The markets are very complicated at the moment, which is why now’s an ideal time to reach into the Money Morning Mailbag and address your concerns.
The goal here is simple: To provide understandable, actionable, and, of course, profitable answers to your thoughtful and extremely insightful questions.
Let’s start with Syria and what the conflict really tells us about gold and energy…
Q: “Does the president’s speech change anything (in Syria)?” ~ Robert P.
A: Nope. What’s interesting in this case is that most leaders throughout history spend their time debating an exit strategy. President Obama seems to be hunting for an entry.
This points to opportunities in gold and energy. The key is not so much the commodities themselves, like most people think, but what conflict says about the need to own them.
Gold is really a value play that’s very pure and simple, if you pardon the pun. Conflict places every fiat currency at risk, and that means the need to preserve value overrides price.
Top 10 Clean Energy Companies To Buy For 2014: Gleacher & Company Inc.(GLCH)
Gleacher & Company, Inc., an independent investment bank, provides corporate and institutional clients with advice and execution in the areas of advisory services, capital raising and research, sales, and trading. It operates through five segments: Mortgage Backed/Asset Backed & Rates (MBS/ABS & Rates), Corporate Credit, Investment Banking, Equities, and Other. The MBS/ABS & Rates segment provides sales, trading, banking, research, and advisory services on a range of mortgage and asset-backed securities; the United States Treasury and government agency securities; and structured products, such as collateralized loan obligations and collateralized debt obligations, whole loans, and other securities. The Corporate Credit segment offers analysis, sales, and trading on various debt securities comprising bank debt and loans, investment grade debt, high-yield debt, treasuries, convertibles, distressed debt, preferred debt, emerging markets debt, and reorganization equities to co rporate and institutional investor clients. The Investment Banking segment provides financial advisory services in regards to mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, recapitalizations, and capital markets-related matters. It engages in capital raising through underwritings and private placements of equity and debt securities. The Equities segment offers research on customer trades in equity securities in aerospace, defense, industrials, technology, healthcare, and REIT sectors. The Other segment provides early stage growth capital to companies in the information and energy technology sectors. The company was formerly known as Broadpoint Gleacher Securities Group, Inc. Gleacher & Company, Inc. was founded in 1952 and is headquartered in New York, New York.
- [By Eric Volkman]
Investment bank Gleacher (NASDAQ: GLCH ) has announced that it will exit its mortgage-backed securities and rates business, as well as its credit-products operations. This move, the repercussions of which could potentially affect up to roughly 160 employees, is effective immediately.
- [By Eric Volkman]
The upper ranks of Gleacher (NASDAQ: GLCH ) management have seen a major shake-up. The financial services company has relieved both CEO Thomas Hughes, and COO John Griff, of their jobs. In a tersely worded filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, it said that the twin terminations were effective immediately. It provided no reason for its actions.
Top 10 Clean Energy Companies To Buy For 2014: UBS AG (UBS)
UBS AG, incorporated on February 28, 1978, is a client-focused financial services company that offers a combination of wealth management, asset management and investment banking services on a global and regional basis. UBS AG is the parent company of the UBS Group (Group).The operational structure of the Company consists of the Corporate Center and four business divisions: Wealth Management & Swiss Bank, Wealth Management Americas, Global Asset Management and the Investment Bank. As of December 31, 2011, the Company operated about 877 business and banking locations worldwide, of which about 42% were in Switzerland, 42% in the Americas, 11% in the rest of Europe, Middle East and Africa, and 5% in Asia-Pacific. During the year ended December 31, 2011, it completed acquisitions in Global Asset Management and in the equities business of the Investment Bank. In November 2011, investment management responsibility for a private equity fund of funds was transferred to Global Asset Management from Wealth Management & Swiss Bank. In October 2011, Global Asset Management acquired ING Investment Management Limited business in Australia. In July 2011, the infrastructure and private equity fund of funds businesses were transferred from its alternative and quantitative investment area to its infrastructure investment area. In January 2011, investment management responsibility for a multi-manager alternative fund was transferred to Global Asset Management from Wealth Management & Swiss Bank.
Wealth Management provides wealthy private clients with financial advice, products and tools to fit their individual needs. As of December 31, 2011, Wealth Management had presence in over 40 countries and approximately 200 wealth management and representative offices, half of which are outside Switzerland, mostly in Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East. During 2011, the Company had CHF 750 billion of invested assets. The Company offers products and services to private! clients, focusing in particular on the ultra-high-net-worth (clients with investable assets of more than CHF 50 million) and high-net-worth client segments (clients with investable assets between CHF 2 million and CHF 50 million). In addition, it also provides wealth management solutions, products and services to financial intermediaries. Wealth Management has a presence in over 40 countries and approximately 200 wealth management and representative offices, half of which are outside Switzerland, mostly in Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East.
The Company’s Global Financial Intermediaries (Global FIM) business serves approximately 1,700 asset managers. It provides its clients with the financial advice, products and tools. The Company’s clients can trade a range of financial instruments from single securities, such as equities and bonds, to various investment funds, structured products and alternative investments. Additionally, it offers s tructured lending, corporate finance and wealth planning advice on client needs, such as funding for education, inheritance and succession. For its ultra high net worth clients, it offers institutional-like servicing that provides access to its Investment Bank and Global Asset Management offerings. Wealth Management also gives clients access to the knowledge, and product and service offerings from Global Asset Management and the Investment Bank, complemented by an open product platform providing access to an array of products from third-party providers.
