Best US Companies To Watch In Right Now

T. Rowe Price (NASDAQ: TROW  ) isn’t the best-known investment management company in the industry, but with more than half a trillion dollars under management, the company has a long history of serving its mutual-fund customers well. For T. Rowe Price stock, the benefits of the long bull market in stocks and the forward-thinking nature of its no-load fund strategy have helped boost the company’s bottom line, and even as the competitive threat of exchange-traded funds have weighed on mutual-fund managers throughout the industry, recent market turmoil could give the company a chance to regain some of those who fled actively managed funds during the financial crisis. Let’s take a closer look at T. Rowe Price to find out what’s been happening with it lately and how its stock can move higher.

Asset management: a winning business model
Shareholders of T. Rowe Price and its peers have found that investing in asset management companies directly can be an even more lucrative proposition than investing in the funds that they offer. T. Rowe Price stock has seen dramatic long-term growth, with average annual returns exceeding 20% over the past two decades.

Best US Companies To Watch In Right Now: SLM Corporation(SLM)

SLM Corporation, through its subsidiaries, originates, acquires, finances, and services private education loans in the United States. It offers processing capabilities to educational institutions, 529 college-savings plan program management services, and a consumer savings network. The company also provides servicing, loan default aversion, and defaulted loan collection services for loans owned by the Department of Education (ED), Guarantors of FFELP Loans, and other institutions. In addition, SLM Corporation offers campus solutions, which comprise electronic billing, collection, payment and refund, and tuition payment plan administration services. The company promotes its products through the financial aid offices on campuses, as well as through direct marketing to students and their families. SLM Corporation was founded in 1972 and is headquartered in Newark, Delaware.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jim Jubak]

    Yesterday’s villain was a big miss by Citigroup (C) before the open. Today doesn’t look a whole lot better for the sector because, after the close on January 16, American Express (AXP), Capital One (COF), and Sallie Mae (SLM) all reported significant earnings misses. American Express came in with fourth quarter earnings of $1.21 a share versus a consensus projection of $1.25. Capital One reported $1.45 a share instead of $1.57. And student loan company Sallie Mae announced 61 cents a share versus the analyst consensus of 73 cents a share.

  • [By John Kell]

    Sallie Mae sa(SLM)id its fourth-quarter profit slid 22% on bigger losses on derivative and hedging actions, masking lower loan-loss provisions and an increase in loan originations. Core earnings for the latest period missed Wall Street’s expectations, sending shares down 4.2% to $26 premarket.

Best US Companies To Watch In Right Now: Ecolab Inc (ECL)

Ecolab Inc. (Ecolab), incorporated in 1924, develops and markets products and services for the hospitality, foodservice, healthcare and industrial markets. The Company provides cleaning and sanitizing products and programs, as well as pest elimination, equipment maintenance and repair services primarily to customers in the foodservice, food and beverage processing, hospitality, healthcare, government and education, retail, textile care, commercial facilities management and vehicle wash sectors. The Company business segments include United States Cleaning & Sanitizing segment, United States Other Services segment, International segment, Water Services segment, Paper Services segment and Energy Services segment. In April 2013, it acquired Champion Technologies and its related company Corsicana Technologies. In August 2013, Ecolab Inc. sold all the capital equipment design and build business of its Mobotec air emissions control business to The Power Industrial Group.

In March 2011, the Company purchased the assets of O.R. Solutions, Inc. In December 2011, it merged with Nalco Holding Company. In December 2011, the Company acquired Esoform. In December 2011, the Company acquired the InsetCenter pest elimination business in Brazil. In March 2012, it acquired Econ Industria e Comercio de Produtos de Higiene e Limpeza Ltda. On December 1, 2012, the Company’s Vehicle Care division was purchased by a wholly owned subsidiary of Zep Inc.

