Best Regional Bank Stocks For 2015

New Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) CEO Satya Nadella seemed to enjoy his recent day in the spotlight, nailing his recent presentation of the new Office for iOS app. Beyond the obvious revenue potential for one of its core offerings, Nadella succeeded in ushering in a new era at Microsoft, an era in which even longtime competitors need to find ways to work together.

Yes, such an important working partnership involving Microsoft and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) feels a little like cats and dogs sleeping together, but its representative of the world we live in today. Microsoft deserves kudos, and its recent stock price appreciation, for taking the leap. However, some analysts believe that bringing Office to iPads will have a positive impact near-term, but destroy what little momentum Microsoft Surface tablets have enjoyed. The naysayers may be right, but let’s not write off Microsoft’s tablet ambitions quite yet.

A few specs
According to research firm Gartner, of the various device types — PCs, tablets, mobile phones, and “other” which includes devices like clamshells — tablets are expected to see the highest rate of sales growth in 2014. With an expected jump in tablets sold of 38.6% compared to 2013, there are opportunities for upstart tablet makers like Microsoft to make some headway.

Best Regional Bank Stocks For 2015: Allergan Inc. (AGN)

Allergan, Inc., a multi-specialty healthcare company, discovers, develops, and commercializes specialty pharmaceutical, medical device, and over-the-counter products for the ophthalmic, neurological, medical aesthetics, medical dermatological, breast aesthetics, obesity intervention, urological, and other specialty markets worldwide. It operates in two segments, Specialty Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices. The Specialty Pharmaceuticals segment offers a range of pharmaceutical products, including ophthalmic products for chronic dry eye, glaucoma therapy, ocular inflammation, infection, allergy, and retinal diseases; Botox for the therapeutic and aesthetic indications; skin care products for acne, psoriasis, and other skin care products; eyelash growth products; and urologics products. The Medical Devices segment offers a range of medical devices, such as breast implants for augmentation, revision, and reconstructive surgery; obesity intervention products, including the La p-Band System and the Orbera Intragastric Balloon System; and facial aesthetics products. The company also offers Contigen for the treatment of urinary incontinence due to intrinsic sphincter deficiency. It sells its products to drug wholesalers, independent and chain drug stores, pharmacies, commercial optical chains, opticians, mass merchandisers, food stores, hospitals, group purchasing organizations, integrated direct hospital networks, and ambulatory surgery centers, as well as to medical practitioners, including ophthalmologists, neurologists, dermatologists, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, aesthetic specialty physicians, bariatric surgeons, pediatricians, urologists, and general practitioners. Allergan, Inc. has strategic research collaboration agreements with ExonHit Therapeutics S.A.; Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; and Pieris AG. The company was founded in 1948 and is headquartered in Irvine, California.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Stocks couldn’t fly high enough to get over yesterday’s record high*, as shares of McDonald’s (MCD) and Allergan (AGN) and Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) dropped, while St. Jude Medical (STJ) and Stryker (SYK) have gained.

  • [By Johanna Bennett]

     Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) has revised its offer to buy Botox-maker Allergan (AGN), upping the size of the overall deal, as well as the cash component. Wall Street, however, isn’t rejoicing.

  • [By WWW.DAILYFINANCE.COM]

    Andrew Yates, AFP/Getty Images LONDON — The board of AstraZeneca on Monday rejected the improved $119 billion takeover offer from U.S. drugmaker Pfizer, a decision that caused a sharp slide in the U.K. company’s share price as many investors think it effectively brings an end to the protracted and increasingly bitter takeover saga. The board said in a statement that it “reiterates its confidence in AstraZeneca’s ability to deliver on its prospects as an independent, science led business.” Pfizer (PFE), which is the world’s second-biggest drugmaker by revenue, has been courting No. 8 AstraZeneca (AZN) since January, arguing their businesses are complementary. On Sunday, it raised its stock-and-cash offer by 15 percent to $118.8 billion, or 70.73 billion pounds. That would be the richest acquisition ever among drugmakers and the third-biggest in any industry, according to figures from research firm Dealogic. AstraZeneca didn’t take long to reject the new offer, its board arguing Pfizer is making “an opportunistic attempt to acquire a transformed AstraZeneca, without reflecting the value of its exciting pipeline” of experimental drugs. Because Pfizer said it won’t raise its offer again or launch a hostile takeover bid over the heads of AstraZeneca’s board, the prospect of a deal looks increasingly remote unless AstraZeneca shareholders urge a change of mind. Pfizer has said it hopes AstraZeneca’s shareholders will push for a deal. “This has been going on for quite some time and we have been in very deep engagement over the whole of the weekend,” AstraZeneca Chairman Leif Johansson told the BBC. “If Pfizer now says this is the final offer I have to believe what they say.” Shareholders in AstraZeneca seemed to think a deal is now unlikely, with the company’s share price slumping 11 percent to 43.15 pounds. Johansson said his management team had told Pfizer over the weekend that it would need to see a 10 percent improvement over the 53.50 pounds-per-shar

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Allergan (AGN) has gained 1.6% after Valeant (VRX) said it would improve its bid for the company.

    Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR) has gained 5.2% after Coca-Cola (KO) upped its stake in the company. Coca-Cola has dipped 0.1%.

Best Regional Bank Stocks For 2015: BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust (BPT)

BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust operates as a grantor trust in the United States. The company holds overriding royalty interests constituting a non-operational interest in minerals in the Prudhoe Bay oil field located on the North Slope in Alaska. The Prudhoe Bay field extends approximately 12 miles by 27 miles and contains approximately 150,000 gross productive acres. As of December 31, 2012, its estimated net remaining proved reserves were 75.517 million barrels of oil and condensate, of which 70.676 million barrels are proved developed reserves and 4.841 million barrels are proved undeveloped reserves. The company was founded in 1989 and is based in Austin, Texas.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Aaron Levitt]

    BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust (BPT): BPT is the largest conventional oil and gas trust in the U.S. and was originally formed in 1989 by BP (BP). The royalty trust collects fees on the first 90,000 barrels of oil collected in the massive Prudhoe Bay oil field located on Alaska’s North Slope. While production in Prudhoe Bay have slipped over the last few years, BPT is expected to continue pumping out dividends for another 15 years. This royalty trust yields a very hefty 11% based on the last four distributions.

  • [By Rick Munarriz]

    BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust (NYSE: BPT  ) is also fueling its distributions. The trust’s new quarterly payout comes out to $2.4147517 a unit. We’re really splitting pennies here, but it’s actually a reasonable 4% increase over its earlier rate.

  • [By Matt DiLallo]

    BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust (NYSE: BPT  )
    Created in 1989, the property of the BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust consists of an overriding royalty interest of oil and condensate production from BP’s Prudhoe Bay oil field located on the North Slope in Alaska. The trust makes quarterly payments to investors of the income after expenses, which can vary each quarter. Over the past year the trust has paid out an average of $2.22 per quarter which would imply a yield of around 9.4%. The key point that investors must understand is that the oil in the field is a finite resource, meaning that it will run out. Under current projections it’s expected that the trust will run dry around the year 2029.

Best Regional Bank Stocks For 2015: East Africa Resources Ltd (EAF)

East Africa Resources Limited (EAF) is engaged in exploration of uranium projects in Tanzania. The Company has five projects in Tanzania, which include Eastern Rift, Madaba, Hemedi, Mkuju and the Mkuju South Joint Venture (JV). Mkuju South JV covers the Mkuju South project which comprises two tenements in the southern part of the Mkuju Uranium Project. The Eastern Rift Project surrounds Lake Manyara in the north of Tanzania and is targeted at U-in-calcrete mineralization. The Madaba Project consists of 23 tenements covering 4,760 kilometers square in the south-east of Tanzania. The Company’s subsidiaries include Tanganyika Uranium Corp, TZU Resources Pty Ltd, Frontier Resources Ltd and Sterling Resources Ltd. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Damian Illia]

    Here’s where I see that Nucor hold its competitive advantage: electric arc furnaces (EAF). These furnaces, in spite of being more electricity intensive, require a much lower per-unit investment and are significantly more efficient in terms of labor. Adding to this, the fact the Nucor has shifted its raw material usage from pig iron to direct-reduced iron (DRI) by building a new production capacity that utilizes cheap natural gas is also a way in which management is attaining a low-cost strategy to outperform its competitors. Moreover, Nucor’s acquisition of ferrous scrap metal broker David J. Joseph Company allows it to avoid price volatility.

