LONDON — There are things to love and loathe about most companies. Today, I’m going to tell you about three things to love about Unilever (LSE: ULVR ) (NYSE: UL ) . I’ll also be asking whether these positive factors make this FTSE 100 consumer goods giant a good investment today.
Unilever made a bold move at the end of 2008: For the first time in the company’s 80-year history, it appointed an outside chief executive, rather than promoting from within.
Paul Polman had 27 years with Procter & Gamble under his belt and three years at Nestle when Unilever poached him. In light of the progress Unilever has made over the last few years, the appointment of Polman is looking increasingly like an inspired decision.
Polman’s belief in responsible capitalism and his philosophy of running Unilever for the long term will accord with the views of many Foolish investors. Hats off to Polman for thumbing his nose at hedge fund managers and traders by ditching Unilever’s previous policy of providing the market with quarterly earnings forecasts.
Best Promising Stocks To Own Right Now: Primco Management Inc (PMCM)
Primco Management Inc., incorporated on October 14, 2010, is a development-stage company. The Company focuses on offering estate management services for its clients and retention on a range of properties including class A office space, industrial, manufacturing, and warehousing facilities as well as data centers and retail outlets for real estate users. In addition, it also focuses on offering consulting services, including site selection, feasibility studies, exit strategies, market forecasts, strategic planning, and research services. In February 2013, the Company announced that ESMG, Inc. took controlling interest in the Company through the acquisition of more than 80% interest of the Company. In February 2013, it purchased the music catalog of D&B Music. In May 2013, the Company acquired Top Sail Productions.
As of December 31, 2010, the Company did not have any operations. During the year ended December 31, 2010, it did not generate any revenues.
- [By Peter Graham]
The marijuana field keeps sprouting small cap marijuana stocks like Primco Management Inc (OTCBB: PMCM), Medifirst Solutions Inc (OTCMKTS: MFST) and Modern Mobility Aids, Inc (OTCMKTS: MDRM) which are all trying to seek a high by playing up their connections (no matter how tenuous…) to what many consider to be the next high flying sector. But are these small cap marijuana stocks just blowing smoke at investors? Here is a quick reality check:
Best Promising Stocks To Own Right Now: American Eagle Outfitters Inc (AEO)
American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (AEO, Inc) is a specialty retailer that operates in the United Sates and Canada, and online at ae.com. AEO, Inc operates under the American Eagle (AE), aerie by American Eagle (aerie), and 77kids by american eagle (77kids) brands. Through the Company’s family of brands, it offers clothing, accessories and personal care products. As of January 28, 2012, the Company operated 1,090 stores in the United States and Canada under the American Eagle Outfitters, aerie and 77kids brands. The Company also had 21 franchised stores operated by its franchise partners in 10 countries. During the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011, the Company opened 33 new stores. As of December 31, 2011, it operated in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. During fiscal 2011, the Company remodeled and refurbished a total of 106 AE stores.
The American Eagle Outfitters brand targets 15 to 25-year old men and women. Denim is the corner stone of the American Eagle product assortment, which is complemented by other categories including sweaters, graphic t-shirts, fleece, outerwear and accessories. As of January 28, 2012, the Company operated 911 American Eagle Outfitters stores. During fiscal 2011, it opened 11 AE stores.
aerie by American Eagle
The Company’s aerie is a collection of Dormwear, intimates and personal care products for the AE girl. The collection is available in aerie stores throughout the United States and Canada, online at aerie.com and at select American Eagle stores. As of January 28, 2012, AEO, Inc operated 158 aerie stores. During fiscal 2011, it opened 10 aerie stores.
77kids by american eagle
77kids offers clothing and accessories for kid’s ages 2 to 14 and babies under the brand name little77TM. As of January 28, 2012, the Company operated 21 77kids stores. All 77kids clothing is backed by the brand’s 77wash and 77soft. During fiscal 2011, A EO, Inc opened 12 77kids stores.
The Company’s online business, AEO Direct, ships to 77 countries worldwide. The Company sells merchandise via its e-commerce operations, ae.com, aerie.com and 77kids.com, which are extensions of the lifestyle that it conveys in its stores. As of December 31, 2011, AEO Direct shipped to 77 countries worldwide. In addition to purchasing items online, customers can experience AEO Direct in-store through Store-to-Door. Store-to-Door enables store associates to sell any item available online to an in-store customer in a single transaction. The Company accepts PayPal and Bill Me Later as a means of payment from its ae.com, aerie.com and 77kids.com customers.
- [By Steven Russolillo]
Big Retailers Find it Hard Shopping for a CEO: “Target isn’t the only U.S. retailer looking for a new boss—and new ideas. J.C. Penney(JCP), American Eagle Outfitters(AEO) and a handful of others are also on the hunt for chief executives.”
- [By Anthony Mirhaydari]
As a result, the Retail SPDR (XRT) is looking about as appealing as a cold shower, falling out of its month-long trading range on a surge of negative volume. Here are five industry stocks you need to avoid, or could even consider playing on the short side:
American Eagle Outfitters (AEO)
American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) is falling below support from its October and January lows after recently suffering a series of analyst downgrades after issuing disappointing forward guidance earlier this month.
- [By Louis Navellier]
Welcome to the Stock of the Day for March 12, 2014. Unfortunately for American Eagle Outfitters (AEO), earnings season isn’t quite over.
Shares of AEO plunged Tuesday after the trendy clothing retailer disappointed for Q4 earnings and they continued falling this morning. Can AEO bounce back? Is this pullback a buying opportunity?
- [By Laura Brodbeck]
Notable earnings released on Tuesday included:
Caesars Entertainment Corporation (NASDAQ: CZR) reported a fourth quarter loss of $1.49 on revenue of $2.08 billion, compared to last year’s loss of $3.75 on revenue of $2.02 billion. American Eagle Outfitters, Inc (NYSE: AEO) reported fourth quarter EPS of $0.27 on revenue of $1.04 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $0.55 on revenue of $1.12 billion. The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ: BONT) reported fourth quarter EPS of $3.04 on revenue of $914.90 million, compared to last year’s EPS of $3.73 on revenue of $1.03 billion.
