Best Companies To Own For 2014

After winning the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) approval, Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) and Japanese telecom company SoftBank have finally announced the successful completion of their merger. The newly formed entity will be known as Sprint Corporation and will continue to trade with ticker symbol “S”. SoftBank will own 78% of the new Sprint while the remaining stake will be held by the existing Sprint shareholders. We expect the merger to be a catalyst for Sprint’s growth as it strengthens the company’s position against telecom giants such as AT&T, Inc. (T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ).

We believe Dish Network Corp.’s (DISH) decision to stop pursuing Sprint was a boon in disguise for the latter as it allowed SoftBank to modify its offer. In June, SoftBank raised its bid offer to $21.6 billion from its initial $20.1 billion offer in exchange of a 78% stake in Sprint, up from the initial proposal of 70% holding. The revised offer repre sented an increase of 35 cents per share in the purchase price to $7.65 from $7.30.

Best Companies To Own For 2014: Ambarella Inc (AMBA)

Ambarella, Inc., incorporated on January 15, 2004, is a developer of semiconductor processing solutions for video that enable high-definition (HD), video capture, sharing and display. The Company combine its processor design capabilities with its video and image processing, algorithms and software to provide a technology platform. It sells solutions into the camera and infrastructure markets, with approximately 27 million system-on-a-chips (SoCs) shipped since our inception. In the camera market, its solutions enable the creation of video content for wearable sports cameras, automotive aftermarket cameras, Internet Protocol (IP), security cameras, digital still cameras (DSCs), telepresence cameras, camcorders and pocket video cameras. In the infrastructure market, its solutions manage IP video traffic, broadcast encoding and IP video delivery applications. In 2012, the Company released its Wireless Camera Developers Kit. In 2012, it also launched S2 SoC, which enables Ultr a High-Definition IP security cameras.

The Company sells its solutions to original design manufacturers (ODMs), and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), globally. In the camera market, its video processing solutions are designed into products from OEMs, including Robert Bosch GmbH and affiliated entities, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. and Woodman Labs, Inc., doing business as (d/b/a) GoPro, or GoPro, who source its solutions from ODMs, including Ability Enterprise Co., Ltd., Asia Optical Co. Inc., Chicony Electronics Co., Ltd., DXG Technology Corp., Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd. and Sky Light Digital Ltd. In the infrastructure market, its solutions are designed into products from OEMs, including Harmonic Inc., Motorola Mobility, Inc. (owned by Google, Inc.) and Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, who source its solutions from ODMs, such as Plexus Corp.

AmbaClear

The Company’s image signal processing architecture, known as Amba Clear, incorporates advanced algorithms to convert raw senso! r data to high-resolution still and high-definition video images concurrently. Image processing algorithms include sensor, lens and color correction, demosaicing, which is a process used to reconstruct a full color image from incomplete color samples, noise filtering, detail enhancement and image format conversion.

AmbaCast

The Company’s HD video processing architecture, known as AmbaCast, incorporates advanced algorithms for motion estimation, motion-compensated temporal filtering, mode decision and rate control. It supports all three compression profilesbaseline, main and highas specified in the H.264 standard. Its solutions for the broadcast infrastructure market allow OEMs to offer both the H.264 and MPEG-2 encoding formats.

Design Methodology

The Company test and verify its algorithms on its architectural model prior to implementing algorithms in hardware. Its advanced verification methodology validates its approach through simultaneous modeling of architecture, algorithms and the hardware itself.

SoC Solution

The Company’s SoC designs integrate HD video processing, image processing, applications processing and system functions onto a single chip, delivering video and image quality with features, including advanced wireless connectivity. In addition, its SoCs integrate mixed signal (analog/digital) functionality and high speed interfaces required for interfacing to advanced high-speed CMOS sensors and industry standard interfaces, such as USB 2.0 and HDMI 1.4. Its A7L SoC, which it introduced in September 2011, is fabricated in edge 32 nanometer (nm) process technology and integrates AmbaClear and AmbaCast technology.

Software Development Kit for Connectivity

The Company’s video streaming technology enables the camera’s image to be previewed on a smartphone. To enable this functionality, end customers deploy its Wireless Camera D eveloper’s Kit, or the Kit, which enables the design of ca! meras tha! t combine still photography and Full HD video with wireless video streaming to smartphones. The Kit is available for its A7L SoC product family, providing full 1080p60 HD video with photography and low power consumption.

