Say what you want about the tech sector, but it’s never boring. Any given week will keep tech investors flooded with product announcements, earnings surprises, and crazy strategy shifts that absolutely nobody saw coming.
These are three of the most shocking pieces of tech news this week.
We know that Google (NASDAQ: GOOG ) isn’t shy about international politics. The company has stood up to the Chinese government in a big way. The same year, Google Maps drew fire for controversial border drawings in Southeast Asia between Cambodia and Thailand, as well as in Latin America between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
This week’s Google involvement in political disputes is a doozy. On Wednesday, Google renamed its Google.ps service from “Palestinian Territories” to “Palestine.” That’s tantamount to recognizing Palestine as a sovereign state — an idea that doesn’t sit well with Israel but was praised by Palestinian thinkers as “a step in the right direction.”
Hot Growth Stocks To Buy For 2015: Checkpoint Systms Inc.(CKP)
Checkpoint Systems, Inc. manufactures and markets identification, tracking, security, and merchandising solutions for the retail and apparel industry worldwide. The company operates in three segments: Shrink Management Solutions, Apparel Labeling Solutions, and Retail Merchandising Solutions. The Shrink Management Solutions segment provides shrink management and merchandise visibility solutions. It offers electronic article surveillance systems, such as EVOLVE, a suite of RF and RFID-enabled products that act as a deterrent to prevent merchandise theft in retail stores; and electronic article surveillance consumables, including EAS-RF and EAS-EM labels that work in combination with EAS systems to reduce merchandise theft in retail stores. This segment also provides keepers, spider wraps, bottle security, and hard tags, as well as Showsafe, a line alarm system for protecting display merchandise. In addition, it offers physical and electronic store monitoring solutions, incl uding fire alarms, intrusion alarms, and digital video recording systems for retail environments; and RFID tags and labels. The Apparel Labeling Solutions segment provides apparel labeling solutions to apparel retailers, brand owners, and manufacturers. It has Web-enabled apparel labeling solutions platform and network of 28 service bureaus located in 22 countries that supplies customers with customized apparel tags and labels. The Retail Merchandising Solutions segment offers hand-held label applicators and tags, promotional displays, and queuing systems. The company serves retailers in the supermarket, drug store, hypermarket, and mass merchandiser markets through direct distribution and reseller channels. Checkpoint Systems was founded in 1969 and is based in Thorofare, New Jersey.
- [By Lisa Levin]
Checkpoint Systems (NYSE: CKP) surged 17.73% to $14.21. The volume of Checkpoint Systems shares traded was 525% higher than normal. Checkpoint announced its intent to extend the filing date of its annual report.
- [By John Udovich]
Small cap Checkpoint Systems, Inc (NYSE: CKP) fights shoplifting or retail theft and other forms of “shrink” that costs retailers over $112 billion worldwide last year (according to a study funded by the company), meaning it might be an interesting stock to take a closer look at and to compare its performance with that of SPDR S&P Retail ETF (NYSEARCA: XRT) and PowerShares Dynamic Retail ETF (NYSEARCA: PMR). Just how bad can shoplifting or shrink be for a retailer? Troubled retailer J.C. Penney Company, Inc (NYSE: JCP) has just reported that shoplifting took a full percentage point off the department store chain’s profit margins during the quarter. Moreover and given that tens of millions of Americans are now facing higher health insurance costs thanks to Obamacare (which will likely impact consumer discretionary spending), retailers will need to find ways to shore up their margins and bottom lines by preventing retail theft with solutions from company’s like C heckpoint Systems.
Hot Growth Stocks To Buy For 2015: Thoratec Corporation(THOR)
Thoratec Corporation engages in the development, manufacture, and marketing of proprietary medical devices used for circulatory support. The company?s primary product lines include ventricular assist devices, such as HeartMate II, an implantable left ventricular assist device consisting of a rotary blood pump to provide intermediate and long-term mechanical circulatory support (MCS); and HeartMate XVE, an implantable and pulsatile left ventricular assist device for intermediate and longer-term MCS. Its ventricular assist devices also comprise Paracorporeal Ventricular Assist Device, an external pulsatile ventricular assist device, which provides left, right, and biventricular MCS approved for bridge-to-transplantation (BTT), including home discharge, and post-cardiotomy myocardial recovery; and Implantable Ventricular Assist Device, an implantable and pulsatile ventricular assist device designed to provide left, right, and biventricular MCS approved for BTT comprising hom e discharge, and post-cardiotomy myocardial recovery. The company also provides CentriMag, an extracorporeal full-flow acute surgical support platform that offers support up to 30 days for cardiac and respiratory failure. In addition, it offers PediMag and PediVAS extracorporeal full-flow acute surgical support platforms designed to provide acute surgical support to pediatric patients. The company sells its products through direct sales force in the United States, as well as through a network of distributors internationally. Thoratec Corporation was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in Pleasanton, California.
