10 Best Financial Stocks For 2014

Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) has tied up with Cox Communications to offer bundled service packages consisting of video, phone and Internet in Phoenix and Las Vegas. Customers will now be able to access video, Internet and home phone services of Cox Communications and wireless services with smartphone and tablets from Verizon from either company through a bundled package. In addition, customers would be given a new $100 prepaid Visa debit card upon subscribing to the packaged services.

The two companies collaborated last year to mutually sell products and services in key markets like Nebraska, Northwest Arkansas, California, Kansas, the Oklahoma City and Tulsa. With regard to this arrangement, the companies launched their bundled services in Phoenix and Las Vegas early this year.

We believe that Verizon’s tie-ups with various media and cable companies like Cox Communications add to its brand value and increase market traction through diversified product p ortfolios. In addition, these alliances also enable the company to expand its market share in different service categories and enter new markets without seeking merger and acquisition strategies.

10 Best Financial Stocks For 2014: Bank of South Carolina Corp.(BKSC)

Bank of South Carolina Corporation operates as the holding company for The Bank of South Carolina that provides commercial banking products and services to individuals, and small and medium-sized businesses in South Carolina. The company accepts a range of deposit products, which include checking accounts, negotiable order of withdrawal accounts, savings accounts, individual retirement accounts, and other time deposits, such as daily money market accounts and longer-term certificates of deposit. It also offers various commercial loans, including secured and unsecured loans for working capital, business expansion, and purchasing machinery and equipment; mortgage loans; industrial loans; real estate loans; loans to individuals for household, family, and other personal expenditures; and other loans, including overdrafts. In addition, the company provides Internet banking services, including online bill pay and remote deposit capture; credit cards; check card services; and saf e deposit boxes, letters of credit, travelers checks, direct deposit of payroll, social security and dividend payments, and automatic payment of insurance premiums and mortgage loans. Further, it offers a courier service and ACH origination service as part of its deposit services for commercial customers; and a portfolio of wealth management/trust, investment, and retirement services. The company has four banking house locations in Charleston, Summerville, and Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. It serves customers in Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties. The company was founded in 1986 and is headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Financial institutions holding company Bank of South Carolina (BKSC) raised its dividend 8.3% to 13 cents per share, payable on Oct. 31 to shareholders of record as of Oct. 7.
    BKSC Dividend Yield: 3.72%

10 Best Financial Stocks For 2014: The Travelers Companies Inc.(TRV)

The Travelers Companies, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides various commercial and personal property and casualty insurance products and services to businesses, government units, associations, and individuals primarily in the United States. The company operates in three segments: Business Insurance; Financial, Professional, and International Insurance; and Personal Insurance. The Business Insurance segment offers property and casualty products and services, such as commercial multi-peril, property, general liability, commercial auto, and workers? compensation insurance. It operates in six groups: Select Accounts, which serves small businesses; Commercial Accounts that serves mid-sized businesses; National Accounts, which serves large companies; Industry-Focused Underwriting that serves targeted industries; Target Risk Underwriting, which serves commercial businesses requiring specialized product underwriting, claims handling, and risk management services; and Special ized Distribution that offers products to customers through licensed wholesale, general, and program agents. The Financial, Professional, and International Insurance segment provides surety and financial liability coverage, which uses a credit-based underwriting process; and property and casualty products primarily in the United States., the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Canada. The Personal Insurance segment offers property and casualty insurance covering personal risks, primarily automobile and homeowners insurance to individuals. It distributes its products through independent agents, sponsoring organizations, joint marketing arrangements with other insurers, and direct marketing. The company was founded in 1853 and is based in New York, New York.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Dividends4Life]

