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GOP Proposes Radical Change to 401(k) System

What to Make of Merrill’s Reorg, New Ads

Jeb Hensarling, House Financial Services Committee Chairman, said Wednesday that he will hold a hearing to discuss the Financial Choice Act, his bill to replace Dodd-Frank, on April 26.

The Financial Services Committee approved the Financial Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs (CHOICE) Act in September. 

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stock index: Bank of Marin Bancorp(BMRC)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Christopher Flens-Batina]

    Bank of Marin (NASDAQ:BMRC) has shot up about 40% in value in the past 2 months. Low expenses are one of the reasons for the recent growth, and free checkingaccounts are a big part of this.

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Monday afternoon, the financial sector proved to be a source of strength for the market. Leading the sector was strength from Bank of Marin Bancorp (NASDAQ: BMRC) and BankUnited (NYSE: BKU).

stock index: Eagle Bancorp, Inc.(EGBN)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    On Monday, the financial sector proved to be a source of strength for the market. Leading the sector was strength from Eagle Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: EGBN) and BankUnited (NYSE: BKU).

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Eagle Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ: EGBN) dropped 28% Friday to post a new 52-week low of $47.65 after closing at $66.15 on Thursday. The stock’s 52-week high is $69.80. Volume of around 3.6 million was more than three times the daily average. The bank holding company had no specific news Friday.

stock index: Express Scripts Holding Company(ESRX)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Chris Lange]

    The S&P 500 stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Tuesday was Express Scripts Holding Co. (NASDAQ: ESRX) which traded down 11% at $59.98. The stocks 52-week range is $57.80 to $80.02. Volume was 35.4 million versus the daily average of 4.4 million shares.

  • [By ]

    Express Scripts Holding (Nasdaq: ESRX) has already stated publicly that it would be open to an acquisition. The company is the largest PBM in the United States, with more than 1.4 billion adjusted claims processed annually as well as a strong home delivery pharmaceuticals service.

  • [By Lisa Levin]

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

    Analysts are expecting Discovery Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: DISCA) to have earned $0.47 per share on revenue of $1.69 billion in the latest quarter. Discovery Communications shares rose 0.17 percent to $29.08 in after-hours trading.
    Analysts expect T-Mobile US Inc (NASDAQ: TMUS) to report

stock index: International Lithium Corp. (ILHMF)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By SEEKINGALPHA.COM]

    International Lithium [TSXV:ILC] (OTCPK:ILHMF) – Price = CAD 0.13

    International Lithium (ILC) is a small lithium explorer/project generator with four joint venture lithium projects, and one fully-owned lithium project:

Top 10 Blue Chip Stocks To Own Right Now

If you're like most investors, you've been led to believe that it's impossible to earn large amounts of investment income without taking big risks.   This idea – which you'll hear from many financial advisors and brokers – is simply wrong.   It is possible to earn double-digit annual yields on your money – safely – by selling options.   So why doesn't everyone use this strategy to earn consistent income streams? Below, you'll find the five common objections I've heard from readers or that I've found on the Internet… and my responses to them.   REASON NO. 1: Option-selling strategies like covered calls are too risky. You'll earn 5% in premiums, but if the stock falls 25%, you're still down big!   This objection is 100% valid. The way most people approach covered calls is risky. (If you're unfamiliar with covered calls, I encourage you to read this essay.) These folks buy risky stocks because risky, volatile stocks typically offer larger cash premiums than safe, stable blue chips. But most people end up losing on risky covered-call positions because their stocks fall in value.

Top 10 Blue Chip Stocks To Own Right Now: Pilgrim's Pride Corporation(PPC)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    A long term performance chart shows Bob Evans Farms breaking out while a comparison to possible peers in the remaining core business shows the stock had underperformed large caps Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE: HRL) andTyson Foods, Inc (NYSE: TSN) and mid cap Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation (NASDAQ: PPC) when it was still in the restaurant business:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    A long term performance chart shows shares ofmid cap Sanderson Farms more than doubling in value while mid cap Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation (NASDAQ: PPC) and large cap Tyson Foods, Inc (NYSE: TSN) have been even better performers albeit shares are below previous highs and have been somewhat volatile:

  • [By John Udovich]

