Best Prefered Companies For 2014

Returns from the U.S. equity bull market that started four years ago are matching those from the last half of the 1990s even as valuations are 28 percent lower.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has gained 26.2 percent annually including dividends since March 2009, the same as during the last 50 months of the technology bubble, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Shares in the index now trade at 18.6 times annual profit, below the average 25.7 multiple in the 1990s rally led by Internet companies.

For bulls, the valuations show stocks will keep rising after the S&P 500 advanced 164 percent as individuals scarred by the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression return to equities. Bears say the price-earnings ratios mean investors lack confidence in the economy and corporate profit growth. They also note that the last time returns were this high, the bubble popped and more than $5 trillion was erased from the value of U.S. stocks, according to data from the World Bank.

Best Prefered Companies For 2014: Artek Exploration Ltd (ARKXF.PK)

Artek Exploration Ltd. (Artek) is a junior oil and gas company engaged in the exploration for, and the acquisition, development and production of, oil and natural gas reserves in western Canada. Artek’s principal properties include Peace River Arch, Alberta; Deep Basin, Alberta and British Columbia; Inga/Fireweed, British Columbia, and Central Alberta. During the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company drilled six gross (3.7 net) wells, including two gross (1.6 net) oil wells and four gross (2.1 net) natural gas wells. On June 20, 2012, it had drilled and completed its second of a seven horizontal well program (60% working interest) at its Doig natural gas and condensate pool in the Inga area of British Columbia. On January 1, 2012, the Company divested 33% of its non-operated oil and gas assets in the Leduc Woodbend area. In August 2013, the Company announced that it has completed the acquisition of Fireweed asset. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Value Digger]

    As peers, I selected Artek Exploration (ARKXF.PK), RMP Energy (OEXFF.PK), Synergy Resources (SYRG) and Magnum Hunter Resources (MHR). The first two firms trade also on the main Toronto board under the tickers RTK.TO and RMP.TO respectively. These peers comply with the following criteria:

Best Prefered Companies For 2014: PriceSmart Inc.(PSMT)

PriceSmart, Inc. owns and operates membership shopping warehouse clubs in the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Its warehouse clubs sell perishable foods and consumer goods at low prices to individuals and businesses, as well as offers ancillary services, which include food courts, tire centers, and photo centers. The company operates its warehouse clubs under the brand name of PriceSmart. As of August 31, 2011, it operated 29 warehouse clubs in 12 countries and 1 U.S. territory, including 5 in Costa Rica, 4 each in Panama and Trinidad, 3 each in Guatemala and in the Dominican Republic, 2 each in El Salvador and Honduras, and 1 each in Colombia, Aruba, Barbados, Jamaica, Nicaragua, and the United States Virgin Islands. PriceSmart, Inc. was founded in 1994 and is headquartered in San Diego, California.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Laura Brodbeck]

    Thursday

    Earnings Expected From: Family Dollar Stores (NYSE: FDO), Acuity Brands (NYSE: AYI), PriceSmart (NASDAQ: PSMT) Economic Releases Expected: French trade balance, British trade balance, eurozone consumer confidence, eurozone business confidence, BoE interest rate decision, Canadian housing starts

    Friday

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Among major retailers, December same-store sales are expected to rise sharply at PriceMart Inc. (NASDAQ: PSMT). Sales rose 13.7% in December a year ago and are forecast to rise another 6% this month. PriceMart’s fiscal year ends in August, and its fiscal 2014 first quarter ended in November. The company is expected to post results on January 9, and the consensus analysts’ estimate calls for earnings per share (EPS) of $0.75 on revenues of around $609 million. All the good news is already priced into the stock though, and both its forward multiple and its consensus price target indicate the stock is overbought.