    Fair Value: In calculating fair value, I consider the NPV MMA Differential Fair Value along with these four calculations of fair value, see page 2 of the linked PDF for a detailed description: 1. Avg. High Yield Price 2. 20-Year DCF Price 3. Avg. P/E Price 4. Graham Number CINF is trading at a discount to only 3.) above. The stock is trading at a 36.8% premium to its calculated fair value of $34.96. CINF did not earn any Stars in this section. Dividend Analytical Data: In this section there are three possible Stars and three key metrics, see page 2 of the linked PDF for a detailed description: 1. Free Cash Flow Payout 2. Debt To Total Capital 3. Key Metrics 4. Dividend Growth Rate 5. Years of Div. Growth 6. Rolling 4-yr Div. > 15% CINF earned two Stars in this section for 1.) and 2.) above. A Star was earned since the Free Cash Flow payout ratio was less than 60% and there were no negative Free Cash Flows over the last 10 years. The stock earned a Star as a result of its most recent Debt to Total Capital being less than 45%. The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1954 and has increased its dividend payments for 54 consecutive years. Dividend Income vs. MMA: Why would you assume the equity risk and invest in a dividend stock if you could earn a better return in a much less risky money market account (MMA) or Treasury bond? This section compares the earning ability of this stock with a high yield MMA. Two items are considered in this section, see page 2 of the linked PDF for a detailed description: 1. NPV MMA Diff. 2. Years to > MMA The NPV MMA Diff. of the $62 is below the $500 target I look for in a stock that has increased dividends as long as CINF has. If CINF grows its dividend at 1.2% per year, it will take 5 years to equal a MMA yielding an estimated 20-year average rate of 3.68%. Memberships and Peers: CINF is a member of the S&P 500, a Dividend Aristocrat, a member of the Broad Dividend Achievers™ Index and a Divid

  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    Travelers Companies Inc. (NYSE: TRV) is down by 8.2% year to date, and it is down 10% from its 52-week high and all-time high of $91.68. What is almost funny here is that most investors never even think about Travelers as a DJIA component. It is considered the forgotten DJIA stock, and its market cap is only $29 billion. Trading at $82.60, the consensus analyst target price of $89.80 implies upside of 8%. And then there is the 2.4% dividend to consider.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Shares of American International Group have dropped 1.7% to $49.67 at 1:19 p.m. today, while American Financial Group (AFG) has, dropped 0.2% to $57.23, HCC Insurance (HCC) is little changed at $45.12, Travelers (TRV) has dipped 0.1% to $83.52 and Chubb (CB) is off 0.1% at $86.58.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Shares of Johnson & Johnson have fallen 1.8% to $93.36 today, helping to contribute to a weaker Dow today. Other big Dow losers include Travelers (TRV), which is off 1.7% at $84.98 and Verizon Communications (VZ), which has dropped 1.6% to $47.56.

10 Best Financial Stocks For 2014: iShares 10-20 Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLH)

iShares Lehman 10-20 Year Treasury Bond Fund (the Fund) seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance of the long-term sector of the United States Treasury market as defined by the Lehman Brothers 10-20 Year U.S. Treasury Index (the Index). The Index includes all publicly issued, the United States Treasury securities that have a remaining maturity of greater than or equal to 10 years and less than 20 years, and have $250 million or more of outstanding face value. In addition, the securities must be denominated in United States dollars, and must be fixed-rate and non-convertible securities. Excluded from the Index are certain special issues, such as flower bonds, targeted investor notes, and state and local government series bonds, and coupon issues that have been stripped from assets that are already included in the Index. The Fund generally will invest at least 95% of its assets in the United States Government bonds.

Th e Index is a market capitalization-weighted index. The Fund invests in a representative sample of the securities in the Index, which has a similar investment profile as the Index. The Fund’s investment advisor is Barclays Global Fund Advisor.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Donald van Deventer]

    Long-duration Treasury Exchange-Traded Funds: (TLH), , (IEF), (DTYL), (DLBL), (ILTB), (TENZ), (ITE), (TLO), (EDV), (VGIT), (VGLT), (TMF), (TYD), (LBND), (UBT), (UST), (TMV), (TYO), (DSTJ), (DSXJ), (SBND), (PST), (DTYS), (DLBS), (TBF), (TTT), (TYNS), (TYBS), (TBX).

10 Best Financial Stocks For 2014: Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance (ARI)

Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, Inc., a real estate investment trust, engages in originating, acquiring, investing in, and managing performing commercial first mortgage loans, commercial mortgage-backed securities, mezzanine financings, and other commercial real estate-related debt investments in the United States. The company is qualified as a real estate investment trust (REIT) under the Internal Revenue Code. As a REIT, it would not be subject to federal income taxes, if it distributes at least 90% of its REIT taxable income to its stockholders. The company was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in New York, New York.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Mortgage real estate investment trust Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance  (NYSE: ARI  ) announced this morning its second-quarter dividend for its 8.625% Series A cumulative redeemable perpetual preferred stock of $0.5391 per share for the period ending July 15. That’s the same rate it’s paid for the past three quarters after it was increased 21% from $0.4432 per share.