- [By Todd Campbell]
Competing for heart pump market share
Abiomed’s products provide circulatory support for up to six hours and are designed for use in cardiac cath labs or during heart surgery, but competitors Thoratec (NASDAQ: THOR ) and Heartware (NASDAQ: HTWR ) target the intermediate- and long-term-use market instead.
- [By Brian Pacampara]
What: Shares of medical device company Thoratec (NASDAQ: THOR ) sank 12% today after its quarterly results missed Wall Street expectations.
Hot Growth Stocks To Buy For 2015: Waste Management Inc.(WM)
Waste Management, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides waste management services to residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers in North America. It offers collection, transfer, recycling, and disposal services. The company also owns, develops, and operates waste-to-energy and landfill gas-to-energy facilities in the United States. Its collection services involves in picking up and transporting waste and recyclable materials from where it was generated to a transfer station, material recovery facility, or disposal site; and recycling operations include collection and materials processing, plastics materials recycling, and commodities recycling. In addition, it provides recycling brokerage, which includes managing the marketing of recyclable materials for third parties; and electronic recycling services, such as collection, sorting, and disassembling of discarded computers, communications equipment, and other electronic equipment. Further, the company e ngages in renting and servicing portable restroom facilities to municipalities and commercial customers under the Port-o-Let name; and involves in landfill gas-to-energy operations comprising recovering and processing the methane gas produced naturally by landfills into a renewable energy source, as well as provides street and parking lot sweeping services. Additionally, it offers portable self-storage, fluorescent lamp recycling, and medical waste services for healthcare facilities, pharmacies, and individuals, as well as provides services on behalf of third parties to construct waste facilities. The company was formerly known as USA Waste Services, Inc. and changed its name to Waste Management, Inc. in 1998. Waste Management, Inc. was incorporated in 1987 and is based in Houston, Texas.
- [By Damian Illia]
During 2008, Republic Services and Allied Waste merged to create a strong company which could compete with number-one waste management company Waste Management Inc. (WM). It is true this industry has a rather constant nature, as trash volume increases with population growth, urban construction, industrial production and commercial activity. Still, the macroeconomic context during 2008 affected the recently-merged company, having to deal with lower waste volumes and intense price competition. Nevertheless, after this bumpy beginning, the company reached a good profitability. And, although it came to sustain average growth on both gross and operating margins, this tendency has recently decelerated with this margins underperforming in 2012 and 2013.
- [By Damian Illia]
Furthermore, the company has a wide economic moat largely stemming from three factors: its efficient scale, its high switching costs and its intangible assets. Of the 20 commercial hazardous-waste landfills operational in the U.S., the majority are run by US Ecology and its main competitors Waste Management Inc. (WM), and Clean Harbors Inc. (CLH). With barriers to entry stemming from regulatory permits, and a limited market size, ECOL has managed to achieve an efficient scale in the market with five hazardous waste-sides. The company’s intangible assets consist of long-term regulatory permits, which enable US Ecology to posses a “gatekeeper privilege” regarding barriers to new entrants. In addition, customer switching costs are high, thus further adding to the firm’s ability to sustain growth in the long term.
- [By Sean Williams]
Show me the money!
Starting us off this week is refuse and recycling giant Waste Management (NYSE: WM ) , which on Friday divvied out $0.375 per share to investors, a $0.01 jump from its payout in the previous quarter. Waste Management’s business has been hit recently by weaker commodity prices that hurt its recycling margins, along with consolidation in the refuse business which is also pressuring margins. However, as the clear market-share leader in refuse, a necessity-based business, it continues to wield impressive pricing power that can be used to slowly grow its bottom line. Waste Management’s 3.6% yield should remain an attractive lure for income-seeking investors.