Best Prefered Companies For 2014: Datawatch Corporation(DWCH)

Datawatch Corporation engages in the design, development, manufacture, marketing, and support of business computer software products primarily in the United States and the United Kingdom. The company?s products include Monarch 11, a desktop reporting and data analysis application that allows users to extract and manipulate data from ASCII report files, PDF files, or HTML files; Monarch Data Pump, a data replication and migration tool, which provides information delivery and data extract, and transform and load capabilities in one automated solution; and Monarch Enterprise Server that offers Web-enabled report storage, transformation, and distribution, including data analysis, visualization, and MS Excel integration. It also offers Monarch RMS, a Web-based report analytics solution that integrates with existing enterprise content management system; Monarch Report Manager on Demand, a document archive system that stores text, images, intelligent data streams, and unstructur ed content with file compression and encryption; and Datawatch Dashboards, an interactive dashboard solution that gives various levels of users a visual overview of operational performance, as well as the ability to monitor specific business processes and events. In addition, the company provides iMergence iStore, a report management solution, which manages computer-generated reports, mines the data contained in them, and allows users to interactively merge and transform them into new reports; Visual QSM, a Web-enabled IT service management system that incorporates workflow and network management capabilities, and provides Web access to multiple databases while enabling customers to interact through browser; and Visual Help Desk, which offers Web-based help desk and call center solutions. It sells its products through direct sales force, value added resellers, and distributors. Datawatch Corporation was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in Chelmsford, Massachusetts.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By James Oberweis]

    Steve Halpern: We’re conducting a series of interviews with the top performing advisors from last year’s Top Picks Report. This past year, your top stock pick, Datawatch (DWCH) rose more than 150%. Congratulations on that.

  • [By Sean Williams]

    A clouded future
    With cost-cutting and operational efficiency being the name of the game for most tech companies in this uncertain growth environment, companies like Datawatch (NASDAQ: DWCH  ) , which provides information optimization for enterprise networks, are thriving.

Best Prefered Companies For 2014: Hologic Inc.(HOLX)

Hologic Inc. develops, manufactures, and supplies diagnostic, medical imaging systems, and surgical products for the healthcare needs of women. The company operates in four segments: Breast Health, Diagnostics, GYN Surgical, and Skeletal Health. The Breast Health segment offers breast imaging products, such as Selenia full field digital mammography system, breast tomosynthesis, healthcome mammography products, screen-film mammography systems, SecurView workstation, CAD systems, stereotactic breast biopsy systems, breast biopsy products, breast brachytherapy products, MammoPad breast cushions, and photoconductor coatings, as well as Sentinelle medical MRI breast coils and workstations. This segment also develops a breast imaging platform, Dimensions, which utilizes a tomosynthesis technology to produce 3D images. The Diagnostics segment provides ThinPrep system, a solution for cervical cancer screening; rapid fetal fibronectin test for pre-term birth risk assessment; and hu man papillomavirus offering and InVitro diagnostics for cervical cancer tests. The GYN Surgical segment offers NovaSure system, a minimally-invasive procedure that allows physicians to treat women suffering from excessive menstrual bleeding; MyoSure system for the hysteroscopic removal of fibroids; and Adiana system, a form of permanent female contraception intended as an alternative to tubal ligation. The Skeletal Health segment provides QDR X-Ray bone densitometers that assess the bone density of fracture sites; Sahara clinical bone sonometers, which assess the bone density of heels; and Mini C-Arm imaging systems that are used to perform minimally invasive surgical procedures on a patient?s extremities. Hologic Inc. sells its products through a combination of direct sales and service forces, a network of independent distributors, and sales representatives primarily in the United States, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific. The company was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in Bedford, Massachusetts.

Advisors’ Opinion:

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

    Hologic Inc.(HOLX) named Eric Compton as its chief operating officer, a newly created position, amid a handful of leadership changes at the medical-equipment maker. Mr. Compton most recently worked as the world-wide president of Johnson & Johnson’s Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics. J&J(JJSF) in January agreed to sell the blood-testing business for $4.15 billion to Carlyle Group L.P(CG).

