Tag Archives: BRK.B

Top 5 High Tech Stocks To Own For 2018

Global oil prices nudged higher Monday even amid reports that Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) is re-starting a key Houston refinery that was shuttered by Hurricane Harvey three weeks ago.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures for October delivery traded briefly over $50 a barrel in early London dealing, after hitting a three-month high of $50.50 last week, before paring gains modestly to around $49.95 at 07:00 local time. Brent contracts for November delivery, which are used as a benchmark for global prices, were little-changed from their Friday New York close at $55.65 per barrel.

Oil prices have been rising steadily for the past two weeks as investors asses the damage to the U.S. drilling and refining industry in Houston and the broader Gulf region in the aftermath of Harvey’s devastating winds and floods, which could cost the state of Texas as much as $180 billion to repair and rebuild.

Top 5 High Tech Stocks To Own For 2018: Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK-B)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By WWW.USATODAY.COM]

    When Buffett took control ofBerkshire Hathaway(NYSE: BRK-A)(NYSE: BRK-B) in 1965, it was an ailing textile company with a bleak future. Today, thanks to Buffett’s brilliance at capital allocation, Berkshire is the fourth-biggest company in the S&P 500as measured by market capitalization.

  • [By Matthew Frankel]

    While it’s technically not a pure insurance stock, that’s exactly why I suggest Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B) for investors who want a piece of the insurance business.

  • [By Shanthi Rexaline]

    Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, for his part, has added fuel to Apple's recent rally by increasing his stake in the company in a big way. The 13D filing done by Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B) following the end of the fourth quarter of 2016 showed that it had nearly quadrupled its position in Apple.

  • [By Matthew Frankel]

    Warren Buffett has a long and successful history in the insurance industry, and it has been a cornerstone of Berkshire Hathaway’s (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B) growth strategy since the 1967 acquisition of National Indemnity. In fact, Buffett specifically referred to the insurance industry as Berkshire’s “most important sector” in his latest letter to shareholders. Here’s a rundown of Berkshire’s insurance operations, and why Buffett loves the insurance business so much.

Top 5 High Tech Stocks To Own For 2018: Snap Interactive, Inc. (STVI)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Vikram Nagarkar]

    According to recent reports, Snap Inc will now look to go public at a valuation of $19 billion to $22 billion, as it goes public under the ticker symbol SNAP on the New York Stock Exchange. Snap Inc’s move to slash its previous seemingly overambitious target of $25 billion comes across as a very good move. Well, there’s no denying the fact that the upcoming Snapchat IPO has generated a lot of investor interest – to the extent that some “overeager” investors even went ahead and bought shares of a similar sounding company,Snap Interactive (OTC:STVI), sending its shares 140% higher. And Snap Interactive’s relatively paltry $50 million market cap may have something to do with it. Be that as it may, Snapchat’s reported initial valuation target of $25 billion was way too ambitious, and there’s no lack of consensus on that front. However, even the scaled down $19 billion target may not be attractive enough.

Top 5 High Tech Stocks To Own For 2018: Staples, Inc.(SPLS)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Shares of Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS) got a boost, shooting up 7 percent to $9.25 on chatter that the company is targeted for an acquisition. Sycamore Partners, a private equity giant, is reportedly in advanced talks to acquire the office supply retailer, Reuters reported. The deal could value Staples at more than $6 billion, a premium to Staples' valuation of $5.60 billion as of Wednesday's market close.

  • [By Casey Wilson]

    The company was set to merge with its last remaining rival, Staples Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS), this year, but was denied by a federal judge on May 10 because of antitrust concerns.

  • [By Chris Lange]

    The S&P 500 stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Tuesday was Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS) which traded down 5.3% at $8.49. The stocks 52-week range is $7.24 to $11.37. Volume was more than double the daily average of 6.05 million shares. The company saw its shares drop following its most recent earnings report.

Top 5 High Tech Stocks To Own For 2018: Lannett Co Inc(LCI)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ashley Moore]

    We’ve compiled a list of the most heavily shorted stocks to show you which stocks have the most negative sentiment on the market…

    Company Name (Ticker)Short FloatShare PriceHanwha Q Cells Co. Ltd. (Nasdaq ADR: HQCL)98.52%$ 8.88Renren Inc. (NYSE: RENN)91.59%$ 8.53Weight Watchers International Inc. (NYSE: WTW)67.92%$12.57INSYS Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: INSY)66.71%$10.74Twilio Inc. (NYSE: TWLO)66.34%$33.17Nutanix Inc. (Nasdaq: NTNX)65.65%$31.96Fitbit Inc. (NYSE: FIT)55.15%$ 6.06Weibo Corp. (Nasdaq ADR: WB)53.83%$55.26RPC Inc. (NYSE: RES)53.62%$21.19Straight Path Communications Inc. (NYSEMKT: STRP)49.27%$34.79Momo Inc. (Nasdaq ADR: MOMO)48.63%$26.80Seritage Growth Properties (NYSE: SRG)46.91%$44.87Lannett Company Inc. (NYSE: LCI)45.46%$23.00Gogo Inc. (Nasdaq: GOGO)43.98%$ 9.10Altisource Portfolio Solutions SA (Nasdaq: ASPS)42.78%$22.73Cheetah Mobile Inc. (NYSE ADR: CMCM)40.86%$10.00

    Some investors think the only way to profit from the stock market is to buy stocks and wait for the price to rise. However, these investors are missing out on the massive profit opportunity that comes from shorting stocks.

  • [By Peter Graham]

    Small cap generic pharmaceutical stock Lannett Company, Inc (NYSE: LCI) is thethird most shorted stock on the NYSE with short interest of 52.86% according toHighshortinterest.com.Lannett Company, founded in 1942, develops, manufactures, packages, markets and distributes generic pharmaceutical products for a wide range of medical indications and therapeutic areas. The Company believe that its ability to select viable products for development, efficiently develop such products (including obtaining any applicable regulatory approvals), vertically integrateitself into certain specialty markets and achieve economies in production are all critical for its success in the generic pharmaceutical industry in which it operates.

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Breaking news

    Edwards Lifesciences Corp (NYSE: EW) announced plans to buy Valtech Cardio for $340 million in cash and stock. The company also announced a $1 billion buyback plan.
    Epizyme Inc (NASDAQ: EPZM) disclosed that it has received Fast Track designation for tazemetostat.
    Athene Holding Ltd. (NYSE: ATH) reported that it has priced its 23.8 million share IPO between $38 per share and $42 per share.
    Lannett Company, Inc. (NYSE: LCI) reported the approval for its Metaxalone Tablets USP, 800 mg.

  • [By Peter Graham]

    Small cap generic pharmaceutical stock Lannett Company, Inc (NYSE: LCI) is thesecond most shorted stock on the NYSE with short interest of 55.65% according toHighshortinterest.com. Lannett Company was founded in 1942 anddevelops, manufactures, packages, markets and distributes generic pharmaceutical products for a wide range of medical indications and therapeutic areas. The Company believes its ability to select viable products for development, efficiently develop such products (including obtaining any applicable regulatory approvals), vertically integrateitself into certain specialty markets and achieving economies in production are all critical for its success in the generic pharmaceutical industry in which it operates.

Top 5 High Tech Stocks To Own For 2018: Enphase Energy, Inc.(ENPH)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    UPDATE: I stand corrected. There does appear to be a reason for First Solar’s market-leading move today. Axiom Capital’s Gordon Johnson attributes the rise to the $10 million investment in Enphase Energy (ENPH), which makes “microinverter systems for the solar photovoltaic industry,” by investors T.J. Rodgers and John Doerr.

Companies That Offer Additional Benefits For Shareholders

Usually, when I talk about equity ownership, I’m going on and on about wealth creation, passive income streams, financial freedom, yahdayahdayahda. I’m always harping on valuations and buying stock at a discount. Well, in this piece, I’ll discuss another benefit of owning certain equities: the discounts on the goods and services that certain companies offer their shareholders. Not every company in the market offers shareholder rewards outside of the usual realm of dividends and buybacks, but there are a select few that give shareholders added rewards. From discounts on travel, tissues, and tools, to cheaper insurance rates and even bottles of wine, investors in the seven companies listed below have the opportunity to receive unique shareholder benefits.

Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway is one of the few positions that I own that doesn’t contribute to my income stream. Even though it doesn’t pay a dividend, Berkshire is one of my favorite defensive holdings. And although Mr. Buffett and Co. aren’t lining my pockets with cash directly, being a Berkshire shareholder does come with numerous added benefits (outside of the astronomical historical returns that Berkshire has provided long-term investors). Due to the conglomerate nature of this business, Berkshire’s shareholders are owners of a wide variety of businesses. During the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Omaha, investors are able to reap the rewards of this exposure with discounts across many of the merchants that Berkshire owns. But, if you’re not interested in traveling to the heartland (which I would suggest, I’ve been to Omaha before and it’s great!), one easy way to get a shareholder benefit is to call your GEICO agent. We insure our cars with GEICO and received a discount on our coverage. It wasn’t massive, but every little bit helps, right?

Carnival Cruise Line (NYSE:CCL)

Investors who own 100 shares of CCL, which will cost you ~$6,500 at current share prices, are offered discount credits when booking cruises with the company.

Source: Carnival Benefits Page

I’ve considered going on a cruise several times before. Assuming I bought 100 shares, getting a $100 credit for a weeklong cruise is like a 1.5% dividend (on top of CCL’s current ~2.4% yield). CCL is solid dividend grower. Although the company doesn’t have a long annual dividend increase streak due to the very cyclical nature of its business which relies heavily on consumer disposable income, the company’s dividend has posted a 9.6% CAGR since 1999, and after freezing its dividend in 2012, 2013, and 2014, CCL has rewarded shareholders with three consecutive years of double-digit increases.

Right now, trading for less than 16x 2018 EPS expectations, CCL appears to be trading with a reasonable valuation. Obviously making a $6,500 investment just to save a few hundred bucks on a cruise isn’t a justifiable investment thesis, but then again, if you’re an avid cruise goer and you’re looking to add some cyclical, consumer discretionary exposure to your portfolio, I think CCL is worth a look because of the money it will save you on your travels combined with the likelihood of capital appreciation and dividend growth benefitting from the strong demand we’ve been seeing for travel in recent years.

Source: F.A.S.T. Graphs

Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL)

If you’re interested in a cruise, this list is getting better and better for you. Carnival isn’t the only cruise company offering shareholder benefits, Royal Caribbean Cruises offers a program that essentially mirrors Carnival’s. However, since RCL’s share price is currently north of $121/share, it will cost you a bit more money to purchase the 100 shares necessary to qualify for this company’s benefit program.

With that said, from a dividend growth standpoint, it doesn’t get much better than the 53.6% five-year dividend growth rate that RCL currently boasts. RCL currently trades for ~16.5x 2018 expected EPS, meaning that the market is putting a slightly higher premium on RCL than the much larger CCL. RCL’s growth has been and looks to continue to be higher than CCL’s, indicating that this smaller and more nimble cruise line carrying a premium valuation relative to its peers is likely warranted.

Source: F.A.S.T. Graphs

Norwegian Cruise Line (NASDAQ:NCLH)

Source: NCLH Benefits Page

Norwegian Cruise Line doesn’t pay a shareholder dividend, but it does offer a shareholder benefits package very similar to both CCL’s and RCL’s. 100 shares of NCLH will come with the cheapest price due to its $55 share price. What’s more, even though NCLH isn’t a dividend growth company, it has produced outstanding growth in recent years and appears to the the cheapest major cruise line on the market, selling for just 11.7x 2018 expected EPS.