    Thanksgiving is almost here but the exit of both Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation (NYSE: PPC) and Smithfield Foods (NYSE: SFD) to focus on their chicken or pork businesses (the latter was also acquired by the Chinese) leaves just two big Thanksgiving turkey stocks, Hormel Foods Corporation (NYSE: HRL) and Seaboard Corporation (NYSEAMEX: SEB), for investors to consider. According to the American Far Bureau, a 16-pound turkey will (on average) come in at a total of $22.74 this year or roughly $1.42 per pound for a decrease of 2 cents per pound or a total of 30 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2015. The price drop may be a transition back to the norm as the significant bird flu outbreak last year hurt the nations supply of both turkey and eggs.

  • [By Peter Graham]

    A long term performance chart shows shares of small cap Sanderson Farms doubling in value while mid cap Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation (NASDAQ: PPC) and large cap Tyson Foods, Inc (NYSE: TSN) have been even better performers albeit shares are below their peaks and have been somewhat volatile:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    Mid cap chicken producer Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation (NASDAQ: PPC) reportedQ2 2017 earnings after the market closed Wednesday as short interest remains elevated at 31.17%according to Highshortinterest.comin the wake of the worstbird-flu outbreak in the US whichhad hurt demand and triggered import bans abroad. Net sales were up 11.0% to $2.252 billion while net income attributable to Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation was $233.641 million versus $152.886 million.The earnings release noted:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    The Q4 2016earnings report for mid cap chicken producer Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation (NASDAQ: PPC) scheduled for before the market opens on Thursday(February 9th). Pilgrim’s Pride Corporationis the sixth most shorted stock on the Nasdaq with short interest of 41.76%according to Highshortinterest.com. Theelevated short interest comes in the wake of the worstbird-flu outbreak in the US whichhad hurt demand and triggered import bans abroad.

Top 10 Blue Chip Stocks To Own Right Now: PetroShare Corp. (PRHR)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By SEEKINGALPHA.COM]

    Just one company joined the calendar, micro-cap gunshot detector ShotSpotter (Pending:SSTI), and one micro-cap company filed, DJ Basin E&P PetroShare (OTCQB:PRHR). We had expected more JOBS-Act filers this week as Monday marked the first day to file for companies preparing for post-Memorial Day launches.

Top 10 Blue Chip Stocks To Own Right Now: Haynes International, Inc.(HAYN)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    In trading on Wednesday, basic materials shares fell by 1.24 percent. Meanwhile, top losers in the sector included Haynes International, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAYN), down 12 percent, and McEwen Mining Inc (NYSE: MUX), down 9 percent.

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    In trading on Tuesday, basic materials shares fell 0.44 percent. Meanwhile, top losers in the sector included Haynes International, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAYN), down 5 percent, and Gibraltar Industries Inc (NASDAQ: ROCK), down 4 percent.

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Basic materials sector was the top gainer in the US market on Monday. Top gainers in the sector included Haynes International, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAYN), Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE: CLF), and Olympic Steel, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZEUS).

Top 10 Blue Chip Stocks To Own Right Now: ChannelAdvisor Corporation(ECOM )

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    ChannelAdvisor Corp (NASDAQ: ECOM) shares dropped 24 percent to $10.85 following Q4 results. ChannelAdvisor reported Q4 net income of $5.8 million on revenue of $31.8 million.

Top 10 Blue Chip Stocks To Own Right Now: Gas Natural Inc.(EGAS)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Gas Natural Inc (NYSE: EGAS) is projected to post its quarterly earnings at $0.23 per share.

    Caleres Inc (NYSE: CAL) is expected to post its quarterly earnings at $0.23 per share on revenue of $632.89 million.

Top 10 Blue Chip Stocks To Own Right Now: Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Inc.(ICPT)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ICPT) dropped more than 17% Friday to post a new 52-week low of $60.97 after closing Thursday at $73.70. The 52-week high is $172.75. Volume of more than 10 million shares traded was about 12 times the daily average. The FDA on Thursday issued a warning letter on the company’s liver disease treatment.