The Company competes with Credit Suisse, Julius Bar, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, Citigroup, Barclays and Unicredit.
Retail & Corporate
The Company delivers financial products and services to its retail, corporate and institutional clients. The Retail & Corporate unit is a core element of UBS Switzerland’s universal bank delivery model. As of December 31, 2011, the Company had a net work of around 300 branches, 1,250 automated teller machines! , self-se! rvice terminals and customer service centers, alongside e-banking and mobile banking. The Company’s retail clients have access to offering, including cash accounts, payments, savings and retirement solutions, investment fund products, residential mortgages, as well as life insurance and advisory services. It provides financing solutions to its corporate clients, offering access to capital markets (equity and debt capital), syndicated and structured credit, private placements, leasing and traditional financing. The Company’s transaction banking offers solutions for payments and cash management services, trade and export finance, receivable finance, as well as global custody solutions to institutional clients.
The Company competes with Credit Suisse, Raiffeisen and PostFinance.
Wealth Management Americas
Wealth Management Americas provides advice-based relationships through its financial advisors, who deliver a range of wealth manage ment solutions. On December 31, 2011, the business division had CHF 709 billion in invested assets. Wealth Management Americas consisted of branch networks in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada, with 6,967 financial advisors as of 31 December 2011. Most corporate and operational functions of the business division are located in the home office in Weehawken, New Jersey. In the United States and Puerto Rico, Wealth Management Americas operates through direct and indirect subsidiaries of UBS AG. Securities and operations activities are conducted primarily through two broker-dealers, UBS Financial Services Inc. and UBS Financial Services Incorporated of Puerto Rico. Its banking services in the United States include those conducted through the UBS AG branches and UBS Bank USA, a federally regulated Utah bank, which provides Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insured deposit accounts. It includes the domestic US business, the domestic Canadian business and interna tional business booked in the United States.
Ca! nadian we! alth management and banking operations are conducted through UBS Bank (Canada). The Company’s include wealth accumulation and preservation, income generation and portfolio diversification. The Company’s advisors work closely with internal consultants in areas, such as wealth planning, portfolio strategy, retirement and annuities, alternative investments, managed structured products, banking and lending, equities, and fixed income accounts, structured products, banking and lending, equities, and fixed income retirement and annuities, alternative investments, managed accounts, structured products, banking and lending, equities, and fixed income. It also offers lending and cash management services, such as securities-backed lending, the resource management account, FDIC-insured deposits, mortgages and credit cards. For corporate and institutional clients, it offers a range of solutions, including equity compensation, administration, investment consulting, defined benefit an d contribution programs and cash management services. It offers a range of equity and fixed income instruments.
The Company competes with Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo.
Global Asset Management
The Company serves third-party institutional and wholesale clients and the clients of UBS’s wealth management businesses. The Company’s fund services unit, a global fund administration business, provides professional services, including legal fund set-up, accounting and reporting. Invested assets totaled CHF 574 billion and assets under administration were CHF 375 billion on December 31, 2011. Global Asset Management serves third-party institutional and wholesale clients, and the clients of UBS’s wealth management businesses. Global Asset Management’s business lines include traditional investments (equities, fixed income and global investment solutions); alternative and quantitative investments; global real estate; infras tructure and private equity, and fund services.
Global ! investment solutions offer asset allocation, currency, multi-manager, structured solutions, risk advisory and strategic investment advisory services. Alternative and quantitative investments has two primary business lines-Alternative Investment Solutions (AIS) and O’Connor. AIS offers a range of hedge fund solutions and advisory services, including multi-manager strategies. O’Connor is a provider of single-manager global hedge funds. Global real estate manages real estate investments globally and regionally within Asia, Europe, Switzerland and the United States. Infrastructure and private equity manages direct infrastructure investment and multi-manager infrastructure and private equity strategies for both institutional and high net worth investors. Infrastructure asset management manages direct investments in core infrastructure assets worldwide. Fund services, the global fund administration business, provides professional services, including legal set-up, reporting and accounting for retail and institutional investment funds, hedge funds and other alternative products.
The Company competes with Fidelity Investments, AllianceBernstein Investments, BlackRock, JP Morgan Asset Management and Goldman Sachs Asset Management.
The Investment Bank provides a range of products and services in equities, fixed income, foreign exchange and commodities to corporate and institutional clients, sovereign and government bodies, financial intermediaries, alternative asset managers and UBS’s wealth management clients. The Investment Bank has three business areas: equities, fixed income, currencies and commodities (FICC), and the investment banking department. The Company operates through branches and subsidiaries of UBS AG. Securities activities in the United States are conducted through UBS Securities LLC, a broker-dealer. Securities research provides investment analysis across a range of asset class es of more than 3,400 companies worldwide.
The ! Company p! articipates in the primary and secondary markets for cash equity and equity-related products, including listed options, structured products, equity-linked securities, swaps, futures and over-the-counter (OTC) derivative contracts. Cash equities provide clients with liquidity, investment advisory, trade execution and related consultancy services. It offers trade execution for single stocks and portfolios, including capital commitment, block trading, small-cap execution and commission management services. In addition, it also provides clients with a range of electronic trading algorithms and analytical tools. Derivatives and equity-linked provides a range of flow, structured, synthetic and equity-linked products with worldwide access to primary and secondary markets.
