10 Best Financial Stocks To Invest In 2014

With shares of BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) trading around $7, is BBRY an OUTPERFORM, WAIT AND SEE, or STAY AWAY? Let’s analyze the stock with the relevant sections of our CHEAT SHEET investing framework:

T = Trends for a Stock’s Movement

BlackBerry is a designer, manufacturer, and marketer of wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market. Through the development of integrated hardware, software, and services it provides platforms and solutions for seamless access to information such as email, voice, instant messaging, SMS, Internet, intranet-based applications, and browsing. Its products and services feature the BlackBerry wireless solution, the Research In Motion Wireless Handheld product line, the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, software development tools, and other software and hardware.

BlackBerry has lost the support of one of its founders, as former CEO Mike Lazaridis has reduced his remaining stake in the company after BlackBerry gave up on a decision to sell itself and instead installed new CEO John Chen and obtained $1 billion in financing from Fairfax Financial Holdings. According to a regulatory filing seen by Bloomberg, Lazaridis sold over $26 million worth of his stock in BlackBerry this week, leaving him with 26.3 million shares or a 4.99 percent stake in the company’s outstanding shares. Lazaridis was one of the many parties considering a bid on BlackBerry when the company was still up for sale.

10 Best Financial Stocks To Invest In 2014: Fidelity National Financial Inc. (FNF)

Fidelity National Financial, Inc. provides title insurance, mortgage services, and diversified services in the United States. The company provides title insurance, escrow, and other title related services, including collection and trust activities, trustee’s sales guarantees, recordings, and reconveyances, as well as home warranty insurance to various customers in the residential and commercial market sectors of the real estate industry. It is also involved in the design, manufacture, remanufacture, market, and distribution of aftermarket and original equipment electrical components for automobiles, light trucks, heavy-duty trucks, and other vehicles worldwide. In addition, the company owns and operates restaurants comprising the O’Charley’s, Ninety Nine Restaurants, Max & Erma’s, Village Inn, Bakers Square, and Stoney River Legendary Steaks concepts in the United States. Fidelity National Financial, Inc. is headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Damian Illia]

    The firm is currently Zacks Rank # 2 – Buy, and it also has a longer-term recommendation of “OutPerform”. For investors looking for a Zacks Rank # 1 – Strong Buy, Alleghany Corp. (Y), Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRK.B) and Fidelity (FNF) could be the options.

  • [By Adam J. Wiederman]

    Getty Images Bitcoin made headlines last year when the value of all outstanding pieces of the electronic currency reached nearly $10 billion. It’s not just speculators drawn to the new currency. Many businesses are also attempting to cash in on this growth: Several public companies, including Zynga (ZNGA) and Overstock.com (OSTK), accept Bitcoins as a form of payment. Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen’s firm has invested nearly $50 million in Bitcoin-related ventures, and it is looking to invest even more. And the Winklevoss twins — who notoriously accused Facebook’s (FB) Mark Zuckerberg of stealing their idea — have been “in dialogue” with the SEC about opening the first Bitcoin exchange-traded fund, according to Bloomberg. Yet a new survey from TheStreet.com (TST) reveals that 76 percent of consumers are not familiar with Bitcoin — and 79 percent would never consider owning a currency like it. Does this signal opportunity for savvy investors? Or is this a fad you’d be wise to avoid? The Basics of Bitcoin Bitcoin is a completely unregulated form of currency developed by an anonymous Japanese programmer (according to some apocryphal claims) as a completely digital, peer-to-peer payment system that is independent of national currencies (which, Bitcoin users argue, are all subject to the riskiness of the underlying country). Bitcoins are rewarded throughout the day to a “Bitcoin miner” whose computer solves a series of algorithms quicker than other miners. The puzzles become more difficult over time, so the calculations take longer and the computations require more computing power. There will eventually be a total of 21 million Bitcoins (12.4 million are in circulation today) and we won’t reach the point that they are effectively “mined out” until 2040. The value of a Bitcoin is supposed to be market-driven, meaning they’re worth whatever the two parties in a transaction value them as. For example, in one of the original Bitcoin transactions, a “mi

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Title insurance company Fidelity National Financial (NYSE: FNF  ) announced yesterday its third-quarter dividend of $0.16 per share, the same rate it’s paid for the past three quarters after raising the payout 14% from $0.14 per share.

