Tuesday, September 30, 2014

5 Best Bank Stocks To Buy For 2014

European stocks declined to a one-month low amid concern that the impasse over the U.S. budget and debt limit may lead to a default.

Alcatel-Lucent SA (ALU) slid 6.9 percent after French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the network-equipment maker�� restructuring plans won�� be approved without an agreement limiting job cuts. Cie. de Saint-Gobain SA fell 3.7 percent as Morgan Stanley cut its rating on Europe�� biggest supplier of building materials. Taylor Wimpey Plc rose 5.2 percent as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. added it to a conviction buy list.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.6 percent to 305.13 at the close of trading, for a third day of losses. The benchmark has fallen 1.5 percent this week after U.S. House Speaker John Boehner said he will attach conditions before backing a bill to raise the federal borrowing limit and as the first shutdown of the federal government in 17 years continues.

��nvestors��patience with U.S. politicians changed,�� Henrik Drusebjerg, who helps oversee $220 billion as a senior strategist at Nordea Bank AB in Copenhagen, said by telephone. ��aith has been diminished. Whatever comments we get from the negotiations, they don�� seem to be any closer to a political solution.��

Best Construction Stocks To Buy For 2015: Commercial Bancshares Inc (CMOH)

Commercial Bancshares, Inc. is a financial holding company. The Company�� banking subsidiary, The Commercial Savings Bank (the Bank), is engaged in the business of commercial and retail banking, with operations conducted through its main office and branches located in Upper Sandusky, Ohio and neighboring communities in Wyandot, Marion and Hancock counties. The Bank provides customary retail and commercial banking services to its customers, including acceptance of deposits for demand, savings and time accounts, individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and servicing of such accounts; commercial, consumer and real estate lending, including installment loans, and safe deposit and night depository facilities. Commercial Financial and Insurance Agency, LTD is its wholly owned subsidiary. The Bank also owns a 49.9% interest in Beck Title Agency, Ltd.

Lending Activities

The Bank grants residential, installment and commercial loans to customers located primarily in the Ohio counties of Wyandot, Marion and Hancock and the surrounding area. Commercial loans are primarily variable rate and include operating lines of credit and term loans made to small businesses primarily based on the ability to repay the loan from the cash flow of the business. Commercial real estate loans are primarily secured by borrower-occupied business real estate, and are dependent on the ability of the related business to generate adequate cash flow to service the debt. Residential real estate loans are made with primarily variable rates and are secured by the borrower�� residence. As of December 31, 2011, approximately 75.5% of the Company�� loan and lease portfolio consisted of commercial, construction and commercial real estate loans.

Investment Activities

Securities are classified as available for sale. Securities available for sale are carried at fair value. The securities available for sale include obligations of the United Sates Government and federal agencies, obligations of ! state and political subdivisions, and mortgage-backed securities. As of December 31, 2011, total securities available for sale were approximately $24.5 million, which included approximately $4.06 million of obligations of the United Sates Government and federal agencies, approximately $14.3 million of obligations of state and political subdivisions, and approximately $6.4 million of mortgage-backed securities.

Sources of Funds

As of December 31, 2011, the Company had approximately $259.1 million of deposits, which included approximately $ 38.1 million of noninterest-bearing demand, approximately $103.7 million of interest-bearing demand, approximately $ 86.9 million of savings and approximately $ 30.2 million of time deposits $100,000 and greater. As of December 31, 2011 the Company had no borrowings with Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLB).

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Doug Hughes]

    Commercial Bancshares (CMOH) operates as the holding company for The Commercial Savings Bank, with just over $300,000 in assets and $259,000 million in loans. This small, but very strong bank had 5% loan growth last year and net charge-offs of just 0.23%.

5 Best Bank Stocks To Buy For 2014: Walker & Dunlop Inc (WD)

Walker & Dunlop, Inc. (Walker & Dunlop), incorporated on July 29, 2010, is a holding company and it conducts all of its operations through Walker & Dunlop, LLC, its operating company. Walker & Dunlop is a provider of commercial real estate financial services in the United States, with a primary focus on multifamily lending. The Company originates, sells and services a range of multifamily and other commercial real estate financing products. The Company�� clients are owners and developers of commercial real estate. It originates and sells loans through the programs of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac, and together with Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs)), the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae) and the Federal Housing Administration, a division of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (together with Ginnie Mae, HUD). In September 2012, it acquired CWCapital LLC.

The Company retains servicing rights and asset management responsibilities on nearly all loans that it originates for GSE and HUD programs. It is approved as a Fannie Mae Delegated Underwriting and Servicing (DUS) lender nationally, a Freddie Mac Program Plus lender in seven states, the District of Columbia and the metropolitan New York area, a HUD Multifamily Accelerated Processing (MAP) lender nationally, and a Ginnie Mae issuer. It also originates and services loans for a number of life insurance companies, commercial banks and other institutional investors. In addition, through its subsidiary entities, it provides institutional advisory, asset management and investment management services specializing in debt, structured debt and equity.

The Company�� clients are developers and owners of real estate across the United States. It focuses primarily on multifamily properties and offers a range of commercial real estate finance products to the customers, including first mortga! ge loans, second trust loans, supplemental financings, construction loans, mezzanine loans and equity investments. It originates and sells loans under the programs of GSEs and HUD. It structures its internal working groups around the various services it provides, which includes Multifamily Finance, FHA Finance, Healthcare Finance, Capital Markets and Investment Services.

Multifamily Finance

The Company are one of 25 approved lenders who participate in Fannie Mae's DUS program for multifamily, manufactured housing communities, student housing and certain healthcare properties. It also is contracted by Fannie Mae to service all loans that it originates under the Fannie Mae DUS program. It is one of 26 lenders approved as a Freddie Mac Program Plus lender under, which it originates and sells to Freddie Mac multifamily and healthcare loans that satisfy Freddie Mac's underwriting and other eligibility requirements. It also is contracted by Freddie Mac to service all loans that it originates under its program.

FHA Finance

As an approved HUD MAP lender and Ginnie Mae issuer, the Company provides construction and permanent loans to developers and owners of multifamily housing, senior housing and healthcare facilities. It submits its completed loan underwriting package to HUD and obtains HUD's approval to originate the loan. HUD insured loans are placed in single loan pools, which back Ginnie Mae securities. Ginnie Mae is a United States government corporation in The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Healthcare Finance

Through the Column transaction, the Company provides healthcare real estate lending space, which includes skilled nursing facilities and hospitals. The process for originating healthcare real estate loans is similar to the process for originating multifamily loans with HUD or Fannie Mae. It is also contracted by HUD and Fannie Mae to service all loans it originates under their programs.

Capi! tal Markets

The Company serves as an intermediary in the placement of commercial real estate debt between institutional sources of capital, such as life insurance companies, investment banks, commercial banks, pension funds and other institutional investors, and owners of all types of commercial real estate. It often advises on capital structure, develops the financing package, facilitates negotiations between its client and institutional sources of capital, coordinate due diligence and assist in closing the transaction. In these instances, it does not underwrite or fund the loan and do not retain any interest in these loans.

Investment Services

The Company provides investment consulting and related services for two commercial real estate funds, W&D Balanced Real Estate Fund I LP and Walker & Dunlop Apartment Fund I, LLC. W&D Balanced Real Estate Fund I LP is a commercial real estate fund that has invested approximately $50 million in commercial real estate securities and loans, such as first mortgages, B-notes, mezzanine debt and equity securities, and has no further commitments to invest. Third-party pension funds hold limited partnership interests in this fund and are entitled to all regular distributions. Through the Company�� subsidiary, it holds a general partnership interest in this fund and is entitled to incentive distributions only if returns exceed certain pre-established thresholds. Walker & Dunlop Apartment Fund I, LLC is a commercial real estate fund that has invested $45 million in multifamily real estate properties and mezzanine loans, and has no further commitments to invest.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Luke Jacobi]

    Walker & Dunlop (NYSE: WD) dropped 19.17 percent to $12.86 after the company announced it would be raising another round of financing.

    Beacon Roofing Supply (NASDAQ: BECN) fell 7.11 percent to $34.25 after Robert W. Baird downgraded the stock from Outperform to Neutral.

5 Best Bank Stocks To Buy For 2014: Fifth Third Bancorp(FITB)

Fifth Third Bancorp operates as a diversified financial services holding company in the United States. The company?s Commercial Banking segment offers credit intermediation, cash management, and financial services; lending and depository products; and foreign exchange and international trade finance, derivatives and capital markets services, asset-based lending, real estate finance, public finance, commercial leasing, and syndicated finance for business, government, and professional customers. Its Branch Banking segment provides deposit and loan, and lease products to individuals and small businesses. This segment?s products include checking and savings accounts, home equity loans and lines of credit, credit cards, loans for automobile and personal financing needs, and cash management services. The company?s Consumer Lending segment engages in the mortgage and home equity lending activities, such as origination, retention, and servicing of mortgage and home equity loans ; and other indirect lending activities, which include loans to consumers through mortgage brokers and automobile dealers. Its Investment Advisors segment offers investment alternatives for individuals, companies, and not-for-profit organizations. It offers retail brokerage services to individual clients, and broker dealer services to the institutional marketplace. This segment also provides asset management services; holistic strategies to affluent clients in wealth planning, investing, insurance, and wealth protection; and advisory services for institutional clients, as well as advises the company?s proprietary family of mutual funds. As of December 31, 2011, the company operated 1,316 full-service banking centers, including 104 Bank Mart locations; and 2,425 automated teller machines in 12 states in the midwestern and southeastern regions of the United States. The company was founded in 1862 and is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By The Part-time Investor]

    The following stocks met the criteria in January of 2008 and were put into the initial portfolio:

    Abbot Labs (ABT)Advanced data processing (ADP)Associated Banc-Corp (ASBC)Bank of America (BAC)BB&T Corp. (BBT)Bemis Company (BMS)Anheuser Busch (BUD)The Chubb Corporation (CB)Clorox (CLX)Comerica Inc. (CMA)Diebold Inc. (DBD)Emerson Electronics (EMR)First Dollar Corp. (FDO)First Third BanCorp. (FITB)Gannett Co, Inc. (GCI)General Electric (GE)Hershey (HSY)Illinois Tools Works (ITW)Johnson and Johnson (JNJ)Leggett and Platt (LEG)Eli Lilly (LLY)La-Z-Boy (LZB)McDonald's (MCD)Marsh and Ilsley (MI)M&T Bancorp (MTB)PepsiCo (PEP)Pfizer (PFE)Procter & Gamble (PG)Pentair Ltd. (PNR)Regions Financial Corp. (RF)Rohm and Haas (ROH)RPM International (RPM)Sherwin Williams (SHW)Sysco Corp. (SYY)UDR Inc. (UDR)

    Historical quotes were taken from Yahoo Finance. $10,000 was put into each position, to the nearest whole share, so a total of $349,262.89 was invested. From 1/15/08 through 5/16/13 all dividends were reinvested back into the stock that paid them. If a dividend cut was announced, that stock was sold on the ex-div date of the new, lower dividend.