Prime services offer brokerage business, including clearing and custody, capital consultancy, financing, securities lending and equity swaps execution. The FICC business area delivers products and sol utions to corporate, institutional and public-sector clients in all markets, as well as to private clients via targeted intermediaries. Macro consists of the foreign exchange, money market and interest rate sales and trading businesses, as well as cash and collateral trading. It provides a range of foreign exchange, precious metals, treasury, and liquidity management solutions to institutional and private clients via targeted intermediaries. Credit sales and trading consists of the origination, underwriting, trading and distribution of cash and synthetic products across the credit spectrum – bonds, derivatives, notes and loans.
The investment banking department provides advice and a range of capital markets execution services to corporate clients, financial institutions, financial sponsors, sovereign clients and hedge funds. The Company also provides liquidity in local markets across foreign exchange, credit, rates and structured products. The advisory group ass ists in acquisitions and sale processes, and also advises on! reviews ! and corporate restructuring solutions. Global capital markets is a joint venture with the securities business. It offers financing and advisory services that cover all forms of capital raising, as well as risk management solutions. Global leveraged finance provides event-driven (acquisition, leveraged buyout) loans, and bond and mezzanine leveraged finance to corporate clients and financial sponsors.
The Company competes with Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley.
- [By Bryan Perry]
Keep in mind that it’s a leveraged business development exchange-traded note, not an exchange-traded fund that holds all the underlying stocks of those publicly traded BDCs. Rather, it is a debt note secured by the United Bank of Switzerland (UBS), and is tied to the Wells Fargo Business Development Company Index (WFBDC) the only index to be made up completely of BDCs. This index is based off of 32 BDC holdings, which the BDCL ETN leverages by 2X.
- [By CNBC]
Richard Drew/AP Social media site Twitter (TWTR) saw its shares tumble 17 percent in extended-hours trading despite reporting quarterly results that exceeded Wall Street expectations. Analysts gave a mixed assessment of the company’s fortunes on Thursday morning, highlighting key areas in which the microblogging company needed to improve in order for its share price to continue its meteoric rise. That rise which has seen it appreciate 47 percent in the 60 trading days since its initial public offering. Swiss bank UBS (UBS) was least impressed. A team led by Eric Sheridan downgraded its view on the stock to “sell” rating from “neutral” due to negative trends in Twitter’s user growth and engagement. “Given the likely forward effort to improve user growth and engagement [including product development costs], we see little potential for upside in estimates over coming quarters. Even after last night’s stock correction, Twitter remains one of the most expensive stocks in our universe,” the bank said in a note on Thursday morning. Twitter posted earnings of 2 cents a share for the fourth quarter, excluding one-time items, on sales of $243 million, on Wednesday after the close. The numbers beat expectations in a Reuters poll but the more detailed metrics had analysts scribbling into the early hours. The company said it averaged 241 million monthly users, up just 3.8 percent from the previous quarter — the lowest rate since Twitter began disclosing its user figures. And timeline views dropped sharply from 159 billion to 148 billion in the quarter, signaling that users were refreshing their Twitter accounts less often. UBS added that Twitter needed to demonstrate a clearer trajectory of user and advertising growth in order for it to become more constructive on the stock. It still considered it to be a “unique social media platform” with long-term monetization potential. It gave it a 12-month price target of $45, against Wednesday’s closing price of $65.97 a
- [By Mike Deane]
U.S. Bancorp (USB) announced its Q4 and full year earnings before the opening bell on Wednesday, posting quarterly earnings results that came in slightly above what analysts were expecting.
USB’s Earnings in Brief
U.S. Bancorp reported net income for the fourth quarter of $1.456 billion, or 76 cents per diluted share, which was up from last year’s Q4 earnings of $1.42 billion, or 72 cents per share. The company’s EPS results came in 1 cent higher than analysts’ estimates of 75 cents. For the full year, USB reported a record high for EPS, which came in at $3.
Richard K. Davis, USB’s chairman, president and CEO, had the following comments about the companies earnings results: “Today U.S. Bancorp reported record earnings for full year 2013 of $5.8 billion, or $3.00 per diluted common share. The 2013 results included top-tier returns on average assets and average common equity of 1.65 percent and 15.8 percent, respectively, and an efficiency ratio of 52.4 percent. I am particularly proud to have achieved these results during a year marked by slow economic growth, a significant pullback in mortgage activity and continued regulatory and legislative change and uncertainty. Our results clearly demonstrate the benefits we derive from our diverse mix of businesses and conservative risk profile.”
No Change to Dividend
USB did not make any mention of a dividend change in its earnings release, which was to be expected as the company most recently raised its quarterly dividend from 20 cents to 23 cents this past June. UBS will most likely be declaring its next dividend in March.
USB stock was in active in pre-market trading. YTD, the company’s stock is up 4.24%.
