Best Financial Companies To Invest In 2014

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There’s a lot of talk about how U.S. stocks have run up a lot in 2013, and that valuations are getting a bit stretched.

Best Financial Companies To Invest In 2014: CoStar Group Inc (CSGP)

CoStar Group, Inc. (CoStar), incorporated on February 2, 1998, is a provider of information, analytics and marketing services to the commercial real estate industry in the United States and United Kingdom. The Company’s suite of online service offerings includes information about space available for lease, comparable sales information, tenant information, information about properties for sale, Internet marketing services, analytical capabilities, information for clients’ Websites, information about industry professionals and their business relationships, data integration and industry news. Its service offerings span all commercial property types, including office, industrial, retail, land, mixed-use, hospitality and multifamily. In April 2012, the Company completed the acquisition of LoopNet, Inc.

The Company’s subscription-based information services consist primarily of CoStar Property Professional, CoStar Tenant, CoStar COMPS Professional and FOCUS servi ces. CoStar Property Professional, CoStar Tenant, and CoStar COMPS Professional are generally sold as a suite of similar services and through its mobile application, CoStarGo, and consists of its primary service offering in its United States operating segment. FOCUS is its primary service offering in its International operating segment. As of January 31, 2013, our database of real estate information covered the U.S., London, England and other parts of the U.K., and contained information about approximately 1.6 million sale and lease listings; approximately 4.2 million total properties; approximately 9.0 billion square feet of sale and lease listings; Approximately 5.8 million tenants; approximately 1.9 million sales transactions valued in the aggregate at approximately $4.5 trillion, and approximately 13.8 million digital attachments, including building photographs, aerial photographs, plat maps and floor plans.

CoStar Property Professional

CoStar P roperty Professional (CoStar Property) is the Company’s fl! agship service. It provides subscribers an inventory of office, industrial, retail and multifamily properties and land in markets throughout the United States and United Kingdom, including for-lease and for-sale listings, historical data, building photographs, maps and floor plans. Commercial real estate professionals use CoStar Property to identify available space for lease, evaluate leasing and sale opportunities, value assets and position properties in the marketplace. Its clients also use CoStar Property to analyze market conditions by calculating current vacancy rates, absorption rates or average rental rates, and forecasting future trends based on user selected variables. When used together with CoStar Connect, CoStar Property enables subscribers to share space surveys and transaction-related documents with their clients, accessed through their corporate Website. CoStar Property, along with all of CoStar’s other core information, analytics and marketing services, is delivered solely via the Internet.

CoStar COMPS Professional

CoStar COMPS Professional (COMPS Professional) provides coverage of comparable sales information in the United States and United Kingdom commercial real estate industries. COMPS Professional offers subscribers numerous fields of property information, access to support documents (deeds of trust) for new comparables, demographics and the ability to view for-sale properties alongside sold properties in three formats, plotted on a map, aerial image or in a table.

CoStar Tenant

CoStar Tenant is a detailed online business-to-business prospecting and analytical tool providing commercial real estate professionals with the commercial real estate-related the United States and United Kingdom tenant information available. CoStar Tenant profiles tenants occupying space in commercial buildings across the United States and provides updates on lease expirations, as well as occupa ncy levels, growth rates and numerous other facts. Deliverin! g this in! formation through the Internet allows users to target prospective clients quickly through a searchable database that identifies only those tenants meeting certain criteria.


CoStarGo is an iPad application, which integrates and provides mobile access to subscribers of its property, tenant and comparable sales information in our suite of online service offerings-CoStar Property Professional, CoStar Tenant and CoStar COMPS Professional. CoStarGo provides a single, location-centric mobile interface that allows users to access and display information on millions of properties and gain instant access to analytic data and demographic information from the field.

CoStar Advertising

CoStar Advertising offers property owners and brokers a targeted and way to market a space for lease or a property for sale directly to the CoStar subscribers looking for that type of space through interactive advertising. With the CoStar Adverti sing program, when the advertiser’s listings appear in a results set, they receive priority positioning and are enhanced to stand out. The advertiser can also purchase exposure in additional submarkets, or the entire market area so that this ad will appear even when this listing would not be returned in a results set.


