Best Gas Utility Companies To Own For 2014

The goal of this report, which can oftentimes be classified as a meandering morning market missive, is to identify the primary drivers of the stock market.

To be sure, there are certainly times when the drivers of the action are actually quite easy to identify. And then there are days like Tuesday, where there was nothing terribly obvious to the naked eye.

While the end result didn’t appear to be meaningful (the DJIA and S&P 500 indices each lost 0.2 percent, the NASDAQ actually eked out a slight gain), sometimes how the action unfolds on an intraday basis can speak volumes about what is actually happening in the market.

Algos Back At It

After one of the least volatile days of the year on Monday, the bottom line is the algos got back to work on Tuesday. Although there wasn’t much in the way of economic inputs to consider (the NFIB Small Business index came in below expectations), the boys and their computer toys did get some “taper” headlines to work with after the market opened.

In what was clearly an all-algo-all-the-time affair, stocks were pushed and pulled in both directions based on whatever came out of a Fed governor’s mouth. Never mind the fact that most of what passed for “news” yesterday was anything but, the algos were armed and ready to react – and move the S&P five or six points each time within a matter of minutes.

Best Gas Utility Companies To Own For 2014: Micropac Industries Inc (MPAD)

Micropac Industries, Inc. (Micropac), incorporated on March 3, 1969, manufactures and distributes various types of hybrid microelectronic circuits, solid state relays, power operational amplifiers, and optoelectronic components and assemblies. Micropac’s products are used as components in a range of military, space and industrial systems, including aircraft instrumentation and navigation systems, power supplies, electronic controls, computers, medical devices, and high-temperature (200o degree Celsius) products. The Company’s products are either custom (being application-specific circuits designed and manufactured to meet the particular requirements of a single customer) or standard components. During the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011 (fiscal 2011), its custom-designed components accounted for approximately 34% of its revenue and standard components accounted for approximately 66% of its revenue.

Micropac occupies approximately 36,000 square feet of manufacturing, engineering and office space in Garland, Texas. The Company owns 31,200 square feet of that space and leases an additional 4,800 square feet. It also sub-contracts some manufacturing to Inmobiliaria San Jose De Ciuddad Juarez S.A. DE C.V, a maquila contract manufacturer in Juarez, Mexico.

Micropac provides microelectronic and optoelectronic components and assemblies along with contract electronic manufacturing services, and offers a range of products sold to the industrial, medical, military, aerospace and space markets. The Microcircuits product line includes custom microcircuits, solid state relays, power operational amplifiers, and regulators. During fiscal 2011, microcircuits product line accounted for 51% of its revenue and the optoelectronics product line accounted for 62% of its business respectively. The Company’s core technology is the packaging and interconnects of miniature electronic components, utilizing thick film and thin film sub strates, forming microelectronics circuits. Other technologi! es include light emitting and light sensitive materials and products, including light emitting diodes and silicon phototransistors used in its optoelectronic components, and assemblies.

The Company’s basic products and technologies include custom design hybrid microelectronic circuits, solid state relays and power controllers, custom optoelectronic assemblies and components, optocouplers, light-emitting diodes, Hall-Effect devices, displays, power operational amplifiers, fiber optic components and assemblies, and high temperature (200o degree Celsius) products. Micropac’s products are primarily sold to original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s) who serve major markets, which includes military/aerospace, such as aircraft instrumentation, guidance and navigations systems, control circuitry, power supplies and laser positioning; space, which include control circuitry, power monitoring and sensing, and industrial, which includes power control equipment and robot ics.

The Company’s products are marketed throughout the United States and in Western Europe. During fiscal 2011, approximately 21% of the Company’s revenue was from international customers. The Company’s major customers include contractors to the United States Government. During fiscal 2010, sales to these customers for the Department of Defense (DOD) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) contracts accounted for approximately 62% of its revenues. The Company’s customers are Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Rockwell Int’l, and NASA.

The Company compete with Teledyne Industries, Inc., MS Kennedy, Honeywell, Avago and International Rectifier.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Geoff Gannon] strong>ADDvantage Technologies (AEY)

    · Solitron Devices (SODI)

    · OPT-Sciences (OPST)

    Micropac

    Micropac is 76% owned by Heinz-Werner Hempel. He’s a German businessman. You can see the German company he founded here. He’s had control of Micropac for a long-time. I don’t have an exact number in front of me. But I would guess it’s been something like 25 years.

    ADDvantage

    ADDvantage Technologies is controlled by the Chymiak brothers. See the company’s April 4 press release explaining their decision to turn over the CEO position to an outsider. Regardless, the Chymiaks still control 47% of the company. Ken Chymiak is now chairman. And David Chymiak is still a director and now the company’s chief technology officer. Clearly, it’s still their company.

