5 Best US Stocks To Invest In 2014

If you read an earnings report or listened to conference call this quarter, you might have heard a recurring theme. Or at least I did, as almost every company I followed this earnings season blamed Mother Nature for missing analyst estimates. What was interesting is that this time it wasn’t the retailers that were using the weather as an excuse. Instead, companies engaged in oil and gas production were the ones complaining about the weather.

On Heckmann’s (NYSE: NES  ) recent conference all, the frack-water treatment specialist made mention of the weather nearly two dozen times. The executive chairman led off the call by saying, “As you can see by our release, we had a very strong quarter in the face of fairly tough weather.” The company missed analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines, and “without question weather was the biggest factor for the first quarter,” according to CEO Mark Johnsrud.

In fact, weather was so bad in its operating areas that Johnsrud went on to say: “Unusually harsh conditions in the Bakken affected approximately 13 days of work or almost 15% of the quarter. Additional to that is we lost approximately five days of work in the Marcellus due to inclement weather.” When you put into context that those areas represent two of the company’s largest operating basins, the fact that it missed revenue expectations by 4.4% isn’t that big of a deal.

5 Best US Stocks To Invest In 2014: Heritage-Crystal Clean Inc.(HCCI)

Heritage-Crystal Clean, Inc. provides industrial and hazardous waste services to small and mid-sized customers in the United States. Its services comprise parts cleaning, containerized waste management, used oil collection and re-refining, and vacuum truck services. The company provides its parts cleaning services by offering parts cleaning equipment and chemicals to remove oil and grease, and other contaminants from engine parts and machine parts requiring cleaning. It also offers containerized waste management services by collecting drums, pails, boxes, and other containers of hazardous and non-hazardous waste materials from its customers. The company provides its vacuum truck services for the removal of mixtures of oil, water, and sediment from wastewater pretreatment devices. In addition, Heritage-Crystal Clean, Inc. provides bulk used oil collection services; and customer visit and accumulated oil removal services. As of December 31, 2011, the company operated 94 used oil collection trucks. Its customers include businesses involved in vehicle maintenance operations, such as car dealerships, automotive repair shops, and trucking firms, as well as small manufacturers comprising metal product fabricators and printers. The company operates a network of 67 branch facilities. Heritage-Crystal Clean, Inc. was incorporated in 2007 and is headquartered in Elgin, Illinois.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Heritage-Crystal Clean (Nasdaq: HCCI  ) reported earnings on May 2. Here are the numbers you need to know.

    The 10-second takeaway
    For the quarter ended March 23 (Q1), Heritage-Crystal Clean missed estimates on revenues and missed expectations on earnings per share.

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Calling all cash flows
    When you are trying to buy the market’s best stocks, it’s worth checking up on your companies’ free cash flow once a quarter or so, to see whether it bears any relationship to the net income in the headlines. That’s what we do with this series. Today, we’re checking in on Heritage-Crystal Clean (Nasdaq: HCCI  ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.

  • [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 Heritage-Crystal Clean (Nasdaq: HCCI  ) .

5 Best US Stocks To Invest In 2014: Granite Construction Inc (GVA)

Granite Construction Incorporated (Granite), incorporated on January 24, 1990, is a diversified heavy civil contractors and construction materials producers in the United States. The Company operates in four segments: Construction, Large Project Construction, Construction Materials and Real Estate. The Company operates nationwide, serving both public and private sector clients. Within the public sector, it primarily concentrates on heavy-civil infrastructure projects, including the construction of roads, highways, mass transit facilities, airport infrastructure, bridges, dams and other infrastructure related projects. Within the private sector, it performs site preparation and infrastructure services for residential development, commercial and industrial buildings, and other facilities. The Company owns and leases substantial aggregate reserves and own a number of construction materials processing plants. It also has contractor-owned heavy construction equipment fleets in the United States. In December 2012, it purchased 100% interest of Kenny Construction Company (Kenny).

Construction

Revenue from its Construction segment was approximately 47% of its total revenue during the year ended December 31, 2012. Revenue from its Construction segment is derived from both public and private sector clients. The Construction segment performs various heavy civil construction projects with a large portion of the work focused on new construction and improvement of streets, roads, highways, bridges, site work and other infrastructure projects. These are typically bid-build projects completed within two years.

Large Project Construction

Revenue from its Large Project Construction segment was 41.4% of its total revenue in 2012. The Large Project Construction segment focuses on large, complex infrastructure projects, which typically have a longer duration than its Construction segment work. These projects in clude major highways, mass transit facilities, bridges, tunn! els, waterway locks and dams, pipelines, canals and airport infrastructure. This segment primarily includes bid-build, design-build and construction management/general contractor contracts. It participates in joint ventures with other construction companies mainly on projects in its Large Project Construction segment. Joint ventures are typically used for large, technically complex projects, including design/build projects, where it is desirable to share risk and resources. Joint venture partners typically provide independently prepared estimates, shared financing and equipment and often bring local knowledge and expertise.