Top 10 Clean Energy Companies To Buy For 2014: Sparton Corporation(SPA)
Sparton Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, offers electronic manufacturing services primarily for medical device, defense and security systems, and electronic manufacturing services industries worldwide. The company?s Medical segment engages in the contract development, design, production, and distribution of medical related electromechanical devices for the medical OEM and ET customers primarily in the vitro diagnostic and therapeutic device areas. Its EMS segment involves in the contract manufacturing, assembly, design, preproduction, prototyping, and/or box building assemblies, such as flight control systems and fuel control systems for the aerospace, medical diagnostics systems, security systems, detection systems, lighting, and defense. The company?s DSS segment engages in the design, development, and production of electromechanical equipment, such as sonobuoys, an anti-submarine warfare device used by the United States Navy and foreign governments; and perf orms an engineering development function for the United States military and prime defense contractors on advanced technologies for defense products, and replacement of current systems. It also offers non-sonobuoy related manufacturing and services. Sparton Corporation was founded in 1900 and is headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois.
- [By Jasmine Ng]
Futures (SPA) on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 0.3 percent today. The U.S. equities benchmark index dropped 0.3 percent yesterday amid data that showed manufacturing unexpectedly climbed last month and retail spending fell on the weekend after Thanksgiving for the first time since 2009.
- [By Louis Navellier]
Sparton Corporation (SPA) provides electromechanical systems and operates in three segments: medical devices, complex systems and defense and security systems. The medical devices segment makes devices used in diagnostic, therapeutic, surgical, and laboratory applications. Complex devices makes printed circuit assemblies used in military, aerospace, industrial and commercial OEMs, while the defense and security segment designs products for defense applications.
Top 10 Clean Energy Companies To Buy For 2014: Columbia Sportswear Company(COLM)
Columbia Sportswear Company, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the design, development, sourcing, marketing, and distribution of outdoor apparel, footwear, accessories, and equipment in the United States, Latin America, the Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Canada. It provides apparel, accessories, and equipment for men, women, and youth under Columbia and Mountain Hardwear brands used during outdoor activities, such as skiing, snowboarding, hiking, climbing, mountaineering, camping, hunting, fishing, trail running, water sports, and adventure travel. The company also offers footwear products, including lightweight hiking boots, trail running shoes, rugged cold weather boots, sandals, and casual shoes for men and women under Columbia, Sorel, and Montrail brands, as well as for youth under the Columbia and Sorel brands. Columbia Sportswear Company sells its products through wholesale distribution channels, independent distributors, direct-to-consum er channels, and licensees, as well as online to independent distributors and consumers. As of December 31, 2011, it operated 43 outlet retail stores and 8 branded retail stores in the United States; 7 outlet retail stores and 3 branded retail stores in various locations in western Europe; and 2 outlet retail stores in Canada, as well as 111 and 236 dealer-operated, branded, outlet, and shop-in-shop locations in Japan and Korea. Columbia Sportswear Company was founded in 1938 and is headquartered in Portland, Oregon.
- [By Will Ashworth]
Summit Sports, a Michigan-based retailer of sporting goods, had this to say about the cold: “Our apparel sales are through the roof on Amazon … We’ve seen a 50% to 60% increase in sales on Amazon.” According to Compete Inc., the average weekly traffic in January for seven big-time retailers of cold-weather gear increased by 22% year-over-year. Both Columbia Sportswear (COLM) and Timberland, part of VF Corp. (VFC), saw YOY increases of more than 40%.
- [By John Kell]
Columbia Sportswear Co.’s(COLM) fourth-quarter profit slipped 7% as an asset impairment charge weighed on the active outdoor apparel maker’s bottom line, masking a rise in revenue. Shares rose 6.4% to $83.70 premarket.
- [By Anh HOANG]
Another peer, Columbia Sportswear Company (NASDAQ: COLM ) has also spent a lot of money on a major marketing campaign for its Omni-Freeze ZERO fabric. This fabric uses the industry’s leading cooling technology and provides prolonged cooling for its users. This could be considered an important new franchise to complement the existing franchise innovations portfolio of Columbia Sportswear. Its fall 2014 product lines have been structured so that they were more reasonably priced to drive sales growth for the company.
Top 10 Clean Energy Companies To Buy For 2014: Syneron Medical Ltd. (ELOS)
Syneron Medical Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the research, manufacture, development, marketing, and sale of aesthetic medical products worldwide. The company develops products based on its proprietary Electro-Optical Synergy (ELOS) technology, which uses the synergy between electrical energy and optical energy to provide aesthetic medical treatments. Its products target a range of non-invasive aesthetic medical procedures, including hair removal, wrinkle reduction, rejuvenation of the skins appearance through the treatment of superficial benign vascular and pigmented lesions, acne treatment, treatment of leg veins, treatment for the temporary reduction in the appearance of cellulite and thigh circumference, ablation and resurfacing of the skin, laser-assisted lipolysis, and topical skin brightening products. It also develops, manufactures, and markets non-invasive technologies for fat cell destruction and body sculpting; and Viador system, a handheld device with a radiofrequency-needle array for use in transdermal delivery of biologic drug-products via a system-specific skin patch. The company sells its products to dermatologists, plastic and cosmetic surgeons, other qualified practitioners, and aestheticians and medical spas through direct sales force and distributors; and to home-use consumers directly, as well as through retailers and a chain of distributors. Syneron Medical Ltd. was founded in 2000 and is headquartered in Yokneam Illit, Israel.