  • [By Amanda Alix]

    Large regional banks have been getting in on the act, too. KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY  ) , Huntington Bancshares (NASDAQ: HBAN  ) , and Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ: FITB  ) all boosted their commercial loan portfolios last year between 18% and 20%.

5 Best Bank Stocks To Buy For 2014: Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA)

Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) is a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) chartered by the United States Congress to support liquidity and stability in the secondary mortgage market, where mortgage-related assets are purchased and sold. The Company�� activities include providing market liquidity by securitizing mortgage loans originated by lenders in the primary mortgage market into Fannie Mae mortgage-backed securities (Fannie Mae MBS), and purchasing mortgage loans and mortgage-related securities in the secondary market for its mortgage portfolio. Fannie Mae operates in three business segments: Single-Family business, Multifamily Business (formerly Housing and Community Development (HCD)) and Capital Markets group. Its Single-Family Credit Guaranty and Multifamily businesses work with its lender customers to purchase and securitize mortgage loans customers deliver to the Company into Fannie Mae MBS.

The Company obtains funds to support its business activities by issuing a variety of debt securities in the domestic and international capital markets. Fannie Mae acquires funds to purchase mortgage-related assets for its mortgage portfolio by issuing a variety of debt securities in the domestic and international capital markets. It also makes other investments. Fannie Mae conducts its business in the United States residential mortgage market and the global securities market. It conducts business in the United States residential mortgage market and the global securities market. During the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company��

Single-Family Business

Single-Family business includes mortgage securitizations, mortgage acquisitions, credit risk management and credit loss management. Single-Family business works with the Company�� lender customers to provide funds to the mortgage market by securitizing single-family mortgage loans into Fannie Mae MBS. Its Single-Family business also works with its Capital Markets group to facilitate the pu! rchase of single-family mortgage loans for the Company�� mortgage portfolio. Fannie Mae�� Single-Family business prices and manages the credit risk on its single-family guaranty book of business, which consists of single-family mortgage loans underlying Fannie Mae MBS and single-family loans held in its mortgage portfolio. Single-Family business and Capital Markets group securitize and purchase primarily single-family fixed-rate or adjustable-rate, first lien mortgage loans, or mortgage-related securities backed by these types of loans.

The Company securitizes or purchases loans insured by Federal Housing Administration (FHA), loans guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and loans guaranteed by the Rural Development Housing and Community Facilities Program of the Department of Agriculture, manufactured housing loans, reverse mortgage loans, multifamily mortgage loans, subordinate lien mortgage loans and other mortgage-related securities. Its Single-Family business securitizes single-family mortgage loans and issues single-class Fannie Mae MBS. Fannie Mae�� Single-Family business securitizes loans solely in lender swap transactions, in which lenders deliver pools of mortgage loans to the Company, which are placed immediately in a trust, in exchange for Fannie Mae MBS backed by these loans. Generally, the servicing of the mortgage loans held in its mortgage portfolio or that backs its Fannie Mae MBS is performed by mortgage servicers on the Company�� behalf. Lenders who sell single-family mortgage loans to Fannie Mae service these loans for the Company. For loans it owns or guarantees, the lender or servicer must obtain its approval before selling servicing rights to another servicer.

Fannie Mae�� mortgage servicers collect and deliver principal and interest payments, administer escrow accounts, monitor and report delinquencies, perform default prevention activities, evaluate transfers of ownership interests, respond to requests for partial releases of s! ecurity, ! and handle proceeds from casualty and condemnation losses. Its mortgage servicers are the primary point of contact for borrowers and perform implementation of its homeownership assistance initiatives, negotiation of workouts of troubled loans, and loss mitigation activities. Mortgage servicers also inspect and preserve properties and process foreclosures and bankruptcies.

Multifamily Mortgage Business

Multifamily business works with the Company�� lender customers to provide funds to the mortgage market by securitizing multifamily mortgage loans into Fannie Mae MBS. Through its Multifamily business, Fannie Mae provides liquidity and support to the United States multifamily housing market principally by purchasing or securitizing loans that finance multifamily rental housing properties. It also provides some limited debt financing for other acquisition, development, construction and rehabilitation activity related to projects that complement this business. Fannie Mae�� Multifamily business also works with its Capital Markets group to facilitate the purchase and securitization of multifamily mortgage loans and securities for Fannie Mae�� portfolio, as well as to facilitate portfolio securitization and resecuritization activities.

The Company�� multifamily guaranty book of business consists of multifamily mortgage loans underlying Fannie Mae MBS and multifamily loans and securities held in Fannie Mae�� mortgage portfolio. Revenues for Fannie Mae�� Multifamily business are derived from a variety of sources, including guaranty fees received as compensation for assuming the credit risk on the mortgage loans underlying multifamily Fannie Mae MBS and on the multifamily mortgage loans held in its portfolio and on other mortgage-related securities; transaction fees associated with the multifamily business, and other bond credit enhancement related fees. As with the servicing of single-family mortgages, multifamily mortgage servicing is performed by the lenders who! sell the! mortgages to the Company. Fannie Mae�� Multifamily business is organized and operated as an integrated commercial real estate finance business.

Capital Markets

Capital Markets group's primary business activities include mortgage and other investments, mortgage securitizations, structured mortgage securitizations and other customer services, and interest rate risk management. Capital Markets group manages the Company�� investment activity in mortgage-related assets and other interest-earning, non-mortgage investments. It funds its investments primarily through proceeds the Company receives from the issuance of debt securities in the domestic and international capital markets. Its business activity is focused on making short-term use of its balance sheet rather than long-term investments. Activities Fannie Mae is undertaking to provide liquidity to the mortgage market include whole loan conduit, early funding, real estate mortgage investment conduit (REMICs) and other structured securitizations and dollar roll transactions. Whole loan conduit activities include its purchase of both single-family and multifamily loans principally for the purpose of securitizing them. During the year ended December 31, 2010, it was engaged in dollar roll activity. A dollar roll transaction is a commitment to purchase a mortgage-related security with a concurrent agreement to re-sell a similar security at a later date or vice versa.

Fannie Mae�� Capital Markets group is engaged in issuing both single-class and multi-class Fannie Mae MBS through both portfolio securitizations and structured securitizations involving third party assets. Its Capital Markets group creates single-class and multi-class Fannie Mae MBS from mortgage-related assets held in its mortgage portfolio. Fannie Mae�� Capital Markets group may sell these Fannie Mae MBS into the secondary market or may retain the Fannie Mae MBS in its investment portfolio. The Company�� Capital Markets group creates single-clas! s and mul! ti-class structured Fannie Mae MBS, for its lender customers or securities dealer customers, in exchange for a transaction fee. The Company�� Capital Markets group provides its lender customers and their affiliates with services that include offering to purchase a range of mortgage assets, including non-standard mortgage loan products; segregating customer portfolios to obtain optimal pricing for their mortgage loans, and assisting customers with hedging their mortgage business.

Although the Company�� Capital Markets group�� business activities are focused on short-term financing and investing, revenue from its Capital Markets group is derived primarily from the difference, or spread, between the interests it earns on its mortgage and non-mortgage investments and the interest it incurs on the debt the Company issues to fund these assets. Its Capital Markets revenues are primarily derived from the Company�� mortgage asset portfolio. Capital Markets group funds its investments primarily through the issuance of a variety of debt securities in a range of maturities in the domestic and international capital markets. Investors in the Company�� debt securities include commercial bank portfolios and trust departments, investment fund managers, insurance companies, pension funds, state and local governments, and central banks.

The Company competes with Freddie Mac, FHA and Ginnie Mae.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Alexander MacLennan]

    Mortgage giants
    As the name implies, government sponsored entities (GSEs) have a relationship with the government that is more than the standard private corporation-to-government relationship. But after the financial crisis of 2008 and some changes to the financing terms in 2012, Fannie Mae (NASDAQOTCBB: FNMA  ) and Freddie Mac (NASDAQOTCBB: FMCC  ) are more in government control than almost any other shareholder-owned corporation.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    The challenge of retiree mortgages
    Recently, Fannie Mae (NASDAQOTCBB: FNMA  ) and Freddie Mac (NASDAQOTCBB: FMCC  ) made it a little easier for retirees to get new mortgages or to refinance their existing mortgages. By changing the rules for what a lender can consider as income to include retirement account balances in IRAs, 401(k)s, and similar accounts, the mortgage agencies hope to make it easier for low-income seniors to make beneficial moves like refinancing existing debt to capture low interest rates or moving from a large family home to a more modest home to free up locked-in home equity.

  • [By Matt Koppenheffer]

    In the following video, Motley Fool financial analyst Matt Koppenheffer takes a question from a Fool reader, who asks, "Is Fannie Mae (NASDAQOTCBB: FNMA  ) a good buy?"

Top 5 Oil Service Stocks To Watch For 2014

It's been a busy week for Halliburton (NYSE: HAL  ) . And at the end, the second largest oil services company seems to have come out trumps. Here is a company whose management knows what it's doing. The strategy to return cash to investors through share buybacks is proving to be a master stroke.

