5 Best Integrated Utility Stocks To Invest In Right Now

By David Sterman

In any industry, the only way to avoid price wars is to offer a superior product or service.

Customers will pay full price only if they think your offering is top-notch. And you’ll find no clearer example to that approach than Verizon Wireless, a subsidiary of Verizon (NYSE: VZ). In most consumer surveys, Verizon repeatedly comes out on top in terms of customer satisfaction, even as its service is often the most expensive choice.

On the flip side, Verizon’s key rivals — Sprint (NYSE: S) and AT&T (NYSE: T) — are learning what happens when you skimp on network investments. Both of these firms garner inferior consumer ratings, and despite billions being spent to upgrade their networks now, they still can’t close the perception gap against Verizon.

Yet even as Sprint and AT&T evaluate how to catch up to Verizon, behind-the-scenes discussions may upend the entire wireless service industry. That may help explain why short seller s are now targeting both Sprint and AT&T in a big way.

5 Best Integrated Utility Stocks To Invest In Right Now: McGraw Hill Financial Inc (MHFI)

McGraw Hill Financial, Inc. incorporated on December 29, 1925, is a financial intelligence company. The Company is engaged in credit ratings, benchmarks and analytics for the global capital and commodity markets. The Company’s brands include Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts, CRISIL, J.D. Power & Associates, McGraw Hill Construction and Aviation Week. The Company’s credit ratings, indices, price assessments and other capabilities provide clients with the intelligence to manage risk. Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services helps investors and markets participants measure and manage credit risk through credit ratings, research and analytics. S&P Capital IQ is a provider of real-time data, research and analytics to institutional investors, investment and commercial banks, investment advisors and wealth managers, corporations and universities globally. On March 22, 2013, the Company sold McGraw-Hill Education. Effective July 18, 2013, McGraw Hill Financial Inc acquired a remaining undisclosed interest which it did not already own in Tata McGraw-Hill Education Pvt Ltd from Tata charitable trust. In August 2013, McGraw Hill Financial Inc completed the sale of Aviation Week to Penton.

The Company provides a range of capabilities designed to help track performance, generate alpha, identify new trading and investment ideas, and perform risk analysis and mitigation strategies. The Company’s S&P Dow Jones Indices is the provider of financial market indices. Its Platts is a provider of information and a source of benchmark price assessments for the energy, petrochemicals, metals and agriculture markets. J.D. Power & Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in business sectors, including customer satisfaction research, market research, social media research, and performance improvement programs. McGraw Hill Construction connects people, projects, and products a cross the design and construction industry. AVIATION WEEK is! the multimedia information and services provider to the global aviation, aerospace and defense industries.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Financial intelligence company McGraw-Hill (MHFI) raised its quarterly dividend 7.1% to 30 cents per share, payable on Mar. 12 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 26.
    MHFI Dividend Yield: 1.57%

  • [By John Waggoner]

    The problem with the Aristocrats is that their yields, too, are often low. The three largest holdings in the index, McGraw-Hill Financial (ticker: MHFI), Emerson Electric (EMR), and Dover (DOV), yield 1.56%, 2.5% and 1.62%, respectively. If you’re only in it for the income, you could do better with a five-year bank CD.

5 Best Integrated Utility Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Great American Group Inc (GAMR)

Great American Group, Inc. (Great American), incorporated on May 7, 2009, is a provider of asset disposition and valuation and appraisal services to a range of retail, wholesale and industrial customers, as well as lenders, capital providers, private equity investors and professional service firms. The Company operates its business in two segments: liquidation and auction solutions and valuation and appraisal services. Its liquidation and auction divisions assist customers in the disposition of assets. Such assets include multi-location retail inventory, wholesale inventory, trade fixtures, machinery and equipment, intellectual property and real property. Great American’s valuation and appraisal services division provides its clients with independent appraisals in connection with asset-based loans, acquisitions, divestitures and other business needs. Its valuation and appraisal services division provides valuation and appraisal services to financial institutions, lenders , private equity investors and other providers of capital. These services primarily include the valuation of assets for purposes of determining and monitoring the value of collateral securing financial transactions and loan arrangements, and in connection with potential business combinations. In October 2009, Great American formed a subsidiary, GA Capital, LLC (GA Capital).