The Company competes with CSR Plc, Fujitsu Limited, HiSilicon Technologies Co., Ltd., Texas Instruments Incorporated, Canon Inc., Panasonic Corporation, Sony Corporation, Novatek Microelectronics Corp., Sunplus Technology Co. Ltd., Intel Corporation, Magnum Semiconductor, Inc, Texas Instruments Incorporated, Broadcom Corporation, NVIDIA Corporation, Qualcomm Incorporated and Samsung.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By MONEYMORNING]

    Back in August, we said that specialty microchip maker Ambarella Inc. (Nasdaq: AMBA) would be a major beneficiary of the UHDTV surge and predicted the stock could double in just over two years.

  • [By MONEYMORNING]

    Of course I’m talking about wearable tech. And Ambarella Inc. (Nasdaq: AMBA).

    Thanks to its extreme-sports “helmet cams,” Ambarella is a leader in the wearable-technology category. And the company’s stock has more than doubled since we first talked about it back in August.

  • [By MONEYMORNING]

    We’re talking about the Santa Clara, Calif.-based Ambarella Inc. (Nasdaq: AMBA), whose video-chip technology is finding its way into security cameras, automotive cameras, and the “wearable” video cams the “extreme sports” crowd uses to record their often-breathtaking exploits.

Best Companies To Own For 2014: Hospitality Properites Trust (HPT)

Hospitality Properties Trust, a real estate investment trust (REIT), engages in buying, owning, and leasing hotels. The company’s hotels are operated as Courtyard by Marriott, Residence Inn by Marriott, Staybridge Suites by Holiday Inn, Candlewood Suites, AmeriSuites, Prime Hotels and Resorts, Homestead Studio Suites, TownePlace Suites by Marriott, and SpringHill Suites by Marriott or Marriott Hotels and Resorts. As of June 30, 2005, it owned 298 hotels located in 38 states in the United States; Puerto Rico; and Ontario, Canada. The company’s hotels are primarily designed for business, governmental, and family travelers. As a REIT, the company would not be subject to federal income tax provided it distributes at least 90% of its REIT taxable income to its stockholders. Hospitality Properties was formed in 1995 and is based in Newton, Massachusetts.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Hotel and travel REIT Hospitality Properties Trust (HPT) raised its quarterly dividend 2.1% to 48 cents per share, payable Nov. 22 to shareholders of record as of Oct. 25.
    HPT Dividend Yield: 6.71%

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Hotel and travel center operator Hospitality Properties Trust  (NYSE: HPT  )  announced today its second-quarter dividend of $0.4453125 per share on its 7.125% Series D preferred stock that trades on the NYSE under the symbol HPT-PD.

Best Companies To Own For 2014: PPG Industries Inc.(PPG)

PPG Industries, Inc. manufactures and supplies protective and decorative coatings. The company offers coatings products for automotive and commercial transport/fleet repair and refurbishing, specialty coatings for signs, and light industrial coatings; and sealants, coatings, and technical cleaners/transparencies for commercial, military, regional jet, general aviation aircraft, and transparent armor for military land vehicles. It also provides coatings and finishes for the protection of metals and structures to metal fabricators, heavy duty maintenance contractors, and manufacturers of ships, bridges, rail cars, and shipping containers; and coatings to painting and maintenance contractors. In addition, PPG sells industrial and automotive coatings to manufacturing companies; adhesives and sealants for the automotive industry; metal pretreatments and related chemicals; and coatings and inks for aerosol, food, and beverage containers. Further, it supplies lenses, sunlenses, a nd optical lens materials; amorphous precipitated silicas for tire and battery separator markets; and Teslin substrate used in radio frequency identification tags and labels, e-passports, drivers? licenses, and identification cards applications. Additionally, PPG offers chlor-alkali and derivative products, such as chlorine, caustic soda, vinyl chloride monomer, chlorinated solvents, calcium hypochlorite, ethylene dichloride, hydrochloric acid, and phosgene derivatives to chemical processing, rubber and plastics, paper, minerals, metals, and water treatment industries. It also produces flat glass and continuous-strand fiber glass for commercial and residential construction, wind energy, energy infrastructure, transportation, and electronics industries. PPG sells its products through company-owned stores, home centers, paint dealers, and independent distributors, as well as directly to customers worldwide. The company was founded in 1883 and is headquartered in Pittsburgh, P e nnsylvania.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Victor Selva]

    The company has a current ratio of 17.8% which is higher than the industry mean of 6.55%. Also, it’s higher than the one registered by Akzo Nobel NV (AKZOY), Cabot Corporation (CBT) and Olin Corporation (OLN). For investors looking for a higher ROE, PPG Industries Inc. (PPG) could be the option.

