5 Best Growth Stocks For 2014

Aluminum giant Alcoa (AA) has sent a letter to the London Metal Exchange urging rule changes to appropriately meet the needs of the aluminum market.

The proposed changes are specifically aimed at the availability of aluminum as well as making the entire industry more transparent. Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld wishes for the LME to improve its reporting system to increase market efficiency and to improve contracts to better allow traders to hedge against price risk.

Alcoa’s letter comes shortly after the company learned it would be removed from the Dow Jones Industrial Average, an index which it had been a member of since 1959.

5 Best Growth Stocks For 2014: MEDIFAST INC(MED)

Medifast, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the production, distribution, and sale of weight management and disease management products, and other consumable health and diet products in the United States. The company?s product lines include weight and disease management, meal replacement, and vitamins. It also operates weight control centers that offer Medifast programs for weight loss and maintenance, customized patient counseling, and inbody composition analysis. The company markets its products under the Medifast and Essential brand names, including shakes, appetite suppression shakes, women?s health shakes, diabetics shakes, joint health shakes, coronary health shakes, calorie burn drinks, calorie burn flavor infusers, antioxidant shakes, antioxidant flavor infusers, bars, crunch bars, soups, chili, oatmeal, pudding, scrambled eggs, hot cocoa, cappuccino, chai latte, iced teas, fruit drinks, pretzels, puffs, brownie, pancakes, soy crisps, crackers, and omega 3 and digestive health products. Medifast Inc. sells its products through various channels of distribution comprising Web, call center, independent health advisors, medical professionals, weight loss clinics, and direct consumer marketing supported via the phone and the Web; Take Shape for Life, a physician led network of independent health coaches; and weight control centers. The company was founded in 1980 and is headquartered in Owings Mills, Maryland.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Medifast (NYSE: MED) is expected to post its Q4 earnings at $0.36 per share on revenue of $80.83 million.

    Full House Resorts (NASDAQ: FLL) is estimated to post a Q4 loss at $0.06 per share on revenue of $33.24 million.

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Analysts expect Medifast (NYSE: MED) to post its Q4 earnings at $0.36 per share on revenue of $80.83 million. Medifast shares surged 2.19% to close at $26.08 on Friday.

5 Best Growth Stocks For 2014: Nordstrom Inc.(JWN)

Nordstrom, Inc., a fashion specialty retailer, offers apparel, shoes, cosmetics, and accessories for women, men, and children in the United States. It offers a selection of brand name and private label merchandise. The company sells its products through various channels, including Nordstrom full-line stores, off-price Nordstrom Rack stores, Jeffrey? boutiques, treasure & bond, and Last Chance clearance stores; and its online store, nordstrom.com, as well as through catalog. Nordstrom also provides a private label card, two Nordstrom VISA credit cards, and a debit card for Nordstrom purchases. The company?s credit and debit cards feature a shopping-based loyalty program. As of September 30, 2011, it operated 222 stores, including 117 full-line stores, 101 Nordstrom Racks, 2 Jeffrey boutiques, 1 treasure & bond store, and 1 clearance store in 30 states. The company was founded in 1901 and is based in Seattle, Washington.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Shares of Dillard’s have dropped 1.4% to $89.99 at 3:13 p.m., while Macy’s (M) has dropped 0.6% to $57.33, Sears Holdings (SHLD) has fallen 2.7% to $44.61 and Nordstrom (JWN) has has dipped $61.59. JC Penney is little changed at $8.29.

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Fashion specialty retailer Nordstrom (JWN) raised its quarterly dividend 10% to 33 cents per share, payable March 25 to shareholders of record as of March 10.
    JWN Dividend Yield: 2.15%

  • [By Grace L. Williams]

    The hits keep coming at high-end retailer Nordstrom (JWN).

    Bloomberg

    After reporting a decline in fourth-quarter earnings and weak sales, shares traded down 0.3% to $59.24 today. And Sterne, Agee & Leach’s Charles Grom, while acknowledging that the fourth quarter was “OK,” warned that there were issues developing underneath. He explains:

    Beneath the surface, there are two disturbing trends emerging that shouldn’t go unnoticed, including: 1) a more promotional environment/gross profit margin risk (as Nordstrom price matches); and 2) full line cannibalization (via e-commerce), which structurally compresses Nordstrom’s top-line algo. All told, the Nordstrom experience is one of the best in retail, but the stock is dead money for the foreseeable future, in our view.

    Grom accentuated a few positives that included a rise in same-store sales by 2.6% and decent earnings. A rise in inventory levels and lower EPS guidance were some of the negatives, Grom said.

    Nordstrom’s pain didn’t cause stand in the way of gains for some other department store stocks. Dillard’s (DDS) gained 1.5% to $89.33, while Macy’s (M) rose 0.5% to $53.71. Even J.C. Penney (JCP) had a better day. It finished down just 0.2% at $5.64.