Best Promising Stocks To Own Right Now: SofTech Inc (SOFT)
SofTech, Inc., incorporated on June 11, 1969,is a provider of engineering software solutions with its ProductCenter PLM (product lifecycle management) technology and its computer-aided design product CADRA offering. On May 24, 2011, the Company sold its Advanced Manufacturing Technology (AMT) product line. In October 2013, SofTech, Inc announced that it has completed the sale of substantially all of the assets of its CADRA product line.
The Company’s ProductCenter technology manages the engineering data and electronic files of discrete parts designed in third party design technologies offered primarily by Solidworks, Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC) and Autodesk. ProductCenter is an enterprise, collaborative PLM solution delivering a combination of document management, design integration, configuration control, change management, bill of materials management and integration capability with other enterprise systems. ProductCent er is designed to help companies optimize the product development process. ProductCenter provides for the secure management of product information and allows engineers and the entire design chain to manage, share, modify and track product data and documents throughout the product development lifecycle.
The Company’s ProductCenter supports engineering change management and bill of materials management for automating business processes. ProductCenter also enables integration with other business applications, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), supply chain management (SCM) and customer relationship management (CRM) for continuous data exchange across the product lifecycle.
The Company’s CADRA offering is a drafting and design software package for the professional mechanical engineer. The CADRA family of CAD/CAM products includes CADRA Design Drafting, a mechanical design documentation tool, CADRA NC, a 2 through 5 axis NC programming application, and CADRAWorks with SolidWorks p! roviding for an integrated drawing production system and three dimensional (3D)solid modeler. The CADRA family of products includes a collection of translators and software options.
The Company competes with Autodesk, Dassault, Siemens, and PTC
- [By Peter Graham]
Small cap stocks New China Global (OTCMKTS: NCGI), RealBiz Media Group Inc (OTCMKTS: RBIZ) and SofTech, Inc (OTCMKTS: SOFT) sank 21.11%, 14.81% and 10.89%, respectively, last Friday. Moreover, two of these three small caps have been the subject of paid promotions or investor relations activities, but this week is the start of a new trading week and anything can happen. So will these three small cap stocks keep sinking? Here is a closer look to help you decide on an investing or trading strategy:
- [By Peter Graham]
Small cap tech, mobile or cloud computing stocks SofTech, Inc (OTCMKTS: SOFT), Firstin Wireless Technology Inc (OTCMKTS: FINW) and Izea Inc (OTCMKTS: IZEA) have been getting some extra attention lately in various investment newsletters or alerts. That’s because at least one of these stocks appears to be the subject of paid third party promotions while another is the focus of an apparent investor relations campaign. Keeping that in mind, are these three tech orientated stocks going to bring profits to investors and traders or bring out the luddite in them? Here is a closer look:
Best Promising Stocks To Own Right Now: Golden Minerals Co. (AUMN)
Golden Minerals Company engages in the mining, exploration, and development of mineral properties in Mexico and South America. It explores for silver and gold doré bars, precipitates, lead, zinc, and pyrite concentrates. The company holds 100% interests in the Velardeña and Chicago precious metals mining operations that cover approximately 600 hectares located in the State of Durango, Mexico; and the Zacatecas silver and base metals project that consists of 195 concessions covering approximately 8,600 hectares in Mexico. It also owns interests in the El Quevar project that comprises 32 exploitation concessions covering approximately 55,000 hectares in the province of Salta, Argentina; and controls approximately 40 exploration properties that cover approximately 320,000 hectares located in the regions of Mexico and South America. The company was formerly known as Apex Silver Mines Limited and changed its name to Golden Minerals Company in March 2009 as a result of reorgan ization. Golden Minerals Company was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Golden, Colorado.
- [By Zacks Investment Research]
Headquartered in Golden, Colorado, Golden Minerals Company (AUMN) owns mining operations and precious metals exploration properties in Mexico and South America.
Best Promising Stocks To Own Right Now: Muenchener Rueckversicherungs Gesellschaft AG in Muenchen (MUV2)
Muenchener Rueckversicherungs Gesellschaft AG in Muenchen is a Germany-based holding company engaged in reinsurance and insurance business fields. The Company diversifies its operations into reinsurance, primary insurance, Munich Health and Asset management. The Reinsurance business comprises five divisions: Life; Europe and Latin America; Germany, Asia Pacific and Africa; Special and Financial Risks, and Global Clients and North America. The business covers a range of products from traditional reinsurance products to solutions for risk assumption. The Company’s primary insurance activities are combined into the ERGO Insurance Group (ERGO) and offers direct insurance, life, property-casualty, health, legal expenses and travel insurance products. It covers the Company’s international health reinsurance business and health primary insurance outside Germany and engages the risk management services. The Asset management business handles the investment activities of Munich Re and ERGO. Advisors’ Opinion:
- [By Jonathan Morgan]
Munich Re (MUV2), the world’s biggest reinsurer, dropped 4.9 percent to 145.25 euros after it said second-quarter profit fell 35 percent, missing analysts’ estimates, as claims arising from natural disasters rose. Net income dropped to 529 million euros from 808 million euros a year earlier, trailing the 557.1 million-euro average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Best Promising Stocks To Own Right Now: CenterPoint Energy Inc (CNP)
CenterPoint Energy, Inc., incorporated on February 2, 2001, is a domestic energy delivery company. The Company’s business segments include Electric Transmission and Distribution, Natural Gas Distribution, Competitive Natural Gas Sales and Services, Interstate Pipelines, Field Services and Other Operations. The Company serves metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. The company also owns a 58.3% interest in a midstream partnership it jointly controls with OGE Energy Corp. with operations in natural gas and liquids-rich producing areas of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.
