In today’s Wall Street Journal there is an article entitled “Too Late to Jump Aboard?” which highlights the recent run-up in equity indices and asks the question, where do we go from here? Here’s the gist of the opening to the article:
“After several months of relative calm in Europe and an uptick in the U.S. economy, investors just emerging from their bunkers are realizing that the rally train might have left the station already.
The dilemma for those who sat out the U.S. stock market’s recent climb: Should they jump into an upswing that could quickly evaporate, or risk missing out on further gains?”
I don’t fault the WSJ for articles such as these; people are interested in these types of discussions, and it will help sell some newspapers. However, for investors, let’s remember two important things: First off, nobody has the slightest idea where the market is heading next; second, if you are a value investor with a degree from Buffett & Munger University, this is simply noise that blocks intelligent investment decision making.
10 Best Penny Stocks To Own For 2015: Cornerstone Progressive Return Fund(CFP)
Cornerstone Progressive Return Fund is a closed-ended equity fund of fund launched and managed by Cornerstone Advisors, Inc. The fund invests funds investing in the public equity markets of the United States. It invests in stocks of companies operating across diversified sectors. Cornerstone Progressive Return Fund was formed on April 26, 2007 and is domiciled in the United States.
- [By Dan Caplinger]
But you can see in several places the consequences of the stampede toward high yield. Here are just a few:
Closed-end funds Cornerstone Progressive (NYSEMKT: CFP ) and Pimco High Income (NYSE: PHK ) both make fixed payments back to fund shareholders on a monthly basis, and their distribution yields are truly extraordinary, at about 17% and 12%, respectively. Those dividends have enticed shareholders to pay $1.30 to $1.40 or more for each $1 of assets in the funds. Yet during most months, a substantial portion of those distribution payments has simply been a return of investor capital rather than true income from the funds’ investments. A recent study discussed in The Wall Street Journal found that returns on a portfolio with a combined value and dividend-income strategy outperformed a strategy focused more exclusively on maximizing dividends by an average of 1.7 percentage points per year, a huge edge in long-run returns. In the dividend ETF arena, most funds tend to focus on maximizing yield. Although the popular Vanguard Dividend Appreciation (NYSEMKT: VIG ) ETF bucks the trend by screening first for consistent dividend growth and only then looking at yield as a factor, many rival ETFs start with high-yielding stocks as their baseline and only then consider other desirable traits. Others focus solely on high-dividend niches of the market, such as iShares FTSE NAREIT Mortgage-Plus (NYSEMKT: REM ) and its concentration on high-yield mortgage REITs.
When dividend stocks get too popular, their prices get out of line with both their dividend income and the fundamentals of the businesses that underlie those stocks. In simpler terms, when dividend stocks become bad values, it’s time to consider looking elsewhere for a margin of safety.
10 Best Penny Stocks To Own For 2015: Hickory Tech Corporation (HTCO)
Hickory Tech Corporation provides integrated communications services to business and residential customers in the Midwest. The company operates in two segments, Business Sector and Telecom Sector. The Business Sector segment offers integrated data services, such as fiber, data and Internet, voice and voice over Internet protocol, managed and hosted, data center, equipment, and total care support services. This segment also distributes telecommunications and data processing equipment, as well as provides network and equipment monitoring, maintenance, and equipment consulting services; and offers fiber-based transport for regional and national telecommunications carriers, wireless carriers, and other providers. It serves businesses primarily in the upper Midwest. The Telecom Sector segment offers network access services; and broadband services, such as residential and business DSL access, high-speed Internet, digital TV, and business Ethernet services. It also provides local telephone, long distance, and calling features services; and directory assistance, operator service, and long distance private lines. In addition, this segment offers directory publishing, customer premise equipment sales, bill processing, and add/move/change services. It owns and operates approximately 900 mile fiber optic network and facilities in Minnesota. Hickory Tech Corporation was founded in 1898 and is headquartered in Mankato, Minnesota.
- [By Marc Bastow]
Hickory Tech (HTCO), a communications provider in several Midwest states, announced a 3% dividend increase to 15 cents per share, payable Dec. 5 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 15.