- [By Eric Volkman]
Syneron Medical (NASDAQ: ELOS ) has put a familiar person on its CEO throne. The company named Shimon Eckhouse as its new chief executive, effective immediately. He succeeds Louis Scafuri, who will “remain available” to the firm through the current quarter to aid in the transition.
- [By Seth Jayson]
Syneron Medical (Nasdaq: ELOS ) reported earnings on May 22. Here are the numbers you need to know.
The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended March 31 (Q1), Syneron Medical met expectations on revenues and met expectations on earnings per share.
Top 10 Clean Energy Companies To Buy For 2014: Power Integrations Inc.(POWI)
Power Integrations, Inc. designs, develops, manufactures, and markets proprietary, high-voltage, analog, and mixed-signal integrated circuits (ICs) in the United States and internationally. The company offers alternating current to direct current power conversion products, including TOPSwitch, TinySwitch, and LinkSwitch that addresses power supplies ranging from less than 1 watt of output up to approximately 50 watts of output. These products are used in mobile-device chargers, consumer appliances, utility meters, liquid crystal display monitors, standby power supplies for desktop computers and televisions, and other consumer and industrial applications. It also provides various products for use in applications up to approximately 500 watts of output, such as Hiper family power-conversion and power-factor-correction products for high-power applications, including main power supplies for desktop computers, televisions, and game consoles, as well as light emitting diode stre et lights; CapZero and SenZero, which are designed to enhance the energy-efficiency of power supplies and reduce standby consumption by eliminating particular sources of power waste within a power supply; and high-voltage diodes comprising Qspeed diodes. In addition, the company offers high-voltage DC-DC products comprising The DPA-Switch family of products that are monolithic high-voltage power conversion ICs for use in power-over-Ethernet powered devices, such as voice-over-Internet protocol phones and security cameras, as well as network hubs, line cards, servers, digital PBX phones, DC-DC converter modules, and industrial controls. It serves communications, consumer, computer, and industrial electronics markets. The company sells its products to original equipment manufacturers and merchant power supply manufacturers through direct sales staff and a network of independent sales representatives and distributors. Power Integrations, Inc. was founded in 1988 and is based i n San Jose, California.
- [By Roberto Pedone]
Power Integrations (POWI) designs, develops, manufactures and markets proprietary, high-voltage, analog integrated circuits for use in AC-DC and DC-DC power conversion in the consumer, communications, computer and industrial electronics markets. This stock closed up 5.9% at $55.15 in Wednesday’s trading session.
Wednesday’s Volume: 571,000
Three-Month Average Volume: 218,547
Volume % Change: 173%
From a technical perspective, POWI ripped higher here right above some near-term support at $50.68 with above-average volume. This move also pushed shares of POWI into breakout and new 52-week-high territory, since the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance at $55.38. At last check, POWI closed a bit off its intraday high and volume was well above its three-month average action of 218,547 shares.
Traders should now look for long-biased trades in POWI as long as it’s trending above Wednesday’s low of $52.60 and then once it sustains a move or close above Wednesday’s high of $55.59 with volume that this near or above 218,547 shares. If we see that move soon, then POWI will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $60 to $62.
- [By CRWE]
Power Integrations (Nasdaq:POWI), the leader in high-voltage integrated circuits for energy-efficient power conversion, reported that Balu Balakrishnan, the company’s president and CEO, will present at the NASDAQ OMX 28th Investor Program in London on June 26, 2012 at 3:45 p.m. British Summer Time (10:45 a.m. Eastern time).
Top 10 Clean Energy Companies To Buy For 2014: Mechanical Technology Inc (MKTY)
Mechanical Technology, Incorporated (MTI), incorporated on October 4, 1961, operates in two segments: the Test and Measurement Instrumentation segment, which is conducted through MTI Instruments, Inc. (MTI Instruments), a wholly-owned subsidiary, and the New Energy segment, which is conducted through MTI MicroFuel Cells, Inc. (MTI Micro), a variable interest entity (VIE) as of December 31, 2011. MTI Instruments is a worldwide supplier of precision non-contact physical measurement solutions, portable balance equipment and wafer inspection tools. MTI Micro is developing Mobion, a handheld energy-generating device. Mobion handheld generators are based on direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) technology. As of December 31, 2011, the Company owned approximately 47.6% of MTI Micro’s interest.
The Test and Measurement Instrumentation Segment
MTI Instruments is a worldwide supplier of precision non-contact physical measurement solutions, portable balance equ ipment and wafer inspection tools. MTI Instrument’s products use a range of technologies to solve applications in numerous industries including manufacturing, semiconductor, solar, commercial and military aviation, automotive and data storage. The Company’s test and measurement segment has three product groups: Precision Instruments, Semiconductor and Solar Metrology Systems, and Aviation Balancing Systems. The Company’s products consist of electronic, computerized gauging instruments for position, displacement and vibration applications for the design, manufacturing/production and test and research markets; metrology tools for wafer characterization of semiconductor and solar wafers; tensile stage systems for materials testing in research and industrial settings; and engine balancing and vibration analysis systems for both military and commercial aircraft.