Source: F.A.S.T. Graphs

3M Company (NYSE:MMM)

It should come as no surprise to investors that 3M, known for its 59-year annual dividend increase streak, is also generous when it comes to alternative shareholder benefits. I’d also heard that MMM offers a holiday gift box for shareholders and employees, but even though I’ve been a shareholder for a couple of years now, I’ve never ordered one before. I contacted MMM’s investor relations team and was quickly sent a link to buy the holiday gift box as well as a promo code for the correct pricing. This year’s box cost is $26 (within the contiguous U.S.; it’s $34 if you live in Hawaii, Alaska, or Puerto Rico) and contains 18 3M items. The contents of these boxes come to MMM shareholders at a discount to retail value. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out exactly which 18 items come in the box when doing my research, but all in all, I assume that an annual 3M holiday box order will go a long way towards covering regular home chores/repairs at a friendly discount.

Kimberly-Clark (NYSE:KMB)

KMB is another dividend aristocrat that offers investors a holiday themed basket of goods at a discounted price. Unfortunately, it’s too late to claim 2017’s basket, but shareholders who’re interested in cheap tissue and diapers should check back in with KMB’s investor relations team in the fall/early winter next year.

Willamette Valley Vineyards (NASDAQ:WVVI)

In the last piece I wrote, I talked about my love for Vermont playing a role in my purchase of Vail Resorts (NYSE:MTN) due to its recent purchase of Stowe Mountain Resort. Well, Willamette Valley Vineyards is another company that I have an emotional draw to. The Willamette Valley brings back fond memories of my wife’s professional running career and the 2012 Olympic Trials that were held in Eugene, Oregon. That was an amazing week, and without a doubt, that is a special area of the country. What’s more, I have a background in vineyard management and I’m a believer in the long-term viability of this industry.

Willamette is an interesting small-cap. The company owns a handful of vineyards across Oregon and seems to be doing a good job of using its profits to reinvest back into its vineyards and expand. This isn’t the type of company that I usually consider buying, but the idea of owning a vineyard is a romantic notion (especially for someone who has a history of managing the grapes). But you don’t have to be a former farmer to be interested in buying shares of this company. I imagine that wine lovers would also like the idea of exposure to the industry within their portfolios, not to mention the fact that WVVI offers a 25% discount to shareholders on its products (which includes several bottles with scores above 90 by Wine Enthusiast).

Obviously, a discount on wine isn’t a good enough reason to buy equity in a company alone, but I think WVVI is at least worth a look for investors interested in this benefit and increasing their domestic small-cap exposure.

Conclusion

As always I look forward to your feedback. I’m sure that I’ve missed a company or two that also offered generous benefits outside of the typical realm of dividends and buybacks. I’d certainly appreciate any feedback and suggestions for stocks to add to this list for next year. Best wishes all!

Disclosure: I am/we are long BRK.B, MMM, KMB.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Editor’s Note: This article covers one or more stocks trading at less than $1 per share and/or with less than a $100 million market cap. Please be aware of the risks associated with these stocks.

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Hot Casino Stocks To Watch For 2018

Wynn Resorts (WYNN) soared nearly to the top of the S&P 500 today after Morgan Stanley argued that the casino stock had the potential to double.

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Wynn Resortsgained 4.8% to $104.30 today, while the S&P 500 finished little changed at2,373.47. At 2:45, Wynn was easily the top performing stock in the S&P 500, only to be surpassed by Citrix’s (CTXS) late day surge.

Morgan Stanley’s Thomas Allen and team explain how Wynn could double:

Our AlphaWise work on Google search data and separate analyses of market trends suggest the Street is too low on WYNN’s Macau market share gains. Our base case implies 20% upside; bull case, the stock could double.

Consensus forecasts WYNN to essentially not grow Macau market share over 4Q16, despite the Aug ’16 opening of Wynn Palace (which increased WYNN’s room capacity by 170%) and the general view that the benefit from the property has been disappointing so far. We see upside to WYNN’s market share supported by (1) analysis of Google search trends, (2) current market dynamics and WYNN actions, and (3) the performance of WYNNs first Macau property

Hot Casino Stocks To Watch For 2018: NXP Semiconductors N.V.(NXPI)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Sreekanth Anasa]

    The acquisition of NXP Semiconductor (NSDQ:NXPI) has opened up multi-billion dollar connected devices market from smartphone to car to home, for Qualcomm. It seems prepared to cater to the massive connected devices market in terms of OS preference with Android and Windows 10 mobile collaborations. Though Amazon and its AWS have different take on cloud and IoT devices with its Greengrass solution which revolves around the cloud and aggregation of sensors.

  • [By Anders Bylund]

    NXP Semiconductors (NASDAQ:NXPI) is knee-deep in a pending merger with sector rival Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM). There was a time when it would have made sense to pick up NXP shares, even if you missed the 25% buyout surge in September.

  • [By Anders Bylund]

    Just five months ago, fellow Fool Leo Sun compared the investing theses for Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and NXP Semiconductors (NASDAQ:NXPI). He found NXP to be the better pick, thanks to massive growth opportunities and a low PEG ratio.

  • [By Jack Foley]

    Furthermore, the NXP Semiconductor (NSDQ:NXPI) acquisition should enable Qualcomm to really become a frontrunner in the lucrative automotive area. There have been rumors that the deal could hit some roadblocks but I see the acquisition eventually going through sometime this year. Qualcomm will want to push its processor business into the automotive market and NXP with its extensive number of loyal distributorsand customers should be able to help here in a big way. Billions are being plowed into theautonomous vehicle market at present and first mover advantage is going to be critical. One would feel that the combined technologies of the Qualcomm/NXP partnership should gain ground here as theIoT phenomenon continues to gain traction. Qualcomm already has a presence here with its Snapdragon processors in some Android Auto IVI systems. For a start, if NXP’sRFCMOS chips (which do away with multi-chip systems) can meaningfully add value to Qualcomm’s current offering in this space, the new partnership could leapfrog a number of competitors in a short span of time, which will be one more positive for QCOM stock.

  • [By Andrew Tonner]

    One of the best ways to invest in broad-based movements such as the IoT is by buying shares in the companies that supply the hardware and infrastructure powering the trend — such asSkyworks Solutions (NASDAQ:SWKS) and NXP Semiconductor (NASDAQ:NXPI). Let’s dig into each company to see what makes them two of the top IoT investments on the market today.

  • [By Sreekanth Anasa]

    Qualcomm stock has continued rise steadilyeven after the initialpop on account of the news of Broadcom’s multi-billion dollar acquisition offer. Investors were waiting for further gains from this catalyst as experts and the markets were hoping for the Irvine, California-based semiconductor giant to soon come up with an increased offer with the initial offer being rejected. The new bid was expected to come next week when a proposal to replace the current set of Qualcomm board directors is to be tabled. Now, if one goes by the latest reports, it seems thatBroadcom isn’t planning to propose a new increased bid until sometime closer to Qualcomms board meeting in March. This is a good three months away. Qualcomm’s bid to close the NXP Semiconductor (NASDAQ:NXPI) acquisition is also acting as a roadblock for Broadcom to table an increased offer. Reports state that Broadcom could also likely wait till the regulatory bodies give a green signal to the NXP deal which again as per both the companies involved is likely to see a closure only sometime early next year.

Hot Casino Stocks To Watch For 2018: Tidewater Inc.(TDW)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    In trading on Friday, energy shares slipped by 0.20 percent. Meanwhile, top losers in the sector included Northern Oil & Gas, Inc. (NYSE: NOG), down 9 percent, and Tidewater Inc. (NYSE: TDW), down 8 percent.

Hot Casino Stocks To Watch For 2018: Zions Bancorporation(ZION)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Nelson Hem]

    See what Barron's feels the prospects are for Energy Transfer Partners LP (NYSE: ETP) if it cuts its distribution and dumps its general partner, and salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE: CRM) with its generous potential upside. Also whether regional banks like Zions Bancorp (NASDAQ: ZION) could see a boost from a proposed regulatory change, and the sweetheart deal the Koch brothers got with Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP).

  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    In the super-regional banks that are not money center banks, Regions Financial Corp. (NYSE: RF) was up 6.3% at $13.22, and Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ: ZION) was last seen up 3.8% at $38.30. They would both do better with lower regulatory costs and be able to better compete against larger banks when their stress test results had not been as strong.

Hot Casino Stocks To Watch For 2018: Aimmune Therapeutics, Inc.(AIMT)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Shares of Aimmune Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: AIMT) got a boost, shooting up 35 percent to $34.73 in response to failed DBVT peanut allergy trial.

    Exactech, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXAC) shares were also up, gaining 31 percent to $41.88 after the company agreed to be acquired by TPG Capital for $42 per share in cash.

  • [By Lisa Levin] Gainers
    Aimmune Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: AIMT) shares jumped 35 percent to $34.64 in response to failed DBVT peanut allergy trial.
    Exactech, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXAC) shares surged 30.9 percent to $41.88 after the company agreed to be acquired by TPG Capital for $42 per share in cash.
    Dextera Surgical Inc (NASDAQ: DXTR) shares climbed 27.6 percent to $0.238 after surging 40.48 percent on Friday.
    Petmed Express Inc (NASDAQ: PETS) jumped 21.8 percent to $44.73 as the company reported better-than-expected Q2 results.
    SenesTech Inc (NASDAQ: SNES) shares surged 21.7 percent to $1.95 after the company disclosed that Univar will be marketing and selling ContraPest.
    Yulong Eco-Materials Ltd (NASDAQ: YECO) shares gained 18.3 percent to $0.560.
    One Horizon Group Inc (NASDAQ: OHGI) shares rose 18 percent to $1.18.
    Atossa Genetics Inc (NASDAQ: ATOS) shares climbed 18 percent to $0.566. Atossa Genetics is schedule to host a conference call to announce preliminary results from Phase 1 study of oral Endoxifen on October 25, 2017.
    ReneSola Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE: SOL) shares rose 15.3 percent to $2.72
    Renren Inc (NYSE: RENN) shares gained 11.9 percent to $10.71 after gaining 2.68 percent on Friday.
    Kalvista Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: KALV) shares rose 11.8 percent to $12.59. KalVista Pharma 13D filing from Longwood Fund showed registration for an 8.7 percent stake.
    Xunlei Ltd (NASDAQ: XNET) shares gained 9.4 percent to $7.20 after surging 25.33 percent on Friday.
    VF Corp (NYSE: VFC) shares surged 7.1 percent to $71.09 after the company reported upbeat earnings for its third quarter and raised its FY2017 guidance.
    CAI International Inc (NYSE: CAI) rose 6.6 percent to $39.70. Cowen & Co. upgraded CAI from Market Perform to Outperform.
    Agenus Inc (NASDAQ: AGEN) shares gained 5.7 percent to $4.58 as the company disclosed that GSK's shingle vaccine received FDA approval.
    Deltic Timber Corp (NYSE: DEL) shares climbed 5.6 percent to $94.11
  • [By Jim Robertson]

    Small cap clinical-stage biopharmaceutical stock Aimmune Therapeutics (NASDAQ: AIMT) is aclinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing treatments for life-threatening food allergies. The Companys Characterized Oral Desensitization ImmunoTherapy (CODIT) approach is intended to achieve meaningful levels of protection by desensitizing patients with defined, precise amounts of key allergens. Aimmune Therapeutics first investigational biologic product using CODIT⒙is AR101 for the treatment of peanut allergy.AR101 has received the FDAs Breakthrough Therapy Designation for the desensitization of peanut-allergic patients 4-17 years of age and is currently being evaluated in Phase 3 clinical trials where enrollment was announced last month.