The Company’s subsidiary, PPR, and its United Kingdom subsidiary, PPR United Kingdom, offer products and services designed to meet the research needs of commercial real estate investors and lenders. PPR covers metropolitan areas throughout the United States, United Kingdom and Europe, with offerings, including historical and forecast market data and analysis by market and property type, and services, including access to PPR’s analysts, economists, and strategists to develop and deliver custom research solutions. PPR Portal is PPR’s primary delivery platform for research, forecasts, analytics, and granular data surrounding a specific address and property type. PPR COMPASS is PPR’s ! premier c! ommercial real estate risk management tool.

Resolve Portfolio Maximizer

Resolve Portfolio Maximizer is an industry real estate portfolio management software solution. Resolve Portfolio Maximizer allows users to model partnership structures, calculate waterfall distributions and fees, model and analyze debt obligations, and create multiple what if scenarios for alternative investment decision.

Resolve Request

Request is the business intelligence software solution built specifically for managing commercial real estate investments. Request helps users eliminate some of the difficulties of consolidating real estate investment data from disparate sources and facilitates standardization of information presentation and reporting across an organization. Request also provides a platform for users to develop business intelligence and reporting capabilities.

VP Corporate Edition

The Company’s subsidiary, Vi rtual Premise, offers VP Corporate Edition, a real estate management software solution designed for corporate real estate managers, company executives, business unit directors, brokers and project managers. VP Corporate Edition helps users connect real estate initiatives with company strategic goals, streamline portfolio operations, automate the process for collecting and managing space requests, reduce occupancy costs with analytics that track location performance against targets, and maximize location performance through proactive portfolio management. Virtual Premise also provides lease abstraction and data review services in order to facilitate the effective implementation of this software solution.

VP Retail Edition

VP Retail Edition is a real estate management software solution designed for company executives, real estate dealmakers and store planning and construction managers. VP Retail Edition helps users to utilize and real-time data to est ablish goals and store strategies, manage the execution of r! eal estat! e strategies, summarize critical portfolio data and prerequisite store-level information and metrics for maximizing location performance through proactive portfolio management. Virtual Premise also provides lease abstraction and data review services in order to facilitate the effective implementation of this software solution.

LoopNet Basic and Premium Membership

The Company’s subsidiary, LoopNet, offer two types of memberships on the LoopNet marketplace, basic and premium. As of January 31, 2013, LoopNet had approximately 6.8 million registered members, of which 82,915 were premium members. LoopNet Premium Lister is designed for commercial real estate professionals and other customers who seek the broadest possible exposure for their listings, access to leads lists, and advanced marketing and searching tools. LoopNet Premium Searcher is designed for members searching for commercial real estate who need unlimited marketplace searching access, prof essional-quality reports and advanced searching tools.


LoopLink is an online real estate marketing and database services suite that enables commercial real estate firms to showcase their available properties both on the LoopNet marketplace and on the brokerage firm’s Website using hosted search software. Within LoopNet, each LoopLink listing is branded with the client’s logo and is hyperlinked to the client’s Website. The LoopNet import service offers the opportunity to simplify the process of submitting listings to LoopNet from the client’s internal databases, and features advanced data matching and data integrity rules and file conversion capabilities. LoopNet charges a monthly subscription fee to commercial real estate firms for the LoopLink service.

LandsofAmerica and LandAndFarm

LandsofAmerica and LandAndFarm are online marketplaces for rural land for sale. Sellers pay a fee to list their land for sal e, and interested buyers can search LoopNet’s listings for f! ree.

BizBuySell and BizQuest

BizBuySell and BizQuest are online marketplaces for operating businesses for sale. Business sellers pay a fee to list their operating businesses for sale, and interested buyers can search LoopNet’s listings for free. The BizBuySell and BizQuest Franchise Directories allow interested business buyers to search hundreds of franchise opportunities, and franchisors can list their availabilities in the directory on a cost per lead basis.


