Best Financial Stocks For 2014

LONDON — BP  (LSE: BP  ) (NYSE: BP  ) issued decent first-quarter results earlier this week, but its shareholders are probably more interested in whether the eventual outcome of the firm’s Clean Water Act trial in New Orleans could threaten its attractive 5.1% dividend yield.

This trial will determine whether BP was guilty of gross negligence on Deepwater Horizon, and the fine it has to pay for the oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico.

Worst-case scenario
If BP loses and is found to have been grossly negligent, then the worst-case scenario would be a $21 billion fine. This might also open the floodgates for increased claims from the 2,200 or so other parties that are suing BP for compensation.

It could be some time until we find out what will happen, though. The first stage of the trial, which will determine whether BP is guilty of gross negligence, has just ended, but a ruling is not expected from Judge Carl Barbier until after the second stage of the trial.

Best Financial Stocks For 2014: Ares Capital Corp (ARCC)

Ares Capital Corporation (Ares Capital), incorporated on April 16, 2004, is a specialty finance company, which is a closed-end, non-diversified management investment company. The Company’s wholly owned subsidiaries and vehicles managed or sub-managed by its wholly owned portfolio company, Ivy Hill Asset Management, L.P. (IHAM). It is externally managed by its investment adviser, Ares Capital Management LLC (Ares Capital Management or its investment adviser), a wholly owned subsidiary of Ares Management LLC (Ares Management), a global alternative asset manager. Ares Operations LLC (Ares Operations or administrator), its administrator, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ares Management, provides the administrative services. It invests in United States middle-market companies. It invests in first and second lien senior loans and mezzanine debt, which in some cases includes an equity component. It also makes preferred and/or common equity investments.

The Company’s portfolio company, IHAM, manages 10 unconsolidated credit vehicles and sub-manages or sub-advises four other unconsolidated credit vehicles (these vehicles managed or sub-managed/sub-advised by IHAM). It has also made direct investments in securities of certain of these vehicles. Ares Management’s (Ares) finance activities include the origination, acquisition and management of senior loans, bonds, mezzanine debt and special situation investments. Ares’ private equity activities focus on providing flexible, junior capital to middle-market companies.

The Company has an investment portfolio of first and second lien loans, mezzanine debt and equity investments in private middle-market companies. The Company and General Electric Capital Corporation and GE Global Sponsor Finance LLC (GE) co-invest through the Senior Secured Loan Fund LLC, which operates using the name Senior Secured Loan Program. As of December 31, 2011, the Senior Secured Loan Program (SSLP) consis ted of a portfolio of loans to 32 different borrowers and th! e portfolio companies in the SSLP are in industries similar to the companies in Ares Capital’s portfolio. It also makes preferred and/or common equity investments. It makes senior secured loans in the form of first and/or second lien loans. Its first and second lien loans have terms of three to 10 years. The list of the industries, in which it has invested include aerospace and defense, business services, consumer products, containers and packaging, education, energy, environmental services, financial services, food and beverage, healthcare services, investment funds and vehicles, manufacturing, restaurant and food services, retail, and telecommunications. It has made investments in its portfolio company, IHAM, which manages 10 unconsolidated credit vehicles: Ivy Hill Middle Market Credit Fund, Ltd. (Ivy Hill I), Ivy Hill Middle Market Credit Fund II, Ltd. (Ivy Hill II), Ivy Hill Middle Market Credit Fund III, Ltd. (Ivy Hill III), Ivy Hill Senior Debt Fund, L.P. and related vehicles (Ivy Hill SDF and, together with Ivy Hill I, Ivy Hill II and Ivy Hill III, the Ivy Hill Funds); Knightsbridge CLO 2007-1 Limited, Emporia Preferred Funding I, Ltd., Emporia Preferred Funding II, Ltd. and Emporia Preferred Funding III, Ltd. (collectively, the Emporia Funds), and Ares Private Debt Strategies Fund II, L.P. and Ares Private Debt Strategies Fund III, L.P. (collectively, the PDS Funds). In addition, IHAM serves as the sub-adviser/sub-manager for four others: CoLTS 2005-1 Ltd., CoLTS 2005-2 Ltd. and CoLTS 2007-1 Ltd. (collectively, the CoLTS Funds), and FirstLight Funding I, Ltd. (FirstLight).