The Company is a public utility holding company. The Company’s indirect wholly-owned subsidiaries include CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC (CenterPoint Houston), which engages in the electric transmission and distribution business in a 5,000-square mile area of the Texas Gulf Coast that includes the city of Houston and C enterPoint Energy Resources Corp. (CERC Corp. and, together with its subsidiaries, CERC), which owns and operates natural gas distribution systems in six states. Subsidiaries of CERC Corp. own interstate natural gas pipelines and gas gathering systems and provide various ancillary services. A wholly owned subsidiary of CERC Corp. offers variable and fixed-price physical natural gas supplies primarily to commercial and industrial customers and electric and gas utilities.
Electric Transmission & Distribution
CenterPoint Houston is a transmission and distribution electric utility that operates wholly within the state of Texas. CenterPoint Houston delivers electricity from power plants to substations, from one substation to another and to retail electric customers taking power at or above 69 kilovolts in locations throughout CenterPoint Houston’s certificated service territory. CenterPoint Houston constructs and maintains transmission facilities and pro vides transmission services under tariffs approved by the Pu! blic Utility Commission of Texas (Texas Utility Commission).
In the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (ERCOT), end users purchase their electricity directly from certificated REPs. CenterPoint Houston delivers electricity for REPs in its certificated service area by carrying lower-voltage power from the substation to the retail electric customer. CenterPoint Houston’s distribution network receives electricity from the transmission grid through power distribution substations and delivers electricity to end users through distribution feeders. CenterPoint Houston’s operations include construction and maintenance of distribution facilities, metering services, outage response services and call center operations. CenterPoint Houston provides distribution services under tariffs approved by the Texas Utility Commission. Texas Utility Commission rules and market protocols govern the commercial operations of distribution companies and other market participants.< /p>
CenterPoint Houston is a member of ERCOT. Within ERCOT, prices for wholesale generation and retail electric sales are unregulated, but services provided by transmission and distribution companies, such as CenterPoint Houston, are regulated by the Texas Utility Commission. ERCOT serves as the regional reliability coordinating council for member electric power systems in of Texas. ERCOT membership is open to consumer groups, investor and municipally-owned electric utilities, rural electric cooperatives, independent generators, power marketers, river authorities and REPs. The ERCOT market includes of the State of Texas, other than a portion of the panhandle, portions of the eastern part of the state bordering Arkansas and Louisiana and the area in and around El Paso.
ERCOT market operates under the reliability standards set by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Th ese reliability standards are administered by the Texas Regi! onal Enti! ty (TRE), a functionally independent division of ERCOT. The Texas Utility Commission has primary jurisdiction over the ERCOT market to ensure the adequacy and reliability of electricity supply across the state’s main interconnected power transmission grid. The ERCOT independent system operator (ERCOT ISO) is responsible for operating the bulk electric power supply system in the ERCOT market. The ERCOT ISO also serves as agent for procuring ancillary services for those members who elect not to provide their own ancillary services.
CenterPoint Houston’s electric transmission business, along with those of other owners of transmission facilities in Texas, supports the operation of the ERCOT ISO. The transmission business has planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance responsibility for the portion of the transmission grid and for the load-serving substations it owns, primarily within its certificated area. CenterPoint Houston participates with the ER COT ISO and other ERCOT utilities to plan, design, obtain regulatory approval for and construct new transmission lines necessary to increase bulk power transfer capability and to remove existing constraints on the ERCOT transmission grid.
CenterPoint Houston’s integrated utility business was restructured in accordance with the Texas electric restructuring law and its generating stations were sold to third parties. CenterPoint Houston serves nearly all of the Houston/Galveston metropolitan area. At December 31, 2012, CenterPoint Houston’s customers consisted of approximately 75 REPs, which sell electricity to over two million metered customers in CenterPoint Houston’s certificated service area, and municipalities, electric cooperatives and other distribution companies located outside CenterPoint Houston’s certificated service area. All of CenterPoint Houston’s properties are located in Texas. Its properties consist primarily of high-voltage electric transmission lines and poles, distribution lines, substations, service ce! nters, se! rvice wires and meters.
As of December 31, 2012, CenterPoint Houston owned 28,011 pole miles of overhead distribution lines and 3,713 circuit miles of overhead transmission lines, including 373 circuit miles operated at 69,000 volts, 2,124 circuit miles operated at 138,000 volts and 1,216 circuit miles operated at 345,000 volts. As of December 31, 2012, CenterPoint Houston owned 21,151 circuit miles of underground distribution lines and 26 circuit miles of underground transmission lines, including two circuit miles operated at 69,000 volts and 24 circuit miles operated at 138,000 volts. As of December 31, 2012, CenterPoint Houston owned 233 substation sites having a total installed rated transformer capacity of 54,325 megavolt amperes. CenterPoint Houston operates 14 regional service centers located on a total of 291 acres of land. These service centers consist of office buildings, warehouses and repair facilities that are used in the business of transmitting an d distributing electricity.
Natural Gas Distribution
CERC Corp.’s natural gas distribution business (Gas Operations) engages in regulated intrastate natural gas sales to, and natural gas transportation for, approximately 3.3 million residential, commercial and industrial customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. The largest metropolitan areas served in each state by Gas Operations are Houston, Texas; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Little Rock, Arkansas; Shreveport, Louisiana; Biloxi, Mississippi; and Lawton, Oklahoma. Gas Operations also provides unregulated services in Minnesota consisting of heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment and appliance repair, and sales of HVAC, hearth and water heating equipment. Gas Operations actively engages in commodity price stabilization pursuant to annual gas supply plans presented to and/or filed with each of its state regulatory authorities. Gas Operations u ses various third-party storage services or owned natural ga! s storage! facilities to meet peak-day requirements and to manage the daily changes in demand due to changes in weather and may also supplement contracted supplies and storage from time to time with stored liquefied natural gas and propane-air plant production.
