Best Asian Companies For 2014

This series, brought to you by Yahoo! Finance, looks at which upgrades and downgrades make sense, and which ones investors should act on. Today, our headlines feature an upgrade for Thomson Reuters Reuters (NYSE: TRI  ) , a new buy rating for Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX  ) — but for Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP  ) , a downgrade. Let’s get that bad news out of the way first.

Union Pacific derailed
Two weeks after railroad operator Union Pacific reported Q3 earnings that topped analyst estimates by a penny, the stock got its reward today: a downgrade at the hands of investment banker R.W. Baird.

Coming on top of the 4% slide the stock has experienced since reporting its “beat”, Baird’s recommendation seems a bit harsh — like adding insult to the injury that Union Pacific shareholders have seen inflicted on their portfolios. And yet, when you look at the numbers, it’s apparent that Baird’s making the right call in downgrading to neutral.

Priced at 16.5 times earnings, Union Pacific shares sell for a valuation right in the middle of the pack of North America’s bigger railroad operators, where Canadian National Railway, for example, costs more than 18 times earnings — but CSX sells for just a hair over 14 times.

Best Asian Companies For 2014: Applied Materials Inc.(AMAT)

Applied Materials, Inc. provides manufacturing equipment, services, and software to the semiconductor, flat panel display, solar photovoltaic (PV), and related industries worldwide. The company?s Silicon Systems Group segment offers a range of manufacturing equipment used to fabricate semiconductor chips or integrated circuits. This segment provides systems that perform primary processes used in chip fabrication, including atomic layer deposition, chemical vapor deposition, physical vapor deposition, electrochemical deposition, rapid thermal processing, chemical mechanical planarization, wet cleaning, and wafer metrology and inspection, as well as systems that etch or inspect circuit patterns on masks used in the photolithography process. Its Applied Global Services segment offers products and services designed to enhance the performance and productivity, and reduce the environmental impact of the fab operations of semiconductor, liquid crystal displays (LCDs), and solar P V manufacturers. The company?s Display segment provides products for manufacturing thin film transistor LCDs for televisions, personal computers (PCs), tablet PCs, smartphones, and other consumer-oriented electronic applications. Its Energy and Environmental Solutions segment offers manufacturing systems for the generation and conservation of energy, as well as manufacturing solutions for wafer-based crystalline silicon applications. This segment also provides roll-to-roll vacuum Web coating systems for deposition of a range of films on flexible substrates for functional, aesthetic, or optical properties; and roll-to-roll machine for depositing ultra-thin aluminum films for flexible packaging applications. The company serves manufacturers of semiconductor wafers and chips, flat panel LCDs, solar PV cells and modules, and other electronic devices. Applied Materials, Inc. was founded in 1967 and is headquartered in Santa Clara, California.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Vanina Egea] ican corporation, based in Santa Clara, Calif., in the famous Silicon Valley. It provides chipmakers with the latest equipment, and tools to make state-of-the-art chips for our everyday mobile devices (processors, flash memories, computers memories, etc.) and to improve semiconductor factory efficiency. It also produces equipment for the manufacturing of flat panel displays and solar energy (solar cells and energy efficient glass) equipment.

    It has four divisions. Silicon Systems Group, handles the designs, manufacturing, and sales of equipment used to fabricate semiconductor chips. Applied Global Services maintains, services and optimizes customers’ display, semiconductors and solar fabs. The Displays division designs, manufactures and sells equipment used in flat panel display fabrication. And finally, Energy and Environmental Solutions designs, manufactures and handles the sales on equipment necessary in the fabrication of solar cells, modules and flexible electronics.

    The company provides the manufacturers it sells its equipment to with services to improve the fabrication process, helping them become more efficient.

    Advantages and Moat on AMAT

    The thing is, Applied Materials doesn’t specialize in one sector or portion of the production line like most its competitors do. The company has everything a chipmaker needs to fabricate a chip from scratch, like a Home Depot (HD) for chipmakers, competing in nearly every segment of the market. And as the chip industry continues to grow, the company continuously develops more and more complex equipment to meet the needs of a still flourishing market.

    Applied Materials should start to benefit from the adoption of new mobile devices. In the words of the company’s new CEO, Gary Dickerson (former president of Varian, a well-known chip equipment company acquired by Applied on 2012), tablets and smartphones nowadays generate more revenue than all the other semiconductors’ electronics combine

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Big Earnings Movers: Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is up 8.7% at $54.94. Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) is down 0.3% at $17.51 on a weak forecast. Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN) is down 1% at $62.81. Youku Tudou Inc. (NYSE: YOKU) is up 11.2% at $29.30. InterCloud Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: ICLD) is up 265.9% at $9.33 on solid results and higher hopes.

  • [By Nathalie Tadena]

    Applied Materials Inc.(AMAT) swung to fiscal fourth-quarter profit on double-digit revenue growth and stronger margins. The company, which supplies costly machines that help turn silicon wafers into computer chips, also gave a mostly cautious outlook for the current quarter.

Best Asian Companies For 2014: Talisman Energy Inc.(TLM)

Talisman Energy Inc., an upstream oil and gas company, engages in the exploration, development, production, transportation, and marketing of crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids. It primarily operates in North America, the North Sea, and southeast Asia. The company was founded in 1925 and is headquartered in Calgary, Canada.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jesse Solomon]

    Energy bet may not have paid off: The funds plowed over two billion dollars into Whiting Petroleum (WLL), Valero Energy Corporation (VLO, Fortune 500), Talisman Energy (TLM), and Cameron International (CAM, Fortune 500).

  • [By Arjun Sreekumar]

    In Pennsylvania, for instance, several hundred wells have been drilled but not completed because the takeaway capacity to get their production to market simply isn’t there. Several operators have been forced to drastically reduce their rig counts in the region. For instance, both EXCO Resources (NYSE: XCO  ) and Talisman Energy (NYSE: TLM  ) have just one rig each remaining in the Marcellus.

  • [By Chris Ciovacco]

    Sometimes the most attractive energy assets aren’t found in the ground but listed on the stock exchange. Billionaire businessman Carl Icahn is one investor seeing value in energy companies. The hedge fund manager recently announced his purchase of 60 million shares in the Canadian oil and gas producer, Talisman Energy (TLM). Icahn has built up a nearly 6 percent stake in the Calgary-based energy producer, worth a whopping $300 million. Even though the company has been a perennial underperformer, after Icahn’s tweet, the stock climbed to the highest level in more than a year.

Best Asian Companies For 2014: UPM-Kymmene Corporation (UPM1V)

UPM-Kymmene Corporation is a Finland-based paper and forest products company. The Company operates, along with its subsidiaries, in three segments: the Energy and Pulp segment is divided into three units: Energy, which includes the Company’s hydropower plant and shares in energy companies; Pulp, which includes the Company’s pulp mills, and Foster and Timber, which includes forests, wood procurement, sawmills and further processing; the Paper segment includes the Company’s paper mills, producing magazine paper, newsprint, fine papers, and specialty papers, and the Engineered materials segment is structured into two units: Label, which includes label-stock factories and slitting, and distribution terminals, and Plywood, which includes plywood mills. The Company’s other operations include the wood plastic composite unit, development units and logistic services. On October 2, 2013, it completed the sale of the wood processing mill in Aigrefeuille d’Aunis, to Groupe FP Boi s. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Corinne Gretler]

    UPM-Kymmene Oyj (UPM1V) fell 3.9 percent to 12.18 euros. UBS AG lowered Europe’s second-largest papermaker to sell from neutral. The brokerage said that demand for the company’s product will not recover in Europe and that the industry will probably reduce its capacity next year.

  • [By Tom Stoukas]

    UPM-Kymmene (UPM1V), a rival maker of paper, dropped 1.9 percent to 10.23 euros.

    Aryzta surged 4 percent to 60.45 Swiss francs, the biggest gain since March 28. The owner of bakery brands including Delice de France and Otis Spunkmeyer posted full-year revenue of 4.5 billion euros ($6.1 billion), beating analysts’ estimates of 4.43 billion euros. The company also forecast a double-digit percentage gain in 2014 earnings.

Best Asian Companies For 2014: Natural Grocers By Vitamin Cottage Inc (NGVC)

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc., incorporated on April 9, 2012, is a specialty retailer of natural and organic groceries and dietary supplements. The Company operates within the natural products retail industry. The Company offers products and brands, including a selection of natural and organic food, dietary supplements, body care products, pet care products and books.

The Company offers its customers an average of approximately 18,000 store-keeping units (SKUs) of natural and organic products per store, including an average of approximately 7,000 SKU of dietary supplements. As of June 30, 2012, the Company operated 55 stores in 11 states, including Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming, as well as a bulk food repackaging facility and distribution center in Colorado. The size of its stores varies from 5,000 selling square feet to 14,500 selling square feet, and a new store averages 9,500 selling square feet.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By John Udovich]

    Small cap Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage (NYSE: NGVC) and mid cap Sprouts Farmers Market Inc (NASDAQ: SFM) are taking aim at natural and organic foods supermarket giant Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM), but do either of these stocks have what it takes to take on the the king of organic retailing? Whole Foods Market was founded in Austin way back in 1978 by a twenty-five year old college dropout and a twenty-one year old at a time when there were only a handful of natural or organic supermarkets in the country. Today, Whole Foods Market has 364 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom – which are sometimes referred to as “Whole Wallet”or “Whole Paycheck” given how much it costs to shop there.

  • [By David Mamos]

    The Fresh Market Inc. (Nasdaq: TFM), Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Inc. (NYSE: NGVC), and privately held Trader Joe’s are others crowding into the field.

Best Asian Companies For 2014: TESARO Inc (TSRO)

TESARO, Inc. (TESARO), incorporated in March 2010, is a development-stage, oncology-focused biopharmaceutical company for cancer patients. The Company focuses on rolapitant and TSR-011 product. The Company’s marketed products and product candidates in development treat cancer through non-specific damage to cellular components or alter cell metabolism or internal repair mechanisms to the demise of cancer cells.

Rolapitant

Rolapitant is a potent and long-acting neurokinin-1, or NK-1, receptor antagonist is in Phase III clinical trials for the prevention of chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). It is in Phase III clinical trials. CINV, if not prevented by prophylaxis, has the potential to afflict up to 90% or more of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, depending upon the type of chemotherapy administered the dosing schedule of the chemotherapy, and the patients’ age and gender, among other predisposing factors. Prolonged nausea an d vomiting may result in unwanted weight loss, dehydration and malnutrition, as well as hospitalization. The Company has in-licensed the rights to rolapitant from OPKO Health, Inc.

TSR-011

TSR-011 is an orally available ALK inhibitor in preclinical development. ALK is known to be involved in certain types of cancers, including subsets of NSCLC, neuroblastoma and lymphoma. For patients in these subsets, the ALK gene is fused to an activating partner or contains point mutations, resulting in constitutive activation of ALK and the growth of cancer cells and tumor development. Inhibition of ALK in these cancer cells results in cell death and tumor growth inhibition or regression. In August 2011, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved the first ALK inhibitor, developed by Pfizer Inc., Xalkori (crizotinib), which was approved for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC that are ALK positive.

The Company competes with GlaxoSmithKline plc, Roche Holding Ltd! . and Sanofi S.A.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Werber and Eckhard’s favorites include Gilead (GILD) and Celgene (CELG), and they find the “risk/reward…compelling” in Medivation (MDVN) and Tesaro (TSRO).

  • [By Brian Orelli]

    Tesaro (NASDAQ: TSRO  ) is also up today after announcing that it established a partnership with clinicians to run the phase 3 development of its PARP inhibitor, niraparib. The trial will enroll about 300 breast cancer patients with BRCA mutations, comparing niraparib to investigators’ choice of other breast cancer treatments.

  • [By Keith Speights]

    Positive response
    Clovis wasn’t the only company to bring good news about an ovarian cancer drug to ASCO. TESARO  (NASDAQ: TSRO  ) announced phase 1 results for niraparib. Shares of the biotech jumped 16% for the week.

  • [By Brian Pacampara]

    Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool’s free investing community, biopharmaceutical company TESARO (NASDAQ: TSRO  ) has received the dreaded one-star ranking.

Best Asian Companies For 2014: Avanir Pharmaceuticals Inc(AVNR)

Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in acquiring, developing, and commercializing novel therapeutic products for the treatment of central nervous system disorders primarily in the United States. The company primarily offers NUEDEXTA, a unique proprietary combination of dextromethorphan and low-dose quinidine for the treatment of pseudobulbar affect. Its product line also comprises AVP-923 in Phase II clinical trial for the treatment of central neuropathic pain in patients with multiple sclerosis; and in Phase III trial for the treatment of patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain. In addition, the company provides Docosanol 10% cream, an over-the-counter product for cold sores treatment. Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. was founded in 1988 and is headquartered in Aliso Viejo, California.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lauren Pollock]

    Among the companies with shares expected to actively trade in Wednesday’s session are Joy Global Inc.(JOY), Costco Wholesale Corp.(COST) and Avanir Pharmaceuticals Inc.(AVNR)

  • [By Roberto Pedone]

    Avanir Pharmaceuticals (AVNR) is a pharmaceutical company focused on acquiring, developing and commercializing novel therapeutic products for the treatment of central nervous system disorders. This stock closed up 1.3% to $4.52 in Tuesday’s trading session.

    Tuesday’s Range: $4.38-$4.59

    52-Week Range: $2.34-$6.00

    Tuesday’s Volume: 1.41 million

    Three-Month Average Volume: 2.76 million

    From a technical perspective, AVNR bounced modestly higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $4.42 with lighter-than-average volume. This move is starting to push shares of AVNR within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if AVNR manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $4.71 to $5.07 with high volume.

    Traders should now look for long-biased trades in AVNR as long as it’s trending above some near-term support at $4.20 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 2.76 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then AVNR will set up to re-test or possibly take out its 52-week high at $6.

  • [By Brian Pacampara]

    What: Shares of biotechnologist Avanir Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AVNR  ) surged as high as 21% today after a European regulatory body recommended approval of is drug Nuedexta.

Best Asian Companies For 2014: Steelcase Inc.(SCS)

Steelcase Inc. designs, manufactures, and distributes furniture systems and seating products, user-centered technologies, and interior architectural products primarily in North America, Europe, and Asia. Its furniture systems portfolio consists of panel-based and freestanding furniture systems; and complementary products, such as storage, tables, and ergonomic worktools. The company also provides seating products, including ergonomic chairs; seating for collaborative or casual settings; and specialty seating for specific markets comprising healthcare and education. In addition, its interior architectural products include full and partial height walls and doors. Further, the company offers workplace strategy consulting, lease origination, and furniture and asset management services. Additionally, it designs, manufactures, and sells visual communication products, such as static and interactive electronic whiteboards to primary and secondary education markets, as well as manu factures and sells steel and ceramic surfaces to third-party fabricators for use in the manufacture of static whiteboards. It also designs and sells surface materials comprising textiles, wall coverings, shades, screens, and surface imagings primarily to architects and designers for use in business, residential, healthcare, and hospitality applications. It sells its products to corporate, government, healthcare, education, and retail customers through the Steelcase, Turnstone, Details, and Nurture brands; and Coalesse and Designtex brands. The company markets its products and services through a network of independent and company-owned dealers, as well as directly to end-use customers. The company was founded in 1912 and is headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By John Udovich]

    Small cap office furniture stock Steelcase Inc (NYSE: SCS) jumped 11.66% after beating earnings expectations, meaning it might be time to take a closer look at the stock along with potential office or commercial furniture stock peers like HNI Corp (NYSE: HNI), Knoll Inc (NYSE: KNL) and Virco Mfg. Corporation (NASDAQ: VIRC). After all, the performance of any company selling office or commercial furniture would tend to give some insights into the office or employment markets.

  • [By John Kell var popups = dojo.query(“.socialByline .popC”); popups.forEach(func]

    Steelcase Inc.(SCS) swung to a fiscal fourth-quarter profit amid growth in the company’s Americas business. The year-earlier period included big asset write-downs and restructuring-related charges. Shares climbed 9.5% to $15.96 premarket.

  • [By Jake L’Ecuyer]

    Shares of Steelcase (NYSE: SCS) got a boost, shooting up 11.21 percent to $16.36 after the company reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings. Steelcase reported its Q4 earnings of $0.18 per share, beating analysts’ estimates by $0.01 per share. Raymond James upgraded the stock from Outperform to Strong Buy and lifted the price target from $17.50 to $19.00.

  • [By Jake L’Ecuyer]

    Shares of Steelcase (NYSE: SCS) got a boost, shooting up 12.21 percent to $16.36 after the company reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings. Steelcase reported its Q4 earnings of $0.18 per share, beating analysts’ estimates by $0.01 per share. Raymond James upgraded the stock from Outperform to Strong Buy and lifted the price target from $17.50 to $19.00.