The Precision Instruments group employs capacitance, laser and fiber optic technologies to make nano-accur ate measurements. These advanced sensing and physical measur! ement technologies are used to produce products that range from basic sensors to complete, fully integrated measurement systems, and are available as single sensors for integration into existing data acquisition systems or as complete system level solutions that can be further integrated into a facility wide communication backbone. MTI Instruments’ Precision Instruments product offerings & technologies include Accumeasure Family, Microtrak Family, Microtrak II Series, Microtrak Pro-2D, MTI-2100 Fotonic Sensor Series, MTI Tensile Stages, Semiconductor and Solar Metrology Systems, Aviation Balancing Systems, PBS-4100+ /4100R+ Portable Balancing System, TSC-4800A Tachometer Signal Conditioner, and 1510A Calibrator.
The Accumeasure family of products is designed to address the needs of product developers, process engineers, researchers, designers, and others who need measurements. MTI Instrument’s Microtrak family of laser triangulation sensors offers displacement, position and vibration measurements. The Microtrak II comes with an interface controller that provides a digital display of the target position, alarm set points and connections for analog and RS-485 outputs. The Microtrak II Stand-Alone Laser Head also uses complementary metal oxide semiconductors with charged coupled device (CMOS – CCD) detection technology. During the year ended December 31, 2011, MTII launched its Microtrak PRO-2D laser triangulation scanners, which provides profile, displacement and dimensional information in real time.
The MTI-2100 features fiber-optic and electronic technologies for precise measurements of displacement, position and vibration. MTI Instruments’ miniature tensile, compression and bend testing machines are designed for use in scanning electron microscopes, atomic force microscopes, and light microscopes. The Company’s family of wafer metrology systems includes manual and semi-automated systems. The Semiconductor and Solar Me trology Systems include Proforma 200SA/300SA, Proforma 300 a! nd PV-100! 0. The Proforma 300 is a manual tool. The PV-1000 is incorporated into solar cell production lines to help manufacturers determine quality control issues. The computer-based portable balancing systems (PBS) products collect and record aircraft engine vibration data, identify vibration or balance trouble in an engine, and calculate a solution to the problem.
The portable PBS-4100+ detects if an engine has a vibration problem or a trim balance problem and provides a solution, resulting in reduced engine vibration, longer engine life, and lower fuel costs. The PBS-4100R+ rack mounted system offers the same features and functions as the portable PBS-4100+ with added data channels, speed input channels, direct current (DC) outputs and diagnostic options. TSC-4800A Tachometer Signal Conditioner is targeted for operators of Engine Test cells, where accurate and reliable conditioning of speed signals is essential. The TSC-4800A features multiple output circuits that pr ovide more than 10 different signals types for the monitoring devices. The PBS family of products includes a 1510A calibrator – a product that automatically performs a calibration check of the PBS unit which otherwise would take hours.
The New Energy Segment
MTI Micro has been developing an off-the-grid power solution for various portable electronic devices to address this power gap. The Company’s DMFC technology platform, called Mobion, converts methanol fuel to usable electricity. The Company’s fuel cell power solution consists of two components integrated into a manufactured device: the direct methanol fuel cell power engine, which the Company refers to as its Mobion Chip, and methanol fuel cartridges. MTI Micro is focusing the development of an external power charger product as a standalone device that uses a universal serial bus (USB) interface as a power output connector that can be used to recharge handheld mobile devices. A fuel cell is an electrochemical energy conversion device, which is similar t! o a batte! ry that produces electricity from a liquid or gaseous fuel, such as methanol, and an oxidant, such as oxygen.
The Company competes with KLA-Tencor, Sigma Tech Corporation, E+H Eichhorn+Hausmann GmbH, Chadwick-Helmuth Company, Inc., ACES Systems, Micro-Epsilon, and Keyence Corporation.
- [By John Udovich]
Small cap Plug Power Inc was formed in 1997 as a joint venture between Michigan utility owner DTE Energy Co (NYSE: DTE) and Mechanical Technology Inc (OTCMKTS: MKTY) to develop fuel-cell systems to power homes and small businesses. Plug Power Inc says it has revolutionized the material handling industry with cost-effective power solutions that increase productivity, lower operating costs and reduce carbon footprints as it manufactures a full suite of products designed to fit seamlessly into the existing battery compartment of all major OEM material handling equipment. In addition, the company says its GenDrive fuel cell is a superior alternative to lead-acid batteries for electric lift trucks in the $20 billion global material handling market.
- [By John Udovich]
Meanwhile, Plug Power Inc was formed in 1997 as a joint venture of Michigan utility owner DTE Energy Co (NYSE: DTE) and Mechanical Technology Inc (OTCMKTS: MKTY) to develop fuel-cell systems to power homes and small businesses. Plug Power Inc says it has revolutionized the material handling industry with cost-effective power solutions that increase productivity, lower operating costs and reduce carbon footprints as it manufactures a full suite of products designed to fit seamlessly into the existing battery compartment of all major OEM material handling equipment. The company also says that its GenDrive fuel cell is a superior alternative to lead-acid batteries for electric lift trucks in the $20 billion global material handling market.
Top 10 Clean Energy Companies To Buy For 2014: WABCO Holdings Inc (WBC)
WABCO Holdings Inc. (WABCO) is a provider of electronic, mechanical and mechatronic products for the commercial truck, trailer, bus and passenger car manufacturers. The Company manufactures and sells control systems, including advanced braking, stability, suspension, transmission control and air compressing and processing systems. Its products are included in approximately two out of three commercial vehicles with advanced vehicle control systems and offered in niche applications in cars and sport utility vehicles (SUVs). WABCO develops, manufactures and sells advanced braking, stability, suspension and transmission control systems primarily for commercial vehicles. In September 2012, it acquired Ephicas.
The Company’s products include pneumatic anti-lock braking systems (ABS), electronic braking systems (EBS), automated manual transmission systems, air disk brakes, and a large variety of conventional mechanical products, such as actuators, air compressors a nd air control valves for heavy- and medium-sized trucks, trailers and buses. It also supplies advanced electronic suspension controls and vacuum pumps to the car and SUV markets in Europe, North America and Asia. The Company sells replacement parts, diagnostic tools, training and other services to commercial vehicle aftermarket distributors, repair shops, and fleet operators and provide remanufacturing services.
The Company’s key product groups include Actuator, Air Processing/Air Management System, Foundation Brake, Conventional Braking System, Electronic and Conventional Air Suspension Systems, Transmission Automation, Vehicle Electronic Architecture (VEA), and Vehicle Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Roll Stability Support (RSS). WABCO sells its products primarily to four groups of customers worldwide: truck and bus (OEMs), trailer (OEMs), commercial vehicle aftermarket distributors for replacement parts and services, and major car manufacturers. Its customers include Daimler, Volvo, Ashok Leyland, BMW, China! National Heavy Truck Corporation (CNHTC), Cummins, Fiat (Iveco), Hino, Hyundai, Krone, MAN Nutzfahrzeuge AG (MAN), Meritor, Meritor WABCO (a joint venture), Paccar (DAF Trucks N.V. (DAF), Kenworth, Leyland and Peterbilt), First Automobile Works, Otto Sauer Achsenfabrik (SAF), Scania, Schmitz Cargobull AG, TATA Motors and ZF Friedrichshafen AG (ZF).
The Company competes with Knorr-Bremse, Haldex, Bosch, Continental and Siemens-VDO.
- [By Adam Haigh]
Declines in other Australian financial shares limited gains on the MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the country’s largest bank, declined 2 percent to A$71.06, a third day of losses. Westpac Banking Corp. (WBC), the second-biggest, slid 1 percent to A$33.55 even after saying it will pay a special dividend for the first time since 1988.
- [By Adam Haigh]
Westpac Banking Corp. (WBC) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the two biggest Australian lenders, each slid at least 1 percent as minutes from a central bank meeting highlighted concern about business conditions. ICBC, the world’s largest lender by market value, sank 2.1 percent in Hong Kong. Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501) gained 12 percent, taking this month’s rise to 90 percent.
Top 10 Clean Energy Companies To Buy For 2014: Erickson Air-Crane Inc (EAC)
Erickson Air-Crane Incorporated (Erickson) is engaged in the operation and manufacture of the Erickson S-64 Aircrane (Aircrane), a heavy-lift helicopter. The Company operates in two segments: Aerial Services and Manufacturing / MRO. Aerial Services offers a range of heavy-lift helicopter services through the Company’s worldwide fleet, including firefighting, timber harvesting, infrastructure construction, and crewing services. Manufacturing / MRO manufactures Aircranes from existing airframes, manufactures new components on a contract basis, and provides customers with Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency certified maintenance, and MRO services in the Company’s AS9100 certified facility. In October 2012, the Company purchased the Sun Bird Aircraft and associated spare parts inventory and accessories from San Diego Gas & Electric Company. In May 2013, Erickson Air-Crane Inc acquired the entire share capital of Evergreen Helicopters Inc. In Sep tember 2013, Erickson Air-Crane Incorporated announced the completion of its acquisition of Air Amazonia Servicos Aeronauticos Ltda and certain related assets from HRT Participacoes em Petroleo S.A.
In February 2012, its Malaysian subsidiary, Erickson Aircrane Malaysia Sdn. Bhd., entered into an amendment to its existing logging contract with Syarikat Samling Timber Sdn. Bhd. (Samling Global) to extend the contract term to January 31, 2013. Pursuant to the amended contract, it began providing aerial timber harvesting services in Malaysia on February 1, 2012 to Samling Global. In January 2012, its Canadian subsidiary, Canadian Air-Crane Limited, amended its existing agreement with Western Forest Products Inc. (Western Forest Products), a Canadian forest products and timberlands management company, to establish the terms for one year of aviation services.
The Company offers a full spectrum of heavy-lift helicopter solutions, including the design, engi neering, development, manufacturing, and testing of the Airc! rane, as well as Aerial Services and MRO services. It has production, maintenance, and logistics facilities in Central Point, Oregon. It maintains a year-round international presence with operations in Canada, Italy, Malaysia, and Peru, and an operating presence in Australia and Greece.
It owns the Type and Production Certificates for the Aircrane, granting us exclusive design, manufacturing, and related rights for the aircraft and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) components. It has made more than 350 design improvements to the Aircrane since acquiring the Type Certificate and it has developed Aircrane accessories that enhance its aerial operations, such as its firefighting tank system and snorkel, timber heli harvester, and anti-rotation device and hoist.
The Aircrane has a lift capacity of up to 25,000 pounds and is a commercial aircraft built specifically as a flying crane without a fuselage for internal loads. The Airc rane is also a commercial heavy-lift helicopter with a rear load-facing cockpit, combining an unobstructed view and complete aircraft control for precision lift and load placement capabilities. It owns and operates a fleet of 17 Aircranes, which it uses to support a variety of government and commercial customers worldwide across a range of aerial services, including firefighting, timber harvesting, infrastructure construction, and crewing. The Aircrane is capable of providing heavy-lift solutions to a wide variety of industries, including firefighting, timber harvesting, infrastructure construction, oil and gas and energy related construction, disaster recovery, and emergency response. It leases its aircraft to customers for specific missions, with customers generally paying for the aircraft, maintenance, and crewing services, as well as fuel expense. In addition, it provides crewing for aircraft it has sold. Its Aircrane accessories include Fire Tank and Pond Snorkel, Fire Tank and Sea Snorkel, Foam Cannon, Hydromulch Loading Manifo! ld, Heli ! Harvester, Hydraulic Grapple, Long-Line Shock and Pendant, Anti-Rotation Device and Hoist and Material Transport Bucket.
The Aircrane Helitanker has provided firefighting services in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Italy, Greece, France, Turkey, and Australia. Its firefighting customers include federal, state, local, and international government agencies who hire the Company to be available as needed. Under its firefighting contracts, aircraft are deployed to locations prone to seasonal fires and remain on standby throughout the fire season. For these contracts, which it refers to as exclusive-use contracts, it typically charge on a per-day basis for availability and on a per-hour basis for actual aircraft use.
Aircrane is engaged in timber operations in a number of regions, including the United States, Canada, and the tropical forests in Malaysia. Its customers uses its harvesting solutions primarily for timber, such as tropical hardwoods and fo r remote area harvesting in locations that would otherwise require road construction or prohibit ground-based harvesting. Timber is vertically lifted and transported with its hydraulic grapple.
The Aircrane’s rear load-facing pilot seat makes the aircraft particularly for infrastructure projects that require extreme precision in load delivery, such as electricity transmission and broadcasting towers, oil and gas pipelines, wind turbines, mining conveying systems, industrial equipment, emergency shelters, and ski-lift equipment. The Aircrane can be configured to transport heavy machinery and equipment, such as heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) units, automotive equipment, and other cargo items.
Aircraft Manufacturing and Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (Manufacturing/MRO)
The Company manufactures Aircranes and related components for sale to government and commercial customers and provide aftermarket support and mainten ance, repair, and overhaul services for the Aircrane and oth! er aircra! ft. It also offers cost per hour (CPH) contracts pursuant to which it provides components and expendable supplies for a customer’s aircraft at a fixed cost per flight hour. Through its Manufacturing / MRO segment it manufactures Aircranes from existing airframes, manufacture components on a contract basis, and provide customers with FAA- and European Aviation Safety Agency-certified MRO services
The Company has manufactured a total of 33 Aircranes for its own use and for sale to customers, and has sold one for domestic construction operations and eight for international firefighting operations. It also builds and manufactures Aircranes for its own use and owns, operates, and maintains 17 Aircranes. As the owner of the S-64 Type and Production Certificates, it also has the authority and ability to manufacture an Aircrane entirely from new parts. It manufactures aluminum main and tail rotor blades and have partnered with OEMs to design and manufacture composite ma in rotor blades. While it provides MRO services to its own Aircranes, it continues to provide parts and maintenance and overhaul services to every Aircrane it has sold. It also performs similar operations on engines and other components for owners of other aircraft platforms. Its FAA-certificated repair station offers an array of services from small repairs to extensive heavy airframe maintenance.
The Company competes with Columbia Helicopters, Helicopter Transport Services and Siller Brothers.
- [By Blake Bos]
In the following video, Motley Fool industrials analyst Blake Bos takes a question from a Fool reader on Facebook, who asks, “What’s your Foolish take on Erickson Air-Crane Incorporated (NASDAQ: EAC ) ?”
Top 10 Clean Energy Companies To Buy For 2014: AllianceBernstein Global High Income Fund Inc (AWF)
AllianceBernstein Global High Income Fund, Inc., (the Fund), formerly Alliance World Dollar Government Fund II, Inc. is a non-diversified, closed-end management investment company. This Fund seeks high current income and secondarily, capital appreciation. Under normal circumstances, the Fund will invest at least 65% of its total assets in sovereign debt obligations issued or guaranteed by foreign governments. Up to 35% of the Fund’s investments may comprise high-yielding, high-risk fixed-income securities issued by United States corporations. AllianceBernstein Investments, Inc., an affiliate of AllianceBernstein L.P., is the manager of the Fund.
The Fund is permitted to invest, without limit, in securities denominated in non-United States currencies, as well as those denominated in the United States dollar. The Fund may also invest, without limit, in sovereign debt securities issued by emerging and developed nations and in debt securities of United States and non-United States corporate issuers.
- [By Adam Aloisi]
The following chart takes a comparative look at some widely held ETFs/CEFs holding different types of bonds. The objective is to visualize not only how much these products cost, but also to break down the percent of total yield depleted by management fees. I define total yield as current annualized yield plus net fees – in other words the yield of the fund if there were no management fees attached. The funds we will examine are aforementioned BND, iShares 20+ Treasury Bond (TLT), iShares High-Yield Corporate (HYG), Nuveen Municipal Value (NUV), Eaton Vance Limited Duration (EVV) and Alliance Bernstein Global High-Yield (AWF).