Hot Casino Stocks To Watch For 2018: Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK-B)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Bradley Seth McNew]

    Many analysts were excited by the prospect of Kraft and Heinz merging, sparked in part by Warren Buffett andBerkshire Hathaway(NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B) taking about a 25% stake in the new entity. Turns out, those analysts were right, as the company has grown impressively throughout 2016.

  • [By Demitrios Kalogeropoulos]

    The next few trading days include highly anticipated earnings reports from some of the biggest names in their respective industries, including Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B), Costco (NASDAQ:COST), and Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN).

  • [By Matthew Frankel]

    While it’s technically not a pure insurance stock, that’s exactly why I suggest Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B) for investors who want a piece of the insurance business.

  • [By Daniel Sparks]

    3. Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B): Last, it would be a shame to overlook the conglomerate built by the world’s greatest investor himself, Warren Buffett. Under the Berkshire Hathaway name, Buffett has built up a portfolio of enduring subsidiaries and stock holdings poised to stand the test of time. Under Berkshire’s ownership are built-to-last subsidiaries like Geico, Duracell, and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. And some of Berkshire’s largest stock holdings include iconic businesses like Coca-Cola, American Express, and Wells Fargo.

Hot Casino Stocks To Watch For 2018: Sirius XM Radio Inc.(SIRI)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Rick Munarriz]

    There are a lot of people betting against Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI)these days, even as the stock is hitting 10-year highs. There were 280.1 million shares of Sirius XM sold short at the end of 2016, just below the late-November peak of 285.1 million shares but nearly double the short interest that we were seeing a year ago.

  • [By Ashley Moore]

    But before we get to the stock pick, here’s a list of the 10 top-performing Warren Buffett stocks so far this year…

    Company YTD Gains
    Moody’s Corp. (NYSE: MCO) 34.25%
    Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) 30.24%
    Verisign Inc. (Nasdaq: VRSN) 29.88%
    Restaurant Brands Inc. (NYSE: QSR) 29.16%
    WABCO Holdings Inc. (NYSE: WBC) 28.97%
    Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) 26.20%
    Liberty Sirius XM Group Class C (Nasdaq: LSXMK) 24.54%
    MasterCard Inc. (NYSE: MA) 24.35%
    Liberty Sirius XM Group Class A (Nasdaq: LSXMA) 22.89%
    Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: SIRI) 22.81%

    Again, we don’t recommend all of the stocks above for retail investors. After all, Warren Buffett is one of the most wealthy and legendary investors in history. He has a completely different set of goals from us.

  • [By Peter Graham]

    A long term performance chart shows Pandora Mediapeaking in 2014 before heading back to where it started while other streaming media stocks such as large cap satellite radio stockSirius XM Radio Inc (NASDAQ: SIRI) has performed better and InternetTV stock Netflix, Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX) has been a homerun:

  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    The long saga regarding Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P) has finally come to a head. Well, maybe. Rather than KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE: KKR) investing $150 million, Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) will be investing up to $480 million in the streaming music rival. With its ticketing unit sale taking place as well, it might seem that Pandora is getting a great deal and helping to bolster its books.

Top 10 Performing Stocks To Invest In Right Now

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) replaces Exxon Mobil this week as the worst-performing stock on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) index, a position it last held in February. The stock has lost 8.84% for the year to date.

The shares dropped by just 9 cents last week (less than 0.2%), but that was enough to drop the stock to the bottom of the Dow 30.

Investors remain concerned about the hit to revenues that may follow the adoption of the company’s unlimited data plan. With all four major U.S. wireless carriers now offering unlimited data plans, has the industry embarked on a race to the bottom?

Analysts at Jefferies warned:

While the industry remains bullish on growth in data usage, and metered plans allow for some continued enthusiasm, the move by every carrier to unlimited plans will cause carriers to hope for less and less data usage. Almost every pricing action over the last couple of years has continued to take the roof down on ARPU growth opportunities as more and more data was offered for the same, or lower price point. Now with the advent of unlimited plans, the upside from additional usage is gone for those choosing aggressively priced unlimited plans.

Top 10 Performing Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Exelixis, Inc.(EXEL)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    In trading on Wednesday, healthcare shares fell by 0.91 percent. Meanwhile, top losers in the sector included Alere Inc (NYSE: ALR), down 8 percent, and Exelixis, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXEL), down 10 percent.

  • [By Chris Lange]

    Exelixis Inc. (NASDAQ: EXEL) saw its shares make a handy gain on Wednesday after the company was tapped by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Specifically, the FDA has approved Cabometyx (cabozantinib) tablets for the expanded indication of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC), which is the most common form of kidney cancer in adults.

Top 10 Performing Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.(FCAM)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By WWW.THESTREET.COM]

    The showstopper by far in the early going is Waymo’s self-driving minivan (pictured below) in partnership with Fiat Chrysler (FCAM) . Waymo’s ultimate mom-mobile, coming from a business that was spun-off from Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. (GOOG) last month, is equipped with self-driving sensors and vision systems.

Top 10 Performing Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Ossen Innovation Co., Ltd.(OSN)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Gerson]

     

    General Mills, Inc. (NYSE: GIS) is expected to report its quarterly earnings at $0.60 per share on revenue of $3.86 billion.
    Pier 1 Imports Inc (NYSE: PIR) is projected to post a quarterly loss at $0.05 per share on revenue of $420.05 million.
    Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE: AYI) is estimated to report its quarterly earnings at $2.03 per share on revenue of $847.79 million.
    Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) is projected to report its quarterly earnings at $2.40 per share on revenue of $4.49 billion.
    Worthington Industries, Inc. (NYSE: WOR) is expected to report its quarterly earnings at $0.64 per share on revenue of $692.48 million.
    Progress Software Corporation (NASDAQ: PRGS) is projected to post its quarterly earnings at $0.29 per share on revenue of $94.64 million.
    UniFirst Corp (NYSE: UNF) is estimated to report its quarterly earnings at $1.34 per share on revenue of $366.28 million.
    Exfo Inc (NASDAQ: EXFO) is expected to post its quarterly earnings at $0.06 per share on revenue of $60.87 million.
    OMNOVA Solutions Inc. (NYSE: OMN) is projected to report its quarterly earnings at $0.14 per share on revenue of $205.40 million.
    8Point3 Energy Partners LP (NASDAQ: CAFD) is estimated to post a quarterly loss at $0.01 per share on revenue of $11.60 million.
    Park Electrochemical Corp. (NYSE: PKE) is expected to report its quarterly earnings at $0.22 per share on revenue of $35.30 million.
    Xplore Technologies Corp. (NASDAQ: XPLR) is projected to post its quarterly earnings at $0.01 per share on revenue of $24.00 million.
    Investors Real Estate Trust (NYSE: IRET) is expected to post its quarterly earnings at $0.14 per share on revenue of $56.87 million.
    Tel-Instrument Electronics Corp. (NYSE: TIK) is estimated to post earnings for the latest quarter.
    Aethlon Medical, Inc. (NASDAQ: AEMD) is expected to post a quarterly loss at $0.20 per share.
    Ossen Innovation Co Ltd (ADR) (NASDAQ: OSN) is projected to post ea

Top 10 Performing Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Christopher & Banks Corporation(CBK)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Christopher & Banks Corporation (NYSE: CBK) shares were also up, gaining 40 percent to $2.64. Christopher & Banks reported a Q4 loss of $0.24 per share on revenue of $94.6 million. The company projects Q1 revenue of $93 million to $98 million.

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Shares of Christopher & Banks Corporation (NYSE: CBK) got a boost, shooting up 24 percent to $1.50 after the company reported strong preliminary revenue for the third quarter.

Top 10 Performing Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Cummins Inc.(CMI)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Reuben Gregg Brewer]

    Ever walk past a construction site? It’s hard not to be enthralled by all the heavy construction machinery moving things around. With the world’s developing economies still building at a relatively fast pace and developing economies, like the United States, in desperate need of upgrading their aging infrastructure, the companies behind that construction machinery could be just as exciting as a construction site in the years ahead. Which is why Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT), Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI), and Terex Corporation (NYSE:TEX) are three of the top construction machinery stocks to look at right now.

  • [By WWW.THESTREET.COM]

    There are lots of stories like that out there these days. People were perplexed about the Illinois Tool Works (ITW) and Cummins Engine (CMI) and Caterpillar (CAT) quarters, but they turned out to be classic buying opportunities after years of being sell opportunities if the stocks had run. I can’t explain to you how amazing that is. Here are three stocks that have spent months and months in purgatory when they have missed or guided down or slashed forecasts. Now they are up gigantically.

  • [By WWW.THESTREET.COM]

    In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Salesforce.com (CRM) , Paccar (PCAR) , Cummins (CMI) , ConocoPhillips (COP) , Adobe Systems (ADBE) , Annaly Capital (NLY) and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) .

  • [By Chris Lange]

    The S&P 500 stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Friday was Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) which traded down about 5% at $159.44. The stocks 52-week range is $134.06 to $181.79. Volume was over 3.5 million versus the daily average of 1.2 million shares.

  • [By Reuben Gregg Brewer]

    Making mining equipment has been a horrible business over the last few years. The industry has been hard-hit by the spending cutbacks at mine sites around the world. For example, BHP Billiton Limited trimmed its capital exploration expenditures by roughly 70% between fiscal 2013 and 2016. No wonder Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT), Komatsu Ltd. (NASDAQOTH:KMTUY), and Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI) have been hurting. Only that looks like it’s starting to change, which means this trio could be at the top of a list of mining equipment companies to buy in 2017.

Top 10 Performing Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK-B)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Daniel Sparks]

    3. Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B): Last, it would be a shame to overlook the conglomerate built by the world’s greatest investor himself, Warren Buffett. Under the Berkshire Hathaway name, Buffett has built up a portfolio of enduring subsidiaries and stock holdings poised to stand the test of time. Under Berkshire’s ownership are built-to-last subsidiaries like Geico, Duracell, and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. And some of Berkshire’s largest stock holdings include iconic businesses like Coca-Cola, American Express, and Wells Fargo.

  • [By John Maxfield]

    Since the beginning of 2016, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B) has seen the value of the seven bank stocks in its investment portfolio increase by $5.6 billion, or 10.8%.

  • [By Demitrios Kalogeropoulos]

    The next few trading days include highly anticipated earnings reports from some of the biggest names in their respective industries, including Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B), Costco (NASDAQ:COST), and Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN).

  • [By Matthew Frankel]

    I won’t keep you in suspense — Warren Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B) owns 400,000,000 shares of Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), worth a total of $16.7 billion as of this writing. This translates to a 9.4% stake in the beverage giant, and makes Coca-Cola Buffett’s third-largest stock investment.

  • [By WWW.USATODAY.COM]

    When Buffett took control ofBerkshire Hathaway(NYSE: BRK-A)(NYSE: BRK-B) in 1965, it was an ailing textile company with a bleak future. Today, thanks to Buffett’s brilliance at capital allocation, Berkshire is the fourth-biggest company in the S&P 500as measured by market capitalization.

  • [By Matthew Frankel]

    Warren Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B), in addition to its dozens of businesses, also owns a portfolio of 47 different common stocks, many of which were hand-selected by Buffett himself. And, many of these stocks pay dividends. In fact, from all of the stocks in Berkshire’s portfolio, the company is generating more than $6,700 in dividend income every minute.

Top 10 Performing Stocks To Invest In Right Now: WGL Holdings Inc(WGL)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Shauna O’Brien]

    Brean Capital reported on Friday that it has upgraded natural gas utility company WGL Holdings Inc (WGL).