10 Best Financial Stocks To Invest In 2014: CSB Bancorp Inc (CSBB)

CSB Bancorp, Inc. (CSB), incorporated in 1991, is a financial holding company. The Commercial and Savings Bank of Millersburg, Ohio (the Bank) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company. CSB operates primarily through the Bank and its other subsidiaries, providing a range of banking, trust, financial and brokerage services to corporate, institutional and individual customers throughout northeast Ohio. The Bank provides retail and commercial banking services to its customers, including checking and savings accounts, time deposits, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), safe deposit facilities, personal loans, commercial loans, real estate mortgage loans, installment loans, night depository facilities, brokerage and trust services.

Lending Activities

The Bank provides residential real estate, commercial real estate, commercial and consumer loans to customers located primarily in Holmes, Tuscarawas, Wayne, Stark and portions of surrounding counties in Ohio. Commercial loan rates are variable as well as fixed, and include operating lines of credit and term loans made to small businesses, primarily based on their ability to repay the loan from the cash flow of the business. Business assets, such as equipment, accounts receivable and inventory typically secure such loans. Commercial real estate loans are primarily secured by borrower-occupied business real estate. Commercial real estate loans are generally originated with a loan-to-value ratio of 80% or less. Commercial construction loans are secured by commercial real estate and in most cases the Bank also provides the permanent financing. Residential real estate loans carry both fixed and variable rates and are secured by the borrower’s residence. Home equity lines of credit are made to individuals and are secured by second or first mortgages on the borrower’s residence. Installment loans to individuals include loans secured by automobiles and other consumer assets, including second mortgages on personal residences.

Investment Activities

As of December 31, 2011, the Company’s securities available-for-sale totaled $123,026,000. Its portfolio of securities available-for-sale includes the United States treasury securities, the United States Government corporations and agencies, mortgage-backed securities, obligations of states and political subdivisions, equity securities, and corporate bonds.

Sources of Funds

As of December 31, 2011, the Company’s portfolio of deposits included noninterest-bearing demand, interest-bearing demand deposits, savings deposits and time deposits. Short-term borrowings consist of securities sold under agreements to repurchase, short-term advances through Federal Home Loan Bank and federal funds purchased.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By CRWE]

    Today, CSBB remains (0.00%) +0.000 at $18.75 thus far (ref. google finance Delayed: 3:53PM EDT July 30, 2013).

    CSB Bancorp, Inc. previously reported second quarter 2013 net income of $1.25 million or $.45 per basic and diluted share, as compared to $1.14 million or $.41 per basic and diluted share for the same period in 2012.

    Annualized returns on average common equity (“ROE”) and average assets (“ROA”) for the quarter were 9.32% and 0.88%, respectively, compared with 8.98% and 0.82% for the second quarter of 2012.

    Eddie Steiner, President and CEO commented, “We continue to focus on growing relationships with current and new customers. The bank’s average loan balances have increased 10% in the past year, and although margins remain tight, this growth has provided increases of approximately 4% in net interest income.”

10 Best Financial Stocks To Invest In 2014: W.R. Berkley Corporation(WRB)

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

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    W.R. Berkley (NYSE: WRB)is estimated to report its Q3 earnings at $0.74 per share on revenue of $1.57 billion.

    V.F. Corp (NYSE: VFC) is projected to report its Q3 earnings at $3.78 per share on revenue of $3.34 billion.

  • [By Laura Brodbeck]

    Earnings reports expected on Monday include:

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

    Economics

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Insurance holding company W.R. Berkley  (NYSE: WRB  )  announced yesterday its second-quarter dividend of $0.10 per share, an 11% increase over the $0.09 per share it paid last quarter.

10 Best Financial Stocks To Invest In 2014: iShares MSCI Japan ETF (EWJ)

iShares MSCI Japan 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 Japanese market, as measured by the MSCI Japan Index (the Index). The Index seeks to measure the performance of the Japanese 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 in the Index. The Index is reviewed quarterly.