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Sally Jones]

    Highlight: Ares Capital Corporation (ARCC)

    The share price is currently around $17.57 or 5.9% off the 52-week high of $18.67. Its yield is 8.60%.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    Next Tuesday, Ares Capital (NASDAQ: ARCC  ) will release its latest quarterly results. The key to making smart investment decisions on stocks reporting earnings is to anticipate how they’ll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise. That way, you’ll be less likely to make an uninformed, knee-jerk reaction to news that turns out to be exactly the wrong move.

  • [By Eric Volkman]

    Ares Capital (NASDAQ: ARCC  ) now has a new man in the chief executive’s office. The business development company has tapped Michael Arougheti to be its CEO, in addition to a raft of other high-level appointments.

Best Financial Stocks For 2014: National Bank of Canada (NBC)

National Bank of Canada (the Bank) is a bank. The Bank provides integrated financial services to retail, commercial and corporate/institutional clients. The Bank’s offerings include securities brokerage, insurance, wealth management, mutual and pension-fund management as well as banking and investment solutions across three business segments: Personal and Commercial, Wealth Management, and Financial Markets. The Personal and Commercial segment meets the financial needs of some 2.4 million retail banking clients and approximately 130,000 business clients throughout Canada. The Wealth Management segment includes National Bank Financial Wealth Management and National Bank Direct Brokerage Inc. The Financial Markets segment provides banking and investment banking services. On August 1, 2012, Maple Group Acquisition Corporation (Maple) acquired Alpha Trading Systems Inc., Alpha Trading Systems Limited Partnership and The Canadian Depository for Securities Limited. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Rhonda Abrams]

    A woman may be the brains behind an organization, but having a handsome guy like Pierce Brosnan, with Stephanie Zimbalist in a 1982 photo for 'Remington Steele,' attracts the cash, a study shows.(Photo: NBC)

  • [By USATODAY 2:27 p.m. EST February 4]

    NBC's Winter Olympics app.(Photo: NBC)

    You can follow the Sochi games digitally on NBCOlympics.com or on the NBC Sports Live Extra app — available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices. The Live Extra app is free and getting a refresh in time for the Olympics. It also covers other sports NBC is involved in, including the NHL, PGA Tour and Triple Crown Horse Racing.

Best Financial Stocks For 2014: CVB Financial Corp (CVBF)

CVB Financial Corp. (CVB), incorporated on April 27, 1981, is a bank holding company of Citizens Business Bank (the Bank). The Company’s primary operations are related to banking activities, including the acceptance of deposits and the lending and investing of money through the operations of the Bank. The Bank also provides automobile and equipment leasing to customers through its Citizens Financial Services Group and trust and investment-related services to customers through its CitizensTrust Division. The Bank’s customers consist primarily of small to mid-sized businesses and individuals located in San Bernardino County, Riverside County, Orange County, Los Angeles County, Madera County, Fresno County, Tulare County, Kern County and San Joaquin County, California. As of December 31, 2012, the Bank operated 42 Business Financial Centers, five Commercial Banking Centers, and two trust office locations with its headquarters located in the city of Ontario. It operates in two segments: Business Financial and Commercial Banking Centers (Centers) and Treasury.

Lending Activities

The Bank provides lending products, such as commercial, agribusiness, consumer, real estate loans and equipment and vehicle leasing. Commercial products include lines of credit and other working capital financing, accounts receivable lending and letters of credit. Agribusiness products are loans to finance the operating needs of wholesale dairy farm operations, cattle feeders, livestock raisers, and farmers. It provides lease financing for municipal governments. Financing products for consumers include automobile leasing and financing, lines of credit, and home improvement and home equity lines of credit. Real estate loans include mortgage and construction loans. The Bank also offers a range of specialized services designed for the needs of its commercial accounts. These services include cash management systems for monitoring cash flow, a cre dit card program for merchants, courier pick-up and delivery! , payroll services, remote deposit capture, electronic funds transfers by way of domestic and international wires and automated clearinghouse, and online account access. The Bank makes available investment products to customers, including mutual funds, an array of fixed income vehicles and a program to diversify our customers’ funds in federally insured time certificates of deposit of other institutions. It offers a range of financial services and trust services through its CitizensTrust division. These services include fiduciary services, mutual funds, annuities, 401(k) plans and individual investment accounts.