    The firm has raised its rating on WGL from “Hold” to “Buy,” and has given the company a $46 price target. This price target suggests a 12% increase from the stock’s current price of $40.62. The upgrade was primarily based on valuation and future investment opportunities.

    “Like many utilities in the gas LDC space, the shares of WGL Holdings have come off recent highs and are now trading at a level we consider attractive,” analyst Michael Gaugler comments. “Beyond valuation, we consider the recent announcement of conditional approval of Dominion’s Cove Point facility for LNG export as a positive development in terms of future investment opportunities, given the company’s one-third interest in the Commonwealth Pipeline project, which we believe will be revisited due to future increased demand.”

    WGL Holdings shares were mostly flat during pre-market trading Friday. The stock has been mostly flat YTD.

Top 10 Performing Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Ebix, Inc.(EBIX)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    Small cap insurance software stock Ebix Inc (NASDAQ: EBIX) reported Q1 2017 earnings before the market opened this morning. Q1 revenue rose 11% to $79.1 million and decreased 1% over Q4 2016 revenue of $80.0 million. The year over year revenue improvement reflected growth in the Companys Exchange, Risk Compliance, and Broker Solution channels. On a constant currency basis, Q1 revenue increased 10% to $78.5 millionwith theExchange channel continued to bethe Companyslargest -accounting for 67% of Q1 2017 revenues. Q1 2017 net income rose 19% to $26.4 million with the improvement principally reflected the benefit of higher revenues and operating income as compared to the same period last year.

Top 10 Performing Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Waste Management, Inc.(WM)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Some of the stocks that may grab investor focus today are:

    Wall Street expects Avon Products, Inc. (NYSE: AVP) to report quarterly earnings at $0.10 per share on revenue of $1.62 billion before the opening bell. Avon Products shares rose 2.39 percent to $6.00 in after-hours trading.
    Analysts expect MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) to report quarterly earnings at $0.20 per share on revenue of $2.44 billion before the opening bell. MGM shares rose 1.01 percent to $29.90 in after-hours trading.
    Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) reported better-than-expected results for its second quarter and raised its quarterly dividend to $0.29 per share. Cisco shares rose 2.13 percent to $33.52 in the after-hours trading session.
    Before the markets open, Dean Foods Co (NYSE: DF) is projected to report its quarterly earnings at $0.41 per share on revenue of $2.01 billion. Dean Foods shares rose 0.49 percent to $20.55 in after-hours trading.
    Tripadvisor Inc (NASDAQ: TRIP) posted weaker-than-expected results for its fourth quarter on Wednesday. Tripadvisor shares dropped 5.60 percent to $49.75 in the after-hours trading session.
    Analysts are expecting Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE: WM) to have earned $0.77 per share on revenue of $3.42 billion in the latest quarter. Waste Management will release earnings before the markets open. Waste Management shares rose 2.27 percent to $72.97 in after-hours trading.

    Find out what's going on in today's market and bring any questions you have to Benzinga's PreMarket Prep.

  • [By Brian Feroldi]

    Investors in their 60’s should start to favor low-risk stocks that offer up big dividend payouts. Below are three stocks — Waste Management (NYSE:WM), United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS), and Welltower (NYSE:HCN) — that perfectly fit that description.

  • [By John Bromels]

    The stock of the country’s second-largest waste management company,Republic Services(NYSE:RSG), has been on a tear this year, up nearly 30%. That rivals the performance of its larger competitorWaste Management(NYSE:WM), which is up about 33% for the year.

Top 10 Performing Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Sunoco LP(SUN)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Friday afternoon, the non-cyclical consumer goods & services sector proved to be a source of strength for the market. Leading the sector was strength from Ballard Power Systems Inc. (USA) (NASDAQ: BLDP) and Sunoco LP (NYSE: SUN).

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Here is the list of stocks going ex-dividend on August 3, 2016.

    J B Hunt Transport Services Inc (NASDAQ: JBHT) – $0.2200 dividend, 1.0791 percent yield
    Johnson Controls Inc (NYSE: JCI) – $0.2900 dividend, 2.6250 percent yield
    FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) – $0.3600 dividend, 3.9680 percent yield
    Sunoco LP (NYSE: SUN) – $0.8255 dividend, 10.7347 percent yield
    Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE: WFC) – $0.3800 dividend, 3.1588 percent yield
    BP plc (ADR) (NYSE: BP) – $0.6000 dividend, 6.8768 percent yield
    American Airlines Group Inc (NASDAQ: AAL) – $0.1000 dividend, 1.1442 percent yield
    Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc. (NASDAQ: HSII) – $0.1300 dividend, 2.9834 percent yield
    Alcoa Inc (NYSE: AA) – $0.0300 dividend, 1.1321 percent yield
    Sensient Technologies Corporation (NYSE: SXT) – $0.2700 dividend, 1.5341 percent yield

    Posted-In: Ex-DividendNews Dividends Markets Trading Ideas

  • [By Douglas A. McIntyre]

    Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) is the second largest company in America and the world’s largest oil company. Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) is the third largest company in the United States. Valero Corp. (NYSE: VLO) is among the world’s largest refiners. Sunoco L.P. (NYSE: SUN) is one of North America’s largest owners of stations and convenience stores. BP PLC (NYSE: BP) is among the world’s oil behemoths. Shell is the U.S. branch of oil giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC (NYSE: RDS-A).

Newell Brands: Get The Liquid Paper Out For 2017

HOBOKEN, N.J. – Newell Brands (NYSE: NWL) is a bit of a Smithsonian.

It arguably has one of the greater collections of brand names of any U.S. company. Sunbeam, Shakespeare, Blue Diamond, Oster, Coleman, Sharpie, Rubbermaid, Elmer’s, Rawlings, to start. Each brand is well-known in its sector, well respected and unfailingly iconic, even if that is an overused word. Most often, and this is key to brands, it is either the leader in the category, or still better, the sole owner. Think Elmer’s Glue, Ball jars, X-ACTO knives, Crock-Pots, and even those Dymo label printers, ubiquitous in every Mad Men office.

In some sectors like Dymo, it is the inventor of the category; think Mr. Coffee, Yankee Candle and Rubbermaid. In other situations, it has become the best known provider in a dependable but un-glam product sector, such as Graco baby products, NUK binkies, Stearn’s life vests, Calphalon cookware and First Alert fire detectors.

Turn of the century Bicycle playing cards.

With the quality and number of brands it owns, all led by clever staff, it asserts that it is “building one of the most transformative consumer products companies in the world.” The company has recovered from a Great Recession low of $5.65 in 2008. But this Nov. 21, the First Alert alarm rang when it hit a low of $27.97, off from a high of $54.85 on June 16, 2017. It is still profitable, and with dividend, but the market has partially lost interest, though the stock has recovered to the $31 range, indicating some confidence.

Chief Executive Michael Polk called third-quarter results “below expectations” as their “transformation progress” was overshadowed by “retailer inventory rebalancing” related to “decelerating U.S. market growth through the Back-to-School period.” Sales for third quarter were down 7 percent, and a $1 billion stock repurchase was announced. Translated into the sort of English perhaps heard by Newell’s sales reps visiting Bentonville, Ark., I can reword: Sales are dropping, and our plan to bring all of these odd businesses into one company failed when we put the glue and pens out in July.

One of its more dependable products is the Coleman two-fuel lantern, sold for $99. It works with both Coleman fuel or unleaded gas. Dozens of Coleman products are as interesting as this, and as well made, and all essential items in a hurricane. But this year, astonishingly, Newell made hurricanes an excuse for sales and production numbers. The reality? Coleman products should have been the FIRST things flying off the shelves before Harvey, Nate, Irma and Maria, as the coolers, cookers and the like are essentials during disasters. After, it should have sought the royal warrant as supplier to the Cajun Navy.

The question is why, when on paper (not Liquid Paper, yet another Newell product), the company makes sense and does all the “right” things. Sometimes, the market just does not respond properly to what a company is doing. Only time, consistency and dividends prove the situation.

Results for 2017

Digging into the financials indicates some questions about the restructuring, and perhaps answers the questions as why the stock is 44 percent off its 52-week high.

Its 10-Q filed on Nov. 8, 2017 indicated over $1 billion in restructuring and other costs expected through 2021 to integrate Newell Rubbermaid and Jarden, what it calls the Jarden Integration. From 2016 to 2021, Newell expects to see $1.3 billion in cost savings through this restructuring. So that means it is going through a wrenching process, moving around and changing all of the guts of the company, to save only $300 million in over a half dozen years. While every dollar saved helps the bottom line, this type of disruptive cost cutting only helps the company if the restructuring grows sales.

This restructuring, as described, is completely reorganizing the total company along new reporting lines as of Jan. 1, 2017. Instead of nine mostly logical sectors that include writing, home solutions, tools, commercial products, baby and parenting, branded consumables, consumer solutions, outdoor solutions and process solutions, the company is now organized along the lines of what it calls a New Growth Game Plan. The goal? Newell Brands makes life better for hundreds of millions of consumers every day, where they live, learn, work, and play.

The Game Plan has formal segments that include Live, Learn, Work, Play and Other. While this segmentation would seem to be a useful set of general goals to help explain the company, it unfortunately too much reminds of an un-serious work, rest or play Milky Way television commercial. In addition, these unfortunately named units are actually now broken out on their 10-Q into accounting financial sectors. Can you imagine telling someone that you are in charge of the Play sector and you are moving to the “Work” sector?

The breakdowns do not always make sense. Dymo labeling tapes are in Learn whereas one would expect them to be in the Live or Work categories. It would stand to reason that Waterman pens, a luxury item, are about either “Live”, “Work” or “Play”. But they are in the Learn sector. Its Nov. 2, 2017 third-quarter earnings report confirms some of this confusion. In its Learn sector, operating margin was 10.5 percent vs. 19.5 percent in the prior year. Normalized operating margin was 15.6 percent of sales compared with 22.2 percent last year. It attributed it to lower margins on high margin writing products, not a good sign in a year of Trump and one percenters.

Sorting through its 2016 Annual Report and 10-K shows other issues. In April, it bought Sistema, a food container company based in New Zealand, for $472 million. While the products are well made and handsome, and certainly profitable, they are the sort of products Rubbermaid used to sell and design, begging the question of why the company is unable to develop these products on its own.

On September 4, 2014, the company bought Ignite Holdings LLC, makers of Contigo and Avex drink containers, for $313 million. That year, Newell also bought Bubba Brands, a drink container company, for $82 million. There is nothing wrong with buying another company in the same sector. But when your main brand is Coleman, and your core company and brand is the inventor of the idea of coolers and molded plastic containers, to have to spend a third of a billion on outside acquisitions to remain up with trends indicates that you are unable to keep up with market fashions. And if the company were to buy such a brand, Tervis Tumbler of Sarasota might have been the more hip choice.

Imagine if that $400 million had been invested in the core Coleman brand over the same period of time in elements like a Super Bowl ad, in store marketing, product research, camping events and promotions in National Parks. In this market run-up of 2017, we might not have had the 2017 selloff.

Sorting Brand Clutter

In 2011, the company announced a revamp entitled Project Renewal. It called it an “initiative designed to reduce complexity in our operating structure and realign resources to our highest potential businesses.” The plan would achieve $90 to $100 million in savings over 12 to 18 months and “invest the majority of these funds back into the business in increased brand building support, strengthened demand creation capabilities in customer development and marketing, and the development of our business system in emerging markets.” That’s shorthand for cut out the overhead, and put it into marketing. The question is how much it has worked seven years out. And has it translated into products, margins and profits?

