Wednesday, October 30, 2013

General Motors: Shareholder Gains & Bailout Pain

Shares of General Motors (GM) are driving higher today after the U.S. automaker reported better than forecast earnings.

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

The Wall Street Journal has the details on General Motors’ earnings beat:

The No. 1 U.S. auto maker Wednesday reported a profit of $1.72 billion for the July to September period, before the payout of preferred dividends, compared with $1.83 billion a year earlier. Wall Street, however, focused primarily on the 96 cents a share GM earned excluding some charges. That beat the average analyst estimate of 94 cents a share. Revenue rose to $39 billion from $37.6 billion.

Sterne Agee’s Michael Ward calls General Motors’ results “solid.” He writes:

North American auto operations earned $2.2 billion in pretax income; European losses improved owing to cost performance; and cash flow was better than expected. In our view, all boxes were checked positive…GM's third quarter earnings performance was better than expected and increases our level of conviction for the remainder of 2013 and 2014 performance.

General Motors reported earnings just hours after the U.S. government said it had lost money on its bailout of the automaker during the financial crisis. Bloomberg reports:

The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program in a report issued yesterday estimated the realized losses on all GM shares sold from November 2010 through Sept. 13, 2013, at $9.7 billion. At that point, the U.S. owned 101.3 million shares. If it sold those for yesterday's closing price, the government would lose about $760 million more, bringing the total loss to about $10.5 billion.

That might be a small price to pay, however, considering what a collapse of the U.S. auto industry would have meant. Bloomberg again:

The auto rescue saved 1.14 million jobs in 2009 at automakers and companies that depend on the industry, according to the Center for Automotive Research. A collapse would have reduced personal income in the U.S. in 2009 and 2010 by $96.5 billion, costing the federal government $28.6 billion in extra jobless benefits and reduced Social Security contributions and income taxes in those years, the center said.

Shares of General Motors have gained 3.7% to $37.41 at 10:57 a.m., while Ford Motor (F) has dropped 0.2% to $17.48 and Toyota Motor (TM) has advanced 1% to $130.18.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Top 10 Energy Stocks To Own For 2014

Exelon announced proposals this week to keep its current power plants punching pack for years to come. Seeking energy extensions and power provisions isn't easy, but it's often more cost-effective than adding on entirely new generation capacity. Let's see if Exelon stock has what it takes to maintain steady sales without major expenditures.

Please, sir, I want some more
Exelon (NYSE: EXC  ) filed renewal applications this week for two of its Illinois nuclear power stations. Collectively, the facilities generate more than 4,600 MW of electricity. That's 13% of the utility's total capacity and 24% of its nuclear capacity. For a peck of peer perspective, that's also more than FirstEnergy's (NYSE: FE  ) entire 3,990 MW nuclear capacity, which accounts for one-fifth of FirstEnergy's total generation.

Source:, Braidwood Generating Station.�

Top 10 Energy Stocks To Own For 2014: Archer Ltd (ARCHER)

Archer Ltd, formerly Seawell Limited is a Bermuda-based global oilfield service company. The Company provides drilling services, such as platform drilling, land drilling, modular rings, directional drilling, drill bits, tubular services, drilling and completion fluids, cementing tools, plugs and packers, underbalanced services, rentals and engineering. It specialises also in well services, such as wireline intervention, specialist intervention, frac valves, wireline logging, integrity diagnostics, imaging, production monitoring, coiled tubing, completion services and fishing. As of January 3, 2012, the Company's organizational structure centered on four geographic and strategic areas: North America (NAM), North Sea (NRS), Latin America (LAM) and Emerging Markets & Technologies (EMT). As of December 31, 2010, it was active through a number of subsidiaries, namely Seawell, Allis-Chalmers Energy, Gray Wireline, Rig Inspection Services and TecWel, among others.

Top 10 Energy Stocks To Own For 2014: Alterra Power Corp (MGMXF)

Alterra Power Corp., formerly Magma Energy Corp., is a global renewable power company. It operates six power plants totaling 570 megawatt of capacity, including two geothermal facilities in Iceland, a geothermal plant in Nevada, British Columbia�� run of river hydro facilities and the province�� wind farm. As of June 30, 2011, its share of this production capacity was 315 megawatt. The Company also has a portfolio of exploration and development projects. The Company owns two geothermal power generation plants (the Svartsengi and Reykjanes Plants) and two geothermal exploration projects in Iceland (Eldvorp and Krysuvik) through its interest in HS Orka. In addition, it owns one geothermal power generation plant in Nevada (the Soda Lake Operation). In May 2011, it acquired Plutonic Power Corp. During the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011 (fiscal 2011), it sold a 25% interest in HS Orka to Jardvarmi slhf (Jardvarmi), which is a company-owned by a group of Icelandic pension funds.

Hot Financial Stocks To Watch Right Now: EMCORE Corporation(EMKR)

EMCORE Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, provides compound semiconductor-based products for the broadband, fiber optics, satellite, and solar power markets. The company operates in two segments, Fiber Optics and Photovoltaics. The Fiber Optics segment offers broadband products, including cable television, fiber-to-the-premises, satellite communication, video transport, and defense and homeland security products; and digital products comprising telecom optical, enterprise, laser/photodetector component, parallel optical transceiver and cable, and fiber channel transceiver products. This segment?s products enable information that is encoded on light signals to be transmitted, routed, and received in communication systems and networks. The Photovoltaics segment provides gallium arsenide (GaAs) multi-junction solar cells, covered interconnected cells, and solar panels for satellite applications; and concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) power systems for commercial and utility scale solar applications, as well as GaAs solar cells and integrated CPV components for use in other solar power concentrator systems. The company markets its products through its direct sales force, external sales representatives and distributors, and application engineers worldwide. EMCORE Corporation was founded in 1984 and is headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By CRWE]

    EMCORE Corporation (Nasdaq:EMKR), a leading provider of compound semiconductor-based components and subsystems for the fiber optic and solar power markets, reported that it is ramping production and shipping the Opticomm-EMCORE NEXTGEN OTP-1DVI2A1SU insert cards for the Optiva platform.

Top 10 Energy Stocks To Own For 2014: EcoloCap Solutions Inc (ECOS)

EcoloCap Solutions Inc. (EcoloCap), incorporated on March 18, 2004, is a development stage company. The Company is an integrated network of environmentally focused technology companies that design, develop, manufacture and sell cleaner alternative energy products.

The Company through its subsidiary Micro Bubble Technologies Inc. (MBT), developed and manufactures M-Fuel. The Company also developed the Carbon Nano Tube Battery (CNT-Battery), and the Nano Li- Battery both recyclable, rechargeable batteries. MBT has also developed a process that blends non-miscible liquids (oil and water) on a submicron level in order to create a non-emulsified fuel product that it calls EM-Fuel.

Top 10 Energy Stocks To Own For 2014: Whitehaven Coal Ltd (WHITF)

Whitehaven Coal Limited (Whitehaven) is engaged in the development and operation of coal mines in New South Wales. During the fiscal year ended 30 June 2012 (fiscal 2012), Whitehaven Coal Limited and its controlled entities continued development at the Narrabri underground mine. The Company operates in two segments: Open Cut Operations and Underground Operations. The Company�� Gunnedah operations include the Tarrawonga (70% owned by Whitehaven), Rocglen (100% owned by Whitehaven), and Sunnyside (100% owned by Whitehaven) open cut mines and the Gunnedah coal handling and preparation plant and train load out facility (CHPP��(100% owned by Whitehaven). The Werris Creek mine is 100% owned by Whitehaven. During fiscal 2012, the Company produced 4.28 million tons per annum of saleable coal. On May 1, 2012, the Company acquired Boardwalk Resources Limited. On May 2, 2012, the Company acquired Aston Resources Limited. On June 20, 2012, it acquired Coalworks Limited.

Top 10 Energy Stocks To Own For 2014: SolarCity Corp (SCTY)

SolarCity Corporation (SolarCity), incorporated on June 21, 2006, is engaged in the design, installation and sale or lease of solar energy systems to residential and commercial customers, or sale of electricity generated by solar energy systems to customers. The Company sells renewable energy to its customers. As of December 12, 2012, the Company served customers in 14 states. The Company�� residential customers are individual homeowners and homeowners. The Company�� commercial customers represent several business sectors, including technology, retail, manufacturing, agriculture, nonprofit and houses of worship. The Company has installed solar energy systems for several government entities, including the the United States Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy, and the Department of Homeland Security. The Company purchases major components, such as solar panels and inverters directly from multiple manufacturers. As of September 30, 2012, its primary solar panel suppliers were Trina Solar Limited, Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited and Kyocera Solar, Inc., among others, and its primary inverter suppliers were Power-One, Inc., SMA Solar Technology, AG, Schneider Electric SA, Fronius International GmbH and SolarEdge Technologies, among others.

Solar Energy Products

The Company�� solar energy products include Solar Energy Systems, and SolarLease and power purchase agreement finance products. The major components of its solar energy systems include solar panels that convert sunlight into electrical current. Most of its solar energy customers choose to purchase energy from the Company pursuant to one of two payment structures: a SolarLease or a power purchase agreement. In both structures, the Company charges customers a monthly fee for the power produced by its solar energy systems. In the lease structure, this monthly payment is pre-determined and includes a production guarantee. In the power purchase agreement structure, the Company charges customers a fee per kilowatt! hour based on the amount of electricity actually produced by the solar energy system.

Energy Efficiency Products and Services

The Company�� energy efficiency products and services include home energy evaluation and energy efficiency upgrades. The Company sells home energy efficiency evaluations to new solar energy system customers and existing customers. The Company�� energy efficiency upgrade products and services address heating and cooling, air sealing, duct sealing, water heating, insulation, furnaces, weatherization, pool pumps and lighting. As of December 12, 2012, the Company had completed over 13,000 home energy evaluations and performed more than 2,000 energy efficiency upgrades.

Other Energy Products and Services

The Company�� other energy products and services include electric vehicle charging and energy storage. The Company installs electric vehicle (EV) charging equipment that it sources from third parties. SolarCity markets EV equipment to residential and commercial customers through retail partnerships with companies, such as The Home Depot, and through EV manufacturers and dealerships, such as its partnership with Tesla Motors, Inc. The Company is developing a battery management system built on its solar energy monitoring communications backbone. As of December 12, 2012, the Company had over 100 energy storage pilot projects under contract. As of December 12, 2012, the Company had sold over 750 charging stations.

