5 Best Asian Stocks For 2014

Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s first foray into closed-end funds may have done more than raise a lot of money. It might have reignited the whole space.

The Goldman Sachs MLP Income Opportunities Fund (GZM) raised $826 million this week, making it the largest initial public offering of a closed-end fund since June.

“It’s really been a tough IPO market,” said Cecilia Gondor, chief investment officer of Thomas J. Herzfeld Advisors Inc., a registered investment adviser that specializes in closed-end fund research. “We’ve been seeing a lot of $100 million to $300 million deals. This is fantastic.”

5 Best Asian Stocks For 2014: Protalix Biotherapeutics Inc (PLX)

Protalix BioTherapeutics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of recombinant therapeutic proteins based on its ProCellEx protein expression system, ProCellEx. Using its ProCellEx system, the Company is developing a pipeline of biosimilar or generic versions of recombinant therapeutic proteins based on its plant cell-based expression technology, which focuses pharmaceutical markets and that rely upon known biological mechanisms of action. ProCellEx protein expression system consists of a set of technologies and capabilities for the development of recombinant proteins, including advanced genetic engineering technology and plant cell-based protein expression methods. Its ProCellEx protein expression system is built on flexible custom-designed bioreactors made of polyethylene and optimized for the development of complex proteins in plant cell cultures. In June 2010, it had completed the preliminary phase I clinical trial of PRX- 105.

Taliglucerase Alfa

Taliglucerase alfa is a plant cell expressed recombinant glucocerebrosidase enzyme (GCD) for the treatment of Gaucher disease. The Company has commenced pre-clinical studies of an oral form of taliglucerase alfa. Its oral taliglucerase alfa is a plant cell expressed form of GCD that is naturally encapsulated within carrot cells genetically engineered to express the GCD enzyme. Pre-clinical studies of oral taliglucerase alfa demonstrate the stability of the enzyme in the cell and the capacity of the cell’s cellulose wall to protect the enzyme against degradation in the digestive tract in an in-vitro model of the stomach and intestines. Additionally, rats fed with lyophilized carrot cells expressing GCD have accumulated the active enzyme in the target organs; the spleen and liver. As of December 31, 2010, the Company had completed Phase III Clinical Trial.

PRX-102

The Company is developing PRX-102, i ts plant cell expressed modified version of the recombinant ! alpha-GAL-A protein, a therapeutic enzyme for the treatment of Fabry disease. Fabry disease is a rare, hereditary, genetic lysosomal storage disorder in humans caused by an X-lined deficiency of the alpha-GAL-A enzyme. The Company is in the animal evaluation testing phase of the development of PRX-102, which tests are based on a mouse model for Fabry disease.

Acetylcholinesterase

Protalix Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company is licensed the rights to certain technology under a research and license agreement with Yissum Research and Development Company (Yissum) and the Boyce Thompson Institute, Inc. Pursuant to the agreement, the Company is developing PRX-105, a plant cell-based acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and its molecular variants for the use in several therapeutic and prophylactic indications, as well as in a biodefense program and an organophosphate-based pesticide treatment program.

As of December 31, 2010, its in-vitr o experiments of PRX-105 have shown that the acetylcholinesterase enzyme in its ProCellEx protein expression system demonstrates biological activity on biochemical and cellular levels. In addition, early animal studies demonstrated that the acetylcholinesterase expressed in its ProCellEx protein expression system was able to treat animals exposed to the nerve gas agent analogues, both when injected with its acetylcholinesterase product candidate immediately before exposure or when injected after exposure. In March 2010, it initiated a preliminary phase I clinical trial of PRX-105, which the Company completed in June 2010.

pr-antiTNF

pr-antiTNF is a candidate for the treatment of certain autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, ankylosing, spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and plaque psoriasis. The Company has designed the antiTNF as pr-antiTNF. pr-antiTNF is a plant cell-expressed recombinant fusion protein ma de from the soluble form of the human TNF receptor (TNFR), f! used to t! he Fc component of a human antibody domain. pr-antiTNF has an identical amino acid sequence to Enbrel and its in-vitro and preclinical animal studies have demonstrated that pr-antiTNF exhibits similar activity to Enbrel. Specifically, pr-antiTNF binds TNF thereby inhibiting it from binding to cellular surface TNF receptors and protects L929 cells from TNF-induced apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner.