Halliburton's corporate headquarters in Houston. Source: Wikimedia commons.

Not the best of weeks ...
Starting with the reporting of the second-quarter results, this hasn't been the most impressive of weeks for Halliburton. A flat rig count and lower drilling activity ensured that revenue from the North American segment -- the company's largest market -- declined almost 10%, year over year, in the first six months of 2013. To top that, a federal antitrust probe has been initiated targeting the U.S. hydraulic fracturing market, with the top names, including Halliburton, coming under investigation.

Top 5 Paper Companies To Buy For 2015: Autoliv Inc (ALV)

Autoliv, Inc. (Autoliv) is a holding company. Autoliv is the supplier of automotive safety systems, with a range of product offerings, including modules and components for passenger and driver-side airbags, side-impact airbag protection systems, seatbelts, steering wheels, safety electronics, whiplash protection systems and child seats, as well as night vision systems, radar and other active safety systems. Autoliv has two main operating segments: airbags/seatbelt (including restraint electronics) products and active safety electronics products. In March 2010, the Company acquired Visteon Corporation's radar system business. In April 2010, the Company acquired Delphi's Occupant Protection Systems (OPS) operations in Korea and China. In addition, in April 2010, Autoliv Inc.'s Automotive Holding AS increased its stake in Norma AS from 51% to 93.74%. Additionally, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB and ING Luxembourg SA sold their 6.67% and 10% stake, respectively, held in Norma AS. In October 2010, the Company acquired 51% interest in Bejing Delpi Automotive Safety Products. In November 2011, the Company acquired the airbag cushion cut&sew assets from Milliken. In June 2012, the Company sold its subsidiary Autoliv Mekan AB to Verktygs Allians i Hassleholm AB.

Autoliv has approximately 80 wholly or partially owned or leased production facilities located in 28 countries, consisting of both component factories and assembly factories. The Company�� component factories manufacture inflators, initiators, textile cushions, webbing materials, electronics, pressed steel parts, springs and overmoulded steel parts used in seatbelt and airbag assembly, seat subsystems, steering wheels and its active safety and night vision systems, and its other safety electronic systems. During the year ended December 31, 2010, Autoliv�� revenues were approximately 67% of airbags and associated products and approximately 33% of seatbelts and associated products. The Company�� markets are in Europe, North A! merica, Asia-Pacific and Japan. Its customers include the car manufacturers.

During 2010, the products manufactured by Autoliv�� consolidated subsidiaries consisted of approximately 121 million complete seatbelt systems (of which approximately 49 million were fitted with pretensioners), approximately 57 million side-impact airbags (including curtain airbags), approximately 28 million frontal airbag modules, approximately 12 million steering wheels, approximately 11 million electronic units (airbag control), approximately 0.4 million active safety systems and 0.1 million night vision systems. Autoliv owns two principal subsidiaries, AAB and Autoliv ASP, Inc. (ASP). Its AAB and ASP are developers, manufacturers and suppliers to the automotive industry of automotive safety systems. AAB and ASP�� products include seatbelts, frontal and side-impact airbags, steering wheels and seat sub-systems, as well as components for such systems.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Sarah Jones]

    Allianz (ALV) gained 3.6 percent to 120.70 euros after reporting a 24 percent rise in first-quarter profit to about 1.7 billion euros after results improved at all of its businesses. Operating profit of 2.8 billion euros also topped analysts��estimates.

  • [By Inyoung Hwang]

    Allianz SE (ALV) fell 1.6 percent to 126.40 euros. Europe�� biggest insurer was cut to neutral from buy at Citigroup Inc., which says earnings growth is limited.

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    In a bid to be more competitive, auto airbag manufacturer Autoliv (NYSE: ALV  ) announced yesterday that it will invest $50 million to build a new textile center in China that�will consist of a weaving plant, an airbag cushion plant, and a development center for airbag cushions and textiles.

Top 5 Oil Service Stocks To Watch For 2014: CSS Industries Inc (CSS)

CSS Industries, Inc. (CSS), incorporated on November 5, 1923, is a company primarily engaged in the design, manufacture, procurement, distribution and sale of seasonal and all occasion social expression products, principally to mass market retailers. These seasonal and all occasion products include gift wrap, gift bags, gift boxes, gift card holders, boxed greeting cards, gift tags, decorative tissue paper, decorations, classroom exchange Valentines, decorative ribbons and bows, floral accessories, Halloween masks, costumes, make-up and novelties, Easter egg dyes and novelties, craft and educational products, stickers, memory books, stationery, journals, notecards, infant and wedding photo albums, scrapbooks, and other gift items that commemorate life�� celebrations. In September 5, 2012, it sold the Halloween portion of its Paper Magic business to Gemmy Industries (HK) Limited.

CSS��product provides its retail customers the opportunity to use a single vendor for much of their seasonal product requirements. A substantial portion of CSS��products are manufactured, packaged and/or warehoused in 10 facilities located in the United States, with the remainder purchased primarily from manufacturers in Asia and Mexico. The Company�� products are sold to its customers by national and regional account sales managers, sales representatives, product specialists and by a network of independent manufacturers��representatives. The Company�� principal operating subsidiaries include Paper Magic Group, Inc. (Paper Magic), Berwick Offray LLC (Berwick Offray) and C.R. Gibson, LLC (C.R. Gibson). CSS designs, manufactures, procures, distributes and sells a range of seasonal consumer products primarily through the mass market distribution channel. Christmas products include gift wrap, gift bags, gift boxes, gift card holders, boxed greeting cards, gift tags, decorative tissue paper and decorations. CSS��Valentine product offerings include classroom exchange Valentine cards and other related Valen! tine products, while its Easter product offerings include Dudley�� brand of Easter egg dyes and related Easter seasonal products. CSS also designs and markets decorative ribbons and bows, all occasion boxed greeting cards, gift wrap, gift bags, gift boxes, gift card holders, decorative and waxed tissue, decorative films and foils, stickers, memory books, stationery, journals, notecards, infant and wedding photo albums, scrapbooks, floral accessories and other gift and craft items to its mass market, craft, specialty and floral retail and wholesale distribution customers, and teachers' aids and other learning oriented products to the education market through mass market retailers, school supply distributors and teachers' stores. Key brands include Paper Magic, Berwick, Offray, C.R. Gibson, Markings, Creative Papers, Tapestry, Dudley��, Don Post Studios, Eureka, Learning Playground, Stickerfitti and iota. Key brands include Paper Magic, Berwick, Offray, C.R. Gibson, Markings, Creative Papers, Tapestry, Seastone, Dudley��, Eureka, Learning Playground and Stickerfitti.

CSS operates 10 manufacturing and/or distribution facilities located in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Alabama and Texas. Its boxed greeting cards are produced by Asian manufacturers to the Company�� specifications. Halloween make-up and Easter egg dye products are manufactured in Asia to specific formulae by contract manufacturers who meet regulatory requirements for the formularization and packaging of such products. Ribbons and bows are primarily manufactured and warehoused in seven facilities located in Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Carolina and Texas. Memory books, stationery, journals and notecards, infant and wedding photo albums, scrapbooks, and other gift items are imported from Asian manufacturers and warehoused and distributed from a distribution facility in Florence, Alabama. Floral accessories, including pot covers, foil, waxed tissue, shred, aisle runners, corsage bags and other paper! and film! products, are manufactured in a facility located in Milford, New Hampshire and Juarez, Mexico. Manufacturing includes gravure and flexo printing, waxing and converting. Products are warehoused and distributed from a distribution facility in Berwick, Pennsylvania. Other products including, but not limited to, decorative tissue paper, all occasion gift wrap, gift tags, gift bags, gift boxes, gift card holders, classroom exchange Valentine products, Halloween masks, costumes and novelties, Easter products, decorations and school products are designed to the specifications of CSS and are imported primarily from Asian manufacturers.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Gifts maker�CSS Industries� (NYSE: CSS  ) �announced yesterday its second-quarter dividend of $0.15 per share, the same rate it's paid since 2008.

Top 5 Oil Service Stocks To Watch For 2014: Wasgau Produktions & Handels AG (MSH)

Wasgau Produktions & Handels AG is a Germany-based retailer and producer of food articles. The Company divides its business activities into the two main segments Wholesale and Retail. The Wholesale�� businesses include seven Cash and Carry markets for restaurateurs and wholesale customers, as well as commercial businesses of the holding company WASGAU Produktions & Handels AG, which are supported by its subsidiary WASGAU Dienstleistungs & Logistik GmbH, active within warehouse management and transportation. The Operations within the Retail segment are mainly carried out through Company�� subsidiaries WASGAU Metzgerei GmbH and WASGAU Baeckerei & Konditorei GmbH, which produce and supply its stores with a variety of meats and bakery products, respectively. As of December 31, 2011, the Company operated through 24 affiliated companies and subsidiaries located in Germany. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Benjamin Pimentel]

    The Nasdaq Composite Index (COMP) �gave up 6 points to close at 4,352. But the benchmark ended the week up 1%. The Morgan Stanley High Tech 35 Index (MSH) �also was down a fraction on Friday, while the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) was up 0.7%.

  • [By Benjamin Pimentel]

    The Nasdaq Composite Index (COMP) �fell 0.4% to close at 4,052. The Morgan Stanley High Tech 35 Index (MSH) �and the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) �each gained a fraction.

