Hot Defensive Companies To Own For 2015


SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Among the companies whose shares are expected to see active trade in Thursday’s session are Cisco Systems Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and J.C. Penney Co.

After Wednesday’s closing bell, Cisco (CSCO)  said adjusted profit came in at 51 cents a share, ahead of 48 cents a share forecast by analysts, and sales also topped forecasts. Shares surged 7% after hours after Cisco execs gave a revenue projection that was better than the Street expected.


Getty Images Wal-Mart stores reports earnings on Thursday.

Shares of Jack in the Box Inc. (JACK)  fell 1% in Wednesday’s extended trading after the fast food chain said its second-quarter revenue dropped. However, its quarterly profit rose 19% from a year earlier.

Hot Defensive Companies To Own For 2015: Synergetics USA Inc.(SURG)


Synergetics USA, Inc., a medical device company, engages in the design, manufacture, and marketing of microsurgical instruments and consumables primarily for ophthalmology and neurosurgery markets in the United States and internationally. The company?s product lines focus upon precision engineered, microsurgical, handheld devices, and the microscopic delivery of laser energy, ultrasound, electrosurgery, aspiration, illumination and irrigation that are delivered in multiple combinations. It offers retinal surgical items, including handheld disposable and reusable forceps and scissors, fiberoptics for illumination and photocoagulation, cannulas, scrapers, and other reusable and disposable surgical devices. The company also provides bipolar electrosurgical generators; lesion generators used for minimally invasive pain treatment; and directional laser probes, as well as offers gauge instrumentation to the vitreoretinal surgical market. It sells its products through direct sale s employees, distributors, and independent sales representatives. The company was founded in 1991 and is headquartered in O?Fallon, Missouri.


Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Synergetics USA (NASDAQ: SURG) is projected to post its Q4 earnings at $0.03 per share on revenue of $17.32 million.

    Linear Technology (NASDAQ: LLTC) is expected to post its Q1 earnings at $0.54 per share on revenue of $372.59 million.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Synergetics USA (SURG) has dropped 4.8% to $4.75 after the medical device company said it earned 6 cents a share, in line with analyst forecasts.

    Team Inc. (TISI) has dropped 11% after the company missed its earnings forecast and lowered guidance.

Hot Defensive Companies To Own For 2015: AMERIPRISE FINANCIAL SERVICES INC. (AMP)


Ameriprise Financial Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides a range of financial products and services in the United States and internationally. The company’s Advice and Wealth Management segment offers financial planning and advice, as well as brokerage and banking services primarily to retail clients through its financial advisors. The Asset Management segment provides investment advice and investment products to retail and institutional clients. The Annuities segment offers variable and fixed annuity products to retail customers through affiliated and unaffiliated advisors, and financial institutions. The Protection segment provides various protection products through financial advisors to address the protection and risk management needs of retail clients, including life, disability income, and property-casualty insurance. The company was formerly known as American Express Financial Corporation and changed its name to Ameriprise Financial, Inc. in September 2005. Ame riprise Financial Inc. was founded in 1894 and is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Shanker and Stefano also note that American International Group isn’t the only insurance stock getting pounded recently, as Ameriprise Financial (AMP), MetLife (MET) and Prudential Financial (PRU) have also been dumped by investors recently. They explain why:

  • [By Dimitra DeFotis]

    Apartment Invest & Management (AIV)
    Ameriprise (AMP)
    Edison International (EIX)
    Host Hotels & Resorts (HST)
    Kimco Realty (KIM)
    Kroger (KR)
    Lincoln National (LNC)
    Newfield Exploration (NFX)
    Republic Services (RSG)
    UnitedHealth (UNH)
    Verizon (VZ)
    Wells Fargo (WFC)
    WellPoint (WLP)
    Wyndham Worldwide (WYN)
    Xcel Energy Utilities (XEL)

  • [By WWW.DAILYFINANCE.COM]

    Karen Roach/Shutterstock When singles are looking for love, they typically don’t start by checking out a potential mate’s credit score. But maybe they should. A recent survey of 1,010 married people by Experian (EXPGY) Consumer Services division found that 95 percent of those polled rate financial responsibility as an important attribute in a spouse. Compare that to physical attractiveness — often the first criterion we use to judge potential mates — which was deemed an important trait for compatibility by just 86 percent. (Personal compatibility led the list at 98 percent.) Financial communication can be an important barometer of how successful a relationship will be, although women place more of a premium on it than men. Among those surveyed, 73 percent of women and 60 percent of men said that being open about personal finances and credit makes a person more attractive as a spouse. On the flip side, 59 percent of women and 44 percent of men say that a partner who avoids talking about those things is less attractive as a spouse. What’s Your Number? “Financial debt and a person’s credit score are so important to disclose before you tie the proverbial knot,” says Les Parrott, co-author with his wife, Leslie, of “Making Happy” and “The Good Fight.” “We can tell you about lots of disastrous money surprises when a person isn’t up front about this.” It’s important to discuss all aspects of your individual and shared financial situations regularly with your significant other, but because your credit score will impact your ability to make major purchases like a home or a car, it’s especially important to determine whether a low credit score tied to one or both of you may affect your long-term goals, says Suzanna de Baca, vice president of wealth strategies at Ameriprise Financial (AMP). “An important step toward having a successful relationship is being willing to share your feelings about money with your partner. This includes being honest about past and p

  • [By Zacks]

    Currently, shares of T. Rowe Price carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Among other investment managers, Invesco Ltd. (NYSE: IVZ) is scheduled to report December quarter end results on Jan 30, Legg Mason Inc. (NYSE: LM) on Jan 31 and Ameriprise Financial, Inc. (NYSE: AMP) on Feb 4.

Hot Defensive Companies To Own For 2015: NL Industries Inc (NL)

NL Industries, Inc. (NL) is a holding company. The Company operates in the component products industry through NL’s majority-owned subsidiary, CompX International Inc. The Company operates in the chemicals industry through its non-controlling interest in Kronos Worldwide, Inc. As of December 31, 2011, it owned 87% interest in CompX International Inc and 30% interest in Kronos Worldwide, Inc. The Company also owns 100% of EWI RE, Inc., an insurance brokerage and risk management services company. In July of 2011, CompX completed the acquisition of an ergonomic component products business.


Component Products-Compx International Inc.