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Privately held specialty-coatings producer Deft will be acquired by PPG Industries (NYSE: PPG  ) for an undisclosed sum. 

    Deft’s primary business is supplying structural primers and military topcoats to the North American aviation industry, as well as architectural and industrial coatings, though they comprise much smaller parts of its business.

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    PPG Industries (NYSE: PPG) is expected to report its Q3 earnings at $2.34 per share on revenue of $3.96 billion.

    Nucor (NYSE: NUE) is estimated to report its Q3 earnings at $0.39 per share on revenue of $4.78 billion.

Best Companies To Own For 2014: MSC Industrial Direct Co Inc (MSM)

MSC Industrial Direct Co., Inc. (MSC), incorporated on October 25, 1995, is direct marketers and distributors of a range of metalworking and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) products to customers throughout the United States. The Company operates primarily in the United States, with customers in all 50 states, through a network of five customer fulfillment centers (four customer fulfillment centers are located within the United States and one is located in the United Kingdom and 106 branch offices (104 branches are located within the United States, one is located in the United Kingdom and the other is located in Mexico). The Company offers approximately 600,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) through its master catalogs, weekly, monthly and quarterly specialty and promotional catalogs, brochures and the Internet, including its Websites, mscdirect.com, mscmetalworking.com and use-enco.com (MSC Websites). In April 2013, the Company announced that it has completed the acqu isition of the North American distribution business (BDNA or the Business) of Barnes Group Inc.

The Company’s customers include a range of purchasers of industrial supply products, from individual machine shops to Fortune 1000 companies, to government agencies, such as the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Department of Defense. The Company uses its database of companies and contacts, and the Company also purchases information on prospective customers in the form of databases, mailing lists, and email lists to target the distribution of these various publications and other marketing vehicles to specific individuals within an organization whose purchasing history or other criteria suggest receptiveness to specific publication titles and promotions. The Company also provides electronic ordering capabilities (EDI and XML) to support its customers’ purchase order processing.

The Company’s products represent a range of MRO products that inc lude cutting tools; measuring instruments; tooling component! s; metalworking products; fasteners; flat stock; raw materials; abrasives; machinery hand and power tools; safety and janitorial supplies; plumbing supplies; materials handling products; power transmission components; and electrical supplies. The Company provides product information and ordering capabilities on the Internet. The Company also maintains a hardware and software platform in support of its VMI program, which allows customers to integrate scanner-accumulated orders directly into its Sales Order Entry system.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lawrence Meyers]

    WFM stock trades around $52, with just under $3 per share in cash. At estimates of $1.68 in earnings per share for FY14 and projections for 17% in long-term growth, and perhaps a 20% premium for its cash flow, I would assign it a fair value around $34. If WFM stock is unfortunate enough to fall that low, I’d absolutely buy around there.

    Stocks to Buy After a Crash: MSC Industrial Direct (MSM)

    MSC Industrial Direct (MSM) is a very boring company, which in an of itself is a good reason it belongs in a list of stocks to buy.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Barclays’ Scott Davis and team believe it might be, and for evidence they look at 3M (MMM), Emerson Electric (EMR), Rockwell Automation (ROK), and MSC Industrial Direct (MSM). They write:

Best Companies To Own For 2014: W&T Offshore Inc.(WTI)

W&T Offshore, Inc., an independent oil and natural gas producer, engages in the acquisition, exploration, and development of oil and natural gas properties primarily in the Gulf of Mexico. The company holds working interests in approximately 58 producing and 2 capable of producing offshore fields in federal and state waters. As of December 31, 2011, it had interests in offshore leases covering approximately 0.8 million gross acres in the coasts of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama, as well as onshore leasehold interest in approximately 0.2 million gross acres in Texas; proved reserves of 116.9 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMBoe); and proved undeveloped reserves of 40.5 MMBoe. The company was founded in 1983 and is headquartered in Houston, Texas.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By John Udovich]