The Company competes with Genzyme, Actelion, Crucell N.V., Biolex, Inc., Chlorogen, Inc., Greenovation Biotech GmbH, Symbiosys, Novartis AG/Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, BioGeneriX AG, Stada Arzneimittel AG, BioPartners GmbH and Teva.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Maxx Chatsko]

    Industrial biotech isn’t the only industry headed to Brazil. Protalix (NYSEMKT: PLX  ) entered into a technology transfer agreement with Brazil’s Ministry of Health last week that will pay the company $280 million. The deal is big news for Protalix’s first product, Elelyso/Uplyso, which was developed with partner Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) . The treatment is approved as an enzyme replacement therapy, or ERT, for adults with type 1 Gaucher disease, and it marks a huge step forward for the future of biomanufacturing. In the following video, Fool contributor Maxx Chatsko explains what this means for the product’s commercialization and the adoption of Protalix’s novel plant cell-based expression system for therapeutic proteins.

  • [By Keith Speights]

    Other investors might wish that Pfizer would use some of its cash to acquire a few smaller companies. Protalix BioTherapeutics (NYSEMKT: PLX  ) has been mentioned as one possible candidate. The two companies already partner together on Gaucher disease drug Elelyso. In February, Protalix spurred rumors that Pfizer could be interested in buying the company after it announced that it had engaged Citigroup to pursue a “broad array of strategic alternatives.”

5 Best Asian Stocks For 2014: HSBC Holdings PLC (HSBC)

HSBC Holdings plc (HSBC), incorporated on January 1, 1959, is a global banking and financial services organizations. As of December 31, 2012, it provided a range of financial services to around 58 million customers through four global businesses: Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Commercial Banking, Global Banking and Markets, and Global Private Banking. Its international network covers 81 countries and territories in six geographical regions; Europe, Hong Kong, Rest of Asia-Pacific, Middle East and North Africa, North America and Latin America. As of December 31, 2012, the Company had an international network of some 6,600 offices in 81 countries and territories in six geographical regions; Europe, Hong Kong, Rest of Asia-Pacific, Middle East and North Africa (‘MENA’), North America and Latin America. On May 20, 2012, HSBC Holdings PLC’s wholly owned subsidiary HSBC Bank USA, N.A. and other wholly owned subsidiaries, sold 195 retail branches to First Niagara Bank, N.A. (First Niagara). In May 2012, the Company’s 70.03% owned subsidiary, HSBC Bank Malta plc, sold its card acquiring business to HSBC Merchant Services Ltd. In June 2012, the Company’s indirect wholly owned subsidiary, HSBC Iris Investments (Mauritius) Ltd, sold its 4.73% interest in Axis Bank Limited and 4.74% interest in Yes Bank Limited. In July 2012, its subsidiary, HSBC Europe (Netherlands B.V.), sold its 100% interest in HSBC Credit Zrt, to CentralFund Kockazati Tokealap. On March 31, 2013, Enstar Group Ltd’s subsidiary completed the acquisition from Household Insurance Group Holding Company of HSBC Insurance Company of Delaware and Household Life Insurance Company of Delaware, as well as its three subsidiary insurers.

The Company’s principal banking operations in Europe are HSBC Bank plc in the UK, HSBC France, HSBC Bank A.S. in Turkey, HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c., HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA and HSBC Trinkaus & Burkhardt AG. Through these subsid iaries it provides a range of banking, treasury and financia! l services to personal, commercial and corporate customers across Europe. HSBC’s banking subsidiaries in Hong Kong are The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited and Hang Seng Bank Limited.

