Best Up And Coming Companies To Watch For 2014

U.S. stock markets were closed yesterday to observe the Fourth of July holiday, but when they opened this morning, traders were in a buying mood. The addition of 195,000 jobs to the economy in June won’t wow anyone, but it was better than expected and shows that the labor market is slowly growing. Investors cheered the news, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is up 0.72% today, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) has gained 0.69%.  

Banking stocks are the biggest beneficiaries today, because this data will add to speculation that the Federal Reserve will slow its $85 billion-per-month bond-buying program, taking away the economy’s crutch. The Fed’s program has aimed to keep long-term interest rates low, and they will likely continue to rise now that the economy appears to be strong. There’s no indication that short-term rates will rise, though, and that means banks can borrow at low short-term rates while borrowing at higher long-term rates, boosting profits.

Best Up And Coming Companies To Watch For 2014: BanColombia S.A. (CIB)

Bancolombia S.A., a full service financial institution, provides various banking products and services to individual and corporate customers in Colombia, as well as in Panama, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, the Cayman Islands, Peru, Brazil, the United States, and Spain. The company offers savings and checking accounts, fixed term deposits, and investment products; and trade financing, loans funded by domestic development banks, working capital loans, credit cards, personal loans, vehicle loans, payroll loans, and overdrafts. It also provides mortgage banking, factoring, treasury, cash management, foreign currency, and bancassurance and insurance; and asset management and trust services that comprise money market accounts, mutual and pension funds, private equity funds, payment trust, custody services, and corporate trust. In addition, the company offers brokerage, investment advisory, and private banking services, including selling and distributing equities, futures, foreign cu rrencies, fixed income securities, mutual funds, and structured products; and investment banking services, including advising and assisting companies from various economic sectors in project finance, capital markets, capital investments, mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, and corporate lending. Further, it provides financial and operational leases, including cross-border and international leasing services; and pension plan administration services. The company offers its services through a traditional branch network, and sales and customer representatives, as well as through mobile branches, non-banking correspondents, an ATM network, online and computer banking, telephone and mobile phone banking, and electronic funds transfer at point of sale (PACs). As of September 30, 2012, it had 978 branches and 3,703 ATMs. Bancolombia S.A. was founded in 1945 and is headquartered in Medellin, Colombia.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Bancolombia SA (NYSE: CIB) shares touched a new 52-week low of $47.94. Bancolombia’s trailing-twelve-month ROA is 1.45%.

    Posted-In: 52-Week LowsNews Movers & Shakers Intraday Update Markets

  • [By Matt Smith]

    Bancolombia appears attractively priced
    Another Colombian company that appears under-valued is the Andean country’s largest commercial bank Bancolombia (NYSE: CIB  ) . For the year-to-date Bancolombia’s share price fell 17% because of a weak second quarter bottom-line. This decline was primarily caused by the bank’s net income plunging by 41% year-over-year because of mark-to-market losses caused by the value lost in the bank’s securities portfolio.

Best Up And Coming Companies To Watch For 2014: Trico Bancshares (TCBK)

TriCo Bancshares (TriCo), incorporated on October 13, 1981, is a bank holding company that operates through its wholly owned subsidiary, Tri Counties Bank (the Bank). The Bank conducts a commercial banking business, including accepting demand, savings and time deposits, and making commercial, real estate and consumer loans. It also offers installment note collection, issues cashier’s checks, sells travelers checks, and provides safe deposit boxes and other customary banking services. Brokerage services are provided at the Bank’s offices by the Bank’s association with Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., an independent financial services provider and broker-dealer. The Bank does not offer trust services or international banking services. Tri Counties Bank, TriCo Capital Trust I and TriCo Capital Trust II are the subsidiaries of the Bank. On September 23, 2011, the Bank acquired Bank of Northern California.

The Company is engaged in the banking business throu gh 68 offices in 23 counties in Northern and Central California including ten offices in Shasta County, nine in Butte County, seven in Sacramento and Nevada Counties, six in Placer County, four in Stanislaus County, three each in Siskiyou, Sutter and Kern Counties, two each in Glenn and Yolo Counties, and one each in Contra Costa, Del Norte, Fresno, Lake, Lassen, Madera, Mendocino, Merced, Napa, Tehama, Tulare, and Yuba Counties. The Bank’s 76 automated teller machines (ATMs) are linked to several national and regional networks, such as CIRRUS and STAR. In addition, banking by telephone on a around-the-clock toll-free number is available to all customers. This service allows a customer to obtain account balances and most recent transactions, transfer moneys between accounts, make loan payments and obtain interest rate information. The Bank emphasizes on retail banking. Most of the Bank’s customers are retail customers and small to medium-sized businesses. The Bank emphasiz es serving the needs of local businesses, farmers and ranche! rs, retired individuals and wage earners.