  • [By Michael Calia]

    Hologic Inc.(HOLX) swung to a fiscal first-quarter loss as revenue weakened, driven by declines in its diagnostics segment, although adjusted earnings and revenue beat expectations.

  • [By Myra P. Saefong]

    After the close Monday, fourth-quarter results are due from the Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (HIG) , which is projected to report earnings of 90 cents per share, Edwards LifeSciences Corp. (EW) , expected to post earnings per share of 82 cents and General Growth Properties Inc. (GGP) , expected to report a profit per share of 35 cents. For its first quarter, Hologic Inc. (HOLX)  is expected to post earnings per share of 31 cents.

Best Prefered Companies For 2014: Delcath Systems Inc.(DCTH)

Delcath Systems, Inc., a development stage company, operates as a specialty pharmaceutical and medical device company. It focuses on cancers in the liver. The company involves in the development and clinical study of the Delcath chemosaturation system. Its clinical trial include a Phase III multi-center study for patients with unresectable metastatic ocular or cutaneous melanoma exclusively or predominantly in the liver; and a multi-arm Phase II clinical trial of the Delcath chemosaturation system with melphalan in patients with primary and metastatic liver cancer, which comprise neuroendocrine tumors, hepatocellular carcinoma, ocular or cutaneous melanoma, and metastatic adenocarcinoma. Delcath Systems, Inc. was founded in 1988 and is based in New York, New York.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Delcath Systems (NASDAQ: DCTH) is expected to post a Q4 loss at $0.05 per share on revenue of $100.00 thousand.

    Emerald Oil (NYSE: EOX) is projected to post a Q4 loss at $0.02 per share on revenue of $18.04 million.

  • [By John Udovich]

    Biotech in general has been one of the market’s hottest sectors this year thanks to plenty of mostly good news along with new IPOs while small cap biotech stocks Delcath Systems (NASDAQ: DCTH), ZIOPHARM Oncology Inc (NASDAQ: ZIOP), Recro Pharma (NASDAQ: REPH), TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: TLOG) and TNI BioTech (OTCMKTS: TNIB) have also produced their share of news this week or in recent weeks. Just consider the following:

Best Prefered Companies For 2014: LifePoint Hospitals Inc.(LPNT)

LifePoint Hospitals Inc., through its subsidiaries, operates general acute care hospitals in non-urban communities in the United States. The company?s hospitals provide a range of medical and surgical services comprising general surgery, internal medicine, obstetrics, emergency room care, radiology, oncology, diagnostic care, coronary care, rehabilitation services, and pediatric services, as well as specialized services, such as open-heart surgery, skilled nursing, psychiatric care, and neuro-surgery. Its hospitals also offer outpatient services, including one-day surgery, laboratory, x-ray, respiratory therapy, imaging, sports medicine, and lithotripsy. As of December 31, 2009, LifePoint Hospitals owned or leased 47 hospitals with a total of 5,552 licensed beds in 17 states. The company was founded in 1997 and is headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee. Lifepoint Hospitals Inc. (NasdaqNM:LPNT) operates independently of HCA Inc. as of May 11, 1999.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Keith Speights]

    The fun wasn’t just limited to the big three hospital operators. Lifepoint Hospitals (NASDAQ: LPNT  ) stock jumped 5% on the CMS news, reflecting a $109 million market cap expansion. Likewise, Vanguard Health Systems (NYSE: VHS  ) shares climbed 5%, bumping its market cap up by $55 million.

Best Prefered Companies For 2014: SL Green Realty Corporation(SLG)

SL Green Realty Corp. is a real estate investment trust (REIT). The firm engages in the property management, acquisitions, financing, development, construction, and leasing. It also provides tenant services to its clients. The firm invests in real estate markets of the United States. It primarily invests in commercial office and retail properties. SL Green Realty Corp. was founded in 1970 and is based in New York, New York.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Property management, financing and construction real estate investment trust (REIT) SL Green (SLG) raised its quarterly dividend 51.5% to 50 cents per share, payable on Jan. 15 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 31.
    SLG Dividend Yield: 2.2%