United States Cleaning & Sanitizing Segment

The United States Cleaning & Sanitizing segment consists of six business units, which provide cleaning and sanitizing products and programs to United States markets. The Institutional Division sells specialized cleaners and sanitizers for washing dishes, glassware, flatware, foodservice utensils and kitchen equipment (warewashing), for on-premise laundries (typically used by hotel and healthcare customers) and for general housekeeping fu nctions, as well as food safety products and equipment, dish! washer racks and related kitchen sundries to the foodservice, lodging, educational and healthcare industries. The Institutional Division also provides pool and spa treatment programs for hospitality and other commercial customers, as well as a range of janitorial cleaning and floor care products and programs to customers in hospitality, health care and commercial facilities. The Institutional Division develops and markets various chemical dispensing device systems, which are made available to customers, to dispense its cleaners and sanitizers. In addition, the Institutional Division markets a lease program consisted of dishwashing machines, detergents, rinse additives and sanitizers, including full machine maintenance.

The Food & Beverage division addresses cleaning and sanitation at the beginning of the food chain to facilitate the processing of products for human consumption. The Division provides detergents, cleaners, sanitizers, lubricants and animal health products, as well as cleaning systems, electronic dispensers and chemical injectors for the application of chemical products, primarily to dairy plants, dairy farms, breweries, soft-drink bottling plants, and meat, poultry and other food processors. The Food & Beverage Division is also a developer and marketer of antimicrobial products used in direct contact with meat, poultry, seafood and produce during processing in order to reduce microbial contamination. The Food & Beverage Division also designs, engineers and installs clean-in-place (CIP) process control systems and facility cleaning systems for its customer base.

Ecolab’s Kay business unit supplies cleaning and sanitizing chemical products and related items primarily to regional, national and international quick service restaurant (QSR) chains and to regional and national food retailers (supermarkets and grocery stores). Its products include specialty and general purpose hard surface cleaners, degreasers , sanitizers, polishes, hand care products and assorted clea! ning tool! s and equipment, which are primarily sold under the Kay and Ecolab brand names. Kay supports its product sales with employee training programs and technical support designed to meet the needs of its customers.

Both Kay’s QSR business and its food retail business utilize a corporate account sales force, which establishes relationships and negotiates contracts with customers at the corporate headquarters and regional office levels and a field sales force, which provides program support at the individual restaurant or store level. Customers in the QSR market segment are primarily supplied through third-party distributors. The Healthcare Division provides infection prevention and other healthcare related offerings to acute care hospitals, surgery centers, dental offices and veterinary clinics. The Healthcare Division’s infection prevention products (hand hygiene, hard surface disinfectants, instrument cleaners, patient drapes, fluid control and equipment drapes) are sold primarily under the Ecolab and Microtek brand names to various departments within the acute care environment (Infection Control, Environmental Services, Central Sterile and Operating Room).

The Textile Care Division provides chemical laundry products and dispensing systems, as well as related programs, to large industrial and commercial laundries. The Textile Care Division’s customers include free-standing laundry plants used by institutions, such as hotels, restaurants and healthcare facilities, as well as industrial and textile rental laundries. Products and programs include laundry cleaning and specialty products, related dispensing equipment, plus water and energy management. The Vehicle Care Division provides vehicle appearance products, which include soaps, polishes, sealants, wheel and tire treatments and air fresheners. Products are sold to vehicle rental, fleet and consumer car wash and detail operations. Brand names utilized by the Vehicle Care Division include Blue Coral, Black Magic and Rain-X.

United States Other Services Segment

The United States Other Services segment consists of two business units: Pest Elimination and Equipment Care. The Pest Elimination Division provides services designed to detect, eliminate and prevent pests, such as rodents and insects, in restaurants, food and beverage processors, educational and healthcare facilities, hotels, quick service restaurant and grocery operations and other institutional and commercial customers. Equipment Care Division provides equipment repair and maintenance services for the commercial food service industry. Repair services are offered for in-warranty repair, acting as the manufacturer’s authorized service agent, as well as after warranty repair. In addition, Equipment Care operates as a parts distributor to repair service companies and end use customers.

International Segment

The Company conducts business in approximately 74 countries outside of the United States t hrough wholly owned subsidiaries or, in the case of Venezuela, through joint ventures with local partners. In other countries, selected products are sold by the Company’s export operations to distributors, agents or licensees. Its International operations are located in Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Canada, with smaller operations in Africa and the Middle East.

