Top 10 Clean Energy Companies To Watch For 2014

Last week’s corporate bond issues topped $30 billion for only the second time since the Fed started taper talk in late May. Here’s a summary of a few deals.

Sprint (NYSE: S  ) dialed up investors and raised a total of $6.5 billion with eight- and 10-year notes in a private placement. The coupon rates for the high-yield paper were 7.25% and 7.875%, respectively. That’s nearly $500 million per year in debt service that Sprint needs to cover. According to the company’s press release, the money will be used “for general corporate purposes, which may include, among other things, redemptions or service requirements of outstanding debt and network expansion and modernization.” December 2016 was the earliest maturity I found for any Sprint bond issue, although there may be other debt planned for redemption. Let’s hope the uses for the money can clear the big debt service hurdle.

Home Depot (NYSE: HD  ) is doing a little remodeling to its balance sheet with $3.25 billion spread over five-, 10.5-, and 30.5-year tranches with coupon rates ranging from 2.25% to 4.875%. Home Depot’s press release says $1.25 billion will be used to redeem some 5.25% paper that matures in December and the other $2 billion will be used for share buybacks over and above previously announced plans. The combination of lower coupon rates and not paying dividends on $2 billion of shares means the debt service costs for the new issues are roughly the same as for the maturing 5.25% paper. No significant change to cash flow and about 2% of outstanding shares taken off the market sounds like a good deal for Home Depot shareholders.

Top 10 Clean Energy Companies To Watch For 2014: Sierra Wireless Inc. (SWIR)

Sierra Wireless, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides cellular wireless solutions to the machine-to-machine (M2M) and connected device markets in North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific. The company operates through two segments, Mobile Computing and Machine-to-Machine. It offers AirPrime embedded wireless modules, which are used to wirelessly enable various products and solutions by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs); and AirLink intelligent gateways that are rugged and industrial-grade wireless terminals for M2M and mobile applications to public safety, transportation, field service, energy, industrial, and financial organizations. The company’s AirVantage M2M cloud platform provides secure, scalable, and device-to-cloud infrastructure for M2M applications. It also provides professional services to OEM customers during their product development and launch process. The company offers its products to consumer electronics, networking equipment, automotiv e, energy, security, sales and payment, industrial control and monitoring, fleet management, field service, and healthcare industries. It sells its products and solutions through various indirect channels, such as OEMs, wireless operators, distributors, and value-added resellers. Sierra Wireless, Inc. was founded in 1993 and is headquartered in Richmond, Canada.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By John Udovich]

    Small cap machine-to-machine (M2M) stock Elecsys Corp (NASDAQ: ESYS) jumped 8.99% yesterday and is up 254% over the past year, meaning it might be time to take a closer look at the stock and its performance verses other small cap M2M stocks like Digi International Inc (NASDAQ: DGII), Numerex Corp (NASDAQ: NMRX) and Sierra Wireless, Inc (NASDAQ: SWIR). First of all though, I should mention that machine-to-machine (M2M) broadly refers to technologies that allow both wireless and wired systems to communicate with other devices of the same type and this can be through any type of technology ranging from instruments to networks to applications that create connections between devices.

Top 10 Clean Energy Companies To Watch For 2014: Bally Technologies Inc (BYI)

Bally Technologies, Inc. (Bally), incorporated on September 30, 1968, is a global gaming company, which designs, manufactures, operates, and distributes advanced technology-based gaming devices, systems, server-based solutions, custom mobile applications, and interactive applications. The Company also provides hardware, including spinning-reel and video gaming devices, specialty gaming devices, and wide-area progressive systems. The Company supports customers include land-based, riverboat, and Native American casinos, video lottery and central determination markets. The Company derives its revenue from sale of gaming devices and related equipment, parts and conversion kits; operation of linked progressive systems, video lottery and centrally determined systems, and the rental of gaming devices and content, and sale and support of specialized systems-based software, hardware and interactive products and related recurring maintenance revenue. In July 2011, the Company acquir ed MacroView Labs, a company in mobile-application development and mobile platforms for the casino gaming industry.

Game Cabinet Hardware

The Company’s Pro Series is available in upright, slant, spinning-reel, curve, V32 and V22/32 formats. They come with features, such as the touch-screen, iDeck. The Company can configure the top-box in Pro Series cabinets in a range of ways, including with upright wheel, as a hammerhead with an oversized 32-inch cinematic display, using the commanding digital ladder 32-inch high definition (HD) video display, and the soon to be released 42-inch vertical display. The Pro Curve Upright, which emulates a spinning-reel cabinet, but is actually a video slot machine with a curved LCD display, features a video-reel technology.