Gas Operations owns and operates an underground natural gas storage facility with a capacity of seven billion cubic feet It has a working capacity of two billion cubic feet available for use during a normal heating season and a maximum daily withdrawal rate of 50 million cubic feet . It also owns nine propane-air plants with a total production rate of 200,000 Dekatherms per day and on-site storage facilities for 12 million gallons of propane (one billion cubic feet natural gas equivalent). It owns a liquefied natural gas plant facility with a 12 million-gallon liquefied natural gas storage tank (one billion cubic feet natural gas equivalent) and a production rate of 72,000 Dekatherms per day. Gas Operations has ent ered into various asset management agreements associated with its utility distribution service in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. As of December 31, 2012, Gas Operations owned approximately 72,000 linear miles of natural gas distribution mains, varying in size from one-half inch to 24 inches in diameter. Generally, in each of the cities, towns and rural areas served by Gas Operations, it owns the underground gas mains and service lines, metering and regulating equipment located on customers’ premises and the district regulating equipment necessary for pressure maintenance.
CERC’s pipelines business operates interstate natural gas pipelines with gas transmission lines primarily located in Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. CERC’s interstate pipeline operations are primarily conducted by two wholly owned subsidiaries that provide gas transportation and storage services primarily to i ndustrial customers and local distribution companies, includ! ing Cente! rPoint Energy Gas Transmission Company, LLC (CEGT) is an interstate pipeline that provides natural gas transportation, natural gas storage and pipeline services to customers principally in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas and includes the 1.9 billion cubic feet per day pipeline from Carthage, Texas to Perryville, Louisiana, which CEGT operates as a separate line with a fixed fuel rate, and CenterPoint Energy-Mississippi River Transmission, LLC (MRT) is an interstate pipeline that provides natural gas transportation, natural gas storage and pipeline services to customers principally in Arkansas, Illinois and Missouri. CenterPoint Southeastern Pipelines Holding, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of CERC, owns a 50% interest in Southeast Supply Header, LLC (SESH). SESH owns a one billion cubic feet per day, 274-mile interstate pipeline that runs from the Perryville Hub in Louisiana to Coden, Alabama.
CERC’s field services business op erates gas gathering, treating and processing facilities and also provides operating and technical services and remote data monitoring and communication services. CERC’s field services operations are conducted by a wholly owned subsidiary, CenterPoint Energy Field Services, LLC (CEFS), and subsidiaries of CEFS. CERC’s field services business provides natural gas gathering and processing services for certain natural gas fields in the Mid-continent region of the United States that interconnect with CEGT’s and MRT’s pipelines, as well as other interstate and intrastate pipelines. As of December 31,2012, CERC’s field services business gathered an average of approximately 2.4 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas. In addition, CERC’s field services business has the capacity available to treat up to 2.5 billion cubic feet per day and process 625 million cubic feet per day of natural gas. CEFS, through its ServiceStar operating division, provides remote data monitoring and comm unications services to affiliates and third parties. CERC’s ! field ser! vices business owns and operates approximately 4,600 miles of gathering lines and processing plants that collect, treat and process natural gas primarily from three regions located in producing fields in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.
The Company’s other operations business segment includes office buildings and other real estate. It is used in its business operations and other corporate operations that support all of its business operations.
- [By Robert Rapier]
Last month in Play Ball: More IPOs on Deck, I mentioned that the next master limited partnership to IPO could be Enable Midstream Partners (NYSE: ENBL). Enable Midstream was formed in May 2013 as a joint venture by affiliates of CenterPoint Energy (NYSE: CNP), OGE Energy (NYSE: OGE) and ArcLight Capital Partners.
- [By Jake L’Ecuyer]
Leading and Lagging Sectors
Utilities stocks gained Thursday, with Companhia de Saneamento Basico do Estado de Sao Paulo (NYSE: SBS) leading advancers. Among the leading sector stocks, gains came from Companhia Paranaense de Energia (NYSE: ELP), Pampa Energia SA (NYSE: PAM) and CenterPoint Energy (NYSE: CNP).
- [By Marc Bastow]
Domestic energy delivery company CenterPoint Energy (CNP) raised its quarterly dividend 14.5% to 23.75 cents per share, payable on Mar. 10 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 14.
CNP Dividend Yield: 4.05%
Best Promising Stocks To Own Right Now: Qualys Inc (QLYS)
Qualys, Inc. (Qualys), incorporated on December 30, 1999, is a provider of clouds security and compliance solutions that enable organizations to identify security risks to their information technology (IT) infrastructures, help protect their IT systems and applications from cyber attacks and achieve compliance with internal policies and external regulations. The Company designed its QualysGuard Cloud Platform to transform the way organizations secure and protect their IT infrastructures and applications The Company’s cloud platform offers an integrated suite of solutions that automates the lifecycle of asset discovery, security assessments, and compliance management for an organization’s IT infrastructure and assets, whether they reside inside the organization, on their network perimeter or in the cloud.
The Company provides its solutions through a software-as-a-service model, primarily with renewable annual subscriptions. These subscriptions require custome rs to pay a fee in order to access the Company’s cloud solutions. The Company’s QualysGuard Cloud Platform consists of a suite of IT security and compliance solutions that leverage the Company’s shared and extensible core services and its scalable multi-tenant cloud infrastructure. The Company’s suite of solutions provides security intelligence by automating the life cycle of IT asset discovery, security assessment and compliance management. The Company’s cloud platform’s infrastructure includes integrated services that deliver a automated and scalable scanning infrastructure capable of scanning IT systems and Web applications, inside and outside corporate firewalls. The Company also provides open application program interfaces (APIs), and other developer tools that allow third parties to embed its technology into their solutions and build applications on its cloud platform.