The Company’s the United Kingdom subsidiary, CoStar U.K. Limited, offers several services; its primary service is FOCUS. FOCUS is a digital online service offering information on the United Kingdom commercial real estate market. This service seamlessly links data on individual properties and companies across the United Kingdom, including comparable sales, available space, requirements, tenants, lease deals, planning information, socio-economics and demographics, credit ratings, photos and maps.


The Company’s French subsidiary, Grecam S.A.S., provides commercial real estate information throughout the Paris region through its Observatoire Immobilier D’ Entreprise (OIE) service offering. The OIE service provides commercial property availability and transaction information to its subscribers through both an online service and market reports.

The Company competes with,, Reed Business Information Limited,,, TenantWise, Inc.,, WorkplaceIQ, RealPoint LLC,, Xceligent, Inc., eProperty Data, CBRE Economic Advisors, Marshall & Swift, Yale Robbins, Inc., Reis, Inc., Real Capital Analytics, Inc., The Smith Guide, Inc., Catalyst, the National Association of Realtors, CCIM Institute, Society of Industrial and Office Realtors the Commercial Association of Realtors Data Services, the Association of Industrial Realtors, Cougar Software, Yardi Systems, MRI ! Software,! Altus, Intuit Inc., Accruent, Tririga, Manhattan Software and AMT.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Dave and Donald Moenning]

    Internet Software & Services has been the place to be in 2013. In addition to Shutterstock (SSTK), just take a look at these constituents of this red-hot sub-industry: Pandora Media (P), Facebook (FB), j2 Global (JCOM), Yelp (YELP), CoStar Group (CSGP),LinkedIn (LNKD), etc. The list of superb stocks in the Internet Software & Services space goes on and on. Focusing on stocks in the top-performing sub-industries usually helps bullish trades, so today, let’s take a closer look at Shutterstock Inc for a short-term long trade.

Best Financial Companies To Invest In 2014: MFS Special Value Trust (MFV)

MFS Special Value Trust (the fund) is a closed-end fund and maintains a portfolio that includes investments in fixed income and equity securities. During the fiscal year ended October 31, 2007, the MFS Special Value Trust provided a total return of 5.11%, at net asset value. The fund’s investment objective is to seek high current income, but may also consider capital appreciation.

MFS Special Value Trust normally invests the fund’s assets primarily in debt instruments. MFS Special Value Trust normally invests the fund’s assets in United States Government securities, foreign government securities, mortgage backed and other asset-backed securities of United States and foreign issuers, corporate bonds of United States and foreign issuers, debt instruments of issuers located in emerging market countries, and equity securities. MFS Special Value Trust’s investment advisor is Massachusetts Financial Services Company.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Dividends4Life]

    According to a Gabelli Funds report, managed distribution policies offer several advantages, including:1. Lower difference between the fund’s market price and its NAV per share.2. Provides support during periods when the stock market is in a decline.3. Provides a measurable performance target for the investment adviser.Below are several high-yield funds from CEFA that have a managed distribution policy (yields as of December 16):Aberdeen Australia Eqty (IAF)- Distribution Yield: 10.4%- Income Yield: 346%Bexil Advisers LLC  (DNI)- Distribution Yield: 11.1%- Income Yield: 3.56%BlackRock En Capital&Inc (CII)- Distribution Yield: 8.78%- Income Yield: 2.34%Cornerstone Strat Value (CLM)- Distribution Yield: 18.77%- Income Yield: 1.83%Cornerstone Total Return (CRF)- Distribution Yield: 19.10%- Income Yield: 0.85%Delaware Inv Div & Inc (DDF)- Distribution Yield: 6.70%- Income Yield: 5.26%Gabelli Equity Trust (GAB)- Distribution Yield: 7.58%- Income Yield: 1.54%Gabelli Utility Trust (GUT)- Distribution Yield: 9.45%- Income Yield: 2.84%MFS Special Value Trust (MFV)- Distribution Yield: 9.60%- Income Yield: 5.73%Nuveen Tx-Adv TR Strat (JTA)- Distribution Yield: 6.70%- Income Yield: 3.12%TCW Strategic Income (TSI)- Distribution Yield: 10.54%- Income Yield: 7.88%Zweig Total Return (ZTR)- Distribution Yield: 7.27%- Income Yield: 1.95%As noted in the Gabelli report, a managed distribution policy may create confusion regarding the true current yield since the reported yield includes the return of capital portion. You can see the disparity above between the income yield and the distribution (reported) yield.If you are looking for a sustainable and growing dividend, you may want to consider some blue-chip dividend stocks such as these with a Free Cash Flow Payout less than 50%, 50+ years of consecutive dividend increases and a 2%+ yield:3M Co. (MMM) is a diversified global company provides enhanced product functionality in electronics, health care, industrial, consumer