Hot Growth Stocks To Buy For 2015: Intuitive Surgical Inc.(ISRG)
Intuitive Surgical, Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets da Vinci surgical systems for various surgical procedures, including urologic, gynecologic, cardiothoracic, general, and head and neck surgeries. Its da Vinci surgical system consists of a surgeon?s console or consoles, a patient-side cart, a 3-D vision system, and proprietary ?wristed? instruments. The company?s da Vinci surgical system translates the surgeon?s natural hand movements on instrument controls at the console into corresponding micro-movements of instruments positioned inside the patient through small puncture incisions, or ports. It also manufactures a range of EndoWrist instruments, which incorporate wrist joints for natural dexterity for various surgical procedures. Its EndoWrist instruments consist of forceps, scissors, electrocautery, scalpels, and other surgical tools. In addition, it sells various vision and accessory products for use in conjunction with the da Vinci Surgical System as surgical procedures are performed. The company?s accessory products include sterile drapes used to ensure a sterile field during surgery; vision products, such as replacement 3-D stereo endoscopes, camera heads, light guides, and other items. It markets its products through sales representatives in the United States, and through sales representatives and distributors in international markets. The company was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.
- [By MONEYMORNING.COM]
If the Apple stock split does succeed in putting splits back into vogue, these companies are most in need of one:
Priceline Group Inc. (Nasdaq: PCLN) – Share price: $1,232.43
The online travel company famous for its commercials with William Shatner actually did a 1-for-6 reverse stock split back in 2003 following the dot-com bust. That bad memory has probably been a factor holding PCLN back from doing a stock split. But at this point a 10-to-1 split would make perfect sense. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) – Share price: $568.09
The Mexican restaurant chain has enjoyed a lot of growth and is a star player in the casual dining sector. It has never had a stock split. Management has frequently scoffed at the idea of a stock split, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Until about a year ago, Apple said the same thing. Autozone Inc. (NYSE: AZO) – Share price: $533.84
AutoZone is a retailer and a U.S. distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories. The company has had two 2-for-1 splits in its history, in 1992 and 1994, so it certainly is due. Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) – Share price: $421.54
Growing from a by-mail DVD rental and subscription service into a full-blown Internet-based TV network has pushed NFLX to impressive heights. Netflix had one 2-for-1 split back in 2004. But the dramatic fall of the stock back in 2011 – from just over $300 to $50 – no doubt has kept the company from pulling the trigger on a stock split. The price will have to go even higher to convince management it’s safe to split. Intuitive Surgical Inc. (Nasdaq: ISRG) – Share price: $373.90
Intuitive Surgical designs, manufactures, and markets its own da Vinci Surgical Systems and related instruments and accessories. As ISRG has pulled back from highs of about $575 a share over the past couple of years, a stock split for Intuitive would seem counterintuitive for now. Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Shares of Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) have jumped this morning after the maker of surgical robots announced that it would buy back $1 billion dollars of its shares from Goldman Sachs (GS).
ISI Group’s Vijay Kumar calls the buyback “huge for investors.” He explains why:
This is a huge positive for shareholders, and reiterates our belief in the long term opportunity for robotic surgery. Recall that the company reiterated its commitment to grow OpEx by 12-15% on its 1Q call (April 22) while lowering procedure estimates by ~500bps at the mid-point, implying its belief in new product opportunity and willingness to spend. We had urged management…to back this belief by share repurchases and send a proactive message to the Street. We are encouraged to see this announcement, and would further note that our recent channel checks on the new Xi product has been very positive. Given this, we reiterate our Strong Buy rating of [Intuitive Surgical] shares.
…[Intuitive Surgical] could repurchase ~2-2.8MM of shares, which implies earnings accretion by ~5-7% (and consequently expect shares to be up at least ~7%).
Shares of Intuitive Surgical have gained 1.7% to $365.24 at 2:04 p.m., while Goldman Sachs has dropped 1% to $158.81.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Can you decide which is the bigger disaster? On the one hand, there’s the Other Woman, the new Cameron Diaz flick that’s most notable for a slow motion shot of her and a bikini-clad Kate Upton running. On the other, there’s the stock market which finished down this week after tumbles by Netflix (NFLX) and Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) outweighed big gains in Apple (AAPL), Micron Technology (MU) and Diamond Offshore (DO).
- [By Ben Levisohn]
All good things must come to an end. And so it is with the S&P 500′s six-day winning streak, as AT&T (T), Intuitive Surgical (ISRG), International Game Technology (IGT), Amgen (AMGN) and Netflix (NFLX) helped lead the market lower.