    By the way, the name ADDvantage Technologies has nothing to do with the Chymiaks. Today’s AEY really traces its roots to a private company called Tulsat. The Chymiak brothe rs acquired that company about 27 years ago. So, effectively, when you buy shares of AEY you are buying into a 27-year-old family-controlled company.

    That’s pretty typical in the world of net-nets.

    Solitron

    Solitron Devices is 29% owned by Shevach Saraf. He has been the CEO for 20 years. The post-bankruptcy Solitron has never known another CEO. Before the bankruptcy, Solitron was a much bigger, much different company. So even though we are not talking about the founder here – and even though 70% of the company’s shares are not held by the CEO – we’re still talking about a company where one person has a lot of control. Solitron only has three directors. Saraf is the chairman, CEO, president, CFO and treasurer. Neither of the other two directors joined the board within the last 15 years. So, we aren’t talking about a lot of tumult at the top.

    In fact, profitable net-nets seem to be especially common candidates for abandoning the responsibili ties of a public comp

  • [By Geoff Gannon] % of NCAV, has similar (slightly better) z- and f-scores, a FCF margin of 6%, but has ROA of 28%.

    ADDvantage (AEY) sells at 95% of NCAV, has similar (in the ballpark) scores and FCF and ROA of 23%.

    The slightly better businesses are currently more expensive in terms of price/NCAV. They have less asset-based downside protection, but they are better businesses.

    How do you quantify and qualify what is cheap enough? To me, there’s a big difference in relative cheapness in a company selling at 74% of NCAV versus one selling at 95%. I’m wondering if I’m putting too much weight on this cheapness measurement instead of acknowledging that any decent business selling at less than NCAV is cheap enough. Yet, one has to have some quantifiable idea of when something is not cheap enough anymore.

    Can you help me put this into a unified framework?

    Dan

    There’s a great post over at Oddball Stocks called: “A Stock is a Business”. Read it. Then go over to Richard Beddard’s Interactive Investor Blog. Bookmark that blog. Read it religiously. He looks at Ben Graham type stocks in the U.K. And he looks at them not just as stocks but as pieces of a business.

    Here’s what Richard said in a post called “Giving Up on Mastery of the Universe”:

    I need to know:

    1. Whether the managers have made good decisions in the past, and whether their incentives work in the interests of the owners, because those kind of managers often add value to a company.

    2. The products a company sells will still be in demand for years to come, because if they’re not then the past, which we know, does not tell us anything about the future, which we don’t.

    3. A company is financially strong enough to withstand the kinds of shocks companies typically experience bearing in mind some are more sensitive to events than others.

    4. How to judge whether the share price undervalues the company, bearing in mind the precedi ng three factors.

Best Gas Utility Companies To Own For 2014: Synergetics USA Inc.(SURG)

Synergetics USA, Inc., a medical device company, engages in the design, manufacture, and marketing of microsurgical instruments and consumables primarily for ophthalmology and neurosurgery markets in the United States and internationally. The company?s product lines focus upon precision engineered, microsurgical, handheld devices, and the microscopic delivery of laser energy, ultrasound, electrosurgery, aspiration, illumination and irrigation that are delivered in multiple combinations. It offers retinal surgical items, including handheld disposable and reusable forceps and scissors, fiberoptics for illumination and photocoagulation, cannulas, scrapers, and other reusable and disposable surgical devices. The company also provides bipolar electrosurgical generators; lesion generators used for minimally invasive pain treatment; and directional laser probes, as well as offers gauge instrumentation to the vitreoretinal surgical market. It sells its products through direct sale s employees, distributors, and independent sales representatives. The company was founded in 1991 and is headquartered in O?Fallon, Missouri.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Synergetics USA (SURG) has dropped 4.8% to $4.75 after the medical device company said it earned 6 cents a share, in line with analyst forecasts.

    Team Inc. (TISI) has dropped 11% after the company missed its earnings forecast and lowered guidance.

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Synergetics USA (NASDAQ: SURG) reported its FQ4 earnings of $0.06 per share on revenue of $17.9 million. However, analysts were projecting earnings of $0.05 per share on revenue of $17 million. Synergetics USA shares dipped 11.82% to $4.40 in the after-hours trading session.

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Synergetics USA (NASDAQ: SURG) is projected to post its Q4 earnings at $0.06 per share on revenue of $17.01 million.

    Team (NYSE: TISI) is expected to post its Q1 earnings at $0.36 per share on revenue of $176.70 million.