Best Financial Companies To Invest In 2014: Affiliated Managers Group Inc. (AMG)

Affiliated Managers Group, Inc., through its affiliates, operates as an asset management company providing investment management services to mutual funds, institutional clients, and high net worth individuals in the United States. It provides advisory or subadvisory services to mutual funds. These funds are distributed to retail and institutional clients directly and through intermediaries, including independent investment advisors, retirement plan sponsors, broker-dealers, major fund marketplaces, and bank trust departments. The company also offers investment products in various investment styles in the institutional distribution channel, including small, small/mid, mid, and large capitalization value and growth equity, and emerging markets. In addition, it offers quantitative, alternative, and fixed income products, and manages assets for foundations and endowments, defined benefit, and defined contribution plans for corporations and municipalities. Affiliated Managers G roup provides investment management or customized investment counseling and fiduciary services. The company was formed as a corporation under the laws of Delaware in 1993. Affiliated Managers Group is based in Prides Crossing, Massachusetts.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By John Udovich]

    While America’s middle class appears to be shrinking with little upward mobility, small cap wealth management stocks Noah Holdings Limited (NYSE: NOAH) and A.F.P Provida SA (NYSE: PVD) plus larger cap Affiliated Managers Group, Inc (NYSE: AMG) are managing money in places where the ranks of the middle class and the wealthy are still growing strong. Specifically, Noah Holdings Limited is based in China, Chile based A.F.P Provida SA is spreading its footprint into other Latin American countries and the Affiliated Managers Group is growing a global footprint. For those reasons, you have probably not heard of these wealth management stocks, but here are some reasons why you might want to consider investing in one:

Best Financial Companies To Invest In 2014: BR Properties SA (BRPR3)

BR Properties SA is a Brazil-based company engaged in the real estate sector. The Company operates, along with its subsidiaries, in the acquisition, management, leasing and sale of commercial properties in Brazil, mainly office buildings, retail stores and warehouses. The Company also develops and contracts from third parties and the construction of new properties. The Company’s subsidiaries include BRPR I Empreendimentos e Participacoes Ltda, BRPR II Empreendimentos e Participacoes Ltda, BRPR III Empreendimentos e Participacoes Ltda, BRPR IV Empreendimentos e Participacoes Ltda, BRPR V Empreendimentos e Participacoes Ltda, BRPR VII Empreendimentos e Participacoes Ltda and BRPR VIII Empreendimentos e Participacoes Ltda, among others. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ney Hayashi]

    The Ibovespa rose for the first time in five sessions, with developer BR Properties SA (BRPR3) leading gains, amid speculation the Brazilian benchmark’s longest losing streak in six weeks may have been excessive.

Best Financial Companies To Invest In 2014: Market Vectors Steel ETF (SLX)