The Fund invests in a representative sample of securities included in the Index that collectively has an investment profile similar to the Index. iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund’s investment advisor is Barclays Global Fund Advisors.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Matthew McCall]

    iShares MSCI Japan ETF (NYSE: EWJ)

    The first country to open for the week after the news out of Ukraine hit the wires was Japan, and it was an ugly open. The major stock indices fell by over two percent before they were able to rebound and the Nikkei finished the first day of the week lower by 1.3 percent. The Japanese Yen was down 0.5 percent versus the U.S. Dollar, which is good news for Japanese exporters.

  • [By Charles Sizemore]

    After closing at a recent high of 16,291 on Dec. 30, the Nikkei was down by about 14% through yesterday’s close. The iShares MSCI Japan ETF (EWJ), the most popular Japan ETF, is down a more modest 9%, due in part to currency effects (the yen tends to rally during “risk off” market conditions).

  • [By Mark Hulbert]

    The ETFs linked to these respective regions that Mr. Nadig’s firm favors are the iShares MSCI Japan fund (EWJ)  , with a 0.53% expense ratio; the iShares MSCI EMU Index fund (EZJ)  , also with a 0.53% expense ratio; and the iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets fund (IEMG)  , with a 0.18% expense ratio.

10 Best Financial Stocks To Invest In 2014: iShares Russell 2000 Index Fund (IWM)

iShares Russell 2000 Index Fund (the Fund) seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance of the Russell 2000 Index (the Index). The Index measures the performances of the small capitalization sector of the United States equity market. The Index includes approximately 8% of the market capitalization of all publicly traded United States equity securities.

The Index is a subset of the Russell 3000 Index, and serves as the underlying index for the Russell 2000 Growth and Value Index series. The Index is a capitalization-weighted index of the approximately 2000 smallest companies in the Russell 3000 Index. The Fund uses a representative sampling strategy in seeking to track the Index. iShares Russell 2000 Index Fund’s investment advisor is Barclays Global Fund Advisors.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By MONEYMORNING.COM]

    Small caps were on a tear in 2013, with the iShares Russell 2000 Index (ETF) (NYSE Arca: IWM) returning 36.81%, compared to SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE Arca: SPY), which returned 29.69% over the same time period.

  • [By David Trainer]

    Over the past five years, small caps have handily outperformed large caps. The Russell 2000 (NYSE: IWM) rose by 153% since 2009 compared to 115% for the S&P 500. However, we believe the disparity in their performances signifies that small caps are now overvalued. The Russell 2000 currently has a price to economic book value ratio of 5.1, nearly double that of the S&P 500. There are still quality small-caps out there, but on average small caps are overvalued compared to large and mid cap stocks.

10 Best Financial Stocks To Invest In 2014: Northern Trust Corporation(NTRS)

Northern Trust Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides asset servicing, fund administration, asset management, and fiduciary and banking solutions for corporations, institutions, families, and individuals worldwide. The company offers corporate and institutional services, including global master trust and custody, trade settlement, and reporting; fund administration; cash management; investment risk and performance analytical services; investment operations outsourcing; and transition management and commission recapture services. It also provides personal financial services, such as personal trust, investment management, custody, and philanthropic services; financial consulting; guardianship and estate administration; brokerage services; and private and business banking services, as well as customized products and services. In addition, the company offers active and passive equity and fixed income portfolio management, as well as alternative asset classes comprisin g private equity and hedge funds of funds, and multi-manager products and advisory services. Further, it engages in fund administration, investment operations outsourcing, and custody business that provides specialized services to a range of funds, which include money-market, multi-manager, exchange-traded funds, and property funds for on-shore and off-shore markets. Additionally, the company provides administrative and middle-office services consisting of trade processing, valuation, real-time reporting, accounting, collateral management, and investor servicing. Northern Trust Corporation was founded in 1889 and is based in Chicago, Illinois.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By E.S. Browning]

    This view is spreading. When Northern Trust(NTRS) surveyed 100 outside investment managers at the end of last year, 34% called themselves more risk averse, up from 20% in the third quarter. Only 36% said U.S. stocks are undervalued.

  • [By Selena Maranjian]

    Northern Trust (NASDAQ: NTRS  )

    To earn their high scores, the companies above engaged in a variety of good practices, including applying their human rights policy to their suppliers and vendors, and committing to quantifiable targets and goals.