Top 5 Oil Service Stocks To Watch For 2014: AspenBio Pharma Inc.(APPY)

AspenBio Pharma, Inc. operates as an emerging biomedical company focused on obtaining the United States FDA clearance for its lead product, AppyScore. Its research and development activities primarily focus on a human appendicitis blood-based test. The company?s lead product candidate, AppyScore, is a blood-based diagnostic test to help physicians manage patients who enter emergency rooms complaining of abdominal pain and suspected of having acute appendicitis. It is also developing animal healthcare products focusing on reproduction. The company was formerly known as AspenBio, Inc. and changed its name to AspenBio Pharma, Inc. on September 26, 2005. AspenBio Pharma, Inc. was founded in 2000 and is based in Castle Rock, Colorado.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Lee Jackson]

    Vernaxis Inc. (NASDAQ: APPY) is an in vitro diagnostic company focused on obtaining FDA clearance for and commercializing its CE MarkedAPPY1 Test, a rapid, multiple biomarker-based assay for identifying patients that are at low risk for appendicitis. They have moved ahead with their pivotal trial enrollment, and the analyst at Canaccord Genuity rates the company as a stock to buy. Its price target for the stock is a whopping $7, the high target for the stock. A move to that level would represent a 250% move for shareholders. The consensus target is at $5.25.�Vernaxis closed Friday at $1.97.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Top 10 Managed Healthcare Stocks To Watch Right Now

There appears to be a large disconnect developing within the markets - Gold has plunged nearly 8% this week and is now trading towards a critical support level around the 1180 range. The selloff in the composite of precious metals has breached the 15% mark for this month alone despite stabilizing yields and equities retracing almost 60% of the move lower from recent highs. The FX market continued to trade in favor of further USD strength this week after finding support from a string of better than expected economic data. The momentum in USD strength shifted gears after the Fed maintained their stance of QE tapering towards the end of 2013. A statement released this morning even suggested September as a possible date for the start of this process.

One major outlier that I am monitoring closely is current AUD/USD levels which seem to have disregarded the multi-handle selloff in Gold. The pair even managed to break above the 0.9300 level before fading back down to the lower end 0.9200 range. Despite the slight correction, the level of deviation is still large when looking at the historical relationship between how AUD/USD and Gold prices move. I would project a continuation lower in AUD/USD as disconnects of this extent have a tendency of going through a recoupling phase.

Hot Dow Dividend Stocks To Watch Right Now: PhotoMedex Inc.(PHMD)

PhotoMedex, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a skin health company in North America and internationally. It offers disease management and aesthetic solutions to dermatologists, professional aestheticians, and consumers. The company provides no!no! hair removal products; professional products, including capital equipment to physicians and skin care specialists; XTRAC laser products for the treatment of psoriasis and vitiligo; NEOVA formulations for premature skin aging due to UV-induced DNA damage; Omnilux Light-emitting diode (LED) systems to treat wrinkles, acne, minor muscle pain, and pigmented lesions; Lumi�e light therapy equipment, a non-invasive skin care solution for use in non-medical applications primarily salons and spas; and topical lotions to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, skin tone, and blemishes. It also provides home-use devices under the no!no! brand for various indications, including hair removal, acne treatment, and ski n rejuvenation; and a professional product line for acne clearance, skin tightening, psoriasis care, and hair removal to physician clinics and spas. In addition, the company engages in the development, manufacture, and sale of surgical products, including proprietary free-beam and Contact Laser Systems for surgery. Further, it sells surgical disposables and accessories to hospitals and surgery centers; and repairs, maintains, and provides replacement parts for the company?s products. The company is headquartered in Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Calling all cash flows
    When you are trying to buy the market's best stocks, it's worth checking up on your companies' free cash flow once a quarter or so, to see whether it bears any relationship to the net income in the headlines. That's what we do with this series. Today, we're checking in on PhotoMedex (Nasdaq: PHMD  ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    PhotoMedex (Nasdaq: PHMD  ) reported earnings on May 8. Here are the numbers you need to know.

    The 10-second takeaway
    For the quarter ended March 31 (Q1), PhotoMedex met expectations on revenues and beat expectations on earnings per share.

  • [By Lauren Pollock]

    Skin-health company PhotoMedex Inc.(PHMD) issued a dour third-quarter report as it didn’t log any consumer sales to its Japanese distributor, which changed its business model and affected other companies besides PhotoMedex. Unless it generates revenue from Japan, the company’s current-quarter sales are poised to fall short of consensus views. Shares dropped 10% to $11.47 premarket.

Top 10 Managed Healthcare Stocks To Watch Right Now: Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.(SBGI)

Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc., a television broadcasting company, owns or provides certain programming, operating, or sales services to television stations in the United States. The company broadcasts free over-the-air programming, such as network provided programs, news produced locally, local sporting events, programming from program service arrangements, and syndicated entertainment programs. It owns or provides programming and operating services pursuant to local marketing agreements, or provides sales services pursuant to outsourcing agreements to 58 television stations in 35 markets. The company was founded in 1952 and is based in Hunt Valley, Maryland.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By John Udovich]

    Small cap media stock�LIN Media LLC (NYSE: LIN) might not be a household name, but there is a good chance you might be watching the company�� programs because like the Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc (NASDAQ: SBGI) and Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc (NASDAQ: NXST), its helping to consolidate the media industry plus its making investment in other forms of media like social media. The stock has also outperformed those two peers along with the�PowerShares Dynamic Media Portfolio ETF (NYSEARCA: PBS).

  • [By Dan Radovsky]

    Sinclair Broadcast Group (NASDAQ: SBGI  ) says it is on its way to becoming the nation's largest television broadcasting company if a� definitive agreement it signed with the Allbritton family comes to fruition, according to an announcement today by Sinclair.

Top 10 Managed Healthcare Stocks To Watch Right Now: A. H. Belo Corp (AHC)

A. H. Belo Corp incorporated on October 1, 2007, is a newspaper publishing and local news and information company that owns and operates four metropolitan daily newspapers and several associated Web sites. The Company publishes The Dallas Morning News, The Providence Journal, The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA), and the Denton Record-Chronicle. It publishes various niche publications targeting specific audiences, and its investments and/or partnerships include Classified Ventures, LLC, owner of cars.com and the Yahoo! Inc. (Yahoo!) Newspaper Consortium. The Company also owns and operates commercial printing, distribution and direct mail service businesses. The Company�� primary sources of revenue include advertising sold in published issues of its newspapers and on the Company�� Web sites, the sale of newspapers to subscribers and single copy customers, and commercial printing and distribution. In July 2012, The Dallas Morning News acquired Pegasus News (www.pegasusnews.com) from PanLocal Media LLC, a subsidiary of Archstream LLC of Dallas.

The Company�� The Dallas Morning News is a metropolitan newspapers in America. The Dallas Morning News is distributed primarily in Dallas County and 10 surrounding counties. The Dallas Morning News also publishes Briefing, a condensed newspaper distributed four days per week at no charge to non-subscribers of The Dallas Morning News in select coverage areas, and Al Dia, a Spanish-language newspaper published on Wednesdays and Saturdays and distributed at no charge in select coverage areas. The Dallas Morning News also publishes other news products targeted at communities in the North Texas area. The Dallas Morning News��financial and operating results also include The Denton Record-Chronicle.

The Company�� The Providence Journal is a newspaper in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. The Providence Journal is a daily newspaper of general circulation and continuous publication in the United States. The Providence Journal a! lso publishes ProjoExpress, a weekly publication distributed at no charge to households in select Rhode Island communities. The Press-Enterprise is distributed in the Inland Southern California region, which includes Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. The Press-Enterprise also publishes La Prensa, a weekly Spanish-language newspaper distributed at no charge in select coverage areas, as well as The Weekly, a targeted condensed newspaper distributed mid-week at no charge to non-subscribers, and Sunday Weekly, a publication that is distributed on Sunday at no charge to non-subscribers.

In addition to its core newspaper operations, the Company and Belo Corp., through their subsidiaries, together own 6.6% of Classified Ventures, LLC, a joint venture, in which the other owners are Gannett Co., Inc., The McClatchy Company, Tribune Company, and The Washington Post Company. The three principal online businesses Classified Ventures, LLC operates are cars.com, apartments.com, and homegain.com. The Company and Belo, through Belo Lead Management LLC, have also invested in ResponseLogix, Inc. (www.responselogix.com). ResponseLogix provides advanced, Internet-based management solutions to auto dealers.


The Company has a portfolio of print, online and digital advertising products and services. During the year ended December 31, 2011, advertising revenues accounted for approximately 61.2 % of total revenues of which 12.5 of advertising revenue was generated by the Company�� digital advertising products. Its Display advertising revenue consists of sales of advertising space within its newspapers and niche publications to local, regional or national retail and service businesses with local operations, affiliates or resellers. Its Classified advertising revenue comprises sales of advertising space in the classified and other sections of its newspapers, which include certain automotive, real estate, employment and other.

The Company�� Preprint revenue ! is earned! from sales of pre-printed advertisements or circulars inserted into its core newspapers and niche publications, or distributed by mail or third-party distributors to households in targeted areas in order to provide total market coverage for advertisers. Its Digital advertising revenue consists of sales of and other display, video, behavioral targeting, search, rich media, directories, classifieds, direct email marketing, or other advertising on digital platforms associated and integrated with the Company�� print publications, and on third party Web sites, such as Yahoo!, monster.com, and cars.com..


Circulation revenues accounted for approximately 30.3 % of total revenues in 2011 and represent subscription and single copy sales revenue related primarily to the Company�� core newspapers. The Company�� Websites also include (dallasnews.com, providencejournal.com, pe.com and other related Websites) offering users news information, user-generated content, advertising, e-commerce and other services.

