As someone who is constantly researching retirement, I find the recent funding cuts to military retirees very disheartening. Worse yet, I see this as a move to establish ground zero for the testing of changes to Social Security benefits.
On Wednesday, the Senate passed a bipartisan budget that scales back cost of living adjustments for working age military retirees starting in 2015. Several sources including Military.com suggests that qualified participants could lose between $3,700 and $6,200 per year, or an aggregate between $83,000 and $124,000 before they retire based on rank, age and years of service.
Despite some protests, a few web articles, and assorted angry Facebook posts from former military personnel, it�� pretty much a done deal. The message seems clear: if you��e young (under the age of 62) and capable there will be no perks for you.
5 Best Computer Hardware Stocks To Own Right Now: Hillenbrand Inc(HI)
Hillenbrand, Inc. designs, manufactures, distributes, and sells funeral service products to licensed funeral directors operating licensed funeral homes. The company?s products include burial caskets, cremation caskets, containers, vaults, urns, and selection room display fixturing for funeral homes, as well as other personalization and memorialization products and services, including Web-based applications, and the creation and hosting of Websites for licensed funeral homes. It markets its products under the Batesville and Options brand name through direct sales force in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Australia. The company also designs, produces, markets, sells, and services bulk solids material handling equipment and systems for various industrial markets, including plastics, food, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, power generation, coal mining, pulp and paper, frac sand, industrial minerals, agribusiness, recycling, wood and forest pr oducts, and biomass energy generation. It offers feeders and pneumatic conveying equipment under the K-Tron brand name; and size reduction equipment, such as hammer mills, double-roll crushers, wood and bark hogs, chip sizers, screening equipment, pneumatic and mechanical conveying systems, storage/reclamation systems, and specialty crushers and other equipment under the Pennsylvania Crusher, Gundlach, and Jeffrey Rader brand names. In addition, the company manufactures dry material separation machines that sort dry, granular products based on the particle?s size serving various industries, including frac sand, potash, urea, phosphates, chemical, agricultural, plastics, and food processing. The company sells its material handling equipment and systems worldwide through a combination of a direct sales force, and a network of independent sales representatives and distributors. Hillenbrand, Inc. was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Batesville, Indiana.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By GURUFOCUS]
Hillenbrand Inc. (HI), a diversified industrial company, makes and sells business-to-business products and services for various industries worldwide. Dec. 4, the company increased is quarterly dividend 1.3% to $0.1975 per share. the dividend is payable Dec. 31, 2013, to shareholders of record at the close of business on Dec. 17, 2013. The yield based on the new payout is 2.8%.
- [By Laura Brodbeck]
TuesdayEarnings Expected: Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. (NASDAQ: BWLD), Hillenbrand Inc (NYSE: HI), Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) Economic Releases Expected: German retail sales, French consumer confidence, German unemployment rate, eurozone CPI, eurozone PPI, US trade balance, US redbook
Best US Stocks For 2014: Aon Corporation(AON)
Aon Corporation provides risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human resource consulting and outsourcing services primarily in the United States, the Americas, the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia Pacific. The company?s Risk Solutions segment offers retail brokerage products and services, including affinity products, general underwriting management services, placement services, and captive management services; and advisory services to technology, financial services, agribusiness, aviation, construction, health care, and energy industries, as well as facilitates various risk management solutions for property liability, general liability, professional liability, directors' and officers' liability, workers' compensation, and various healthcare products. This segment also provides risk consulting services comprising captive management; eSolutions products that enable clients to manage risks, policies, claims, and safet y concerns through an integrated technology platform; reinsurance brokerage services, such as actuarial, enterprise risk management, catastrophe management, and rating agency advisory services; property and casualty reinsurance; and specialty lines, which include professional liability, medical malpractice, accident, life, and health, as well as capital management transaction and advisory services. Its HR Solutions segment offers human capital services in the areas of health and benefits, retirement, compensation, and strategic human capital; and benefits administration and human resource business process outsourcing services. The company was founded in 1919 and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Reuters]
Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images NEW YORK -- Walgreen is moving 120,000 employees to a private health insurance exchange from coverage provided directly from carriers, the company will announce Wednesday. The pharmacy chain will join 17 other large employers on the Aon Hewitt Corporate Health Exchange as part of a growing movement to offer employees fixed dollar amounts to purchase their own plans on such exchanges. The end-cost to employees depends on the plan chosen, but they typically get more options than under traditional arrangements. Private exchanges mimic the coverage mandated as part of the Affordable Care Act. Enrollment in the public exchanges starts Oct. 1. "What happens to employer contributions over time? Will they put in as much as they put in the past? These are unanswered questions but potential negatives," says Paul Fronstin, a senior research associate with the Employee Benefit Research Institute. The benefit to Walgreen and other