Market Vectors Steel ETF (the Fund) seeks to replicate as closely as possible the price and yield performance of the NYSE Arca Steel Index (STEEL or the Index) by investing in a portfolio of securities that generally replicates STEEL. STEEL, calculated by the NYSE Alternext, is a modified market capitalization-weighted index consisting of publicly traded companies predominantly involved in the production of steel products or mining and processing of iron ore. The Index includes companies primarily involved in a variety of activities related to steel production, including the operation of manufacturing mills and fabrication of steel products. Companies eligible for inclusion in Index should be engaged in solar power and related products and services, deriving at least 66% of revenues from it with market cap exceeding $100 million, and should have three-month trading volume equal to or greater than $1 million per day. Its investment advisor is Van Eck Associates Corporation. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    In our late October report on X, we noted the Company was “scratching the surface” on operational improvement, and we expected shares to edge higher over the near term. While X shares have appreciated by 16% since that report vs. the S&P 500 of +4% and the [Market Vectors Steel ETF (SLX)] of +3%, we believe shares have more room to run based on our positive carbon hot-rolled steel pricing revisions for 2014: meaningful raw material cost tailwinds (coal, scrap, iron ore); low Street EPS and EBITDA expectations for 2014-2015; an ever-increasing interest rate environment (benefits for pension exposure); more evidence of European macro stability; and above-average likelihood of incremental operational efficiency announcements such as a joint venture or tolling agreement with Allegheny Technologies Incorporated (ATI).

  • [By John Udovich]

    On Monday, Goldman Sachs upgraded the whole steel sector from Cautious to Neutral and specifically upgraded small cap and mid cap steel stocks AK Steel Holding Corporation (NYSE: AKS), United States Steel Corporation (NYSE: X) and Steel Dynamics Inc. (NASDAQ: STLD) to Buy with price targets of $6, $30 and $22, respectively, but should you go for one of these individual steel stocks or for the Market Vectors Steel ETF (NYSEARCA: SLX)? To begin with, Goldman Sachs says that the supply-demand fundamentals for steel are starting to look more appealing as some supply has been taken out plus they have a very bearish view on input costs (as in iron ore) – which bodes well for steel producers in the long run. Moreover, recently filed trade cases could provide some tailwind – if they are successful. Of course a rising tide can lift all ships, but Goldman Sachs suggests that you go for the following small cap or mid cap steel stocks: 

Best Financial Companies To Invest In 2014: Union First Market Bankshares Corp (UBSH)

Union First Market Bankshares Corporation is a bank holding company. The Company offers financial services through its community bank subsidiary Union First Market Bank and three non-bank financial services affiliates. The Company’s non-bank financial services affiliates are Union Mortgage Group, Inc., Union Investment Services, Inc. and Union Insurance Group, LLC. The Company operates in two segments: traditional full service community banking business and its mortgage loan origination business. The Company is a community banking organization based in Virginia and provides full service banking to the Northern, Central, Rappahannock, Shenandoah, Tidewater, and Northern Neck regions of Virginia through Union First Market Bank. Union First Market Bank (the Bank) is a full service community bank offering consumers and businesses a range of banking and related financial services, including checking, savings, certificates of deposit and other depository services, as well as l oans for commercial, industrial, residential mortgage and consumer purposes. The Bank issues credit cards and delivers automated teller machine (ATM) services. The Bank also offers Internet banking services and online bill payment for all customers, whether retail or commercial. The Bank also offers private banking and trust services to individuals and corporations through its Financial Guidance Group. In January 2014, the Company acquired StellarOne Corporation.

As of December 31, 2011, Union First Market Bank operated 99 locations in the counties of Albemarle, Caroline, Chesterfield, Essex, Fairfax, Fauquier, Fluvanna, Frederick, Hanover, Henrico, James City, King George, King William, Lancaster, Loudoun, Nelson, Northumberland, Richmond, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Warren, Washington, Westmoreland, York, and the independent cities of Charlottesville, Colonial Heights, Culpeper, Fredericksburg, Harrisonburg, Newport News, Richmond, Staunton, Stephens City, Waynesb oro, Williamsburg, and Winchester. Union First Market Bank a! lso operates loan production offices in Staunton, Winchester, and Tappahannock. Union Investment Services, Inc. provides brokerage services; Union Mortgage Group, Inc. provides a line of mortgage products, and Union Insurance Group, LLC offers various lines of insurance products. Union First Market Bank also owns a non-controlling interest in Johnson Mortgage Company, L.L.C.