The Company’s suite of solutions, which the Company refers to as the QualysGuard Cloud S uite, includes Vulnerability Management, Web Application Sca! nning, Malware Detection Service, Policy Compliance, PCI Compliance and Qualys SECURE Seal. The Company’s customers can subscribe to one or more of the Company’s security and compliance solutions based on their initial needs and expand their subscriptions over time to new areas within their organization or to additional QualysGuard solutions. The Company offers two editions of its QualysGuard Cloud Suite, the Enterprise edition for large and medium-sized enterprises and the Express edition for small and medium-sized businesses.
QualysGuard Vulnerability Management (QualysGuard VM), is a solution that automates network auditing and vulnerability management across an organization, including network discovery and mapping, asset management, vulnerability reporting, and remediation tracking. QualysGuard Policy Compliance (QualysGuard PC) allows customers to analyze and collect configuration and access control information from their networked devices and Web applicati ons and automatically maps this information to internal policies and external regulations in order to document compliance.
QualysGuard PCI Compliance (QualysGuard PCI) provides organizations that store cardholder data a automated solution to verify and document compliance with PCI DSS. QualysGuard Web Application Scanning (QualysGuard WAS) uses the scalability of its cloud platform to allow customers to discover, catalog and scan a large number of Web applications. QualysGuard Malware Detection Service (QualysGuard MDS) provides organizations with the ability to scan identify and remove malware infections from their Websites. QualysGuard Web Application Firewall (QualysGuard WAF) delivers enterprise-grade Web application security without associated with appliance-based Web application firewall solutions. QualysGuard SECURE Seal helps organizations demonstrate to their online customers that they maintain a proactive security program.
Core Services in clude asset tagging and management, reporting and dashboards! , questio! nnaires and collaboration, remediation and workflow, big data correlation and analytics engine, and alerts and notifications. The Company’s infrastructure layer, which it refer to as its Infrastructure, includes the data, data processing capabilities, software and hardware infrastructure and infrastructure management capabilities that provide the foundation for its cloud platform and allow the Company to automatically scale its Infrastructure and Core Services to scan millions of Internet protocols (IPs).
The Company competes with Hewlett-Packard Company, Imperva, Inc., International Business Machines Corporation, McAfee, Inc., Symantec Corporation, Barracuda Networks, Inc., BeyondTrust Software, Inc., Lumension Security, Inc., nCircle Network Security, Inc., NetIQ Corporation, Rapid7 LLC, Tenable Network Security, Inc. and Trustwave Holdings, Inc.
- [By Jake L’Ecuyer]
Equities Trading UP
Qualys (NASDAQ: QLYS) shares shot up 10.23 percent to $21.07 after the company reported upbeat quarterly results.
Shares of Office Depot (NYSE: ODP) got a boost, shooting up 15.95 percent to $4.84 after the company reported upbeat quarterly earnings and announced its plans to close at least 400 stores in the US.
- [By Jake L’Ecuyer]
Equities Trading UP
Qualys (NASDAQ: QLYS) shares shot up 8.24 percent to $20.68 after the company reported upbeat quarterly results.
Shares of Office Depot (NYSE: ODP) got a boost, shooting up 15.95 percent to $4.84 after the company reported upbeat quarterly earnings and announced its plans to close at least 400 stores in the US.
Best Promising Stocks To Own Right Now: Groupe Eurotunnel SA (GET)
Groupe Eurotunnel SA, (also GET SA), is a France-based company having its expertise in infrastructure management and railway operations. It manages and operates the Channel Tunnel between the United Kingdom and France and its railway infrastructure. The Company is also engaged in passenger and freight transport between continental Europe and the United Kingdom. In addition, it provides ferry transport through the Channel. Groupe Eurotunnel SA has direct and indirect stakes in a number of companies, including The Channel Tunnel Group Limited, France Manche SA, Europorte SAS, Europorte Channel SAS, Europorte Proximite SAS, GB Railfreight Limited, Eurotunelplus GmbH and others. Advisors’ Opinion:
- [By Robert Wall]
At the same time it faces new competition as Deutsche Bahn plans services from Germany to London via the Channel Tunnel from 2016 after a three-year safety study, Groupe Eurotunnel SA (GET), which runs the 30-mile subsea link, said in June.
Best Promising Stocks To Own Right Now: Shenandoah Telecommunications Co(SHEN)
Shenandoah Telecommunications Company, a diversified telecommunications company, provides regulated and unregulated telecommunications services to end-user customers and other communications providers in the southeastern United States. It offers a suite of voice, video, and data communications services; and sells telecommunications equipment. The company?s Wireless segment provides digital wireless service to a portion of a four-state area covering the region from Harrisburg, York, and Altoona, Pennsylvania to Harrisonburg, Virginia. It owns 149 towers and leases tower space to other wireless communications providers in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. This segment also offers personal communications services through a digital wireless telephone and data network. Its Wireline segment provides regulated and unregulated telephone services and leases fiber optic facilities primarily in the northern Shenandoah Valley. This segment also offers information s ervices and Internet access to customers in the northern Shenandoah Valley and surrounding areas. In addition, it is involved in the resale of long distance service for calls placed to locations outside the regulated telephone service area by telephone customers. As of December 31, 2011, this segment had approximately 1,410 dial-up customers and 12,351 digital subscriber line customers, as well as served approximately 10,483 long distance customers. The company?s Cable Television segment provides coaxial cable-based television service in the portions of Shenandoah County, Virginia, as well as in communities in West Virginia, southern and southwestern Virginia, and western Maryland. It had approximately 137,238 cable revenue generating units. The company was founded in 1902 and is headquartered in Edinburg, Virginia.
- [By Jake L’Ecuyer]
Leading and Lagging Sectors
Wednesday morning, the healthcare sector proved to be a source of strength for the market. Leading the sector was strength from Horizon Pharma (NASDAQ: HZNP) and Pernix Therapeutics Holdings (NASDAQ: PTX). In trading on Wednesday, telecommunications services shares were relative laggards, down on the day by about 0.39 percent. Top decliners in the sector included Shenandoah Telecommunications Co (NASDAQ: SHEN), off 3.3 percent, and CalAmp (NASDAQ: CAMP), down around 2.4 percent.
Best Promising Stocks To Own Right Now: Kirby Corp (KEX)
Kirby Corporation, incorporated on January 31, 1969, is a domestic tank barge operator, transporting bulk liquid products throughout the Mississippi River System, on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and along all three United States coasts and in Alaska and Hawaii. The Company transports petrochemicals, black oil products, refined petroleum products and agricultural chemicals by tank barge. The Company, through its subsidiaries, conducts operations in two business segments: marine transportation and diesel engine services. Through the diesel engine services segment, the Company provides after-market service for diesel engines and reduction gears used in marine and power generation applications. The Company also distributes and services diesel engines and transmissions, pumps and compression products, and manufactures oilfield service equipment, including hydraulic fracturing equipment, for land-based pressure pumping and oilfield service markets. The Company, through its ma rine transportation segment, is a provider of marine transportation services, operating tank barges and towing vessels transporting bulk liquid products throughout the Mississippi River System, on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and along all three United States coasts and in Alaska and Hawaii. On December 15, 2011, the Company completed the purchase of the coastal tank barge fleet of Seaboats, Inc. and affiliated companies (Seaboats). On July 1, 2011, the Company completed the acquisition of K-Sea Transportation Partners L.P. (K-Sea). On April 15, 2011, the Company purchased United Holdings LLC (United), a distributor and service provider of engine and transmission related products for the oil and gas services, power generation and on-highway transportation industries, and manufacturer of oilfield service equipment. On February 24, 2011, the Company acquired 21 inland and offshore tank barges and 15 inland towboats and offshore tugboats from Enterprise Marine Services LLC ( Enterprise). On February 9, 2011, the Company acquired from ! Kinder Morgan Petcoke, L.P. (Kinder Morgan).
The Company transports petrochemicals, black oil products, refined petroleum products, and agricultural chemicals by tank barge. The Company also owns and operates fits offshore dry-bulk barges and tugboats engaged in the coastal transportation of dry-bulk cargoes. It is a provider of transportation services for its customers. The Company, through its diesel engine services segment, sells replacement parts, provides service mechanics to overhaul and repair diesel engines, transmissions, reduction gears, pumps and compression products, maintains facilities to rebuild component parts or diesel engines, transmissions and reduction gears, and manufactures oilfield service equipment, including hydraulic fracturing equipment. The Company services the marine, power generation, oilfield service, and land-based oil and gas operator and producer markets.
The marine transportation segment is a provider of transportation services by tank barge for the inland and coastal markets. As of February 22, 2012, the equipment owned or operated by the marine transportation segment consisted of 819 inland tank barges, 236 inland towboats, 59 coastal tank barges, 65 coastal tugboats, fits offshore dry-cargo barges, fits offshore tugboats and one docking tugboat. The 236 inland towboats, 65 coastal tugboats, fits offshore tugboats and one docking tugboat provide the power source and the 819 inland tank barges, 59 coastal tank barges and fits offshore dry-cargo barges provide the freight capacity for the marine transportation segment. The Company’s coastal and offshore tows consist of one tugboat and one tank barge or dry-cargo barge.
During the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company’s inland marine transportation operation moved over 50 million tons of liquid cargo on the United States inland waterway system. Products transported for its custom ers along the inland waterway system consisted of petrochemi! cals, bla! ck oil products, refined petroleum products and agricultural chemicals. Bulk liquid petrochemicals transported include, such products as benzene, styrene, methanol, acrylonitrile, xylene and caustic soda, all consumed in the production of paper, fibers and plastics. During 2011, the transportation of petrochemical products represented 59% of the segment’s revenues. Customers shipping these products are refining and petrochemical companies. Black oil products transported include products, such as asphalt, residual fuel oil, No. 6 fuel oil, coker feedstock, vacuum gas oil, carbon black feedstock, crude oil and ship bunkers (engine fuel). During 2011, such products represented 20% of the segment’s revenues. During 2011, refined petroleum products transported include the various blends of finished gasoline, gasoline blendstocks, jet fuel, No. 2 oil, naphtha, heating oil and diesel fuel, and represented 16% of the segment’s revenues. The Company also classifies ethanol in t he refined petroleum product category. Customers are oil and refining companies, marketers and ethanol producers.
During 2011, agricultural chemicals transported represented 5% of the segment’s revenues. They include anhydrous ammonia and nitrogen-based liquid fertilizer, as well as industrial ammonia. Agricultural chemical customers consist of domestic and foreign producers of such products. As of December 31, 2011, the marine transportation segment operated a fleet of 819 inland tank barges and 236 inland towboats, as well as 59 coastal tank barges and 65 coastal tugboats. The segment also owns and operates fits offshore barge and tug units transporting dry-bulk commodities in coastal trade. As of December 31, 2011, the marine transportation segment operated a fleet of 819 inland tank barges and 236 inland towboats, as well as 59 coastal tank barges and 65 coastal tugboats. The segment also owns and operates fits offshore barge and tug units transporting dry -bulk commodities in coastal trade.
The Canal ! fleet tra! nsports petrochemical feedstocks, processed chemicals, pressurized products, black oil products and refined petroleum products along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, the Mississippi River below Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the Houston Ship Channel. The Linehaul fleet transports petrochemical feedstocks, chemicals, agricultural chemicals and lube oils along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Mississippi River and the Illinois and Ohio Rivers. Loaded tank barges are staged in the Baton Rouge area from Gulf Coast refineries and petrochemical plants, and are transported from Baton Rouge to waterfront terminals and plants on the Mississippi, Illinois and Ohio Rivers, and along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The River fleet transports petrochemical feedstocks, chemicals, refined petroleum products, agricultural chemicals and black oil products along the Mississippi River System above Baton Rouge. Petrochemical feedstocks and processed chemicals are transported to waterfront petrochemi cal and chemical plants, while black oil products, refined petroleum products and agricultural chemicals are transported to waterfront terminals.
The marine transportation inland operation moves and handles a range of cargoes. As of December 21, 2011, of the 819 inland tank barges operated, 618 were petrochemical and refined products barges, 123 were black oil barges, 63 were pressure barges, 10 were refrigerated anhydrous ammonia barges and five were specialty barges. Marine transportation services for inland movements are conducted under long-term contracts, ranging from one to five years. Kirby Inland Marine, LP (Kirby Inland Marine) operates commercial tank barge fleeting service (temporary barge storage facilities) in ports, including Houston, Corpus Christi and Freeport, Texas, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana and other locations on the Mississippi River. Included in the fleeting service is a 51% interest and management control of a shifting operatio n and fleeting service for dry cargo barges and tank barges ! on the Ho! uston Ship Channel. Kirby Inland Marine provides service for its own barges, as well as outside customers, transferring barges within the areas noted, as well as fleeting barges.
Kirby Logistics Management (KLM) is a division of Kirby Inland Marine providing shore-based tankerman and support services to the Company and third parties. Services provided by KLM include barge tankermen, marine terminal, refinery and chemical plant dock operators, and terminal management services. KLM’s services to the Company and third parties cover the Gulf Coast, mid-Mississippi Valley, and the Ohio River Valley. The Company owns a 66% interest in Osprey Line, L.L.C. (Osprey), which transports project cargoes and cargo containers by barge on the United States inland waterway system. The segment’s coastal operations are conducted through wholly owned subsidiaries, K-Sea Transportation Partners LLC and Kirby Ocean Transport Company (Kirby Ocean Transport). K-Sea provides marine transportation of refined petroleum products and black oil products in each coastal region of the United States. The coastal operations consist of the Atlantic, New York, Pacific and Hawaii Divisions. The Atlantic Division operates along the eastern seaboard of the United States and along the Gulf Coast. The Atlantic Division vessels call on coastal states from Maine to Texas, servicing refineries, storage terminals and power plants. The Atlantic Division also operates equipment on the Great Lakes, in the Caribbean, and in Venezuela and the Eastern Canadian provinces.
The New York Division operates in the New York Harbor, close to container terminals, cruise piers, refineries and petroleum storage facilities. The New York Division also performs coastal voyages between Maine and Norfork, Virginia and manages operations in Philadelphia. The New York Division’s fleet consists of tank barges in the 10,000 to 89,000 barrel capacity range and tugboats in the 1800 to 3400 horsepower range, transporting refined petroleum produ! cts for l! ocal and regional customers, black oil products to power generation customers and the delivery of bunker fuel to ships. The Pacific Division operates along the Pacific coast of the United States, servicing refineries and storage terminals from Southern California to Washington State, throughout Alaska, including Dutch Harbor, Cook Inlet and the Alaska River Systems, and from California to Hawaii. The Pacific Division’s fleet consists of tank barges in the 13,000 to 185,000 barrel capacity range and tugboats in the 1000 to 11800 horsepower range, transporting refined petroleum products.
The Hawaii Division services local petroleum retailers and oil companies distributing refined petroleum products and black oil products between the Hawaiian islands and provides other services to the local maritime community. As of December 31, 2011, the Hawaii Division’s fleet consisted of tank barges in the 52,000 to 86,000 barrel capacity range and tugboats in the 1200 to 7 200 horsepower range, transporting refined petroleum products for local and regional customers, black oil products to power generation customers, and the delivery of bunker fuel to ships. The Hawaii Division also provides service docking, standby tug assistance and line handling to vessels using the Single Point Mooring installation at Barbers Point, Oahu, a facility for tankers to load and discharge their cargos through an offshore buoy and submerged pipeline without entering the port. As of December 31, 2011, the coastal fleet consisted of 59 tank barges, 56 of which were double hull and three of which were single hull, with 3.8 million barrels of capacity, transporting refined petroleum products and black oil products. As of December 31, 2011, the Company operated 65 Company-owned coastal tugboats ranging from 1000 to 11800 horsepower. Tugboats in the 1800 to 3400 horsepower classes provide power for barges used in the New York Division. Tugboats in the 1000 to 11800 hors epower classes provide power for barges used in the Atlantic! , Pacific! and Hawaii Divisions. Kirby Ocean Transport owns and operates a fleet of fits offshore dry-bulk barges, fits offshore tugboats and one docking tugboat. Kirby Ocean Transport also has a contract with Holcim (US) Inc. (Holcim) to transport Holcim’s limestone requirements from a facility adjacent to the PEF facility at Crystal River to Holcim’s plant in Theodore, Alabama. Kirby Ocean Transport is also engaged in the transportation of coal, fertilizer and other bulk cargoes on a short-term basis between domestic ports and occasionally the transportation of grain from domestic ports to ports primarily in the Caribbean Basin.
The Company, through wholly owned subsidiary Kirby Engines Systems, Inc. (Kirby Engine Systems), is engaged in the overhaul and repair of medium-speed and high-speed diesel engines and reduction gears, and related parts sales used in marine and power generation applications, and distributes and services high-speed diesel engines and transmissions, pumps and compression products, and manufactures oilfield service equipment, including hydraulic fracturing equipment, used in land-based pressure pumping, oilfield service, power generation and transportation applications.