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Property management and financing real estate investment trust SL Green Realty (SLG) raised its quarterly dividend 52% to 50 cents per share. SLG did not release a payment or ex-dividend date for the new dividend.
    SLG Dividend Yield: 2.04%

Best Prefered Companies For 2014: Material Sciences Corporation(MASC)

Material Sciences Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the design, manufacture, and marketing of material-based solutions for acoustical and coated applications in the United States and internationally. It offers acoustical material-based solutions, which include multilayer composites consisting of metals, polymers, and other coated materials used to manage noise and vibration in automotive body panel parts, brake dampers, engine parts, appliances, and computer disk drives, as well as heating, ventilating, and air conditioning products. The company also provides coated material-based solutions that comprise painted, electrogalvanized protective, decorative, and functional coatings applied to coils of metals for automotive fuel tanks, building products, gaskets, appliances, and lighting fixtures. Material Sciences Corporation primarily serves customers in the automotive, appliance, building and construction, lighting, and electronic markets. The company m arkets its products, services, and technologies through sales and marketing organization, as well as through agents and licensees. Material Sciences Corporation was founded in 1971 and is headquartered in Elk Grove Village, Illinois.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Material Sciences (NASDAQ: MASC) is projected to report its Q2 earnings at $0.16 per share.

    Blackhawk Network Holdings (NASDAQ: HAWK) is estimated to report its Q3 earnings at $0.05 per share on revenue of $210.94 million.

Best Prefered Companies For 2014: YPF Sociedad Anonima(YPF)

YPF SOCIEDAD ANONIMA, an energy company, engages in the exploration, development, and production of crude oil, natural gas, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in Argentina. The company also involves in refining, marketing, transportation, and distribution of oil and a range of petroleum products, petroleum derivatives, petrochemicals, LPG, and bio-fuels; and gas separation and natural gas distribution operations. As of December 31, 2010, it had proved reserves of approximately 531 million barrels of oil and 2,533 billion cubic feet of gas; and retail distribution network of 1,622 YPF-branded service stations for automotive petroleum products. The company?s crude oil transportation network includes approximately 2,700 kilometers of crude oil pipelines with approximately 640,000 barrels of aggregate daily transportation capacity of refined products; crude oil tankage of approximately 7 million barrels; and terminal facilities at 5 Argentine ports. In addition, it participates in 3 power stations with an aggregate installed capacity of 1,622 megawatts. The company was founded in 1977 and is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. YPF SOCIEDAD ANONIMA is a subsidiary of Repsol YPF, S.A.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Aaron Levitt]

    First, the Brazilian government’s populist politics and price controls on various refined petroleum products have continued to destroy PBR’s bottom line. By only allowing Petrobras to sell gasoline at certain prices, the firm actually losses money on its downstream operations. These controls by the Brazilian government extend in other operations of PBR as well, and the threat of an Argentinian-style YPF (YPF) nationalization — however small — is there.

  • [By Jonathan Yates]

    For investors, the rebound of YPF SA (NYSE: YPF) and Petrobras Argentina (NYSE: PZE), both oil and gas firms in Argentina, should serve as profitable examples for remaining bullish about the long term prospects of Petrobras Brasileiro (NYSE: PBR).

  • [By Jonathan Yates]

    That is very easy to fix, however. Investors should look at the recent example of YPF SA (NYSE: YPF), the Argentine oil giant. Actions by the government of Argentina drove down the share price. Since then, the country has worked to make YPF SA, and Argentia, more attractive to investors. As a result, YPF SA is up more than 90 percent for 2013. Much of the economic health of Brazil rests on the performance of Petrobras, so more beneficial actions from the Government of Brazil should be expected.