Water Services and Paper Services Segments

The Water and Process Services business consist of two segments: Water Services, which focuses on customers across industrial and institutional markets, and Paper Services, serving the pulp and paper industries. It serve customers in the aerospace, chemical, pharmaceutical, mining and primary metals, power, food and beverage, medium and light manufacturing and pulp and papermaking industries as well as institutional clients such as hospitals, universities, commercial buildings and hotels. The Paper Services segment offers a portfolio of p rograms that are used in all principal steps of the papermak! ing proce! ss and across all grades of paper, including graphic grades, board and packaging, and tissue and towel.

It provides water treatment capabilities to a range of industries. The water treatment applications include cooling water applications, boiler water applications, raw water/potable water preparation, wastewater applications and water reuse and recycling. Its cooling water treatment programs are designed to control the main problems associated with cooling water systems, such as corrosion, scale and microbial fouling and contamination in open recirculating, once-through and closed systems. Its three dimensional (3D) TRASAR technology for cooling water is automated system for simultaneous control of corrosion, scale and microbial fouling and contamination. It also provides pulp and papermaking applications.

Energy Services Segment

The Energy Services Division provides on-site, technology-driven solutions to the global drilling, oil and gas production, refining, and petrochemical industries. In addition to recovery, production and process enhancements, it delivers a range of water treatment offerings to refineries and petrochemical plants. The Energy Services Division is divided into an Upstream group composed of its Adomite, Oil Field Chemicals and Enhanced Oil Recovery businesses and a Downstream refinery and petrochemical processing service business.

The Adomite group offers a range of product solutions. It supplies chemicals for the cementing, drilling, fracturing and acidizing phases of well drilling and stimulation. The Oilfield Chemicals business provides solutions to the oil and gas production sector. It focuses in crude oil and natural gas production, pipeline gathering/transmission systems, gas processing, and heavy oil and bitumen upgrading. TIORCO business globally markets custom-engineered chemical solutions. Its services include reservoir screening, target validation, laboratory and reservoir simulation work, secondary flood optimization! , tertiar! y recovery flood design and implementation and when needed, a produced water treatment solution. It provide total water management solutions to customers’ refining and chemical processing needs, including boiler treatment, cooling water treatment and wastewater treatment.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Sue Chang]

    Ecolab Inc. (ECL)  is likely to post earnings of $1.04 a share in the fourth quarter.

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Hospitality, foodservice, and healthcare products company Ecolab (ECL) raised its quarterly dividend 20% to 27.50 cents per share, payable on Jan. 15 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 17.
    ECL Dividend Yield: 1.00%

  • [By Mani]

    Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) has generated consistently strong earnings growth over the past two decades. Its robust and durable competitive advantages derive from its heavy R&D focus, innovative products, and sizable highly-trained sales force.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Another important component of overcrowding is that current volatility tends to be low, and underestimates the amount of risk in the stock, Zlotnikov says. He offers a list of low-beta stocks that screened for overcrowding characteristics. They include Walt Disney (DIS), Ecolab (ECL), Walgreen (WAG), McKesson (MCK) and Madison Square Garden (MSG), among others.

Best US Companies To Watch In Right Now: Ishares Trust Dow Jones United States (IDU)

iShares Dow Jones U.S. Utilities Sector Index Fund (the Fund) seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance of the Dow Jones U.S. Utilities Index (the Index). The Index measures the performance of the utilities sector of the United States equity market. The Index includes companies in industry groups, such as electricity and gas, water and multi-utilities. The Index is a subset of the Dow Jones U.S. Total Market Index and is capitalization weighted. The Index is reconstituted quarterly.

The Fund will concentrate its investments in a particular industry or group of industries to approximately the same extent as the Index is so concentrated. The Fund’s investment advisor is Barclays Global Fund Advisors.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Todd Shriber, ETF Professor]

    Unusual volume (at least 5X ADV): iShares Utilities ETF (NYSE: IDU), First Trust Utilities AlphaDEX Fund (NYSE: FXU), iShares MSCI Germany Small Cap ETF (NYSE: EWGS), iShares MSCI USA ETF (NYSE: EUSA), SPDR S&P Emerging Europe ETF (NYSE: GUR), PowerShares Water Resources (NYSE: PHO) and the Vanguard Industrials ETF (NYSE: VIS).