  • [By Peter Graham]

    Small cap liver biopharmaceutical stock Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: ICPT) reportedQ2 2017 earnings before the market opened on Monday with both the top and bottom lines beating expectations plus the Companyreported that amid-stage clinical trial met its primary endpoint; but sharesended the day down13.26%. Intercept Pharmaceuticals recognized $30.4 million of net sales of Ocaliva for Q2 2017 versus $75k and a net loss of $86.6 million versus a net loss of $77.3 million. Ocaliva was approved by the U.S.FDA in May 2016 for the treatment of primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) in combination with ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) in adults with an inadequate response to UDCA or as monotherapy in adults unable to tolerate UDCA. As of June 30, 2017,the Companyhad cash, cash equivalents and investment securities available for sale of approximately $550.3 million versus$689.4 million as of December 31, 2016. The CEO commented:

Top 10 Blue Chip Stocks To Own Right Now: International Lithium Corp. (ILHMF)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By SEEKINGALPHA.COM]

    International Lithium [TSXV:ILC] (OTCPK:ILHMF) – Price = CAD 0.13

    International Lithium (ILC) is a small lithium explorer/project generator with four joint venture lithium projects, and one fully-owned lithium project:

Top 10 Blue Chip Stocks To Own Right Now: Coach, Inc.(COH)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Benzinga's newsdesk monitors options activity to notice unusual patterns. These large volume (and often out of the money) trades were initially published intraday in Benzinga Professional . These trades were placed during Thursday’s regular session.

  • [By Jayson Derrick]

    Honorable Mention: Buy-rated Coach Inc (NYSE: COH) with a $49 price target.

    Energy: Halliburton

    Halliburton Company (NYSE: HAL) is a top energy pick for four reasons: 1) the company’s significant leverage to the U.S. onshore market, 2) potential for incremental margin growth, 3) expectations for positive earnings revision and 4) strong balance sheet and a “well respected” management team.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Coach (COH) rose to the top of the S&P 500 today after reports that Kate Spade (KATE) had put itself up for sale caused shares of fashion-accessory retailers to rise.

    Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

    Coach gained 2% to $35.14 at 4:20 p.m. today, while the S&P 500 dropped 0.8% to 2,249.92.

    Wells Fargo’s Ike Boruchow lists Coach among the companies that could be interest in buying Kate Spade:

    Today, the Wall Street Journal reported that Kate Spade & Co is considering a sale of the company, following pressure from activist investors given the volatile performance ever since Kate Spade became a mono brand company over 2 years ago. The article cites thatKate Spade has hired an investment bank and has reached out to possible buyers (including other retailers) althoughKate Spade has not responded. This comes at a time when brand houses like VF Corp. (VFC), PVH Corp. (PVH), Hanesbrands (HBI), Michael Kors Holdings (KORS), and Coach have said they are looking to make a branded acquisition, andKate Spade could be one of the strongest candidates. While other brands are seeing negative comps, pulling back on wholesale exposure or restructuring,Kate Spade continues to grow.

    Coach’s market capitalization rose to $9.9 billion today from $9.7 billion yesterday. It reported net income of $461 million on sales of $4.5 billion in fiscal 2016.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    When we examined historical transactions in the specialty retail sector, we noticed a wide range of valuations. Select relevant transactions to consider would be ~2x EV/Sales Coach (COH) paid for Stuart Weitzman, Samsonites acquisition of Tumi at 14x EV/EBITDA, 13x EV/EBITDA for Joseph A. Banks by Mens Wearhouse (TLRD) and Kerings acquisition of Volcom for 18x EV/EBITDA. We believe potential valuation could be as high as ~2x EV/ Sales and ~14x EV/EBITDA given Kate Spade’s unique growth profile to expand to ~$4bn in revenue (from $1.4bn in FY16) and improving profitability from 12% EBIT margin TY to at least HTeens-LDD, in our view (Coach is 18.7% and Michael Kors (KORS) is 21.3%). On these two metrics, Kate Spade would be valued at $21-23…