    Yesterday, small cap Energy XXI (Bermuda) Limited (NASDAQ: EXXI) announced a deal to acquire EPL Oil & Gas Inc (NYSE: EPL) to create the largest publicly held independent oil producer on the Gulf of Mexico shelf, meaning it might be a good idea to look at other small cap Gulf oil stocks like W&T Offshore, Inc (NYSE: WTI), Stone Energy Corporation (NYSE: SGY) and Contango Oil & Gas Company (NYSEMKT: MCF). Energy XXI’s CEO John Schiller has talked about the details of the acquisition with Jim Cramer on CNBC’s “Mad Money” and he noted that  EPL Oil & Gas offers areas of expertise that EXXI currently lacks. However, investors who missed out on yesterday’s 29% surge for EPL Oil & Gas may want to check out these other small cap Gulf Oil stocks:

  • [By Laura Brodbeck]

    Notable earnings released on Friday included:

    W&T Offshore(NYSE: WTI) reported a fourth quarter loss of $0.09 per share on revenue of $244.90 million, compared to last year’s EPS of $0.26 on revenue of $237.15 million. Footlocker(NYSE: FL) reported fourth quarter EPS of $0.82 on revenue of $1.79 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $0.73 on revenue of $1.71 billion. Big Lots(NYSE: BIG) reported fourth quarter EPS of $1.39 on revenue of $1.64 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $2.09 on revenue of $1.75 billion.

    Pre-Market Movers

Best Companies To Own For 2014: NeoStem Inc (NBS)

NeoStem, Inc., incorporated on September 18, 1980, operates in cellular therapy industry. Cellular therapy addresses the process by which new cells are introduced into a tissue to prevent or treat disease, or regenerate damaged or aged tissue, and consists of a separate therapeutic technology platform in addition to pharmaceuticals, biologics and medical devices. The Company’s business model includes the development of novel cell therapy products, as well as operating a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) providing services to others in the regenerative medicine industry. Progenitor Cell Therapy, LLC, the Company’s wholly owned subsidiary (PCT), is a CDMO in the cellular therapy industry. PCT has provided pre-clinical and clinical current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) development and manufacturing services to over 100 clients advancing regenerative medicine product candidates through rigorous quality standards all the way through to human te sting.

PCT has two cGMP, cell therapy research, development, and manufacturing facilities in New Jersey and California, serving the cell therapy community with integrated and regulatory compliant distribution capabilities. Its core competencies in the cellular therapy industry include manufacturing of cell therapy-based products, product and process development, cell and tissue processing, regulatory support, storage, distribution and delivery and consulting services. The Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Amorcyte, LLC (Amorcyte) is developing its own cell therapy, AMR-001, for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. AMR-001 represents its clinically advanced therapeutic product candidate and enrollment for its Phase II PreSERVE clinical trial to investigate AMR-001’s safety and efficacy in preserving heart function after a heart attack in a particular type of post Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) patients.

Through the Company’s subsidiary, A thelos Corporation (Athelos), the Company is collaborating w! ith Becton-Dickinson in early stage clinical development of a therapy utilizing T-cells, collaborating for autoimmune and inflammatory conditions, including but not limited to, graft vs. host disease, type 1 diabetes, steroid resistant asthma, lupus, multiple sclerosis and solid organ transplant rejection. The Company’s pre-clinical assets include its Very Small Embryonic Like (VSEL) Technology platform. The Company has basic research and development capabilities, manufacturing facilities on both the east and west coast of the United States.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Roberto Pedone]

    Another under-$10 biopharmaceutical player that’s starting to trend within range of triggering a big breakout trade is Neostem (NBS), engages in the development of proprietary cell therapy products. This stock has been hit hard by the sellers during the last three months, with shares off by 22%.

    If you take a look at the chart for Neostem, you’ll notice that this stock has recently spiked higher back above both its 50-day moving average at $6.41 and its 200-day moving average of $6.60 a share. This move has also pushed shares of NBS back above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $6.57 to $6.98 a share. That move is quickly pushing NBS within range of triggering another breakout trade above some key near-term overhead resistance.

    Market players should now look for long-biased trades in NBS if it manages to break out above some near-term overhead resistance at $7.22 a share with high volume. Look for a sustained move or close above that level with volume that hits near or above its three-month average action 327,514 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then NBS will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap down zone from October that started just above $8 a share. If that that gap gets filled with volume, then NBS could easily tag its next major overhead resistance levels at $9 to $9.50 a share, or even its 52-week high at $9.89 a share.

    Traders can look to buy NBS off weakness to anticipate that breakout and simply use a stop that sits right below its 50-day moving average of $6.41 a share, or near more support at $6 a share. One can also buy NBS off strength once it takes out $7.22 a share with volume and then simply use a stop that sits a comfortable percentage from your entry point.

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    NeoStem (NYSE: NBS) priced an underwritten public offering of 5,000,000 shares of common stock at an offering price of $7.00 per share. NeoStem shares dipped 9.44% to $7.10 in after-hours trading.

Best Companies To Own For 2014: MDU Resources Group Inc (MRE)

MDU Resources Group, Inc.,incorporated on March 14, 1924, is a diversified natural resource company. Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. (Montana-Dakota) is a public utility division of the Company. Montana-Dakota, through the electric and natural gas distribution segments, generates, transmits and distributes electricity and distributes natural gas in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. Cascade Natural Gas Corporation (Cascade), which is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of MDU Energy Capital, distributes natural gas in Oregon and Washington. Intermountain Gas Company (Intermountain) distributes natural gas in Idaho. Great Plains Natural Gas Co. (Great Plains), which is a public utility division of the Company, distributes natural gas in western Minnesota and southeastern North Dakota. These operations also supply related value-added services. The Company’s segments include electric, pipeline and energy services, exploration and production, construction material s and contracting and construction services.

The Company, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Centennial Energy Holdings, Inc. (Centennial), owns WBI Holdings, Inc. (WBI Holdings) (consisting of the pipeline and energy services and the exploration and production segments), Knife River Corporation (Knife River) (construction materials and contracting segment), MDU Construction Services Group, Inc. (MDU Construction Services) (construction services segment), Centennial Energy Resources LLC (Centennial Resources) and Centennial Holdings Capital LLC (Centennial Capital) (both included in the Other category). The Company produces Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions primarily from its fossil fuel electric generating facilities, as well as from natural gas pipeline and storage systems, operations of equipment and fleet vehicles, and oil and natural gas exploration and development activities.

Electric

Montana-Dakota provides electric service at ret ail, serving more than 131,000 residential, commercial, indu! strial and municipal customers in 177 communities and adjacent rural areas as of December 31, 2012. The principal properties owned by Montana-Dakota for use in its electric operations include interests in 10 electric generating facilities and three small portable diesel generators, as further described under System Supply, System Demand and Competition, approximately 3,100 and 4,700 miles of transmission and distribution lines, respectively and 51 transmission and 268 distribution substations. Montana-Dakota has obtained and holds valid and existing franchises authorizing it to conduct its electric operations in all of the municipalities it serves where such franchises are required.

The Company, through the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc. (Midwest ISO), Montana-Dakota has access to wholesale energy, ancillary services and capacity markets. The Midwest ISO is a regional transmission organization responsible for operational control of the tr ansmission systems of its members. The Midwest ISO provides security center operations, tariff administration and operates day-ahead and real-time energy markets, ancillary services and capacity markets. In 2012, Montana-Dakota purchased approximately 27 % of its net kilowatts-hour needs for its interconnected system through the Midwest ISO market.

Montana-Dakota serves markets in portions of western North Dakota, including Bismarck, Mandan, Dickinson and Williston; eastern Montana, including Glendive and Miles City; and northern South Dakota, including Mobridge. The maximum electric peak demand experienced to date attributable to Montana-Dakota’s sales to retail customers on the interconnected system was 573,587 kilowatts in July, 2012. The interconnected system consists of nine electric generating facilities and three small portable diesel generators, which has an aggregate nameplate rating attributable to Montana-Dakota’s interest of 488,905 kilowatts. Throug h the Sheridan System, which is a separate electric system o! wned by M! ontana-Dakota, Montana-Dakota serves Sheridan, Wyoming, and neighboring communities. The maximum peak demand attributable to Montana-Dakota sales to retail customers on that system was approximately 61,501 kilowatts in July, 2012.