Best US Companies To Watch In Right Now: LKA Gold Inc (LKAI)

LKA Gold Inc, formerly LKA International, Inc., incorporated on March 16, 1988, owns certain property interests, including mining claims, water rights, buildings, fixtures, improvements, equipment, and permits situated near Lake City, Colorado. The Company’s the Lake City, Colorado Properties include the Ute-Ule silver mine and milling facility and the Golden Wonder gold mine (respectively, the Ute-Ule Property and the Golden Wonder Property or, collectively, the Properties). The Company owns a 100% interest in the Ute-Ule and Golden Wonder Properties. The Properties consist of certain mining claims and a milling facility located in Hinsdale County, Colorado. As of December 31, 2011, LKA was engaged in exploration and limited production at the Golden Wonder mine.

The Ute-Ule Property consists of 23 patented mining claims located approximately four miles west of Lake City, Colorado. A 100 ton-per-day flotation mill, including various equipment and support fac ilities, exists on the Ute-Ule Property. The Golden Wonder, near Lake City, Colorado, is located in the historic Colorado Mineral Belt.The Golden Wonder Property consists of three patented and 25 unpatented mining claims located approximately 2- 1/2 miles south of Lake City, Colorado.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    Small cap mining stocks US Tungsten Corp (OTCMKTS: USTU) and LKA Gold Inc (OTCMKTS: LKAI) along with biotech Entest BioMedical Inc (OTCMKTS: ENTB) have been getting some attention lately in various investment newsletters with at least one of these stocks being the subject of paid promotions while another could soon be the subject of an investor relations campaign. But will any of these small cap stocks be winners for investors or traders? Here is a quick reality check:

Best US Companies To Watch In Right Now: American International Group Inc.(AIG)

American International Group, Inc. is an international insurance organization. The company operates property and casualty insurance networks worldwide and conducts activities in the U.S. life insurance and retirement services industry. It also involves in commercial aircraft leasing and residential mortgage guaranty insurance businesses. The company, through Chartis Inc., provides various property and casualty insurance products under commercial and consumer categories worldwide. These products include surplus lines, executive liability/directors? and officers? liability, employment practices, excess casualty, and travel/assistance lines. American International Group, through SunAmerica Financial Group, offers a suite of life insurance and retirement products and services, including term life, universal life, accident and health, fixed and variable deferred annuities, fixed payout annuities, mutual funds, and financial planning products and services to individuals and grou ps in the United States. The company, through International Lease Finance Corporation, operates as an aircraft lessor that acquires commercial jet aircraft from various manufacturers and other parties, and leases those aircraft to airlines worldwide. It also sells aircraft from its fleet to other leasing companies, financial services companies, and airlines, as well as provides management services to third-party owners of aircraft portfolios. American International Group, through United Guaranty Corporation, issues residential mortgage guaranty insurance that covers mortgage lenders from the first loss for credit defaults on high loan-to-value conventional first-lien mortgages for the purchase or refinance of one- to four-family residences in the U.S. and internationally. The company was founded in 1967 and is based in New York, New York.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By George Putnam]

    For example, American International Group (AIG), one of the poster children for the 2008 financial collapse, accounts for roughly 40% of the fund’s holdings. Troubled government-sponsored mortgage lender Fannie Mae (FNMA) is another big holding.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    American International Group (AIG) has made oodles of progress since its bad pre-financial-crisis bets nearly took it down. If nothing else, American International Group’s 49% annualized return during the past five years is a sign of that progress.

    Bloomberg News

    Just don’t expect more of the same, say Deutsche Bank’s Joshua Shanker and Phil Stefano who downgraded American International Group. They explain why:

    After making significant improvements in its core operations, elevated expenses continue to impose a ceiling on the profitability of [American International Group’s] the property and casualty business. Management indicates that Fuji unit integration costs will keep expenses high through 2014, which suggests that core ROE may stagnate at around 6% for the foreseeable future. While we believe cash flow will ultimately exceed core and GAAP EPS, we believe incremental buyers will need to see additional combined ratio improvement to be motivated to purchase [American International Group] stock.

    Shanker and Stefano expect shares of American International Group to remain range bound near $50 in the short-term.

    Shares of American International Group have dropped 1.7% to $49.67 at 1:19 p.m. today, while American Financial Group (AFG) has, dropped 0.2% to $57.23, HCC Insurance (HCC) is little changed at $45.12, Travelers (TRV) has dipped 0.1% to $83.52 and Chubb (CB) is off 0.1% at $86.58.