Part of the problem is not of their making; many of the brands like Coleman and Sunbeam were part of the “Chainsaw Al” Dunlap mess, and they have not recovered. Institutional history is gone.

Most of brands that it owns can be categorized as emblems of America, the sort of products you would have found in any general store back around 1940. In some ways, they sell themselves. But for their long-term success, they can’t rest. For those brands, you need to have creative people behind them, understanding the essence of the brand; these people also need to be completely empowered.

Again, on paper, this should be working. Company leadership is experienced; CEO Michael Polk has experience at Unilever, P&G and Kraft. They do not lack imagination or the appreciation for the visual aspects needed to sell brands in stagnant categories; one of the board members is Domenico Del Sole, the chairman of the fashion brand Tom Ford and former Gucci chairman. He certainly has the oomph to ask the right questions when the packaging is frumpy and the advertising is tired. He almost certainly appreciates the design of a new Sistema food container.

There is a strong design sense; it even shows off its Michigan-based “Newell Design Center” on its Instagram page, led by Nate Young, senior vice president, “design and ideation.” This is a self-consciously self-aware au courant company. The photos of the design center on its website tell us that some of the design staff are multicultural (Sikh), others have tats, and yet others have clever toys on their cubicles. The fifties modern design includes quotes from design guru Charles Eames and conspicuously captioned Herman Miller (NASDAQ: MLHR) chairs. A handsome space, but it may not connect well with the average Joe picking up a Shakespeare Ugly Stik Bigwater rod from privately held Bass Pro Shops.

In 2016, Newell announced a move of its headquarters from Atlanta to Hoboken, though many positions would stay in Georgia. This is a disconnect; company management should be near to some part of their product. In this case, an incentive package helped them decide; we wonder if the real decision was that management just wanted to be near New York.

Underperforming Against Competitors

Chart
BC data by YCharts

Competitors are doing better, though defining what they are is a challenge as Newell is in so many sectors. Johnson Outdoors (NASDAQ: JOUT), which owns the likes of Boston Whaler and Johnson outboards, has accelerated its per share price from around $20 in 2013 to $72.25. The challenge, however, is comparing the Newell stock with other companies, as it competes in so many sectors. Is it a sporting goods company like Brunswick (NYSE: BC)? An appliance company like Stanley Black & Decker (NYSE: SWK)? A brand licensing outfit? A housewares company? A commodity metals producer?

1915 Newspaper Ad for a Boston Sharpener

Perhaps individual products can tell the story of the company. How have they missed the mark? And what is the opportunity?

Boston Sharpeners: The Boston pencil sharpener, sold for over a century, is one of those great American products that we all know and love. The company began around 1899 as the Boston Pencil Sharpener Company with later owners Hunt Manufacturing, X-ACTO and Elmer’s. The products from even the ’60s and ’70s still work. But what Newell has done is un-improved it and lost margins. It even changed the name to X-ACTO, totally destroying all Boston brand value. Back around 1912, the predecessor Boston Pencil Sharpener Company was selling them for $1. Today, they are now only about $7.50 or up, which makes them vastly cheaper today than they were originally. Made overseas, they are not as durable as the original. Blogger Patrick Ng laments, Although these X-ACTO branded sharpeners have their origins from the original Boston Pencil Sharpener Company, they are now made in China and the charisma is almost all gone. His alternative? Buy a $300 to $600 deluxe El Casco sharpener from Spain, if you want something that lasts. Opportunity: Bring back the Boston name, and offer a solidly priced, over engineered, high-margin model for about $20 that will last for generations, look elegant, and again be in every home, office and school. Ohio Blue Tip: Back in 1983, the book Quintessence detailed great consumer brands that “offer more to us than we specifically ask of them and to which we respond more strongly than is easily explained.” One of those brands was the Ohio Blue Tip match, a Newell product. Cigar Aficionado writer Andrew Nagy, a fan, wrote a column in 2013 on predecessor Jarden Corp., that quietly pulled the Ohio Blue Tip in 2011 to focus on its other match brand, Diamond Matches, though brought it back. “Cigar and pipe enthusiasts who have come to rely on the tiny wooden bringers of fire bemoaned the day,” wrote Nagy. Opportunity: Products like Ohio Blue Tip can be high margin items, if made exceedingly well and properly marketed. Price, market and advertise them accordingly. Prismacolor: The colored pencils, so favored by artists and students, were for decades known as Berol Prismacolor. Today, Newell owns the company, but it has allowed what was a robust group of high end artist materials under the Berol name to become a one-dimensional product line, thereby losing margins. Opportunity: Re-Berol Prismacolor, and focus on quality in packaging and product, reminding that the Prismacolor and other Berol products are an essential set in any artistic household, and not just for insipid adult coloring books. Coleman, a Bellwether Brand

Coriscana, Texas, entrepreneur and attorney Enoch Basnett sells Coleman parts to high-end collectors and lovers of the brand with his E.J. Basnett Co. Basnett believes the appeal of the Coleman brand is its quality, calling their lantern the best liquid fuel lantern ever sold by anyone in all time.

Coleman ad from 1932 in the farm section of a Washington state newspaper, the Deer Park Union.

Newell predecessor Jarden did not understand how to nurture Coleman, and other brands, a practice continued by Newell. The strategy was to outsource and license out the brand, and make it available at mass market stores. They cheaped-out and Chinesed-out all of their product, said Basnett.

Coleman has missed out on trends. For instance, Coleman invented the molded plastic cooler, an innovation of an engineer who by legend came up with the idea while his kids were playing with balloons.

Today, startup Yeti Coolers of Austin, Texas, far surpass Coleman in price margins and customer perceptions of quality and coolness. Its a lifestyle brand built on a cooler, said Basnett of Yeti, an approach that Coleman used in the past to great success. They [Coleman] could have become a great lifestyle brand.

As younger and more affluent consumers lose touch with the original merits of these once ubiquitous brands, they eventually become irrelevant, and forgotten. In a company as large as Newell, faceless brand managers are unable to make decisions, and consumers begin to only know the brands through mass retailers.

You get these companies that have lost authority, said Basnett. The answer is to devolve decision making. For generations, Coleman had headquarters in Wichita, Kansas; pushing decision making down close to manufacturing and distribution would help keep the brand unique. Nevertheless, Basnett believes the predecessor Newell Rubbermaid does have a strong design and quality sense that has not yet translated to brands like Coleman that were part of Newell’s purchase of Jarden.

Comparison With Leaders

Chart
CHD data by YCharts

Among Newell’s brands and subsidiaries is a metals processing company, Jarden Zinc. Nothing wrong with running a zinc processor and making money off the penny and U.S. Treasury, but it is a very different business proposition than Penn fishing reels, Waterman pens and Quickie kitchen mops.

Roughly comparable Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) focuses on about 70 brands, but it is a much bigger company with many $1 billion brands. The other parallel company in philosophy is Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B), which has discrete companies, each run as separate units, and not company divisions. Perhaps the more practical comparison is Church & Dwight (NYSE: CHD) which takes a handful of American brands and turns them into dependable machines that print cash, year after year.

The chart above has each of the stocks since 1990; to be comparable, Newell should be around $60 to $70 a share, not $30. There would be an excuse for this slump if Newell made bad products or it had off-brand names, but Newell has some of the most recognizable brand names around. It just needs to invest in them, and not continue to turning every Elmer cow into glue.

There is value in Newell, and no immediate danger, as the dividend history keeps it viable. But that does not mean it has a certainty about how to live into its legacy, and that is a big question for those who search for long opportunities. A good strategy might be to look for a few consecutive quarters of improving margins, per share earnings and sales volume before getting back in.

Recent years are proving destructive to Newell’s great brands; it needs focus, and a concern for quality. A new philosophy and approach could unlock value. Newell should treat each sacred brand as would a venture investor and custodian. Each of these great companies, so important to American business history, deserves the attention.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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Top Financial Stocks To Watch Right Now

Jacksonville, FL, based Investment company St. Johns Investment Management Company, LLC buys Amazon.com Inc, SPDR Select Sector Fund – Industrial, Alphabet Inc, Raytheon Co, Real Estate Select Sector SPDR Fund (The), iShares North American Tech, Gilead Sciences Inc, The Priceline Group Inc, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, BlackRock Inc, sells Schwab Short-Term U.S. Treasury, VanEck Vectors Gold Miners, Prudential Financial Inc, Barrick Gold Corp, United States Steel Corp during the 3-months ended 2017-06-30, according to the most recent filings of the investment company, St. Johns Investment Management Company, LLC. As of 2017-06-30, St. Johns Investment Management Company, LLC owns 178 stocks with a total value of $133 million. These are the details of the buys and sells.

New Purchases: XLRE, RTN, PCLN, GS, TMO, NFLX, IJR, DAL, TSLA, LLY, Added Positions: SCHA, EFA, SCHX, SCHM, AMZN, EEM, XLK, XLI, CVS, BAC, Reduced Positions: IVV, SPY, IWM, MDY, MMM, IBM, SCHO, ALL, MCD, BDX, Sold Out: GDX, PRU, ABX, X, RGLD, PNRA, ZLTQ, FNV, IWF, IAT,

For the details of St. Johns Investment Management Company, LLC’s stock buys and sells, go to www.gurufocus.com/StockBuy.php?GuruName=St.+Johns+Investment+Management+Company%2C+LLC

Top Financial Stocks To Watch Right Now: Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK-B)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Daniel Sparks]

    With the stock trading so much higher recently, is it still a buy? This is a good question, particularly following legendary investor Warren Buffett’s recent move to load up on Apple, making it Berkshire Hathaway’s (NYSE:BRK-B) (NYSE:BRK-A) second-largest equity holding.

  • [By Matthew Frankel]

    I’ve said before that if I could only own one stock, it would have to be Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B).

    Image Source: The Motley Fool.

  • [By Shanthi Rexaline]

    Buffett was quoted as saying, without empowering women, America would be effectively playing with one hand tied behind its back. Being true to his word, Buffett said Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B) then had three members on its board.

  • [By Matthew Frankel]

    I won’t keep you in suspense — Warren Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B) owns 400,000,000 shares of Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), worth a total of $16.7 billion as of this writing. This translates to a 9.4% stake in the beverage giant, and makes Coca-Cola Buffett’s third-largest stock investment.

  • [By Matthew Frankel]

    While it’s technically not a pure insurance stock, that’s exactly why I suggest Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B) for investors who want a piece of the insurance business.

Top Financial Stocks To Watch Right Now: MercadoLibre Inc.(MELI)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Rick Munarriz]

    Shares of MercadoLibre (NASDAQ:MELI) hit an another all-time high last week, and there’s another Wall Street pro who thinks the dot-com darling is going even higher.Barclays analyst Deepak Mathivanan initiated coverage of MercadoLibre with an overweight rating after Tuesday’s market close. He’s setting a $250 price target on the stock, translating into 18% of upside from yesterday’s close.

  • [By Javier Hasse]

    “Take Mercadolibre Inc (NASDAQ: MELI), for example. When the stock market fell, they had enough cash in the bank to weather the storm; meanwhile, competitor DeRemate didn’t, and thus ended falling in oblivion. So, the lesson is: money is not a commodity.”

  • [By Danny Vena]

    As I have pointed out before, Latin American e-commerce leader Mercadolibre (NASDAQ:MELI)is enjoying some pretty serious demographic and technological tailwinds. With internet, smartphone, and e-commerce penetration far behind comparable adoption in the U.S., these trends will likely continue to drive growth for the foreseeable future. But seeing is believing, right?

  • [By Danny Vena]

    Latin American e-commerce leader MercadoLibre, Inc. (NASDAQ:MELI) is scheduled to report the results of its recently completed fourth quarter and full year on Feb. 23. MercadoLibre — which is Spanish for “free market” — saw its share price increase an impressive 42% in 2016. Investors will have a keen eye on the latest results. Here’s a preview of MercadoLibre’s earnings report and a few things to watch on Feb. 23.

  • [By Brian Feroldi, Dan Caplinger, Rich Duprey, Jason Hall, and Jordan Wathen]

    So what other companies could potentially grow at a breakneck speed over the next few decades? We asked a team of Fools that very question, and they pickedMercadoLibre (NASDAQ:MELI),WisdomTree Investments(NASDAQ:WETF),Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN), First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR), andNVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA). Read on to find out why.

Top Financial Stocks To Watch Right Now: Mammoth Energy Services, Inc. (TUSK)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jack Delaney]

    Mammoth Energy Services (Nasdaq: TUSK) provides drilling and related services for North American gas and oil explorers.

    Even though Mammoth was just founded in 2014, it had $243 million in revenue between June 30, 2015, and June 30, 2016.

Top Bank Stocks To Own For 2018

The number of customers opening new checking accounts and credit cards with Wells Fargo fell sharply in February, compared to a year earlier, as the bank seeks to contain the damages from a scandal that involved launching accounts withoutpermission.

Wells Fargo said that new consumer credit card applications fell 55% in February while consumer checking accounts declined 43%, compared to a year earlier. Those accounts were down4% and 3% when compared to a month earlier.

The number of consumer interactions in physical branches also declined 11% from a year ago and 1% from the previous month. As many customers transition to online banking, Wells Fargo plans to shutter more than 400 branches through 2018.

In a positive sign, average consumer and small business deposit balances rose 6%, compared to a year earlier. And primary consumer checking accounts increased 1.9% to 23.5 million and increasingly “modestly” over January, the company said.

Top Bank Stocks To Own For 2018: Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK-B)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Shanthi Rexaline]

    Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, for his part, has added fuel to Apple's recent rally by increasing his stake in the company in a big way. The 13D filing done by Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B) following the end of the fourth quarter of 2016 showed that it had nearly quadrupled its position in Apple.

  • [By Daniel Sparks]

    3. Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B): Last, it would be a shame to overlook the conglomerate built by the world’s greatest investor himself, Warren Buffett. Under the Berkshire Hathaway name, Buffett has built up a portfolio of enduring subsidiaries and stock holdings poised to stand the test of time. Under Berkshire’s ownership are built-to-last subsidiaries like Geico, Duracell, and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. And some of Berkshire’s largest stock holdings include iconic businesses like Coca-Cola, American Express, and Wells Fargo.

  • [By Matthew Frankel]

    I won’t keep you in suspense — Warren Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B) owns 400,000,000 shares of Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), worth a total of $16.7 billion as of this writing. This translates to a 9.4% stake in the beverage giant, and makes Coca-Cola Buffett’s third-largest stock investment.

  • [By Demitrios Kalogeropoulos]

    The next few trading days include highly anticipated earnings reports from some of the biggest names in their respective industries, including Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B), Costco (NASDAQ:COST), and Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN).

  • [By Shanthi Rexaline]

    Buffett was quoted as saying, without empowering women, America would be effectively playing with one hand tied behind its back. Being true to his word, Buffett said Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B) then had three members on its board.

  • [By Matthew Frankel]

    While it’s technically not a pure insurance stock, that’s exactly why I suggest Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A) (NYSE:BRK-B) for investors who want a piece of the insurance business.

Top Bank Stocks To Own For 2018: Ternium S.A.(TX)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Matthew DiLallo]

    Shares of Ternium SA (NYSE:TX) jumped on Wednesday: up more than 10% by 2:30 p.m. EST. While the steelmaker reported weaker-than-expected earnings after the closing bell yesterday, it provided optimistic guidance and announced a compelling acquisition.

Top Bank Stocks To Own For 2018: Advance Auto Parts Inc(AAP)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Spencer Israel]

     

    Riot Blockchain Inc (NASDAQ: RIOT) – The Jan. 2015 high of $15.72 is the only resistance it has.
    General Electric Company (NYSE: GE) -The low of the move is a double bottom at $17.46 and  $17.50. That’s support.
    Overstock.com Inc (NASDAQ: OSTK) – The February 2005 high was $58.24, which is the only relevant resistance up here. On weakness, keep an eye on the all-time closing high of $56.65 made on Monday.
    Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE: AAP) – Is trying to fill the gap from earnings between $82.82 and $94.75.
    Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) – It needs to clear Friday’s close of $315.05 and Monday’s high of $315.50 to find support.
    Urban Outfitters, Inc. (NASDAQ: URBN) – There was a double close at $27.90 from Friday and $28.27 from Monday, so that’s resistance.
    DSW Inc. (NYSE: DSW) -The premarket low was $18.40. There are also four daily lows at the $18.40 area from early November, and the low of the move is $17.89.
    Signet Jewelers Ltd. (NYSE: SIG) – the premarket low was $61.50, which was the low of the move. There’s daily lows at the $61 area from mid-August, and another pair of lows at $60. Below that, there’s a gap area down to $52.95.
    Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW)- The Friday low was $79.17, and a pair of lows from Wednesday and Thursday at $78.27 and $78.23.
    Campbell Soup Company (NYSE: CPB) – The buy zone is between $45-$46. The low of the move was $44.99, flanked by the $45.14 low the following day.
    Dollar Tree, Inc. (NASDAQ: DLTR) – $99.93 and a big psychological number at $100.
    Burlington Stores Inc (NYSE: BURL) – The Monday low was $104.55. The all-time high and all-time closing high are $106.55 and $106.89, respectively. 
    Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM) – Big triple bottom at $80.

    Watch the full show below!

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Advance Auto Parts (AAP) surged to the top of the S&P 500 today after releasing better-than-expected third-quarter earnings.

    Getty Images

    Shares of Advance Auto Parts gained 15% to $164.33, while the S&P 500 rose 0.8% to 2,180.39.

    Credit Suisse analyst Seth Sigman and team explain why shares of Advance Auto Parts are soaring:

    Advance Auto Parts’ Q3 and strategic update was one of the better scenarios for this stock with better than expected comps, positive commentary on Q4, a roughly in line 2017 outlook, and a new sense of direction on how this new management team will narrow the margin gap with peers. Management guided to a 500 bps long-term margin improvement, which wasnt a surprise to investors, and other specifics were still limited. However, timed with Q3/4′s improvement, this should help instill some early confidence in this team. We are adjusting our 2016 and 2017 EPS modestly, to $7.30 (from $7.23) and to $7.65 (from $7.60) respectively.

    Advance Auto Parts market capitalization rose to $12.1 billion today from $10.7 billion yesterday.

  • [By Lee Samaha]

    The key issue to focus on is automotive group comparable sales, which can be seen in the chart below. I’ve also included the most directly applicable sales numbers for its peers,O’Reilly Automotive Inc (NASDAQ:ORLY), AutoZone, Inc (NYSE:AZO) and Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE:AAP). The disappointing sales performance of Advance Auto Parts is largely due to the effects of integrating a troublesome acquisition.

Top Bank Stocks To Own For 2018: The Baltic Dry Index Soaring, and Double Crown Resources (DDCC)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Matthew Briar]

    Don’t let the lethargic Baltic Dry Index fool you — commodities aren’t being used less now than they have been in the past. In fact, most commodities are still seeing increased consumption, including the dry goods the Baltic Dry Index is supposed to gauge transportation for. The Baltic Dry Index remains in a bit of a long-term funk because, as much as the world continues to increase their need for materials like iron ore, grain, and gravel, the world also still has too much capacity to deliver them. See, too many maritime vessels are competing for too few dollars, serving as a drag on the value of the Baltic Dry Index lower. After all, the BDI is mostly just a measure of the daily shipping rates for ocean-born transportation services. It’s not actually a measure of consumption of those materials consumption.

    It’s not only a scenario that doesn’t work against young-and-hungry company Double Crown Resources Inc. (OTCMKTS:DDCC), but it may actually be a scenario that bodes well for it.

    Thought question: What if there was a way to remove all the risks and hassle of shipping goods such as iron ore pellets or beans or salt (commodities that are normally delivered in drybulk vessels) yet still utilize all the flexibility of intermodal containers? There is. It’s called Translock2, or Translock Squared, and it’s going to revolutionize the way many material companies deliver their goods, and the way many drybulk commodity buyers use their material.

    The image nearby is a Translock2 container. It should look vaguely familiar. It’s essentially an intermodal container in terms of size and shape, but mechanically is a delivery and dispensing platform for drybulk goods like sand or rice. The design allows commodities like sand gravel or livestock feed to be moved with all the flexibility of intermodal transportation (on flatbed trucks, by rail, and on the deck of a boat but without any of the logistical headache of aggregating and splitti

  • [By Peter Graham]

    On Tuesday, small cap Double Crown Resources (OTCMKTS: DDCC) announcedthatthe United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued patent number9,428,330 on the Companys revolutionary Translock虏 bulk commodities system. In addition, two follow-up patent applications have already been filed and another is now being preparedthat all cover key design features of this unparalleled commodity transport and storage system which you can see in pictures below:

  • [By Matthew Briar]

    It’s not only a scenario that bodes well for an up-and-coming company Double Crown Resources Inc. (OTCMKTS:DDCC).

    What if there were a way to remove all the risks and hassle of shipping things like pellets or beans or salt [which are normally delivered in drybulk vessels] but still utilize all the flexibility of intermodal containers… the big box containers that are just at home on the deck of a ship as they are on a flatbed truck as they are on a train car? There is. It’s called Translock2 (Translock Squared), and it’s going to revolutionize the way many material companies deliver their goods. Commodity companies now have an alternative way of shipping their product without constantly handling it – and losing some of it – en route to its final destination.

    The nearby image is a Translock2 container. If it looks vaguely familiar to most, it’s essentially an intermodal container in terms of size and shape, but mechanically serves as delivery and dispensing platform for drybulk goods like rice, fertilizer, etc. The design allows commodities to be moved with all the flexibility of intermodal transportation, but without any of the headache of aggregating and splitting up those goods en route to their final destination. With Translock2, drybulk purchases are packaged up by the seller at the supply source, and then delivered — just as ordered — all the way to the buyer’s site in the container. No muss, no fuss, and no middleman. It cuts down on expenses, and lost material.

    Its development worth noting, in that it explicitly circumvents the need for drybulk maritime vessels, and turns intermodal container ships into dry cargo vessels.

    The recent unveiling of the Translock 2 containers won’t actually change the amount of drybulk material we as a species consume. But, it will offer dry goods suppliers an easier and often cheaper option to expensive and often difficult dry goods vessel shipping. Remember, the Baltic Dr

  • [By James E. Brumley]

    When most investors think of potential competitive threats to drybulk shippers like Star Bulk Carriers Corp. (NASDAQ:SBLK) or Euroseas Ltd. (NASDAQ:ESEA), Double Crown Resources Inc (OTCMKTS:DDCC) doesn’t come to mind. Indeed, DDCC doesn’t come to mind for many investors at all, as for all intents and purposes the company it is today didn’t exist until a few months ago. Age, however, has nothing to do with how disruptive it could prove to be for the likes of Euroseas or Star Bulk Carriers. Its underlying idea is brilliant, and it’s only a matter of time before it catches on within the commodity-transportation community.