  • [By Holly LaFon]

    In the fourth quarter, Yacktman’s biggest additions to his holdings were Research In Motion (RIMM) and Avon Products (AVP). He also surprised followers by venturing into financials, with new positions in Goldman Sachs (GS), Bank of America (BAC), State Street Corp. (STT) and Northern Trust Corp. (NTRS).

10 Best Financial Stocks To Invest In 2014: Retail Properties of America Inc (RPAI)

Retail Properties of America, Inc., formerly Inland Western Retail Real Estate Trust, Inc., incorporated on March 5, 2003, is a fully integrated, self administered and self-managed real estate company that owns and operates shopping centers. The Company is an owner and operator of shopping centers in the United States. As of December 31, 2011, its retail operating portfolio consisted of 259 properties with approximately 3.6 million square feet of gross leasable area (GLA), was diversified across 35 states and includes power centers, community centers, neighborhood centers and lifestyle centers, as well as single-user retail properties. The Company’s retail properties are located in retail districts. In August 2012, the Company sold a 1.04-million-square-foot Cost Plus Distribution Center in Stockton. In September 2012, it disposed 13 former Mervyns locations. In October 2012, it sold 18 non-core and non-strategic assets.

The Company’s shopping centers are anchored or shadow anchored by a grocer, discount department store, wholesale club or retailer that sells basic household goods or clothing. national and regional grocers, discount retailers and other retailers that provide household goods or clothing, including Target, TJX Companies, PetSmart, Best Buy, Bed Bath and Beyond, Home Depot, Kohl’s, Wal-Mart, Publix and Lowe’s. As of December 31, 2011, over 90% of its shopping centers, based on GLA, were anchored or shadow anchored by a grocer, discount department store, wholesale club or retailers that sell basic household goods or clothing. As of December 31, 2011, it had a retail tenant base that includes approximately 1,500.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Eric Volkman]

    Retail Properties of America (NYSE: RPAI  ) isn’t keeping all of its rent money for itself. The company has declared a new set of quarterly dividend payments for its shareholders. Holders of all classes of the REIT’s common stock will receive $0.165625 per share on July 10 if they’re in possession of those shares as of June 28. The firm will also dispense $0.4375 per share of its 7.00% series A cumulative redeemable preferred stock on July 1 to shareholders of record as of June 20.

  • [By António Costa]

    Retail Properties of America Inc (NYSE: RPAI) has been in an impressive rebound since the lows of August and the stock price action continues to become Bullish. However, RPAI has run into the downtrend line resistance again and this could lead to a brief period of sideways consolidation or price correction from current levels. On watch.

10 Best Financial Stocks To Invest In 2014: PHH Corp (PHH)

PHH Corporation (PHH), incorporated in 1953, is an outsource provider of mortgage and fleet management services. PHH operates in three segments: Mortgage Production, Mortgage Servicing and Fleet Management Services. The Company provides mortgage banking services to a range of clients, including financial institutions and real estate brokers, throughout the United States. The Company’s mortgage banking activities include originating, purchasing, selling and servicing mortgage loans through its wholly owned subsidiary, PHH Mortgage Corporation and its subsidiaries (collectively PHH Mortgage). It provides commercial fleet management services to corporate clients and government agencies throughout the United States and Canada through its wholly owned subsidiary, PHH Vehicle Management Services Group LLC (PHH VMS). PHH VMS is a fully integrated provider of fleet management services with a range of product offerings, including managing and leasing vehicle fleets and providing other fee-based services for its clients’ vehicle fleets.

Mortgage Production Segment

The Mortgage Production segment provides mortgage services, including private-label mortgage services, to financial institutions and real estate brokers through PHH Mortgage. The Mortgage Production segment generates revenue through fee-based mortgage loan origination services and the origination and sale of mortgage loans into the secondary market. PHH Mortgage generally sells all mortgage loans that it originates to secondary market investors, which include a variety of institutional investors, and typically retains the servicing rights on mortgage loans sold. During the year ended December 31, 2011, 92% of its mortgage loans were sold to, or were sold pursuant to, programs sponsored by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Ginnie Mae and the remaining 8% were sold to private investors. The Mortgage Production segment includes PHH Home Loans, LLC (together with its subsid iaries, PHH Home Loans), which is a joint venture that the C! ompany maintains with Realogy Corporation. The Company owns 50.1% of PHH Home Loans through its subsidiaries and Realogy owns the remaining 49.9% through their affiliates. PHH has rights to use the Century 21, Coldwell Banker and ERA brand names in marketing its mortgage loan products through PHH Home Loans and other arrangements that it has with Realogy.

The Mortgage Production segment also includes its interest in Speedy Title & Appraisal Review Services LLC (STARS), which provides appraisal services utilizing a network of professional licensed firms offering local coverage throughout the United States and also provides credit research, flood certification and tax services. On March 31, 2011, it sold 50.1% of the interests in STARS to CoreLogic, Inc. The Company operates through two principal business channels: private label services and real estate.

The retail platform consists of private label services and real estate channels. The Company is a provider of private-label mortgage loan originations for financial institutions and other entities throughout the United States. In this channel, the Company offers a complete outsourcing solution, from processing applications through funding, for clients that wish to offer mortgage services to their customers but are not equipped to handle all aspects of the process cost-effectively. The Company also purchases closed mortgage loans from financial institutions.

The Company works with real estate brokers to provide their customers with mortgage loans. Through its affiliations with real estate brokers, it has access to home buyers at the time of purchase. It works with brokers associated with NRT Incorporated, Realogy’s owned real estate brokerage business, brokers associated with Realogy’s franchised brokerages (Realogy Franchisees) and third-party brokers that are not affiliated with Realogy. During 2011, approximately 22% of the Company’s mortgage loan o riginations were derived from its relationship with Realogy ! and its a! ffiliates. In this channel, it also works with Cartus Corporation, Realogy’s relocation business, to provide mortgage loans to employees of Cartus’ clients. Cartus provides outsourced corporate relocation services in the United States. Realogy has agreed that the real estate brokerage business owned and operated by NRT Incorporated and the title and settlement services business owned and operated by Title Resource Group LLC will recommend PHH Home Loans as provider of mortgage loans to the independent sales associates affiliated with Realogy, excluding the independent sales associates of any Realogy Franchisee, and all customers of Realogy Services Group LLC and Realogy Services Venture Partner, Inc., excluding Realogy Franchisees. Certain Realogy Franchisees have agreed to recommend PHH Mortgage as provider of mortgage loans to their respective independent sales associates. As of 2011, it has entered into exclusive marketing service agreements with 5% of Realogy Franchi sees. In the Relocation Channel, the Company works with Cartus Corporation, Realogy’s relocation business, to provide mortgage loans to employees of Cartus’ clients.

During 2011, the Company originated mortgage loans for approximately 17% of the transactions in which real estate brokerages owned by Realogy represented the home buyer. And approximately 8% of the transactions in which real estate brokerages franchised by Realogy where it had exclusive marketing service agreements, represented the home buyer.

Mortgage Servicing Segment

The Company principally generates revenue in its Mortgage Servicing segment through fees earned from its servicing rights or from its subservicing agreements. Mortgage servicing rights are the rights to receive a portion of the interest coupon and fees collected from the mortgagors for performing specified mortgage servicing activities, which consist of collecting loan payments, remitting principal and interest payments to investors, managing escrow funds for th! e payment! of mortgage-related expenses, such as taxes and insurance, performing loss mitigation activities on behalf of investors, and otherwise administering its mortgage loan servicing portfolio. Mortgage servicing rights for sold loans are initially recorded at fair value in its Mortgage Production Segment’s results of operations. Changes in fair value subsequent to the initial capitalization are recorded in its Mortgage Servicing Segment’s results of operations. The Company’s Mortgage Servicing segment also includes the results of its reinsurance activities from its wholly owned subsidiary, Atrium Reinsurance Corporation.

The Company provides mortgage reinsurance to certain third-party insurance companies that provide primary mortgage insurance on loans originated in its Mortgage Production segment. While it does not underwrite primary mortgage insurance directly, it provides reinsurance that covers losses in excess of a specified percentage of the principal b alance of a given pool of mortgage loans, subject to a contractual limit. In exchange for assuming a portion of the risk of loss related to the reinsured loans, Atrium Reinsurance Corporation, its wholly owned subsidiary, receives a portion of borrower’s premiums from the third-party insurance companies.