The Company offers a range of banking and financial services in the People’s Republic of China, mainly through its local subsidiary, HSBC Bank (China) Company Limited. It also participates indirectly in mainland China through its primary associate, Bank of Communications. Outside mainland China, it conducts business in 21 countries and territories in the Rest of Asia-Pacific region, primarily through branches and subsidiaries of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.

In the Middle East, the Company has network of branches of HSBC Bank Middle East Limited, together with HSBC’s subsidiaries and associates. Its North American businesses are located in the United States, Canada and Bermuda. Operations in the United States are conducted throug h HSBC Bank USA, N.A., and HSBC Finance, a national consumer finance company based near Chicago. HSBC Markets (USA) Inc. is the intermediate holding company of, inter alia, HSBC Securities (USA) Inc. HSBC Bank Canada and HSBC Bank Bermuda operate in their respective countries.

The Company’s operations in Latin America consists of HSBC Bank Brasil S.A.-Banco Multiplo, HSBC Mexico, S.A., HSBC Bank Argentina S.A. and HSBC Bank (Panama) S.A. In addition to banking services, it operates insurance businesses in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Panama and a range of smaller markets.

Retail Banking and Wealth Management

Retail Banking and Wealth Management (RBWM) take deposits and provide transactional banking services to enable customers to manage their day-to-day finances and save for the future. It offers credit facilities to assist customers in their short or longer-term borrowing requirements; and we provide financial advisory, broking, insu rance and investment services to help them to manage and pro! tect thei! r financial futures. It develops products designed to meet the needs of specific customer segments, which may include a range of different services and delivery channels. Its customer offerings include deposits and account services; credit and lending, both secured and unsecured, and financial advisory, broking, life insurance manufacturing and asset management.

The Company offers services through four principal channels: branches, self-service terminals, telephone service centres and digital (Internet and mobile). Customers can transact with the bank through a combination of these channels. Its offers include HSBC Premier, HSBC Advance, Wealth Solutions & Financial Planning and Basic Banking. HSBC Premier provide preferential banking services and global recognition to its mass affluent customers and their immediate families. Customers can access emergency travel assistance, priority telephone banking and an online global view of their Premier accounts around th e world. HSBC Advance provides a range of preferential products and services to simplify the banking needs of customers and to help them manage and plan their money to achieve their financial goals and ambitions. Wealth Solutions & Financial Planningis a financial planning process designed around individual customer needs to help its clients to protect, grow and manage their wealth through investment and wealth insurance products manufactured by Global Asset Management, Global Markets and HSBC Insurance and by selected third-party providers. Basic Banking provides banking products and services using global product platforms and globally set service standards.

Commercial Banking

The Company segment’s its Commercial Banking Business (CMB) into Corporate, to serve both Corporate and Mid-Market companies, and Business Banking, to serve the small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) sector. It provides support to companies as they expand both domesti cally and internationally, and ensures a focus on the busine! ss bankin! g segments. It offers a range of financing, both domestic and cross-border, including overdrafts, receivables finance, term loans and syndicated, leveraged, acquisition and project finance. Asset finance is offered in selected sites. The Company provides the services and finance its clients need throughout the trade cycle including; letters of credit, collections, guarantees; receivables finance; supply chain solutions; commodity and structured finance; and risk distribution. HSBC is supporting the development of renminbi as a trade currency, with renminbi capabilities in more than 50 markets. It is a provider of domestic and cross-border payments, collections, liquidity management and account services offering local, regional and global solutions delivered through e-enabled platforms designed to address the current and future needs of its clients. The Company offers business and financial protection, trade insurance, employee benefits, corporate wealth management and a vari ety of other commercial risk insurance products in selected countries.

Global Banking and Markets

Global Banking and Markets (GB&M) provides tailored financial solutions to government, corporate and institutional clients and private investors globally. Managed as a global business, GB&M operates a long-term relationship management approach to build a understanding of clients’ financial requirements. Sector-focused client service teams consisting of relationship managers and product specialists develop financial solutions to meet individual client needs. GB&M is managed as two principal business lines: Global Markets, and Global Banking.