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    …formal language on deal prospects articulates process is proceeding in a timely manner with no definitive timetable and no assurance that process will result in a transaction. We still expect a deal to happen, but do lower our probability from 80% to 70% given the likelihood that potential buyer(s) and KATE have not agreed on a clearing price in earlier rounds of negotiation. We believe a bidder such as Coach (COH) does not want to overpay, is disciplined about managing ROIC, and returns and synergies split may be more rational at an offer price in the range of $22-25. We continue to believe KATE has a long global growth runway ahead with opportunities for store growth abroad, further expansion into non-handbag categories, and supply + digital synergy potential…We rate KATE Market Perform and lower our price target to $21 (was $27). Our updated valuation is based on ~10x our FY18E adj. EBITDA or $284mm.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Kate Spade (KATE) caught a bounce on Wednesday when the Wall Street Journalreported that it was actively seeking a buyer. Since then, we’ve learned that the fashion accessories retailer looks set to auction itself off to the highest bidder, with the process potentially beginning next month, with bidders potentially including Coach (COH) and Michael Kors (KORS). In a note today, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analystPamela Quintiliano and team contend that Kate Spade could fetch as much as $23 a share:

Top 10 Blue Chip Stocks To Own Right Now: 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.

Top 10 Blue Chip Stocks To Own Right Now: Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc.(GLPI)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc (NASDAQ: GLPI) shares fell 3.25 percent to $31.90 in pre-market trading. Gaming and Leisure Properties priced offering of 10.53 million shares of common stock for gross proceeds of $333 million.

  • [By Seth McNew]

    One way Penn has been able to unlock extra value is by spinning off a portion of operations as a real estate investment trust (REIT) as a way to split up the physical property from the gaming operations. Following that 2013 creation of Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc(NASDAQ:GLPI),Penn essentially pays leasing fees to the REIT so it can focus on operations with a leaner balance sheet. Here’s a more in-depth analysis of the upside of Penn’s REIT model.

stock tools

There’s mounting evidence that North Korea was behind last month’s WannaCry ransomware attack that hit hundreds of thousands of computers around the world.

U.K. security services believe that Lazarus, a group that has been linked to the government of North Korea, was responsible, U.K. intelligence sources said.

That appears to confirm the view of private cybersecurity experts who said last month it was “highly likely” that the attack was linked with the isolated state.

The U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre declined to comment.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that the U.S. National Security Agency had produced a similar internal assessment last week.

The NSA assessment was based on an analysis of tactics, techniques and targets, the newspaper reported. It said the evidence points with “moderate confidence” to North Korea’s spy agency.

Private cybersecurity firms have reached similar conclusions about the software that infected computers in around 150 countries and crippled parts of Britain’s National Health Service.

stock tools: International Lithium Corp. (ILHMF)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By SEEKINGALPHA.COM]

    International Lithium [TSXV:ILC] (OTCPK:ILHMF) – Price = CAD 0.13

    International Lithium (ILC) is a small lithium explorer/project generator with four joint venture lithium projects, and one fully-owned lithium project:

stock tools: Applied Optoelectronics, Inc.(AAOI)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    The stock market mounted a last-minute rally to keep its string of winning days alive, as all three major market benchmarks recovered from losses during most of the day to close higher. The performance again showed the complete confidence that investors seem to have in the market’s longer-term future, despite the fact that some believe that stocks have generally risen too quickly and have been hoping for a pullback. Enough investors seem to be waiting for an opportunity to buy that losses have generally been muted and short-lived. Moreover, some good news sent many individual stocks higher, and Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN), RH (NYSE:RH), and Applied Optoelectronics (NASDAQ:AAOI) were among the top performers on the day. Below, we’ll look more closely at these stocks to tell you why they did so well.

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Applied Optoelectronics Inc (NASDAQ: AAOI) was down, falling around 19 percent to $47.59 after the company offered a warning related to its upcoming third-quarter results Thursday afternoon. Applied Optoelectronics reduced its third-quarter sales guidance from a prior $107 million-$115 million to a new range of $88 million-$89 million. Earnings per share are expected to come in between $1.04 and $1.09, well below the previous guidance figures in the range of $1.30-$1.43. The company announced Thursday afternoon its largest customer, Amazon.com, Inc., is no longer placing orders to buy its components.

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Applied Optoelectronics Inc (NASDAQ: AAOI) shares were also up, gaining 27 percent to $47.60 after reporting upbeat quarterly results.

    Equities Trading DOWN

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Applied Optoelectronics Inc (NASDAQ: AAOI) shares shot up 33 percent to $30.19 after the company raised its guidance for the fourth quarter. The company now projects adjusted earnings of $0.77 to $0.82 per share, on revenue of $84.5 million to $84.8 million.