Fleet Management Services Segment

The Company provides fleet management services to corporate clients and government agencies throughout the United States and Canada. It is an integrated provider of these services with a range of product offerings. The Company primarily focuses on clients with fleets of greater than 75 vehicles. As of 2011, it had approximately 270,000 vehicles leased, primarily consisting of cars and light-duty trucks and, to a lesser extent, medium and heavy-duty trucks, trailers and equipment, and approximately 300,000 additional vehicles serviced under fuel cards, maintenance cards, accident management services arrangements a nd/or similar arrangements. During 2011, the Company purchas! ed approx! imately 61,000 vehicles.

The Company provides corporate clients and government agencies with services and products, such as Fleet Leasing and Fleet Management Services, Maintenance Services, Accident Management Services, and Fuel Card Services. The Fleet Leasing and Fleet management services include vehicle leasing, fleet policy analysis and recommendations, benchmarking, vehicle recommendations, ordering and purchasing vehicles, arranging for vehicle delivery and administration of the title and registration process, as well as tax and insurance requirements, pursuing warranty claims and remarketing used vehicles. It leases vehicles to its clients under both open-end and closed-end leases. Open-end leases represent 97% of its lease portfolio, and are a form of lease in which the client bears substantially all of the vehicle’s residual value risk. These leases typically have a minimum term of 12 months, and can be continued after that at the lessee’s election for successive monthly renewals. Upon return of the vehicle by the lessee, it typically sells the vehicle into the secondary market, and the client receives a credit or pays the difference between the sale proceeds and the vehicle’s book value.

Open-end leases may be classified as operating or direct financing depending upon the nature of the residual guarantee. Revenues for operating leases contain a depreciation component, an interest component and a management fee component, and are recognized over the lease term. For direct financing leases, revenues contain an interest component and a management fee component, and are recognized over the lease term. Closed-end leases represent 3% of its lease portfolio, and are a form of lease in which it retains the residual risk of the value of the vehicle at the end of the lease term. Closed-end leases may be classified as operating or direct financing based on the terms of the individual contracts.

The C ompany offers clients vehicle maintenance service cards that! are used! to facilitate payment for repairs and maintenance. It maintains a network of third-party service providers in the United States and Canada to ensure ease of use by the clients drivers. The vehicle maintenance service cards provide clients with negotiated discounts off of full retail prices through its supplier network, access to its in-house team of certified maintenance experts that monitor transactions for policy compliance, reasonability and cost-effectiveness, and inclusion of vehicle maintenance transactions in a consolidated information and billing database, which assists clients with the evaluation of overall fleet performance and costs. During 2011, the Company averaged 324,000 maintenance service cards in the United States and Canada. It receives a fixed monthly fee for these services from its clients, as well as additional fees from service providers in its third-party network for individual maintenance services.

PHH provides its clients with accident management services, such as immediate assistance upon receiving the initial accident report from the driver, an organized vehicle appraisal and repair process through a network of third-party preferred repair and body shops and coordination and negotiation of potential accident claims. The Company’s accident management services provide its clients with convenient, coordinated 24-hour assistance from its call center, access to its relationships with the repair and body shops included in its preferred supplier network, which typically provide clients with favorable terms, and expertise of its damage specialists, who ensure that vehicle appraisals and repairs are appropriate, cost-efficient and in accordance with each client’s specific repair policy. During 2011, it averaged 298,000 vehicles that were participating in accident management programs. The Company receives fees from its clients for these services, as well as additional fees from service providers in its third- party network for individual incident services.

It prov! ides its clients with fuel card programs that facilitate the payment, monitoring and control of fuel purchases. Fuel is typically the single fleet-related operating expense. Its fuel cards provide its clients with access to more fuel brands and outlets than other private-label corporate fuel cards, point-of-sale processing technology for fuel card transactions that enhances clients’ ability to monitor purchases and consolidated billing, and access to other information on fuel card transactions, which assists clients with the evaluation of overall fleet performance and costs. Its fuel cards are offered through relationships with third parties in the United States, and a card in Canada, which offer expanded fuel management capabilities on one service card. During 2011, it averaged 295,000 fuel cards in the United States and Canada. PHH receives both monthly fees from its fuel card clients and additional fees from fuel partners and providers.