Game Platform

The Company support two gaming platforms; the ALPHA and the ALPHA 2. ALPHA and ALPHA 2 were designed to support industry protocols, as well as various kin ds of game bonuses and multi-denomination, multi-game and mu! lti-pay table game configurations. It can operate with stand-alone, local, and progressive products. The ALPHA 2 platform incorporated all the attributes of ALPHA, which featured a layered architecture and modular design, as well as INTEL Core 2 processor; four gigabytes of dual-channel memory; Realtek HD audio, and video technology. ALPHA 2 supports both game content, as well as network and server-based applications. It is operable with the Bally Command Center, which will allow downloadable access to the Company’s game content through a central server.

Game Development and Game Content

The Company’s game content features original themes, licensed themes using brands, and adaptations of Bally brands, such as Cash Spin, Hot Shot, Quick Hit, and Blazing 7s. The Company has deployed its game content across wide-area progressive, local-area, and near-area progressive slots, spinning-reel and video gaming devices, specialty gaming devices, and multi-s uite games. The Company’s game-development teams cover the globe, with centers in Arizona, California, Nevada, Australia, and India. In addition, the Company has partnered with brands, such as Michael Jackson, GREASE, Betty Boop, and the Playboy franchise. During the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012 (fiscal 2012), the Company introduced new levels of iDeck interaction on games, such as All That Jazz, Total Blast, and Fish’n for Loot. These games enable players to use the iDeck as an arcade-like device. Players touch and play a virtual piano on All That Jazz. Fish’n for Loot and Total Blast introduced the Company’s new U-Shoot virtual shooting gallery bonus-game play mechanic, in which the player touches the iDeck to create weapons for shooting at targets on the main game screens.

Game Parts and Conversion Kits

The Company’s gaming device customers purchase replacement parts, upgrades, game conversion kits, and other products from the Company. The C ompany’s Pro Series cabinets, with their all-digital display! s and iDe! ck digital, configurable touch-screen button deck, make game conversions not to change the button configuration or replace game glass.

Maintenance, Trade, and Resale Market

The Company offers a 90-day parts, labor, and performance warranty/guarantee for new gaming devices. The Company provides after-sale services to its customers, including customer education programs, an around-the-clock customer service telephone hotline, a Website for technical support, field service-support programs, and spare parts programs. The Company sells used gaming devices, including products made by the Company, as well as those produced by its competitors. The Company acquires used devices as trade-ins toward the purchase of new gaming devices.

Gaming Operations

Through the Company’s Gaming Operations, the Company offers gaming operators a range of rental options for its gaming devices and content. The Company offers its customers gaming d evices featuring a common jackpot or prize awards that can be linked (within a casino, in a local-area network, or among multiple casinos within a market or jurisdiction) in a wide-area network. The Company offers progressive gaming devices to customers under a daily-fee arrangement based on a percentage of the money wagered on the participating gaming devices. In many cases, the Company uses a portion of these revenues to fund the ultimate payment of the jackpot awards. The Company markets its linked progressive systems under titles such as Betty Boop’s Love Meter, Golden Pharaoh, Money Vault, Instant Fortune, Ultimate Tower of Power, Quarter Million$, Millionaire Sevens and 1,000,000 Degrees. As of June 30, 2012, the Company had a total of 1,792 linked progressive systems.

The Company offers a range of non-linked games and content on a rental basis for either a fixed daily fees or a fee based on the percentage of the net win generated by the gaming device. Man y of these games are available as both wide-area progressive! s (WAP) a! nd flat-fee near-area progressives (NAP). This category includes both gaming devices, in which the Company retains ownership and charges a daily fees for the use of the gaming device, and gaming devices its customers purchase which are classified as game sales revenue. Gaming devices, in which the Company retains ownership and charges a daily fees, include rental and maintenance of the gaming device and licensing of the game content. For gaming devices the Company’s customers purchase, the Company provides the game content under a usage-fee arrangement, which results in a lower daily-fee than leasing the entire gaming device. The Company markets its rental and daily-fee games under titles, including greases, Michael Jackson King of Pop, Money Vault, Money Talks, Golden Pharaoh, Cash Spin Jackpot, Money Wheel, Vegas Hits Roadtrip, Betty Boop’s Love Meter, Cash Spin, Hot Spin, Vegas Hits, Cash Wizard, Ultimate Tower of Power, Hot Shot Progressive Cash Wheel, Fireball, 77777 Ja ckpot, Reel Money, Hot Shot Progressive, Quick Hit Platinum, Reel Winners, Hee Haw, and Monte Carlo. As of June 30, 2012, the Company had a total installed base of rental and daily fee games of 14,890 units.