Best Prefered Companies For 2014: Investment Technology Group Inc (ITG)

Investment Technology Group, Inc. (ITG), incorporated on March 10, 1994, is an independent execution and research broker that partners with global portfolio managers and traders to provide data-driven insights throughout the investment process. It operates in three segments: United States Operations, Canadian Operations, European Operations and Asia Pacific Operations. The United States Operations segment provides electronic and trade execution, trade order and execution management, network connectivity, analytical products and investment research services. The Canadian and Asia Pacific Operations segments provide electronic and high-touch trade execution, trade execution management, network connectivity, analytical products and investment research services. The European Operations segment provides electronic and high-touch trade execution, trade order and execution management, network connectivity and analytical products and includes a technology research and development facility in Israel.

ITG offers a range of solutions for asset managers in the areas of electronic brokerage, research sales and trading, trading platforms and analytics. These offerings include trade execution services and solutions for portfolio management, as well as investment research, pre-trade analytics and post-trade analytics and processing. Its principal subsidiaries include: ITG Inc., AlterNet Securities, Inc., ITG Derivatives LLC, Investment Technology Group Limited, ITG Australia Limited, ITG Canada Corp., ITG Hong Kong Limited, ITG Software Solutions, Inc. and ITG Solutions Network, Inc.

Electronic Brokerage

ITG electronic brokerage services include self-directed trading using algorithms, smart routing and matching through POSIT in cash equities (including single stocks and portfolio lists), futures and options. ITG Algorithms and ITG Smart Router offer portfolio managers and traders a way to trade orders quickly, from any ITG Execution Management System (EMS) or ITG Order Managemen! t System (OMS) and third-party trading platforms. ITG Algorithms help users pursue execution through two suites: ITG Single Stock Algorithms and ITG List-Based Algorithms. ITG Smart Router offers an alternative to routing trades that can help capture liquidity with a combination of speed and confidentiality. These routers continuously scan markets for liquidity with an emphasis on trading without displaying the order.

POSIT Alert is a buyside-only block crossing mechanism within POSIT. POSIT Alert scans uncommitted shares from participating clients. When a crossing opportunity is detected, POSIT Alert notifies the relevant users that a matching opportunity exists. POSIT Marketplace provides access to POSIT liquidity, the dark pools of other ATSs, and certain exchange hidden order types. POSIT Marketplace is a dark pool aggregator that provides clients with access to a range of liquidity destinations. POSIT Marketplace uses advanced quantitative techniques in an effort to protect clients from gaming and to interact with quality liquidity. ITG Derivatives provides electronic-listed futures and options trading, including algorithmic trading and direct market access. ITG offers options features for traders employing volatility or delta-neutral strategies and also provides low-latency application programming interfaces.

ITG offers guidance, administration, and consolidation of client commission arrangements across the range of preferred brokerage and research providers of its clients using ITG Commission Manager, a robust, multi-asset Web-based commission management portal. Through stock borrow and stock loan transactions, ITG facilitates shortened or extended settlement periods to help clients meet their internal cash flow needs.

Research Sales & Trading

ITG provides unbiased, data-driven equity research through its ITG Investment Research subsidiary. This offering has expanded ITG’s client relat ionships beyond the trading desk to chief investment officer! s, portfo! lio managers and analysts. ITG Market Research offers market research capabilities to corporate clients within the healthcare and telecom industries. The healthcare market research practice combines survey results with empirical data to deliver syndicated and custom reporting capabilities. ITG provides high-touch sales trading and portfolio trading for institutional clients. ITG’s high-touch trading desk is staffed with experienced trading professionals who provide ITG clients with execution expertise and also convey trading ideas based on ITG Investment Research.

Trading Platforms

ITG EMSs are designed to meet the needs of disparate trading styles. Triton Derivatives is a broker-neutral direct access EMS that provides traders with access to scalable, low-latency, multi-asset trading opportunities. ITG OMS combines portfolio management, compliance functionality (ITG Compliance Monitoring System), trading and post-trade processing (ITG Trade Operat ions Outsourcing), and a fully integrated and supported financial services communications network (ITG Net) with a consolidated, outsourced service for global trade matching and settlement (ITG Trade Operations Outsourcing) that provides connectivity to the industry’s post-trade utilities, support for multiple, flexible settlement communications methods and a real-time process monitor. ITG Net is a global financial communications network that provides secure, reliable and fully supported connectivity between buy-side and sell-side firms for order routing and indication-of-interest messages from ITG and third-party trading platforms.