Hot Growth Stocks To Buy For 2015: TrueBlue Inc.(TBI)
TrueBlue, Inc. provides temporary blue-collar staffing services in the United States. It supplies on demand general labor to various industries under the Labor Ready brand; skilled labor to manufacturing and logistics industries under the Spartan Staffing brand; and trades people for commercial, industrial, and residential construction, and building and plant maintenance industries under the CLP Resources brand. The company also provides mechanics and technicians to the aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul, aerospace manufacturing, and assembly industries, as well as to other transportation industries under the Plane Techs brand; and temporary drivers to the transportation and distribution industries under the Centerline brand. It primarily serves small and medium-size businesses. The company was formerly known as Labor Ready, Inc. and changed its name to TrueBlue, Inc. in December 2007. TrueBlue, Inc. was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in Tacoma, Washington.Advisors’ Opinion:
- [By Travis Hoium]
What: Shares of staffing agency TrueBlue (NYSE: TBI ) jumped 10% today after the company reported earnings.
So what: Revenue jumped 19%, to $422.3 million, and beat estimates of $420.2 million from Wall Street. Adjusted earnings per share were also up 19%, to $0.31, outpacing estimates by $0.05.
- [By Jonathan Yates]
For those looking to invest in real estate stocks, highly recommended is the Dr. Housing Bubble blog. In a recent posting, the “Dr.” pointed out that there was a “Lost Generation” when it came to household income. That has not happened for those investing in staffing industry stocks such as Paychex (NASDAQ: PAYX), Robert Half International (NYSE: RHI), TrueBlue, Inc. (NYSE: TBI), and Labor SMART (OTCBB: LTNC).
- [By Jonathan Yates]
When looking at small cap stocks, it is useful to compare the company with others that have expanded in both share price and size. For those considering investing in the $100 billion staffing industry, the growth of TrueBlue (NYSE: TBI) shows what could be the potential path for Labor SMART (OTCBB: LTNC), as both operate in the $29 billion demand labor sector. Other firms have done well in the staffing industry include Paychex (NASDAQ: PAYX) and ManPower Group (NYSE: MAN).
Hot Growth Stocks To Buy For 2015: Crocs Inc.(CROX)
Crocs, Inc. and its subsidiaries engage in the design, development, manufacture, marketing, and distribution of footwear, apparel, and accessories for men, women, and children. The company primarily offers casual and athletic shoes, and shoe charms. It also designs and sells a range of footwear and accessories that utilize its proprietary closed cell-resin, called Croslite. The company?s footwear products include boots, sandals, sneakers, mules, and flats. In addition, it provides footwear products for the hospital, restaurant, hotel, and hospitality markets, as well as general foot care and diabetic-needs markets. Further, the company offers leather and ethylene vinyl acetate based footwear, sandals, and printed apparels principally for the beach, adventure, and action sports markets; and accessories comprising snap-on charms. The company sells its products through the United States and international retailers and distributors, as well as directly to end-user consumers th rough its company-operated retail stores, outlets, kiosks, and Web stores primarily under the Crocs Work, Crocs Rx, Jibbitz, Ocean Minded, and YOU by Crocs brand names. As of December 31, 2010, it operated 164 retail kiosks located in malls and other high foot traffic areas; 138 retail stores; 76 outlet stores; and 46 Web stores. Crocs, Inc. operates in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. The company was formerly known as Western Brands, LLC and changed its name to Crocs, Inc. in January 2005. Crocs, Inc. was founded in 1999 and is headquartered in Niwot, Colorado.
- [By Suravi Thacker]
Some of the prominent players in the industry are Crocs (CROX), Deckers Outdoor Corporation (DECK) and Wolverine World Wide (WWW). Each of the players has adopted a variety of ways to attract customers and boost its revenue.
- [By Suravi Thacker]
Skechers has also been able to outpace its peers such as Wolverine World Wide (WWW) and Crocs (CROX). Skechers has provided a return of 88.8%, in terms of stock price appreciation, in the last year. On the other hand, Wolverine World Wide’s stock price dropped by 1.1% and Crocs’ price declined 15.1%. This highlights Skechers’ attractiveness and its outperformance against its peers.