Printing and Distribution

Printing and distribution revenues comprised approximately 8.5 % of the Company�� revenue in 2011 and consists primarily of commercial printing, distribution and direct mail service. The Company provides commercial printing services, primarily for national newspapers, such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and USA Today and other local newspapers. Newsprint used in the production of large national newspapers is generally provided by the customer. The Company also provides home delivery and retail outlet distribution services, for such national newspapers, as well as for regional newspapers delivered into its coverage areas, such as The Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times. The Company also operates a direct mail service business in Phoenix, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Jon Friedman]

    Editor's note: A previous version of this article referred to A.H. Belo (NYSE: AHC) instead of Belo Corp. (NYSE: BLC). The Fool regrets the error.�

Top 10 Managed Healthcare Stocks To Watch Right Now: Treehouse Foods Inc.(THS)

TreeHouse Foods, Inc. operates as a food manufacturer in the United States and Canada. The company?s products include non-dairy powdered creamers; private label canned soups; salad dressings and sauces; powdered drink mixes; and hot cereals, such as oatmeal, farina, and grits in single-serve instant packets and microwaveable bowls. It also offers macaroni and cheese; skillet dinners; Mexican and other sauces comprising salsa, picante, cheese dip, enchilada sauce, pasta sauce, and taco sauce; jams and pie fillings; pickles and related products, including peppers and pickled vegetables; aseptic products, such as cheese sauces and puddings; and refrigerated salad dressings and liquid non-dairy creamer products. The company offers pickles under the Farman?s, Nalley?s, Peter Piper, and Steinfeld brand names; sauces and syrups under the Bennett?s, Hoffman House, Roddenbery?s Northwoods, and San Antonio Farms brand names; non-dairy powdered creamer under the Cremora brand na me; refrigerated products under the Mocha Mix and Second Nature brand names; jams and other sauces under the E.D. Smith and Habitant brand name; oatmeal under the McCann?s brand name; and food away from home products under the Schwartz and Saucemaker brands. It primarily serves grocery retailers, mass merchandisers, and foodservice operators through various distribution channels, including retail grocery; foodservice distributors; and industrial and export channels comprising food manufacturers and repackagers of foodservice products. TreeHouse Foods, Inc. was founded in 1862 and is based in Oak Brook, Illinois.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Anna Prior]

    Among the companies with shares expected to actively trade in Monday’s session are MannKind Corp.(MNKD), Philips NV(PHG) and TreeHouse Foods Inc.(THS)

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Calling all cash flows
    When you are trying to buy the market's best stocks, it's worth checking up on your companies' free cash flow once a quarter or so, to see whether it bears any relationship to the net income in the headlines. That's what we do with this series. Today, we're checking in on Treehouse Foods (NYSE: THS  ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.

Top 10 Managed Healthcare Stocks To Watch Right Now: Medtronic Inc (MDT)

Medtronic, Inc. (Medtronic), incorporated on April 23, 1957, is engaged in medical technology - alleviating pain, restoring health, and extending life for millions of people worldwide. As of April, 27, 2012, the Company functions in two operating segments that manufacture and sells device-based medical therapies. The Company's operating segments include Cardiac and Vascular Group, which consists of Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management (CRDM) and CardioVascular, and Restorative Therapies Group, which consists of Spinal, Neuromodulation, Diabetes and Surgical Technologies. Medtronic serves hospitals, physicians, clinicians, and patients in more than 120 countries worldwide. The Company's primary customers include hospitals, clinics, third-party health care providers, distributors, and other institutions, including governmental health care programs and group purchasing organizations. In August 2013, Medtronic, Inc. announced the closing of the acquisition of Cardiocom. Effective September 3, 2013, Medtronic Inc acquired a 30% stake in NGC Medical SpA.

Cardiac Rhythm Disease Management

CRDM develops, manufactures, and markets products for the diagnosis, treatment, and management of heart rhythm disorders and heart failure, including implantable devices, leads and delivery systems, products for the treatment of atrial fibrillation (AF), and information systems for the management of patients with CRDM devices. The Company's principal products offered by CRDM business include Implantable Cardiac Pacemakers (Pacemakers), Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs), Implantable Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Devices (CRT-Ds and CRT-Ps), AF Products, Diagnostics and Monitoring Devices and Patient Management Tools. The Company's pacemaker systems are compatible with certain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. This includes the Revo MRI SureScan with United States Food and Drug Administration approval and the Advisa and Ensura MRI SureScan models with Conformite Europeene (CE)! Mark approval. Medtronic also continues to market the Adapta product family, which includes the Adapta, Versa, Sensia, and Relia models.

The Medtronic ICDs is the Protecta family with SmartShock technology, including the Lead Integrity Alert, a technology designed to improve the detection of lead fractures. Devices in the ICD family are the Protecta XT, Protecta, Cardia, and Egida models. Medtronic also continues to market the Secura and Maximo II devices. The Medtronic CRT-Ds is the Protecta family with SmartShock technology, including Protecta XT and Protecta, and the CRT-P devices are Consulta and Syncra. Medtronic also continues to market the Consulta, Cardia, Egida, and Maximo II CRT-D devices. In addition to these devices, Medtronic has an offering of left heart leads and delivery catheters with its Attain family of products. The Company's portfolio of AF products includes the Arctic Front Cardiac CryoAblation Catheter designed to treat paroxysmal AF by performing pulmonary vein isolation. The Company also offers the Reveal XT Insertable Cardiac Monitor, which is designed to identify and quantify episodes of AF. The Reveal DX and Reveal XT Insertable Cardiac Monitors devices are used to record the heart's electrical activity before, during, and after transient symptoms such as syncope and palpitations to help provide a diagnosis. It has a number of patient management tools, such as CareLink, Paceart, and CardioSight Service. CareLink enables patients to transmit data from their pacemaker, ICD, CRT-D, or Insertable Cardiac Monitors using a portable monitor that is connected to a standard telephone line or cellular network using the Medtronic M-Link accessory.

The Company competes with St. Jude Medical, Inc., Boston Scientific Corporation, Biotronik, Inc. and Sorin Group.


CardioVascular is comprised of three businesses: Coronary, Endovascular and Peripheral, and Structural Heart. The Coronary business includes therapies to treat ! coronary ! artery disease (CAD) and hypertension. The products contained within this business include coronary stents and related delivery systems, along with a broad line of balloon angioplasty catheters, guide catheters, guidewires, diagnostic catheters, and accessories. The products offered by its Coronary business include Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) and Renal Denervation. The Endovascular and Peripheral business is comprised of a range of products and therapies to treat abdominal and thoracic aortic aneurysms and peripheral vascular disease (PVD). The Company's products include endovascular stent graft systems, embolic protection systems, and stent systems for the treatment of narrowed iliac arteries. The products offered by the Company's Endovascular and Peripheral business include Endovascular Stent Grafts and Peripheral Vascular Intervention (PVI). The Structural Heart business offers a range of products and therapies to treat a variety of heart valve disorders. The Company's products include products for the repair and replacement of heart valves, perfusion systems, positioning and stabilization systems for beating heart revascularization surgery, and surgical ablation products. The Company's principal products offered by its Structural Heart business include Heart Valves, Transcatheter Heart Valves, Arrested Heart Surgery, Beating Heart Surgery and Surgical Ablation.

The Company competes with Abbott Laboratories, Boston Scientific, and Johnson & Johnson, Cook, Inc., W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., Endologix, Inc., C.R. Bard, Inc., Edwards LifeSciences Corporation, St. Jude, Terumo Medical Corporation and Sorin Group.


The Company's Spinal business develops, manufactures, and markets a range of medical devices and implants used in the treatment of the spine and musculoskeletal system. The Company's products and therapies treat a range of conditions affecting the spine, including degenerative disc disease, spinal deformity, spinal tumours, fractures ! of the sp! ine, and stenosis. The Company's Spinal business also provides biologic solutions for the dental and orthopedic markets. The Company's Spinal products are used in spinal fusion of both the thoracolumbar region, referring to the mid to lower vertebrae, as well as of the cervical region, or upper spine and neck vertebrae. Products used to treat spinal conditions include rods, pedicle screws, hooks, plates, and interbody devices, as well as biologics products, primarily bone growth substitutes including bone graft extenders and structural allografts such as dowels and wedges. The products offered by the Company's Spinal business include Thoracolumbar Products, Cervical Products and Biologics Products.

The Company competes with DePuy Spine, Inc., Synthes, Inc., Stryker Corporation, NuVasive, Inc., Globus Medical, Inc., Zimmer, Inc., Alphatec Spine, Inc., Orthofix International N.V., Biomet, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson.


The Company's Neuromodulation business develops, manufactures, and markets medical devices for the treatment of chronic pain, movement disorders, psychological disorders, and urological, fecal, and gastroenterological disorders. The l products offered by the Company's Neuromodulation business includes Neurostimulators for Chronic Pain, Implantable Drug Delivery Systems, Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Systems and Urology, Fecal, & Gastroenterology Devices. The Company's portfolio of products includes the RestoreSensor (rechargeable), with the Company's AdaptiveStim technology, as well as the RestoreULTRA (rechargeable), RestoreADVANCED (rechargeable), and PrimeADVANCED (non-rechargeable) neurostimulation systems. The SynchroMed II Programmable Infusion System delivers small quantities of drug directly into the intrathecal space surrounding the spinal cord. These devices are used to treat chronic, intractable pain and severe spasticity associated with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, and stroke.

DBS uses a surgically implanted medical device, similar to a cardiac pacemaker, to deliver carefully controlled electrical stimulation to precisely targeted areas in the brain. The Company's family of Activa Neurostimulators for DBS includes Activa SC (single-channel primary cell), Activa PC (dual channel primary cell), and Activa RC (dual channel rechargeable). The Company's therapeutic portfolio for urology and gastroenterology includes the InterStim Therapy System, which treats the symptoms of overactive bladder, urinary retention, and chronic fecal incontinence, and the Enterra Therapy System for the treatment of chronic nausea and vomiting caused by gastroparesis of diabetic or idiopathic origin for drug refractory patients.

The Company's competes with Boston Scientific, St. Jude., Urologix, Inc. and Allergan.


The Company's Diabetes business develops, manufactures, and markets advanced, integrated diabetes management solutions that include insulin pump therapy, continuous glucose monitoring systems, and therapy management software. The products offered by the Company's Diabetes business includes Integrated Diabetes Management Solutions, Professional CGM and CareLink Therapy Management Software. Outside the United States, the Company offers its Paradigm Veo System, an integrated system that includes a Low Glucose Suspend feature that automatically suspends insulin delivery when glucose levels become too low. In the United States, the Company offers the Paradigm Revel System, which incorporates new CGM features, including predictive alerts that can give early warning to people with diabetes so they can take action to prevent dangerous high or low glucose events. Medtronic offers physicians a Professional CGM product called the iPro CGM and iPro2 Professional CGM. The Company offers Web-based therapy management software solutions, including CareLink Personal software for patients and CareLink Pro software, to helps patients and their health care prov! iders con! trol their diabetes.