Through the Company’s subsidiary, CompX, it manufactures components that are sold to a variety of industries including office furniture, recreational transportation (including boats), mailboxes, toolboxes, home appliances, banking equipment, vending equipment and computer-related equipment. CompX’s Security Products business, with one manufacturing facility in South Carolina and one in Illinois shared with the Marine Components business, manufactures mechanical and electronic cabinet locks and other locking mechanisms used in a variety of applications including ignition systems, mailboxes, file cabinets, desk drawers, tool storage cabinets, vending and gaming machines, high security medical cabinetry, electrical circuit panels, storage compartments and gas station security. These products include disc tumbler locks, pin tumbler locking mechanisms, and eLock and Stealthlock electronic locks.


CompX’s Furniture Components business, with facilities in Canada and Taiwan, manufactures a line of ball bearing slides and computer keyboard, monitor and central processing unit (CPU) support systems for use in applications, such as file cabinets, desks, computer server racks, wall mounted computer applications, home appliances, tool storage cabinets, imaging equipment, automated tell er machines and other applications. These products include I! ntegrated Slide Lock, Ball Lock, Self-Closing Slide, articulating computer keyboard support arms along with the LeverLock keyboard arm, CPU storage devices, flat panel computer monitor support systems and keyboard, monitor and CPU wall mounts.


CompX’s Marine Components business, with a facility in Wisconsin and a facility shared with the Security Products business in Illinois, manufactures and distributes stainless steel exhaust components, gauges, throttle controls, hardware and accessories primarily for performance and ski/wakeboard boats. These products include original equipment and aftermarket stainless steel exhaust headers, exhaust pipes, mufflers and other exhaust components; gauges, such as global positioning system (GPS) speedometers and tachometers; controls, throttles, steering wheels and other billet aluminum accessories, and dash panels, light emitting diode (LED) lighting, rigging and other accessories. CompX operated five manufacturing facilit ies, as of December 31, 2011, including one facility in Grayslake, Illinois that housed operations relating to Security Products and Marine Components.


Chemicals-Kronos Worldwide, Inc.

Kronos is a global producer and marketer of titanium dioxide pigments (TiO2), a base industrial product used in a range of applications. Kronos, along with its distributors and agents, sells and provides technical services for NL’s products to over 4,000 customers in approximately 100 countries with the majority of sales in Europe and North America. TiO2 is a white inorganic pigment used in a range of products. Kronos offers customers a portfolio of products that include over 40 different TiO2 pigment grades. Kronos’ major customers include domestic and international paint, plastics, decorative laminate and paper manufacturers. Kronos ships TiO2 to customers in either a powder or slurry form via rail, truck or ocean carrier. Kronos and its agents and distributors pr imarily sell and provide technical services for Kronos’ pr! oducts in! three markets: coatings, plastics and paper.


Kronos’ TiO2 is also found in food products, such as candy and confectionaries and in pet foods. In pharmaceuticals, TiO2 is used commonly as a colorant in pill and capsule coatings, as well as in liquid medicines. Kronos owns and operates two ilmenite mines in Norway. Kronos manufactures and sells iron-based chemicals, which are co-products and processed co-products of the sulfate and chloride process TiO2 pigment production. These co-product chemicals are marketed through Kronos’ Ecochem division and are primarily used as treatment and conditioning agents for industrial effluents and municipal wastewater, as well as for the manufacture of iron pigments, cement and agricultural products. Kronos manufactures and sells titanium oxychloride and titanyl sulfate. Kronos produces TiO2 in two crystalline forms: rutile and anatase. Rutile TiO2 is manufactured using both a chloride production process and a sulfate produc tion process, whereas anatase TiO2 is only produced using a sulfate production process.


The chloride process is a continuous process, in which chlorine is used to extract rutile TiO2. The sulfate process is a batch process, in which sulfuric acid is used to extract the TiO2 from ilmenite or titanium slag. Kronos operates four TiO2 plants in Europe, which includes one in each of Leverkusen, Germany; Nordenham, Germany; Langerbrugge, Belgium, and Fredrikstad, Norway. In North America, Kronos has a TiO2 plant in Varennes, Quebec, Canada. Kronos produced 550,000 metric tons of TiO, during the year ended December 31, 2011. Kronos and a subsidiary of Huntsman Corporation each hold a 50% interest in a manufacturing joint venture, Louisiana Pigment Company, L.P. (LPC). LPC owns and operates a chloride process TiO2 facility located in Lake Charles, Louisiana.


The Company competes with E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., National Titanium Dioxide Company Ltd., Hu ntsman Corporation, Tronox Incorporated and Sachtleben Chemi! e GmbH. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By John Udovich]

    Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons died over the weekend with investors sending shares of some of his publically traded companies like Valhi, Inc (NYSE: VHI), Kronos Worldwide, Inc (NYSE: KRO), NL Industries, Inc (NYSE: NL) and CompX International Inc (NYSEMKT: CIX)to higher levels as they anticipate changes – such as asset sales or spin offs. Harold Simmons was the embodiment of the American dream because he was born during the depths of the Great Depression in Golden, Texas to schoolteacher parents and he spent his early years living without indoor plumbing or electricity. However and by recognizing underpriced assets and through the use of massive amounts of leverage (e.g. junk bonds), he built an empire and ranked #40 on the 2013 Forbes 400 with a fortune estimated to be worth some $10 billion.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Typically, when the chairman of a company dies, its shares drop. That hasn’t been the case for Valhi (VHI), Kronos Worldwide (KRO) and NL Industries (NL), which have all advanced today after Harold Simmons passed away.

Hot Defensive Companies To Own For 2015: Micrel Incorporated(MCRL)

Micrel Incorporated, doing business as Micrel Semiconductor, designs, develops, manufactures, and markets high-performance analog power, mixed-signal, and digital integrated circuits (ICs) primarily in North America, Europe, and Asia. It offers power management products, including cloud, single-board, and enterprise servers; network switches and routers; storage area networks; and wireless base stations for the networking and communications infrastructure markets. The company also provides power management standard products for industrial, consumer, defense, and automotive electronics markets. In addition, it manufactures custom analog and mixed-signal circuits; and provides wafer foundry services for the customers who produce electronic systems for communications, consumer, and military applications. Further, the company offers general linear parts; power analog circuits; high speed physical media devices and interface ICs; and Ethernet products, which comprise physical l ayer transceivers, media access controllers, switches, and system-on-chip devices. Additionally, it provides radio frequency (RF) data communications products, including QwikRadio family of RF receivers and transmitters, which include garage door openers, lighting and fan controls, automotive keyless entry, and remote controls; and RadioWire transceivers for applications, such as remote metering, security systems, and factory automation. The company?s products address a range of end markets, including cellular handsets, portable computing, enterprise and home networking, wide area and metropolitan area networks, digital televisions, and industrial equipment. Micrel Incorporated sells its products through a network of independent sales representatives, independent distributors, and stocking representative firms, as well as through a direct sales staff. The company was founded in 1978 and is based in San Jose, California.


Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Evan Niu, CFA]

    What: Shares of Micrel (NASDAQ: MCRL  ) jumped temporarily this morning, up by as much as 10% before giving back nearly all of those gains, following first-quarter earnings.

  • [By gurujx]

    Micrel (MCRL): CFO/VP Finance/HR Ray Wallin Sold 59,701 Shares

    CFO/VP Finance/HR of Micrel, Inc. (MCRL) Ray Wallin sold 59,701 shares during the past week at an average price of $9.56.

Hot Defensive Companies To Own For 2015: United Dominion Realty Trust Inc. (UDR)


UDR, Inc. is an independent real estate investment trust. The firm invests in the real estate markets of the United States. It owns, operates, acquires, renovates, develops, redevelops, and manages multifamily apartment communities. The firm was previously known as United Dominion Realty Trust, Inc. UDR, Inc. was founded in 1972 and is headquartered in Denver, Colorado with additional offices in Dallas, Texas; Houston, Texas; Newport Beach, California; Orlando, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; Santa Clara, California; Tampa, Florida; and Washington DC, Virginia.


Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Reuben Brewer]

    Change doesn’t always work out so well
    The thing is, income investors don’t always make out so well when big changes are taking place. For example, UDR (NYSE: UDR  ) once bought fixer-uppers and upgraded them as a means to increase rents. That model worked well for the company for many years.

  • [By The Part-time Investor]

    The following stocks met the criteria in January of 2008 and were put into the initial portfolio:

    Abbot Labs (ABT)Advanced data processing (ADP)Associated Banc-Corp (ASBC)Bank of America (BAC)BB&T Corp. (BBT)Bemis Company (BMS)Anheuser Busch (BUD)The Chubb Corporation (CB)Clorox (CLX)Comerica Inc. (CMA)Diebold Inc. (DBD)Emerson Electronics (EMR)First Dollar Corp. (FDO)First Third BanCorp. (FITB)Gannett Co, Inc. (GCI)General Electric (GE)Hershey (HSY)Illinois Tools Works (ITW)Johnson and Johnson (JNJ)Leggett and Platt (LEG)Eli Lilly (LLY)La-Z-Boy (LZB)McDonald’s (MCD)Marsh and Ilsley (MI)M&T Bancorp (MTB)PepsiCo (PEP)Pfizer (PFE)Procter & Gamble (PG)Pentair Ltd. (PNR)Regions Financial Corp. (RF)Rohm and Haas (ROH)RPM International (RPM)Sherwin Williams (SHW)Sysco Corp. (SYY)UDR Inc. (UDR)


    Historical quotes were taken from Yahoo Finance. $10,000 was put into each position, to the nearest whole share, so a total of $349,262.89 was invested. From 1/15/08 throu gh 5/16/13 all dividends were reinvested back into the stock that paid them. If a dividend cut was announced, that stock was sold on the ex-div date of the new, lower dividend.

Hot Defensive Companies To Own For 2015: Attitude Drinks Inc (ATTD)

Attitude Drinks Incorporated (Attitude), incorporated on May 10, 1988, is a brand-development company. The Company focuses on the non-alcoholic single serving beverage business, developing and marketing of milk based products in two segments: sports recovery and functional dairy. The Company does not directly manufacture its products but instead outsources the manufacturing process to third party packers.


Attitude has developed its second product, which is branded as Phase III Recovery is a milk-based protein drink which is available in chocolate and vanilla flavors. The Company’s co-packer for its dairy based product is O-AT-KA Milk Products Cooperative, Inc. in Batavia, New York. This product contains 35 grams of protein that are inherent in filtered milk. The product is packaged as a retort-processed shelf stable dairy-based 100% milk-based sports recovery drink in both chocolate and vanilla flavors.

The Company competes with The Coca-Cola C ompany and Pepsico Inc.


Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    Small cap stocks Attitude Drinks Inc (OTCMKTS: ATTD), Axiologix, Inc (OTCMKTS: AXLX) and Unisource Corporation (OTCMKTS: USRC) have all been getting some attention lately in investment emails or investor alerts thanks in part to paid promotions. And while there is nothing wrong with properly disclosed paid promotions or investor relations activity, such activity can backfire on unwary investors or traders. With that in mind, here is a closer look at all three small cap stocks to help you decide whether they are truly hot or not:

Hot Defensive Companies To Own For 2015: Sutor Technology Group Ltd (SUTR)


Sutor Technology Group Limited, incorporated on May 1, 1997, manufacture fine finished steel products. The Company utilizes a range of processes and technological methodologies to converts steel manufactured by third parties into fine finished steel products. The Company’s product offerings are focused on finished steel products, specifically hot-dip galvanized steel (HDG steel), and pre-painted galvanized steel, or PPGI. In addition, the Company produces acid pickled steel (AP steel), and cold-rolled steel. The Company’s three operating segments are categorized according to the Company’s three operating subsidiaries, which include Changshu Huaye, which manufactures and sells HDG steel and PPGI products; Jiangsu Cold-Rolled, which manufactures and sells HDG steel, AP steel and cold-rolled steel, and Ningbo Zhehua, which manufactures and sells welded steel pipe products.


The Company sells its products to customers who operate primarily in the solar energy, appl iances, automobile, construction, infrastructure, medical equipment and water resource industries. The Company’s primary export markets are Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and South America. The Company’s manufacturing facilities, located in Changshu, China, have three HDG steel production lines, one PPGI production line, one AP steel production line and one cold-rolled steel line. The Company’s products include HDG steel, PPGI, AP steel, cold-rolled steel and welded steel pipe products. The Company’s HDG steel and PPGI products are primarily manufactured by Changshu Huaye and the Company’s AP steel and cold-rolled steel products are primarily manufactured by Jiangsu Cold-Rolled.


HDG Steel

The Company manufactures corrosion-resistant and zinc-coated HDG steel in different dimensions and using different materials and specifications by its customers. HDG steel products are manufactured from steel substrate of cold-rolled or hot-rolled pickled coils by applying zinc to the surface of the material to enhance its! corrosion protection. HDG steel products are principally used in the electrical household appliances and construction markets. Sales of HDG steel products amounted to approximately 451,269 MT in fiscal year 2012, representing approximately 63.8% of the Company’s total revenue. The Company’s HDG steel products are manufactured by Changshu Huaye and Jiangsu Cold-Rolled. Changshu Huaye produces only HDG of cold-rolled steel.


PPGI Products

PPGI products are made to order based on customer specifications. The Company’s PPGI products’ specification generally ranges from 700mm to 1250mm in width and from 0.2mm to 1.2mm in thickness. The Company’s PPGI products are used in solar energy, appliances and construction materials. The Company produces its PPGI by color-coating on HDG of cold-rolled steel and then coating them in various colors according to customer requirements. The Company’s PPGI production line is equipped with the twice baking and coating t echnology, which together with indirect heating, enhances the color coated layers adhesion to the galvanized zinc layer.


AP Steel

Acid pickling is a process that removes scales and oxides from the steel surface by pickling, cold rolling and annealing. AP steel products are used as a raw material for cold-rolled steel strip, HDG steel, as well as components of automobile and manufacturing equipment. AP steel products come in several different dimensions and using different materials and different specifications.

Full-Hard, Cold-rolled Steel Products

Full-hard cold-rolled steel strips are treated in an annealing process and are used to produce HDG of cold-rolled steel. The Company produces full-hard cold-rolled steel strips through a reverse cold rolling mill.


Welded Steel Pipe Products

The Company’s subsidiary Ningbo Zhehua has one advanced Joint Center of Excellence (JCOE) production line for larg e-diameter, double-side, submerged-arc welded steel pipes, t! hree US L! incoln production lines for spiral seam, double-side, submerged-arc welded steel pipes, and two REF production lines for roll-bending, double-side, submerged-arc welded steel pipes. Ningbo Zhehua is specialized in manufacturing large-diameter, double-side, submerged-arc welded steel pipes and spiral seam steel pipes. The finished products are used for oil and gas transmission, municipal water supply projects, sewage treatment projects, and piling.


The Company competes with ArcelorMittal and Posco Steel.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By James E. Brumley]

    To tell the truth, I had almost forgotten about Sutor Technology Group Ltd. (NASDAQ:SUTR) after posting my “right stock, wrong time” speech back on the 9th. While I loved the way SUTR had broken past a horizontal ceiling at $1.83 after several weeks’ worth of trying, the bullish move itself was a little overheated and looked like it was setting up a near-term pullback. Only after that dip would the stock be a healthy buy again.

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Sutor Technology Group (NASDAQ: SUTR) is projected to report its Q4 earnings at $0.10 per share on revenue of $152.96 million.

    Le Gaga Holdings (NASDAQ: GAGA) is estimated to report its Q4 earnings.

Hot Defensive Companies To Own For 2015: Vivendi SA (VIVHY.PK)

Vivendi SA (Vivendi), incorporated on December 18, 1987, is a communications and entertainment company. As of December 31, 2009, the Company had six business segments: Activision Blizzard, Universal Music Group, SFR, Maroc Telecom Group, GVT (Holding) S.A. (GVT) and Canal+ Group. Activision Blizzard develops, publishes and distributes interactive entertainment software, online or on other media (such as console and personal computer (PC)). Universal Music Group is engaged in the sale of recorded music (physical and digital media), exploitation of music publishing rights, as well as artist services and merchandising. SFR is engaged in the phone services (mobile, broadband Internet and fixed) in France. Maroc Telecom Group is a telecommunication operator (mobile, fixed and Internet) in Africa, principally in Morocco, as well as in Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Gabon and Mali. GVT is a Brazilian fixed and broadband operator. Canal+ Group is engaged in publishing and distribution of pay-television mainly in France, in both analog and digital (terrestrially, via satellite or ADSL), as well as film production in Europe. In July 2013, Vivendi SA and Universal Music Group announced the completion of the sale of Parlophone Label Group to Warner Music Group Corp.


On November 13, 2009, Vivendi acquired an aggregate of 29.9% of GVT’s outstanding voting shares from Swarth Investments LLC, Swarth Investments Holdings LLC and Global Village Telecom (Holland) BV. In addition, Vivendi acquired from third parties an additional 8% interest in GVT’s outstanding shares. On December 28, 2009, Canal+ Group, Vivendi’s subsidiary, acquired TF1’s 9.9% interest in the capital of Canal+ France. On July 31, 2009, Maroc Telecom acquired 51% controlling interest in Sotelma. On August 27, 2009, CID, a company 40% owned by SFR and 60% by other financial investors, acquired the 62% interest in 5 sur 5.


Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Mike Arnold]

    I normally don’t look at charts much, but comparing Orange to its competitors in the French telecommunications market is quite fascinating. As one can see, incumbents Bouygues (BOUYF.PK) and Vivendi (VIVHY.PK) (owner of SFR) saw similar price declines. The market, on the other hand, rapidly bid up the price of new entrant Iliad SA (ILIAF.PK), as a result of forecasts for Iliad to capture significant mobile market share (which it did, around 10%). The wide divergence in price relative to changes in underlying value favor going long the incumbents, including Orange. Because this time it’s different.

  • [By Eric Rodawig]

    Activision Blizzard (ATVI) is the world’s largest and most successful video game developer, and is majority owned (61%) by French telecom and media conglomerate Vivendi (VIVHY.PK). Vivendi has been undergoing a massive strategic review with the intent to reduce debt and unlock the value of its assets that has fueled speculation surrounding ATVI. In conjunction with this, ATVI CFO Dennis Durkin announced on the 4Q12 earnings call

Hot Defensive Companies To Own For 2015: Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKA)

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (Berkshire) is a holding company owning subsidiaries engaged in a number of diverse business activities. The Company is engaged in insurance businesses conducted on both a primary basis and a reinsurance basis. Berkshire also owns and operates a number of other businesses engaged in a variety of activities. On December 30, 2011, Medical Protective Corporation (MedPro) completed the acquisition of 100% of the Princeton Insurance Company, a professional liability insurer for healthcare providers based in Princeton, New Jersey. During the year ended December 31, 2011, Acme Building Brands (Acme) acquired the assets of Jenkins Brick Company, the brick manufacturer in Alabama. In September 2011, Berkshire acquired The Lubrizol Corporation (Lubrizol). In June 2011, the Company acquired Wesco Financial Corporation. In June 2012, Media General, Inc. sold 63 daily and weekly newspapers to World Media Enterprises, Inc., a subsidiary of Berkshire. In July 2012 , Berkshire’s The Lubrizol Corporation acquired Lipotec SA.


Insurance and Reinsurance Businesses

Berkshire’s insurance and reinsurance business activities are conducted through numerous domestic and foreign-based insurance entities. Berkshire’s insurance businesses provide insurance and reinsurance of property and casualty risks world-wide and also reinsure life, accident and health risks world-wide. Berkshire’s insurance underwriting operations are consisted of the sub-groups, including GEICO and its subsidiaries, General Re and its subsidiaries, Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance Group and Berkshire Hathaway Primary Group. GEICO insurance subsidiaries include Government Employees Insurance Company, GEICO General Insurance Company, GEICO Indemnity Company and GEICO Casualty Company. These companies primarily offers private passenger automobile insurance to individuals in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, GEICO insures mo torcycles, all-terrain vehicles, recreational vehicles and s! mall commercial fleets and acts as an agent for other insurers who offer homeowners, boat and life insurance to individuals. GEICO markets its policies primarily through direct response methods in which applications for insurance are submitted directly to the companies through the Internet or by telephone.


General Re Corporation (General Re) is the holding company of General Reinsurance Corporation (GRC) and its subsidiaries and affiliates. GRC’s subsidiaries include General Reinsurance AG, a international reinsurer based in Germany. General Re subsidiaries conduct business activities globally in 51 cities and provide insurance and reinsurance coverages throughout the world. General Re provides property/casualty insurance and reinsurance, life/health reinsurance and other reinsurance intermediary and risk management, underwriting management and investment management services.


Property/Casualty Reinsurance

General Re’s property/casu alty reinsurance business in North America is conducted through GRC. Property/casualty operations in North America are also conducted through 16 branch offices in the United States and Canada. Reinsurance activities are marketed directly to clients without involving a broker or intermediary. General Re’s property/casualty business in North America also includes specialty insurers (primarily the General Star and Genesis companies domiciled in Connecticut and Ohio). These specialty insurers underwrite primarily liability and workers’ compensation coverages on an excess and surplus basis and excess insurance for self-insured programs. General Re’s international property/casualty reinsurance business operations are conducted through internationally-based subsidiaries on a direct basis (through General Reinsurance AG, as well as several other General Re subsidiaries in 25 countries) and through brokers (primarily through Faraday, which owns the managing agent of Syndicate 4 35 at Lloyd’s of London and provides capacity and particip! ates in 1! 00% of the results of Syndicate 435).


Life/Health Reinsurance

General Re’s North American and international life, health, long-term care and disability reinsurance coverages are written on an individual and group basis. Most of this business is written on a proportional treaty basis, with the exception of the United States group health and disability business which is predominately written on an excess treaty basis. Lesser amounts of life and disability business are written on a facultative basis. The life/health business is marketed on a direct basis. The Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance Group (BHRG) operates from offices located in Stamford, Connecticut. Business activities are conducted through a group of subsidiary companies, led by National Indemnity Company (NICO) and Columbia Insurance Company (Columbia). BHRG provides principally excess and quota-share reinsurance to other property and casualty insurers and reinsurers. BHRG’s underwriting activities also include life reinsurance and life annuity business written through Berkshire Hathaway Life Insurance Company of Nebraska and financial guaranty insurance written through Berkshire Hathaway Assurance Corporation.


BHRG writes catastrophe excess-of-loss treaty reinsurance contracts. BHRG also writes individual policies for primarily large or otherwise unusual discrete risks on both an excess direct and facultative reinsurance basis, referred to as individual risk, which includes policies covering terrorism, natural catastrophe and aviation risks. A catastrophe excess policy provides protection to the counterparty from the accumulation of primarily property losses arising from a single loss event or series of related events. Catastrophe and individual risk policies may provide amounts of indemnification per contract and a single loss event may produce losses under a number of contracts. BHRG also underwrites traditional non-catastrophe insurance and reinsurance coverages, referred to as multi-line property/c! asualty b! usiness.


The Berkshire Hathaway Primary Group is a collection of primary insurance operations that provide a variety of insurance coverages to insureds located principally in the United States. NICO and certain affiliates underwrite motor vehicle and general liability insurance to commercial enterprises on both an admitted and excess and surplus basis. This business is written nationwide primarily through insurance agents and brokers and is based in Omaha, Nebraska. U.S. Investment Corporation (USIC), through its three subsidiaries led by United States Liability Insurance Company, is a specialty insurer that underwrites commercial, professional and personal lines of insurance on an admitted and excess and surplus basis. Policies are marketed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia through wholesale and retail insurance agents. USIC companies underwrite and market 109 distinct specialty property and casualty insurance products. Medical Protective Corporatio n (MedPro) is based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Through its subsidiary, the Medical Protective Company, MedPro is engaged in primary medical professional liability coverage and risk solutions to physicians, dentists, other healthcare providers and healthcare facilities.


Railroad Business

Through BNSF Railway, BNSF operates a railroad network in North America with approximately 32,000 route miles of track (excluding multiple main tracks, yard tracks and sidings) in 28 states and two Canadian provinces as of December 31, 2011. BNSF owns approximately 23,000 route miles, including easements, and operates on approximately 9,000 route miles of trackage rights that permit BNSF to operate its trains with its crews over other railroads’ tracks. As of December 31, 2011, the total BNSF Railway system, including single and multiple main tracks, yard tracks and sidings, consisted of approximately 50,000 operated miles of track, all of which are owned by or held under easement by BNSF except for approximately 10,000 route! miles op! erated under trackage rights.


BNSF is based in Fort Worth, Texas, and through BNSF Railway Company operates railroad systems in North America. In serving the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, Western, Southwestern and Southeastern regions and ports of the country, BNSF transports a range of products and commodities derived from manufacturing, agricultural and natural resource industries. In serving the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, Western, Southwestern and Southeastern regions and ports of the country, BNSF transports a range of products and commodities derived from manufacturing, agricultural and natural resource industries. Over half of the freight revenues of BNSF are covered by contractual agreements of varying durations. BNSF’s primary routes, including trackage rights, allow it to access cities and ports in the western and southern United States as well as parts of Canada and Mexico. In addition to cities and ports, BNSF efficiently serves many smaller market s by working closely with approximately 200 shortline partners. BNSF has also entered into marketing agreements with other rail carriers, expanding the marketing reach for each railroad and their customers.


Utilities and Energy Businesses

MidAmerican’s businesses are managed as separate operating units. MidAmerican’s domestic regulated energy interests are comprised of two regulated utility companies serving more than three million retail customers and two interstate natural gas pipeline companies with approximately 16,600 miles of pipeline and a design capacity of approximately 7.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. Its United Kingdom electricity distribution subsidiaries serve about 3.9 million electricity end-users. In addition, MidAmerican’s interests include a diversified portfolio of domestic independent power projects, a hydroelectric facility in the Philippines and residential real estate brokerage firm in the United States.


PacifiCorp is a regulated electric utility compa! ny headqu! artered in Oregon, serving regulated retail electric customers in portions of Utah, Oregon, Wyoming, Washington, Idaho and California. The combined service territory’s diverse regional economy ranges from rural, agricultural and mining areas to urban, manufacturing and government service centers. As a vertically integrated electric utility, PacifiCorp owns approximately 10,600 net megawatts of generation capacity. MidAmerican Energy Company (MEC) is a regulated electric and natural gas utility company headquartered in Iowa, serving regulated retail electric and natural gas customers primarily in Iowa and also in portions of Illinois, South Dakota and Nebraska. MEC has a diverse customer base consisting of residential, agricultural and a variety of commercial and industrial customer groups. In addition to retail sales and natural gas transportation, MEC sells regulated electricity to markets operated by regional transmission organizations and regulated electricity and natur al gas to other utilities and market participants on a wholesale basis and sells non-regulated electricity and natural gas services in deregulated markets. As a vertically integrated electric and gas utility, MEC owns approximately 7,000 net megawatts of generation capacity.


The natural gas pipelines consist of Northern Natural Gas Company (Northern Natural) and Kern River Gas Transmission Company (Kern River). Northern Natural is based in Nebraska and owns interstate natural gas pipeline systems in the United States reaching from southern Texas to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Northern Natural’s pipeline system consists of approximately 14,900 miles of natural gas pipelines. Northern Natural has access to supplies from mid-continent basin and provides transportation services to utilities and numerous other customers. Northern Natural also operates three underground natural gas storage facilities and two liquefied natural gas storage peaking units.


< p>Kern River is based in Utah and owns an interstate natural! gas pipe! line system that consists of approximately 1,700 miles and extends from the supply areas in the Rocky Mountains to consuming markets in Utah, Nevada and California. Kern River transports natural gas for electric utilities and natural gas distribution utilities, oil and natural gas companies or affiliates of such companies, electricity generating companies, energy marketing and trading companies, and financial institutions. The United Kingdom utilities consist of Northern Powergrid (Northeast) Limited (Northern Powergrid (Northeast)) and Northern Powergrid (Yorkshire) plc (Northern Powergrid (Yorkshire)), which own a substantial United Kingdom electricity distribution network that delivers electricity to end-users in northeast England in an area covering approximately 10,000 square miles. The distribution companies primarily charge supply companies regulated tariffs for the use of electrical infrastructure. MidAmerican also owns HomeServices of America, Inc. (HomeServices), a full-service residential real estate brokerage firm in the United States. HomeServices also offers integrated real estate services, including mortgage originations through a joint venture, title and closing services, property and casualty insurance, home warranties, relocation services and other home-related services. It operates under 22 residential real estate brand names with over 14,000 sales associates and in nearly 300 brokerage offices in 20 states.


Manufacturing, Service and Retailing Businesses

Berkshire’s numerous and diverse manufacturing, service and retailing businesses. Marmon consists of approximately 140 manufacturing and service businesses that operate independently within eleven diverse, stand-alone business sectors. These sectors are Building Wire, Crane Services, Distribution Services, Engineered Wire and Cable, Flow Products, Food Service Equipment, Highway Technologies, Industrial Products, Retail Store Fixtures, Transporta tion Services and Engineered Products and Water Treatment.


!

Building Wire, providing copper electrical building wire for residential, commercial and industrial construction. Crane Services provides the leasing and operation of mobile cranes primarily to the energy, mining and petrochemical markets. Distribution Services, supplying specialty metal pipe and tubing, bar and sheet products to markets including construction, industrial, aerospace and many others. Engineered Wire & Cable, providing electrical and electronic wire and cable for energy related markets and other industries. Flow Products is producing copper tube for the plumbing, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), refrigeration, and industrial markets. Food Service Equipment is supplying commercial food preparation equipment for restaurants and shopping carts for retail stores. Highway Technologies, primarily serving the heavy-duty highway transportation industry with trailers, fifth wheel coupling devices and undercarriage products such as brake parts and s uspension systems, and also serving the light vehicle aftermarket with clutches and related products.


Industrial Products, consisting of metal fasteners for the building, furniture, cabinetry, industrial and other markets, gloves for industrial markets, portable lighting equipment for mining and safety markets, overhead electrification equipment for mass transit systems, custom-machined brass, aluminum and copper forgings for the construction, valve and other industries, brass fittings and valves for commercial and industrial applications, and drawn aluminum tubing and extruded aluminum shapes for the construction, automotive, appliance, medical and other markets . Retail Store Fixtures, providing shelving and other merchandising displays and related services for retail stores worldwide. Transportation Services & Engineered Products, including manufacturing, leasing and maintenance of railroad tank cars, leasing of intermodal tank containers, in-plant rail serv ices, manufacturing of bi-modal railcar movers, wheel, axle ! and gear ! sets for light rail transit and gear products for locomotives, manufacturing of steel tank heads, and services, equipment and technology for processing and distributing sulfur. Water Treatment, equipment including residential water softening, purification and refrigeration filtration systems, treatment systems for industrial markets including power generation, oil and gas, chemical, and pulp and paper, gear drives for irrigation systems and cooling towers, and air-cooled heat exchangers. Marmon operates approximately 300 manufacturing, distribution and service facilities that are primarily located in North America, Europe and China, and employs more than 16,000 people worldwide.


McLane Company, Inc. (McLane) provides wholesale distribution and logistics services in all 50 states and internationally in Brazil to customers that include discount retailers, convenience stores, wholesale clubs, quick service restaurants, drug stores and military bases. Operations are divided into five business units: grocery distribution, foodservice distribution, beverage distribution, international logistics and software development. McLane’s foodservice distribution unit, based in Carrollton, Texas, focuses on serving the quick service restaurant industry. Operations are conducted through 18 facilities in 16 states. The foodservice distribution unit services more than 20,000 chain restaurants nationwide.


Other Manufacturing, Other Service and Retailing Businesses

Berkshire’s apparel manufacturing businesses include manufacturers of a variety of clothing and footwear. Businesses engaged in the manufacture and distribution of clothing products include Fruit of the Loom, Inc. (Fruit), Russell Brands, LLC (Russell), Vanity Fair Brands, LP (VFB), Garan and Fechheimer Brothers. Berkshire’s footwear businesses include H.H. Brown Shoe Group, Justin Brands and Brooks Athletic. Fruit, Russell and VFB (together FOL) is primaril y a vertically integrated manufacturer and distributor of ba! sic appar! el, underwear and athletic apparel and products. Products, under the Fruit of the Loomand JERZEES labels are primarily sold in the mass merchandise and wholesale markets. In the VFB product line, Vassarette, Bestformand Curvationare sold in the mass merchandise market, while Vanity Fairand Lily of Franceproducts are sold in the mid-tier chains and department stores. FOL also markets and sells athletic uniforms, apparel, sports equipment and balls to team dealers; college licensed tee shirts and fleecewear to college bookstores and mid-tier merchants; and athletic apparel, sports equipment and balls to sporting goods retailers under the Russell Athleticand Spaldingbrands. Additionally, Spaldingmarkets and sells balls in the mass merchandise market and dollar store channel. During the year ended December, 31, 2011, approximately 30% of FOL’s sales were to Wal-Mart. FOL generally performs its own spinning, knitting, cloth finishing, cutting, sewing and packaging.


< p>Garan designs, manufactures, imports and sells apparel primarily for children, including boys, girls, toddlers and infants. Products are sold under its own trademark Garanimalsand private labels of its customers. Garan also licenses its registered trademark Garanimalsto independent third parties. Garan conducts its business through operating subsidiaries located in the United States, Central America and Asia. Substantially all of Garan’s products are sold through its distribution centers in the United States to national chain stores, department stores and specialty stores. In 2011, over 90% of Garan’s sales were to Wal-Mart. Fechheimer Brothers manufactures, distributes and sells uniforms, principally for the public service and safety markets, including police, fire, postal and military markets. Fechheimer Brothers is based in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Justin Brands and H.H. Brown Shoe Group manufacture and distribute work, rugged outdoor and casual shoes and wes tern-style footwear under a number of brand names, including! Justin, ! Tony Lama, Nocona, Chippewas, Born, Sofft, Carolina, Double-H Boots, Corcoran, Matterhornand Kork-Ease. Brooks Athletic markets and sells running footwear to specialty retailers under Brooksbrand. In 2011, Brooksachieved #1 market share in footwear with specialty retailers. A volume of the shoes sold by Berkshire’s shoe businesses are manufactured or purchased from sources outside the United States. Products are principally sold in the United States through a variety of channels including department stores, footwear chains, specialty stores, catalogs and the Internet, as well as through Company-owned retail stores.


Acme manufactures and distributes clay bricks (Acme Brickand Jenkins Brick), concrete block (Featherlite) and cut limestone (Texas Quarries). In addition, Acme distributes a number of other building products of other manufacturers, including glass block, floor and wall tile and other masonry products. Acme also sells ceramic floor and wall tile, as well as marble, granite and other stones through its subsidiary, American Tile and Stone. Products are sold primarily in the South Central and South Eastern United States through Company-operated sales offices. Acme distributes products primarily to homebuilders and masonry and general contractors.


Benjamin Moore & Co. (Benjamin Moore) is a formulator, manufacturer and retailer of a range of architectural coatings, available principally in the United States and Canada. Products include water-thinnable and solvent-thinnable general purpose coatings (paints, stains and clear finishes) for use by the general public, contractors and industrial and commercial users. Products are marketed under various registered brand names, including Regal, Superspec, Moorcraft, Moorgard, Aura, Nattura, ben, Coronado Paint, Insl-xand Lenmar.

Benjamin Moore and its manufacturing subsidiaries rely primarily on an independent dealer network for the distribution of its p roducts. Its distribution network includes approximately 100! Company-! owned stores as well as over 4,500 third party retailers representing over 10,300 storefronts in the United States and Canada. Benjamin Moore’s Company-owned stores represent several multiple-outlet and stand-alone retailers in various parts of the United States and Canada serving primarily contractors and general consumers. The independent retailer channel offers an array of products including Benjamin Mooreand Insl-xbrands and other competitor coatings, wallcoverings, window treatments and sundries. Benjamin Moore also has three color stations located in regional malls that serve as brand marketing tools. In addition to the independent retailer channel, Benjamin Moore has recently begun to sell direct to the consumer through e-commerce sites and its customer care program, which includes national accounts and government agencies.


Johns Manville (JM) is a manufacturer and marketer of products for building insulation, mechanical insulation, commercial roofing and roof insulation, as well as fibers and nonwovens for commercial, industrial and residential applications. JM serves markets that include aerospace, automotive and transportation, air handling, appliance, HVAC, pipe and equipment filtration, waterproofing, building, flooring, interiors and wind energy. Fiber glass is the basic material in a majority of JM’s products, although JM also manufactures a portion of its products with other materials to satisfy the broader needs of its customers. JM regards its patents and licenses as valuable, however it does not consider any of its businesses to be materially dependent on any single patent or license. JM is headquartered in Denver, Colorado, and operates 40 manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe and China and conducts research and development at several other facilities. JM sells its products through a variety of channels, including contractors, distributors, retailers, manufacturers and fabricators.


MiTek is a provider of engineered connector products, engine! ering sof! tware and services and computer-driven manufacturing machinery to the truss fabrication segment of the building components industry. Primary customers are truss fabricators who manufacture pre-fabricated roof and floor trusses and wall panels for the residential building market, as well as the light commercial and institutional construction industry. MiTek also participates in the light gauge steel framing market under the Ultra-Spanname, manufactures and markets assembly line machinery used by the lead acid battery industry, manufactures and markets a line of masonry connector products and manufactures and markets air handling systems used in commercial building. MiTek operates on six continents with sales into approximately 90 countries. MiTek has 34 manufacturing facilities located in eleven countries and 45 sales/engineering offices located in 17 countries.


The Shaw Industries Group, Inc. (Shaw) is a carpet manufacturer based on both revenue and volume of p roduction. Shaw designs and manufactures over 3,000 styles of tufted carpet, tufted and woven rugs, laminate and wood flooring for residential and commercial use under about 30 brand and trade names and under certain private labels. Shaw also provides installation services and sells ceramic and vinyl tile along with sheet vinyl. Shaw’s manufacturing operations are fully integrated from the processing of raw materials used to make fiber through the finishing of carpet. Shaw’s carpet, rugs and hard surface products are sold in a broad range of prices, patterns, colors and textures.


Shaw products are sold wholesale to over 40,000 retailers, distributors and commercial users throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico and are also exported to various overseas markets. Shaw’s wholesale products are marketed domestically by over 2,000 salaried and commissioned sales personnel directly to retailers and distributors and to national accounts. Shaw’s 10 carpet full-service distribution facilities, three hard surface an! d two rug! full-service distribution facilities and 24 redistribution centers, along with centralized management information systems, enable it to provide prompt efficient delivery of its products to both its retail customers and wholesale distributors.


Berkshire acquired an 80% interest in IMC International Metalworking Companies B.V. (IMC B.V.). Through its subsidiaries, IMC B.V. is a multinational manufacturers of consumable precision carbide metal cutting tools for applications in a range of industrial end markets under the brand names ISCAR, TaeguTec, Ingersoll, Tungaloy, Unitac, UOP It.te.diand Outiltec. IMC B.V.’s manufacturing facilities are located in Israel, United States, Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, South Korea, China, India, Japan and Brazil. IMC B.V. has five primary product lines: milling tools, gripping tools, turning/thread tools, drilling tools and tooling. Forest River, Inc. (Forest River) is a manufacturer of recreational vehicles, utility, cargo and office trailers, buses and pontoon boats, headquartered in Elkhart, Indiana. Its products are sold in the United States and Canada through an independent dealer network.


Scott Fetzer companies are a diversified group of 20 businesses that manufacture and distribute a variety of products for residential, industrial and institutional use. The two of these businesses are Kirby home cleaning systems and Campbell Hausfeld products. Albecca Inc. (Albecca), headquartered in Norcross, Georgia, does business primarily under the Larson-Juhlname. Albecca designs, manufactures and distributes a complete line of branded custom framing products, including wood and metal moulding, matboard, foamboard, glass, equipment and other framing supplies in the United States, Canada and 15 countries outside of North America. CTB International Corp. is a designer, manufacturer and marketer of systems used in the grain industry and in the production of poultry, hogs and eggs.

Lubrizol is a specialty chemical company that pro! duces and! supplies technologies for the global transportation, industrial and consumer markets. Lubrizol operates two business sectors: Lubrizol Additives, which includes engine, driveline and industrial additive products and Lubrizol Advanced Materials, which includes personal and home care, engineered polymer and performance coating products. FlightSafety International Inc.(FlightSafety) is engaged primarily in the business of providing high technology training to operators of aircraft. FlightSafety’s training activities include advanced training for pilots of business and commercial aircraft; aircrew training for military and other government personnel; aircraft maintenance technician training; flight attendant and aircraft dispatcher training, and ab-initio (primary) pilot training to qualify individuals for private and commercial pilots’ licenses. FlightSafety also develops classroom instructional systems and materials for use in its training business and for sale to others.

NetJets Inc. (NJ) is a provider of fractional ownership programs for general aviation aircraft. TTI, Inc. (TTI) is a global specialty distributor of passive, interconnect, electromechanical and discrete components used by customers in the manufacturing and assembling of electronic products. Business Wire provides electronic dissemination of full-text news releases daily to the media, online services and databases and the global investment community in 150 countries and 45 languages. Berkshire’s retailing businesses principally consist of several independently managed home furnishings and jewelry operations. The home furnishings businesses are the Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM), R.C. Willey Home Furnishings (R.C. Willey), Star Furniture Company (Star) and Jordan’s Furniture, Inc. (Jordan’s). NFM, R.C. Willey, Star and Jordan’s each offer a wide selection of furniture, bedding and accessories. In addition, NFM and R.C. Willey sell a line of household appl iances, electronics, computers and other home furnishings. N! FM, R.C. ! Willey, Star and Jordan’s also offer customer financing to complement their retail operations. An important feature of each of these businesses is their ability to control costs and to produce high business volume by offering value to their customers.

NFM operates its business from two retail complexes with almost one million square feet of retail space and sizable warehouse and administrative facilities in Omaha, Nebraska and Kansas City, Kansas. NFM is a furniture retailer in each of its markets. NFM also owns Homemakers Furniture located in Des Moines, Iowa, which has approximately 215,000 square feet of retail space. R.C. Willey, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, is a home furnishings retailer in the Intermountain West region of the United States. R.C. Willey operates 11 retail stores, two retail clearance facilities and three distribution centers. Borsheim Jewelry Company, Inc. (Borsheims) operates from a single store located in Omaha, Nebraska. Borsheims i s a high volume retailer of jewelry, watches, crystal, china, stemware, flatware, gifts and collectibles. Helzberg’s Diamond Shops, Inc. (Helzberg), based in North Kansas City, Missouri, operates a chain of 233 retail jewelry stores in 37 states, which includes approximately 550,000 square feet of retail space. Most of Helzberg’s stores are located in malls, lifestyle centers or power strip centers, and all stores operate under the name Helzberg Diamonds. The Ben Bridge Corporation (Ben Bridge Jeweler), based in Seattle, Washington, operates a chain of 70 upscale retail jewelry stores located in 11 states that are primarily in the Western United States. Three of its locations are concept stores that sell only PANDORA jewelry.

Finance and Financial Products

Clayton Homes, Inc. (Clayton) is a vertically integrated manufactured housing company. At December 31, 2011, Clayton operated 33 manufacturing plants in 12 states. Clayton’s homes are marke ted in 48 states through a network of 1,333 retailers, inclu! ding 333 ! Company-owned home centers. Financing is offered through its finance subsidiaries to purchasers of Clayton’s manufactured homes as well as those purchasing homes from selected independent retailers. XTRA Corporation (XTRA), headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, is a transportation equipment lessor operating under the XTRA Leasebrand name. XTRA manages a diverse fleet of approximately 83,000 units located at 63 facilities throughout the United States and two facilities in Canada. The fleet includes over-the-road and storage traile

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Melvin Backman]   Warren Buffett in 90 seconds NEW YORK (CNNMoney) Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) racked up a hefty grocery bill during the third quarter.

    That’s because the investment company took a massive $678 million charge for its investment in Tesco (TESO), a British grocery chain that has seen its shares plunge this year. The grocer has been struggling amid increased competition and an accounting scandal in which it admitted to overstating its profit forecasts.

  • [By Alanna Petroff]

    His famed investment company, Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA), is the third biggest Tesco (TESO) shareholder, with a stake of almost 4%.

    Tesco is the U.K.’s leading supermarket operator.

Hot Defensive Companies To Own For 2015: iShares Russell Mid-Cap ETF (IWR)

iShares Russell Midcap Index Fund (the Fund) seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance of the mid-capitalization sector of the United States equity market as represented by the Russell Midcap Index (the Index). The Index is a capitalization-weighted index consisting of the 800 smallest companies in the Russell 1000 Index. The Index is a subset of the Russell 1000 Index, and serves as the underlying index for the Russell Midcap Growth and Value Index series.

The Fund uses a representative sampling strategy in seeking to track the Index. iShares Russell Midcap Index Fund’s investment advisor is Barclays Global Fund Advisors.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By John Udovich]

    One of the most famous scenes in the cult classic, the Graduate, was when Mr. McGuire took Dustin Hoffman’s character aside and said “Ben, I want to say one word to you, just one word: Plastics”; but what about the Berry Plastics Group Inc (NYSE: BERY) and its performance verses that of the iShares S&P 500 Index ETF (NYSEARCA: IVV), iShares Russell Midcap Index Fund ETF (NYSEARCA: IWR) and iShares S&P SmallCap 600 Index ETF (NYSEARCA: IJR)? I should mention that plastics and the Berry Plastics Group was not the place to be yesterday as the stock took a tumble on reduced guidance.