Auction and Liquidation Solutions

The Company enables its clients to dispose of under-performing assets and generate cash from excess inventory by conducting or assisting in store closings, going out of business sales, bankruptcy sales and fixture sales. It also provides merger and acquisition due diligence, through the Company’s auction and liquidation segment and reverse logistics and appraisal services, through its valuation and appraisal services segment. It provides retail auction and liquidation services on a fee and guarantee basis. In guarantee retail liquidation engag ements, it takes title to any unsold inventory. The Company ! designs and implements disposition programs for its customers seeking to convert excess wholesale and industrial inventory and operational assets into capital. Assets in an orderly liquidation are available for sale on a privately negotiated basis over a period of months. This sale method is often employed to dispose of furniture, fixtures and equipment in connection with retail liquidations, as well as wholesale inventory or industrial equipment. The Company’s live auctions can cover single sites or multiple locations, and the Company utilizes point-of-sale software to generate customized sales reports and invoices and to track assets. The Company webcasts its live auctions over the Internet. This auction format allows online bidders to compete in real time against bidders at the live auction. Bidders can log onto the auction from personal computers, view and bid on lots as they come up for sale, hear the auctioneers as the sale is being conducted and, in some cases, view live streaming video of the auctioneer calling the bids on-site. In the online auction format, the sale of assets takes place online, without a live auctioneer calling the sale.

The Company provides advisory services relating to the wind down process from beginning to end, including negotiation of early lease terminations, sale of intellectual property and sale of completed inventory through the client’s historical distribution channels. It assists clients with managing the disposition of customer returns, obsolete inventory, extraneous fixtures and dated equipment. The Company serves as a broker, providing assistance in reaching target markets and potential buyers or marketing to its database of buyers and end users. The Company performs sealed bid sales in situations where asset disposition requires anonymity of the buyer or seller or involves other confidentiality concerns. In this process, potential buyers submit bids without knowledge of the amount bid b y other participants. It also provides wholesale and industr! ial servi! ces on a fee, guarantee and an outright purchase basis. The Company commenced auctions for foreclosed residential real estate properties, through its joint venture with Kelly Capital during the year ended December 31, 2009. The Company coordinates the auction process, including the venue, personnel and onsite technological requirements. It also arranges for financial institutions, title and escrow companies to be onsite at the auction to provide onsite services to potential buyers. The Company provides its home auction services on a fee basis based on a percentage of sale prices and on an outright purchase basis.

Valuation and Appraisal Services

Great American’s valuation and appraisal teams provide independent appraisals to financial institutions, lenders and other providers of capital and other professional service firms for estimated liquidation values of assets. These teams include experts specializing in particular industry and asset classe s. The Company provides valuation and appraisal services across five categories: Consumer and Retail Inventory, representative types of appraisals and valuations include inventory of specialty apparel retailers, department stores, jewelry retailers, sporting goods retailers, mass and discount merchants, home furnishing retailers and footwear retailers; Wholesale and Industrial Inventory, representative types of appraisals and valuations include inventory held by manufacturers or distributors of automotive parts, chemicals, food and beverage products, wine and spirits, building and construction products, industrial products, metals, paper and packaging; Machinery and Equipment, representative types of asset appraisals and valuations include a range of equipment utilized in manufacturing, construction, transportation and healthcare; Intangible Assets, representative types of asset appraisals and valuations include intellectual property, goodwill, brands, logos, trademarks and customer lists, and Real Estate, representative types of ass! et apprai! sals and valuations include owned and leased manufacturing and distribution facilities, retail locations and corporate offices.

The Company competes with overstock.com and eBay.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By CRWE]

    Today, GAMR surged (+8.57%) up +0.030 at $.380 with 10,000 shares in play thus far (ref. google finance Delayed: 10:28AM EDT July 12, 2013).

    Great American Group, Inc. has been selected to handle store closing sales at eight Orchard Supply Hardware locations, offering significant product discounts in the Citrus Heights, Fairfield, Huntington Beach, Lone Tree, Long Beach, Midtown, Newark and Vacaville stores

    Orchard previously reported on June 17, 2013, that it had reached an agreement through which Lowe’s Companies, Inc. will acquire the majority of its assets but will allow Orchard to continue day-to-day operations as a separate, standalone business with its brand, strategy and management team intact. To facilitate the acquisition agreement and restructure its balance sheet, Orchard filed voluntary Chapter 11 petitions in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The agreement with Lowe’s comprises the initial stalking horse bid in the Court-supervised auction process under Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code.