The Company competes with DexCom, Inc., Insulet Corporation, Johnson & Johnson and Roche Ltd.

Surgical Technologies

The Company's Surgical Technologies business develops, manufactures, and markets products and therapies to treat diseases and conditions of the ear, nose, and throat (ENT) and certain neurological disorders. In addition, the business develops, manufactures, and markets image-guided surgery and intra-operative imaging systems that facilitate surgical planning during precision cranial, spinal, sinus, and orthopedic surgeries. The products offered by the Company's Surgical Technologies business includes ENT, Neurological Technologies, Navigation and Advanced Energy. The ENT products treat diseases and conditions, such as NIM Nerve Monitoring Systems, Fusion ENT Navigation System, Hydrodebrider Endoscopic Sinus Irrigation System, Meniett Device for Meniere's Disease, Pillar Procedure for Snoring and Sleep Apnea, and Repose System for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The Neurological Technologies products treat certain neurological disorders and conditions, such as Midas Rex Spine Shaver, the Midas Rex MR7 Pneumatic Platform, the Midas Rex Legend EHS High Speed Surgical Drill, the Strata Family of Adjustable Valves for the treatment of Hydrocephalus, Duet External Drainage & Monitoring System, the IPC System, and the Subdural Evacuating Port System.

The Navigation products are used in cranial, spinal, sinus, and orthopedic surgeries, such as the StealthStation S7 Navigation and i7 Integrated Navigation Systems, the O-Arm 2D/3D Surgical Imaging System, and the PoleStar Surgical MRI System. The products make up the Advanced Energy business: PEAK Surgery System, a tissue dissection system that consists of the PEAK PlasmaBlade and the PULSAR Generator and is cleared for use in a variety of settings, including ENT, plastic reconstructive and general surgery; and the Aquamantys System, which uses patented Transcollation technology to ! provide h! aemostatic sealing of soft tissue and bone and is cleared for use in a range of surgical procedures, including orthopedic surgery, spine, solid organ resection and thoracic procedures.

The Company competes with Gyrus ACMI, Stryker Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, Integra LifeSciences Holdings Corporation, BrainLAB, Inc., GE Healthcare, Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc., Philips Medical Systems, Covidien and ArthroCare Corporation.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By John Udovich]

    Small cap Arca Biopharma is dedicated to developing genetically-targeted therapies for cardiovascular diseases with the�company's lead product candidate being�GencaroTM (bucindolol hydrochloride),�an investigational, pharmacologically unique beta-blocker and mild vasodilator that is being developed for the prevention of atrial fibrillation (��F�� in patients with heart failure and reduced left ventricular ejection fraction ("HFREF"). Arca Biopharma believes Gencaro has the potential to be the first genetically-targeted cardiovascular therapy. In addition,�the company�holds exclusive, worldwide rights to Gencaro, has been granted patents in the�US and Europe for methods of treating various cardiovascular disorders with Gencaro and has collaborated with Medtronic, Inc (NYSE: MDT)�on the Phase 2B portion of GENETIC-AF, the Company�� Phase 2B/3 clinical trial evaluating Gencaro as a potential treatment for AF.

  • [By Jake L'Ecuyer]

    Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) shares tumbled 2.23 percent to $57.88 on Federal District Court ruling preventing the company from selling its CoreValve System in the US as a result of Edwards Lifesciences (NYSE: EW) patent infringement verdict.

Top 10 Managed Healthcare Stocks To Watch Right Now: Cantel Medical Corp. (CMN)

Cantel Medical Corp. provides infection prevention and control products and services in the healthcare market. Its Endoscopy segment offers medical device reprocessing systems, disinfectants, detergents, and other supplies that are used to disinfect flexible endoscopes; and disposable infection control products for cleaning and disinfecting reusable components used in gastrointestinal endoscopy procedures. Its Water Purification and Filtration segment offers water purification equipment and services, filtration and separation products, and disinfectants for medical, pharmaceutical, biotech, beverage, and commercial industrial markets. This segment also offers hollow fiber membrane filtration and separation technologies for medical applications; and sterilants, disinfectants, and decontamination services used in various applications for infection prevention and control. The company�s Healthcare Disposables segment offers single-use infection prevention and control healthca re products, including face masks, sterilization pouches, towels and bibs, tray covers, saliva ejectors, germicidal wipes, plastic cups, and disinfectants used principally in the dental market; and biological and chemical indicators for sterility assurance monitoring services in the acute-care, alternate-care, and dental markets. Its Dialysis segment offers medical device reprocessing systems, sterilants/disinfectants, dialysate concentrates, and other supplies for renal dialysis. The company�s Specialty Packaging segment offers specialty packaging and thermal control products, as well as related compliance training for the transportation of infectious and biological specimens and thermally sensitive pharmaceutical, medical, and other products. Cantel Medical Corp. sells its products through its direct distribution network in the United States; and directly and through third-party distributors internationally. The company was founded in 1963 and is based in Little Falls, Ne w Jersey.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Infection protection and control company Cantel Medical (CMN) raised its semiannual dividend 21.6% to 4.5 cents per share, payable Jan. 31, 2014, to shareholders of record as of Jan. 17.
    CMN Dividend Yield: 0.26%

Top 10 Managed Healthcare Stocks To Watch Right Now: L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. (LLL)

L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiary, L-3 Communications Corporation, provides command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C3ISR) systems; aircraft modernization and maintenance; and government services in the United States and internationally. Its C3ISR segment offers fleet management sustainment and support, such as procurement, systems integration, sensor development, modifications, and periodic depot maintenance for signals intelligence and communications intelligence systems; strategic and tactical signals intelligence systems; secure data links; secure terminal and communication network equipment and encryption management; and communication systems. The company?s Government Services segment provides communication software support, information technology services, and various engineering development services and integration support; engineering and information systems support services; teaching and training; h uman intelligence support services; command and control systems and software services; and technical and management services. Its Aircraft Modernization and Maintenance segment offers modernization and refurbishments, upgrades and sustainment, maintenance, and logistics support services, as well as turnkey aviation life cycle management services for military and various government and commercial customers. The company?s Electronic Systems segment provides components, products, subsystems, systems, and related services across various business areas, including power and control systems, electro-optic/infrared, microwave, simulation and training, precision engagement, warrior systems, security and detection, propulsion systems, avionics and displays, telemetry and advanced technology, undersea warfare, and marine services. L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc. was founded in 1997 and is based in New York, New York.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Vinay Singh] company provides various security solutions in the United States and internationally.

    It has $3.75 per share in cash and enough short-term receivables to take care of its entire long-term debt. Analysts expect $8.34 in EPS for the next fiscal year, and the current stock price is only 9 times that figure, compared to a peer average of 17 times, suggesting L-3 Communications is significantly undervalued.

    Impressively, it has similar margins on both EBITDA and operating cash flow in the low double-digits, and its enterprise value implied by the current stock price is only 6.6 times trailing EBITDA. With a free cash flow margin of around 10%, the company should be able to further increase its cash reserve by $14.25 per share next year. **

    Also, the company recently raised its quarterly dividend by 10% and authorized the repurchase of as much as $1.5 billion of its stock in a bid to boost shareholder returns. It's no wonder the share count has fallen from 122 million in fiscal 2008 to 94 million at the end of 2012, and considering the management's plans on buybacks, this trend should continue.

    Long-term sales growth is where the estimates get tricky. The company faces revenue declines from the winding down of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and defense spending cuts due to the rising focus on deficit reduction.

    Nevertheless, I expect a steady improvement in free cash flow generation. All told, I think L-3 Communications can grow its free cash flow at a 2-4% rate for the long-term. Discounting that back, it suggests a fair value of about $95.

    Raytheon (RTN)

    This company also provides various security solutions in the United States and internationally.

    It has $12.39 per share in cash and a current ratio of 1.57; the company is liquid. Analysts expect $5.44 in EPS for the next fiscal year, and the current stock price is less than 10 times that figure, compared to a peer average of 17 times, suggesting Raytheon is s

  • [By Bryan Murphy]

    It's tragic that it took a tragedy like last year's shooting at a Newton, Connecticut elementary school to get the ball rolling. Nevertheless, that ball is rolling now, and it's putting companies like L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:LLL), View Systems Inc. (OTCBB:VSYM), and American Science & Engineering, Inc. (NASDAQ:ASEI) in the spotlight. How so? Because VSYM, ASEI, and LLL make the tools that are, unfortunately, going to be the only way to absolutely ensure this nation's public schools are secure, and defended from gunmen like Newton's Adam Lanza.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Invest In 2014

Bank of America (BAC) shares experienced a considerable drop after the company reported first quarter earnings and there is reason to believe that the bank could offer earnings and guidance that creates another selloff when second quarter earnings are reported. Since the last pullback, the shares have been trending higher, however, that could be setting up the stock for the next drop.

BofA is expected to report second quarter earnings on July 17, 2013, before the market opens. According to Earningswhispers.com, consensus estimates is for a profit of 25 cents per share. While investors seem to be turning positive on Bank of America due to the belief that the economy is improving and that housing is rebounding, some recent events might offset those perceived benefits.

One big issue to consider is that the recent rise in rates has been significant and that could really dampen housing demand going forward. Mortgage applications for refinancings and new purchases are already falling. The other big problem is that with the Ten-Year Treasury Bond rising from about 1.6% to 2.5% in just the past few weeks, some bond prices have declined significantly. While many analysts on CNBC have been talking about the devastation some bond investors will experience when they open their quarterly statements in a few days, much less has been said about the impact on the banks and insurance companies which tend to have significant bond exposure.