Global Markets operations consist of treasury and capital markets services. Products include foreign exchange; currency, interest rate, bond, credit, equity and other derivatives; government and non-government fixed income and money market instruments; precious metals and exchange-traded futures; equ ity services; distribution of capital markets instruments, a! nd securi! ties services, including custody and clearing services and funds administration to both domestic and cross-border investors. Global Banking offers financing, advisory and transaction services. Its products include capital raising, advisory services, bilateral and syndicated lending, leveraged and acquisition finance, structured and project finance, lease finance and non-retail deposit taking; international, regional and domestic payments and cash management services; and trade services for corporate clients.

Global Private Banking

Global Private Banking (GPB) provides investment management and trustee solutions to high net worth individuals and their families globally. Private Banking services consists of multicurrency and fiduciary deposits, account services, and credit and specialist lending. GPB also accesses HSBC’s universal banking capabilities to offer products and services such as credit cards, Internet banking, and corporate and investmen t banking solutions. Investment Management comprises advisory and discretionary investment services, as well as brokerage across asset classes. This includes a range of investment vehicles, portfolio management, security services and alternatives. Private Trust Solutions comprise trusts and estate planning, designed to protect wealth and preserve it for future generations through structures tailored to meet the individual needs of each client.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    Citi and four other banks – Zions Bancorp (NASDAQ: ZION), Banco Santander (NYSE: SAN), HSBC Holdings PLC (NYSE: HSBC) for its North American operations, Royal Bank of Scotland PLC (NYSE: RBS) – will have to resubmit their plans with the Fed, and then they must get approval in writing from the Fed to increase buybacks and dividends. The foreign banks that failed will be restricted from paying higher dividends back to their parent companies.

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    HSBC Holdings plc (NYSE: HSBC) shares declined 0.59% to reach a new 52-week low of $49.54. Analysts at Credit Suisse downgraded the stock from Outperform to Underperform.

  • [By fedezaldua]

    Indeed, BBVA sells at a similar valuation level but pays a much lower cash yield – BBVA is expected to pay a 4% cash dividend yield in 2014. BBVA trades at 2014 150% tangible book value and 18 times earnings. While you can always acquire a solid international banking institution such as HSBC (HSBC), which pays a 4% cash yield and sells for a significantly lower valuation than both Santander and BBVA, it’s nearly impossible in today’s market to buy an international banking institution that would pay you a 9% cash dividend yield.

5 Best Asian Stocks For 2014: Cosan Ltd (CZZ)

Cosan Limited (Cosan), incorporated on April 30, 2007, is a holding company. The Company is engaged in the production of ethanol and sugar, the marketing and distribution of fuel and lubricants in Brazil, and logistics services in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The Company imports, exports, produces and sells ethanol, sugar, sugarcane and other sugar by-products. It distributes and sells fuel and other fuel by-products. The Company produces and markets electricity, steam and other co-generation by-products. During the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011 (fiscal 2011), it operated 24 mills. On February 18, 2011, Cosan, through its subsidiary Cosan S.A. Acucar e Alcool acquired 100% of the voting corporate capital of Cosan Araraquara Acucar e Alcool Ltda., (Usina Zanin).

The Company operates in three in segments: sugar and ethanol (S&E), fuel distribution and lubricants (CCL) and sugar logistics (Rumo Logistica). The sugar and ethanol segment operates and produce s a range of sugar products, including raw, organic, crystal and refined sugars and consumer products under the Da Barra and Uniao brands, which are sold to a range of customers in Brazil and abroad, as well as produces and sells hydrous, anhydrous and industrial ethanol, which are sold to the Brazilian market. The sugar and ethanol segment also includes energy co-generation activities and land development businesses. Its fuel distribution and lubricants segment includes the distribution and marketing of fuels, mainly through franchised network of service stations under the brand Esso throughout the national territory, and production, distribution and marketing of lubricants licensed from ExxonMobil International Holdings B.V.. Its sugar logistics segment provides logistics services for the transport, storage and port lifting of sugar.