Best Regional Bank Stocks For 2015: Windstream Corporation(WIN)

Windstream Corporation provides communications and technology solutions in the United States. The company offers various solutions, including IP-based voice and data services, multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) networking, data center and managed services, hosting services, and communications systems to businesses and government agencies. It also provides high-speed Internet, voice, and digital television services to residential customers primarily located in rural areas. The company?s data services include data center and managed hosting, MPLS networking, and dedicated access, as well as high-speed Internet to business customers; integrated solutions consist of multiple voice and data services delivered over an IP connection; voice services comprise local and long distance, call waiting, caller identification, and voicemail; and special access services include point-to-point switching arrangements for voice and data traffic. In addition, it provides wholesale services, which primarily include voice and data services on a wholesale basis to other carriers; usage sensitive services to long distance companies; and other local exchange carriers for access to the network in connection with the completion of long-distance calls, as well as reciprocal compensation received from wireless and other local connecting carriers for the use of its facilities. As of June 30, 2011, the company served approximately 3.3 million access lines, 1.3 million high-speed Internet customers, and operated approximately 60,000 fiber route miles. Windstream Corporation is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By David Dittman]

    Question: Windstream Holdings Inc (NYSE: WIN) has moved up significantly since your “sell” recommendation. What is the reason? Short covering? The company continues to support the dividend. What is your expectation?

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Windstream Holdings (NASDAQ: WIN) shares gained 0.43% to touch a new 52-week high of $9.24. Windstream’s trailing-twelve-month ROE is 22.79%.

    The WhiteWave Foods Company (NYSE: WWAV) surged 1.57% to reach a new 52-week high of $31.07. WhiteWave Foods shares have jumped 61.25% over the past 52 weeks, while the S&P 500 index has gained 14.97% in the same period.

  • [By David Dittman]

    Question: You recently recommended pulling the plug on Windstream Holdings Inc (NYSE: WIN) and dropped it from the UF Portfolio.

    In reading that commentary and other news, I couldn’t find anything distinctive that had changed at Windstream. Was this a case of hoping for good news that never comes and finally giving up, or are you expecting some unexpected shoe to drop?

Best Regional Bank Stocks For 2015: Mobile TeleSystems (MBT)

Mobile TeleSystems OJSC, together with its subsidiaries, provides telecommunications services primarily in the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Armenia, and Belarus. The company provides a range of mobile and fixed line voice and data telecommunications services, including transmission, broadband, pay-TV, and various value-added services; and sells equipment and accessories. It also offers network access services, including mobile cellular voice and data communication services; automatic roaming services; GPRS and Internet access services; and 3G technology. In addition, the company’s services include the design, construction, and installation of local voice and data networks capable of interconnecting with fixed line operators; installation and maintenance of cellular payphones; lease of digital communication channels; and provision of access to open computer databases and data networks, including the Internet, as well as video conferencing, and fixed, local, and long-distance telecommunications services. Its value-added services comprise call divert/forwarding, caller ID and anti-caller ID display, conference calling, WiFi, GPRS, intelligent call assistant, APN remote access point, fixed mobile convergence, enhanced data rates for GSM Evolution, call barring, SMS, mobile office, voicemail, mobile banking, wireless application protocol, MTS-Connect, SIM-browser, point-to-point transfer, unstructured supplementary services data, downlink packet access, mobile TV, call waiting, MMS, ring tones, missed call alert, itemization of monthly bills, information and directory, international access, WEB and WAP portal, customer care system, ring back tone, collect call, and location-based services. As of December 31, 2011, the company had a mobile subscriber base of approximately 101.14 million. It has a strategic partnership with Vodafone. The company was founded in 1993 and is headquartered in Moscow, the Russian Federation.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By MONEYMORNING.COM]

    For one thing, Russian telecom firms VimpelCom Ltd. (Nasdaq ADR: VIP) and Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (NYSE ADR: MBT) each do “considerable business” in Ukraine, the trade journal reports. For instance, MTS had about 22.4 million subscribers in that country as of September, making it Ukraine’s No. 2 mobile provider, Reuters reported. And VimpelCom gets about 8% of its cash flow from that market.

  • [By MONEYMORNING.COM]

    With that in mind, the four main Russian tech leaders investors should know about are:

    VimpelCom Ltd. (ADR) (Nasdaq: VIP), a broad telecom play. The company provides both fixed and wireless web access, as well as mobile communications and services. The company has a number of subsidiaries that, taken together, have something like 215 million subscribers. Mobile Telesystems OJSC (ADR) (NYSE: MBT), a straight-up mobile play that operates in the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Armenia. Plus, it has a strategic relationship with one of Europe’s major players, Vodafone Group Plc (ADR) (Nasdaq: VOD). Qiwi PLC (Nasdaq: QIWI), a leader in electronic payments through kiosks, the web, and mobile platforms. It’s Russia’s version of PayPal – so we better not tell Carl Icahn… he might start a campaign to break up that company, too. And Yandex NV (Nasdaq: YNDX), which is the “Google of Russia.” Yandex operates the world’s fourth-ranked search engine and enjoys a 60% market share in its home country. Google, with about a quarter of the market, is a very distant second there.

    That’s a great rundown on Russia’s tech leaders. Are there any worth buying at this level? And why?

Best Regional Bank Stocks For 2015: Sonic Corp.(SONC)

Sonic Corp. operates and franchises a chain of quick-service drive-in restaurants in the United States. As of October 03, 2011, the company operated and franchised approximately 3,500 drive-ins. It also leases signs and real estate. The company was founded in 1953 and is headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By kcpl]

    However, there are a few restaurants who have managed to brave the headwinds and have come out as winners. Some of these are Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD), Sonic (SONC), and Domino’s Pizza (DPZ) — which have bucked the industry trend.

  • [By John Udovich]

    On Tuesday, small cap casual dining stock Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc (NASDAQ: RRGB) was bucking the Dow to head higher after earnings, meaning its worth looking more closely at the stock to see what its doing right in the fickle restaurant space plus take a look at the performance of potential (non-fast food) peers like Frisch’s Restaurants, Inc (NYSEMKT: FRS) and Sonic Corporation (NASDAQ: SONC).

  • [By CNNMoney Staff]

    Shares of Sonic (SONC) are higher after the drive-in restaurant operator reported earnings that beat Wall Street’s expectations.

    Carnival (CCL) shares fell after the cruise company reported a first quarter loss.

  • [By Wallace Witkowski]

    Sonic (SONC)  shares advanced 5.2% to $22.01 on moderate volume after the company reported fiscal second-quarter earnings of 7 cents a share on revenue of $109.7 million. Analysts had expected 6 cents a share on revenue of $110.3 million.

Best Regional Bank Stocks For 2015: C&F Financial Corporation(CFFI)

C&F Financial Corporation operates as the holding company for Citizens and Farmers Bank that provides various banking and related financial services to individuals and businesses. It operates through three segments: Retail Banking, Mortgage Banking, and Consumer Finance. The Retail Banking segment offers various types of checking and savings deposit accounts; business, real estate, development, mortgage, home equity, and installment loans; and ATMs, Internet banking, and credit cards, as well as travelers? checks, safe deposit box rentals, collection, notary public, wire service, and other customary bank services. This segment provides retail banking services at its main office in West Point, Virginia; and 17 branches in Chester, Hampton, Mechanicsville, Midlothian, Newport News, Norge, Providence Forge, Quinton, Saluda, Sandston, Varina, West Point, Yorktown, Williamsburg, and Richmond, Virginia. The Mortgage Banking segment originates conventional mortgage loans, mortga ge loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, mortgage loans partially guaranteed by the Veterans Administration, and home equity loans. This segment provides mortgage loan origination services through 15 locations in Virginia, 4 in Maryland, and 2 in North Carolina, as well as 1 each in Wilmington, Delaware; Moorestown, New Jersey; and York, Pennsylvania. The Consumer Finance segment provides automobile loans in Virginia and in portions of Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia, and West Virginia through offices in Richmond and Hampton, Virginia; Nashville, Tennessee; and Towson, Maryland. The company also offers brokerage services, and insurance and title insurance services. C&F Financial Corporation was founded in 1927 and is based in West Point, Virginia.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Doug Hughes]

    An example of that would be C&F Financial (CFFI) in Westport, Virginia. The CEO, Larry Dillon, has been there for 35 years, plus, the bank is trading at a p/e of 6 or 7, if you can believe it. It’s only $2 over book value.

Best Regional Bank Stocks For 2015: Golar LNG Partners LP (GMLP)

Golar LNG Partners LP (the Partnership), incorporated on September 24, 2007, is a limited partnership formed as a wholly owned subsidiary of Golar LNG Limited (Golar), an independent owner and operator of floating storage re-gasification units (FSRUs) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers, to own and operate FSRUs and LNG carriers under long-term charters. The vessels in its fleet are chartered to BG Group, Pertamina, Petrobras and Dubai Supply Authority. As of December 31, 2012, Golar owned its 2.0% general partner interest, all of its IDRs and a 49.9% limited partner interest in it. As of December 31, 2012, its fleet consisted of a 100% interest in the Golar Spirit, which is operating under a time charter with Petrobras; a 100% interest in the Golar Winter, which is operating under a time charter with Petrobras; a 100% interest in the Golar Freeze, which is operating under a time charter with Dubai Supply Authority (DUSUP), the purchaser of natural gas in Dubai; a 100 % interest in the Methane Princess, which is operating under a time charter with BG Group PLC (BG Group), and a 60% interest in the Golar Mazo, an LNG carrier, which is operating under a time charter with PT Pertamina (Pertamina). In July 2012, Golar sold its interests in the companies that own and operate the floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) Nusantara Regas Satu to the Company. As of April 30, 2013, the Company has a fleet of four FSRUs and four LNG carriers. In November 2012, the Company acquired from Golar interests in subsidiaries that lease and operate the LNG carrier, the Golar Grand.

FSRU Charters

The Company provides the services of each of the Golar Spirit and the Golar Winter to Petrobras under separate time charter parties (or TCP) and operation and services agreements (OSAs). The TCPs and OSAs are interdependent and when combined have the same effect as the time charters for its LNG carriers. The services of the Golar Fre eze are provided to DUSUP under a TCP. The Golar Spirit and ! Golar Winter charters also contained provisions giving Petrobras the option to purchase the vessels from it under certain circumstances.

LNG Carrier Charters

The Company provides the LNG marine transportation services of the Golar Mazo, Methane Princess and the Golar Maria under a time charters with LNG Shipping SpA. A time charter is a contract for the use of the vessel for a fixed period of time at a specified daily rate. Under a time charter, the vessel owner provides crewing and other services related to the vessel’s operation.

The Company competes with Royal Dutch Shell, BP, BG, Malaysian International Shipping Company, National Gas Shipping Company, Qatar Gas Transport Company, Excelerate Energy, Hoegh LNG, Exmar, Teekay LNG and MISC Berhad.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Robert Rapier]

    Q: Golar (GMLP) has been doing well lately after an up/down and eventually flat year in 2013.  While sometimes diverging TGP performed about the same. Thoughts on any catalyst this year that might help GMLP start to trend up consistently?

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Golar LNG Partners Limited Partnership (Nasdaq: GMLP  ) reported earnings on May 30. Here are the numbers you need to know.

    The 10-second takeaway
    For the quarter ended March 31 (Q1), Golar LNG Partners Limited Partnership met expectations on revenues and crushed expectations on earnings per share.

  • [By Taylor Muckerman]

    One segment of energy transportation on the high seas that has shown investors that tankers can still deliver on Wall Street has been liquefied natural gas, LNG, tankers. Teekay LNG Partners (NYSE: TGP  ) and Golar LNG Partners (NASDAQ: GMLP  ) have both churned out returns north of 15% in the past year along with paying investors more than 6% in distributions just for owning shares. As LNG exporting becomes a bigger part of global energy trade both of these companies stand to benefit. While there has only been approval for two LNG exporting facilities in the U.S., there are many others with applications submitted. Combined with countless other plans around the world, the prospects look rather bright.

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Calling all cash flows
    When you are trying to buy the market’s best stocks, it’s worth checking up on your companies’ free cash flow once a quarter or so, to see whether it bears any relationship to the net income in the headlines. That’s what we do with this series. Today, we’re checking in on Golar LNG Partners Limited Partnership (Nasdaq: GMLP  ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.

Best Regional Bank Stocks For 2015: Vanguard Consumer Staples Etf (VDC)

Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (the Fund), formerly known as Vanguard Consumer Staples VIPERs, is an exchange-traded share class of Vanguard Consumer Staples Index Fund. The Fund employs a passive management or indexing investment approach designed to track the performance of the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) US Investable Market Consumer Staples Index (the Index). The Index is an index of stocks of large, medium and small United States companies in the consumer staples sector, as classified under the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS). This GICS sector is made up of companies whose businesses are less sensitive to economic cycles. It includes manufacturers and distributors of food, beverages and tobacco, as well as producers of non-durable household goods and personal products. It also includes food and drug retailing companies, as well as hypermarkets and consumer supercenters.

The Fund attempts to replicate the Index by investing a ll, or substantially all, of its assets in the stocks that make up the Index, holding each stock in approximately the same proportion as its weighting in the Index. The Fund also may sample its target Index by holding stocks that, in the aggregate, are intended to approximate the Index in terms of key characteristics, such as price/earnings ratio, earnings growth and dividend yield.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Chris Versace, Editor, PowerTrend Brief and PowerTrend Profits]

    That, to me, says they’re going to favor inelastic goods over elastic ones, so when you think of the things that we need each and every day, toilet paper, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, household cleansers, that sort of thing, that’s what brings me into (XLP) and (VDC).