Lending activities

The Bank conducts a commercial banking business, including accepting demand, savings and time deposits and making commercial, real estate, and consumer loans. It also offers installment note collection, issues cashier’s checks, sells travelers checks and provides safe deposit boxes and other customary banking services. Brokerage services are provided at the Bank’s offices by the Bank’s association with Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., an independent financial services provider and broker-dealer. The Bank concentrates its lending activities in four principal areas: real estate mortgage loans (residential and commercial loans), consumer loans, commercial loans (including agricultural loans), and real estate construction loans. The majority of the Bank’s loans are direct loans made to individuals, farmers and local businesses.

As of December 31, 2011 loans, includi ng net deferred loan costs, totaled $1,551,032,000. As of December 31, 2011, total Real estate mortgage loans net deferred loan costs, were $ 965,922,000; total consumer loans were $ 406,330,000; total commercial loans were $ 139,131,000, and real estate construction loans were $ 39,649.

Investment Activities

The Bank classifies its investments as available for sale (AFS). As of December 31, 2011, investments consisted of corporate debt and debt securities of the United States government. As of December 31, 2011, the Bank’s securities portfolio consisted of obligations of the United States Government corporations and agencies, obligations of states and political subdivisions, and corporate bonds.

Sources of Funds

Most of the Bank’s deposits are attracted from individuals and business-related sources. The various types of deposits offered by the Bank include non-interest-bearing demand deposits, interest-bearing demand dep osits, savings deposits, time certificates of $100,000 and o! ver, and ! other time certificates. As of December 31, 2011, the Bank’s deposits totaled $ 2,190,536. The Bank participates in a deposit program offered by the State of California whereby the State may make deposits at the Bank’s request subject to collateral and creditworthiness constraints.

The Company had $8,527,000 of other collateralized borrowings as of December 31, 2011. The Company maintains a collateralized line of credit with the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. Other collateralized borrowings are generally overnight maturity borrowings from non-financial institutions that are collateralized by securities owned by the Company. The Bank had available unused correspondent banking lines of credit from commercial banks totaling $5,000,000 for federal funds transactions as of December 31, 2011.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    California-based TriCo Bancshares (NASDAQ: TCBK  ) announced today its second-quarter dividend of $0.11 per share, a 22% increase over the $0.09 per share payout it made last quarter.

Best Up And Coming Companies To Watch For 2014: SilverCrest Mines Inc (SVLC)

SilverCrest Mines Inc. (SilverCrest), incorporated on May 22, 1973, is engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of mineral properties in Mexico and Central America. The Company’s principal focus is the development and operation of the Santa Elena Project, which property consists of seven mineral concessions totaling 2,726.54 hectares, portions of which include the producing Santa Elena gold and silver mine located northeast of Hermosillo, Sonora State, Mexico. It operates in three segments: the mine operations at Santa Elena, Mexico; mine exploration and evaluation projects at La Joya and Cruz de Mayo, Mexico, and Corporate. The Company is also focused on exploring and developing its La Joya Property located in Durango, Mexico, which contains a discovered polymetallic deposit. The Company’s other mineral properties include the Cruz de Mayo Project (Mexico), the La Joya Property (Mexico), the Silver Angel Project (Mexico) and the El Zapote Project (El Sal vador).

The La Joya Property consists of 14 mineral concessions with a total area of approximately 8,379.6 hectares. Its Cruz de Mayo Project consists of two mineral concessions comprising a total of 452 hectares. The Company holds a 100% interest in the Cruz de Mayo 2 concession (which encompasses 434 hectares). The Silver Angel Project consists of two mineral concessions encompassing a total of 3,251 hectares located in the northern Sierra Madre Range in Sonora, Mexico. The Company holds a 100% interest in these concessions, which were acquired by concession applications.

The El Zapote Project consists of two mineral concessions (the El Caliche and San Juan Exploration Concessions) located in the Department of Santa Ana in northern El Salvador, Central America. The Company holds a 100% interest in the El Zapote Project. During the year ended December 31, 2011, an initial drill program of 25 holes totaling approximately 2,900 meters was completed o n the Santa Elena Norte target, located approximately 1 kilo! meters north of the Santa Elena Mine.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Hebba Investments]

    Even with rising Q2 costs, GG still has lower true all-in costs than many of its larger competitors’ Q1FY13 costs. Compared to Q1FY13 numbers of competitors such as Yamana Gold (AUY) (costs just over $1300), Kinross Gold (KGC) (costs above $1350), Silvercrest Mines (SVLC) (costs below $1100), Newmont Gold (NEM) (costs around $1300) Agnico-Eagle (AEM) (costs around $1400) and Barrick Gold (ABX) (costs around $1200).