HTCO Dividend Yield: 5.5%
10 Best Penny Stocks To Own For 2015: Enstar Group Limited (ESGR)
Enstar Group Limited, through its subsidiaries, acquires and manages insurance and reinsurance companies in run-off. The company settles insurance and reinsurance claims. It also offers management and consultancy, claims inspection, and reinsurance collection services to its affiliates and third-party clients. The company operates in the United States, Bermuda, the United Kingdom, Europe, and Australia. Enstar Group Limited was formerly known as Castlewood Holdings Limited and changed its name to Enstar Group Limited. Enstar Group Limited was founded in 2001 and is based in Hamilton, Bermuda.
- [By Matt Koppenheffer and David Hanson]
In this segment from Thursday’s Where the Money Is, Motley Fool financial analysts Matt Koppenheffer and David Hanson discuss Matt’s stock pitch of the week, Enstar Group Ltd. (NASDAQ: ESGR ) . In the insurance world, insurers can start an insurance business, or a line of insurance, that ends up performing poorly. This can force the insurer to then put that line of insurance, or the entire business, into what is known as run-off. This means they are no longer selling policies, and will only continue to manage the existing policies for the life of those policies. That is where Enstar comes in.
10 Best Penny Stocks To Own For 2015: Chiquita Brands International Inc. (CQB)
Chiquita Brands International, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the distribution and marketing of bananas and fresh produce under the Chiquita and other brand names worldwide. The company operates in three segments: Bananas, Salads and Healthy Snacks, and Other Produce. The Banana segment sources, transports, markets, and distributes bananas to retailers and wholesalers, and chain stores. It also engages in the cultivation and production of bananas. The Salads and Healthy Snacks segment offers value-added salads under the Fresh Express and other labels; and fresh vegetable and fruit ingredients used in foodservice, healthy snacks, and processed fruit ingredient products. This segment also provides fresh-cut products, such as lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, cabbage, and onions to foodservice distributors who resell these products to foodservice operators. It distributes Fresh Express branded products to food retailers, foodservice distributors, and quick-service restaurants; and fresh produce foodservice offerings primarily to third-party distributors for resale principally to quick-service restaurants in the United States. The Other Produce segment engages in sourcing, marketing, and distributing fresh fruits and vegetables other than bananas in Europe and North America. It offers grapes, pineapples, melons, kiwis, tomatoes, and avocados. The company was founded in 1899 and is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio.
- [By WWW.DAILYFINANCE.COM]
Amy Sancetta/AP Plenty of stocks go up and down in any given week. The gainers inspire us to keep investing. The decliners keep greed in check while reminding us about the risks of the equity markets. Let’s go over some of last week’s best and worst performers. Chiquita Brands (CQB) — Up 35 Percent Last Week Investors went bananas over Chiquita after it received — and rejected — a buyout offer. Cutrale and Safra offered an unsolicited offer to buy the banana giant at a price of $13 a share, representing a 29 percent premium to where Chiquita closed before bid was made public. Chiquita’s board rejected the offer. The stock still moved higher — above and beyond $13 — on the possibility of Cutrale and Safra sweetening their bid. Monster Beverage (MNST) — Up 34 Percent Last Week Soft drinks are out, and adrenaline-boosting energy drinks are in. Coca-Cola (KO) knows this, so it announced on Friday morning that it was buying a nearly 17 percent stake in Monster Beverage for $2.15 billion. Monster and Red Bull dominate this niche despite growing concerns about the health risks of young consumers taking in too many energy drinks. Monster’s stock rallied on Friday. Investors may be hoping that Coca-Cola eventually swallows down all of Monster, but in the meantime it validates the beverage category. United Online (UNTD) — Up 20 Percent Last Week It’s possible to be at the right place at the right time but with the wrong approach. United Online hasn’t been the market darling that it could have been given its ability to hop on to trends early. After all, it acquired alum-reuniting Classmates before social networking was hot. It built up NetZero when the country was just starting to migrate online. It also bought MyPoints from a legacy airline before the appeal of online coupons and loyalty clubs became popular. However, investors were rewarded last week when United Online posted preliminary quarterly results. Its bean counters are still trying to assess th
- [By Jayson Derrick]
Last night the board of directors of Chiquita Brands International (NYSE: CQB) rejected Cutrale and Safra's Groups acquisition offer of $13 per share and noted that it plans to proceed with a merger of Fyffes. Shares of Chiquita Brands hit new 52-week highs of $13.77 before closing the day at $13.63, up 0.89 percent.