     

5 Best Growth Stocks For 2014: Thoratec Corporation(THOR)

Thoratec Corporation engages in the development, manufacture, and marketing of proprietary medical devices used for circulatory support. The company?s primary product lines include ventricular assist devices, such as HeartMate II, an implantable left ventricular assist device consisting of a rotary blood pump to provide intermediate and long-term mechanical circulatory support (MCS); and HeartMate XVE, an implantable and pulsatile left ventricular assist device for intermediate and longer-term MCS. Its ventricular assist devices also comprise Paracorporeal Ventricular Assist Device, an external pulsatile ventricular assist device, which provides left, right, and biventricular MCS approved for bridge-to-transplantation (BTT), including home discharge, and post-cardiotomy myocardial recovery; and Implantable Ventricular Assist Device, an implantable and pulsatile ventricular assist device designed to provide left, right, and biventricular MCS approved for BTT comprising hom e discharge, and post-cardiotomy myocardial recovery. The company also provides CentriMag, an extracorporeal full-flow acute surgical support platform that offers support up to 30 days for cardiac and respiratory failure. In addition, it offers PediMag and PediVAS extracorporeal full-flow acute surgical support platforms designed to provide acute surgical support to pediatric patients. The company sells its products through direct sales force in the United States, as well as through a network of distributors internationally. Thoratec Corporation was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in Pleasanton, California.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Todd Campbell]

    Competing for heart pump market share
    Abiomed’s products provide circulatory support for up to six hours and are designed for use in cardiac cath labs or during heart surgery, but competitors Thoratec (NASDAQ: THOR  ) and Heartware (NASDAQ: HTWR  ) target the intermediate- and long-term-use market instead.

  • [By Brian Pacampara]

    What: Shares of medical device company Thoratec (NASDAQ: THOR  ) sank 12% today after its quarterly results missed Wall Street expectations.  

5 Best Growth Stocks For 2014: Waste Management Inc.(WM)

Waste Management, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides waste management services to residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers in North America. It offers collection, transfer, recycling, and disposal services. The company also owns, develops, and operates waste-to-energy and landfill gas-to-energy facilities in the United States. Its collection services involves in picking up and transporting waste and recyclable materials from where it was generated to a transfer station, material recovery facility, or disposal site; and recycling operations include collection and materials processing, plastics materials recycling, and commodities recycling. In addition, it provides recycling brokerage, which includes managing the marketing of recyclable materials for third parties; and electronic recycling services, such as collection, sorting, and disassembling of discarded computers, communications equipment, and other electronic equipment. Further, the company e ngages in renting and servicing portable restroom facilities to municipalities and commercial customers under the Port-o-Let name; and involves in landfill gas-to-energy operations comprising recovering and processing the methane gas produced naturally by landfills into a renewable energy source, as well as provides street and parking lot sweeping services. Additionally, it offers portable self-storage, fluorescent lamp recycling, and medical waste services for healthcare facilities, pharmacies, and individuals, as well as provides services on behalf of third parties to construct waste facilities. The company was formerly known as USA Waste Services, Inc. and changed its name to Waste Management, Inc. in 1998. Waste Management, Inc. was incorporated in 1987 and is based in Houston, Texas.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Damian Illia]

    During 2008, Republic Services and Allied Waste merged to create a strong company which could compete with number-one waste management company Waste Management Inc. (WM). It is true this industry has a rather constant nature, as trash volume increases with population growth, urban construction, industrial production and commercial activity. Still, the macroeconomic context during 2008 affected the recently-merged company, having to deal with lower waste volumes and intense price competition. Nevertheless, after this bumpy beginning, the company reached a good profitability. And, although it came to sustain average growth on both gross and operating margins, this tendency has recently decelerated with this margins underperforming in 2012 and 2013.

  • [By Damian Illia]

    Furthermore, the company has a wide economic moat largely stemming from three factors: its efficient scale, its high switching costs and its intangible assets. Of the 20 commercial hazardous-waste landfills operational in the U.S., the majority are run by US Ecology and its main competitors Waste Management Inc. (WM), and Clean Harbors Inc. (CLH). With barriers to entry stemming from regulatory permits, and a limited market size, ECOL has managed to achieve an efficient scale in the market with five hazardous waste-sides. The company’s intangible assets consist of long-term regulatory permits, which enable US Ecology to posses a “gatekeeper privilege” regarding barriers to new entrants. In addition, customer switching costs are high, thus further adding to the firm’s ability to sustain growth in the long term.

  • [By Sean Williams]

    Show me the money!
    Starting us off this week is refuse and recycling giant Waste Management (NYSE: WM  ) , which on Friday divvied out $0.375 per share to investors, a $0.01 jump from its payout in the previous quarter. Waste Management’s business has been hit recently by weaker commodity prices that hurt its recycling margins, along with consolidation in the refuse business which is also pressuring margins. However, as the clear market-share leader in refuse, a necessity-based business, it continues to wield impressive pricing power that can be used to slowly grow its bottom line. Waste Management’s 3.6% yield should remain an attractive lure for income-seeking investors.

5 Best Growth Stocks For 2014: Eastern Insurance Holdings Inc.(EIHI)

Eastern Insurance Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides workers compensation insurance and reinsurance products in the United States. The company?s Workers Compensation Insurance segment provides traditional workers compensation insurance coverage products, including guaranteed cost policies, policyholder dividend policies, retrospectively-rated policies, deductible policies, and alternative market products to employers. This segment distributes its workers? compensation products and services through its independent insurance agents primarily in Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina, Maryland, Indiana, and Virginia. Its Segregated Portfolio Cell Reinsurance segment offers alternative market workers compensation solutions comprising program design, fronting, claims administration, risk management, segregated portfolio cell rental, asset management, and segregated portfolio management services to individual companies, groups, and associations. Eastern Insurance Holdings, Inc. is headquartered in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lauren Pollock]

    ProAssurance Corp.(PRA) agreed to acquire Eastern Insurance Holdings Inc.(EIHI) for about $205 million, expanding the insurance company’s casualty insurance offerings. Eastern Insurance is a domestic casualty insurance group specializing in workers’ compensation products and services, among other things. ProAssurance plans to pay $24.50 in cash for each outstanding Eastern share, a 16% premium over Monday’s closing price.