employers is unknown at this point, as their cost-savings aren't clear. Of the 180,000 Walgreen (WAG) employees eligible for health care insurance, 120,000 opted for coverage for themselves and 40,000 family members. Another 60,000 employees, many of them working part-time, weren't eligible for health insurance. Aon Hewitt (AON) says other participants in its program include retailer Sears Holding (SHLD) and Darden Restaurants (DRI). These new additions raise enrollment to 330,000 from 100,000 last year, and Aon Hewitt estimates enrollment will jump to 600,000 next year, a fivefold increase from 2012. By 2017, nearly 20 percent of employees nationwide could get their health insurance through a private exchange, according to Accenture Research (ACN). A recent report by the National Business Group on Health said that 30 percent of large employers are considering moving active employees to exchanges by 2015. Other major providers of private exchanges include Mercer, a division of Marsh & Mc
- [By Sean Williams]
It's been a banner year for private-platform health insurers, as some very large enterprises including�Walgreen, IBM, Time Warner,�and Home Depot�have shifted at least some of their employee base to a privatized exchange. The two names here that should benefit are Aon (NYSE: AON ) , which runs the Aon Hewitt Corporate Health Exchange and had landed 18 clients with 5,000 or more employees as of last month, and Xerox (NYSE: XRX ) , whose subsidiary Buck Consultants built RightOpt, an employer-based privatized exchange aimed primarily at retirees who are getting the boot from their corporate health benefits plan.
Best US Stocks For 2014: Western Refining Inc.(WNR)
Western Refining, Inc. operates as an independent crude oil refiner and marketer of refined products. The company operates in three segments Refining Group, Wholesale Group, and Retail Group. The Refining Group segment operates two refineries in Texas and Mexico; two stand-alone refined product distribution terminals in New Mexico; and four asphalt terminals in Texas, as well as operates crude oil transportation and gathering pipeline system in New Mexico. It refines various grades of gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, and other products from crude oil, other feedstocks, and blending components; and acquires refined products through exchange agreements and from various third-party suppliers. This segment sells its products through its wholesale group and service stations, independent wholesalers and retailers, commercial accounts, and sales and exchanges with oil companies. The Wholesale Group segment distributes commercial wholesale petroleum products primarily in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah for retail fuel distributors, as well as for the mining, construction, utility, manufacturing, transportation, aviation, and agricultural industries. The Retail Group segment operates service stations, which include convenience stores or kiosks that sell various grades of gasoline, diesel fuel, general merchandise, and beverage and food products to the general public. As of February 24, 2012, it operated 210 service stations with convenience stores or kiosks located in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas. The company was incorporated in 2005 and is headquartered in El Paso, Texas.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Westlake also finds Western Refining (WNR) and�Delek US (DK) interesting, while upgrading�Calumet Specialty Products to Neutral from Underperform as “the themes which drove expected underperformance have now become more visible.”
- [By Eric Volkman]
Western Refining (NYSE: WNR ) investors are about to find a few more coins in their pockets. The company has declared a Q3 dividend of $0.18 per share, to be paid on Aug. 15 to shareholders of record as of July 31. That amount is exactly 50% higher than Western Refining's previous disbursement of $0.12, which was handed out in early May.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
The last three months were good for refiners like Phillips 66 (PSX), Western Refining (WNR) and Delek US (DK), which each gained more than 14% during that period.
Best US Stocks For 2014: Norfolk Souther Corporation(NSC)
Norfolk Southern Corporation, through its subsidiaries, engages in the rail transportation of raw materials, intermediate products, and finished goods primarily in the United States. The company transports coal products, such as coal, coke, and iron ore; automotive products, including finished vehicles and auto parts; chemicals products consisting of sulfur and related chemicals, petroleum products, chlorine and bleaching compounds, plastics, rubber, industrial chemicals, chemical wastes, and municipal wastes; metals and construction products comprising steel, aluminum products, machinery, scrap metals, cement, aggregates, bricks, and minerals; and paper, clay, and forest products, including lumber and wood products, pulp board and paper products, wood fibers, wood pulp, scrap paper, and clay. It also transports agriculture, consumer, and government products, such as soybeans, wheat, corn, fertilizer, animal and poultry feed, food oils, flour, beverages, canned goods, swee teners, consumer products, ethanol, and items for the military. In addition, it engages in the intermodal operations that include moving of shipments in trailers, the United States and international containers, and roadrailer equipment. Further, the company transports overseas freight through various Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports, as well as provides a range of logistics services; and operates passenger and commuter trains. Additionally, it involves in the acquisition, leasing, and management of coal, oil, gas, and minerals; the development of commercial real estate; telecommunications; and the leasing or sale of rail property and equipment. As of December 31, 2010, the company operated approximately 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia. The company was founded in 1883 and is based in Norfolk, Virginia.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Lauren Pollock]
Norfolk Southern Corp.(NSC) said its fourth-quarter earnings rose 24% as strength in the railroad operator’s general merchandise and intermodal units offset continued weak coal demand. Results beat expectations, pushing shares up 3.6% to $91.88 premarket.