For the marine market, the Company sells Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) replacement parts, provides service mechanics to overhaul and repair engines and reduction gears, and maintains facilities to rebuild component parts or entire engines and reduction gears. For the power generation market, the Company provides service and parts capabilities and safety-related products to power generation operators and to the nuclear industry, and manufactures engine generator and pump sets for the power generation operators and municipalities. The Company expanded its diesel engine services operation with the purchase of United, a manufacturer, diesel engine and transmission distributor and service provider for th e land-based oil and gas services market, oil and gas operat! ors and p! roducers, compression companies, power generation companies, on-highway transportation companies and agricultural markets. United’s principal businesses are the distribution and service of diesel engines, pumps and transmissions, the manufacture and remanufacture of oilfield service equipment, including hydraulic fracturing equipment, and the manufacture of compression equipment for natural gas transmission and for natural gas fired power generation plants.
The Company is engaged in the overhaul and repair of medium-speed and high-speed diesel engines and reduction gears, line boring, block welding services and related parts sales for customers in the marine industry. The Company services medium-speed and high-speed diesel engines utilized in the inland and offshore barge industries. It also services marine equipment and offshore drilling equipment used in the offshore petroleum exploration and oil service industry, marine equipment used in the offshore commer cial fishing industry and vessels owned by the United States government. The Company has marine operations throughout the United States providing in-house and in-field repair capabilities and related parts sales. The medium-speed operations are located in Houma, Louisiana, Chesapeake, Virginia, Paducah, Kentucky, Seattle, Washington and Tampa, Florida. The operations based in Chesapeake, Virginia and Tampa, Florida are authorized distributors for 17 eastern states and the Caribbean for Electro-Motive Diesel, Inc. (EMD). The marine operations based in Houma, Louisiana, Paducah, Kentucky and Seattle, Washington are nonexclusive authorized service centers for EMD providing service and related parts sales. The Houma, Louisiana operation concentrates on the inland and offshore barge and oil services industries. The Tampa, Florida operation concentrates on Gulf of Mexico offshore dry-bulk, tank barge and harbor docking operators. The Paducah, Kentucky operation concentrates on the inland river towboat and barge operators and the Great Lake! s carrier! s. The Seattle, Washington operation concentrates on the offshore commercial fishing industry, tugboat and barge industry, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and Navy, and other customers in Alaska, Hawaii and the Pacific Rim. The high-speed operations are located in Houma, Baton Rouge, Belle Chasse and New Iberia, Louisiana, Paducah, Kentucky, Mobile, Alabama and Houston, Texas. The Company serves as a factory-authorized marine dealer for Caterpillar diesel engines in Alabama, Kentucky and Louisiana. The Company also operates factory-authorized full service marine dealerships for Cummins, Detroit Diesel and John Deere diesel engines, as well as Allison transmissions and Twin Disk marine gears.
During 2011, the Company was engaged in the overhaul and repair of diesel engines and reduction gears, line boring, block welding service and related parts sales for power generation customers, which represented 9% of the segment’s revenues. The Company is also engag ed in the sale and distribution of parts for diesel engines and governors to the nuclear industry. The Company services users of diesel engines, which provides standby, peak and base load power generation, as well as users of industrial reduction gears, such as the cement, paper and mining industries. The Company provides in-house and in-field repair capabilities and safety-related products to power generation operators from its Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Paducah, Kentucky and Seattle, Washington locations. The Rocky Mount operation is also the distributor of EMD products to the nuclear industry, the global distributor for Woodward Governor products to the nuclear industry, the global distributor of Cooper Energy Services, Inc. products to the nuclear industry, and owns the assets and technology necessary to support the Nordberg medium-speed diesel engines used in nuclear applications. In addition, the Rocky Mount operation is a distributor for Honeywell International Inco rporated industrial measurement and control products to the ! nuclear i! ndustry, an distributor for Norlake Manufacturing Company transformer products to the nuclear industry and a non-exclusive distributor of analog Weschler Instruments metering products and distributor of digital Weschler metering products to the nuclear industry. The Paducah, Kentucky operation provides in-house and in-field repair services for Falk industrial reduction gears in the Midwest. The Seattle, Washington operation provides in-house and in-field repair services for Alco engines located on the West Coast and the Pacific Rim.
The Company’s power generation customers are domestic utilities and the global nuclear power industry. The Company is engaged in the distribution and service of diesel engines, pumps and transmissions, the manufacture and remanufacture of oilfield service equipment and the manufacture of compression equipment for natural gas transmission and for natural gas fired power generation plants. The Company offers a range of custom fabrica ted oilfield service equipment, fully tested and field ready. The Company manufactures products or components that are purchased by a company and marketed under the purchasing company’s brand name. The Company distributes, sells parts and services diesel engines and transmissions for on and off-highway use, and provide in-house and in-field service capabilities. The Company is also the exclusive distributor for Daimler for engines and related equipment in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. The Company manufactures and re-manufacturers oilfield service equipment, including hydraulic fracturing equipment, pressure pumping units, nitrogen pumping units, cementers, hydration equipment, mud pumps and blenders. The Company also manufactures and packages custom compressor systems, including electric motor driven systems, natural gas driven systems and industrial air systems, and manufactures natural gas General Motors and Isuzu diesel-powered engines for a range of applications fr om 40 to 500 horsepower. The Company is a dealer of Thermo K! ing refri! gerated systems for trucks, railroad cars and other land transportation markets in south and central Texas. The Company’s land-based customers include oilfield service providers, oil and gas operators and producers, compression companies, domestic utilities, on-highway transportation companies and companies associated with the agricultural markets.
- [By Aimee Duffy]
The role of the barge can’t be underestimated. Barge receipts increased more than two percentage points year over year, and this is a great place for investors to look for opportunity. Companies with maritime resources benefit from this trend, as well as growth in exports. Three such companies that are worth a look are:
Kirby Corporation (NYSE: KEX ) , which operates 30% of the coastal tank barges in the U.S. Oiltanking Partners (NYSE: OILT ) , which has storage capacity of 12.1 million barrels and six deepwater docks on the Houston Ship Channel Martin Midstream Partners (NASDAQ: MMLP ) , which operates a large fleet of inland barges and controls 31 marine terminals
These companies won’t be the only winners, but they are a good place to start your research.