Investment Activities

The Company maintains a portfolio of investment securities to provide interest income and to serve as a source of liquidity for its ongoing operations. The composition of the investment portfolio as of December 31, 2012, consisted of the Government agency, residential mortgage-backed securities, municipal bonds and o ther securities. Investment securities totaled $2.45 billion at December 31, 2012. Approximately $1.46 billion, or 60%, of the total investment portfolio at December 31, 2012 consisted of securities backed by mortgages.

Sources of Fund

The primary source of funds to support earning assets (loans and investments) is the generation of deposits. CVB offers a range of deposit instruments, which include checking, savings, money market and time certificates of deposit for both business and personal accounts. It also serves as a federal tax depository for its business customers. Total deposits were $4.77 billion at December 31, 2012.. The Company’s deposits include non-interest bearing deposits, such as demand deposits, and interest bearing deposits, such as investment checking, money market, savings and time deposits. At December 31, 2012, borrowed funds totaled $698.2 million. At December 31, 2012, noninterest bearing deposits were 50.71% of total deposits. As of December 31, 2012, its borrowings included $198.9 mill! ion in te! rm federal home loan bank (FHLB) advances, $473.2 million of repurchase agreements, and $26.0 million of other overnight borrowings.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Citizens Business Bank holding company CVB Financial (NASDAQ: CVBF  ) announced yesterday its second-quarter dividend of $0.10 per share, an 18% increase over the payout it made last quarter of $0.085 per share. This is the first increase in the dividend since 2007.

Best Financial Stocks For 2014: Sprott Physical Silver Trust (PSLV)

Sprott Physical Silver Trust (the Trust) is a closed-end mutual fund trust. The investment objective of the Trust is to seek to provide a secure, convenient and exchange-traded investment alternative for investors interested in holding physical silver bullion without the inconvenience that is typical of a direct investment in physical silver bullion. The Trust focuses to achieve its objective by investing in long-term holdings of unencumbered, fully allocated, physical silver bullion and does not speculate with regard to short-term changes in silver prices. The Trust invests and intends to continue to invest primarily in long-term holdings of unencumbered, fully allocated, physical silver bullion and does not speculate with regard to short-term changes in silver prices. Sprott Asset Management LP (the ‘Manager’) acts as the manager of the Trust. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Eric Parnell]

    It also remains worthwhile to hedge stock allocations to protect against any major downside event along the way. This includes positions with low correlations such as the PIMCO Total Return ETF (BOND) or the PIMCO Global Advantage Inflation Linked Bond ETF (ILB). This also includes allocations that are likely to rally sharply in the event of a stock pullback but can also continue to rise along with the market such as long-term Treasuries (TLT) or Build America Bonds (BAB). And despite the recent thrashing they have endured, the precious metals complex including gold (GLD), silver (SLV), platinum (PPLT) and palladium (PALL) continue to provide attractive long-term portfolio diversification benefits. I remain long all of these metals via the Central GoldTrust (GTU), the Central Fund of America (CEF), the Sprott Physical Silver Trust (PSLV) and the Sprott Physical Platinum and Palladium Trust (SPPP).

  • [By Cameron Swinehart]

    Going forward I will be looking to add investments on my watchlist and trim other positions. It will be interesting to see how an overweight commodity portfolio will perform relative to the rest of the market.

     Cost Basis# SharesCurrent Price% of PortfolioCurrent ValueReturnMetal/Miners      Sprott Physical Gold Trust (PHYS)$12.4985$11.043.75%$938.40-13.13%Sprott Physical Silver Trust (PSLV)$7.95125$8.744.37%$1,092.509.04%FreePort-McMoran (FCX)$31.6731$33.874.20%$1,049.976.50%Ishares MSCI Global Gold Miners ETF (RING)$13.0695$10.644.04%$1,010.80-22.74%Energy      Statoil ASA(STO)$21.7940$22.683.63%$907.203.92%Vanguard Natural Resources LLC (VNR)$27.5636$27.874.01%$1,003.321.11%ConocoPhillips (COP)$63.6822.43$71.006.37%$1,592.5310.31%Agriculture      CVR Partner LP (UAN)$26.3630.9$18.932.34%$584.94-39.25%Adecoagro$6.78125$7.443.72%$930.008.87%Archer-Daniels Midland (ADM)$34.80 30$37.244.47%$1,117.206.55%Mixed Commodity      Powershares DB Commodity Index (DBC)$26.3540$25.954.15%$1,038.00-1.54%Sprott Resource Corp$3.34400$2.714.34%$1,084.00-23.25%    Total % of portfolio49.40%               Cost Basis12,666.00      Current Value12,348.86      Return-2.50%  Source: Investing For The Future Surge In Commodity Prices