10 Best Financial Stocks For 2014: Victory Electronic Cigarettes Corp (ECIG)

Victory Electronic Cigarettes Corporation, formerly Teckmine Industries, Inc., incorporated on May 19, 2004, is a development-stage company. As of December 31, 2011, the Company was seeking opportunities with established business entities for the merger or other form of business combination with its company. In April 2013, it acquired Victory Electronic Cigarettes LLC.

The Company may acquire assets and establish wholly owned subsidiaries in various businesses or acquire existing businesses as subsidiaries. As of December 31, 2011, it had not owned any property interests.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Rupert Hargreaves]

    As it turns out, many e-cig start-ups and even tobacco industry giant Lorillard (NYSE: LO  )  have infringed on these patents, possibly due to their rush getting e-cig products to market. So, six months on from closing the deal with Dragonite, Fontem Ventures, backed by Imperial Tobacco, has filed nine lawsuits in a federal court, asking the court to rule that the patents infringed were valid, and the defendants should pay as-of-yet unspecified damages. The companies Imperial is taking to court are Lorillard, NJOY, Vapor Corp., VMR Products LLC, Ballantyne Brands LLC, CB Distributors, Spark Industries LLC, Logic Technology Development LLC, FIN Branding Group LLC, Victory Electronic Cigarettes Corp. (NASDAQOTH: ECIG  ) , and DR Distributors LLC. So, it would seem as if Imperial is intending to kill off the majority of its competition before many of them can even get much of a foothold in the market.

  • [By John Udovich]

    While there is a new “study” out claiming that electronic cigarettes, or so-called e-cigarettes or e-cigs, may contain a comparable level of carcinogens to regular cigarettes, speculative investors might still want to take a look at small cap electronic cigarette stocks like Hop-on, Inc (OTCMKTS: HPNN), Smokefree Innotec (OTCMKTS: SFIO), Vapor Corp (OTCMKTS: VPCO) and Victory Electronic Cigarettes Corp (OTCMKTS: ECIG) as these appear to be the major publicly traded small cap stocks left in the sector. I should note that all of the major big tobacco stocks have entered the electronic cigarette market (see Who Are the Big Tobacco Electronic Cigarette Stocks? MO, LO & RAI) through acquisitions or their own R&D initiatives, which might mean that an acquisition by big tobacco is off the table as an exit strategy for investors.  Moreover and as I previously noted, there are concerns about the safety of electronic cigarettes as their popularity grows whil e the Wall Street Journal recently reported that the FDA has been in discussions with the e-cigarette industry about a possible online-sales ban of the product.

10 Best Financial Stocks For 2014: Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LYG)

Lloyds Banking Group plc, incorporated on October 21, 1985, is a holding company. The Company is a financial services group providing a range of banking and financial services, primarily in the United Kingdom, to personal and corporate customers. The Company operates in four segments: Retail, Commercial Banking, Wealth, Asset Finance and International and Insurance. Retail provides banking, mortgages and other financial services to personal customers in the United Kingdom. Commercial Banking provides banking and related services to business clients, from small businesses to large corporate. Wealth, Asset Finance and International provides private banking and asset management and asset finance in the United Kingdom and overseas and operates the Company’s international retail businesses. Insurance provides long term savings, protection and investment products in the United Kingdom and Europe and provides general insurance to personal customers in the United Kingdom.

Retail

The Retail division operates the retail bank in the United Kingdom and is a provider of current accounts, savings, personal loans, credit cards and mortgages. This includes a range of current accounts including packaged accounts and basic banking accounts. It is also the provider of personal loans in the United Kingdom, as well as being the United Kingdom’s credit card issuer. Retail is the private sector savings provider in the United Kingdom. It is also a general insurance and bancassurance distributor, offering a range of long-term savings, investment and general insurance products.