The Company offers video and spinning-reel devices, which can operates either as stand-alone devices or as units, which interact with (or can be monitored by) a central system maintained by government agencies. The financial model for this market requires the Company to build, deploy, and maintain the devices, along with providing the related equipment in return for a share of the net win generated by the device for a contractually fixed period of time. As of June 30, 2012, the Company earned recurring revenue from its installed base of 9,281 video lottery devices operated by New York State Lottery (NYSL). The Company also earns recurring revenues from 2,437 video lottery devices deployed at horseracing and other gaming facilities under agreements with the D elaware State Lottery Commission and Maryland State Lottery ! Commissio! n.

The Company offers video and spinning-reel devices, which connects to a central server, which determines the outcome of the games. These systems operate in Native American casinos in Washington, Oklahoma, and Florida, as well as Mexico. In each case, for the use of the Company’s central determination software, the Company receives either a fixed daily fee or a percentage of the net wins generated by the devices connected to the system. As of June 30, 2012, the total installed base of gaming devices connected to the Company’s centrally determined systems totaled 47,633. In Mexico, the Company sells gaming devices for an upfront fees, and classify the purchases as game sales revenues. The Company also derives a daily fee equal to a percentage of the net win for providing a system network, gaming content, and monitoring, maintenance and consulting. As of June 30, 2012, 9,449 of the total installed base of gaming devices connected to the Company’s centrally deter mined systems were deployed in Mexico. Included in the total installed base of centrally determined games in Mexico are 6,981 iVIEW in-game player-communication units installed in non-Bally games, in which the Company charges a system connection fee.

System Solutions

The Company offers core, slot, casino and table management systems (collectively, casino management systems). The Company’s comprehensive suite of technology solutions provides gaming operations of every size with a range of marketing, data management and analysis, accounting, player tracking, security, and other software applications and tools to more manage their operations. The Company also provides technologies to deploy a networked, server-based gaming environment, complete with a command center solution for centralized management and control. Version 11 provides gaming operators with easy-to-use graphical interfaces; vertical and horizontal scalability; distributed architectures, and support for multiple languages and currencies. As of Ju! ne 30, 20! 12, there were more than 300 casinos that have installed Version 11.

The Company partners with its customers to help them add network and server-based solutions to their existing systems, whether on a floor-wide basis, in smaller sections of the floor, or on selected banks of games. The Company’s Systems business comprises three facets: hardware, including the Company’s iVIEW and Display Manager (DM) player-user-interface devices and specialized system-based products; software and services, including licenses of the Company’s core systems and suite of player tracking, bonusing, and marketing applications and customized system solutions, and maintenance, providing access to future enhancements or upgrades to the system software for a fee based on a percent of the license fee.

The system-based hardware and software products in the Company’s casino management systems offer gaming operators benefits, including player-loyalty solutions, which are compa rable to frequent guest programs found in other leisure and retail industries; database marketing and table-game accounting solutions, including the calculation of all revenue and expense-related items, and cage and credit accountability for all extensions of cage and credit cash balancing functions. The Company designed and deployed these systems in both domestic and international markets so that they would be and adaptable to foreign languages and currencies.

The Company’s solutions, which support Gaming Standard Association (GSA) protocols, operate on common platforms, such as Windows, AS/400 (iSeries), Linux, and UNIX. By supporting these platforms, the Company allows its customers to choose a technology solution. The Company designs its slot-management systems with features for handling slots monitoring, accounting, and operations, as well as bonusing, sweepstakes, promotions, cashless transfer, ticketing, jackpots, promotional coupons, redemptions, and sof t count. The Bally Business Intelligence applications, which! span acr! oss all the Company’s casino management systems, bring data analytics to a gaming operator’s key executive and marketing-management teams.

The Company’s server-based iVIEW network serves as a way to communicate with players directly at the point-of-play. This network allows gaming operators to present messages in a split or full screen format on the main game display of any touch-screen- equipped gaming device. The Company’s iVIEW network also works with the Company’s Bally Command Center for server-based download of content, its Elite Bonusing Suite of floor-wide bonusing applications, its Bally CoolSign media management solution, and other new technologies under development. iVIEW and iVIEW DM work on almost any manufacturers’ gaming devices that have a touch screen and are backward and forward compatible.