Hot Growth Stocks To Buy For 2015: MEDIFAST INC(MED)
Medifast, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the production, distribution, and sale of weight management and disease management products, and other consumable health and diet products in the United States. The company?s product lines include weight and disease management, meal replacement, and vitamins. It also operates weight control centers that offer Medifast programs for weight loss and maintenance, customized patient counseling, and inbody composition analysis. The company markets its products under the Medifast and Essential brand names, including shakes, appetite suppression shakes, women?s health shakes, diabetics shakes, joint health shakes, coronary health shakes, calorie burn drinks, calorie burn flavor infusers, antioxidant shakes, antioxidant flavor infusers, bars, crunch bars, soups, chili, oatmeal, pudding, scrambled eggs, hot cocoa, cappuccino, chai latte, iced teas, fruit drinks, pretzels, puffs, brownie, pancakes, soy crisps, crackers, and omega 3 and digestive health products. Medifast Inc. sells its products through various channels of distribution comprising Web, call center, independent health advisors, medical professionals, weight loss clinics, and direct consumer marketing supported via the phone and the Web; Take Shape for Life, a physician led network of independent health coaches; and weight control centers. The company was founded in 1980 and is headquartered in Owings Mills, Maryland.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Shares of Weight Watchers have gained 23% to $24.36 at 11:27 a.m., while NutriSystem (NTRI) has gained 2.4% to $15.36 and Medifast (MED) has dropped 1.6% to $31.15.
- [By Monica Gerson]
Medifast (NYSE: MED) is expected to post its Q4 earnings at $0.36 per share on revenue of $80.83 million.
Full House Resorts (NASDAQ: FLL) is estimated to post a Q4 loss at $0.06 per share on revenue of $33.24 million.
Hot Growth Stocks To Buy For 2015: Delphi Financial Group Inc. (DFG)
Delphi Financial Group, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides integrated employee benefit services. The company operates in two segments, Group Employee Benefit Products and Asset Accumulation Products. The Group Employee Benefit Products segment provides disability, group life, and excess workers? compensation insurance products to small and mid-sized employers. It also offers travel accident, voluntary accidental death and dismemberment, group dental, and limited benefit health insurance products, as well as assumed workers? compensation and casualty reinsurance. This segment markets its group products to employer-employee groups and associations in various industries primarily through independent brokers and agents. The Asset Accumulation Products segment primarily offers fixed annuities, such as single premium deferred annuities, flexible premium annuities, and multi-year interest guarantee products to individuals through networks of independent insurance age n ts. The company also provides integrated disability and absence management services, including event reporting, leave of absence management, claims and case management, and return to work management. Delphi Financial Group, Inc. was founded in 1987 and is based in Wilmington, Delaware.
- [By Holly LaFon]
Some of Elliott Management’s top equity positions in the first quarter 2012 are Brocade Communications Systems (BRCD), Delphi Automotive (DFG), Iron Mountain (IRM) and News Corp. (NWS).
Hot Growth Stocks To Buy For 2015: Buffalo Wild Wings Inc.(BWLD)
Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. engages in the ownership, operation, and franchise of restaurants in the United States. The company provides quick casual and casual dining services, as well as serves bottled beers, wines, and liquor. As of July 26, 2011, it had 773 Buffalo Wild Wings locations in 45 states in the United States, as well as in Canada. The company was founded in 1982 and is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
- [By Ben Rooney]
Stocks to watch — Buffalo Wild Wings, Carnival, Walgreens: The World Cup has been good for business at Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD), according to one analyst. Shares of the sports-themed restaurant chain jumped 6% Monday after an analyst at Wunderlich Securities increased his price target for shares after seeing all the demand for the flagship wings for soccer games. But the stock was down in trading Tuesday as the enthusiasm waned a bit.
- [By kcpl]
However, there are a few restaurants who have managed to brave the headwinds and have come out as winners. Some of these are Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD), Sonic (SONC), and Domino’s Pizza (DPZ) — which have bucked the industry trend.
Hot Growth Stocks To Buy For 2015: Eastern Insurance Holdings Inc.(EIHI)
Eastern Insurance Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides workers compensation insurance and reinsurance products in the United States. The company?s Workers Compensation Insurance segment provides traditional workers compensation insurance coverage products, including guaranteed cost policies, policyholder dividend policies, retrospectively-rated policies, deductible policies, and alternative market products to employers. This segment distributes its workers? compensation products and services through its independent insurance agents primarily in Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina, Maryland, Indiana, and Virginia. Its Segregated Portfolio Cell Reinsurance segment offers alternative market workers compensation solutions comprising program design, fronting, claims administration, risk management, segregated portfolio cell rental, asset management, and segregated portfolio management services to individual companies, groups, and associations. Eastern Insurance Holdings, Inc. is headquartered in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
- [By Lauren Pollock]
ProAssurance Corp.(PRA) agreed to acquire Eastern Insurance Holdings Inc.(EIHI) for about $205 million, expanding the insurance company’s casualty insurance offerings. Eastern Insurance is a domestic casualty insurance group specializing in workers’ compensation products and services, among other things. ProAssurance plans to pay $24.50 in cash for each outstanding Eastern share, a 16% premium over Monday’s closing price.