ITG’s commitment to execution platforms also extends to broker-neutral operational services to help ensure that trades clear and settle efficiently, and to significantly lower the transaction costs associated with trade tickets. The ITG Smart Trading Analytics suite enables portfolio managers and traders to improve execution performa nce before the trade happens (pre-trade) and during trading ! (real-tim! e) by providing reliable portfolio analytics and risk models that help them perform predictive analyses, manage risk, change strategy and reduce trading costs. ITG Transaction Cost Analysis (TCA) offers measurement and reporting capabilities to analyze performance across the trading continuum. ITG Alpha Capture Reporting measures cost at every point of the investment process and provides portfolio managers with quarterly analytical reviews, written interpretations and on-site consultative recommendations to enhance performance.

ITG provides tools to assist asset managers with portfolio decision-making tasks from portfolio construction and optimization to the enterprise challenges of global, real-time portfolio compliance monitoring and the fair valuation of securities. ITG Portfolio Fair Value Service helps mutual fund managers meet their obligations to investors and regulators to fairly price the securities within their funds, and helps minimize the impact of m arket timing. ITG Portfolio Optimization System allows portfolio managers to develop new portfolio construction strategies and solve complex optimization problems. ITG Portfolio Optimization System allows users to accurately model tax liability, transaction costs and long/short objectives, while adhering to diverse portfolio-specific constraints.

Non-U.S. Operations

ITG has a development center in Tel Aviv. In Asia Pacific, ITG has offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong and Singapore. Local representation in regional markets provides an important advantage for ITG. ITG also provides electronic and high-touch trading for Latin American equities, including algorithms for Brazil and Mexico, from its New York headquarters.

Canadian Operations

ITG Canada provides electronic brokerage services, including ITG Algorithms, ITG Smart Router and the POSIT suite, as well as high-touch agency execution and portfolio trading services. In addition, ITG Canada provides Triton, Triton Derivatives! , connect! ivity services, ITG Single Ticket Clearing, ITG Portfolio Optimization System, ITG Smart Trading Analytics, ITG TCA and investment research services. ITG Canada also engages in principal trading activities. ITG Canada’s customers primarily consist of asset and investment managers, broker-dealers and hedge funds.

European Operations

ITG Europe focuses on trading European, Middle Eastern and African equities, as well as providing ITG’s technologies to its clients. ITG Europe provides electronic brokerage services, including ITG Algorithms, ITG Smart Router, and the POSIT suite, as well as high-touch agency execution and portfolio trading services. ITG Europe also provides ITG OMS, Triton, connectivity services, ITG Single Ticket Clearing, ITG TCA, ITG Alpha Capture Reporting and ITG Smart Trading Analytics.

Asia Pacific Operations

ITG provides institutional investors with a range of ITG’s products and services including tra de execution, trade execution management through Triton, connectivity services and pre-and post-trade analysis through ITG TCA and ITG Smart Trading Analytics. Execution services are provided through electronic brokerage products such as ITG Algorithms and the POSIT suite and through an experienced high-touch agency trading services team. Other trading tools provided by ITG Hong Kong include Triton, connectivity services, ITG TCA and ITG Smart Trading Analytics. ITG Singapore provides institutional investors in Singapore with a range of ITG’s products and services including electronic and high-touch execution services, trade execution management through Triton and trading analysis through ITG TCA and ITG Smart Trading Analytics.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    Investment Technology Group Inc. (NYSE: ITG) was downgraded to Market Perform from outperform by Keefe Bruyette & Woods.

    Liquidity Services Inc. (NASDAQ: LQDT) was raised to Buy from Underperform, and the price target was raised up to $45 from $28.50, at Merrill Lynch.