    What if there was a way to remove all the risks and hassle of shipping things like pellets or beans or salt – normally delivered in drybulk vessels – but still utilize all the flexibility of intermodal containers (the big 20-foot boxes that fit on a truck and a train and on top of the deck of a boat)? There is. It’s called Translock2 (Translock Squared). It was designed by Double Crown Resources, and it’s going to revolutionize the way many material companies deliver their goods.

    The nearby image is a Translock2 container. It should look familiar – it’s essentially an intermodal container in terms of size and shape, but mechanically is a delivery and dispensing platform for drybulk goods. The design allows commodities like sand or livestock feed to be moved with all the flexibility of intermodal transportation, but without any of the headache of aggregating and splitting up those goods to get them properly shipped to their final destination. With Translock2, drybulk purchases are packaged up by the seller at the supply source, and then delivered — just as ordered — all the way to the buyer’s site in the container. No material is lost en route, and no distributor or middleman needs to bother splitting up one large order into smaller ones.

    Its development is worth noting, as it explicitly circumvents the need for drybulk ves

Top Bank Stocks To Own For 2018: Progress Software Corporation(PRGS)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Gerson]

     

    General Mills, Inc. (NYSE: GIS) is expected to report its quarterly earnings at $0.60 per share on revenue of $3.86 billion.
    Pier 1 Imports Inc (NYSE: PIR) is projected to post a quarterly loss at $0.05 per share on revenue of $420.05 million.
    Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE: AYI) is estimated to report its quarterly earnings at $2.03 per share on revenue of $847.79 million.
    Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) is projected to report its quarterly earnings at $2.40 per share on revenue of $4.49 billion.
    Worthington Industries, Inc. (NYSE: WOR) is expected to report its quarterly earnings at $0.64 per share on revenue of $692.48 million.
    Progress Software Corporation (NASDAQ: PRGS) is projected to post its quarterly earnings at $0.29 per share on revenue of $94.64 million.
    UniFirst Corp (NYSE: UNF) is estimated to report its quarterly earnings at $1.34 per share on revenue of $366.28 million.
    Exfo Inc (NASDAQ: EXFO) is expected to post its quarterly earnings at $0.06 per share on revenue of $60.87 million.
    OMNOVA Solutions Inc. (NYSE: OMN) is projected to report its quarterly earnings at $0.14 per share on revenue of $205.40 million.
    8Point3 Energy Partners LP (NASDAQ: CAFD) is estimated to post a quarterly loss at $0.01 per share on revenue of $11.60 million.
    Park Electrochemical Corp. (NYSE: PKE) is expected to report its quarterly earnings at $0.22 per share on revenue of $35.30 million.
    Xplore Technologies Corp. (NASDAQ: XPLR) is projected to post its quarterly earnings at $0.01 per share on revenue of $24.00 million.
    Investors Real Estate Trust (NYSE: IRET) is expected to post its quarterly earnings at $0.14 per share on revenue of $56.87 million.
    Tel-Instrument Electronics Corp. (NYSE: TIK) is estimated to post earnings for the latest quarter.
    Aethlon Medical, Inc. (NASDAQ: AEMD) is expected to post a quarterly loss at $0.20 per share.
    Ossen Innovation Co Ltd (ADR) (NASDAQ: OSN) is projected to post ea

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Progress Software Corporation (NASDAQ: PRGS) is projected to post its quarterly earnings at $0.29 per share on revenue of $93.15 million.

    Sorl Auto Parts, Inc. (NASDAQ: SORL) is expected to post its quarterly earnings at $0.20 per share on revenue of $55.35 million.

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Some of the stocks that may grab investor focus today are:

    Wall Street expects ConAgra Foods Inc (NYSE: CAG) to report its quarterly earnings at $0.52 per share on revenue of $2.89 billion. ConAgra shares rose 0.17 percent to $47.68 in after-hours trading.
    Analysts expect Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) to report its quarterly earnings at $1.08 per share on revenue of $1.81 billion. Darden Restaurants shares gained 0.44 percent to $66.25 in after-hours trading.
    Progress Software Corporation (NASDAQ: PRGS) reported better-than-expected results for its second quarter on Wednesday. Progress Software shares surged 6.19 percent to $26.75 in the after-hours trading session.

    Find out what's going on in today's market and bring any questions you have to Benzinga's PreMarket Prep.

How Soros And Buffett Inform An Updated View Of Trading Apple

There’s a potential bullish set-up in Apple (AAPL) right now that reminds me of thoughts of two icons, Warren Buffett and George Soros.

Markets are a little strange; the evolution of patterns matters. With many tech stocks on a roll, and with frothy valuations in smaller glamour names as Nvidia (NVDA), Adobe (ADBE) and Netflix (NFLX), there may be a “pull” effect on more ponderous names, the largest of which is AAPL. But if so, AAPL would be joining a growing number of large-/mega-caps that have little or no sexiness.

First up, comments on a key Soros trading philosophy that I’m thinking about, then the Buffett views on AAPL, then the rationale for my own hopes for AAPL that go beyond the more restrained but still bullish Buffett views. Putting all together, it may be that the seasonally strong months ahead could turn out well for AAPL’s fundamentals and stock price.

Druckenmiller on Soros: Seizing the moment

A former lead investment strategist and trader for Soros, Stanley Druckenmiller, has told the story of how the Soros fund “broke the Bank of England” years ago. With Soros, he had been analyzing and investing in the proposition that a now obsolete monetary arrangement would not hold, and the right play was to short the British pound (This is discussed in detail in an article titled The Trade of the Century). Based on rapidly changing events that favored their existing position, Druckenmiller says he came to Soros with a request to add to their bet on the pound falling, and that Soros responded that he was in error.

What was the error?

That Druckenmiller was proposing too small a position! If it was a great idea and a timely one, well, great ideas with a very short time frame to pay off come along only rarely. A bigger bet was called for. As the above-linked article quotes Soros as saying at some time in his career:

“There is no point in being confident and having a small position.”

And as the article says specifically about this situation:

Druckenmiller noted that their [existing] $1.5 billion bet against the pound was about to pay off and that they should consider adding to the position.

Soros retorted with a different strategy: “Go for the jugular.”

Going for the jugular with a bullish view of AAPL involves different tactics than currency trading, of course, but the question is whether AAPL will reward A) continued long positions rather than taking profits (rebalancing) and B) adding to or initiating positions/selling puts, or more aggressively buying calls.

After its big move, could AAPL really still have a good enough reward:risk ratio in the months ahead to warrant being seriously overweighted by traders?

This article explores that question, which is pertinent to me given my overweight in this stock. Note that this is an exploratory, opinion piece and in no way represents investment advice.

Starting with the technicals, I like the set-up for AAPL in part because it is both a laggard against red-hot mid- and large-cap techs, and because AAPL has begun performing so strongly against its mega-cap peers.

AAPL: Technicals in higher gear, could be accelerating

Here are some relative strength charts.

First, AAPL versus the DJIA (DIA) on a three-year view:

Chart
AAPL data by YCharts

We see the DIA up at a 10% CAGR plus dividends, and relatively steady in achieving this (note to short sellers: this is an unremarkable performance by DIA). And we see AAPL up more than that, having swung from significant underperformance as of mid-2016 to net outperformance.

That’s an encouraging bearish-to-bullish shift for AAPL.

Next, AAPL versus the NASDAQ 100 (QQQ). On a five-year chart, we see that AAPL, coming off a high point five years ago, has lagged QQQ:

Chart
AAPL data by YCharts

However, over the past year, AAPL has regained its tech mojo, strongly beating QQQ:

Chart
AAPL data by YCharts

Again, that shows a bearish-to-bullish relative performance shift for AAPL, which is a technical positive.

Finally, even better, AAPL has beaten every mega-cap tech horseman on a one-year basis:

Chart
AAPL data by YCharts

In order of performance over the past 12 months, it has been:

Apple Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL).

That AAPL is the one-year performance leader may not be widely known.

AAPL: Buffett’s choice

Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B), of which Warren Buffett is CEO, has added AAPL to its small group of highly overweighted stocks. This group favors stable (usually) consumer-facing names such as Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) and AmEx (NYSE:AXP). When Mr. Buffett went for a business-to-business tech company, IBM (IBM), several years ago, he erred.

I do not know if in choosing AAPL, his staff was asked to focus on tech, but Buffett has said this year that it was a close decision between AAPL and GOOGL. He chose AAPL due to greater predictability of outcomes, with less technology risk (AAPL also pays a dividend, which is important to an insurance company). In speaking of predictability, he pointed to AAPL’s strong consumer franchise and downplayed its tech chops.

Mr. Buffett has long recognized the importance of market position and brand excellence in contrast to the changeability of technology. Thus, after intensive analysis, he believes that AAPL has an investable margin of safety apart from its operation in the tech field. With the IBM “miss” staring him in the face, this decision to go long a lot of AAPL could not have been taken lightly. I suspect that the Buffett decision has been reverberating in the minds of both large institutional investors and individual investors alike. As the old brokerage ad went, when Warren Buffett talks (and invests), people listen.

However, there is another simple driver of investment value that even though Buffett believes in paying up for quality, he also appreciates. Namely, AAPL is relatively cheap. How cheap? I went into this in detail several weeks ago in an article explaining that AAPL could be worth $300 right now when comparing its valuation to that of some alternatives. AAPL closed Friday at $175. Thinking to year-end 2017 numbers, I would subtract $15 from that to normalize AAPL’s net cash stash (including other liquid assets) to that of comparable DIA and S&P 500 (SPY) companies, thus giving an adjusted AAPL price of $160. Then, using ETrade (ETFC) numbers, I project $12 EPS for next calendar year (slightly above consensus). That would imply a cash-adjusted forward P/E on calendar 2018 numbers of only 13.33X.

That P/E translates to a 7.5% earnings yield (reciprocal of the P/E). Given that AAPL has evolved a business model in which the capital spending is largely performed by its ecosystem partners, that would tend to correlate with the same 7.5% cash-on-cash return.

In contrast, the forward earnings yield of the S&P 500, also using GAAP as AAPL does, is about 4.6%, and not all of that is FCF, so it is of lower quality.

Since Buffett would expect AAPL’s free cash flow yield to grow over time, it makes sense that he could commit it to Berkshire’s permanent holdings and wait for time to prove out the choice. He gets a high starting earnings yield and the security of a tight ecosystem of products with hundreds of millions of customers who “re-enlist” in the AAPL system voluntarily year after year.

So far, I have described a plain vanilla Dow 30 stock with, recently, a choppy growth record. Maybe it’s a good value in a highly-valued universe of financial assets. But why think of this stock avidly now, as Druckenmiller and Soros did with their BoE caper in 1992, especially given how much AAPL’s price has increased off the bottom?

I proffer two reasons to consider AAPL as still being on an upswing. One is enough to look forward to a much higher stock price relatively soon. The other is a reason to look forward to a much higher stock price. This is conjecture now; it needs to be read in that context.

Base (bull market) case: nicely higher AAPL price by 2019

The thesis is fairly simple, namely that shares of most large strong companies are now getting 20X P/Es and higher. We see that with the slow-growing Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), which recently traded at 24X TTM P/E (all P/Es are GAAP). Slow-growth Wal-Mart (WMT) is trading above 25X. Slow-growth companies in the pharma industry without all the strengths of JNJ are almost all above 20X. This includes Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), Novo Nordisk (NVO), Pfizer (PFE), Merck (MRK), and Lilly (LLY). In some of these cases, the P/Es are above 30X (I use GAAP for all P/Es and am mostly relying on ETrade data; apologies for any errors). The list goes on and on. McDonald’s (MCD) can only grow just so fast, yet it is at 24X. Procter & Gamble (PG), which has barely grown for years, is also at 24X. Pepsi (PEP) is also at 24X. KO is at 44X, but that’s an anomaly, and will normalize in the 24X range as well soon enough if the price stays where it is (One notes a 24X pattern here in the P/E).