The Company competes with Bank of America, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Chase Home Finance, CitiMortgage, GE Commercial Finance Fleet Services, Wheels, Inc., Automotive Resources International and Lease Plan International.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Holly LaFon]

    Despite economic and political turmoil, equity markets performed well across the board in September of 2013 and over the trailing twelve months. The September gains reversed losses in August and also resulted in positive overall quarterly performance with a number of major indexes moving further into record territory. After disturbing the markets in May and June with comments that they may taper Quantitative Easing (QE), the Fed surprised investors with an announcement that it would not reduce its asset purchases in the near-term. The announcement removed fears that a continued rise in interest rates may stall the economic recovery, as seen by the market’s negative reaction to the sharp rise in the 10-year Treasury rate in August of 2013. Investors were also comforted by improving fundamentals both domestically and abroad. The Eurozone may finally be emerging from its prolonged recession and a number of economic reports in the U.S. continue to show progress. Specifically, initial unemployment claims dropped to a multiyear low early in September and the housing market continued to improve, as evidenced by prices rising 12.4 percent year-over year, which along with the stock market’s strength, has created a positive wealth effect for consumers. In response to this general economic improvement, consumer confidence increased at the end of September, and the index of leading economic indicators ticked up as well, suggesting that, absent the effects of politics, the recovery in the real economy was continuing. Our portfolios that focus on corporate restructuring (Keeley Small Cap Value, Keeley Small-Mid Cap Value, Keeley Mid Cap Value, Keeley All Cap Value, and Keeley Alternative Value) have all experienced a productive investment cycle with respect to their opportunity sets, and many of our holdings have posted impressive results in recent quarters. Although we acknowledge an improving economy has boosted the outlook for our more cyclical holdings , our research has gu

  • [By Lawrence Meyers]

    X stock is a stock to short.

    Stocks to Short #2: PHH Corp. (PHH)

    PHH Corp. (PHH) provides both mortgage servicing and originates mortgages, though it also handles vehicle fleet services. PHH is struggling with lower total loan margins and refinancing declines.

10 Best Financial Stocks To Invest In 2014: PowerShares DWA Momentum Portfolio (PDP)

PowerShares DWA Technical Leaders Portfolio (Fund) seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and of an equity index called the Dorsey Wright Technical Leaders Index (the Index). The Index consists of stocks of approximately 100 United States companies that are selected pursuant to a selection methodology of Dorsey Wright & Associates (the Index Provider). The Index is designed to identify companies that demonstrate powerful relative strength characteristics. Relative strength characteristics are based upon each security’s market performance. The companies are selected from a broad mid-cap and large-cap universe.

The Fund will normally invest at least 90% of its total assets in common stocks that comprise the Index. The Index is adjusted quarterly, and the Fund, using an indexing investment approach, attempts to replicate the performance of the Index. The Fund generally will invest in the stocks comprising the Index in proportion to thei r weightings in the Index. The Fund’s investment advisor is PowerShares Capital Management LLC.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Victor Selva]

    Of course, a great bet also involves many risks. Even though LCD technology became very popular in these last few years, both in TV screens and computer monitors, we should never miss the fact that technological markets are often exposed to products becoming obsolete due to the development of new, more efficient technology. Without going any further, it’s easy to recall the plasma display panel (PDP) fiasco, an apparently promising market in the 1990s and early 2000s but quickly replaced by LCDs (by 2008 LCDs sell 21.1 million units, almost 10 times PDP sales on the same year). Even Panasonic Corporation (PCRFF) announced it will interrupt production of PDP on 2014.

10 Best Financial Stocks To Invest In 2014: Horizon Technology Finance Corporation (HRZN)

Horizon Technology Finance Corporation, a specialty finance company, lends to and invests in development-stage companies in the United States. It provides secured loans to companies backed by established venture capital and private equity firms in the technology, life science, healthcare information and services, and cleantech industries. Horizon Technology Finance Corporation was founded in 2008 and is based in Farmington, Connecticut.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By BDC Buzz]

    I believe investors should look past the current low dividend yields and relatively higher multiples of NAV per share for BDCs such as FDUS, MAIN, and TCAP, but should consider the total return for these companies. The table below compares FDUS and MAIN to both ACAS which does not pay dividends and Horizon Technology Finance (HRZN) that pays a higher than average dividend but after taking into account dividend growth, special dividends, and NAV per share growth (using last twelve months actual for projection purposes) it is clear that the expected investor return is based on more than the current dividend yield.