10 Best Penny Stocks To Own For 2015: Alpha and Omega Semiconductor Limited(AOSL)
Alpha and Omega Semiconductor Limited engages in the design, development, and supply of a range of power semiconductors worldwide. The company offers power discrete product line comprising trench MOSFETs, electrostatic discharge, protected MOSFETs, and SRFETs; and power ICs. Its products are used in notebooks, netbooks, flat panel displays, mobile phone battery packs, set-top boxes, portable media players, and power supplies. The company sells its products to distributors. Alpha and Omega Semiconductor Limited is based in Hamilton, Bermuda.
- [By Tim Melvin]
This split among industry segments has created some value opportunities as those companies with high exposure to PCs are very cheap. And while the move towards smart phones and tablets may continue, the PC is not dead — demand will pick up along with the economy.
Alpha and Omega Semiconductor (AOSL)
Alpha and Omega Semiconductor (AOSL) is a designer, developer and global supplier of a broad portfolio of power semiconductors. The portfolio of power semiconductors includes more than 1,400 products, and has grown rapidly with 195 new products introduced last year alone. Its semiconductors are used in a wide range of products, including things like personal computers, flat panel TVs, LED lighting, smart phones, and telecommunications equipment.
10 Best Penny Stocks To Own For 2015: Cedar Shopping Centers Inc (CDR)
Cedar Shopping Centers, Inc., real estate investment trust, engages in the ownership, operation, development and redevelopment of supermarket-anchored community shopping centers and drug store-anchored convenience centers in the United States. As of December 31, 2007, it owned 118 properties, aggregating approximately 12.0 million square feet of gross leasable area primarily in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Virginia, Ohio, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Michigan, and New York. Cedar Shopping has elected to be treated as a REIT for federal income tax purposes and would not be subject to federal income tax, if it distributes at least 90% of its REIT taxable income to its stockholders. The company was founded in 1984 and is based in Port Washington, New York.
- [By Bill Smith]
Lastly, because of the negative perception the entire industry has received, prices in this sector have been absolutely pummeled. ESI now trades at the lower end of all of its historical valuation bands: P/E, P/B, and P/S.
Guru ownership and avg price: ESI owned by Hussman ($76.15), Weitz ($75.32), and Greenblatt ($73.29)Over 35% of shares are short, potential short squeezeStock buyback plan: ESI reduced outstanding shares by 19% yoy at the end of the 4th quarter. They repurchased 370K shares in 3Q11.The business model is scalable; the incremental cost to educate each additional student is low, leading to high marginsESI acquired Daniel Webster College, giving them a regional accreditation which they can use to broaden their reach in online classes
High costs of education, in general, rightly or wrongly attract government intervention and could squeeze margins over time. Total student debt surpassed credit card bal ances, and sits at $1 Trillion as of the end of 2011.Subject to compliance with Dept of Education’s 90/10 rules, which states a college can’t collect more than 90% of revenue from students participating in federal loan programs.Cohort Default Rate (CDR): for-profit colleges must monitor the federal loan default rates of students who graduate or leave the school. If a school’s CDR exceeds 25% for 3 consecutive years, or 40% in any one year, its students won’t be eligible for federal financial aid.ESI competes on quality of product which is measured by graduation rates and ability to secure employment. For 2010, 70% of ESI graduates got employment in positions using skills taught in their program of study within 1 year. As of Oct 2011, this rate was 600 bp higher. The average annual salary reported by employed 2011 grads was $32K, compared to $32.4K for 2010 grads.With an improving economy, there’s a potential ESI would see declining new student enrollmentsOver 35% of shares a re short