The Motley Fool’s readers have spoken, and I have heeded your cries. After months of pointing out CEO gaffes and faux pas, I’ve decided to make it a weekly tradition to also point out corporate leaders who are putting the interests of shareholders and the public first and are generally deserving of praise from investors. For reference, here’s my previous selection.
This week, we’ll take a closer look at Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM ) and discover why CEO Paul Jacobs has put Qualcomm firmly at the top of the pack in wireless communications.
Kudos to you, Mr. Jacobs
As I discussed in March, Qualcomm has two primary enemies: oversaturation and industrywide commoditization. Luckily for Qualcomm, the U.S. market is nothing like Russia, where there are far more phones than there are people living in the country, so there’s still room for expansion in terms of smartphones and tablets. It also helps that many rural areas of the U.S. still don’t have 4G LTE capability, leaving ample room for smartphone and tablet growth in those markets.
Best Cheap Stocks To Watch For 2014: Partner Communications Company Ltd.(PTNR)
Partner Communications Company Ltd. provides various telecommunications services in Israel. It offers cellular telephony services on GSM/GPRS and UMTS/HSDPA networks. The company also provides basic services, including domestic mobile calls, international dialing, roaming, voice mail, short message services, intelligent network services, content based on its cellular portal, data and fax transmission, and other services. In addition, it offers Internet services provider services that provides access to the Internet, as well as home WiFi networks; value added services, such as anti-virus and anti-spam filtering; and transmission services; and Web video on demand services, music tracks, and games. Further, the company provides voice over broadband and primary rate interface fixed-line telephone services; and data capacity services. Additionally, it offers content services comprising voice mail, text, and multimedia messaging, as well as downloadable wireless data application s, including ring tones, music, games, and other informational content; and sells handsets, phones, routers, and related equipment. The company markets its products through its sales centers, business sales representatives, traditional networks of specialized dealers, and non-traditional networks of retail chains and stores under the Orange brand name. Partner Communications Company Ltd. was founded in 1997 and is headquartered in Rosh Ha-ayin, Israel.
- [By Roberto Pedone]
Another under-$10 wireless telecom player that’s starting to move within range of triggering a major breakout trade is Partner Communications (PTNR), a telecommunications company, provides cellular and fixed-line telecommunication services in Israel. This stock is off to a strong start in 2013, with shares up sharply by 29%.
If you take a look at the chart for Partner Communications, you’ll notice that this stock has been trending sideways for the last month, with shares moving between $7.28 on the downside and $7.96 on the upside. Shares of PTRN are bucking the overall market weakness today as the stock starts to move within range of triggering a breakout trade above the upper-end of its sideways trading chart pattern.
Market players should now look for long-biased trades in PTNR if it manages to break out above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $7.80 to $7.85 a share and then once it clears its 52-week high at $7.96 a share with high volume. Look for a sustained move or close above those levels with volume that registers near or above its three-month average volume of 107,303 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then PTNR will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $10 to $12.20 a share.
Traders can look to buy PTNR off any weakness to anticipate that breakout and simply use a stop that sits right below some key near-term support levels at $7.38 to $7.28, or below its 50-day at $6.97 a share. One can also buy PTNR off strength once it clears those breakout levels with volume and then simply use a stop that sits a comfortable percentage from your entry point.
Best Cheap Stocks To Watch For 2014: Progress Software Corporation(PRGS)
Progress Software Corporation operates as an enterprise software company worldwide. Its products include Progress OpenEdge platform, which offers development tools, application servers, application management tools, and an embedded database; Progress Orbix to address enterprise integration problems with standards-based solutions; and Progress ObjectStore, an object data management system to store data faster than relational database management system or file-based storage system. The company?s products also comprise Progress Responsiveness Process Management suite for business users; Progress Control Tower, an interactive business control panel; Progress Sonic, which comprises an enterprise messaging system and the enterprise service buses; Progress Actional that provides operational and business visibility, root cause analysis, and policy-based security and control of services; Progress Apama, which offers tools for creating, testing, and deploying strategies for applicat ions, including algorithmic trading, market aggregation, smart order routing, market surveillance and monitoring, and risk management; Progress Savvion BusinessManager, a business process management software; and Fuse products that provide customers with access to professional open source integration and messaging software. In addition, it offers Progress DataDirect Connect products, which provide data connectivity components; Progress DataDirect Shadow to provide foundation architecture for standards-based mainframe integration; and Progress Data Services product set that offers data integration for distributed applications. Further, the company provides maintenance, consulting, training, and customer support services. Progress Software Corporation sells its products to independent software vendors, original equipment manufacturers, and system integrators through direct sales force and independent distributors. The company was founded in 1981 and is based in Bedford, Massa c husetts.
- [By Jake L’Ecuyer]
Progress Software (NASDAQ: PRGS) shares tumbled 11.15 percent to $22.82 after the company issued a weak Q1 forecast.
FireEye (NASDAQ: FEYE) was also down, falling 9.35 percent to $81.20 after the company’s secondary offering lead to fear on the street.
- [By Jake L’Ecuyer]
Progress Software (NASDAQ: PRGS) shares tumbled 10.11 percent to $22.82 after the company issued a weak Q1 forecast.
21Vianet Group (NASDAQ: VNET) was down, falling 6.18 percent to $25.94 on Q4 results.
- [By John Kell and Lauren Pollock var popups = dojo.query(“.socialByline .popC”); ]
Progress Software Corp.(PRGS) trimmed its expectations for the fiscal first quarter, as the business-software provider said results were hurt by lower license sales. Shares dropped 12% to $22.27 premarket.
- [By Rich Duprey]
Believing it should have a single, cohesive platform for the development of cloud and mobile application development technologies, Progress Software (NASDAQ: PRGS ) announced this morning it was selling its Apama complex event processing solution to Software AG for an undisclosed sum.
Best Cheap Stocks To Watch For 2014: The Travelers Companies Inc.(TRV)
The Travelers Companies, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides various commercial and personal property and casualty insurance products and services to businesses, government units, associations, and individuals primarily in the United States. The company operates in three segments: Business Insurance; Financial, Professional, and International Insurance; and Personal Insurance. The Business Insurance segment offers property and casualty products and services, such as commercial multi-peril, property, general liability, commercial auto, and workers? compensation insurance. It operates in six groups: Select Accounts, which serves small businesses; Commercial Accounts that serves mid-sized businesses; National Accounts, which serves large companies; Industry-Focused Underwriting that serves targeted industries; Target Risk Underwriting, which serves commercial businesses requiring specialized product underwriting, claims handling, and risk management services; and Special ized Distribution that offers products to customers through licensed wholesale, general, and program agents. The Financial, Professional, and International Insurance segment provides surety and financial liability coverage, which uses a credit-based underwriting process; and property and casualty products primarily in the United States., the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Canada. The Personal Insurance segment offers property and casualty insurance covering personal risks, primarily automobile and homeowners insurance to individuals. It distributes its products through independent agents, sponsoring organizations, joint marketing arrangements with other insurers, and direct marketing. The company was founded in 1853 and is based in New York, New York.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Shares of Johnson & Johnson have fallen 1.8% to $93.36 today, helping to contribute to a weaker Dow today. Other big Dow losers include Travelers (TRV), which is off 1.7% at $84.98 and Verizon Communications (VZ), which has dropped 1.6% to $47.56.
- [By Shauna O’Brien]
Insurance company Travelers Companies Inc (TRV) reported higher fourth quarter and full year results on Tuesday, which came in well above analysts’ estimates.
TRV’s Earnings in Brief
TRV reported Q4 earnings of $988 million, or $2.70 per share, up from just $304 million, or 78 cents per share, a year ago. Excluding special items, earnings were $981 million, or $2.68 per share, up from $278 million, or 72 cents per share, last year. Analysts expected to see earnings of $2.10 per share. Total revenue for the quarter was $6.74 billion, up from $6.48 billion last year. Analysts expected to see revenue of $5.45 billion. For FY2013, the company reported earnings of $3.67 billion, or $9.74 per share, up from 2.47 billion, or $6.30 per share, in 2012. Revenue for the year was $26.19 billion from $22.19 billion in 2012. On average, analysts expected to see earnings of $8.91 per share and revenue of $22.56 billion.
Chairman and CEO Jay Fishman commented on the company’s Q4 results: ”Fourth quarter operating income of almost a billion dollars provided a very strong finish to an excellent 2013. We are encouraged by the strength of our 2013 results, and we remain committed to taking the steps necessary to continue to improve returns consistent with our long-held goal of producing mid-teens operating return on equity over time.”
TRV’s board announced that it will pay its next quarterly dividend of 50 cents on March 31 to shareholders of record on March 10. This dividend remains unchanged from the company’s previous quarterly dividend. TRV will likely announce a dividend increase in April.
Travelers Companies shares were mostly flat during pre-market trading Tuesday.
Best Cheap Stocks To Watch For 2014: Bank of America Corporation(BAC)
Bank of America Corporation, a financial holding company, provides banking and nonbanking financial services and products to individuals, small- and middle-market businesses, large corporations, and governments in the United States and internationally. The company?s Deposits segment generates savings accounts, money market savings accounts, certificate of deposits, and checking accounts; and Global Card Services segment provides the U.S. consumer and business card, consumer lending, international card and debit card services. Its Home Loans & Insurance segment offers consumer real estate products and services, including mortgage loans, reverse mortgages, home equity lines of credit, and home equity loans. It also provides property, disability, and credit insurance. The company?s Global Commercial Banking segment offers lending products, including commercial loans and commitment facilities, real estate lending, leasing, trade finance, short-term credit, asset-based lending, and indirect consumer loans; and capital management and treasury solutions, such as treasury management, foreign exchange, and short-term investing options. Its Global Banking & Markets segment provides financial products, advisory services, settlement, and custody services; debt and equity underwriting and distribution, merger-related advisory services, and risk management products; and integrated working capital management and treasury solutions. The company?s Global Wealth & Investment Management segment offers investment and brokerage services, estate management, financial planning services, fiduciary management, credit and banking expertise, and asset management products. Bank of America Corporation serves customers through a network of approximately 5,900 banking centers and 18,000 automated teller machines. It was formerly known as NationsBank Corporation and changed its name on October 1, 1998. Bank of America Corporation was founded in 1874 and is based in Charlott e, North Carolina.
- [By Rich Smith]
AFP/Getty Images/Frederic J. Brown Over the past decade or so, waves of computer-aided identity theft have washed over the U.S. Since the first big hack attack on ChoicePoint in 2005, through more recent data breaches at Evernote, LivingSocial, and now the massive Target (TGT) breach involving 110 million pieces of data (just the third-largest data breach in U.S. history, by the way), companies have more or less figured out a routine for dealing with data breaches. You notify the FBI. You (eventually) notify your customers. And you replace everybody’s credit cards. With the latest breach at Target, that process is already well under way. Megabanks like JP Morgan Chase (JPM), Bank of America (BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC), and Citigroup (C) have collectively handed out millions of new cards, with new card numbers, to customers whose data may have been compromised by the Target data breach. Last week, the Independent Community Bankers of America issued a release confirming its members — small banks around the country — have “reissued more than 4 million credit and debit cards.” To ensure that credit and debit card numbers that hacker stole from Target and Neiman Marcus will soon be useless, ICBA member bankers absorbed costs in excess of $40 million. And as a result of their quick action, says the group, “community banks’ initial fraud costs were relatively low, with less than 1 percent of community bank customers reporting fraud.” So, while the Target breach and the “110 million pieces of data lost” sounds bad, the damage probably won’t be as bad as you think. In fact, you can use this epic data fail to your advantage. You Have to Set up New Auto-Payments When your bank sends you a new credit or debit card, it will come with a new number to replace the one that Target lost. Your old number has been canceled. This means any automatic payment plans you’ve set up — your subscriptions and the card numbers that you have preselected for payments on Amazon (AMZN), P
- [By Reuters]
LM Otero/AP WASHINGTON — U.S. job growth accelerated sharply in February despite the icy weather that gripped much of the nation, easing fears of an abrupt economic slowdown and keeping the Federal Reserve on track to continue reducing its monetary stimulus. Employers added 175,000 jobs to their payrolls last month after creating 129,000 new positions in January, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate, however, rose to 6.7 percent from a five-year low of 6.6 percent, as Americans flooded into the labor market to search for work. “It reinforces the case for the economy being stronger than it’s looked for the last couple of months,” said Bill Cheney, chief economist at John Hancock Financial Services in Boston. “It makes life easier for the Fed and feeds into continuing the tapering process.” The report also showed the largest increase in average hourly earnings in eight months and the payrolls count for December and January was revised up to show 25,000 more jobs created during those months than previously reported. Investors on Wall Street cheered the report and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (^GPSC) reached a fresh intraday record high before falling back to trade little changed. The dollar lifted off a four-month low against a basket of currencies, while the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note jumped to a six-week high, putting it on course for its biggest weekly rise in three months. Interest rate futures showed that traders ramped up bets on the Fed hiking rates a bit sooner than had been previously thought. They now point to a 53 percent probability of a rate hike in June 2015. Unusually cold and snowy weather has disrupted activity in much of the United States for months, and a few economists had begun to speculate that the U.S. central bank could reconsider its plan to wind down its bond-buying stimulus. With snow and ice covering densely populated areas during the week employers were surveyed for Februar
Best Cheap Stocks To Watch For 2014: Rent-A-Center Inc.(RCII)
Rent-A-Center, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, primarily engages in leasing household durable goods to customers on a rent-to-own basis. The company?s stores offer durable products, such as consumer electronics, appliances, computers, and furniture and accessories under flexible rental purchase agreements that allow the customer to obtain ownership of the merchandise at the conclusion of an agreed upon rental period. It also provides merchandise on an installment sales basis in its stores. As of December 31, 2010, the company operated 3,008 company-owned stores in the United States, and in Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, including 42 retail installment sales stores under the names ?Get It Now? and ?Home Choice?; and 18 rent-to-own stores located in Canada under the ?Rent-A-Centre? name. It also operates 209 franchised rent-to-own stores in 32 states under the ColorTyme trade name; and 384 kiosk locations under the ?RAC Acceptance? model. In addition, the company, th rough its ColorTyme?s franchised stores, offers custom rims and tires for sale or rental under the trade names ?RimTyme? or ?ColorTyme Custom Wheels?. Rent-A-Center, Inc. was founded in 1986 and is headquartered in Plano, Texas.
- [By Jake L’Ecuyer]
Equities Trading DOWN
Shares of Rent-A-Center (NASDAQ: RCII) were down 21.51 percent to $24.51 on Q4 results.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) shares tumbled 7.80 percent to $507.55 after the company issued weak sales forecast for the second quarter and reported downbeat holiday iPhone sales.
- [By Marc Bastow]
Rent-to-own consumer products company Rent-A-Center (RCII) raised its quarterly dividend 10% to 23 cents per share, payable on Jan. 23 to shareholders of record as of Jan. 3.
RCII Dividend Yield: 2.77%
Best Cheap Stocks To Watch For 2014: Global Payments Inc.(GPN)
Global Payments Inc. provides electronic transaction processing services for merchants, independent sales organizations (ISO), financial institutions, government agencies, and multi-national corporations located in the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region. It offers a comprehensive line of processing solutions for credit and debit cards; business-to-business purchasing cards; gift cards; and electronic check conversion and check guarantee, verification, and recovery, including electronic check services, as well as terminal management. The company also offers proprietary software products to establish revolving check cashing limits for the casinos? customers in the gaming industry. In addition, it sells, installs, and services automated teller machine and point of sale terminals; and provides card issuing services, including card management and card personalization. The company markets its products directly, as well as through ISOs, retail outlets, tra de associations, alliance bank relationships, and financial institutions. Global Payments Inc. has a joint venture with La Caixa Group to provide merchant acquiring services to merchants in Spain. Global Payments Inc. was founded in 2001 and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.
- [By Wallace Witkowski]
Shares of Global Payments Inc. (GPN) advanced 4.8% to $67.50 on moderate volume after the company raised its earnings outlook for the year to a range of $4.03 to $4.10 a share. Analysts were forecasting $4.04 a share.
- [By Laura Brodbeck]
Earnings Expected From: Uniferst (NYSE: UNF), Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ), RPM International (NYSE: RPM), Global Payments (NYSE: GPN) Economic Releases Expected: German trade balance, German factory orders, Australian retail sales
Best Cheap Stocks To Watch For 2014: MEDIWARE Information Systems Inc.(MEDW)
Mediware Information Systems, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the design, development, and marketing of software solutions targeting specific processes within healthcare institutions. The company offers software systems consisting of company’s proprietary application software, and third-party licensed software and hardware. It licenses, implements, and supports clinical and performance management, blood donor, and blood and biologic management products in the United States; and medication management solutions in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa. The company?s blood and biologics management solutions include HCLL Transfusion and HCLL Donor, which address blood donor recruitment, blood processing, and transfusion activities for hospitals and medical centers; BloodSafe suite of hardware and software that enable healthcare facilities to store, monitor, distribute, and track blood products; LifeTrak software for blood centers; a nd BiologiCare, a bone, tissue, and cellular product tracking software. Its medication management products comprise WORx, a pharmacy information system to manage inpatient and outpatient pharmacy operations; MediCOE, a physician order entry module; MediMAR, a nurse point-of-care administration and bedside documentation module; MediREC, which assists in achieving compliance with a Joint Commission mandate; and pharmacy management and electronic prescribing systems. The company?s performance management products include InSight software that tracks performance metrics to assist healthcare managers to manage performance. It also provides software installation and maintenance services, as well as billing and collection services to home infusion and home/durable medical equipment markets. The company markets its products primarily through its direct sales force. Mediware Information Systems, Inc. was founded in 1970 and is headquartered in Lenexa, Kansas.
- [By CRWE]
Mediware Information Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq:MEDW) plans to acquire the assets of Indianapolis-based Strategic Healthcare Group LLC (SHG), a leading provider of blood management consulting, education and informatics solutions.