The Company also utilizes the design/build and construction management/general contract methods of project delivery. Under the construction management/general contract method of delivery, it contracts with owners to manage the design phase of the contract with the understanding that it will negotiate a contract on the construction phase when the design nears completion. Revenue from design/build and construction management/general contract projects represented 74.5% of Large Project Construction revenue in 2012.

Construction Materials

Revenue from its Construction Materials segment was 11.1% of its total revenue in 2012. The Construction Materials segment mines and processes aggregates and operates plants that produce construction materials for internal use and for sale to third parties. It has aggregate reserves that it has acquired by ownership in fee or through long-term leases. Aggregate products used in its construction projects represented approximately 42.7% of its tons sold during 2012.

Real Estate

Granite Land Company (GLC) is an investor in a diversified portfolio of land assets and provides real estate services for other Granite operations. GLC’s investment portfolio consists of residential, as well as retail and office site development projects fo r sale to home and commercial property developers. The range! of its i! nvolvement in an individual project may vary from passive investment to management of land use rights, development, construction, leasing and eventual sale of the project. Generally, GLC has teamed with partners who have local knowledge and expertise in the development of each property. GLC’s investments are located in Washington, California and Texas. Revenue from GLC was 0.2% of its total revenue in 2012.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Louis Navellier]

    If we look at the sector using Portfolio Grader, we see that many of the big names in the group like Flour (FLR), Granite Construction (GVA) and KBR incorporated (KBR) are rated “sell.” The anticipated spending for both government and private industry simply hasn’t materialized, and the companies are not seeing revenue or profit growth.

  • [By Wallace Witkowski]

    Some of the companies most dependent on government for revenue are Harris Corp. (HRS)  with 80% of revenue government-derived; Granite Construction Inc. (GVA)  with 58%; Flir Systems Inc. (FLIR)  with 54%; and Waste Management Inc. (WM)   and Republic Services Inc. (RSG)  both with 50%, according to Goldman Sachs.

5 Best US Stocks To Invest In 2014: Colgate-Palmolive Company(CL)

Colgate-Palmolive Company, together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and markets consumer products worldwide. It offers oral care products, including toothpaste, toothbrushes, and mouth rinses, as well as dental floss and pharmaceutical products for dentists and other oral health professionals; personal care products, such as liquid hand soap, shower gels, bar soaps, deodorants, antiperspirants, shampoos, and conditioners; and home care products comprising laundry and dishwashing detergents, fabric conditioners, household cleaners, bleaches, dishwashing liquids, and oil soaps. The company offers its oral, personal, and home care products under the Colgate Total, Colgate Max Fresh, Colgate 360 Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Douglas A. McIntyre]

    Some traditional brand powerhouses have lost ground in the Top 100 since 2009. These include BMW, FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and Colgate-Palmolive Co. (NYSE: CL).

  • [By Lee Jackson]

    Colgate-Palmolive Co. (NYSE: CL) is a top consumer staples name to make the UBS. Colgate sells its products in more than 200 countries and makes more than 75% of its revenue outside the United States, which provides geographic diversification and growth opportunities in emerging markets for the company. This diversity, matched with a huge list of consumer products, keeps revenues and dividends growing. Investors are paid a 2.3% dividend. The consensus target is $67.14. Colgate closed Tuesday at $64.34.

5 Best US Stocks To Invest In 2014: Owens-Illinois Inc.(OI)

Owens-Illinois, Inc., through its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells glass container products primarily in Europe, North America, South America, and the Asia Pacific. The company produces glass containers for beer, ready-to-drink low alcohol refreshers, spirits, wine, food, tea, juice, and pharmaceuticals, as well as for soft drinks and other non-alcoholic beverages, including returnable/refillable glass containers. It serves brewers, wine vintners, distillers, and food producers. The company sells its products directly to customers under annual or multi-year supply agreements, as well as through distributors. Owens-Illinois, Inc. was founded in 1903 and is headquartered in Perrysburg, Ohio.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Anora Mahmudova]

    Owens Illinois Inc. (OI)  fell 1.9%. Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch reportedly downgraded the glass company to neutral from buy , according to the Analyst Ratings Network.

  • [By Ben Eisen and Saumya Vaishampayan]

    Owens Illinois Inc. (OI)  was down 2.1% Friday. Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch reportedly downgraded the glass company to neutral from buy , according to the Analyst Ratings Network.

  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    Owens-Illinois Inc. (NYSE: OI) was upgraded to Overweight from Neutral by J.P. Morgan, sending shares up almost 4%.

    Also see a guide to oil and stocks based up military action in Syria  prepared by UBS.

5 Best US Stocks To Invest In 2014: Computer Sciences Corporation(CSC)

Computer Sciences Corporation provides information technology (IT) and professional services to governments and commercial enterprises. The company?s IT outsourcing services comprise operating customer?s technology infrastructure, including systems analysis, applications development, network operations, desktop computing, and data center management services; business process outsourcing; managing transactional business functions for clients, such as procurement and supply chain, call centers and customer relationship management, credit services, claims processing and logistics. It also offers cloud computing and cyber security protection services. In addition, the company provides range of services in the areas of infrastructure as a service, software as a service (SaaS), business process as a service, platform as a service, and other technologies. Further, its IT and professional services consist of systems integration, including designing, developing, implementing, and i ntegrating information systems; and management consulting, technology consulting, and other professional services, consist of advising clients on the strategic acquisition and utilization of IT and on business strategy, security, modeling, simulation, engineering, operations, change management, and business process reengineering. Additionally, the company licenses software systems, including SaaS offerings for the financial services and other industry-specific markets; and provides a range of end-to-end business solutions. It has its operations primarily in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The company was founded in 1959 and is based in Falls Church, Virginia.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Tom Taulli]

    Innovation: Innovation is a major priority at AT&T. And so far, it looks like the company is making savvy moves, particularly with its push into the cloud. To this end, AT&T has rolled out NetBond, which involves alliances with top providers like IBM (IBM), Microsoft (MSFT), CSC (CSC) and Equinix (EQIX). But perhaps the most interesting growth initiative is Digital Life, which allows customers to use their smartphones as remote control devices with homes and cars. All in all, the opportunity could be huge, adding another nice revenue stream — AT&T already has agreements with companies like GM (GM), Ford (F), Nissan, Audi, BMW and Tesla (TSLA)

  • [By Jonas Elmerraji]

    $7.6 billion IT services firm Computer Sciences (CSC) has been doing some consolidating of its own for the last few months. Shares have been stuck trading between resistance at $54 a share and support down at $50 a share since mid-July. But despite its sideways bent, there’s a trade to be made in CSC right now.

    Right now, CSC is forming a rectangle pattern, a consolidation setup that’s formed by a pair of horizontal resistance and support level at those $54 and $50 price levels. The rectangle pattern gets its name because it basically “boxes in” shares between those two levels. The signal to watch is the break outside of that box. Support at $50 has some extra strength because it’s a level that was previously a ceiling for shares back in March and again in May. That’s not uncommon for a round number like $50, but it makes an upside breakout a lot more likely from here.

    Momentum, measured by 14-day RSI, has moved into neutral mode in the last week, clearing the way for upside without the risk of shares becoming overbought. If shares of CSC can hold a bid above $54, it’s time to buy.

  • [By Reuters]

    Carlos Osorio/APFord CEO Alan Mulally NEW YORK — Microsoft has narrowed its list of external candidates to replace Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer to about five people, including Ford Motor chief Alan Mulally and former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, according to sources familiar with the matter. The world’s largest software maker also has at least three internal candidates on its shortlist, including former Skype CEO Tony Bates, who is now responsible for Microsoft’s business development, and Satya Nadella, the company’s cloud and enterprise chief, the sources said. Despite the narrower list — the company started with about 40 names — the process could take a few more months, the sources said. In August, Ballmer said he would retire within 12 months. The names of other candidates couldn’t be learned, but the search committee is interviewing executives from a wide range of sectors, including life sciences and consumer, the sources said. Microsoft (MSFT) declined to comment on the process and on behalf of the internal candidates. A Nokia (NOK) representatives couldn’t be reached immediately for comment late Tuesday. Ford (F) spokesman Jay Cooney said: “There is no change from what we announced last November. Alan remains fully focused on continuing to make progress on our One Ford plan. We do not engage in speculation.” Investors have pushed Microsoft’s board in recent months to look for a turnaround expert, such as Mulally or Computer Sciences (CSC) CEO Mike Lawrie, to succeed Ballmer. Some investors have also suggested to the board that co-founder Bill Gates should step down from his role as chairman, saying he stands in the way of radical reform at Microsoft. Microsoft remains highly profitable and last month beat Wall Street’s quarterly profit and revenue forecasts. But it has lost ground to Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) in mobile computing. Ballmer has focused on making devices, such as the Surface tablet and Xbox gaming console, and turning k

  • [By Rich Smith]

    Among the larger contracts awarded was a $157.3 million maximum cost-plus-fixed-fee contract hiring Computer Sciences Corporation (NYSE: CSC  ) subsidiary DynPort Vaccine Company LLC to develop a “prophylactic and medical countermeasure to prevent the effects of organophosphorus nerve agents” — essentially, an antidote to nerve gas.