Montana-Dakota’s four principal generating stations are steam-turbine generating units, which uses coal for fuel. The nameplate rating for Montana-Dakota’s ownership interest in these four stations , including interests in the Big Stone Station and the Coyote Station, aggregating 22.7 % and 25%, respectively is 327,758 kilowatts. Two combustion turbine peaking stations, two wind electric generating facilities, a heat recovery electric generating facility and three small portable diesel generators supply the balance of Montana-Dakota’s interconnected system electric generating capability.

The Coyote coal supply agreement provides for the purchase of coal necessary to supply the coal requirements of the Coyote Station or 30, 000 tons per week, whichever may be the greater quantity at contracted pricing. The Heskett and Lewis & Clark coal supply agreements provide for the purchase of coal necessary to supply the coal requirements of these stations at contracted pricing. Montana-Dakota estimates the Heskett and Lewis & Clark coal requirement to be in the range of 450,000 to 550,000 tons and 250,000 to 350,000 tons per contract year, respectively

Natural Gas Distribution

The Company’s natural gas distribution operations consist of Montana-Dakota, Great Plains, Cascade and Intermountain, which sell natural gas at retail, serving over 859,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in 334 communities and adjacent rural areas across eight states as of December 31, 2012, and provide natural gas transportation services to certain customers on their systems. These services are provided through distribution systems aggregating approximately 18,200 miles.

The Company’s purchased natural gas is supplied by a po! rtfolio o! f contracts specifying market-based pricing and is transported under transportation agreements with WBI Energy Transmission, Northwest Pipeline GP, Northern Natural Gas, Gas Transmission Northwest LLC, Northwestern Energy, Viking Gas Transmission Company and Ruby Pipeline LLC. The natural gas distribution operations have contracts for storage services to provide gas supply during the winter heating season and to meet peak day demand with various storage providers, including WBI Energy Transmission, Questar Pipeline Company, Northwest Pipeline GP and Northern Natural Gas. In addition, certain of the operations have entered into natural gas supply management agreements with various parties.

Pipeline and Energy Services

WBI Energy Transmission, the regulated business of this segment, owns and operates approximately 3,800 miles of transmission, gathering and storage lines in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. WBI Energy Midstream ow ns a 50% undivided interest in certain midstream assets located in western North Dakota. Three underground storage fields in Montana and Wyoming provide storage services to local distribution companies, producers, natural gas marketers and others, and serve to enhance system deliverability. WBI Energy Transmission’s system is located near five natural gas producing basins, making natural gas supplies available to WBI Energy Transmission’s transportation and storage customers. The system has 13 interconnecting points with other pipeline facilities allowing for the receipt and/or delivery of natural gas to and from other regions of the country and from Canada.

WBI Energy Midstream, the non-regulated pipeline business of this segment, owns and operates gathering facilities in Colorado, Kansas, Montana and Wyoming. It also owns a 50% undivided interest in certain midstream assets located in western North Dakota that were acquired in 2012, which include a natural gas processing plant, both oil and gas gathering pipelines, an ! oil stora! ge terminal and an oil pipeline. Prairielands is an energy services business,which provides natural gas purchase and sales services to local distribution companies, producers, other marketers and a limited number of end-users, primarily using natural gas produced by the Company’s exploration and production segment. WBI Energy Transmission’s underground natural gas storage facilities has a storage capacity of approximately 353 billion cubic feet, including 193 billion cubic feet of working gas capacity, 85 billion cubic feet of cushion gas and 75 billion cubic feet of native gas.

Exploration and Production

Fidelity is involved in the acquisition, exploration, development and production of oil and natural gas resources. Fidelity continues to seek additional reserve and production growth opportunities through these activities. Fidelity’s business is focused primarily in two core regions: Rocky Mountain and Mid-Continent/Gulf States.