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Benzinga's newsdesk monitors options activity to notice unusual patterns. These large volume (and often out of the money) trades were initially published intraday in Benzinga Professional . These trades were placed during Thursday’s regular session.

stock tools: SORL Auto Parts Inc.(SORL)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Sorl Auto Parts, Inc. (NASDAQ: SORL) shares were also up, gaining 33 percent to $6.02 after the company reported strong Q1 results and raised its FY17 sales guidance.

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Sorl Auto Parts, Inc. (NASDAQ: SORL) shares shot up 19 percent to $7.15 after the company reported strong results for its third quarter and raised its FY17 outlook. The company reported Q3 EPS of 44 cents, up from 17 cents in the same quarter of last year. The company reported sales of $101.33 million, up from $63.7 million in the same quarter of last year.

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Sorl Auto Parts, Inc. (NASDAQ: SORL) was down, falling around 8 percent to $3.68. Greenridge Global downgraded SORL Auto Parts from Buy to Hold.

  • [By ]

    1. Sorl Auto Parts (Nasdaq: SORL)
    Shares of this Chinese automobile brake and safety equipment maker are setting up to be an ideal breakout candidate. Sorl supplies automobile brakes and safety equipment to over 75 original equipment manufacturers, most of them in China.

  • [By Monica Gerson]

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

    Clean Diesel Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: CDTI) is projected to post a quarterly loss at $0.18 per share on revenue of $10.25 million.

stock tools: Callon Petroleum Company(CPE)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Benzinga's newsdesk monitors options activity to notice unusual patterns. These large volume (and often out of the money) trades were initially published intraday in Benzinga Professional . These trades were placed during Thursday’s regular session.

list of stocks to invest in

Hey Siri — will I even need to type search terms in the future?

Voice is starting to replace typing in online queries and it’s becoming more accurate, according to Mary Meeker, partner at VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, in her 2017 Internet Trends report released Wednesday.

Meeker’s annual report is highly anticipated by techies, who scour the 355-slide deck that’s chock-full of statistics, charts, trends and predictions. Here are some highlights.

Voice is becoming more popular than typing in online search. Twenty percent of mobile searches were made using voice in 2016, according to the report. Meanwhile, voice recognition accuracy continues to improve and is now at about 95%.

With Google’s (GOOG) assistant, almost 70% of requests are “natural” or made in “conversational language,” while the Amazon Echo has evolved from shopping and media to having video capabilities and making recommendations and voice calls.

Smartphone sales continue to slow. Global shipments of smartphones rose 3% year-over-year in 2016 compared to growth of 10% a year earlier. Meeker also highlighted slowing smartphone sales and internet growth in last year’s report.

list of stocks to invest in: Modine Manufacturing Company(MOD)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Modine Manufacturing Co. (NYSE: MOD) is projected to post its quarterly earnings at $0.32 per share on revenue of $351.33 million.

    Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. (NYSE: NM) is expected to report a quarterly loss at $0.37 per share on revenue of $101.51 million.

list of stocks to invest in: BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust(BPT)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By WWW.MONEYSHOW.COM]

    Our featured recommendation, the BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust (BPT), is a grantor trust. What that means is that the trust holds royalty interest in minerals from the Prudhoe Bay on the North Slope of Alaska.

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    In trading on Friday, energy shares fell by 1.30 percent. Meanwhile, top losers in the sector included BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust (NYSE: BPT), down 14 percent, and Gulf Island Fabrication, Inc. (NASDAQ: GIFI), down 13 percent.

list of stocks to invest in: International Lithium Corp. (ILHMF)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By SEEKINGALPHA.COM]

    International Lithium [TSXV:ILC] (OTCPK:ILHMF) – Price = CAD 0.13

    International Lithium (ILC) is a small lithium explorer/project generator with four joint venture lithium projects, and one fully-owned lithium project:

list of stocks to invest in: Summer Infant Inc.(SUMR)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    A long term performance chart shows shares of Childrens Placeoutperforming last year before leveling off into a range while mid cap peerCarter’s, Inc (NYSE: CRI) is nearing previous highs againand small cap Summer Infant, Inc (NASDAQ: SUMR) is well below previous highs: