Best Small Cap Companies To Own For 2014

Like an arsonist warning of the dangers of playing with fire, the expiration of certain provisions of the so-called Dodd-Frank finance reform bill has the nation’s biggest banks warning that retailers like Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) may use the opportunity to offer banking services unless Congress acts now. Since they were the ones that nearly burnt down the nation’s financial house, perhaps they know from whence they speak.

As part of the financial system’s overhaul, a three-year moratorium was imposed on non-financial businesses offering credit, savings, and CDs to consumers. Just before Dodd-Frank was enacted, retailers like Home Depot that had applied for a bank charter had their applications put on hold. Even though over the years we’ve had numerous non-financial companies like General Electric, Pitney-Bowes, General Motors —  in fact, much of the auto industry — operate as banks through the creation of industrial loan corporations, or ILCs, without any outcry from the industry, it’s only the possibility of Wal-Mart entering the fray that causes them to quake.

Best Small Cap Companies To Own For 2014: Panera Bread Company(PNRA)

Panera Bread Company, together with its subsidiaries, owns, operates, and franchises retail bakery-cafes in the United States and Canada. Its bakery-cafes offer fresh baked goods, sandwiches, soups, salads, custom roasted coffees, and other complementary products, as well as provide catering services. The company also manufactures and supplies dough and other products to company-owned and franchise-operated bakery-cafes. As of March 29, 2011, it owned and franchised 1,467 bakery-cafes under the Panera Bread, Saint Louis Bread Co., and Paradise Bakery & Cafe names. The company was founded in 1981 and is based in St. Louis, Missouri.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Although Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG  ) and Panera Bread (NASDAQ: PNRA  ) have become shorthand for fast casual dining, and are seen as the reason fast food restaurants are fast losing sales, there may be a different culprit at work — one that, until now, has been surreptitiously siphoning off sales.

  • [By Adrian Campos]

    The attractive combination of high margins and aggressive revenue expansion has caused Starbucks’ value to increase enormously. How did Starbucks manage to create a strong coffee empire despite increasing competition from traditional players such as Dunkin’ Brands (NASDAQ: DNKN  ) , and the emergence of challengers like Panera Bread (NASDAQ: PNRA  ) ? More importantly, how long will Starbucks’ dominance in the coffee world last?

  • [By Wallace Witkowski]

    Panera Bread Co. (PNRA)  shares fell 3.3% to $157.10 after the bakery-cafe chain cut its outlook after reporting third-quarter earnings.

  • [By Steve Symington]

    Even so, investors have remained frustrated by Chipotle’s refusal to either open stores at a faster pace or raise prices to improve tepid same-store sales growth, which came in at just 3.8% last quarter. That’s shy of competing healthy eateries, including Panera Bread (NASDAQ: PNRA  ) which recently said its same-store growth came in at an impressive 5.1% last quarter. Even still, by not immediately raising prices, Chipotle is intelligently building customer goodwill, and remains open to the possibility of raising prices as economic conditions improve.

Best Small Cap Companies To Own For 2014: Petroquest Energy Inc(PQ)

PetroQuest Energy, Inc. operates as an independent oil and gas company. It engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, and operation of oil and gas properties in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas, as well as onshore and in the shallow waters offshore the Gulf Coast Basin. As of December 31, 2009, the company had estimated proved reserves of 1,931 thousand barrels of oil and 167,361 million cubic feet equivalent of natural gas. It owned working interests in 9 net producing oil wells and 277 net producing gas wells. PetroQuest Energy was founded in 1983 and is headquartered in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    PetroQuest Energy Inc. (NYSE: PQ) was downgraded to Neutral from Overweight at J.P. Morgan.

    Rubicon Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: RBCN) was downgraded to Underperform from Perform at Oppenheimer.

Best Small Cap Companies To Own For 2014: bebe stores inc.(BEBE)

bebe stores, inc. engages in the design, development, and production of women?s apparel and accessories. Its products include a range of separates, tops, dresses, active wear, and accessories in career, evening, casual, and active lifestyle categories. The company markets its products under the bebe, BEBE SPORT, bbsp, and 2b bebe brand names targeting 21 to 34-year-old woman. As of July 2, 2011, it operated 252 retail stores, and an online store at bebe.com in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Japan, and Canada, as well as 60 international licensee operated stores in south east Asia, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Russia, Mexico, and Turkey. The company was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in Brisbane, California.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Rich Smith]

    This series, brought to you by Yahoo! Finance, looks at which upgrades and downgrades make sense and which ones investors should act on. Today, our headlines include upgrades for both industrialist Aixtron (NASDAQ: AIXG  ) and fashionista bebe stores (NASDAQ: BEBE  ) . But the news isn’t all good, so let’s start off with a few words on…

  • [By Jeremy Bowman]

    What: Shares of Bebe Stores (NASDAQ: BEBE  ) were back in style today, gaining as much as 11% after receiving an upgrade from Janney Capital from Neutral to Buy.

  • [By Eric Volkman]

    bebe stores (NASDAQ: BEBE  ) continues to outfit its shareholders in cash by maintaining its dividend policy. The company has declared a fresh quarterly distribution of $0.025 per share of its stock, payable on June 20 to shareholders of record as of June 6. That amount matches the company’s preceding disbursement, which was handed out in mid-March.

Best Small Cap Companies To Own For 2014: InterDigital Inc.(IDCC)

Interdigital, Inc. engages in the design and development of digital wireless technology solutions. The company offers technology solutions for use in digital cellular and wireless products and networks, including 2G, 3G, 4G, and IEEE 802-related products and networks. It holds patents related to the fundamental technologies that enable wireless communications. The company licenses its patents to equipment producers that manufacture, use, and sell digital cellular and IEEE 802-related products; and licenses or sells mobile broadband modem solutions, including modem IP, know-how, and reference platforms to mobile device manufacturers, semiconductor companies, and other equipment producers that manufacture, use, and sell digital cellular products. InterDigital?s solutions are incorporated in various products comprising mobile devices, such as cellular phones, tablets, notebook computers, and wireless personal digital assistants; wireless infrastructure equipment, such as base stations; and components, dongles, and modules for wireless devices. The company was founded in 1972 and is headquartered in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Holly LaFon]

    The most disappointing investment in the portfolio for 2013 was InterDigital (IDCC). This stock declined approximately 28% during the year, despite posting roughly 25% operating margins. Our thesis on IDCC is that the company should benefit from its wireless technology patents as more smartphones and mobile tablets are connected to the in ternet. IDCC creates wireless technology, applies for patents for the technology it creates, and then licenses its technology to manufacturers who produce the aforementioned products. In the past, Nokia, Samsung, Apple, LG, and many other manufacturers hav e licensed the company’s technology to use in their products and paid IDCC royalties.

  • [By James E. Brumley]

    Endeavor IP isn’t the only publicly-traded intellectual property enforcement company out there. It is, however, the only one to focus on quality over quantity. Whereas other players like patent portfolio names like InterDigital, Inc. (NASDAQ:IDCC) and Vringo, Inc. (NASDAQ:VRNG) will literally buy patents by the hundreds – perhaps sometimes without even knowing what some of those patents even cover – in an effort to arm itself with any and every possible patent for any and every contingency. Most are likely worthless, which means companies like InterDigital or Vringo may have wasted shareholder money by buying IP that isn’t capable of bearing revenue.

  • [By James E. Brumley]

    When traders think of an IP (intellectual property) company, they tend to conjure up names like InterDigital, Inc. (NASDAQ:IDCC), VirnetX Holding Corporation (NYSEMKT:VHC), or of course, the well-known Vringo, Inc. (NASDAQ:VRNG). And, investors see these patent-enforcement names as such for good reason…. between VRNG, IDCC, and VHC, the three organizations own well over 20,000 technology patents, and their efforts to enforce them have been well-documented, and well publicized. Thing is, as the patent-protection industry matures, companies like Vringo, InterDigital, or VirnetX Holding may well find that it’s the quality of the patent portfolio rather than the quantity of patents that makes an IP owner a potent investment. Enter Endeavor IP Inc. (OTCBB:ENIP).

Best Small Cap Companies To Own For 2014: ATA Inc.(ATAI)

ATA Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides computer-based testing services in the People?s Republic of China. It offers services for the creation and delivery of computer-based tests utilizing its test delivery platform, proprietary testing technologies, and testing services; and provides logistical support services relating to test administration. The company?s computer-based testing services are used for professional licensure and certification tests in various industries, including information technology (IT) services, banking, securities, teaching, and insurance. Its e-testing platform integrates various aspects of the test delivery process for computer-based tests ranging from test form compilation to test scoring, and results analysis. ATA also provides career-oriented educational services, such as single course programs, degree major course programs, and pre-occupational training programs focusing on preparing students to pass IT and other vocational certification tests; test preparation and training programs and services to test candidates preparing to take professional certification tests in securities, futures, banking, insurance and teaching industries; online test preparation and training platform for the securities and banking industries; and test preparation software for the teaching industry. In addition, the company offers HR select employee assessment solution, an online system that utilizes its proprietary software and an inventory of test titles to help employers improve the efficiency and accuracy of their employee recruitment process. As of March 31, 2010, it had contractual relationships with 1,988 ATA authorized test centers. The company serves Chinese governmental agencies, professional associations, IT vendors, and Chinese educational institutions, as well as individual test preparation services. ATA Inc. was founded in 1999 and is based in Beijing, the People?s Republic of China.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jake L’Ecuyer]

    Leading and Lagging Sectors
    Industrials stocks gained Friday, with ATA (NASDAQ: ATAI) leading advancers. Meanwhile, gainers in the sector included Plug Power (NASDAQ: PLUG), with shares up 22 percent, and Korn/Ferry International (KFY), with shares up 12 percent. In trading on Friday, basic materials shares were relative laggards, down on the day by about 1.36 percent.

  • [By Jake L’Ecuyer]

    Leading and Lagging Sectors
    Industrials stocks gained Friday, with ATA (NASDAQ: ATAI) leading advancers. Meanwhile, gainers in the sector included Plug Power (NASDAQ: PLUG), with shares up 22 percent, and Korn/Ferry International (KFY), with shares up 12 percent. In trading on Friday, basic materials shares were relative laggards, down on the day by about 1.36 percent.

Best Small Cap Companies To Own For 2014: Sky-mobi Limited(MOBI)

Sky-mobi Limited engages in the operation of a mobile application store in the People?s Republic of China. It works with handset companies to pre-install its Maopao mobile application store on handsets and with content developers to provide users with applications and content titles. The users of its Maopao store could browse, download, and purchase a range of applications and content, such as single-player games, mobile music, and books. The company?s Maopao store enables mobile applications and content to be downloaded and run on various mobile handsets with hardware and operating system configurations. It also operates a mobile social network community, the Maopao Community, where it offers localized mobile social games, as well as applications and content with social network functions to its registered members. The company owns proprietary mobile application technology in the cloud computing, the MRP format, and SDK development environment. As of March 31, 2011, it had entered into cooperation agreements with approximately 523 handset companies to pre-install Maopao. The company was formerly known as Profit Star Limited and changed its name to Sky-Mobi Limited in October 2010. Sky-mobi Limited was incorporated in 2007 and is headquartered in Hangzhou, China.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Roberto Pedone]

    Another stock that’s starting to move within range of triggering a big breakout trade is Sky-mobi (MOBI), which, through its subsidiaries, engages in the operation of a mobile application platform embedded on mobile phones to provide mobile application store and services in the People’s Republic of China. This stock has been red hot so far in 2013, with shares up a whopping 88%.

    If you look at the chart for Sky-mobi, you’ll notice that this stock recently formed a triple bottom chart pattern at $3.31, $3.28 and $3.40 a share. That bottoming pattern occurred over the last two months. Shares of MOBI have now started to uptrend and flirt with its 50-day moving average of $3.76 a share. That move is quickly pushing MOBI within range of triggering a big breakout trade.

    Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MOBI if it manages to break out above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $3.71 to $3.83 a share with high volume. Look for a sustained move or close above those levels with volume that hits near or above its three-month average action of 145,934 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then MOBI will set up to re-test or possibly take out its 52-week high at $4.96 a share. Any high-volume move above that level will then give MOBI a chance to tag its next major overhead resistance levels at $5.55 to $6.13 a share.

    Traders can look to buy MOBI off any weakness to anticipate that breakout and simply use a stop that sits right below some key near-term support levels at $3.40 to $3.28 a share. One can also buy MOBI off strength once it takes out that breakout levels with volume and then simply use a stop that sits a comfortable percentage from your entry point.

Best Small Cap Companies To Own For 2014: Texas Instruments Incorporated(TXN)

Texas Instruments Incorporated engages in the design and sale of semiconductors to electronics designers and manufacturers worldwide. The company?s Analog segment offers high-performance analog products comprising standard analog semiconductors, such as amplifiers, data converters, and interface semiconductors; high-volume analog and logic products; and power management semiconductors and line-powered systems. Its Embedded Processing segment includes DSPs that perform mathematical computations to process and enhance digital data; and microcontrollers, which are designed to control a set of specific tasks for electronic equipment. The company?s Wireless segment designs, manufactures, and sells application processors and connectivity products. Its Other segment offers smaller semiconductor products, which include DLP products that are primarily used in projectors to create high-definition images; and application-specific integrated circuits. This segment also provides handhe ld graphing and scientific calculators, as well as licenses technologies to other electronic companies. The company serves the communications, computing, industrial, consumer electronics, automotive, and education sectors. Texas Instruments Incorporated sells its products through a direct sales force, distributors, and third-party sales representatives. It has collaboration agreements with PLX Technology Inc.; Neonode, Inc.; and Ubiquisys Ltd. The company was founded in 1938 and is headquartered in Dallas, Texas.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Victor Selva]

    Several tech vendors like Intel (INTC), IBM (IBM), Texas Instruments (TXN) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) have announced job cuts for 2014. These reductions will take effect in the near future while management will continue to explore additional opportunities to improve profitability. 

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Texas Instruments Inc. (NASDAQ: TXN) saw short interest fall by 2.1% to 22.85 million shares, or 2.1% of the float. TI reported earnings last week, pulling the shares back from a 52-week high and cooling, for the moment at least, any added interest from short sellers.

  • [By Douglas A. McIntyre]

    Big tech seems to get smaller and smaller, both in terms of sales and number of employees. International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) said it would rebalance its workforce. Texas Instruments Inc. (NASDAQ: TXN) announced it would cut 1,100 people. These announcements come shortly after Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) said it would fire 5,000 people. While job cuts from the recession may have ended, old tech cannot afford to hold on to its workers.

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Texas Instruments (NASDAQ: TXN) is projected to post its Q4 earnings at $0.46 per share on revenue of $2.99 billion.

    Halliburton Company (NYSE: HAL) is expected to report its Q4 earnings at $0.89 per share on revenue of $7.55 billion.

Best Small Cap Companies To Own For 2014: EZchip Semiconductor Limited(EZCH)

EZchip, a fabless semiconductor company, engages in the development and marketing of Ethernet network processors for networking equipment. Its products include network processor chips, evaluation boards and network-processor based systems, and development software toolkits. The company offers network processors for use in forming the silicon core of networking equipment, such as switches and routers; and for voice, video and data integration in various applications. Its network processors are single-chip solutions, which enable its customers to design multi-port line cards, such as processing and classification engines, traffic managers, media access controllers, as well as a range of specialized hardware blocks that accelerate various functions. The company offers Evaluation systems which enable customers to test NPU-based systems; and toolkits that assist customers in creating, verifying, and implementing solutions based on its network processors. It provides a library f eaturing data plane code for a range of applications, which include Metro Ethernet protocols, Multi-Protocol Label Switching, IPv4 and IPv6 routing, Access Control Lists, GPON/EPON OLT functionality, Network Address Translation, and Server Load Balancing. The company sells its products directly, and through contract manufacturers and distributors to network equipment vendors. It markets its products in Israel, China, Hong Kong, the Far East, Canada, the United States, and Europe. The company was formerly known as LanOptics Ltd. and changed its name to EZchip Semiconductor Ltd. in July 2008. EZchip Semiconductor Ltd. was founded in 1989 and is based in Yokneam, Israel.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Evan Niu, CFA]

    What: Shares of EZchip (NASDAQ: EZCH  ) have jumped today by as much as 13% after the company reported first-quarter earnings.

    So what: Revenue in the first quarter totaled $15.3 million, topping the Street’s forecast of $15.1 million. Non-GAAP net income per share came in at $0.23, which was right on target with expectations.

  • [By Paul McWilliams]

    Paul McWilliams: Oh, absolutely. Another company that most investors probably have never heard of is a tiny little Israeli semiconductor company named EZChip (EZCH).

  • [By Jake L’Ecuyer]

    EZchip Semiconductor (NASDAQ: EZCH) was also up, gaining 7.16 percent to $24.11 after a Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) announced a new product that would not threaten the company as previously thought. Equities Trading DOWN
    Shares of Cypress Semiconductor (NASDAQ: CY) were down 16.05 percent to $9.91 after the company lowered its Q3 forecast.

Best Small Cap Companies To Own For 2014: Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc.(ACHN)

Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, engages in the discovery, development, and commercialization of treatments for infectious diseases. The company focuses on the development of antivirals for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C; and the development of antibacterials for the treatment of resistant bacterial infections. Its drug candidates for the treatment of chronic HCV include ACH-1625, a protease inhibitor, which is in phase IIa clinical trial for the treatment of chronic HCV; ACH-2684, a pangenotypic protease inhibitor, which is in phase I clinical trial for the treatment of chronic HCV infection; and NS5A inhibitors for the treatment of chronic HCV infection, including ACH-2928, which is to enter a phase I clinical trial, as well as various additional NS5A inhibitors in preclinical development. Its pipeline of product candidates also includes ACH-702 and ACH-2881 for drug resistant bacterial infections; elvucitabine for HIV infection; and AC H-1095 for HCV infection. The company was founded in 1998 and is based in New Haven, Connecticut.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Roberto Pedone]

    An under-$10 biotechnology player that’s starting to trend within range of triggering a big breakout trade is Achillion Pharmaceuticals (ACHN), discovers, develops and commercializes anti-infective drug therapies in the U.S. and internationally. This stock has been destroyed by the sellers so far in 2013, with shares down big by 66%.

    If you take a look at the chart for Achillion Pharmaceuticals, you’ll notice that this stock has been trending sideways for the last month and change, with shares moving between $2.26 on the downside and $2.98 on the upside. This sideways trading pattern is occurring after shares of ACHN gapped down sharply in late September from $7.50 to under $3 with heavy downside volume. Shares of ACHN are now starting to trend higher and move within range of triggering a big breakout trade above the upper-end of its sideways trading chart pattern.

    Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ACHN if it manages to break out above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $2.85 to $2.98 a share with high volume. Look for a sustained move or close above those levels with volume that hits near or above its three-month average action of 2.76 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then ACHN will set up to re-test or possibly take out its gap down day high from September at $3.62 a share. Any high-volume move above that level will then give ACHN a chance to re-fill some of its previous gap down zone that started at $7.50 a share.

    Traders can look to buy ACHN off any weakness to anticipate that breakout and simply use a stop that sits right below some key near-term support levels at $2.44 to $2.26 a share. One can also buy ACHN off strength once it clears those breakout levels with volume and then simply use a stop that sits a comfortable percentage from your entry point.

  • [By David Williamson]

    In this video, David Williamson describes how Achillion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ACHN  ) may challenge Gilead’s (NASDAQ: GILD  ) dominance in the Hepatitis C drug market. Achillion is concluding phase 2 clinical trials of its oral interferon medication, and so far, things are looking good. If successful in phase 3 trials, Achillion could directly challenge Gilead’s interferon medication. For investors, the success of Achillion’s drug is attractive, but the potential for Achillion to be a takeover target is even more enticing. The company has a market cap of around $575 million and could easily be bought out by the likes of Bristol-Myers Squibb.