Enabling Technologies

The Company�� enabling technologies include SolarBid Sales Management Platform, SolarWorks Customer Management Software, Energy Designer, Home Performance Pro and SolarGuard and PowerGuide Proactive Monitoring Solutions. SolarBid is a sales management platform, which incorporates a database of rate information by utility, sun exposure, roof orientation and a range of other factors to enable a detailed analysis and customized graphical presentation of each customer� �s savin! gs.

SolarWorks is the software platform the Company uses to track and manage project. Energy Designer is a software application its field engineering auditors use to collect pertinent site-specific design details on a tablet computer. Home Performance Pro is its energy efficiency evaluation platform that incorporates the United States Department of Energy�� Energy Plus simulation engine. Home Performance Pro collects and stores details of a building�� construction and energy use. SolarGuard and PowerGuide provide its customers a view of their home�� or business�� energy generation and consumption.

The Company competes with American Solar Electric, Inc., Astrum Solar, Inc., Petersen Dean, Inc., Real Goods Solar, Inc., REC Solar, Inc., Sungevity, Inc., Trinity Solar, Inc., Verengo, Inc., SunRun Inc. and Ameresco, Inc.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Travis Hoium] SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY  ) recently increased its installation target for 2013 to 270 MW from 250 MW, and it also announced a�convertible note offering that could generate $200 million in new cash. With the residential solar market growing like a weed, the company is primed to benefit over the long term. Motley Fool contributor Travis Hoium discusses why these moves are important for SolarCity, and one other company growing in residential solar, in the video below.

    One solar company missing out on the residential solar craze is First Solar. Does this mean the company is�done for good, or is it ready for a rebound? If you're looking for continuing updates and guidance on the company whenever news breaks, The Motley Fool has created a brand-new report that details every must know side of this stock. To get started, simply click here now.

  • [By Travis Hoium]

    This follows a convertible notes offering at SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR  ) and a proposed convertible notes offering at SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY  ) . Convertible notes aren't a share offering, but they can be converted into shares at a specified price, so there's an equity component for investors.

Top 10 Energy Stocks To Own For 2014: Neoprobe Corporation(NEOP)

Neoprobe Corporation, a biomedical company, engages in the development and commercialization of precision diagnostics that enhance patient care and improve patient benefit. The company is developing and commercializing targeted agents aimed at the identification of occult (undetected) disease. Neoprobe?s two lead radiopharmaceutical agent platforms, Lymphoseek and RIGScan are intended to help surgeons better identify and treat certain types of cancer. Lymphoseek is a diagnostic imaging agent intended for radiolabeling and administration in radiodetection and visualization of the lymphatic system draining the region of injection for delineation of the lymphatic tissue; and RIGScan is an intraoperative biologic targeting agent consisting of a radiolabeled murine monoclonal antibody. The company has a biopharmaceutical development and supply agreement with Laureate Biopharmaceutical Services, Inc. to support the initial evaluation of the viability of the CC49 master working c ell bank, as well as the initial steps in re-validating the commercial production process for the biologic agent used in RIGScan CR. The company was founded in 1983 and is based in Dublin, Ohio.

Top 10 Energy Stocks To Own For 2014: New Concept Energy Inc (GBR)

New Concept Energy, Inc. (New Concept), incorporated on May 30, 1991 in, owns and operates oil and gas wells in Ohio and West Virginia. The Company, through its wholly owned subsidiaries Mountaineer State Energy, Inc. and Mountaineer State Operations, LLC. operates oil and gas wells and mineral leases in Athens and Meigs Counties in Ohio and in Calhoun, Jackson and Roane Counties in West Virginia. As of March 30, 2012, the Company had 159 producing gas wells, 27 non-producing wells and related equipment and mineral leases covering approximately 20,000 acres. The Company operates in two primary business segments: oil and gas operations and retirement facilities.

During the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company had drilled eight wells. New Concept focuses on North American onshore oil and natural gas drilling and exploration. The Company's properties are concentrated in the Appalachian Basin, Fort Worth Basin, and the Arkoma Basin. The Company leases and operates Pacific Pointe Retirement Inn (Pacific Pointe) in King City, Oregon. Pacific Pointe has a capacity of 114 residents and provides community living with basic services, such as meals, housekeeping, laundry, 24/7 staffing, transportation and social and recreational activities.

Top 10 Energy Stocks To Own For 2014: Caiterra International Energy Corp (CTI.V)

CaiTerra International Energy Corporation (Caiterra), formerly Cyterra Capital Corp., is a Canada-based company is engaged in the exploration and development of oil and gas properties. The Company�� project includes Faust, Amadou and Lac La Biche. On March 9, 2012, the Company completed its qualifying transaction with West Pacific Petroleum Inc. (WPP), pursuant to which the Company acquired all of WPP�� working interests in certain petroleum and natural gas leases and an oil sand lease in the Lac La Biche and Amadou Projects located in Alberta, Canada and certain other assets (the QT Oil and Gas Properties) from West Pacific Petroleum Inc. (WPP). On December 17, 2012 the Company acquired the Faust Property located just north of the Swan Hills oil field and south of the Town of Slave Lake.

Top 10 Energy Stocks To Own For 2014: Solazyme Inc (SZYM)

Solazyme, Inc. (Solazyme), incorporated on March 31, 2003, makes oil. The Company�� technology transforms a range of plant-based sugars into oils. Its renewable products can replace or enhance oils derived from the world�� three existing sources-petroleum, plants and animal fats. The Company is focused on commercializing its products into three target markets: fuels and chemicals, nutrition, and skin and personal care. In 2010, the Company launched its products, the Golden Chlorella line of dietary supplements. In March 2011, the Company launched its Algenist brand for the luxury skin care market through marketing and distribution arrangements with Sephora S.A. (Sephora International), Sephora USA, Inc. (Sephora USA), and QVC, Inc. (QVC).

The Company is engaged in development activities with multiple partners, including Chevron U.S.A. Inc., through its division Chevron Technology Ventures (Chevron), The Dow Chemical Company (Dow), Ecopetrol S.A. (Ecopetrol), Qantas Airways Limited (Qantas) and Conopoco, Inc., doing business as Unilever (Unilever).

In 2010, the Company entered into a 50/50 joint venture with Roquette Freres, S.A. (Roquette). In November 2010, the Company entered into a joint venture and operating agreement for Solazyme Roquette Nutritionals with Roquette. In December 2010, the Company entered into an exclusive distribution relationship with Sephora International, and in January 2011, the Company entered into a distribution relationship with Sephora USA. Under the arrangements, each of Sephora International and Sephora USA will distribute the Algenist product line in their respective territories.

In Fuels and Chemicals market its renewable oils can be refined and sold as drop-in replacements for marine, motor vehicle and jet fuels, as well as replacements for chemicals that are traditionally derived from petroleum or other conventional oils. The Company work with its refining partner Honeywell UOP to produce Soladiesel (renewable diesel), So! ladiesel renewable diesel for United States Naval vessels, and Solajet renewable jet fuel for both military and commercial application testing. In nutrition market the Company has developed microalgae-based food ingredients, including oils and powders that enhance the nutritional profile and functionality of food products while reducing costs for consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies. In Skin and Personal Care market the Company hs developed a portfolio of branded microalgae-based products. Its ingredient is Alguronic Acid, which the Company has formulated into a range of skin care products with anti-aging benefits. The Company is also developing algal oils as replacements for the oils used in skin and personal care products.

The Company competes with BP p.l.c., Royal Dutch Shell plc, and Exxon Mobil Corporation, jatropha, camelina, SALOV North America Corporation, Archer Daniels Midland Company, Cargill, Incorporated, DSM Food Specialties and Danisco A/S

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Justin Loiseau]

    Renewable oil and bioproducts company Solazyme (NASDAQ: SZYM  ) announced today that it is dissolving its joint venture with Roquette FrçŒĞres after nearly two years of collaboration.

  • [By Robert Rapier]

    There's a company called Solazyme (SZYM) who actually makes fuel out of algae; but they couldn't make it very economically so they shifted into neutroceuticals and pharmaceuticals and making oils for cosmetics and things like that.

  • [By Alyce Lomax]

    Alternative oils play Solazyme (NASDAQ: SZYM  ) may have just gotten riskier; apparently, many investors think so. Unlike many stocks today, Solazyme's trip to the woodshed is hinged on actual news and, unfortunately, it's one of the market's biggest decliners as of this writing. Today we learned that one of its partnerships will be dissolved within weeks.

  • [By Brian Pacampara]

    Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, renewable oil producer Solazyme (NASDAQ: SZYM  ) has earned a respected four-star ranking.

Seniors try artist colony as retirement option

Dwan Smith-Fortier and her husband were ready to downsize. But they had no interest in the old-fashioned traditional senior citizens living.

"I refuse to be old," she says. "I don't mind aging, but I will never be old."

Smith-Fortier, 69, is an actress who was a regular on General Hospital for three years and starred in the first movie version of Sparkle as well as The Concorde ... Airport '79. She had spent five years helping her husband, a former L.A. firefighter, recover from a stroke.

They were ready to get rid of the big house, but both also wanted to remain active. Then she saw an ad — for the Burbank Senior Artists Colony. And her life has been a whirlwind of activity since.

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Now her days consist of Zumba, classes, rehearsals for the plays at the on-site professional theater company, acting classes. Her husband, who was also a songwriter, uses the gym every morning.

"It's just real busy," she says. "There are computer classes. There are filmmaking classes. There's how to use your iPad to make films. It's really an active building, but not the kind of activity where you are overwhelmed. You do what you feel like doing."


The Burbank Senior Artists Colony is one of three revolutionary housing concepts for senior housing built by John Huskey, president of Los Angeles-based Meta Housing. Huskey partnered with Tim Carpenter, founder and executive director of EngAge, to conceive and design the buildings. EngAge is a non-profit dedicated to providing arts, wellness and life-long earnings programs for seniors.

The Burbank colony, completed in 2004, is the flagship. It houses a professional theater group. It has 141 apartments. The North Hollywood Senior Arts Colony has 126 apartments. Another in Long Beach houses 200. All the units are rentals. Huskey says several more projects are on the way.

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Huskey says sites they are considering for future senior arts colonies include Minneapolis/St. Paul; Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; and St. Louis.

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Seniors interested in moving must submit an application to a selection committee, including a letter that outlines their interest in the arts. You could be a professional artist or actor, or you could be someone who's always wanted to be. Or you could be a longtime patron of the arts.

The classes are a huge success. They produce participation rates four to five times those in normal senior housing, Huskey says.

"We hire college-level professionals to teach classes," Carpenter says. "We have classes that operate on semester bases. Class or workshops will last 6 weeks to 3 months. " "We teach every art under the sun — fine arts, painting, drawing sculpture, performing arts, poetry and drama, writing, literature."


Nailah Jumoke, who discovered late in life that she was a writer, moved to the Arts Colony in North Hollywood from Chicago, where she had lived in senior housing. "I was seeing a lot of seniors just being seniors," she says, "not doing anything. I never liked the idea of getting old, playing bingo, playing cards. I'm very active."

The women in her family have always been active, she says. Her mother is 82, and her grandmother is 98. "These women keep moving. Neither uses assistance in walking. My grandmother lives in her apartment. She still cooks."

And through the programs offered by EngAge, she is still learning things about herself.

"The instructors are very professional," she says. "We do yoga; we do meditations. I'm learning I am also an artist. I ask myself, where did this talent come from? I'm always finding out more and more about myself at this beautiful age at 64."

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North Hollywood Arts Colony resident Lin Rinderknecht, 62, had already moved from Detroit to Florida when she found out about the residences. The former psychiatric nurse had taken care of her mother for 18 years, and then her husband for three years. She followed her daughter and son-in-law to California, but she didn't know anyone else. Everything changed when she discovered the Arts Colony.

"When I moved into this building, everything changed," she said. "It was such a blessing because of the EngAge organization that comes in here."

Rinderknecht had done acting and directing in church events years earlier, but was never a professional. She made it through the selection process.

"I've always been interested in musical theater," she says. "We can walk downstairs and go to a play. I can take all the classes I've always been interested in, but life got in the way and I had to take care of family.

"I'm re-discovering the arts," she says.

And that's the point of EngAge. "Living here allows you to continue to explore who you are and to create the legacy that you want to live and leave behind," says Smith-Fortier.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Disney Slips On Mixed Q3 Report

Disney (DIS) reversed earlier gains and was recently falling after the company's third-quarter earnings report.

Disney said it earned $1.58 billion, or $1.03 a share, up from $1.83 billion in the year-ago period and ahead of the $1.01 analysts were expecting. Revenues rose 4.4% to $11.58 billion, coming in just a bit shy of the $11.64 billion consensus.

The company's largest division, media networks, logged 8% growth in operating income on a 5% increase in revenue.

Disney's parks and resorts unit saw profit climb 9% on a 7% increase in revenue.

The studio arm logged a 2% decline in revenue, in part on the back of promotional costs for box office dud The Lone Ranger.

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Sterne, Agee & Leach's Vasily Karasyov was one of the first analysts out with a take on the quarter, writing "DIS 3Q results came in better than we expected and in line with consensus, as the headwinds the company highlighted on the previous call weren't as bad. The results don't seem to include the impact of The Lone Ranger. We think the company may have written it down gradually before the release."

The stock is up 32% in the past year, outpacing the broader market’s gains.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

It's a Marvel: Disney Extends Hasbro Contract

Was all that worrying for nothing? When entertainment mogul Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) bought cartoon character powerhouse Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion a few years back, Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS  ) investors felt waves of trepidation that the biscuit wheels were about to come off the gravy train. While the toymaker had just inked a licensing deal for the portfolio's 8,000 or so characters at the time, the agreement only ran to 2017, and you could hear the doomsday countdown clock start ticking in the background.

This morning, though, both companies announced that they had agreed to extend their royalty arrangement through 2020, and for a cool guaranteed royalty payment of $80 million by Hasbro, the day of reckoning has been put off for a few more years. Maybe things aren't so bad after all.

Maybe, but Marvel's characters are an integral part of Hasbro's success, and when the studios aren't releasing one of their iconic figures to the big screen, the toymaker is the one that suffers. In its second-quarter earnings announcement also just released this morning, Hasbro said its boys segment suffered a 35% plunge in revenues based in part on tough comparisons its Marvel IP had with the year-ago period. Sales tumbled to $253.7 million from $389.1 million last year, too much of a decline to make up for the increase in revenues experienced in the categories of girls (up 43%), games (up 19%), and preschool (up 4%).

Although today's news gives the toymaker a few more years of breathing space, it highlights the importance of Marvel -- and movies generally -- to Hasbro's bottom line. 

The new extended contract actually has its genesis in Hasbro's licensing agreement with Lucasfilm, the owner of the Star Wars franchise that Disney also acquired last year for $4 billion. Hasbro has licensing rights to the characters and the cartoons that appear on its Hub television network are a perennial revenue enhancer. The TV channel is still a small portion of Hasbro's overall revenue picture, and won't challenge anytime soon Disney's own TV work or that of Viacom's (NASDAQ: VIAB  ) Nickelodeon, but it is gaining critical acclaim if not more revenues. 

Hasbro's contract with Lucasfilm extends to 2020 and with both properties now part of the House of Mouse, Disney sought to align both contracts, which is why the toymaker was able to get the contract for Marvel extended. Yet because there are three more Star Wars films planned by the time the agreement runs out, Hasbro has agreed to pay Disney $225 million in guaranteed royalties, with $75 million due at the signing.

As we saw with Marvel, Hasbro's Star Wars relationship is also key because the first-quarter dropoff in sales would have been a lot worse had there not been Star Wars toys put into the sales channel in anticipation of the May 2013 release of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, which was re-released in 3-D. They've also got other tie-ins with the franchise scheduled for the back half of the year, including an Angry Birds Star Wars II release.

While it's interesting that Disney would agree to extend the contract rather than bring production in-house with its own considerable marketing muscle, it seems to me Hasbro was negotiating from a position of weakness. It needs those portfolios more than Disney needs the toymaker, which has had a longtime relationship with Hasbro's rival Mattel (NASDAQ: MAT  ) and could always switch over if it wanted.

The countdown clock may have been reset again, but I'm not particularly worried. Analysts had expected Hasbro to fall apart after Disney pulled its portfolios from the toymaker, but that didn't happen. Not only have they extended the agreement for an additional period of time, but Marvel character-based cartoons appear on Hasbro's Hub, something Wall Street didn't think would happen either.

Once the deadline draws near again, it is possible Disney decides to cut out the middleman after 2020, but they could also be just as pleased with how Hasbro has handled Marvel's characters, and while the House of Mouse might not get all the profits as it would if it brought development in-house, it avoids the costs as well and spreads the risk. Armageddon may have been avoided after all.

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Will LinkedIn’s new ‘Intro’ feature attract h…

SEATTLE -- LinkedIn's new Intro functionality, launched by CEO Jeff Weiner earlier this week, is intended to make the business networking service more mobile friendly.

But it also runs the risk of making LinkedIn more attractive to hackers. At least that's the early reaction from two prominent security analysts.

James Lyne, Global Head of Security Research for anti-malware company Sophos, says in a blog posting that LinkedIn has "put up a big sign advertising to cyber criminals, nation states and others 'hack here, we've got loads of juicy data'. "

Intro ties into Apple's iOS native e-mail application. It is designed to re-configure your e-mail to proxy through LinkedIn servers. This redirection enables LinkedIn to insert a banner that appears to be integrated with the application natively. LinkedIn, in effect, has become a man-in-the-middle of your e-mail flow; its servers sit between you and your actual e-mail provider.

From a security and privacy standpoint, this introduces fresh opportunities for bad guys, says Carl Livitt, Senior Security Researcher at security consultancy Bishop Fox. Livitt and Lyne are among the first security experts to react strongly to Intro.

Julie Inouye, LinkedIn's corporate communications director, says the company has taken extensive security and privacy precautions.

"We take the privacy and security of our members' data very seriously and have taken a thoughtful approach to ensure we've put the right security precautions in place for the LinkedIn Intro product," Inouye told CyberTruth.

Inouye points out that security precautions include: isolating the Intro environment as a separate high security segment from the rest of LinkedIn systems; hardening parts of its infrastructure related to delivering the service; retaining an outside vendor to review the code dealing with transmission of credentials and handling email content; ensuring that credentials and e-mail content are never stored unencrypted; and continuously monitoring the! Intro platform for security and availability issues.

Even so, in a CyberTruth interview, Bishop Fox's Livitt drilled down on his concerns:

CT: So what do you believe to be the core security issue introduced by Intro?

Livitt: You can bet your last dollar that enterprising hackers and spammers will view Intro as a potential goldmine. Intro supports some of the biggest names in email: Yahoo!, Gmail, AOL. And it's all centralized. Further, in most cases LinkedIn is not actually issuing new passwords for their email servers – they simply 'pass through' your real credentials to your real email provider.

Imagine if someone were to compromise the Intro platform. They would gain access to the usernames and passwords of at least every Yahoo! and AOL user; Gmail users would not be affected in the same way because of OAuth. There is also a rather pervasive concern that LinkedIn has a poor security track record and there is corresponding concern about the design, implementation, and due diligence that has gone into creating the Intro service.

Then there's the human side. Is it okay to hand over all of your emails to someone in exchange for convenience? Is it acceptable for a third-party to have the stated aim of modifying your emails? Is it ok to accept 3rd iPhone configuration profiles as part of a free service?

CT: What market forces do you think drove LinkedIn to try this?

Livitt: I can only speculate. The ability to mine e-mails for information about users so that advertising can be targeted more effectively. The persistent branding of all e-mails with LinkedIn's service to embed themselves into the psyche of users. The ability to intercept and act upon the corporate communications of a large user base would be a business intelligence coup . . . Maybe we should have seen this coming after LinkedIn bought Rapportive.

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CT: Anybody else doing anythi! ng simila! r to this?

Livitt: Some of the big MDM (mobile device management) providers employ techniques similar to what Intro is doing, but they have mature solutions. MDMs like AirWatch, Goodand Fiberlink provide enterprise solutions for companies to manage the security of mobile devices by pushing security configuration profiles to iPhones and Androids. This gives them capabilities to manage apps and remotely wipe the phone. This is exactly the means by which LinkedIn is now pushing a new e-mail profile to iPhones. I know of no other social networking providers who do this. Facebook does ask for your e-mail credentials in order to collect your contacts, but none of your e-mail passes through their systems.

CT: Have you contacted them about this?

Livitt: We haven't heard anything from LinkedIn, nor have we actively pursued dialogue with them. That said, the risks introduced by their applications are by design. This isn't a security vulnerability that can be patched.

CT: Anything else?

Livitt: This will be an interesting social experiment – how many people do you think will actually hand over their e-mails to LinkedIn in exchange for the convenience of having LinkedIn embedded into their e-mail client? I have no idea, but it will be fascinating to find out.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

5 States With the Fewest Home Foreclosures

There are few statistics that better illustrate our economic travails over the last few years than the number of homes that continue to be foreclosed upon on a monthly basis.

The good news is that the number is shrinking. According to a new report from CoreLogic, there were a total of 52,000 completed foreclosures in May. While this was 3.5% higher than the previous month, it was nevertheless 27% below the same month last year.

The bad news is that we still have a long way to go before things normalize. Between 2000 and 2006, CoreLogic estimates that there was an average of only 21,000 completed foreclosures each month. The current rate will need to fall by 60% to get back to that level.

That being said, the state of the foreclosure market is not uniform across the country. What follows are the five states with the fewest foreclosures over the past 12 months. To see a list of the five states with the most foreclosures, click here.


Completed Foreclosures Over the Past 12 Months

Foreclosure Inventory as a Percent of Mortgaged Homes

District of Columbia






North Dakota



West Virginia






Source: CoreLogic.

It probably goes without saying that the number of completed foreclosures here has a lot to do with the population of the state in question. Take North Dakota and Maine as examples. These are two of the least populated states in the country. It makes sense, in other words, that they would have among the fewest foreclosures.

More telling, then, is the foreclosure inventory as a percent of mortgaged homes. The tides are reversed in this regard for at least Maine and Hawaii, which sport among the highest percentages of any state. The national average is 2.6%.

Percentages aside, the benefit of the relative health of these housing markets can be seen in the performance of smaller, regional banks like Bank of Hawaii (NYSE: BOH  ) , BB&T (NYSE: BBT  ) , and TD Bank (NYSE: TD  ) which have large presences in Hawaii, West Virginia, and Maine, respectively. Shares of all of these banks have more than recovered since the financial crisis as a testament to this.

It also goes a long way toward explaining why investors like Warren Buffett are so interested in smaller, high-quality lenders that have proven themselves to be bastions of safety and profit.

The cream of the crop in this regard is the bank discussed in our free report on the stock that Buffett wishes he could own but can't because of its size. Since this bank's inception, it's returned more than 5,000% to shareholders in both dividends and share-price appreciation. It's no wonder, in turn, that it's regularly selected as among the top banks in the country time and time again. You can learn the identity of this bank instantly and for free simply by clicking here now.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Can Boeing’s Profit Margins Stay Aloft?

Shares of Boeing (BA) have taken off today after the airplane maker reported better-than-expected earnings on strong profits in its commercial-aircraft division. Can they stay aloft?

Associated Press

The Wall Street Journal has the details on Boeing’s earnings:

Boeing reported a profit of $1.16 billion, or $1.51 a share, up from $1.03 billion, or $1.35 a share, a year earlier. Core operating earnings—which adjusts to exclude pension components related to market fluctuations and other items—rose to $1.80 from $1.55. Revenue increased 11% to $22.1 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters recently expected per-share earnings of $1.55 and revenue of $21.69 billion…

For the year, the company raised its per-share earnings estimate to $6.50 to $6.65, from its previously increased estimate for a per-share profit of $6.20 to $6.40. Boeing also affirmed its revenue view.

Boeing credited strong sales of commercial jets to emerging markets, which are building up their fleets to tap into travel by their rising middle class, and in Europe and the U.S, where airlines are upgrading their old airplanes. Margins in its commercial jet division rose to 11.9%, well ahead of Boeing’s own guidance.

Sterne Agee’s Peter Arment and Josh Sullivan applaud the commercial division’s results and thinks Boeing’s shares can head higher:

As expected, 3Q13 EPS beat but even more impressive was BCA margins exceeded expectations despite ramping deliveries of low margin 787s. The power of BA’s cash generation also began to show through in 3Q13 with $2.3 billion of free cash flows. Simple takeaway is stay long BA and we remain buyers at current levels given our long-term targets as the operating performance continues to provide upside to expectations…

There are several catalysts still in front of BA, such as the 777X launch, the 787-10 orders coupled with extension of the 787 accounting block, and a new buyback authorization. BA continued its  repurchase program in 3Q13 with 7.6 million shares totaling $0.8 billion (current buyback plan totals $1.5 billion-$2 billion in 2013 vs. $1.8 billion now deployed). This commitment taps into the existing $3.5 billion authorization, which is likely reset towards the end of the year as BA completes its milestones for 2013. The 777X launch will occur in November.

RBC Capital Markets’ Robert Stallard acknowledges the strong numbers, but has some concerns:

The very strong BCA margin in the quarter, way ahead of Boeing guidance, is the key positive surprise in these results - and likely to prompt questions as to whether this is a ‘one off’, or whether such levels can be sustained going forward. With the focus on cash, investors are likely to be happy that Boeing is still doing a good job on cash generation, but with the mountain getting bigger we think investor would welcome a step up in the deployment of cash going forward. The boost in the 787 rate has been widely discussed in the past, though given that it doesn’t kick in till 2016, the benefits of this remains some way off.

Stallard rates Boeing, which has gained 69% this year, a neutral.

Boeing has risen 4.2% to $127.65 today, while jet maker Embraer (ERJ) has advanced 2.4% to $33.77 and BAE System (BAESY) has dropped 0.4%. Lockheed Martin (LMT) has ticked up 0.5% to $130.67 and Northrop Grumman (NOC) has jumped 3.7% to $105.25.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013, Inc. (AMZN) Q3 Earnings Preview: What To Expect?

Online retail giant, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) will report its third quarter financial results on Oct.24 and hold a conference call on the same day at 2:00 p.m. PT/5:00 p.m. ET to discuss the operating performance.

Wall Street expects Amazon to report a loss of 9 cents a share, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. In the same period last year, the company reported a loss of 60 cents a share.

Amazon's results have managed to top Street view only once in the past four quarters while missing them by a wide margin on three occasions. Analysts are more pessimistic on Amazon's earnings in the last three months, when the consensus estimate was a profit of 10 cents.

Quarterly revenue is expected to rise 21.4 percent to $16.77 billion from $13.81 billion in the same quarter last year. Amazon sees third quarter net sales between $15.45 billion and $17.15 billion, or to grow between 12 and 24 percent over the third quarter of 2012. The market could look at the contributions of North America and International markets.

Amazon is sacrificing near-term profitability to drive long-term growth as it is investing heavily in Kindle tablets, TV content, Video library and AWS. These heavy investments are weighing on gross margins resulting in losses. Amazon expects third-quarter operating loss to be between $440 million and $65 million, compared to $28 million in the third quarter of 2012.

The company recently began shipping of its third generation of Kindle Fire tablets dubbed the Kindle Fire HDX, which could be available for as low as $229. The company also announced the Kindle Fire HD for $139.

During the quarter, Amazon introduced Kindle MatchBook, a new benefit that gives customers the option to buy—for $2.99, $1.99, $0.99, or free—the Kindle edition of print books they have purchased new from Amazon. It also unveiled Kindle Paperwhite—the 6th generation of Kindle eReader.

The Kindle shipping timing difference versus last year, with both the 7" &! ; 8.9" versions pushed into the fourth quarter this year, could be mildly supportive to margins, at the expense of revenue growth.

"We would note that the low cost approach (Jeff Bezos meetings with the press) taken to introducing the new Kindle line would suggest a conservative approach to spending, potentially indicative of operating income pressures," UBS analyst Eric Sheridan said in a note to clients.

Meanwhile, increased fee revenues from 3P sellers should be supportive of gross margin expansion as Amazon raised 3P seller fees about 6 percent in the first quarter.

Investors could watch paid unit growth trends, which have been weakening as it has decelerated in each of the previous five quarters. That said, comps are approximately 400bps easier this quarter relative to last. This statistic has become of increasing importance given Amazon's increasing 3P mix and its impact on both reported revenue growth and gross profit margins.

"For Q3 2013, we estimate paid units grew slightly above the 29% growth seen in Q2 2013. The comparison continues to ease as we move into Q4 (32% paid unit growth posted in Q4 2012)," Sheridan noted.

There is potential for this number to reaccelerate given the combination of Amazon's recent Kindle store launches (China, Brazil, Mexico), 3P business launch in India, Amazon Fresh launch in Los Angeles, and the aforementioned easier compare.

A few additional items that may be brought up on the call or mentioned in some form include early progress related to the company's global expansion of the Kindle Appstore; early traction with 3P sellers in India; update around China strategy (Kindle, partnerships).

For the second quarter ended June 30, 2013, the Seattle, Washington-based company reported a net loss of $7 million or 2 cents a share, compared to net income of $7 million or 1 cent a share for the year-ago quarter. Net sales for the second quarter rose 22 percent to $15.70 billion.

Amazon has traded in a mixed manner following i! ts last t! wo third quarter earnings announcements, increasing 7 percent and declining 13 percent, respectively. That said, over a five year span, the average price change post third quarter results is a 5 percent gain.

Shares of AMZN have gained 8 percent since the last quarterly report and have climbed 41 percent in the last year. They have traded between $218.18 and $331.89 during the past 52-weeks.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Asian Stocks Retreat Ahead of Delayed U.S. Payrolls Data

Asian stocks fell, with regional benchmark index retreating from a five-month high, as investors await the release of delayed U.S. payrolls data to gauge when the Federal Reserve will starting trimming record stimulus.

China Mobile Ltd., the world's largest phone company, dropped 3.6 percent in Hong Kong after posting its biggest profit decline since 1999. Shinhan Financial (055550) Group Co. fell 3.2 percent in Seoul as BNP Paribas plans to sell part of its stake in South Korea's biggest bank. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's No. 1 mining company, gained 2.5 percent in Sydney after increasing its forecast for iron-ore production.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.1 percent to 143.53 as of 12:44 p.m. in Tokyo, with nine of the 10 industry groups on the measure retreating. The gauge closed yesterday at the highest level since May 21 as investors shifted their focus from the resolution of the U.S. fiscal showdown to the timeline for the Fed reducing bond buying.

"There's a lack of catalysts," said Toshiyuki Kanayama, a senior market analyst at Monex Securities Inc. "Investors may be on the sidelines to see the U.S. jobs data."

China's Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP) lost 0.7 percent. Home prices climbed in August in 69 of 70 Chinese cities, according to data released by the government today.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.5 percent. South Korea's Kospi index and Taiwan's Taiex both dropped 0.1 percent. Japan's Topix index gained 0.2 percent, while Singapore's Straits Times Index added 0.4 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index (AS51) rose 0.5 percent and New Zealand's NZX 50 Index advanced 0.7 percent.

Relative Value

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 3.7 percent this month through yesterday as the U.S. Congress voted to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. The gauge traded at 13.8 times estimated earnings compared with 15.8 for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and 14.7 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

S&P 500 futures slid 0.1 percent today. The U.S. equity gauge rose less than 1 point in New York yesterday as investors watched corporate earnings to assess the strength of the economy before today's employment data.

The Labor Department report will probably show employers added 180,000 workers in September, the most since April, after a 169,000 gain in August, according to the median estimate of 93 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The report, originally due Oct. 4, was delayed by the Oct. 1-Oct. 17 partial government shutdown.

Fed Stimulus

The Federal Reserve won't taper bond purchases until March because the shutdown probably slowed fourth-quarter U.S. growth and also interrupted the flow of data, according to economists in a Bloomberg survey. The monthly pace of asset buying will be pared to $70 billion from $85 billion at the Fed's March 18-19 meeting, the median of 40 estimates shows.

"It's a good environment for equities because tapering expectations have been pushed out to next year," Sean Fenton, a Sydney-based fund manager, who helps oversee about $1 billion at Tribeca Investment Partners Ltd., said by telephone. "We still see markets trending higher and there's nothing particular out there that's worrying us in the short term. Growth in the U.S. is steady without being spectacular, so the support remains from the Fed, with very easy monetary conditions."

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China Mobile sank 3.6 percent to HK$82, heading for the lowest close since July 19. Net income fell 8.8 percent to 28.4 billion yuan ($4.7 billion) in the third quarter, according to figures derived from nine-month results released by the Beijing-based company yesterday. The profit missed the 31.1 billion-yuan average of five analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Shinhan Financial fell 3.2 percent to 47,100 won in Seoul. BNP Paribas, which owns 6.35 percent stake in Shinhan Financial, plans to sell part of its stake in a block sale, according to a term sheet obtained by Bloomberg News. The price likely to be set between 47,000 won to 48,650 won per share, according to the term sheet.

BHP Billiton gained 2.5 percent to A$37.11. The miner raised its full-year iron ore production forecast to 212 million tons from 207 million tons after output for the steelmaking material jumped 23 percent in the three months ended Sept. 30.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Best Biotech Companies To Own For 2014

Industrial biotech isn't the only industry headed to Brazil. Protalix (NYSEMKT: PLX  ) entered into a technology transfer agreement with Brazil's Ministry of Health last week that will pay the company $280 million. The deal is big news for Protalix's first product, Elelyso/Uplyso, which was developed with partner Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) . The treatment is approved as an enzyme replacement therapy, or ERT, for adults with type 1 Gaucher disease, and it marks a huge step forward for the future of biomanufacturing. In the following video, Fool contributor Maxx Chatsko explains what this means for the product's commercialization and the adoption of Protalix's novel plant cell-based expression system for therapeutic proteins.

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Best Biotech Companies To Own For 2014: Celsion Corporation(CLSN)

Celsion Corporation, an oncology drug development company, develops and commercializes targeted chemotherapeutic oncology drugs based on its proprietary heat-activated liposomal technology. The company is developing its lead product, ThermoDox that is in Phase III clinical trial for primary liver cancer; and in phase II clinical trial for treatment of recurrent chest wall breast cancer. It has a license agreement with Yakult Honsha to commercialize and market ThermoDox for the Japanese market. The company also has a license agreement with Duke University under which it received exclusive rights to commercialize and use Duke's thermo-liposome technology. In addition, Celsion Corporation has a joint research agreement with Royal Phillips Electronics to evaluate the combination of Phillips' high intensity focused ultrasound with its ThermoDox to determine the potential of this combination to treat a range of cancers. The company was founded in 1982 and is based in Columbia, M aryland.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By EquityOptionsGuru]

    The Prolieve Thermodilatation System was actually developed by the current management of Medifocus while employed at Celsion Corporation (NASDAQ:CLSN). The system was also jointly developed with Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) before being acquired by Medifocus in July 2012. Prolieve has already received FDA approval, is currently generating revenue, and is the only in office alternative to drug therapy. The system essentially uses microwave energy to treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), which is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland that typically affects men over the age of 50. The Prolieve device works by compressing and heating prostatic tissue that may be blocking the flow of urine. This particular treatment option offers patients several benefits including the following:

Best Biotech Companies To Own For 2014: Fuse Science Inc (DROP.PK)

Fuse Science, Inc. ( Fuse Science), incorporated on September 21, 1988, is a consumer products holding company. The Company maintains the rights to sublingual and transdermal delivery systems for bioactive agents that can effectively encapsulate and charge many varying molecules in order to produce complete product formulations which can be consumed orally, applied topically or delivered otherwise sublingually or transdermally, thereby bypassing the gastrointestinal tract and entering the blood stream directly. The Fuse Science technology is designed to accelerate conveyance of medicines or nutrients relative to traditional pills and liquids and can enhance how consumers receive these products. In December 2012, the Company launched its initial DROP products, PowerFuse, an energy formulation in a concentrated drop and ElectroFuse, an electrolyte formula in a concentrated drop, online, with the expansion into targeted retail distribution channels.

The Compan y is developing formulations and devices, which are compatible with alternative delivery systems for energy, medicines, vitamins and minerals, among other bioactives. These alternative systems include, but are not limited to, sublingual, transdermal and buccal drug delivery methods. use Science has developed and continues to advance, in conjunction with its scientific team, sublingual and transdermal delivery systems for bioactives that can effectively encapsulate and charge varying molecules in order to produce product formulations which can be consumed orally, applied topically or otherwise delivered sublingually or transdermally, thereby bypassing the gastrointestinal tract and entering the blood stream directly. The delivery technology is consists of encapsulation vesicles and ion exchange permeation enhancers. This technology utilizes a gradient across the mucosa membrane to help deliver the bioactive more efficiently through the mucosa.

The Company

Top 5 Low Price Stocks To Watch Right Now: InterMune Inc.(ITMN)

InterMune, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, engages in the research, development, and commercialization of therapies in pulmonology and fibrotic diseases. In pulmonology, the company focuses on therapies for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a progressive and fatal lung disease. It markets pirfenidone, an orally active drug that inhibits the synthesis of TGF-beta under the Esbriet name in the European Union, as well as in a Phase III clinical trial in the United States. Pirfenidone is also approved for the treatment of IPF in Japan, where it is marketed by Shionogi & Co. Ltd. under the Pirespa trade name. The company?s research programs focus on the discovery of small-molecule therapeutics and biomarkers to treat and monitor serious pulmonary and fibrotic diseases. InterMune, Inc. was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Brisbane, California.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Rich Smith]

    On Thursday, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged a former vice president of finance, accounting officer, and controller of InterMune (NASDAQ: ITMN  ) with insider trading.

Best Biotech Companies To Own For 2014: Telik Inc (TELK)

Telik, Inc. (Telik), incorporated in 1988, is a clinical-stage drug development company focused on discovering and developing small molecule drugs to treat cancer. The Company discovers its product candidates using the Company�� drug discovery technology, Target-Related Affinity Profiling (TRAP). TELINTRA, its principal drug product candidate in clinical development, is a small molecule glutathione analog inhibitor of the enzyme glutathione S-transferase P1-1 (GST P1-1). TELCYTA, its other product candidate, is a small molecule cancer drug product candidate designed to be activated in cancer cells.

Clinical Product Development

TELINTRA is the Company�� lead small molecule product candidate in clinical development for the treatment of blood disorders, including cancer. It has a mechanism of action and acts by inhibiting GST P1-1, an enzyme that is involved in the control of cellular growth and differentiation. Inhibition of GST P1-1 results in the activation of the signaling molecule Jun kinase, a regulator of the function of blood precursor cells. Preclinical tests show that TELINTRA is capable of causing the death or apoptosis of leukemic or malignant blood cells, while stimulating the growth and development of normal blood precursor cells. TELINTRA has been studied in Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) using two formulations. A liposomal formulation was developed for intravenous administration of TELINTRA and was used in Phase I and Phase II studies in MDS patients. The results from the Phase II intravenous liposomal TELINTRA clinical trials demonstrated that TELINTRA treatment was associated with improvement in all three types of blood cell levels in patients with all types of MDS, including those in intermediate and high-risk groups. An oral dosage formulation (tablet) was subsequently developed and results from a Phase I study with TELINTRA tablets showed clinical activity and the formulation to be well tolerated. In June 2011, the Company initiated a Phase II clinical ! trial to evaluate TELINTRA tablets. In October 2011, the Company initiated an additional Phase IIb clinical trial to evaluate TELINTRA tablets. '

The activity and safety profile of tablet formulation allowed the Company to complete a Phase II trial of TELINTRA tablets in MDS. The primary objective of the Phase II TELINTRA tablet study was to determine the efficacy of TELINTRA. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to identify MDS disease prognostic factors associated with erythroid improvement response rates, including prior MDS treatment, age, gender, the international prognostic scoring system (IPSS), risk, Eastern Cooperative Group performance status, years from MDS diagnosis, MDS World Health Organization subtypes, anemia only versus anemia plus other cytopenias, dose schedule and starting dose. Results from this study show that TELINTRA is the first GSTP1-1 enzyme inhibitor shown to cause clinically reductions in red blood cell transfusions, including transfusion independence in low to intermediate-1 risk MDS patients, as well as improvement in platelet count and white blood cell levels in certain patients. TELINTRA, administered orally twice daily, appeared to be convenient and flexible for chronic treatment administration.

TELCYTA is a small molecule drug product candidate that the Company is developed for the treatment of cancer. TELCYTA binds to GST. TELCYTA has been evaluated in multiple Phase II and Phase III clinical trials, including trials using TELCYTA as monotherapy and in combination regimens in ovarian, non-small cell lung, breast and colorectal cancer. Results from these clinical trials indicate that TELCYTA monotherapy was generally well-tolerated, with mostly mild to moderate side effects, particularly when compared to the side effects and toxicities of standard chemotherapeutic drugs. When TELCYTA was evaluated in combination with standard chemotherapeutic drugs, the tolerability of the combinations was similar to that expected of each! drug alo! ne.

Clinical activity including objective tumor responses and/or disease stabilization was reported in the TELCYTA Phase II trials; however, TELCYTA did not meet its primary endpoints in the Phase III studies. Positive results from a Phase I-IIa multicenter, dose-ranging study of TELCYTA in combination with carboplatin and paclitaxel as first-line therapy for patients with non-small cell lung cancer, or NSCLC, were published in a peer reviewed publication. Clinical data demonstrated positive results of TELCYTA in combination with carboplatin and paclitaxel in the treatment of first-line lung cancer followed by TELCYTA maintenance therapy. As of December 31, 2011, the Company had an on-going investigator-led study at a single site of TELCYTA in patients with refractory or relapsed mantle cell lymphoma, diffuse B cell lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.

Preclinical Drug Product Development

The Company has a small molecule compound, TLK60404, in preclinical development that inhibits both Aurora kinase and VEGFR kinase. Aurora kinase is a signaling enzyme whose function is required for cancer cell division, while VEGF plays a key role in tumor blood vessel formation, ensuring an adequate supply of nutrients to support tumor growth. These lead compounds prevented tumor growth in preclinical models of human colon cancer and human leukemia by inhibiting both Aurora kinase and VEGFR kinase. A development drug product candidate, TLK60404, has been selected.

The Company, using its TRAP technology has discovered TLK60357, a novel, potent small molecule inhibitor of cell division. TLK60357 inhibits the formation of microtubules that are necessary for cancer cell growth leading to persistent G2/M cancer cell cycle block and subsequent cell death. This compound demonstrates potent broad-spectrum anticancer activity against a number of human cancer cells. This compound also displays oral efficacy in multiple, standard preclinical models of cancer. TLK60596, a potent VG! FR kinase! inhibitor, blocks the formation of new blood vessels in tumors. Oral administration of TLK60596 to animal models of human colon cancer reduced tumor growth.

Best Biotech Companies To Own For 2014: Hemispherx Biopharma Inc (HEB)

Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc. (Hemispherx) is a specialty pharmaceutical company engaged in the clinical development of new drugs therapies based on natural immune system enhancing technologies for the treatment of viral and immune based chronic disorders. Hemispherx focuses on two core pharmaceutical technology platforms Ampligen and Alferon N Injection.The commercial focus for Ampligen includes application as a treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and as an influenza vaccine enhancer (adjuvant) for both therapeutic and preventative vaccine development. Alferon N Injection is a United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved product with an indication for refractory or recurring genital warts. Alferon LDO (Low Dose Oral) is a formulation under development targeting influenza. It has three subsidiaries BioPro Corp., BioAegean Corp., and Core BioTech Corp. The Company's foreign subsidiary is Hemispherx Biopharma Europe N.V./S.A.


Ampligen is an experimental drug, which is undergoing clinical development for the treatment of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). Over 1,000 patients have participated in the Ampligen clinical trials representing the administration of more than 90,000 doses of this drug. The Company is also engaged in ongoing, experimental studies assessing the efficacy of Ampligen against influenza viruses.

Alferon N Injection

Alferon N Injection is the registered trademark for the Company's injectable formulation of natural alpha interferon. Interferons are a group of proteins produced and secreted by cells to combat diseases. The Company's natural alpha interferon is produced from human white blood cells. Alferon N Injection [Interferon alfa-n3 (human leukocyte derived)] is a highly purified, natural-source, glycosylated, multi-species alpha interferon product.

Alferon LDO (Low Dose Oral)

Alferon LDO [Low Dose Oral Interferon Alfa-n3 (Human Leukocyte Derived)]! is an experimental low-dose, oral liquid formulation of Natural Alpha Interferon and like Alferon N Injection should not cause antibody formation, which is a problem with recombinant interferon. It is an experimental immunotherapeutic that works by stimulating an immune cascade response in the cells of the mouth and throat, enabling it to bolster systemic immune response through the entire body by absorption through the oral mucosa.

The Company competes with Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, AstraZeneca, Baxter International, Fletcher/CSI, AVANT Immunotherapeutics, AVI BioPharma and Genta.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

50 Fascinating Things I've Read Lately

Source: Twice25.

One of the best parts about reading on a Kindle is that highlighting passages and finding them later is easier than ever. I try to do it as much as possible. In no particular order, here are 50 quotes I found interesting, startling, funny, or amazing from books I've read lately.

1. "During the Great Plague of London in 1665, the people listened with avidity to the predictions of quacks and fanatics. Defoe says that at that time the people were more addicted to prophecies and astronomical conjurations, dreams, and old wives' tales than they were before or since." -- Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

2. "People were so convinced that flying was impossible that most of those who saw [the Wright brothers] flying about Dayton in 1905 decided that what they had seen must be some trick without significance -- somewhat as most people today would regard a demonstration of, let us say, telepathy ... It was not until May, 1908 -- nearly four and a half years after the Wrights' first flight -- that experienced reporters were sent to observe what they were doing." -- Frederick Lewis Allan, The Big Change

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3. "The Commanding General is well aware the forecasts are no good. However, he needs them for planning purposes." -- Economist Kenneth Arrow, recalling the response of his superiors after pointing out that war forecasts were consistently inaccurate.

4. "The average working day was in the neighborhood of 10 hours, 6 days a week. In business offices there was a growing trend toward a Saturday half holiday, but if anyone had suggested a five-day week he would have been considered demented." Frederick Lewis Allan, The Big Change, on life in American in the early 1900s

5. "I have never been in an environment where almost everyone misinterprets good fortune as genius." -- Anonymous investment banker, Conversations with Wall Street

6. "It took nearly 500,000 years for the world's population to hit the 5 million mark, which it did sometime around 8000 B.C. Human life was plenty nasty and brutish back then, but it was its shortness that mattered most. It took so long to get to 5 million because it was devilishly hard to keep 5 million people alive all at once." -- Jonathan Last, What to Expect When No One's Expecting

7. "As John D. Rockefeller put it, the way to success is to (1) get to work early, (2) stay late, and (3) strike oil." -- Bill Bonner, Family Fortunes

8. "In 2010, two biologists at the University of Queensland in Australia tabulated all the mammals that have very likely gone extinct in the past five hundred years. This yielded a list of 187 species. Then they checked to see how many were eventually recategorized as nonextinct. The answer: More than a third of all mammals that allegedly were lost to time in the past five hundred years have since been rediscovered." -- Sam Arbesman, The Half-Life of Facts

9. "You never know what the American public is going to do, but you do know they will do it all at once." -- Bill Seidman

10. "The world has produced about 1 trillion barrels of oil since the start of the industry in the nineteenth century. Currently, it is thought that there are at least 5 trillion barrels of petroleum resources, of which 1.4 trillion is sufficiently developed and technically and economically accessible." -- Daniel Yergin, The Quest

11. "It is safer to be a speculator than an investor in the sense that a speculator is one who runs risks of which he is aware and an investor is one who runs risks of which he is unaware." -- John Maynard Keynes

12. "My conceptual framework, which basically emphasizes the importance of misconceptions, makes me extremely critical of my own decisions. I know that I am bound to be wrong, and therefore am more likely to correct my own mistakes." -- George Soros

13. "What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of the recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention." -- Herbert Simon

14. Texas senator Phil Gramm: "If this is the bust, the boom was sure as hell worth it. You agree with that, right?" Fed chairman Alan Greenspan: "Certainly." -- 2001 congressional hearing

15. "There were children of what we would consider junior high school age who had to spend the hours from five o'clock in the morning till eight o'clock at night -- with half an hour off for breakfast and half an hour for dinner -- six days a week, in an ill-lighted, ill-ventilated factory, foregoing sunshine, recreation, education, and health itself to keep the family alive; and all this even if the employer was raking in high profits. It had been conditions such as these, appearing wherever the new industrial capitalism seemed to be making its most active forward progress, that had prompted Karl Marx to see if he could not invent a different system." -- Frederick Lewis Allan, The Big Change 

16. "The peculiar essence of our banking system is an unprecedented trust between man and man. And when that trust is much weakened by hidden causes, a small accident may greatly hurt it, and a great accident for a moment may almost destroy it." -- Walter Bagehot

17. "In 1933, the United States and the major powers of Western Europe all had more or less the same productive capacity that they'd had in 1929: the same factories, the same farmland, the same people with knowledge and ability and eagerness to toil. But when prices are falling and credit is collapsing -- the sort of deflationary cycle that the central bankers allowed to take hold in the early 1930s -- the whole system shuts down." -- Neil Irwin, The Alchemists

18. "Some countries experience financial crises because their banks face collapse. Others experience them because their public finances are out of control. But history teaches one consistent lesson: Regardless of how the crisis starts, it will soon spread." -- Neil Irwin, The Alchemists

19. "'The most important product of science is knowledge,' the physicist David Gross likes to say. 'However, the most important product of knowledge is ignorance.' The more we learn, the more we reveal what we do not know." -- Dan Gardner, Future Babble

20. "It is a singular fact that the Great Pyramids always predicts the history of the world accurately up to the date of publication of the book in question, but after that date it becomes less reliable." -- Bertrand Russell

21. "In 1999, the Federal Reserve Board estimated that their sample of 138 large firms spent some 40 percent of their earnings buying back their own shares." -- Maggie Mahar, Bull!

22. "In the mid-1980s, operating problems took [nuclear] plants off-line so often that, on an annual basis, they operated at only about 55 percent of their rated total generating capacity. Today, as a result of several decades of experience and an intense focus on performance ... nuclear plants in the United States operate at over 90 percent of capacity. That improvement in operating efficiently is so significant in its impact that it can almost be seen as a new source in electric power itself." -- Daniel Yergin, The Quest

23. "We believe our own judgments are less biased and more independent than those of others partly because we rely on introspection to tell us what we are thinking and feeling, but we have no way of knowing what others are really thinking." -- Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson, Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)

24. "New scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." -- Sam Arbesman, The Half-Life of Facts

25. "Full-time college students through the early 1960s spent roughly forty hours per week on academic pursuits (i.e., combined studying and class time); at which point a steady decline ensued through the following decades. Today, full-time college students on average report spending only twenty-seven hours per week on academic activities -- that is, less time than a typical high school student spends at school." -- Richard Arum, Academically Adrift

26. "Look down there. There are six million people with incomes that aggregate thousands of millions of dollars. They are just waiting for someone to come and tell them what to do with their savings. Take a good look, eat a good lunch, and go down and tell them." -- National City Bank president Charles Mitchell, c.1925, to his bond salesmen

27. "Since 1970, the 'vehicle lane miles' (that's the metric traffic engineers use to count how much we drive) consumed by Americans have risen by 150 percent. During that period we added only 5 percent to our highway capacity. Now you know why we have to much traffic these days." -- Jonathan Last, What to Expect When No One's Expecting

28. "During the year 1932, the total amount of money paid out in wages was 60 per cent less than in 1929 ... American business as a whole was running at a net loss of over five billion dollars." -- Frederick Lewis Allan, The Big Change

29. "In 1979, the world's fertility rate was 6.0; today it's 2.52." -- Jonathan Last, What to Expect When No One's Expecting

30. "The Pentagon now spends 84 cents on pensions for every dollar it spends on basic pay." -- Jonathan Last, What to Expect When No One's Expecting

31. "With deregulation, [stock broker] commissions fell precipitously. In 1976, brokers had to move an average of $77 worth of stock to earn $1 of commissions; 10 years later, they needed to peddle $216 worth of stock to make the same dollar. The firms had to find another profit center [which became investment banking fees]." -- Maggie Mahar, Bull!

32. "The instinctual shortcut that we take when we have 'too much information' is to engage with it selectively, picking out the parts we like and ignoring the remainder, making allies with those who have made the same choices and enemies of the rest." -- Nate Silver -- The Signal and the Noise

33. "The Federal government has spent about half as much on investment in recent years, as a share of the economy, as it did in the 1960s. As a society, we are setting aside fewer of our resources for the future and using more for immediate gratification. We have been consuming rather than investing. We're suffering from investment-deficit disorder." -- David Leonhard, Here's the Deal

34. "According to the medieval science historian Guy Beaujouan, before the thirteenth century no more than five persons in the whole of Europe knew how to perform a division." -- Nassim Taleb, Antifragile

35. "More data -- such as paying attention to the eye colors of the people around when crossing the street -- can make you miss the big truck." -- Nassim Taleb, Antifragile

36. "A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguishable from the truth." -- Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

37. "What looks like tomorrow's problem is rarely the real problem when tomorrow rolls around." -- Dan Gardner, Future Babble

38. "As William Galston puckishly notes, you only have to do three things to avoid poverty in America: (1) finish high school; (2) marry before you have a kid; and (3) don't have the kid until after you turn 20. Check off those boxes, and the rest of life generally takes care of itself." -- Jonathan Last, What to Expect When No One's Expecting

39. "Millions of people are alive today because of the civil wars and genocides that did not take place but would have taken place if the world had remained as it was in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s." -- Steven Pinker, The Better Nature of Our Angels

40. "In the single year 1901, one out of every 399 railroad employees was killed, and one out of every 26 was injured. Among engineers, conductors, brakeman, trainmen, etc., the figures were even worse: in that single year, one out of every 137 was killed." -- Frederick Lewis Allan, The Big Change

41. "Medical knowledge about cirrhosis or hepatitis takes about forty-five years for half of it to be disproven or become out-of-date. This is about twice the half-life of the actual radioisotope samarium-151." -- Sam Arbesman, The Half-Life of Facts

42. "What we refer to confidently as memory is really a form of storytelling that goes on continually in the mind and often changes with the telling." -- William Maxwell

43. "Eventually, the country will have to confront the deficit we have, rather than the deficit we imagine. The one we imagine is a deficit caused by waste, fraud, abuse, foreign aid, oil-industry subsidies and vague out-of-control spending. The one we have is caused by the world's highest health costs (by far), the world's largest military (by far), a Social Security program built when most people died by age 75 -- and to pay for it all, the lowest tax rates in decades." -- David Leonhard, Here's the Deal

44. "Not until 1907 did Ellsworth M. Statler build in Buffalo the first hotel which offered every guest a room and private bath at a moderate price." -- Frederick Lewis Allan, The Big Change

45. "In 1910 [Ford's] price per care had been $950. It went down to $780, to $690, to $600, to $550, to $490, to $360; then after an increase due to the shortages and inflation of World War I, went down again until by 1924 the price of a Ford was only $290." -- Frederick Lewis Allan, The Big Change

46. "Greed is not simply wanting more; rather, it is taking more at another's expense." -- Peter Ressler, Monika Mitchell, Conversations with Wall Street

47. "A recent paper in the journal Science finds that people are coming to rely more and more on search engines rather than their own memory. When the study was released, many people fretted about this and how it is hurting our brains and making us dumber. While this is certainly a common argument, I took away the opposite conclusion. Paradoxically, by not relaying on our own memories, we become more likely to be up-to-date in our facts, because the newest knowledge is more likely to be online than in our own heads." -- Sam Arbesman, The Half-Life of Facts

48. "In science, Thomas Kuhn, inventor of the concept of the paradigm shift, found that the greatest discoveries were almost invariably made by newcomers and the very young (think of the middle-aged former printer, Ben Franklin, taming lightning; or Einstein, the twenty-seven-year-old patent clerk, deriving E= MC^2)." -- William Thorndike, The Outsiders

49. "Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks." -- Warren Buffett

50. "According to one study by the United States Geological survey, 86 percent of oil reserves in the United States are the result not of what is estimated at the time of discovery but of the revisions and additions that come with further development." -- Daniel Yergin, The Quest

Check back every Tuesday and Friday for Morgan Housel's columns on finance and economics. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

10 Best Performing Stocks To Buy For 2014

Even though the broader PC market is in an accelerating decline, with unit shipments falling 14% last quarter, there's still plenty of consumers out there looking to purchase a PC.

To that end, Soluto has put together a purchasing guide for those in the market for a Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) Windows laptop. Soluto offers PC monitoring and management software services, which is geared toward IT professionals. The company has access to a massive database of analytics regarding real-world PC performance.

In measuring performance, Soluto aggregates data regarding occurrences like application crashes, the infamous blue screens of death, boot times, and background processes, among others. The goal is to represent real-world performance over the long term, whereas most review sites experience a product for only a limited period of time and rely on benchmarking software that doesn't realistically capture everyday conditions.

Soluto has put together a Top 10 list of the best-performing Windows laptops, and the winner is ... a Mac.

10 Best Performing Stocks To Buy For 2014: Biomedical Technology Solutions Holdings Inc. (BMTL.OB)

Biomedical Technology Solutions Holdings, Inc., an environmental technology company, markets and sells infectious waste treatment systems primarily in the United States. It provides the Demolizero II System, a tabletop device that converts infectious biomedical waste into non-biohazardous material. The company offers consumable sharps and red bag waste collectors, and replacement filter cartridges, as well as supplies, such as labels and wall mounting brackets. In addition, it develops a portable product for home care providers and individuals who require safe and convenient disposal of their personal biomedical waste. The company offers its products for various markets and applications, such as patient care markets, including medical offices, dental offices, urgent care centers, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities; and veterinary care market, which include veterinary hospitals, emergency veterinary care, livestock medicine, equine medicine, zoos, and sanctuaries . It also provides its products for school health clinics, public health facilities, first aid stations, home health care, pharmacies, and military, as well as for airports, cruise ships, train stations, and sports and entertainment arenas. The company was founded in 2005 and is headquartered in Englewood, Colorado.

10 Best Performing Stocks To Buy For 2014: China Precision Steel Inc.(CPSL)

China Precision Steel, Inc. engages in the manufacture and sale of high precision cold-rolled steel products primarily in the People?s Republic of China. Its products include high strength and ultra-thin cold-rolled precision steel coils and sheets with reduced thickness ranging from 7.5 mm to 0.03 mm comprising low carbon steel used in steel roofing, food packaging, dry batteries, electronic devices, and kitchen tools; and high carbon steel for automobile parts and components, grinding pieces, saw blades, and weaving needles, as well as for use in microelectronics. The company also provides steel processing for tailor made cold rolled steel products; and heat treatment, and cutting and slitting of medium and high-carbon hot-rolled steel strips not exceeding 7.5 mm thickness. It sells its products to components manufactures and directly to the end-users in China; and exports to Indonesia, Thailand, the Caribbean, Nigeria, and Ethiopia. China Precision Steel, Inc. is headq uartered in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong.

Best Heal Care Stocks To Buy For 2014: Innophos Holdings Inc.(IPHS)

Innophos Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the production of mineral based specialty ingredients that are used in food, beverage, pharmaceutical, oral care, and industrial end markets. The company?s specialty ingredients include specialty phosphate salts, specialty phosphoric acids, and a range of other mineral based specialty ingredients that are used as flavor enhancers in beverages; electrolytes in sports drinks; texture modifiers in cheeses; leavening agents in baked goods; mineral sources for nutritional supplements; pharmaceutical excipients; and abrasives in toothpaste, as well as in industrial applications, such as asphalt modification and petrochemical catalysis. It also provides food and technical grade purified phosphoric acid (PPA) used in the production of fertilizer, and specialty phosphate salts and acids, as well as in beverage and water treatment applications; technical grade sodium tri polyphosphate (STPP), a specialty phosphate, which is used as an ingredient in cleaning products, such as industrial and institutional cleaners, automatic dishwashing detergents, and consumer laundry detergents, as well as in water treatment, clay processing, and copper ore processing activities; and detergent grade PPA that is primarily used in the production of STPP. In addition, the company offers granular triple super phosphate, a fertilizer product line used for increasing crop yields in various agricultural sectors. It serves primarily consumer goods manufacturers, distributors, and specialty chemical manufacturers in the United States, Mexico, Canada, and internationally. Innophos Holdings, Inc. was incorporated in 2004 and is headquartered in Cranbury, New Jersey.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Travis Hoium]

    What: Shares of specialty phosphates maker Innophos Holdings (NASDAQ: IPHS  ) dropped as much as 10% today after releasing earnings.

    So what: First quarter sales dropped 6% to $214 million and company's earnings per share dropped from $1.22 a year ago to just $0.55. Analysts expected revenue of $230 million and earnings of $0.79 per share so this is way below expectations. �

10 Best Performing Stocks To Buy For 2014: 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 Evan Niu, CFA]

    Historically, AT&T has been predominantly an iPhone carrier, with Apple's device comprising four out of every five smartphones sold on Ma Bell's network last quarter. Androids undoubtedly comprise the majority of the remaining 20%, but Android has a relatively smaller presence there compared to on Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) Wireless.