This pattern applies to many good but not extraordinary smaller companies, as well. A small supplier to the recreational vehicle industry, LCI Industries (LCII), is at 22X. Texas Roadhouse (TXRH), a small cap restaurant chain, is at 28X. Yum! Brands (YUM) is at the familiar 24X. Lancaster Colony (LANC), a small cap food company, is at 31X.

Amongst cyclicals, the same pattern of once-unusual P/Es is seen. One of my faves this year, Deere (DE), is at 22X. Illinois Tool Works (ITW) is at the familiar 24X. Even plain old railroads are in the 20X act. Norfolk Southern (NSC) and Union Pacific (UNP) are both in the 20-21X range.

MSFT, with several years of growth challenges in the rearview mirror, is at 28X, which does include some excess cash. Oracle (ORCL), which has seen organic revenues and profits decline until very recently, is at 21X.

Thus, something strange is occurring in plain sight that is little remarked about. It is the opposite of what the Fed and the Street have confidently been predicting since 2009. They have been predicting rising interest rates. Finance theory would then imply lower P/Es. Instead, my vision of “lower for longer” in interest rates has continued to be in force for long-term bonds. Once more, the Fed has raised short-term interest rates, only to run into the Greenspan “conundrum” of long-term rates staying flat. Stocks, as long-lived ownership interests in businesses, compete with bonds much more than with cash. With that comparison, blue chips and lesser companies are now cheap under almost any scenario relative to their own debt. AAPL’s bonds maturing in February 2045 yield 3.66% to maturity (CUSIP #037833BA7). As stated, AAPL’s forward earnings yield per consensus is over 7%. Even if that were not to change, i.e. AAPL’s earnings never to rise, its stock would probably be more attractive than the bond. If you predict AAPL’s FCF to rise at a 7.2% CAGR until 2045, AAPL’s terminal yield would be over 50%, while the bond would still be paying out at 3.66%.

In the DoctoRx world view, this sort of reasoning is why JNJ and WMT, and MSFT and ORCL as B2B techs, can trade above 20X. Their FCF yields for the year ahead exceed the yields on their debt, and over time, the FCF yields are expected to grow, even if only slowly. The lower-for-longer bond scenario in place today benefits their P/Es.

Using the Buffett view of AAPL as a true blue chip, I think AAPL belongs there too and that it is reasonable to invest as though this is going to happen (Or, if P/Es drop, AAPL may be relatively insulated from this trend reversing, relatively being key).

Looking forward to March 2019, if AAPL reports about $12 EPS for CY 2018, a continued lower-longer interest rate scenario can easily support a P/E on SPY around 21-22X TTM GAAP EPS, and higher. If so, AAPL at 20X is no stretch at all. That would suggest an AAPL price of $240 per share in Q1 2019, implying alpha for AAPL.

That’s my first, base bull case. If it’s correct, some amount of Sorosian aggressiveness toward this stock would pay off well.

Now here’s a somewhat more aggressive bull case.

AAPL as growth stock once more, part 1: less obvious successes

Not everything at AAPL ties into the big guns. Hints of progress can be seen elsewhere.

Apple Music

Just as one example of a small part of AAPL that few think about, look at this growth path for Apple Music, from Horace Dediu on October 4:

This is impressive growth for Apple Music.

Now think back to how quickly this service was dismissed as a “meh” effort soon after launch. Yet the above growth rate, if it continues, means higher corporate profits and a stickier ecosystem: synergy (It also means that AAPL may again be succeeding in a sector where MSFT has… well…: Zune, we hardly knew ye).

Apple Watch

Here’s another potential big success in the making which may generate rapidly growing profits from sale of the product along with increasing app sales, all the while strengthening the AAPL ecosystem. From Above Avalon, this graph is taken from a lengthy blog post. The Apple Watch may have been surging before the untethered Watch was released:

Again, once the Watch sales stagnated, the Street forgot about it. But the Watch may add 2-3% to AAPL’s sales annually for the next few years if sales do what I think they may do. As Neil Cybart says in that blog post:

There is no smartwatch market. After more than two-and-a-half years of competition, it is clear that Apple Watch doesn’t have much genuine competition.

Now let’s look quickly at the growth potential for the Big 3 AAPL products.

AAPL as growth stock, part 2: iPhones poised for growth again

The smartphone is becoming more central to the lives of people globally. This makes the iPhone increasingly important.

The US-centric data coming from ChangeWave Research (which I see regularly as a panelist) continues to show that a higher percentage of Android owners are switching to iPhone than vice versa. Fluent has found the same thing. Since there are more Android than iPhone owners, this creates a gravitational pull toward AAPL; again, this is US-centric data, but the trend may scale globally.

It is also possible that iPhones, getting increasingly capable, are undervalued, as Horace Dediu (again) points out (emphasis added):

More important however is that the iPhone remains priced at about $1/day… the value users perceive is very high. The most expensive iPhone costs about 8 cents per hour of use, 1.4 cents each time you unlock it and 1 cent for every 25 interactions you have with it (touches or taps). On a per use basis the iPhone is extraordinarily cheap. I know of no consumer product that is cheaper.

Not only that, but also as augmented reality becomes a normal part of the iPhone experience over time, I expect that smartphones will become virtually indispensable to modern life for a great many people, and that the iPhone could replace Android as US market share leader (and elsewhere) – on AAPL’s terms.

That’s an intermediate term perspective. Markets also respond to headlines, and the iPhone X created quite the buzz, with the return of lines at AAPL’s stores upon its release.

When iPhones have a super reception in South Korea, home of Samsung (OTC:SSNLF), then AAPL is doing something right. This all makes the recent spewing of FUD from the mainstream look ridiculous. From Fortune on October 20:

Apple’s No Good, Very Bad iPhone X Launch: A Chronology.

As TechRadar says in its review of the iPhone X, getting it right:

Our Verdict

The iPhone X was a huge gamble from Apple, but one that really paid off… this is the closest to smartphone perfection Apple has ever got.

If sales of the X are indeed strong, the Dediu argument may be coming into play; the iPhone may be if anything underpriced (This was a similar argument OPEC used to jack up the price of crude oil from $3/barrel in 1971 to $12 in 1974, then the $30s by 1979-80). This concept also implies that average selling prices for the iPhone could rise faster than Mr. Market thinks.

So, a key part of the AAPL story could be that the return of lines for a smartphone – a phenomenon that looked to be a thing of the past – could presage long and strong AAPL stock moves as in 2010-2, when lines were also seen.

The theme that AAPL products could regain unit market share, beginning with but not limited to the iPhone, is continued in the next section, covering AAPL’s two other leading product lines.

iPads may follow iPhones; Macs attack

The iPad may be set for greater things, based on the iPhone X and recent sales momentum for the iPad. The iPad is stellar as is before upgrades that may come soon. E.g., TechRadar gives the new 2017 iPad the same 5 Star rating it gave its predecessor, the iPad Air 2.

With iPad sales growing again, we can see that much of the sales stagnation was due to their durability. Our iPad 2 lasted from March 2011 until last year, and it still works, though it’s poky. The iPad line-up is strong now; our iPad Pro is a thing of beauty. My conclusion: the iPad is a very valuable franchise. (Let’s see how much people begin using it as a laptop replacement).

The aging Mac line showed nice growth last quarter. I don’t know why, but that is welcome. AAPL has finally begun refreshing the Mac. The iMac Pro, out soon, marks an impressive reset for this flagship product. The rest of the iMac line and laptops are due for upgrades.

I have had a bullish view of the long-term potential of the Mac for at least five years, and trends may be moving to place the Mac back in the picture, especially in households. Please consider these reasons:

1. Streaming. As the world moves to streaming video, powerful desktop computers with big beautiful displays gain an important new use.

2. Storage of photos, video, music. You have taken baby photos, videos of your child in action in a sports setting, etc., with your iPhone. Now what? Move them to the Cloud, where you pay storage fees endlessly? A better, or parallel, solution is to store them on the Mac. Beyond sight, there is sound, i.e. permanent storage of music. Again, it’s there, close at hand, not needing to be downloaded from the Cloud.

The more we use iPhones to create our own media, the more the Mac comes in handy to store that media.

3. Limitations of mobility devices. Smartphones and the iPad Pro are just not able to do all that a full-size home computer can do. Information is found and displayed faster and better on a desktop computer, or at least a well-powered laptop. The more we use mobile devices, the more we recognize their limitations as well as their capabilities.

AAPL is on an even playing field against Windows in the above uses, none of which tie into the Office ecosystem. AAPL oversees the design of silicon, designs its displays and overall product configuration, and thus can and usually does provide the best products. Further, with MSFT now competing with its Windows licensees, what is the incentive for it to invest heavily to also compete with AAPL?

So I look at Macs as having some growth potential for the indefinite future, and if things break AAPL’s way, they might even gain greater traction in the enterprise. Maybe 2018 will be the year that AAPL takes Macs to a new level.

AAPL is in the odd situation for the market’s leader is that it has minority market share in all its major markets. A little market share growth in AAPL’s mature product lines along with more rapid growth in Services, Watch, etc. could go a long way toward growing profits faster than Mr. Market expects. The recent upgrades of the iPhone and the Watch, along with the advent of augmented reality in iOS 11 and the latest iPhones, may augur well for an ongoing important round of upgrades in the Mac and iPad lines.

If AAPL gets viewed as a growth stock again, I would think about traders in 2019, noting its cash stash, giving it something like a 24X P/E on, say, $12 or $12.50 CY 2018 EPS. That implies a massive $300 price target. Can it happen? Yes. MSFT’s stunning P/E ascent shows it can.

Concluding points – two winning scenarios for a Sorosian approach to AAPL

But a final thought comes from this walk down memory lane. If I remember correctly, James O’Shaughnessy’s book What Works on Wall Street reported that if you were looking for a stock that would double in the year ahead, your best bet was one that had just doubled; the same for a triple. It was back in or around 1999-2000 when I read the book; even if I am remembering correctly, matters might have changed. But with AAPL up so much from its lows, this sort of thinking may be relevant. AAPL may be rising for two reasons. First, to summarize, Warren Buffett may have anointed AAPL as just as deserving of that now-unremarkable 24X P/E as so many other stocks that also carry risk of various kinds. If so, Mr. Market may trend AAPL’s P/E upward on a cyclical manner. I’m looking out for that possibility being actualized. Second, my bigger bull case involves thinking of the flow of business at AAPL. Here, macro trends may indeed favor AAPL, which itself may be in the midst of an important, exciting new wave of products with long product lives. If so, then AAPL’s relative P/E versus its tech peers (does it really have many/any peers?) may be due for revaluation upward, providing alpha within the sector.

In either of these scenarios, thinking of the Soros quote to go big in an investing concept one believes in merges with the Buffett view that AAPL is truly special (as many of us have been saying for some time). This could lead to not what we have gotten used to with AAPL the past few years, namely almost as many steps backward as forward, but steadier upward movement of the share price. If some techs look as though it is 1999 all over again, AAPL looks more like 1997 with tailwinds blowing. No guarantees, but for what little it’s worth, I’m on board with Buffett on AAPL (and even more than he is assuming), and I’m thinking seriously about the Soros philosophy.

Thanks for reading and sharing any comments you wish to contribute.

Disclosure: I am/we are long AAPL, AMZN, BMY, DE, GOOGL, MSFT, NVO, ORCL, WFC.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: Not investment advice. I am not an investment adviser.

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