&P up so much in the last two weeks, do they sell the news anyway?

Then the S&P, like all the other markets around the world, will be waiting on the Fed's next move. If the Fed decides to do nothing the S&P will rally to 1725. If the Fed announces a larger pullback from the program the bottom will fall out.

Our call is to sit on our hands. We want to see how things play out. Remember that not trading is a position. The third possibility is what we call the Fed head fake, meaning that the initial headlines tend to push the S&P initially in one direction. You're supposed to fade the move. To do that, proper timing and a good feel for the market are essential.

As always, use stops and keep an eye on the 10-handle rule. Don't forget to catch MrTopStep on The Closing Print video. We report directly from the SPX pits, wrapping up the day and positioning for trade tomorrow.

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

AIG Attorneys Question Key Player in $8.5B Bank of America Settlement (Update 1)

Updated from 5:53 p.m. ET 9/12/2013 to include additional details from BTIG analyst Mark Palmer in sixth paragraph.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Bank of America's (BAC) attempts to win approval for a controversial $8.5 billion mortgage settlement faced a stiff challenge Thursday as attorneys for AIG (AIG) and other objectors questioned one of the key outside experts used to assess the reasonableness of that figure, in day 23 of hearings before New York State Supreme Court Judge Barbara Kapnick.

The proposed $8.5 billion settlement between Bank of America and 22 big investors including Goldman Sachs (GS), BlackRock (BLK), PIMCO and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Maiden Lane entities covers $108 billion in losses on mortgage-backed securities. It was agreed upon in June 2011 but has yet to be approved. Hearings resumed this week following a 45-day hiatus.

Objectors to the proposed settlement, of which bondholder AIG is by far the most prominent, contend the $8.5 billion figure was too low and that BNY Mellon (BK), the trustee assigned to look out for the interest of bondholders, was conflicted due to extensive business ties with Bank of America. As a consequence, BNY Mellon didn't push to come up with the best deal for bondholders, AIG's attorneys argue. Despite those objections, the settlement has been called the largest tied to the financial crisis ignited when Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy five years ago. One of the key experts responsible for assessing the reasonableness of the $8.5 billion figure was Brian Lin, a principal at RRMS Advisors, an obscure three-person office in Manhattan's diamond district. I visited RRMS's offices earlier this year for this video. AIG's attorneys attempted to show that Lin was essentially there to rubber stamp a pennies-on-the-dollar settlement and that neither he nor BNY Mellon were as aggressive as they should have been in trying to extract a larger number. During more than an hour of questioning Thursday morning, Larry Pozner, a partner at law firm Reilly Pozner representing AIG, established that Lin made no effort to recover money from Bank of America for poor mortgage servicing, even though the Federal Trade Commission fined the bank $108 million for lapses in that area. Mortgage servicing involves the collecting of mortgage payments from home owners, among other duties. What's more, Lin did acknowledge "that he had heard that Countrywide had created subsidiaries that had overcharged trust investors for services," BTIG analyst Mark Palmer pointed out in a research note Friday. Lin also conceded that though the settlement required Bank of America to improve its mortgage servicing, BNY Mellon never asked him to examine how the bank was servicing mortgages in the first place. Further, Pozner argued Bank of America was already required to improve its mortgage servicing as part of a consent order with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency signed by Bank of America management March 29, 2011. As a result, achieving the same results when the $8.5 billion settlement was agreed upon three months later was meaningless, Pozner contended.

Pozner colleague Michael Rollin followed up Thursday morning's proceedings by accusing Lin of contradicting a statement he made in his pre-trial deposition. While Lin said in pre-hearing testimony he was told to assume a certain body of loan data was correct, he said Thursday he was told to assume only the verifiable information within that body was correct.

Rollin aggressively accused Lin of contradicting his pre-trial testimony at which point Judge Kapnick cut him off.

That exchange impressed CLSA analyst Mike Mayo as the most explosive of the hearings, which he has attended sporadically.

"That's the most hostile I've seen," Mayo said in an interview during a break from the proceedings. Mayo says the proposed settlement "looks like a bit of a rubber stamp, but in the grand scheme of things, how much and does it matter?" Mayo has a "sell" rating on Bank of America chiefly because of the risks he believes it faces if the settlement is thrown out. Relying on a pair of outside experts, Mayo believes Bank of America could face an additional $16 billion to $22 billion in legal damages if the settlement is thrown out by Judge Kapnick. "I think most investors see this as roughly 1-in-20 chance [the settlement is thrown out.]" Mayo says. "I'm not saying it's going to happen, but I think the chance is greater." Mayo also argues the case is "a microcosm of the financial crisis," since it already represents the largest payout by the bank with the most exposure to mortgage-related liability stemming from the crisis. -- Written by Dan Freed in New York. Follow @dan_freed

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Market Wrap-Up for Sept. 17 (MSFT, SWY, MO, HUN, more)

Following yesterday’s “end-of-Summers” rally, the U.S. indices are rose once again today. Even though economic data came in mixed this morning–the home builder confidence index met expectations, while the consumer price index missed estimates–it did not stop the rise in stocks.

Stocks on the Rise

Altria (MO) shares edged higher today after the company boosted its fiscal 2013 outlook. Also in positive territory today wer eshares of Huntsman Corp. (HUN) and Rockwood Holdings (ROC), after the two companies announced that Huntsman would acquire some assets from Rockwood Holdings.

Seeing significant action today were shares of Safeway (SWY), after the company announced a poison pill plan to circumvent a possible takeover.

10 Best Blue Chip Stocks To Buy Right Now

Moreover, shares of Chico’s FAS (CHS), Broadcom (BRCM), Church & Dwight Company (CHD), Comerica (CMA), Apache Corp (APA), American States Water Company (AWR), Mead Johnson Nutrition (MJN), and Intel Corp (INTC) all rallied following Wall Street analysts’ upgrades.

Stocks on the Decline

FactSet (FDS) shares took a hit today after its fourth quarter earnings disappointed investors. Mosaic (MOS) and Werner (WERN) shares are also in the red after both companies lowered their third quarter outlooks.

Furthermore, Wall Street analysts’ downgrades of National Bank Holdings (NBHC), BRE Properties (BRE), Extra Space Storage (EXR), ConAgra Foods (CAG), and Kellogg Company (K) dragged the stocks lower throughout the day’s trading.

Be sure to check the Dividend Daily for all the latest earnings reports, analyst moves, and much more.

Microsoft Announces New Capital Return Plans: Now What?

One of today’s winners was Microsoft (MSFT), after the software giant announced a 22% dividend increase and a new $40 billion share buyback plan. Now, shares of Microsoft offer an attractive 3.4% dividend yield. However, by the close, the stock was up just 0.6%% on the day. After a capital return plan of this magnitude, one would assume that investors and