  • [By CRWE]

    Today, GAMR has shed (-9.46%) down -0.035 at $.335 with 160 shares in play thus far (ref. google finance Delayed: 9:31AM EDT July 8, 2013), but don’t let this get you down.

    Great American Group, Inc. has been selected to handle store closing sales at eight Orchard Supply Hardware locations, offering significant product discounts in the Citrus Heights, Fairfield, Huntington Beach, Lone Tree, Long Beach, Midtown, Newark and Vacaville stores

    Orchard previously reported on June 17, 2013, that it had reached an agreement through which Lowe’s Companies, Inc. will acquire the majority of its assets but will allow Orchard to continue day-to-day operations as a separate, standalone business with its brand, strategy and management team intact. To facilitate the acquisition agreement and restructure its balance sheet, Orchard filed voluntary Chapter 11 petitions in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The agreement with Lowe’s comprises the initial stalking horse bid in the Court-supervised auction process under Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code.

5 Best Integrated Utility Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Resource Capital Corp.(RSO)

Resource Capital Corp. operates as a specialty finance company that focuses primarily on commercial real estate and commercial finance in the United States. The company?s commercial real estate-related investments include first mortgage loans, first priority interests in first mortgage real estate loans, subordinate interests in first mortgage real estate loans, mezzanine loans, and commercial mortgage-backed securities. It also invests in commercial finance assets, including senior secured corporate loans, other asset-backed securities, equipment leases and notes, trust preferred securities, and debt tranches of collateralized debt and loan obligations. The company qualifies as a real estate investment trust (REIT) for federal income tax purposes. As a REIT, it is not subject to federal corporate income tax to the extent that it distributes 90% of its REIT taxable income. The company was founded in 2005 and is based in New York, New York.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Wallace Witkowski]

    Shares of Resource Capital Corp. (RSO)  declined 3.8% to $5.82 in moderate volume after the real-estate investment trust said it would launch a $100 million offering in notes due 2018.

  • [By Eric Volkman]

    Resource Capital (NYSE: RSO  ) is dipping into its coffers for another shareholder payout. The company has declared a dividend for its current quarter of $0.20 per share, which is to be paid on July 26 to shareholders of record as of June 28. That amount matches each of the company’s previous five distributions, the most recent of which was paid in late April. Before that, Resource Capital was more generous, dispensing $0.25 per share.

5 Best Integrated Utility Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Osiris Therapeutics Inc.(OSIR)

Osiris Therapeutics, Inc., a stem cell company, focuses on the development and marketing of therapeutic products to treat various medical conditions in the inflammatory, autoimmune, orthopedic, and cardiovascular areas. It operates in two business segments, Therapeutics and Biosurgery. The Therapeutics segment focuses on developing biologic stem cell drug candidates from a readily available and non-controversial source, adult bone marrow. The Biosurgery segment works to harness the ability of cells and novel constructs to promote the body’s natural healing. This segment focuses on developing biologic products for use in surgical procedures. The company?s lead biologic drug candidate is Prochymal, which is in phase 2 and 3 clinical trails for various indications, including acute graft versus host disease (GvHD), Crohn’s disease, acute myocardial infarction, type 1 diabetes, pulmonary disease, and gastrointestinal injury resulting from radiation exposure. Its biologic drug c andidates also include Chondrogen, a preparation of adult mesenchymal stem cells that is in phase 2 clinical trials for osteoarthritis and cartilage protection. The company has collaboration agreements with Genzyme Corporation for the development and commercialization of Prochymal and Chondrogen in various countries except in the United States and Canada. It also has a partnership with Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for the development of Prochymal as a treatment for the preservation of insulin production in patients with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes mellitus. Osiris Therapeutics, Inc. was founded in 1992 and is headquartered in Columbia, Maryland.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lauren Pollock]

    Osiris Therapeutics Inc.(OSIR) said Friday a proposed ruling from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services won’t immediately affect reimbursements for its Grafix stem-cell product. The regenerative medicine company said Grafix will maintain its current reimbursement status — also called transitional pass-through status — potentially through late 2015.

  • [By Maxx Chatsko]

    Additionally, stem cell therapies have remained elusive as the industry’s ultimate Holy Grail. Osiris (NASDAQ: OSIR  ) received Canadian approval for the world’s first stem cell drug, Prochymal, for children battling acute graft-versus-host disease, or GvHD, last year. The approval meant more symbolically than to the bottom line, but it definitely put the potential of stem cells front and center for investors.