Sugar and Ethanol segment

As of March 31, 2011 the Company leased 437,698 hectares, through 2,128 land lease contr acts with an average term of five years. During fiscal 2011,! it harvested from owned or leased lands 27.4 million tons, of the sugarcane and purchased from third-party growers the 26.8 million tons of sugarcane. During fiscal 2011, its accumulated sugar extraction was 139.0 kilograms of total sugar recovered (TSR) per ton of sugarcane and its agricultural yield was 91.4 tons of sugarcane per hectare. It produces ethanol through a chemical process called yeasting. It produces and sells three types of ethanol: hydrous ethanol and anhydrous ethanol for fuel and industrial ethanol. It sells ethanol through gasoline distributors in Brazil mainly at the mill that sell it to retailers that then sell it at the pump to customers.

During fiscal year 2011, the Company sold 4.3 million tons of sugar. The Company produces a range of standard sugars, including raw sugar, crystal sugar and organic sugar, and refined sugars, including granulated refined white sugar, amorphous refined sugar, refined sucrose liquid sugar and refined inve rted liquid sugar. Its Sao Francisco mill and the Da Barra mill produce refined sugar. It also sells industrial alcohol, which is used in the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors. It sells sugar to a range of customers in Brazil and in the international markets. Its customers in Brazil include retail supermarkets, foodservice distributors and food manufacturers, for which it sells refined and liquid sugar.

Fuel distribution and lubricants

The Company’s fuel distribution business is engaged in sourcing, storing, blending and distributing primarily gasoline, ethanol, diesel and fuel oil through its retail network of approximately 4,500 Esso and Shell-branded stations. During fiscal 2011, it sold approximately 1.03 billion liters of fuels, consisting of 96.0% diesel and 4.0% gasoline, ethanol and other fuels to its industrial and wholesale clients. During fiscal 2011, Cosan Combustiveise Lubrificantes S.A. (CCL) sold a total of 166.4 million liters o f lubricants. Its lubricant operations consist of a wholly o! wned Lubr! icants Oil Blending Plant (LOBP), located in Rio de Janeiro, with annual production capacity of 1.4 million barrels of lubricants per year, including 48,000 barrels of grease per year.

Sugar Logistics

The Company owns and operates a sugar-loading terminal at the Port of Santos in the State of Sao Paulo through its subsidiary Rumo Logistica. It offers logistics solution to sugar producers located in the Center South of Brazil by transporting sugar from the mill by truck or rail to be loaded at its bulk sugar port terminal in Santos. It also offer sugar storage services.

The Company competes with Copersucar, Sudzucker AG, Petrobras, Ultrapar S.A., Shell Brasil Ltda. and AleSat Combustiveis S.A.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    ADM’s renewable-fuel business grabs most of the attention from investors. The drought has also had a big impact in this segment as well, as ADM has had to idle ethanol production facilities because of low corn supplies following the drought. Moreover, with sugar-based ethanol competitors Bunge (NYSE: BG  ) and Cosan (NYSE: CZZ  ) already benefiting from pricing disparities between sugar and corn, prospects of potential tariffs on U.S. ethanol in Europe could give Brazilian sugar-based ethanol a competitive advantage, further hurting ADM.

  • [By Maxx Chatsko]

    Partnership outlook
    I am still hoping that Codexis will be tapped by Raizen, a joint venture between Shell and sugar giant Cosan (NYSE: CZZ  ) , as its exclusive cellulase enzyme provider. Raizen has not been shy about its cellulosic ethanol ambitions — planning a 10 million gallon per year facility — but has yet to choose an enzyme technology. Investors should be careful not to assume that Codexis is a lock for the partnership (Raizen is the largest investor in Codexis), but with more than 580 million gallons of first-generation ethanol capacity the opportunity is enormous.