Best Up And Coming Companies To Watch For 2014: GT Advanced Technologies Inc (GTAT)

GT Advanced Technologies Inc., incorporated on September 27, 2006, is diversified technology company with crystal growth equipment and solutions for the global solar, light emitting diode (LED) and electronics industries. The Company operates in three segments: its polysilicon business, its photovoltaic (PV), business and its sapphire business. The Company’s principal products are Silicon Deposition Reactors (SDR) and related equipment used to produce polysilicon, the key raw material used in silicon-based solar wafers and cells; Advanced sapphire crystallization furnaces (ASF) which are used to crystallize sapphire boules, and Directional solidification (DSS) furnaces and related equipment used to cast multicrystalline and MonoCast crystalline silicon ingots. On January 7, 2013, the Company announced the idling of its HiCz pilot manufacturing facility in Hazelwood, Missouri. On November 8, 2012, the Company acquired certain assets of Twin Creeks Technologies, Inc. (Twin C reeks). In May 2013, the Company acquired the business of Thermal Technology LLC.

PV Business

The focus of the Company’s PV business is the development, manufacture and sales of crystallization growth furnaces to produce silicon ingots used in the production of solar wafers. The Company’s principal product line has been the DSS family of casting furnaces that are used to produce multicrystalline ingots and MonoCast ingots. As of December 31, 2012, the Company shipped approximately 3,300 DSS crystallization furnaces. The ingots are used to make photovoltaic (PV) solar wafers and cells. HiCz, or continuous Czochralski (Cz) growth process, produces monocrystalline ingots that are designed to produce more efficient wafers. The Company’s DSS furnace is a specialized furnace used to melt polysilicon and cast multicrystalline ingots. Multicrystalline ingots are used to produce solar wafers, which ultimately become solar cells. The Company markets its DS S crystallization furnaces under the names DSS450HP and DSS6! 50. The Company’s largest capacity DSS furnace, the DSS650, is capable of producing ingots that weigh up to 650 kilograms using standard silicon feedstock. In January 2012, the Company introduced its MonoCast silicon casting technology that uses the DSS furnace architecture to produce ingots comprised of a high percentage of monocrystalline material. The Company is markets MonoCast technology under the name DSS450 MonoCast.

The Company’s ancillary equipment provides operators with material handling assistance during the preparation of the crucible before it is loaded with silicon and during the loading and unloading of the crucible into the DSS furnace chamber at the start of the growth process and out of the DSS furnace chamber at the conclusion of the ingot growth process. The Company’s ancillary equipment includes crucible coating stations, crucible manipulators, loaders/unloaders, extraction tools and other material handling systems required to safely tra nsport material during the ingot growth process. The Company sells replacement parts and consumables used in its DSS furnaces and other PV equipment.

Polysilicon Business

The Company’s polysilicon business offers Silicon Deposition Reactors, which utilize the chemical vapor deposition process, and related trichlorosilane (TCS) technology and equipment along with engineering services to existing polysilicon producers and new market entrants. The Company’s polysilicon business focuses on product design, quality control, engineering services, project management and process development related to the production of polysilicon. It markets its SDR reactors under the names SDR300, SDR400, SDR 500 and SDR 600. The Company provides equipment, technology and engineering services for the production and purification of TCSand silane. This hydrochlorination technology eliminates the need for silicon tetrachloride converters which are required when using certain other polysilicon production technology. The Company also pr! ovides an! cillary equipment and technologies for producing seed rods used in its SDR reactors and for handling and processing the polysilicon rods into a finished product.

Sapphire Business

The Company’s sapphire business markets and sells of the Company’s ASF systems to customers to enable them to produce sapphire material. The Company also produces sapphire material, on a limited basis, for the LED and other specialty markets at its sapphire pilot production facility in Massachusetts. Its ASF systems produce monocrystalline sapphire material, referred to as sapphire boules. The sapphire boules are used to make sapphire wafers, a substrate for manufacturing LEDs, as well as sapphire blanks and windows for such applications as medical devices and watch crystals. The Company’s ASF technology is based on the heat exchanger method (HEM), which is a directional solidification technique, which crystallizes the sapphire meltstock material during the growth process. The Company also uses the facility as a research and development (R&D) center to test new technology developments prior to commercial release. The Company markets and sells its ASF systems under the name ASF100. The Company also provides engineering and product design, quality control, process engineering, engineering services and field services related to the operation of its ASF furnaces. The Company produces sapphire material on a limited basis at its pilot production facility in Massachusetts. The Company sells this material to customers in the LED and other markets, such as the aerospace, defenses and medical device.