Commercial Banking

The Commercial Banking division supports the Company’s business clients from small businesses to corporate. Commercial Banking provides support to corporate clients through the provision of core banking products, such as lending, deposits and transaction banking services whilst also offering clients expertise in capita l markets (private placements, bonds and syndicated loans), ! financial markets (foreign exchange, interest rate management, money market and credit) and private equity.

Wealth, Asset Finance and International

Wealth, Asset Finance and International consists of the Company’s the United Kingdom and international wealth businesses, the Company’s the United Kingdom and international asset finance and online deposit businesses along with its international retail businesses. The Wealth business consists of private banking and asset management. Wealth’s private banking operations cater to the range of wealth clients from affluent to Ultra High Net Worth within the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, and internationally. Asset Finance consists of a number of leasing and speciality lending businesses in the United Kingdom, including Lex Autolease and Black Horse Motor and Personal Finance along with its leasing and specialty lending businesses in Australia and its European online deposit business. T he international business comprises its non-core banking business outside the United Kingdom, with the exception of corporate business written through the Commercial Banking division. This primarily consists of Ireland, Retail Europe and Asia.

Insurance

The Insurance division provides long-term savings, protection and investment products and general insurance products to customers in the United Kingdom and Europe. The United Kingdom Life, Pensions and Investments business provides long-term savings, protection and investment products distributed through the bancassurance, intermediary and direct channels of the Lloyds TSB, Halifax, Bank of Scotland and Scottish Widows brands. The European Life, Pensions and Investments business distributes products primarily in the German market under the Heidelberger Leben and Clerical Medical brands. The General Insurance business is a distributor of home insurance in the United Kingdom, with products sold through the branch network, direct channels and strategic corporate! partners! . It operates primarily under the Lloyds TSB, Halifax and Bank of Scotland brands.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Sara Sjolin]

    Shares of Lloyds Banking Group PLC (UK:LLOY)   (LYG)  lost 3.8% after the U.K. bank posted a full-year loss as provisions for mis-selling payment-protection insurance continued to weigh on its bottom line.

  • [By Sara Sjolin]

    Banks were among major decliners, playing a part in dragging the FTSE 100 index lower. Shares of Barclays PLC (UK:BARC)   (BCS)  fell 2.7%, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (UK:RBS)   (RBS)  dropped 2.9%, Lloyds Banking Group PLC (UK:LLOY)   (LYG)  gave up 2.3% and sector heavyweight HSBC Holdings PLC (UK:HSBA) (HBC)   (HK:5)  erased 1.3%.

  • [By Andrew Marder]

    The banks facing the first wave of investigation are Barclays (NYSE: BCS  ) , Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE: RBS  ) , HSBC (NYSE: HBC  ) , and Lloyds Banking Group (NYSE: LYG  ) . These companies are going to pay out something, as they’ve already admitted that rules were broken. The question remains — how much will it cost?

  • [By Mark Rogers]

    Lloyds Banking (LSE: LLOY  ) (NYSE: LYG  )
    The shares of Lloyds Banking have jumped 2.7% to 49 pence after the bank successfully issued 713 million new shares to raise 350 million pounds. Rumors continue to circulate that the group could dispose of the Menzies hotel chain it inherited from HBOS for about 100 million pounds or sell fund management division Scottish Widows Investment Partnership for close to 820 million pounds, with Ameriprise Financial mentioned as a potential suitor.

10 Best Financial Stocks For 2014: iShares MSCI South Africa ETF (EZA)

iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund (the Fund) seeks to provide investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance of publicly traded securities in the aggregate in the South African market, as measured by the MSCI South Africa Index (the Index). The Index seeks to measure the performance of the South African equity market. The Index is a capitalization-weighted index that aims to capture 85% of the (publicly available) total market capitalization. Component companies are adjusted for available float and must meet objective criteria for inclusion to the Index.

The Index is reviewed quarterly by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI). The Fund invests in a representative sample of securities included in the Index that collectively has an investment profile similar to the Index. The Fund’s investment advisor is Barclays Global Fund Advisors.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jeff Reeves]

    For starters, there’s the iShares MSCI South Africa ETF (EZA). The fund is down about 11% in the last year, but remember that emerging markets dramatically underperformed across the board in 2013. And if you believe in value investing, this may be a good opportunity to buy.