- [By Dan Caplinger]
But CSX has responded to the coal crisis in a couple of ways. First, both it and fellow coal-focused railroad Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC ) have ramped up their efforts to export coal, as countries such as China and India remain hungry for low-cost-energy alternatives. Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU ) has a natural advantage in supplying Asia because of its deposits in Australia, allowing it to send coal to India and China more cheaply than its peers, especially those with extensive deposits in the eastern half of the U.S. But even eastern producers have managed to boost their exports considerably, and that's helping the railroads that serve coal companies.
- [By Seth Jayson]
Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC ) is expected to report Q1 earnings on April 23. Here's what Wall Street wants to see:
The 10-second takeaway
Comparing the upcoming quarter to the prior-year quarter, average analyst estimates predict Norfolk Southern's revenues will wither -0.6% and EPS will decrease -4.9%.
Best US Stocks For 2014: Timbercreek Mortgage Investment Corp (TMC)Timbercreek Mortgage Investment Corporation (the Fund) provides investors with the opportunity to invest indirectly in a diversified portfolio of high quality conventional mortgage loans secured primarily by income-producing real estate located in large urban markets (offices, commercial real estate, multi-residential, retirement communities). The investment objective of the Fund is, with a primary focus on capital preservation, to acquire and maintain a diversified portfolio of mortgage loan investments that generate income allowing the Fund to pay monthly distributions to shareholders. Timbercreek Asset Management Ltd., is the manager of the Fund (the Fund Manager). Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Lawrence Meyers]
Cars come to mind, and you could probably get away with owning a common car dealer like Toyota (TMC). The problem with this approach, though, is that auto manufacturers are economically sensitive and can have really bad years. That�� why I go one level deeper to what I call ��nfrastructure��plays, which in this case means auto parts.
- [By Vera Yuan]
As pointed out by Warren Buffett, the percentage of total market cap (TMC) relative to the U.S. GNP is ��robably the best single measure of where valuations stand at any given moment.��
Best US Stocks For 2014: AGCO Corporation (AGCO)
AGCO Corporation manufactures and distributes agricultural equipment and related replacement parts worldwide. The company provides tractors, including compact tractors for small farms and specialty agricultural industries comprising dairies, landscaping, and residential areas; utility tractors, such as two-wheel and all-wheel drive versions for small and medium-sized farms, and specialty agricultural industries consist of dairy, livestock, orchards, and vineyards; and horsepower tractors for large farms and on cattle ranches for hay production. It also offers application equipment, which includes self-propelled, three and four-wheeled vehicles, and related equipment for use in the application of liquid and dry fertilizers, and crop protection chemicals; chemical sprayer equipment for planting crops; and related equipment that comprises vehicles for waste application, as well as provides combines. In addition, the company offers hay tools and forage equipment consisting rou nd and rectangular balers, self-propelled windrowers, disc mowers, spreaders and mower conditioners for harvesting and packaging vegetative feeds; and engines, such as diesel engines, gears, and generating sets. Further, it provides implements, including disc harrows for improving field performance; heavy tillage to break up soil and mix crop residue; and field cultivators for preparing smooth seed bed and destroy weeds, as well as offers tractor-pulled planters and loaders. Additionally, the company provides precision farming technologies to enhance productivity and profitability on the farm; and other advanced technology precision farming products to gather information, such as yield data, as well as offers wholesale financing and retail financing. It markets its products under the Challenger, Fendt, Massey Ferguson, and Valtra brand names through a network of independent dealers and distributors. AGCO Corporation was founded in 1990 and is headquartered in Duluth, Georgia .Advisors' Opinion:
- [By vaninaegea]
In august, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) published the mid-year review for the agricultural sector. Their findings point to a slowdown for the industry, highlighting a 9.5% decline on exports through the first half of 2013. Also, late soybean planting in the USA is expected to compound the industry�� slowdown. So, what are the prospects for AGCO (AGCO), CNH Global (CNH), and Deere & Co. (DE) under such conditions?
- [By Ben Levisohn]
But don’t just buy any company, DeBlase says. Instead, focus on those that have EPS momentum, which has generated outperformance in 10 of the past 11 years, DeBlase says. As a result, investors should prefer Terex (TEX), her top pick, and Agco (AGCO), which she rates Outperform. John Deere (DE) and Parker Hannifin (PH) get tarred with Underweight ratings.