10 Best Performing Stocks To Buy For 2014: Solomon Resources Limited (SRB.V)

Solomon Resources Limited, an exploration stage company, engages in the acquisition, exploration, and development of mineral properties worldwide. The company primarily focuses on tin, niobium, tantalum, and tungsten projects in equatorial Africa. Its projects include the Rurembo tin project in the Republic of Rwanda; the Rosie gold project in the Ruby Ranges of southwest Yukon, and the Pacer gold-copper-nickel-platinum-palladium project and the Outpost gold-copper-nickel-platinum-palladium project in the Kluane Front Ranges of southwest Yukon in Canada; and the Sleitat Mountain tin project in Alaska. Solomon Resources Limited was incorporated in 1989 and is headquartered in Vernon, Canada.

10 Best Performing Stocks To Buy For 2014: Latam Airlines Group SA (LFL)

LAN Airlines S.A. (LAN), incorporated in 1983, is the international and domestic passenger airline in Latin America and the cargo operator in the region. As of February 9, 2012, LAN and its affiliates provided domestic and international passenger services in Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina and Colombia and cargo operations through the use of belly space on its passenger flights and cargo freighter aircraft through its cargo airlines in Chile, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. LAN and its affiliates offered passenger flights to 15 destinations in Chile, 59 destinations in other South American countries, 15 destinations in other Latin American countries and the Caribbean, five destinations in the United States, two destinations in Europe and four destinations in the South Pacific and, through various codeshare agreements, service to 25 additional destinations in North America, 16 additional destinations in Europe, 27 additional destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean (including Mexico), and two destinations in Asia, as of February 9, 2012. LAN and its affiliates provide cargo service to all of their passenger destinations and to 20 additional destinations served only by freighter aircraft. LAN also offers other services, such as ground handling, courier, logistics and maintenance. LAN and its affiliates operated a fleet, with 135 passenger aircraft and 14 cargo aircraft as of December 31, 2011. On February 15, 2011, Lan Pax Group S.A., subsidiary of Lan Airlines S.A. acquired 100% of Colombian society AEROASIS S.A.

LAN is primarily involved in the transportation of passengers and cargo. Its operations are carried out principally by Lan Airlines and also by a number of different subsidiaries. As of February 28, 2011, in the passenger business the Company operated through six main airlines: Lan Airlines, Transporte Aereo S.A. (which does business under the name Lan Express), Lan Peru S.A. (Lan Peru), Aerolane Lineas Aereas Nacionales del Ecuador S.A. (Lan Ecuador), Lan Argentina S.A. (Lan ! Argentina, previously Aero 2000 S.A.) and the Aerovias de Integracion Regional, Aires S.A. (Aires). As of February 28, 2011, the Company held a 99.9% interest in Lan Express through direct and indirect interests, a 70.0% interest in Lan Peru through direct and indirect interests, a 71.9% indirect interest in Lan Ecuador, a 99.0% indirect interest in Lan Argentina and a 94.99% indirect interest in Aires (a Colombian entity which was acquired on November 26, 2010). Its cargo operations are carried out by a number of companies, including Lan Airlines and Lan Cargo. As of February 28, 2011, the Company held a 69.2% interest in Aero Transportes Mas de Carga S.A. de C.V. (MasAir), through direct and indirect participations, a 73.3% interest in ABSA through direct and indirect participations, and a 90.0% interest in LANCO through direct and indirect participations. In the cargo business, the Company markets itself primarily under the Lan Cargo brand. In addition to its air transportation activities, the Company provides a series of ancillary services. It offers handling services, courier services and logistics, small package and express door-to-door services through Lan Airlines and various subsidiaries.

Passenger Operations

As of February 28, 2011, the Company operated passenger airlines in Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina and Colombia. As of February 28, 2011, our passenger operations were performed through airlines in Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina and Colombia where we operate both domestic and international services. As of February 28, 2011, the Company�� network consisted of 15 destinations in Chile, 14 destinations in Peru, four destinations in Ecuador, 14 destinations in Argentina, 24 destinations in Colombia, 14 destinations in other Latin American countries and the Caribbean, five destinations in the United States, one destination in Canada, three destinations in Europe and four destinations in the South Pacific. Within Latin America, it has routes to and from Argentina, B! olivia, B! razil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. The Company also flies to a variety of international destinations outside Latin America, including Auckland, Fort Lauderdale, Frankfurt, Los Angeles, Madrid, Miami, Mount Pleasant (Falkland Islands), New York, Toronto, Papeete (Tahiti), Paris, San Francisco, and Sydney. In addition, as of February 28, 2011, through its various code-share agreements, the Company offered service to 25 additional destinations in North America, 16 additional destinations in Europe, 25 additional destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean (including Mexico), and two destinations in Asia. As of February 28, 2011, the Company operated scheduled international services from Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Argentina through Lan Airlines; Lan Express in Chile; Lan Peru in Peru; Lan Ecuador in Ecuador; Lan Argentina in Argentina and Aires in Colombia. Its international network combines the Company�� Chilean, Peruvian, Ecuadorian, Argentinean and Colombian affiliates. It provides long-haul services out of its four main hubs in Santiago, Lima, Guayaquil and Buenos Aires. It also provides regional services from Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Argentina.

Cargo Operations

The Company�� cargo business operates on the same network used by the passenger airlines business, which is supplemented by freighter-only operations. The Company carries cargo for a variety of customers, including other international air carriers, freight-forwarding companies, export oriented companies and individual consumers. As of February 28, 2011, the Company operated a fleet of 140 aircraft, comprised of 126 passenger aircraft and 14 cargo aircraft.

The Company competes with UPS, FedEx, Centurion, Transportes Aereos Mercantiles Panamericanos S.A., Polar Air, Cargolux, Lufthansa Cargo, Martinair and Air France-KLM.

10 Best Performing Stocks To Buy For 2014: Comverge Inc.(COMV)

Comverge, Inc. provides intelligent energy management (IEM) solutions for utilities, commercial and industrial customers, and residential consumers. The company operates in two segments, Residential Business and Commercial and Industrial Business. The Residential Business segment offers IEM solutions for residential and small commercial end-use participants. Its solutions include IntelliSOURCE software that provides demand management functionality enabling control of various end-use devices and systems, integration into the utility customer?s back office operational systems, and inter-operability with advanced metering infrastructure, as well as offers a two-way real-time communication link to residential customers; a suite of intelligent hardware comprising one-way load control switches, smart thermostats, and in-home displays; and services, including installation, marketing, and program management. This segment also offers virtual peaking capacity (VPC) program that pro vides verifiable kilowatts of capacity by owning and operating the IEM network; and turnkey programs for utilities to the IEM network, and provides services and solutions. The Commercial and Industrial Business segment provides IEM solutions to utilities and independent system operators that manage programs or energy markets for large commercial and industrial consumers. This segment delivers its solutions through the management of megawatts for commercial and industrial consumers in VPC and open market programs, as well as through the completion of energy efficiency projects. It also offers energy efficiency program that provides permanent base load reduction through equipment upgrades, energy auditing and consulting, building automation, lighting retrofits, and other measures to reduce commercial and industrial consumers total energy consumption. The company was founded in 1974 and is headquartered in Norcross, Georgia.

10 Best Performing Stocks To Buy For 2014: Sterling Bancorp(STL)

Sterling Bancorp operates as a bank holding company for Sterling National Bank that provides a range of banking and financial products and services in the Untied States primarily in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. It accepts various deposit products, including checking accounts, money market accounts, negotiable order of withdrawal accounts, savings accounts, rent security accounts, retirement accounts, and certificates of deposits; and deposit services comprising account management and information, disbursement, reconciliation, collection and concentration, ACH, and others. The company also provides business and consumer lending, asset-based financing, factoring/accounts receivable management services, equipment leasing, commercial and residential mortgage lending and brokerage, and trade financing services for commercial, industrial and financial companies, and government and non-profit entities. In addition, it offers financing and human resource business process outsourcing support services for the temporary staffing industry, which comprise full back-office, computer, tax, and accounting services, as well as financing to independently-owned staffing companies. The company operates 12 offices, including 9 offices in New York City, two branches in Nassau County, and 1 branch in Yonkers, New York. Sterling Bancorp was founded in 1929 and is based in New York, New York.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Corinne Gretler]

    Statoil ASA (STL) rose 4.2 percent to 137.60 kroner. Norway�� biggest energy company made its third oil discovery off the coast of Canada in the Flemish Pass basin. Bank of America Corp. raised the stock to buy from neutral.

  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    The M&T Bank Corp. (NYSE: MTB) and Hudson City Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ: HCBK) transaction is the only pending deal of 2012 vintage due to various regulatory concerns. MTB currently has 9% short interest outstanding and PACW 15%. Another merger covered is the deal between Provident New York Bancorp (NASDAQ: PBNY) and Sterling Bancorp (NYSE: STL), and the balance are simply too small for us to warrant effort.

10 Best Performing Stocks To Buy For 2014: Dechra Pharmaceuticals(DPH.L)

Dechra Pharmaceuticals PLC, a holding company, engages in the development and marketing of companion animal products. The company markets and sells licensed branded pharmaceuticals and specialist pet foods to the veterinary professionals in Europe. It also manufactures its proprietary branded products, as well as products for third party customers. In addition, the company markets and sells a range of endocrine, ophthalmic, dermatological, and equine products in North America. Further, it develops and licenses its branded veterinary product portfolio of novel and generic pharmaceuticals, and specialist pet diets. Additionally, the company distributes veterinary products, including pharmaceuticals, specialist pet diets, and instruments to veterinary practices in the United Kingdom. It also provides histology, pathology, haematology, chemistry, and microbiology services to veterinary practices. Dechra Pharmaceuticals PLC is based in Stoke-on-Trent, the United Kingdom.

10 Best Performing Stocks To Buy For 2014: Gp Batteries Int Ltd (G08.SI)

GP Batteries International Limited engages in the development, manufacture, and marketing of batteries and battery-related products in Asia, Europe, and North America. It provides lithium rechargeable, including lithium polymer and lithium ion batteries; lead acid batteries; rechargeable batteries, such as nickel metal hydride and nickel cadmium batteries; primary batteries and flashlights; lithium ion and NiMH battery packs for digital cameras; camcorder battery packs; cordless phone battery packs; batteries for toys and hobbies; and universal chargers for digital cameras. The company also offers specialty batteries for photos, watches and electronics, hearing aids, and remote controls; electric vehicle batteries; and cylindrical and prismatic lithium ion cells. It supplies battery products to original equipment manufacturers, battery companies, and consumer retail markets under GP brand name. GP Batteries International Limited was founded in 1964 and is headquartered in Singapore.