Union Investment Services, Inc. provides securities, brokerage and investment advisory services. It has 11 offices within the Bank’s trade area and is a full service investment company handling all aspects of wealth management, including stocks, bonds, annuities, mutual funds and financial planning. Securities are offered through a third party contractual arrangement with Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., an independent broker dealer. Union Mortgage Group, Inc., (UMG) has offices in Virginia (seven), Maryland (three), North Carolina (three), and South Carolina (two). UMG is also lic ensed to do business in selected states throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, as well as Washington, D.C. It provides a variety of mortgage products to customers in those areas. The mortgage loans originated by UMG are generally sold in the secondary market through purchase agreements with institutional investors. Union Insurance Group, LLC (UIG), an insurance agency, is owned by the Bank and Union Mortgage. This agency operates in a joint venture with Bankers Insurance, LLC, an insurance agency owned by community banks across Virginia and managed by the Virginia Bankers Association. UIG generates revenue through sales of various insurance products, including long term care insurance and business owner policies.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Sean Williams]

    What: Shares of StellarOne (NASDAQ: STEL  ) , a commercial, mortgage, and wealth management bank servicing small and medium-sized businesses in Virginia, jumped as much as 20% after agreeing to be purchased by Union First Market Bancshares (NASDAQ: UBSH  ) .

  • [By GuruFocus]

    Reduced: Union First Market Bankshares Corp (UBSH)

    Tom Gayner reduced to his holdings in Union First Market Bankshares Corp by 12.64%. His sale prices were between $18.24 and $20.59, with an estimated average price of $19.52. The impact to his portfolio due to this sale was -0.18%. Tom Gayner still held 1,658,339 shares as of 06/30/2013.

Best Financial Companies To Invest In 2014: Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV)

Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund (the Fund) seeks to provide investment results that correspond to the price and yield performance of the Health Care Select Sector of the S&P 500 Index (the Index). The Index includes companies whose primary business may include healthcare equipment and supplies, healthcare services, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

The Fund utilizes a passive or indexing investment approach and attempts to invest in a portfolio of stocks that seek to replicate the Index. The Fund’s investment advisor is SSgA Funds Management, Inc.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Tom Aspray]

    If you are willing to spend the time and do the work, I think you can become your own investment analyst. These more active investors should consider a core position in an S&P-500-tracking ETF and then allocate to other industry-specific ETFs. So far in 2014, the Select Sector SPDR Utilities (XLU) is up 8.8% for the year. Not too far behind is the Select Sector SPDR Health Care (XLV), which is up 7.8%.

  • [By David Fabian]

    The most widely held ETF in this sector is the SPDR Healthcare Select Sector (XLV), which contains 56 large-cap companies primarily engaged in the pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and medical provider fields.

Best Financial Companies To Invest In 2014: Mapfre SA (MAP)

Mapfre SA is a Spain-based holding company active in the insurance industry. It provides insurance services to businesses, professionals and individuals. The range of the Company’s products and services includes insurance policies of direct life, property and casualty, health, automotive and third party liability, among others. In addition, Mapfre SA is active in the management of pension funds, retirement plans and investment funds, as well as the provision of healthcare services in Spain. The Company is a parent of Grupo Mapfre, which comprises a number of entities active in the insurance, reinsurance, financial and real estate sectors with operations established worldwide. The Company operates such subsidiaries as Mapfre Familiar, Mapfre Vida, Mapfre Emperesas, MSG Portugal, Mapfre America, Mapfre Internatcional, Mapfre Re, Mapfre Global Risks and Mapfre Asistencia, among others. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ruth David]

    Bankia, a Valencia-based bank that took state aid, did the third-biggest placing last quarter, when it dumped a 979 million-euro stake in Mapfre (MAP), Spain’s largest insurer. Bankia said the sale was a step in implementing its parent company’s strategy for the three years through 2015.

  • [By Tom Stoukas]

    Mapfre SA (MAP) slid 3.1 percent to 2.67 euros. Bankia SA sold a 12 percent stake, or 369.6 million shares, in Spain’s biggest insurer.

    Centrica Slides

    Centrica Plc (CNA), the largest energy supplier to U.K. homes, lost 2.3 percent to 366.9 pence. JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded the shares to neutral from overweight, citing proposals from Britain’s Labour Party to freeze energy bills and break up the country’s six biggest power suppliers.