  • [By Charles Sizemore]

    Investors have pretty well forgotten about emerging markets over the past three years. The “BRIC” countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China no longer excite. Nor do more exotic non-BRIC locales such as South Africa. The iShares MSCI South Africa ETF (EZA) is down by roughly 15% since the beginning of 2011, while the S&P 500 has gained nearly 45%.

10 Best Financial Stocks For 2014: Trico Bancshares (TCBK)

TriCo Bancshares (TriCo), incorporated on October 13, 1981, is a bank holding company that operates through its wholly owned subsidiary, Tri Counties Bank (the Bank). The Bank conducts a commercial banking business, including accepting demand, savings and time deposits, and making commercial, real estate and consumer loans. It also offers installment note collection, issues cashier’s checks, sells travelers checks, and provides safe deposit boxes and other customary banking services. Brokerage services are provided at the Bank’s offices by the Bank’s association with Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., an independent financial services provider and broker-dealer. The Bank does not offer trust services or international banking services. Tri Counties Bank, TriCo Capital Trust I and TriCo Capital Trust II are the subsidiaries of the Bank. On September 23, 2011, the Bank acquired Bank of Northern California.

The Company is engaged in the banking business throu gh 68 offices in 23 counties in Northern and Central California including ten offices in Shasta County, nine in Butte County, seven in Sacramento and Nevada Counties, six in Placer County, four in Stanislaus County, three each in Siskiyou, Sutter and Kern Counties, two each in Glenn and Yolo Counties, and one each in Contra Costa, Del Norte, Fresno, Lake, Lassen, Madera, Mendocino, Merced, Napa, Tehama, Tulare, and Yuba Counties. The Bank’s 76 automated teller machines (ATMs) are linked to several national and regional networks, such as CIRRUS and STAR. In addition, banking by telephone on a around-the-clock toll-free number is available to all customers. This service allows a customer to obtain account balances and most recent transactions, transfer moneys between accounts, make loan payments and obtain interest rate information. The Bank emphasizes on retail banking. Most of the Bank’s customers are retail customers and small to medium-sized businesses. The Bank emphasiz es serving the needs of local businesses, farmers and ranche! rs, retired individuals and wage earners.

Lending activities

The Bank conducts a commercial banking business, including accepting demand, savings and time deposits and making commercial, real estate, and consumer loans. It also offers installment note collection, issues cashier’s checks, sells travelers checks and provides safe deposit boxes and other customary banking services. Brokerage services are provided at the Bank’s offices by the Bank’s association with Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., an independent financial services provider and broker-dealer. The Bank concentrates its lending activities in four principal areas: real estate mortgage loans (residential and commercial loans), consumer loans, commercial loans (including agricultural loans), and real estate construction loans. The majority of the Bank’s loans are direct loans made to individuals, farmers and local businesses.

As of December 31, 2011 loans, includi ng net deferred loan costs, totaled $1,551,032,000. As of December 31, 2011, total Real estate mortgage loans net deferred loan costs, were $ 965,922,000; total consumer loans were $ 406,330,000; total commercial loans were $ 139,131,000, and real estate construction loans were $ 39,649.

Investment Activities

The Bank classifies its investments as available for sale (AFS). As of December 31, 2011, investments consisted of corporate debt and debt securities of the United States government. As of December 31, 2011, the Bank’s securities portfolio consisted of obligations of the United States Government corporations and agencies, obligations of states and political subdivisions, and corporate bonds.

Sources of Funds

Most of the Bank’s deposits are attracted from individuals and business-related sources. The various types of deposits offered by the Bank include non-interest-bearing demand deposits, interest-bearing demand dep osits, savings deposits, time certificates of $100,000 and o! ver, and ! other time certificates. As of December 31, 2011, the Bank’s deposits totaled $ 2,190,536. The Bank participates in a deposit program offered by the State of California whereby the State may make deposits at the Bank’s request subject to collateral and creditworthiness constraints.