Fideli ty’s Rocky Mountain region includes Bakken areas , which includes oil targets in which Fidelity holds approximately 16,000 net acres in Mountrail County, North Dakota, approximately 51,000 net acres in Stark County, North Dakota, and approximately 60,000 net acres in Richland County, Montana; Cedar Creek Anticline, which is in primarily in eastern Montana, the Company has a long-held net profits interest in this oil play. Paradox Basin holds approximately 83,000 net acres located in Grand and San Juan Counties, Utah, targeting oil; Big Horn Basin includes approximately 33,000 net acres in Wyoming, targeting oil and Natural gas liquids (NGL); Green River Basin properties primarily includes natural gas targets in Wyoming in which the Company holds approximately 36,000 net acres; Baker Field is a long-held natural gas properties in which Fidelity holds approximately 99,000 net acres in southeastern Montana and southwestern North Dakota; Bowdoin Field is a long-held natural gas properties in which Fidelity holds approximately 127,000 net! acres in! north-central Montana, and Other includes other exploratory oil projects in the Niobrara play in Wyoming and the Heath Shale in Montana; along with the Powder River Basin natural gas properties, which Fidelity is pursuing divestment of and various non-operated positions.

Fidelity’s Mid-Continent/Gulf States region includes South Texas area includes approximately 9,000 net acres in the Tabasco, Texan Gardens and Flores fields, this area has NGL content associated with the natural gas. East/Central Texas holds approximately 27,000 net acres, primarily natural gas and associated NGL. Other includes various non-operated onshore interests, as well as offshore interests in the shallow waters off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana. At December 31, 2012, there were 44 gross (17 net) wells in the process of drilling or under evaluation, 39 of which were development wells and 5 of which were exploratory wells.

Construction Materials and Contracting

Knife River operates construction materials and contracting businesses. These operations mine, process and sell construction aggregates (crushed stone, sand and gravel); produce and sell asphalt mix and supply ready-mixed concrete for construction, including roads, freeways and bridges, as well as homes, schools, shopping centers, office buildings and industrial parks. Although not common to all locations, other products include the sale of cement, liquid asphalt for various commercial and roadway applications, various finished concrete products and other building materials and related contracting services.

Construction Services

MDU Construction Services specializes in constructing and maintaining electric and communication lines, gas pipelines, fire suppression systems, and external lighting and traffic signalization equipment. This segment also provides utility excavation services and inside electrical wiring, cabling and mechanical services, s ells and distributes electrical materials, and manufactures ! and distr! ibutes specialty equipment. These services are provided to utilities and manufacturing, commercial, industrial, institutional and government customers. MDU Construction Services operates a fleet of owned and leased trucks and trailers, support vehicles and specialty construction equipment, such as backhoes, excavators, trenchers, generators, boring machines and cranes. In addition, as of December 31, 2012, MDU Construction Services owned or leased facilities in 17 states. This space is used for offices, equipment yards, warehousing, storage and vehicle shops.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Eric Lam]

    Martinrea International Inc. (MRE), a metal auto-parts maker, slumped 10 percent to C$10.96 after the company said it received a press release discussing a claim from Nat Rea, former vice chairman of the company. Martinrea has not received the claim or reviewed the allegations and will “respond appropriately in due course.”

Best Companies To Own For 2014: Powershares Water Resource Portfolio (PHO)

PowerShares Water Resources Portfolio (the Fund) seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield of an equity index called the Palisades Water Index (the Index). The Palisades Water Index includes water companies drawn from sectors, which include water utilities, treatment, analytical and monitoring, infrastructure and distribution, water resource management, and conglomerate water companies. The Index includes companies that focus on the provision of potable water, the treatment of water and the technology and services that are directly related to water consumption. The Palisades Water Index was created by Hydrogen Ventures, LLC.

The Fund will normally invest at least 80% of its total assets in American depositary receipts (ADRs) and common stocks of companies in the water industry. For purposes of this 80% policy, a company will be considered to be in the water industry if at least 50% of its revenues come from water-related activit ies. The Fund will normally invest at least 90% of its total assets in ADRs and common stocks that comprise the Index. The Fund, using an indexing investment approach, attempts to replicate the performance of the Index. The Fund generally will invest in the stocks comprising the Index in proportion to their weightings in the Index. The Fund’s investment advisor is PowerShares Capital Management LLC.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Aaron Levitt]

    Given just how many different water stocks there are, investors may be better suited in a broad portfolio. With nearly $1 billion in assets, the PowerShares Water Resources (PHO) is the largest exchange-traded fund (ETF) that covers the sector.

  • [By Todd Shriber, ETF Professor]

    Unusual volume (at least 5X ADV): iShares Utilities ETF (NYSE: IDU), First Trust Utilities AlphaDEX Fund (NYSE: FXU), iShares MSCI Germany Small Cap ETF (NYSE: EWGS), iShares MSCI USA ETF (NYSE: EUSA), SPDR S&P Emerging Europe ETF (NYSE: GUR), PowerShares Water Resources (NYSE: PHO) and the Vanguard Industrials ETF (NYSE: VIS).

Best Companies To Own For 2014: Spherix Inc (SPEX)

Spherix Incorporated (Spherix), incorporated on May 1, 1992, is a scientific research company. The Company is engaged in developing biopharmaceutical products and providing technical and regulatory consulting services to food, consumer products and pharmaceutical companies. The Company operates in two segments: Biospherics Incorporated (Biospherics), the Company’s biotechnology research and development business, and Health Sciences, a technical and regulatory consulting business. The Company has created two wholly owned subsidiaries, Biospherics Incorporated and Spherix Consulting, Inc. (Spherix Consulting), for its two operating segments. The Company’s Health Sciences contracts are in the name of Spherix Consulting, and the Company’s patents are in the name of Biospherics Incorporated. Spherix provides management, strategic guidance, business development, marketing and other services to its subsidiaries. In September 2013, Spherix Incorporated closed on the acquisition of North South Holdings Inc.

Biospherics

The Company focuses its studies on treating high triglycerides and other dyslipidemias with a combination of D-tagatose and SPX-106, a licensed drug compound, which combination is referred to as SPX-106T. Spherix Consulting provides scientific and strategic support for suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers of conventional foods, biotechnology-derived foods, medical foods, infant formulas, food ingredients, dietary supplements, food contact substances, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, consumer products, and industrial chemicals and pesticides. Biospherics has also completed a global Phase III clinical trial investigating the use of D-Tagatose, a stereoisomer of fructose, as a treatment for glycemic control in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

Health Sciences

The Company’s Health Sciences business provides technical and regulatory consulting services to biotechnology and ph armaceutical companies, as well as providing technical suppo! rt for its research and development activities. During the year ended December 31, 2011, Health Sciences provided services to 20 companies. The projects range from safety analyses of food ingredients to safety analyses of pharmaceutical manufacturing and dispensing equipment. Health Sciences is also monitoring and directing the clinical trials for Biospherics.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By John Kell and Lauren Pollock var popups = dojo.query(“.socialByline .popC”); ]

    Spherix Inc.(SPEX) on Thursday said that it is suing Cisco Inc.(CSCO) (CSCO), a leging that $43 billion in Cisco sales infringed on Spherix patents. Spherix–which described itself as an “intellectual property development company committed to the fostering and monetization of intellectual property”—said Cisco infringes on 11 patents it acquired in December. Spherix shares rose 4.9% to $4.70 premarket.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) bounced lower today, down 1.19% to $22.06 in a 52-week range of $19.98 to $26.49. Share volume was about equal to the daily average of around 42.7 million shares traded. The networking giant was hit with a lawsuit charging that Cisco violates 11 patents owned by Spherix Inc. (NASDAQ: SPEX) and that virtually all of Cisco’s revenues from switches and routers since 2008 were generated from the patent infringements.

  • [By John Udovich]

    Small cap patent stocks Spherix Inc (NASDAQ: SPEX), PDL BioPharma Inc (NASDAQ: PDLI) and Endeavor IP Inc (OTCBB: ENIP) are among the growing number of publicly traded US entities focused on collecting and making money from various types of patents. After all, monetizing patents can lead to incredible returns. For example: Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund wrote in a research note back in November that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) is generating $2 billion per year in revenue from Android patent royalties and he estimates that this revenue has a 95% margin. However, there are risks associated with investing in stocks that invest in patents because a bi-partisan bill called the Innovation Act (H.R. 3309) is working its way through Congress to try and reign in the activities of so-called “patent trolls” or rather companies that buy or license patents from others.

  • [By Susan Decker]

    In more than two decades as a publicly-traded company, Spherix Inc. (SPEX) developed diabetes treatments, marketed a low-calorie sweetener and handled campground reservations. Now it’s dealing in something completely different: patents.