  • [By Maxx Chatsko]

    Lesson learned
    The financial situation at Amyris is less than enviable. Whereas fellow industrial biotech company Solazyme has hit every major milestone and had no problem raising funds, Amyris has had to take the more dilutive route for shareholders. Still, large commercial partners Total (NYSE: TOT  ) and Cosan (NYSE: CZZ  ) haven’t backed down in their support of the company. Total upped its investment in Amyris during several rough patches in the past year after incurring significant paper losses on the roughly 20% stake in the company. Total even has its own webpage for the partnership, which speaks to its long-term vision for Amyris’ platform, especially in renewable diesel.

5 Best Asian Stocks For 2014: Altra Holdings Inc.(AIMC)

Altra Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiary, Altra Industrial Motion, Inc., designs, produces, and markets a range of mechanical power transmission and motion control products worldwide. The company provides industrial clutches and brakes for elevators, forklifts, lawn mowers, oil well draw works, punch presses, and conveyors; open and enclosed gearing products for conveyors, ethanol mixers, packaging machinery, and metal processing equipment; and engineered couplings for extruders, turbines, steel strip mills, and pumps. It also offers engineered bearing assemblies for cargo rollers, seat storage systems, and conveyors; power transmission components for conveyors, lawn mowers, and machine tools; and engineered belted drives for pumps, sand and gravel conveyors, and industrial fans. The company sells its products under the Warner Electric, Boston Gear, TB Wood?s, Kilian, Nuttall Gear, Ameridrives, Wichita Clutch, Formsprag Clutch, Bibby Transmissions, Stieber, Matrix, In ertia Dynamics, Twiflex, Industrial Clutch, Huco Dynatork, Marland Clutch, Delroyd, Warner Linear, and Bauer Gear Motor brands through its sales force, industrial distributors, and independent sales representatives. It serves aerospace, energy, food processing, general industrial, material handling, mining, petrochemical, transportation, and turf and garden markets. The company is headquartered in Braintree, Massachusetts.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    When judging a company’s prospects, how quickly it turns cash outflows into cash inflows can be just as important as how much profit it’s booking in the accounting fantasy world we call “earnings.” This is one of the first metrics I check when I’m hunting for the market’s best stocks. Today, we’ll see how it applies to Altra Holdings (Nasdaq: AIMC  ) .

  • [By Brian Pacampara]

    What: Shares of power transmission products maker Altra Holdings (NASDAQ: AIMC  ) plummeted 17% today after its quarterly results and outlook disappointed Wall Street. 

5 Best Asian Stocks For 2014: TransAtlantic Petroleum Ltd (TAT)

TransAtlantic Petroleum Ltd. is an international oil and gas company engaged in the acquisition, exploration, development and production of crude oil and natural gas. The Company holds interests in developed and undeveloped oil and gas properties in Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania. As of March 1, 2012, it held approximately 5.4 million net onshore acres. As of March 1, 2012, it was producing an aggregate of approximately 2,638 net barrels of oil per day. As of March 1, 2012, it held interests in 57 onshore exploration licenses and nine onshore production leases covering a total of 5.3 million gross acres in Turkey. On February 18, 2011, the Company’s wholly owned subsidiary TransAtlantic Worldwide, Ltd. acquired Direct Petroleum Morocco, Inc. and Anschutz Morocco Corporation and its wholly owned subsidiary TransAtlantic Petroleum Cyprus Limited. On June 7, 2011, TransAtlantic Worldwide acquired Thrace Basin Natural Gas (Turkiye) Corporation. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By CRWE]

    TransAtlantic Petroleum Ltd. (Amex:TAT) reported that the Turkish Competition Authority has approved the Company’s sale of its oilfield services business to Dalea Partners, LP (“Dalea”, an affiliate of N. Malone Mitchell, 3rd, the Company’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer).