Chesapeake Utilities (NYSE: CPK ) has declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.385 per share, a 5.5% increase over its previous payout of $0.365 per share. The dividend will be paid on July 5 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on June 17. The increase raises the annualized dividend $0.08 per share, from $1.46, to $1.54 per share.
Noting that the utility has posted strong results for six consecutive years, Chesapeake Utilities President and CEO Michael McMasters said: “In this vein, our board of directors increased the dividend by 5.5% today – a dividend growth rate significantly above the average of our peer group. The dividend declared today represents the tenth consecutive year that Chesapeake’s dividend has increased.”
This is the 52nd consecutive year that Chesapeake has paid a dividend to its shareholders, never having once cut the annualized dividend. Over the past five years, the utility has increased its dividend at a compound annual rate of 4.8% while maintaining an average dividend payout of 52.2%.
Hot Dividend Stocks For 2015: Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated(PEG)
Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated, through its subsidiaries, operates in the energy industry primarily in the northeastern and mid Atlantic United States. The company primarily operates as a wholesale energy supply company that integrates its generating asset operations through its wholesale energy, fuel supply, energy trading, and marketing and risk management activities. It operates nuclear, coal, gas, and oil-fired generation facilities. The company also involves in the transmission of electricity and distribution of electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, and industrial customers, as well as invests in the development of solar generation projects and energy efficiency programs. In addition, it owns and operates domestic projects engaged in the generation of energy; and offers appliance services and repairs to customers. As of December 31, 2010, it owned approximately 13,538 megawatts of generation capacity. The company also owned and operated approximately 17,608 miles of gas mains, 12 gas distribution headquarters, and 2 subheadquarters, as well as 62 natural gas metering and regulating stations. Public Service Enterprise Group was founded in 1985 and is based in Newark, New Jersey.
- [By Jake L’Ecuyer]
Leading and Lagging Sectors
Utilities sector surged 0.26%, saw CPFL Energia SA (NYSE: CPL) as the top gainer. Among leading sector stocks, gains came from Consolidated Water Co (NASDAQ: CWCO), Companhia Paranaense de Energia (NYSE: ELP) and Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE: PEG).
- [By Stephen Quickel]
The stock trades at forward P/E of 22.8 times the consensus 2014 earnings estimate. Factoring in its 23.2% a year expected bottom line growth, the stock’s P/E to Growth (PEG) ratio of 0.98—right at the 1.00 level—is considered ideal by PEG ratio advocates.
- [By Richard Stavros]
Among those companies that are winding down their spending programs, NextEra Energy Inc (NYSE: NEE) accounts for almost 30 percent of the projected $10 billion decline in annual spending from 2013 to 2015. Other larger-cap companies with projected 2015 budgets that are below their 2013 levels include: CenterPoint Energy Inc (NYSE: CNP), Dominion Resources Inc (NYSE: D), PPL Corp (NYSE: PPL), Public Service Enterprise Group Inc (NYSE: PEG), and Southern Company (NYSE: SO).
- [By Richard Stavros]
Wells Fargo continues to show all of the hallmarks of what value investors seek. The bank boasts a price-to-earnings-to-growth ratio (PEG) of under one (which means it is fairly valued), while also sporting a dividend of 2.79% and low payout ratio of 57%, indicating the dividend has room to grow.
Hot Dividend Stocks For 2015: Avon Products Inc. (AVP)
Avon Products Inc. manufactures and markets beauty and related products worldwide. Its product categories include color cosmetics, fragrances, skin care, and personal care; fashion jewelry, watches, apparel, footwear, and accessories; and gift and decorative products, housewares, entertainment and leisure, and children?s and nutritional products. Avon Products Inc. markets its products through direct selling and independent representatives, as well as through distributorships. The company was founded in 1886 and is based in New York, New York.
- [By John Divine]
While losers outnumbered gainers by a 2-to-1 margin in the stock market today, some stocks felt the pain more harshly than others. Avon Products (NYSE: AVP ) and the two stocks below are such examples. Shares of the beauty products company lost 2.8% Monday, perhaps because investors realize the significant challenges Avon still faces. The entire business model depends on the size and capability of Avon’s sales representatives, and last year their fleet size fell by 15%. With North American sales halved since 2007, sales still falling in the most recent quarter, and a net loss in the fourth quarter, things don’t look great right now. Thankfully, Avon is popular with the Hispanic community, which should be a boon to its revenue as U.S. demographics change over time.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Shares of Herbalife have dropped 3.5% to $66.53 at 2:44 p.m., while Nu Skin Enterprises (NUS) has dipped 0.1% to $79.99, Usana Health Sciences (USNA) has fallen 0.4% to $75.84, Avon Products (AVP) has gained 0.9% to $15.22 and Weight Watchers (WTW) has advanced 0.2% to $20.95.
- [By Tabitha Jean Naylor]
Some were even able to rise to the prominent positions of being publicly traded companies, including Avon (NYSE: AVP) and Herbalife (NYSE: HLF). We will take a look at how these two direct-selling companies fared in 2013 and beyond.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Consumer staples are great to have in a portfolio for periods of market weakness, but when investors are expecting the economy to pick up, not so much. And that, perhaps, explains why Deutsche Bank upgraded Estee Lauder (EL), and listed Avon Products (AVP) as its top Cosmetics, Household & Personal Care pick for 2014, over companies such as Procter & Gamble (PG) and Coca-Cola (KO).
Hot Dividend Stocks For 2015: Johnson & Johnson(JNJ)
Johnson & Johnson engages in the research and development, manufacture, and sale of various products in the health care field worldwide. The company operates in three segments: Consumer, Pharmaceutical, and Medical Devices and Diagnostics. The Consumer segment provides products used in baby care, skin care, oral care, wound care, and women?s health care fields, as well as nutritional, over-the-counter pharmaceutical products, and wellness and prevention platforms under the brands of JOHNSON?S, AVEENO, CLEAN & CLEAR, JOHNSON?S Adult, NEUTROGENA, RoC, LUBRIDERM, DABAO, LISTERINE, REACH, BAND-AID, CAREFREE, STAYFREE, SPLENDA, TYLENOL, SUDAFED, ZYRTEC, MOTRIN IB, and PEPCID AC. The Pharmaceutical segment offers products in various therapeutic areas, such as anti-infective, antipsychotic, contraceptive, dermatology, gastrointestinal, hematology, immunology, neurology, oncology, pain management, and virology. Its principal products include REMICADE for the treatment of immune me diated inflammatory diseases; STELARA for the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis; SIMPONI, a treatment for adults with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis; VELCADE for the treatment of multiple myeloma; PREZISTA and INTELENCE for treating HIV/AIDS patients; NUCYNTA for moderate to severe acute pain; INVEGA SUSTENNAtm for the acute and maintenance treatment of schizophrenia in adults; RISPERDAL CONSTA for the management of bipolar I disorder and schizophrenia; and PROCRIT to stimulate red blood cell production. The Medical Devices and Diagnostics segment primarily offers circulatory disease management products; orthopaedic joint reconstruction, spinal care, and sports medicine products; surgical care, aesthetics, and women?s health products; blood glucose monitoring and insulin delivery products; professional diagnostic products; and disposable contact lenses. The company was founded in 1886 and is based in N e w Brunswick, New Jersey.
- [By John Buckingham]
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), a global healthcare company, develops, manufactures, and markets a diversified portfolio of pharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostic, and consumer health products.
- [By Editor , Dividend Growth Investor]
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) has regularly raised dividends for 51 years in a row. The company has managed to increase dividends by 10.80% per year over the past decade.Yield: 2.90% (analysis)
Hot Dividend Stocks For 2015: New York Mortgage Trust Inc.(NYMT)
New York Mortgage Trust, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a real estate investment trust (REIT) in the United States. The company engages in acquiring, investing, financing, and managing mortgage-related assets. It primarily invests in agency residential adjustable-rate, hybrid adjustable-rate, and fixed-rate mortgage-backed securities (RMBS); non-Agency RMBS; prime adjustable-rate residential mortgage loans held in securitization trusts; commercial mortgage-backed securities; commercial mortgage loans; and other commercial real estate-related debt investments. The company has elected to be taxed as a REIT and will not be subject to federal income tax if it distributes at least 90% of its REIT taxable income to its stockholders. New York Mortgage Trust, Inc. was founded in 1989 and is headquartered in New York, New York.
- [By Eric Volkman]
Investors are being rewarded for putting their trust in New York Mortgage Trust (NASDAQ: NYMT ) . The REIT has declared a common stock dividend for its current quarter of $0.27 per share, to be paid on July 25 to shareholders of record as of June 28. That amount matches each of the company’s preceding four distributions, the most recent of which was doled out at the end of April. Before that, it paid $0.25 per share.
- [By Amanda Alix]
More mREITs stay the course, but two trim payouts
Despite suffering many tumbles and bruises, several mREITs have announced that their dividends will be unchanged from the previous quarter. Several did so last week, and yesterday saw Hatteras Financial (NYSE: HTS ) , an agency-only trust, keeping its own $0.70 per share payout the same. Hybrid New York Mortgage Trust (NASDAQ: NYMT ) also kept its dividend stable, at $0.27 per share, in line with its four most recent distributions.
Hot Dividend Stocks For 2015: Littelfuse Inc.(LFUS)
Littelfuse, Inc. designs, manufactures, and sells circuit protection devices for use in the automotive, electronic, and electrical markets in the Americas, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific. The company offers electronic circuit protection products, such as fuses and protectors, positive temperature coefficient resettable fuses, varistors, polymer electrostatic discharge suppressors, discrete transient voltage suppression diodes, TVS diode arrays and protection thyristors, gas discharge tubes, and power switching components, as well as fuseholders, blocks, and related accessories under PICO II, and NANO2 SMF, TECCOR, SIDACtor, and Battrax brand names. It offers its electronic circuit protection products for use in wireless telephones, consumer electronics, computers, modems, telecommunications equipment, telephones, data transmission lines, and alarm systems. The company also provides automotive fuses that are used in automobiles, trucks, buses, and off-road equipment to protec t electrical circuits and the wires that supply electrical power to operate lights, heating, air conditioning, radios, windows, and other controls, as well as offers fuses for the protection of electric and hybrid vehicles. It markets its automotive fuse products under ATO, MINI, MAXI, MIDI, MEGA, MasterFuse, JCASE, and CablePro brand names. In addition, Littelfuse manufactures various low-voltage and medium-voltage circuit protection products, such as power fuses that are used in the protection from over-load and short-circuit currents in motor branch circuits, heating and cooling systems, control systems, lighting circuits, and electrical distribution networks to electrical distributors and their customers in the construction, original equipment manufacturers, and industrial maintenance and repair and operating supplies markets. Littelfuse sells its products through direct sales force and manufacturers? representatives. The company was founded in 1927 and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.
- [By Rich Smith]
Littelfuse (NASDAQ: LFUS ) has signed an agreement to acquire Key Safety Systems’ Hamlin subsidiary for $145 million in cash, Littelfuse announced Monday.
Hot Dividend Stocks For 2015: Vivo Participacoes S.A.(VIV)
Telecomunicacoes de Sao Paulo S.A.-TELESP provides fixed-line telecommunications services to residential and commercial customers in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Its services include local voice services, such as activation, monthly subscription, measured service, and public telephones; intraregional, interregional, and international long-distance voice services; data services comprising broadband services; pay TV services through direct to home satellite technology and land based wireless technology multichannel multipoint distribution service; and network services, such as interconnection and rental of facilities, as well as other services consisting of extended maintenance, caller identification, voice mail, cell phone blockers, computer support, and antivirus for Internet service subscribers. The company also offers multimedia communication services, such as audio, data, voice and other sounds, images, and texts and other information. In addition, it provides interc onnection services to cellular service providers and other fixed telecommunications companies through the use of its network. Further, the company offers telecommunications solutions and IT support designed to address the needs and requirements of companies operating various types of industries, including retail, manufacturing, services, financial institutions, and government. Telecomunicacoes de Sao Paulo S.A.-TELESP provides its products and services through person-to-person sales, telesales, indirect channels, Internet, and door-to-door sales. As of December 31, 2010, its telephone network included 11.3 million fixed lines in service, including residential, commercial, and public telephone lines; 3.3 million broadband clients; and 0.5 million pay TV clients. The company was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Telecomunicacoes de Sao Paulo S.A.-TELESP is a subsidiary of Telefonica S.A.
- [By Jon C. Ogg]
Telefonica Brasil, S.A. (NYSE: VIV) is one of the top telecom and communications players in Brazil. At $20.10, its 52-week range is $17.91 to $27.71.
- [By Inyoung Hwang]
Royal Mail (RMG) Group Ltd. jumped the most in a month after the U.K. postal service that listed its shares in October said first-half earnings almost doubled. Vivendi SA (VIV) advanced 1.9 percent after saying it will replace its chairman once it spins off its wireless business. Accor SA dropped 3.9 percent after saying it will separate the operation and ownership of hotels into two businesses.
- [By Sarah Jones]
Vivendi SA (VIV) lost 1.7 percent to 15.72 euros in Paris after the owner of SFR, France’s second-biggest mobile-phone operator, reported a 21 percent drop in first-quarter Ebit to 1.18 billion euros. That missed analyst estimates.
- [By Jonathan Morgan]
Vivendi (VIV) SA climbed the most in two months as Qatar Telecom QSC said it raised $12 billion to finance its bid for the French media and telecommunications company’s stake in Maroc Telecom SA. Fiat SpA (F) advanced 4.4 percent after Italy’s industry minister offered support to keep its plants in the country. Club Mediterranee (CU) SA jumped the most on record after the French holiday-resort operator said it got a bid from two shareholders.
Hot Dividend Stocks For 2015: Lexington Realty Trust (LXP)
Lexington Corporate Properties Trust operates as a self-managed and self-administered real estate investment trust (REIT). The company acquires, owns, and manages a portfolio of office, industrial, and retail properties net-leased to corporate tenants in the United States. It also provides investment advisory and asset management services to institutional investors in the net lease area. As of June 30, 2005, the company operated 185 properties and managed 2 properties. Lexington Corporate Properties Trust has elected to qualify as a REIT for federal income tax purposes. As a REIT, it would not be taxed on the portion of its income, which is distributed to shareholders, provided it distributes at least 90% of its taxable income. The company was founded in 1991 and is based in New York City.
- [By Brad Thomas]
Compared with the public REIT peers, I believe that Chambers Street will compare favorably to W.P. Carey (WPC) and Lexington Realty Trust (LXP). Both of these REITs own larger box assets and they both have conservative and well-positioned balance sheets. Here is a snapshot of Chambers Street’s capitalization:
- [By Eric Volkman]
Lexington Realty Trust (NYSE: LXP ) is acting like a relaxed landlord that doesn’t want or need to modify the rent. The company is maintaining its dividend policy by declaring a $0.15-per-share distribution for its current quarter, to be paid on or about July 15 to shareholders of record as of June 28. That amount matches the firm’s previous three distributions, the most recent of which was paid in April. Prior to that, the real estate investment trust dispensed $0.125 per share.
- [By CRWE]
Lexington Realty Trust (NYSE:LXP), a real estate investment trust (REIT) focused on single-tenant real estate investments, reported that it would release its third quarter 2012 results the morning of Tuesday, November 6, 2012. Lexington will conduct a teleconference that same day at 11:00 a.m., Eastern Time.
Hot Dividend Stocks For 2015: Plum Creek Timber Company Inc.(PCL)
Plum Creek Timber Company, Inc. is a publicly owned real estate investment trust (REIT). The trust owns and manages timberlands in the United States. Its products include lumber products, plywood, medium density fiberboard, and related by-products, such as wood chips. The trust also focuses on mineral extraction and natural gas production, communication, and transportation. Plum Creek Timber Company was founded in 1989 and is based in Seattle, Washington.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Among stocks in the S&P 500, CBRE Group (CBG) has dropped 5.5% to $23.05 after it reported a profit of 30 cents a share, missing forecasts for 33 cents. Aflac (AFL), meanwhile, has fallen 3% to $65 after it reported a profit of $1.47, missing estimates for $1.48 on weakness in Japan. Plum Creek Timber (PCL) has dropped 1.3% to $45.76 after announcing that it would sell 12.1 million shares of stock at $45.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Shares of Rayonier have plunged 15% to $46.97 at 12.36 p.m., but its fall doesn’t seem to have damaged other timber companies. Weyerhaeuser (WY) has gained 3.7% to $31.43 after it reported a profit of 27 cents today, beating estimates of 21 cents. Plum Creek Timber (PCL) is little changed at $49.47 and Boise Cascade (BCC) has risen 1.1% to $27.83.
- [By Dan Caplinger]
Ordinarily, price pressure might lead to decreased demand for housing, which could send Weyerhaeuser’s cyclical prospects downward. But so far, that hasn’t materialized, and Plum Creek Timber (NYSE: PCL ) has seen greater investment in mills as well as expanded work-shifts at existing facilities. Furthermore, logging capacity has been under pressure, which could continue to support prices.
Hot Dividend Stocks For 2015: First Financial Northwest Inc.(FFNW)
First Financial Northwest, Inc. operates as the holding company for First Savings Bank Northwest that provides community-based savings bank services in Washington. Its deposit products include noninterest bearing accounts, NOW accounts, money market deposit accounts, statement savings accounts, and certificates of deposit. The company?s loan products portfolio comprises one-to-four family residential loans, multifamily loans, commercial real estate loans, construction/land development loans, and business loans, as well as consumer loans, including home equity loans, personal lines of credit, second mortgage loans, and savings account loans. First Financial Northwest, Inc., through another subsidiary, First Financial Diversified, Inc., offers escrow services. The company primarily serves customers in the King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap counties of Washington through a full-service banking office in Renton, Washington. First Financial Northwest, Inc. was founded in 1923 and is based in Renton, Washington.
- [By Jim Royal]
The special situation
For those of you following my Special Situations portfolio, Investors Bancorp is in a spot similar to First Financial Northwest (NASDAQ: FFNW ) and TFS Financial (NASDAQ: TFSL ) , both of which are featured substantially in the portfolio. While Investors Bancorp is still only a partially demutualized thrift (like TFS Financial today), it will soon become a fully public institution, like First Financial.
- [By Jim Royal]
One of my favorite reasons to reinvest in stocks I already own is when an uncertain, but favorable catalyst occurs, but the stock does little. So my Special Situations portfolio is adding $1,000 to each of the following three stocks: Cincinnati Bell (NYSE: CBB ) , Bridgepoint Education (NYSE: BPI ) , and First Financial Northwest (NASDAQ: FFNW ) . Read on to see why.
Hot Dividend Stocks For 2015: TAL International Group Inc.(TAL)
TAL International Group, Inc. engages in the lease of intermodal containers and chassis. It operates in two segments, Equipment Leasing and Equipment Trading. The Equipment Leasing segment involves in the acquisition, lease, re-lease, and sale of various intermodal transportation equipment, such as dry freight containers, which are used for general cargo, including manufactured component parts, consumer staples, electronics, and apparel; refrigerated containers that are used for perishable items, such as fresh and frozen foods; and special containers, which are used for heavy and oversized cargo, such as marble slabs, building products, and machinery. It also leases chassis, which are used for the transportation of containers and tank containers that are used to transport bulk liquid products, such as chemicals, as well as finances port equipment, which includes container cranes, reach stackers, and other related equipment. The Equipment Trading segment purchases container s from shipping line customers and other sellers of containers, and resells these containers to container traders and users of containers for storage or one-way shipment. As of December 31, 2009, it had a fleet of 701,946 containers and chassis, including 31,137 containers under management for third parties, representing 1,139,523 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU). The company was founded in 1963 and is headquartered in Purchase, New York.
- [By Jake L’Ecuyer]
Among the financial stocks, Zillow (NASDAQ: Z) was down 9.6%, while TAL International Group (NYSE: TAL) tumbled around 3.55%. Shares of TAL International dipped after the company reported downbeat quarterly earnings.
- [By Seth Jayson]
Margins matter. The more TAL International Group (NYSE: TAL ) keeps of each buck it earns in revenue, the more money it has to invest in growth, fund new strategic plans, or (gasp!) distribute to shareholders. Healthy margins often separate pretenders from the best stocks in the market. That’s why we check up on margins at least once a quarter in this series. I’m looking for the absolute numbers, so I can compare them to current and potential competitors, and any trend that may tell me how strong TAL International Group’s competitive position could be.
- [By Brian Pacampara]
Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool’s free investing community, freight container lessor TAL International (NYSE: TAL ) has earned a coveted five-star ranking.
Hot Dividend Stocks For 2015: First Security Group Inc.(FSGI)
First Security Group, Inc. operates as the holding company for FSGBank that provides banking and financial products and services to various communities in eastern and middle Tennessee and northern Georgia. The company offers various deposit services, such as checking, savings, and money market accounts, as well as certificates of deposit. It offers commercial loans, including loans to smaller business ventures, credit lines for working capital, short-term seasonal or inventory financing, and letters of credit; real estate?construction and development loans to residential and commercial contractors and developers; and consumer loans to individuals for personal, family, and household purposes, including secured and unsecured installment and term loans. The company also offers commercial mortgage loans to finance the purchase of real property; commercial leasing for new and used equipment, fixtures, and furnishings to owner-managed businesses; and leasing for forklifts, heavy equipment, and other machinery to owner-managed businesses primarily in the trucking and construction industries. It also provides trust and investment management, mortgage banking, financial planning, and electronic banking services, such as Internet banking, online bill payment, cash management, ACH originations, wire transfers, direct deposit, traveler?s checks, safe deposit boxes, United States savings bonds, and remote deposit capture, as well as equipment leasing. The company operates 38 full-service banking offices and 1 loan and lease production office. Its market areas include in Bradley, Hamilton, Jackson, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, McMinn, Monroe, Putnam, and Union counties, Tennessee; and Catoosa and Whitfield counties, Georgia. First Security Group was founded in 1974 and is headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
- [By Ning Jia]
The case for First Security Group (FSGI) is interesting. It is bank holding company that is obscure, cheap and unloved. As the company completed the recapitalization earlier this year, I think the market has been under-appreciating its potential to return to growth and profitability as a result of the much-needed recapitalization.
- [By Roberto Pedone]
First Security Group (FSGI) operates as the holding company for FSGBank, which provides banking products and services to various communities in Tennessee and Georgia. This stock closed up 6.5% to $2.29 in Tuesday’s trading session.
Tuesday’s Range: $2.16-$2.30
52-Week Range: $1.30-$7.45
Tuesday’s Volume: 80,000
Three-Month Average Volume: 509,606
From a technical perspective, FSGI ripped higher here right above some near-term support levels at $2.14 to $2.12 with lighter-than-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of FSGI within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if FSGI manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $2.38 to $2.52 and then once it clears its 200-day moving average at $2.80 with high volume.
Traders should now look for long-biased trades in FSGI as long as it’s trending above some key support levels at $2.14 to $2.12 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 509,606 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then FSGI will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap down zone from June that started at $5.08.
Hot Dividend Stocks For 2015: Cedar Shopping Centers Inc (CDR)
Cedar Shopping Centers, Inc., real estate investment trust, engages in the ownership, operation, development and redevelopment of supermarket-anchored community shopping centers and drug store-anchored convenience centers in the United States. As of December 31, 2007, it owned 118 properties, aggregating approximately 12.0 million square feet of gross leasable area primarily in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Virginia, Ohio, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Michigan, and New York. Cedar Shopping has elected to be treated as a REIT for federal income tax purposes and would not be subject to federal income tax, if it distributes at least 90% of its REIT taxable income to its stockholders. The company was founded in 1984 and is based in Port Washington, New York.
- [By Bill Smith]
Lastly, because of the negative perception the entire industry has received, prices in this sector have been absolutely pummeled. ESI now trades at the lower end of all of its historical valuation bands: P/E, P/B, and P/S.
Guru ownership and avg price: ESI owned by Hussman ($76.15), Weitz ($75.32), and Greenblatt ($73.29)Over 35% of shares are short, potential short squeezeStock buyback plan: ESI reduced outstanding shares by 19% yoy at the end of the 4th quarter. They repurchased 370K shares in 3Q11.The business model is scalable; the incremental cost to educate each additional student is low, leading to high marginsESI acquired Daniel Webster College, giving them a regional accreditation which they can use to broaden their reach in online classes
High costs of education, in general, rightly or wrongly attract government intervention and could squeeze margins over time. Total student debt surpassed credit card bal ances, and sits at $1 Trillion as of the end of 2011.Subject to compliance with Dept of Education’s 90/10 rules, which states a college can’t collect more than 90% of revenue from students participating in federal loan programs.Cohort Default Rate (CDR): for-profit colleges must monitor the federal loan default rates of students who graduate or leave the school. If a school’s CDR exceeds 25% for 3 consecutive years, or 40% in any one year, its students won’t be eligible for federal financial aid.ESI competes on quality of product which is measured by graduation rates and ability to secure employment. For 2010, 70% of ESI graduates got employment in positions using skills taught in their program of study within 1 year. As of Oct 2011, this rate was 600 bp higher. The average annual salary reported by employed 2011 grads was $32K, compared to $32.4K for 2010 grads.With an improving economy, there’s a potential ESI would see declining new student enrollmentsOver 35% of shares a re short