The Company manufactures and sells two principal types of sapphire materials: hems Sapphire Material and Titanium-doped Sapphire (Ti:Sapphire) Material. Using the material derives from the sapphire boule generated with its ASF furnaces, the Company cut the sapphire material in a number of different dimensions and crystal orientations, in form factors such as cores, rods, blanks, windows and tubes. The! Company ! generates sapphire boules that are doped with titanium. The Company provides certain finishing and polishing for its Ti:Sapphire material.

The Company competes with ALD Vacuum Technologies AG, JYT Corporation, Ferrotec Corporation, PVA TePla AG, Centrotherm Elektrische Anlagen GmbH & Co., Jing Gong Technology, Zhejiang Jingsheng Mechanical & Electrical Co., Ltd, MSA Apparatus Construction for Chemical Equipment Ltd, Centrotherm Elektrische Anlagen GmbH & Co., Morimatsu Industry Co. Ltd., Poly Plant Project, Inc., Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation, Wacker Chemie AG, MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc., Renewable Energy Corporation ASA, Thermal Technology LLC, Advanced Renewable Energy Company, LLC, Rubicon Technology, Inc., Sapphire Technology Co. Ltd. (Korea), Kyocera International Inc., Saint-Gobain, Gavish Inc., and Monocrystal.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By John Udovich]

    By consumer electronics, he meant Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) – the big gorilla in the room for display makers which announced in November 2013 a $578 million deal with GT Advanced Technologies Inc (NASDAQ: GTAT) wherein GTAT would supply sapphire glass to AAPL. It should be mentioned that a recent Forbes article has pointed out that Corning Incorporated’s specialty materials segment posted sales of $1.17 billion in 2013 and that three customers accounted for 47% of segment sales for the year. On Thursday, Corning Incorporated rose 1.08% to $21.59 (GLW has a 52 week trading range of $12.64 to $21.76 a share) for a market cap of $30.03 billion plus the stock is up 21.4% since the start of the year, up 62% over the past year and up 35.3% over the past five years.

  • [By John Udovich]

    Solar stocks have not exactly given buy and hold investors a smooth ride, but small cap GT Advanced Technologies Inc (NASDAQ: GTAT) could be an interesting materials play on the solar sector – meaning its worth taking a closer look at the stock along with potential peers like Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc (NASDAQ: ASTI) and STR Holdings, Inc (NYSE: STRI) plus solar ETF Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSEARCA: TAN). I should mention that just last week, we added GT Advanced Technologies to our SmallCap Network Elite Opportunity (SCN EO) portfolio for both fundamentals and technical reasons and we are already up almost 9%.

Best Up And Coming Companies To Watch For 2014: First Trust Health Care AlphaDEX Fund (FXH)

First Trust Health Care AlphaDEX Fund (the Fund) is an exchange-traded fund. The Fund seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield of an equity index called the StrataQuant Health Care Index (the Index). The Index is an enhanced index created and administered by the AMEX, which employs the AlphaDEX stock selection methodology to select stocks from the Russell 1000 Index. The AMEX constructs the Index by ranking the stocks, which are members of the Russell 1000 Index on growth factors, including 3, 6 and 12-month price appreciation, sales to price and one-year sales growth, and separately on value factors, including book value to price, cash flow to price and return on assets. The selected stocks are divided into quintiles based on their rankings and the top ranked quintiles receive a higher weight within the Index. The Index is reconstituted and rebalanced quarterly. The Fund’s investment advisor is First Trust Advisors L.P. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By David Fabian]

    Another interesting ETF that treads the line between passive and active investing in the healthcare field is the First Trust Health Care AlphaDEX Fund (FXH). This ETF is a smart beta strategy that screens healthcare stocks for book value, cash flow, and return on assets.

Best Up And Coming Companies To Watch For 2014: Lear Corp (LEA)

Lear Corporation, incorporated in 1987, is a tier 1 supplier to the global automotive industry. The Company supplies its products to automotive manufacturers with automotive seat systems and related components, as well as electrical distribution systems and related components. The Company has two segments: seating and electrical power management systems (EPMS). The seating segment includes seat systems and related components, such as seat frames, recliner mechanisms, seat tracks, seat trim covers, headrests and seat foam. The EPMS segment includes electrical distribution systems for traditional powertrain vehicles, as well as for hybrid and electric vehicles. As of December 31, 2011, it had 20 joint ventures located throughout Asia, as well as five in North America, two in Europe and Africa and one with operations in all three regions.

Seating Segment

The Seating Segment consists of the design, manufacture, assembly and supply of vehicle seating r equirements. It produces seat systems for automobiles and light trucks that are assembled and ready for installation. In all cases, seat systems are designed and engineered for specific vehicle models or platforms. It has developed modular seat architectures for both front and rear seats. It produces components for seat assemblies, such as seat frames, recliner mechanisms, seat tracks, seat trim covers, headrests and seat foam.

The Company competes with Johnson Controls, Inc., Faurecia S.A., Toyota Boshoku Corporation, TS Tech Co., Ltd. and Magna International Inc.

EPMS Segment

The EPMS segment consists of the design, manufacture, assembly and supply of electrical distribution systems and components for traditional powertrain vehicles, as well as for hybrid and electric vehicles. Electrical distribution systems are comprised primarily of wire harness assemblies, terminals and connectors and control modules, including junction boxes and fuse boxes. Wire harness assemblies consist of a collection! of wiring and terminals and connectors that connect all of the various electrical and electronic devices within the vehicle to each other and/or to a power source.

Electrical distribution systems are networks of wiring and associated control devices that route electrical signals and manage electrical power within a vehicle. Wire harness assemblies consist of raw, coiled wire, which is cut to length and terminated. Individual circuits are assembled together on a jig or table, inserted into connectors and wrapped or taped to form wire harness assemblies.

Wireless products send and receive signals using radio frequency technology. The Company’s wireless systems include passive entry systems and dual range/dual function remote keyless entry systems. Passive entry systems allow the vehicle operator to unlock the door without using a physically activating a remote keyless fob. Dual range/dual function remote keyless entry systems allow a single transmi tter to perform multiple functions. The lighting control module integrates electronic control logic and diagnostics with the headlamp switch. Entertainment products include radio amplifiers, sound systems, in-vehicle television tuner modules and floor-, seat- or center console-mounted Media Console with a flip-up screen that provides digital video disc (DVD) and video game viewing for back-seat passengers.

The Company competes with Yazaki Corporation, Sumitomo Corporation, Delphi Automotive PLC, Leoni AG and Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd., TE Connectivity, Ltd., Continental AG, Hella, Inc., Robert Bosch LLC, Magna E-Car Systems GmbH & Co OG and Hitachi, Ltd.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Shares of Lear Corp. (LEA) have returned 66% including reinvested dividends. Has that run made Lear’s stock expensive?

    Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

    That depends on whom you ask. For Deutsche Bank’s Rod Lache it has, despite the solid earnings numbers that have helped drive Lear higher. He writes:

    Lear’s Q3 EPS of $1.45 was meaningfully better than our $1.26 est. and cons. of $1.33. Looking at LEA’s divisions, the Seating margin came in slightly better than we projected, at 5.4% vs. our 5.2% est. but still down vs. 6.1% in Q3’12. EPMS drove most of the upside with an op. margin of 10.9% vs. 7.5% in 3Q12 (including a 50 bp nonrecurring positive). LEA’s overall corp. op. margin came in at 5.4% vs. our 4.7% est. While we were impressed by Lear’s Q3, we are lowering our recommendation to Hold based on valuation.

    Not so fast, says Citigroup’s Itay Michaeli. He writes: 

    In our view, Lear’s valuation remains appealing for two core reasons: (1) Lear sports structurally lower capex/sales vs. peers (< 3% vs. ~4+% for peers). That means that for a given EBITDA multiple, Lear will generate higher unlevered FCF than its peers, all else equal. Our 6.0x ‘14E EBITDA target multiple = ~8% unlevered FCF yield, including restructuring. That Lear’s revenue is outpacing the industry while margins are expanding is evidence that capex is appropriately sized. We estimate Lear’s ‘14 unlevered FCF yield is comfortably above peer average; (2) Lear’s EPMS segment appears to have crossed the threshold to becoming a double-digit EBITDA margin earner with clear secular growth attributes. We think a 7.5x EBITDA multiple is appropriate based on public peers (Delphi (DLPH)) and past connector M&A. 

    Shares of Lear have gained 0.2% to $77.32 at 2:24 p.m. on a day when most auto-part companies are not doing much of anything. Delphi Automotive, the big loser, has dropped 1.1% to $57.39, Johnson Controls