10 Best Telecom Stocks For 2015: Triad Guaranty Inc (TGICQ)

Triad Guaranty Inc., incorporated in 1993, is a holding company which, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Triad Guaranty Insurance Corporation (TGIC), is a nationwide mortgage insurer. During the year ended December 31, 2011, Collateral Mortgage, Ltd. (CHL) owns 16.8% of the common stock of TGI. The Company has historically provided Primary and Modified Pool mortgages guaranty insurance coverage on United States residential mortgage loans.

Primary insurance provides mortgage default protection to lenders on individual loans and covers a percentage of unpaid loan principal, delinquent interest and certain expenses associated with the default and subsequent foreclosure (collectively, the insured amount or claim amount). Primary insurance was written on both flow and structured bulk transactions. Flow transactions consisted of loans originated by lenders that were submitted to the Company on a loan-by-loan basis, whereas structured bulk transactions involved underwriting and insuring a group of loans with individual coverage for each loan. Insurance on primary policies consists of 80% of the Company's total insurance in force at December 31, 2011.

Modified Pool insurance was written only on structured bulk transactions. Policies insured as part of a Modified Pool transaction have individual coverage, but an aggregate stop-loss limit applies to the entire group of insured loans. In addition, some of the Modified Pool transactions included deductibles representing a percentage of the total risk originated under which the Company pays no claims until the losses exceed the deductible amount. Modified Pool insurance consists of 20% of the Company's total insurance in force at December 31, 2011.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Zachary Tracer]

    Mortgage insurers PMI and Triad Guaranty Inc. (TGICQ) filed for bankruptcy after housing crashed. Old Republic International Corp. also retreated from the mortgage guaranty business.

Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Invest In 2014: W.R. Berkley Corporation(WRB)

W. R. Berkley Corporation, an insurance holding company, operates as commercial lines writers in the property casualty insurance business primarily in the United States. The company operates in five segments: Specialty, Regional, Alternative Markets, Reinsurance, and International. The Specialty segment underwrites third-party liability risks, primarily excess, and surplus lines, including premises operations, professional liability, commercial automobile, products liability, and property lines. The Regional segments provide commercial insurance products to small-to-mid-sized businesses, and state and local governmental entities primarily in the 45 states of the United States. The Alternative Markets segment develops, insures, reinsures, and administers self-insurance programs and other alternative risk transfer mechanisms. This segment offers its services to employers, employer groups, insurers, and alternative market funds, as well as provides a range of fee-based servic es, including consulting and administrative services. The Reinsurance segment engages in the underwriting property casualty reinsurance on a treaty and a facultative basis, including individual certificates and program facultative business; and specialty and standard reinsurance lines, and property and casualty reinsurance. The International segment offers personal and commercial property casualty insurance in South America; commercial property casualty insurance in the United Kingdom and continental Europe; and reinsurance in Australia, Southeast Asia, and Canada. The company was founded in 1967 and is based in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    For the past several years, Berkshire has contrasted its own cost-free float provided by profitable underwriting against the industry�� (unimpressive) tendency to lose money on underwriting while generating net returns from investment income. So far, so good. Less edifying, though, is the repeated contrast of Berkshire�� track record of profitability to State Farm��…even though, as a mutual company, State Farm�� profitability goals are inherently different from for-profit insurers like Berkshire. It�� true that through year-end 2013, Berkshire�� underwriters have ��ow operated at an underwriting profit for eleven consecutive years,��but so have ACE (ACE), American Financial (AFG),� AmTrust Financial (AFSI), Arch Capital (ACGL), Chubb (CB), HCC (HCC), Progressive (PGR), RLI (RLI), and W.R. Berkley (WRB), any or all of whom provide a more meaningful comparison than contrasting Berkshire�� results to a company that�� not out to produce a profit in the first place.

  • [By Laura Brodbeck]

    Earnings reports expected on Monday include:

    Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $0.48 on revenue of $1.10 billion, compared to last year�� EPS of $0.13 on revenue of $905.09 million. Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $1.19 on revenue of $2.07 billion, compared to last year�� EPS of $1.21. W.R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE: WRB) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $0.71 on revenue of $1.57 billion, compared to last year�� EPS of $0.61 on revenue of $1.42 billion. Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $0.44 on revenue of $1.27 billion, compared to last year�� EPS of $0.56 on revenue of $1.31 billion.


Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Invest In 2014: MGIC Investment Corp (MTG)

MGIC Investment Corporation (MGIC), incorporated June 21, 1984, is a holding company and through wholly owned subsidiaries is a private mortgage insurer in the United States. As of December 31, 2012, its principal mortgage insurance subsidiaries, Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation (MGIC) and MGIC Indemnity Corporation (MIC), were each licensed in all 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. During the year ending December 31, 2012, the Company wrote new insurance in each of those jurisdictions in MGIC and/or MIC. The Company capitalized MIC to write new insurance in certain jurisdictions where MGIC no longer meets, and is unable to obtain a waiver of, those jurisdictions��minimum capital requirements. Private mortgage insurance covers losses from homeowner defaults on residential mortgage loans, reducing and, in some instances, eliminating the loss to the insured institution if the homeowner defaults.

Mortgage Insurance

Primary insurance provides mortgage default protection on individual loans and covers unpaid loan principal, delinquent interest and certain expenses associated with the default and subsequent foreclosure. Primary insurance is written on first mortgage loans secured by owner occupied single-family homes, which are one-to-four family homes and condominiums. Primary insurance is also written on first liens secured by non-owner occupied single-family homes, which are referred to in the home mortgage lending industry as investor loans, and on vacation or second homes. Primary coverage can be used on any type of residential mortgage loan instrument approved by the mortgage insurer.

When a borrower refinances a mortgage loan insured by the Company by paying it off in full with the proceeds of a new mortgage that is also insured by it, the insurance on that existing mortgage is cancelled, and insurance on the new mortgage is considered to be new primary insurance written. Therefore, continuation of its coverage fr! om a refinanced loan to a new loan results in both a cancellation of insurance and new insurance written. When a lender and borrower modify a loan rather than replace it with a new one, or enter into a new loan pursuant to a loan modification program, its insurance continues without being cancelled assuming that the Company consent to the modification or new loan.

The borrower�� mortgage loan instrument requires the borrower to pay the mortgage insurance premium. There are several payment plans available to the borrower, or lender, as the case may be. Under the monthly premium plan, the borrower or lender pays it a monthly premium payment to provide only one month of coverage. Under the annual premium plan, an annual premium is paid to it in advance, and it earns and recognizes the premium over the next 12 months of coverage, with annual renewal premiums paid in advance thereafter and earned over the subsequent 12 months of coverage. Under the single premium plan, the borrower or lender pays it a single payment covering a specified term exceeding twelve months.

Pool insurance is used as an additional credit enhancement for certain secondary market mortgage transactions. Pool insurance covers the excess of the loss on a defaulted mortgage loan which exceeds the claim payment under the primary coverage, if primary insurance is required on that mortgage loan, as well as the total loss on a defaulted mortgage loan which did not require primary insurance. Pool insurance is used as an additional credit enhancement for certain secondary market mortgage transactions. Pool insurance covers the excess of the loss on a defaulted mortgage loan, which exceeds the claim payment under the primary coverage, if primary insurance is required on that mortgage loan, as well as the total loss on a defaulted mortgage loan which did not require primary insurance. In general, the loans insured by it in Wall Street bulk transactions consisted of loans with reduced underwriting documentation; cash out! refinanc! es, which exceed the standard underwriting requirements of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) (collectively GSEs); A- loans; subprime loans, and jumbo loans.

Other Products and Services

The Company has participated in risk sharing arrangements with the GSEs and captive mortgage reinsurance arrangements with subsidiaries of certain mortgage lenders, which reinsure a portion of the risk on loans originated or serviced by the lenders, which have MGIC primary insurance. It provides information regarding captive mortgage reinsurance arrangements to the New York Department of Insurance (known as the New York Department of Financial Services), the Minnesota Department of Commerce and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, (HUD). It performs contract underwriting services for lenders, in which it judges whether the data relating to the borrower and the loan contained in the lender�� mortgage loan application file comply with the lender�� loan underwriting guidelines. It also provides an interface to submit data to the automated underwriting systems of the GSEs, which independently judge the data. These services are provided for loans, which require private mortgage insurance, as well as for loans that do not require private mortgage insurance. It provides mortgage services for the mortgage finance industry, such as portfolio retention and secondary marketing of mortgages.

The Company competes with Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Administration, PMI Mortgage Insurance Company, Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corporation, United Guaranty Residential Insurance Company, Radian Guaranty Inc., CMG Mortgage Insurance Company, and Essent Guaranty, Inc.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    MGIC Investment (NYSE: MTG  ) will release its quarterly report next Tuesday, but investors haven't waited for that report to send the stock to two-year highs. As the housing market has improved, the mortgage-insurance company's prospects have followed suit, but the slow recovery in MGIC earnings are now vulnerable to a potential drop in premium revenue if rising interest rates hurt new mortgage activity.

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    MGIC Investment (NYSE: MTG) shares dropped 11.47% to $8.18 following FHFA proposal. The company released monthly operating statistics for June.

    Rent-A-Center (NASDAQ: RCII) shares slipped 10.98% to $25.87 after the company issued a downbeat guidance for the second quarter. The company expected adjusted earnings of $0.36 to $0.38 per share on revenue of around $773 million.

  • [By David Hanson and Matt Koppenheffer]

    In this segment of The Motley Fool's everything-financials show,�Where the Money Is, banking analysts Matt Koppenheffer and David Hanson dicuss earnings from MGIC Investment Corp. (NYSE: MTG  ) and look ahead to Radian (NYSE: RDN  ) 's (NYSE: RDN  ) quarterly results.

  • [By Garrett Cook]

    In trading on Friday, financial shares were relative laggards, down on the day by about 0.40 percent. Top losers in the sector included MGIC Investment (NYSE: MTG), down 11.9 percent, and Radian Group (NYSE: RDN), off 5.2 percent.