  • [By Alexander Maxwell]

    One of the companies attempting to develop a better treatment for chronic diabetic foot ulcers is Osiris Therapeutics  (NASDAQ: OSIR  ) . Earlier this month, Osiris shares more than doubled as the company announced positive data for its CDFU drug Grafix. The study results were very impressive to say the least; the study was stopped early due to the overwhelming efficacy exhibited by the treatment. A main highlight is the fact that 62% of Grafix patients had their wound closed at 12 weeks, compared to only 21% of patients using conventional methods. Clearly, the efficacy in this endpoint was overwhelming. Grafix also achieved all of the secondary endpoints for the trial, and more importantly demonstrated a relatively benign safety record. 

5 Best Integrated Utility Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Manulife Financial Corp (MFC)

Manulife Financial Corporation (MFC) is a Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. The Company’s segments are Asia, Canadian and U.S. Divisions and the Corporate and Other segment. The Company’s international network agents and distribution partners offers financial protection and wealth management products and services to clients. It also provides asset management services to institutional customers. In January 2013, the Company acquired Benesure Canada Inc. In August 2013, John Hancock, the United States division of the Company, announced that it has acquired Landmark Square in Long Beach, California. In December 2013, MFC announced its subsidiary, Manulife (International) Limited, had completed the transaction to sell its life insurance business in Taiwan to CTBC Life Insurance Co., Ltd. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Patricio Kehoe] est Canadian life insurer by market capitalization, offering asset management, wealth management and financial services to customers in Asia, Canada and the U.S. However, the company’s annuity and segregated fund business has suffered over the past two years, due to the low interest rate environment, leading to a decline in earnings and operating results. Nonetheless, the firm has been undergoing some changes throughout 2013 and management expects profitability to increase for fiscal 2014, despite its underperformance during fourth quarter fiscal 2013. Thus, many investment gurus like George Soros (Trades, Portfolio) and Jim Simons’ (Trades, Portfolio) hedge fund remain bullish about Manulife’s future outlook, evidenced by their shares purchased in the past quarter.

    Of Hedging and Repricing

    Manulife’s capital sensitivity and volatile earnings have made it difficult for the company to maintain steady growth prospects in the past, but quarter four’s earnings report showed improvements in some aspects, especially regarding EPS growth, which jumped 73% year over year, closing at $1.62 per share. This is largely due to the company’s recent strategy of hedging two-thirds of its variable annuity business, and looking forward all newly written businesses in this segment will be hedged. Furthermore, the firm has been gradually trading most of its short-term bonds for long-term bonds, which will improve the bond duration of its investment portfolio, thereby reducing earning sensitivity. While insurance sales were weak for 2013, declining 13% from 2012 and 32% year over year for the quarter, Manulife’s shift towards expanding its wealth management business (wealth sales increased 37% over the past fiscal year) and mutual fund sales should help offset declines in t he future.

    In fact, today the company announced that it will be launching a new universal life product for the Canadian market called Manulife UL by May 26 of this year. The new

  • [By Eric Lam]

    Air Canada, the nation’s largest airline, surged 7.2 percent after reducing costs. Manulife Financial Corp. (MFC), Canada’s largest insurer, increased 2.6 percent for a fourth day of gains. Trilogy Energy Corp. plunged 9.8 percent after reporting a loss as sales declined. Detour Gold Corp. plunged 18 percent after saying it will not meet its 2013 production targets. Centerra Gold Inc. and HudBay Minerals Inc. sank at least 3.7 percent as gold dropped to a three-week low in New York.

  • [By Jonas Elmerraji]

    Manulife Financial (MFC) is another stock that’s forming an ascending triangle pattern right now. In the case of this $33 billion Canadian financial services firm, resistance comes into play at $18, a price level that’s acted as a ceiling for shares since all the way back in July. The buy signal comes on a move through that $18 barrier.

    Whenever you’re looking at any technical price pattern, it’s critical to think in terms of those buyers and sellers. Triangles, and other pattern names are a good quick way to explain what’s going on in a stock, but they’re not the reason it’s tradable. Instead, it all comes down to supply and demand for shares.

    That $18 resistance level is a price where there has been an excess of supply of shares; in other words, it’s a place where sellers have been more eager to step in and take gains than buyers have been to buy. That’s what makes a breakout above it so significant — the move means that buyers are finally strong enough to absorb all of the excess supply above that price level.

    After it happens, I’d recommend keeping a protective stop at $16.50.