    Disclosure: I am long ADM, FCX, UAN, AGRO, RING, VNR, SCPZF.PK, COP, DBC, PHYS, PSLV. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article. (More…)

Best Financial Stocks For 2014: LPL Investment Holdings Inc.(LPLA)

LPL Investment Holdings Inc. provides an integrated platform of brokerage and investment advisory services to independent financial advisors and financial advisors at financial institutions in the United States. The company?s brokerage offerings include variable and fixed annuities, mutual funds, general securities, alternative investments, retirement and 529 education savings plans, and fixed income; and insurance offerings comprise personalized advance case design, point-of-sale service, and product support for a range of life, disability, and long-term care products. Its fee-based advisory platforms and support solutions offer access to no-load/load-waived mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, stocks, bonds, conservative option strategies, unit investment trusts and no-load, institutional money managers, and multi-manager variable annuities through five platforms, as well as third-party equity research and asset-management services, and fee-based advisory and consulting services to retirement plans. The company?s cash sweep programs consist of money market sweep vehicles and an insured bank deposit sweep vehicles. Its services also include tools and services that enable advisors to maintain their practice; and trust, investment management oversight, and custodial services for estates and families, as well as technology and open architecture investment management solutions to trust departments of financial institutions. LPL Investment Holdings Inc. provides its services to approximately 12,800 independent financial advisors from a range of firms, including wirehouses, regional and insurance broker dealers, banks, and other independent firms; and registered investment advisors, and advisors at small and mid-sized financial institutions. The company was founded in 1968 and is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Global investment and financial advisory services holding company LPL Financial Holdings (LPLA) raised its quarterly dividend 26.3% to 24 cents per share, payable March 10 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 24.
    LPLA Dividend Yield: 1.81%

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Discount brokers had a great 2013, in large part because of the perceived boost they would get from rising interest rates and rising stock prices. Charles Schwab returned 83%, E*Trade Financial (ETFC) surged 119%, TD Ameritrade (AMTD) rose 88%, and LPL Financial (LPLA) finished the year up 69%.

Best Financial Stocks For 2014: Pendrell Corp (PCO)

Pendrell Corporation (Pendrell), formerly ICO Global Communications (Holdings) Limited, incorporated on March 17, 2000, is a fully-integrated intellectual property (IP) investment and advisory company. The Company develops and implements strategies to create, acquire, commercialize and license IP. The Company provides IP valuation services, analysis and strategic advice through Pendrell’s wholly owned subsidiary, Pendrell Technologies LLC (PTL) and its wholly owned subsidiary, Ovidian Group LLC (Ovidian Group). It also assists its clients with a rangeof IP services, including IP valuation and investment analysis, IP landscape analysis, IP divestitures and IP risk mitigation strategies. On June 17, 2011, the Company acquired Ovidian Group. On October 31, 2011, the Company’s subsidiary, Pendrell Technologies LLC, acquired 90.1% interest in ContentGuard Holdings, Inc. In November 2011, Technicolor SA sold its 25.7% interest in ContentGuard to Pendrell Technologies LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Pendrell Corporation. During the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company completed the divestiture of its satellite communications assets. Effective February 25, 2013, the Company acquired 68% interest in Provitro Biosciences LLC.

The Company competes with Acacia Research Corporation, Coller IP Management, Intellectual Ventures, Mosaid, Rovi, RPX, Wi-Lan, Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Company and Red Chalk Group.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Roberto Pedone]

    Pendrell (PCO) is a fully integrated intellectual property investment and advisory firm. This stock closed up 2.3% to $2.18 in Tuesday’s trading session.

    Tuesday’s Range: $2.08-$2.22

    52-Week Range: $1.04-$2.71

    Tuesday’s Volume: 263,000

    Three-Month Average Volume: 457,962

    From a technical perspective, PCO bounced higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $2.16 with lighter-than-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of PCO within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if PCO manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $2.22 with high volume.

    Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PCO as long as it’s trending above Tuesday’s low of $2.08 or above $2 and then once it sustains a move or close above $2.22 with volume that hits near or above 457,962 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then PCO will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $2.50 to its 52-week high at $2.71.