Top 5 Insurance Stocks To Invest In 2014: Metlife Inc (MET)

MetLife, Inc. (MetLife), incorporated on August 10, 1999, is a provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers in over 50 countries. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife operates in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. It is organized into six segments: Insurance Products, Retirement Products, Corporate Benefit Funding and Auto & Home (collectively, U.S. Business), and Japan and Other International Regions (collectively, International). In addition, the Company reports certain of its results of operations in Corporate & Other, which includes MetLife Bank, National Association (MetLife Bank) and other business activities. U.S. Business provides insurance and financial services products, including life, dental, disability, auto and homeowner insurance, guaranteed interest and stable value products, and annuities through independent retail distribution channels, as well as at the workplace. Outside the U.S., it operates in Japan and over 50 countries within Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. MetLife is the life insurer in Mexico and also holds positions in Japan, Poland, Chile and Korea. This business provides life insurance, accident and health insurance, credit insurance, annuities, endowment and retirement and savings products to both individuals and groups. In August 2012, it acquired Reynolds Plantation. In January 2013, the Company completed the sale of MetLife Bank, N.A.'s deposit business. Effective July 25, 2013, MetLife Inc acquired Broadstone Laurel Highlands, from Alliance Residential Fund I. In September 2013, MetLife Inc and Thayer Lodging Group acquired the 365-room Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in a joint venture.

Insurance Products

The Insurance Products segment offers a range of protection products and services aimed at serving the financial needs of its customers throughout their lives. These pro! ducts are sold to individuals and corporations, as well as other institutions and their respective employees. It is organized in three businesses: Group Life, Individual Life and Non-Medical Health.

The Group Life insurance products and services include variable life, universal life, and term life products. It offer group insurance products as employer-paid benefits or as voluntary benefits where all or a portion of the premiums are paid by the employee. These group products and services also include employee paid supplemental life and are offered as standard products or may be tailored to meet specific customer needs.

The Individual Life insurance products and services include variable life, universal life, term life and whole life products. Additionally, through its broker-dealer affiliates, it offers a full range of mutual funds and other securities products. The products within both Group Life and Individual Life include Variable Life, Universal Life, Term Life and Whole Life. Variable life products provide insurance coverage through a contract that gives the policyholder the policyholder flexibility in investment choices and, depending on the product, in premium payments and coverage amounts, with certain guarantees. With variable life products, premiums and account balances can be directed by the policyholder into a variety of separate account investment options or directed to the Company�� general account. In the separate account investment options, the policyholder bears the entire risk of the investment results.

Universal life products provide insurance coverage on the same basis as variable life, except that premiums, and the resulting accumulated balances, are allocated only to the Company�� general account. Universal life products may allow the insured to increase or decrease the amount of death benefit coverage over the term of the contract and the owner to adjust the frequency and amount of premium payments.

Term life products provid! e a guara! nteed benefit upon the death of the insured for a specified time period in return for the periodic payment of premiums. Specified coverage periods range from one year to 30 years, but in no event are they longer than the period over, which premiums are paid. Death benefits may be level over the period or decreasing. Decreasing coverage is used principally to provide for loan repayment in the event of death. Premiums may be guaranteed at a level amount for the coverage period or may be non-level and non-guaranteed. Term insurance products are sometimes referred to as pure protection products, in that there are typically no savings or investment elements. Term contracts expire without value at the end of the coverage period when the insured party is still living.

Whole life products provide a guaranteed benefit upon the death of the insured in return for the periodic payment of a fixed premium over a predetermined period. Premium payments may be required for the entire life of the contract period, to a specified age or period, and may be level or change in accordance with a predetermined schedule. Whole life insurance includes policies that provide a participation feature in the form of dividends. Policyholders may receive dividends in cash or apply them to increase death benefits, increase cash values available upon surrender or reduce the premiums required to maintain the contract in-force.

The Non-Medical Health products and services include dental insurance, group short- and long-term disability, individual disability income, long-term care (LTC), critical illness and accidental death & dismemberment coverage. Other products and services include employer-sponsored auto and homeowners insurance provided through the Auto & Home segment and prepaid legal plans. The Company also sells administrative services-only (ASO) arrangements to some employers. The products in this area are Dental, Disability and Long-term Care (LTC). Dental products provide insurance and ASO plans that ass! ist emplo! yees, retirees and their families in maintaining oral health while reducing out-of-pocket expenses and providing superior customer service. Dental plans include the Preferred Dentist Program and the Dental Health Maintenance Organization. Disability products provide a benefit in the event of the disability of the insured. This benefit is in the form of monthly income paid until the insured reaches age 65. In addition to income replacement, the product may be used to provide for the payment of business overhead expenses for disabled business owners or mortgage payment protection. This is offered on both a group and individual basis. LTC products provide protection against the potentially high costs of LTC services. They generally pay benefits to insureds that need assistance with activities of daily living or have a cognitive impairment.

Retirement Products

The Retirement products segment includes a variety of variable and fixed annuities that are primarily sold to individuals and employees of corporations and other institutions. The products in this area are Variable Annuities and Fixed Annuities. Variable annuities provide for both asset accumulation and asset distribution needs. Variable annuities allow the contract holder to make deposits into various investment options in a separate account, as determined by the contract holder. The risks associated with such investment options are borne entirely by the contract holder, except where guaranteed minimum benefits are involved.

Fixed annuities provide for both asset accumulation and asset distribution needs. Fixed annuities do not allow the same investment flexibility provided by variable annuities, but provide guarantees related to the preservation of principal and interest credited.

Corporate Benefit Funding

The Corporate Benefit Funding segment includes a range of annuity and investment products, including, guaranteed interest products and other stable value products, income annuitie! s, and se! parate account contracts for the investment management of defined benefit and defined contribution plan assets. This segment also includes certain products to fund postretirement benefits and company, bank or trust owned life insurance used to finance non-qualified benefit programs for executives. The products in this area are Stable Value Products, Pensions Closeouts, Torts and Settlements, Capital Markets Investment Products and other Corporate Benefit Funding Products and Services. The Company offers general account guaranteed interest contracts, separate account guaranteed interest contracts, and similar products used to support the stable value option of defined contribution plans. It also offers private floating rate funding agreements that are used for money market funds, securities lending cash collateral portfolios and short-term investment funds.

The Company offers general account and separate account annuity products, generally in connection with the termination of defined benefit pension plans, both in the United States and the United Kingdom. It also offers partial risk transfer solutions that allow for partial transfers of pension liabilities and annuity products that include single premium buyouts. It offers strategies for complex litigation settlements, primarily structured settlement annuities. Under the Capital Markets Investment Products, the products offered include funding agreements, Federal Home Loan Bank advances and funding agreement-backed commercial paper. Under the Other Corporate Benefit Funding Products and Services, it offers specialized insurance products designed specifically to provide solutions for non-qualified benefit and retiree benefit funding purposes.

Auto & Home

The Auto & Home segment includes personal lines property and casualty insurance offered directly to employees at their employer�� worksite, as well as to individuals through a variety of retail distribution channels, including independent agents, property and casu! alty spec! ialists, direct response marketing and the individual distribution sales group. Auto & Home primarily sells auto insurance, which represented 67% of Auto & Home�� total net earned premiums in 2011. Homeowners and other insurance represented 33% of Auto & Home�� total net earned premiums in 2011. The products in this area are Auto Coverages and Homeowners and Other Coverages. Auto insurance policies provide coverage for private passenger automobiles, utility automobiles and vans, motorcycles, motor homes, antique or classic automobiles and trailers. Auto & Home offers traditional coverage, such as liability, uninsured motorist, no fault or personal injury protection, as well as collision and comprehensive. Homeowners��insurance policies provide protection for homeowners, renters, condominium owners and residential landlords against losses arising out of damage to dwellings and contents from a variety of perils, as well as coverage for liability arising from ownership or occupancy. Other insurance includes personal excess liability (protection against losses in excess of amounts covered by other liability insurance policies), and coverage for recreational vehicles and boat owners. Most of Auto & Home�� homeowners��policies are traditional insurance policies for dwellings, providing protection for loss on a replacement cost basis. These policies also provide additional coverage for reasonable, normal living expenses incurred by policyholders that have been displaced from their homes.


International provides life insurance, accident and health insurance, credit insurance, annuities, endowment and retirement & savings products to both individuals and groups. The Company focuses on markets primarily within Japan, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. It operates in international markets through subsidiaries and affiliates. The Company operates in 22 countries in Latin America, with operations in Mexico, Chile and Argentina. It operates in fou! r countri! es in Asia Pacific with operations in Korea, Hong Kong and Australia. It operates in 35 countries in Europe and the Middle East with operations in Poland, the United Kingdom, France, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as through a consolidated joint venture in India.

Corporate & Other

Corporate & Other contains the excess capital not allocated to the segments, which is invested to optimize investment spread and to fund company initiatives and various start-up and run-off entities. Mortgage products offered by MetLife Bank include forward and reverse residential mortgage loans. Residential mortgage loans are originated through MetLife Bank�� national sales force, mortgage brokers and mortgage correspondents. The residential mortgage banking activities include the origination and servicing of mortgage loans. Mortgage loans are held-for-investment or sold primarily into Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC) or Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA) securities. Deposit products include traditional savings accounts, money market savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs) and individual retirement accounts.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Laura Brodbeck]

    Next week investors will be waiting for several key earnings reports including Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), Nokia Corporation (NYSE: NOK), MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), and Mastercard Incorporated (NYSE: MA).

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    MetLife (NYSE: MET  ) will release its quarterly report on Wednesday, and shareholders couldn't be more optimistic about the company's future prospects. Yet even though the stock has traded at five-year highs recently, MetLife earnings haven't yet begun to grow in the way investors will want to see in the long run.

  • [By Amanda Alix]

    Pity poor MetLife (NYSE: MET  ) . Never has a life insurer shed more in an attempt to wind up with less. In MetLife's case, its sale of its retail banking unit to GE Capital (NYSE: GE  ) was an exercise in frustration, as one regulatory hurdle rose up to replace those already vanquished. At the end of last year, the sale was finally given the green light, effectively pulling MetLife out from under the banking regulators' scrutiny.