Best Gas Utility Companies To Own For 2014: iShares MSCI Spain Capped ETF (EWP)

iShares MSCI Spain Index Fund (the Fund) seeks to provide investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance of publicly traded securities in the aggregate in the Spanish market, as measured by the MSCI Spain Index (the Index). The Index seeks to measure the performance of the Spanish equity market. The Index is a capitalization-weighted index that aims to capture 85% of the (publicly available) total market capitalization. Component companies are adjusted for available float and must meet objective criteria for inclusion in the Index. The Index is reviewed quarterly.

The Fund invests in a representative sample of securities included in the Index that collectively has an investment profile similar to the Index. The Fund’s investment advisor is Barclays Global Fund Advisors.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Matthew McCall]

    iShares MSCI Spain Index ETF (NYSE: EWP)

    Overnight, a surprise fall in the inflation number out of Spain had a ripple affect across the region. The 0.2 percent annual rate decline in consumer prices was the weakest number since October 2009 and well below expectations. Borrowing costs for Spain and Italy fell to their lowest levels in three years and stocks were trading higher.

  • [By Tom Aspray]

    One of the more surprising developments of the past month or so has been the strong performance by some of the European country ETFs. Leading the pack is Spain as the iShares MSCI Spain (EWP) is up about 10% since the December 18 taper lows but did give up some ground last week.

Best Gas Utility Companies To Own For 2014: Penske Automotive Group Inc.(PAG)

Penske Automotive Group, Inc. operates as an automotive retailer. It sells new and used vehicles of approximately 40 vehicle brands; offers vehicle maintenance and repair services; and engages in the sale and placement of third-party finance and insurance products, third-party extended service contracts, and replacement and aftermarket automotive products. As of December 31, 2011, the company operated 320 retail automotive franchises, of which 166 franchises were located in the United States and 154 franchises are located outside of the United States primarily in the United Kingdom. It also has operations in Puerto Rico and Germany. Penske Automotive Group, Inc. was founded in 1990 and is headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lawrence Meyers]

    However, the company just reported that retail sales were flat with last year. AN stock is sitting in a better position than KMX, with 18.65% long term growth. On FY14 EPS of $3.38, it suggests fair value is upwards of $60, and currently trades at $49. The company isn’t heavily leveraged, and it has positive FCF. So far, AN stock is looking like the best buy among these used car stocks.

    Penske Automotive Group (PAG)

    Penske Automotive Group (PAG) could almost be an identical twin to AutoNation as far as what it provides, outside of the luxury market.

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Automotive retailer Penske Automotive (PAG) raised its quarterly dividend 5.9% to 18 cents per share, payable on Mar. 3 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 10.
    PAG Dividend Yield: 1.69%

Best Gas Utility Companies To Own For 2014: Dassault Systemes SA (DASTY)

Dassault Systemes SA provides software solutions and consulting services. The Company’s global customer base includes companies primarily in 11 industrial sectors: automotive; industrial equipment; aerospace; consumer goods; consumer packaged goods; energy; high-tech; shipbuilding; life sciences; construction, and business services. It organizes its business and markets its products and services in two types of applications: the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) market, to support product development, production, maintenance and lifecycle management, and the Mainstream three-dimensional (3D) market, which is primarily focused on product design. Its software applications address a range of products, from apparel, consumer goods, machine parts and semiconductors to automobiles, aircraft, ships and factories. In March 2011, the Company acquired Intercim. In April 2011, the Company acquired Enginuity PLM. On March 31, 2010, it acquired the IBM PLM. On June 8, 2010, the Comp any acquired Exalead, a French company providing Search Platforms and Search-Based Applications (SBA). In June 2010, the Company acquired Geensoft, a provider of embedded systems development solutions.

The Company has developed a software applications portfolio, organized in brands, in order to provide solutions responding to the requirements of product development: Design, Realistic Simulation, Digital Manufacturing and Production, Collaborative Innovation, and Lifelike Experiences. The Company’s principal brands include SolidWorks , CATIA, SIMULIA, DELMIA, ENOVIA and Universal Services.

SolidWorks

SolidWorks applications include 3D tools to design, manage, simulate, sustain and communicate. SolidWorks include 3D Design, Data management, Simulation and Environmental assessments. SolidWorks 3D’s include complex part and assembly modeling, production drawing creation, data management, design validation and simulation of motion, flow and structural performance, environmental impact evaluation! and publishing. SolidWorks Data Management solutions enable control over all design information, eliminating concerns about version control or data loss. SolidWorks simulation technology ensures the quality and performance of the design before users commit to production. SolidWorks Sustainability technology enables users to assess the environmental impact of their design to create more sustainable products.

CATIA

CATIA is the Company’s PLM solution for 3D collaborative creation. CATIA addresses the complete product development process, from early product concept specification through product in service. CATIA V6 is designed to enable the spectrum of next generation collaborative virtual design. Its product portfolio is consists of four main domains, which include systems, shape design, mechanical design and equipment engineering. CATIA Systems captures, manages, and tracks product requirements with traceability, ensuring that early requirements are met accurately all along the product development cycle. CATIA Shape provides a line of surfacing, reverse engineering, and visualization solutions to create, modify, and validate any type of complex shapes and help streamline the transition and collaboration among industrial designers. CATIA Mechanical delivers a collaborative and flexible design environment with concurrent engineering and change management through relational design. CATIA Equipment provides an integrated environment that enables the collaborative detailed design of electronic, electrical, and fluidic systems in context of a virtual product.

SIMULIA

SIMULIA provides a scalable portfolio of realistic simulation solutions designed to enable companies across a range of industries to improve product performance, reduce the number of physical prototypes and drive innovation. SIMULIA’s V6 portfolio spans include finite element analysis, multi-physics solutions, optimization analysis , and simulation lifecycle management. Its finite element an! alysis so! ftware companies are able to create and test virtual prototypes of products and processes. Its multi-physics solutions enable companies to reach beyond the boundaries of a single domain. SIMULIA also provides design exploration and optimization technology, enabling designers and engineers to perform rapid trade-off studies of real-world behavior and accelerate product development. SIMULIA offers simulation lifecycle management, based upon the Company’s ENOVIA architecture offering an open collaborative platform for management of simulation data, processes and intellectual property.

DELMIA

DELMIA covers the Company’s PLM digital manufacturing solutions ranging from virtual process definition, workcell set-up, optimization, scheduling, and operation, to maintenance of real-time production systems. DELMIA V6 covers four principal domains, including Manufacturing planning, with 3D process and resource planning tools for creating and optimizing build -to-order and lean production manufacturing systems; plant and resources engineering, with tools to virtually define and optimize manufacturing assets concurrently with manufacturing planning; program and control engineering, to virtually program, validate and simulate manufacturing systems for the virtual commissioning of production facilities, and control and production execution, which offers an accurate virtual production system to enable companies to track real time production activities, perform schedule changes, launch new programs and introduce model changeovers, and schedule maintenance operations.

ENOVIA

ENOVIA addresses business process needs across a broad spectrum of industries, managing simple, as well as engineered, complex products. The ENOVIA V6 products are organized by business processes, which include governance, global sourcing, global sourcing, and unified live collaboration. The Governance domain is designed to help companies launch enterprise new product introductions on time and on ! budget. G! overnance includes these sub-processes: Requirements Management, Portfolio Configuration, Program Management, Decision Support Business Intelligence, and Compliance. The Global Sourcing domain allows companies to leverage supply chain capabilities throughout the product lifecycle. The IP Lifecycle domain helps eliminate costly product development errors as it is designed to enable improved cross-functional product design, manufacturing planning and performance simulation. The Unified Live Collaboration domain allows companies to deploy product lifecycle processes across the extended enterprise by providing a single, real-time view of information protocol (IP) across all business process domains, collaborative process management capabilities, and a service-oriented architecture that integrates with other enterprise system

The Company competes with Parametric Technology Corporation, ANSYS, Inc., MSC Software Corporation, Oracle Corporation, SAP AG, Siemens PLM Sof tware, Adobe, Altair Engineering, Autonomy, Aveva, Bentley, Google, Intergraph, MathWorks, Nemetschek AG, Right Hemisphere, and Autodesk, Inc.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    At the May 30 annual shareholders’ meeting of Dassault Systemes (NASDAQOTH: DASTY  ) , a dividend of 0.80 euros per share for fiscal 2012 was agreed upon, with each investor able to determine whether he or she wanted to receive the payout in cash or in new shares of the 3-D design software specialist.

Best Gas Utility Companies To Own For 2014: Precision Castparts Corporation(PCP)

Precision Castparts Corp. (PCC) manufactures and sells metal components and products worldwide. Its Investment Cast Products segment offers aerospace structural and airfoil castings; industrial gas turbine (IGT) castings; artificial hips and knees; parts for satellite launch vehicles; landing gear struts and engine inlets for unmanned aerial vehicles; impellers for pumps and compressors; components for armament systems; and alloys for other manufacturers of investment castings. The company?s Forged Products segment provides forged components for jet engines, including fan discs, compressor discs, turbine discs, seals, spacers, shafts, hubs, and cases; airframe structural components, such as landing gear beams, bulkheads, wing structures, engine mounts, struts, tail flaps, and housings; discs, spacers, and valve components for steam turbine and IGT engines; shafts, cases, and compressor and turbine discs for marine gas engines; mechanical and structural tubular forged produ cts for energy markets; and forged components for propulsion systems on nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers, as well as forgings for pumps, valves, and structural applications. PCC?s Fastener Products segment offers aerospace fasteners comprising bolts, nuts, nut plates, latches, expandable diameter fasteners, quick release pins, hydraulic fittings, bushings, inserts, collars, and other precision components. It also provides refiner plates and screen cylinders for the pulp and paper industry; metal-injection-molded and ThixoFormed components; grinder pumps and components for sewer systems; gas monitoring systems for the power generation industry; and thread-rolling and trimming dies, pins and steel, and carbide forging tools for fastener production. PCC sells its fastener products and services through a network of distributors and independent sales representatives, as well as through a direct sales and marketing staff. The company was founded in 1949 and is based in Po r tland, Oregon.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Philip Springer]

    This week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel proposed a defense budget that would reduce the US Army to its smallest force since before World War II. And we were woefully under-prepared for that war.

    The proposals will face powerful resistance from members of Congress, veterans’ organizations, arms manufacturers and more. Complete details of the proposed federal budget are to be released next week.

    The timing is unfortunate. For example, consider this headline from last night: “Russia says it will respect the ‘territorial integrity’ of Ukraine.” Maybe. But such statements are meaningless.

    Amid considerable other global unrest these days, reducing our spending on defense seems imprudent. However, various constraints that have built up over time require it, or reductions elsewhere.

    Fifty years ago, the military made up nearly half of government spending. Now it’s about 17 percent. Entitlements were one-third of the budg et then. Now they’re approaching two-thirds. “This is a time for reality,” Hagel said.

    Under the new approach, the emphasis is to shift from the longstanding goal of being able to fight two wars simultaneously, such as in Europe and Asia; and toward such threats as cyber warfare and terrorism.

    For instance, the size of the active-duty military would decline by 13 percent and the reserves by 5 percent in coming years. But Special Operations forces would grow by 6 percent.

    Inevitably, this would mean increased risk in the event of a second crisis. “You have fewer troops, fewer ships, fewer planes,” Hagel said.  “Readiness is not the same standard. Of course there’s going to be risk.”

    The Army currently is scheduled to drop to 490,000 troops from a post-9/11 peak of 570,000. Under the new proposal, the Army would decline to between 440,000 and 450,000 based on the current mandate to impose a military spending cap of about $496 billion for fis

  • [By GURUFOCUS]

    Precision Castparts Corp. (PCP) is a prime component supplier to the commercial aircraft manufacturers. Indicative of the attractiveness of this business was The Boeing Company ‘ s recent announcement that its year – end backlog was 5,080 planes compared to the 648 jets delivered in 2013. By the same token, Airbus ‘ (a subsidiary of Airbus Group NV) backlog at the end of November was 5,400 versus the 562 planes del ivered in the first eleven months of the year.

  • [By Holly LaFon]

    At this point I would like to circle back to a subject we are perhaps most often asked about, and that is why do we continue to hold such a concentrated position (nearly 32%) in our three largest holdings? First of all, it is important to note that over the past two year s we have actually reduced our holdings in all three stocks. Fortunately for our shareholders long – term price appreciation, particularly in Universal Health Services, Inc. and Precision Castparts Corp., has been exceptionally strong (in the case of Universal Health Services, Inc., which was purchased in 1999 and 2000 at an average cost per share of $9.41 and ha d increased to a price per share of $81.26 at the end of 2013, and Precision Castparts Corp. which was bought in 2000 at a n average cost per share of $9.82 and ha d increased to a price per share of $26 9. 3 0 at the end of 2013). In our view these two companies remain in the ” sweet spot ” of two compelling long – term investment opportunities. In the case of Universal Health Services, Inc., the company i s likely to be one of the prime beneficiaries of expanding health care insurance coverage dictated by the Affordable Care Act * ** ( ” Obama – care ” ). Unique to Universal Health Services, Inc. (UHT) is its position in mental health services which account s for three – q uarters of its earnings before deductions for interest expense, taxes, depreciation and amortization . Precision Castparts Corp. (PCP) is a prime component supplier to the commercial aircraft manufacturers. Indicative of the attractiveness of this business was The Boeing Company ‘ s recent announcement that its year – end backlog was 5,080 planes compared to the 648 jets delivered in 2013. By the same token, Airbus ‘ (a subsidiary of Airbus Group NV) backlog at the end of November was 5,400 versus the 562 planes del ivered in the first eleven months of the year.