The Company had $8,527,000 of other collateralized borrowings as of December 31, 2011. The Company maintains a collateralized line of credit with the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. Other collateralized borrowings are generally overnight maturity borrowings from non-financial institutions that are collateralized by securities owned by the Company. The Bank had available unused correspondent banking lines of credit from commercial banks totaling $5,000,000 for federal funds transactions as of December 31, 2011.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    California-based TriCo Bancshares (NASDAQ: TCBK  ) announced today its second-quarter dividend of $0.11 per share, a 22% increase over the $0.09 per share payout it made last quarter.

10 Best Financial Stocks For 2014: Encore Capital Group Inc(ECPG)

Encore Capital Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in consumer debt buying and recovery business primarily in the United States. The company purchases and manages portfolios of defaulted consumer receivables, such as consumers? unpaid financial commitments to credit originators, including banks, credit unions, consumer finance companies, commercial retailers, auto finance companies, and telecommunication companies; and receivables subject to bankruptcy proceedings or consumer bankruptcy receivables. It also provides bankruptcy services to the finance industry, such as negotiating bankruptcy plans, monitoring and managing consumer?s compliance with bankruptcy plans, and recommending courses of action to clients in case of a deviation from a bankruptcy plan. The company was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in San Diego, California.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lawrence Meyers]

    The other good news is on pages 10, 11 and 15. Delinquencies are rising, as are collections. If debt balances increase, you would expect delinquencies to rise as well. That bodes well for the big-time players in debt collection, Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRAA) and Encore Capital Group (ECPG). Both just reported robust growth in collections, revenues, and net income. They’re also making large international acquisitions. I love both companies and think they’re are undervalued.

  • [By John Udovich]

    Small cap debt collection stocks like Asta Funding, Inc (NASDAQ: ASFI), Encore Capital Group, Inc (NASDAQ: ECPG) and Portfolio Recovery Associates, Inc (NASDAQ: PRAA) could be the latest target of a government shakedown or crackdown as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said this week that before it formally proposes any rules for debt collection, it wants to hear how collectors verify borrowers’ information and communicate with consumers. In other words, debt collectors could be restricted from using text messages, social media or other Internet-based tools in their pursuit to collect debts. With about one in 10 Americans coming out of the financial crisis with some debt in collection, investing in small cap debt collection stocks has been profitable for investors. However, there is no timeline for when any new rules might be released for review or come into effect.

  • [By Sally Jones]

    Today’s diverse companies were chosen for their speculative enterprises. Both companies deal in the territory of what if. If Encore Capital Group Inc. (ECPG) can collect more from a huge portfolio of consumer debt, the company would grow. If Sophiris Bio Inc. (SPHS), a 10-person biopharm, is successful in competing to provide relief for prostate BPH symptoms, the company would soar.

10 Best Financial Stocks For 2014: iShares U.S. Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (IEO)

iShares Dow Jones U.S. Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Index Fund (the Fund) seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance of the Dow Jones U.S. Select Oil Exploration & Production Index (the Index). The Index measures the performance of the oil exploration and production sub-sector of the United States equity market. The Index includes companies that are engaged in the exploration for and extraction, production, refining and supply of oil and gas products.

The Fund will concentrate its investments in a particular industry or group of industries to approximately the same extent as the Index is so concentrated. Since all of the securities included in the Index are issued by companies in the oil exploration and production sub-sector, the Fund will be concentrated in the exploration and production industry. The Fund’s investment advisor is Barclays Global Fund Advisors.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Michael Burnick]

    The big E&P (exploration and production) and major integrated oil stocks see profits rise and fall with the price of crude. The iShares US Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (IEO) is one way to play this part of the oil patch.

  • [By Selena Maranjian]

    Exchange-traded funds offer a convenient way to invest in sectors or niches that interest you. If you’d like to add some gas and oil stocks to your portfolio, the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Oil and Gas Exploration Index ETF (NYSEMKT: IEO  ) could save you a lot of trouble. Instead of trying to figure out which companies will perform best, you can use this gas and oil ETF to invest in lots of them simultaneously.

    The basics
    ETFs often sport lower expense ratios than their mutual fund cousins. The gas and oil ETF’s expense ratio — its annual fee — is a relatively low 0.47%. The fund is on the small side, too, so if you’re thinking of buying, beware of possibly large spreads between its bid and ask prices. Consider using a limit order if you want to buy in to this gas and oil ETF.