The iVIEW DM solution is for marketing to players at the point of play. This picture-in-picture-style technology facilitates enhanced communic ation and customer-service functions, such as beverage service, floor mapping, and real-time perishable promotions without interrupting game play. iVIEW DM also used to create excitement on the casino floor with floor-wide bonusing events; game-in-games; second-chance-to-win games; floor-wide slot tournaments; interactive virtual racing events; time-based promotions; targeted, customized player messaging, and bonuses on birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. iVIEW and iVIEW DM can even work in conjunction with the casino’s player data to offer customized content based on gender, age, and provide player preferences. The Company can implement iVIEW DM across entire gaming floors, in smaller sections of floors, or bank-by-bank based on casino operator preference and capital budgets. Bonusing applications on the Elite Bonusing Suite server allow operators to tailor and automate promotions using server-based applications, such as Virtual Racing, DM Tournaments, U-Spin Bonusing, P ower Winners, Dynamic Random Bonusing, Video Poker Bonusing,! iVIEW Me! ssaging, Flex Rewards and Lucky Match Bonusing. Bally CoolSign is the gaming industry’s gaming centric media management tool, which enables gaming promotions and/or gaming information, triggered through any of the Company’s products, to be displayed onto any digital display in the casino resort or the casino enterprise.

The Company’s server-based command center enables gaming operators to download marketing content on iVIEW and iVIEW DM displays. They can also configure gaming device pay tables and game play options, deliver new game content and game libraries, and perform updates of game firmware, such as ticket printers and bill acceptors through a central server, rather than having to implement updates on each device.

Interactive Solutions

Bally Interactive encompasses the Company’s mobile and online initiatives and related product offerings, which provide operators a range of solutions. The Company’s online solutions are designed to enable casino operators the ability to offer players a online gaming experience through the Company’s iGaming Platform and Remote Gaming Server on computers or mobile devices. The Company’s open, cloud-based iGaming Platform, enable operators to choose poker, slot, table, and other gaming content from various providers. This content is delivered through the Company’s Remote Gaming Server, allowing access to the entire library of games and one-time integration.

The Company offers or has created mobile apps and mobile Websites for dozens of casinos globally. The Company’s apps are designed as casino concierge apps, providing operators the opportunity to attract new players, enhance their patrons’ casino resort visit, and sell more to them through their phones or mobile tablets. Apps can include casino games, player’s club sign-up and account information, hyper-targeted offers, show previews, room and restaurant bookings, feedback surveys, menus, interactive ma ps, and many other features. Utilizing the Company’s cloud-b! ased mobi! le technology platform, casinos can manage their portfolio of mobile Websites and native apps for iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Android tablet, BlackBerry, and other devices from a single content management system.

The Company competes with International Game Technology, Game Technology Ltd., Aristocrat Leisure Limited, Aruze Gaming America, Inc., GTECH Holdings Corporation, Konami Co. Ltd., Novomatic AG, Recreativos Franco, S.A., Unidesa Gaming and Systems, and WMS Industries, Inc.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Holly LaFon]

    Value investor John Rogers (Trades, Portfolio) recommends JM Smucker (SJM), Bally Tech (BYI) and Lazard (LAZ).
    Also check out: John Rogers Undervalued Stocks John Rogers Top Growth Companies John Rogers High Yield stocks, and Stocks that John Rogers keeps buying
    Currently 0.00/512345

    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes)

  • [By Jonas Elmerraji]

    It may seem like a sort of unlikely choice, but mid-cap gambling device designer Bally Technologies (BYI) is topping off our list today. Bally is capping off a stellar run in 2013, after rallying more than 72% since the start of the year. But don’t worry if you missed the move; the technicals point to even higher ground in the short-term.

    That’s because Bally is currently forming an ascending triangle pattern, a bullish price setup that’s formed by a horizontal resistance level above shares and uptrending support to the downside. Basically, as BYI bounced between those two technical price levels, it’s been getting squeezed closer and closer to a breakout above resistance. The breakout happened just before Christmas, and it’s giving us a buy signal this week.

    Momentum adds some extra confidence to the setup in BYI: 14-day RSI has been trending higher since early October, an indication that buyers have been piling in at an increasing rate as the pattern developed. If you decide to jump in here, I’d recommend putting a protective stop at the 50-day moving average.

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Calling all cash flows
    When you are trying to buy the market’s best stocks, it’s worth checking up on your companies’ free cash flow once a quarter or so, to see whether it bears any relationship to the net income in the headlines. That’s what we do with this series. Today, we’re checking in on Bally Technologies (NYSE: BYI  ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.

  • [By Stock Maelstrom]

    Bally Tech (BYI) is probably the best known of companies involved in gambling hardware. In 2012, 35% if its revenue came from product sales, and another 41% from leasing that equipment. The balance of its revenue came from services related to game and player monitoring. It is well on track for a record fiscal 2013, which again ends June 30. I am looking for revenues of right around $1.0 billion; never before have revenues been even $900 million in a fiscal year. Profits for this year are likely to be $145 million, or $3.45 per share, which would also be a record by a comfortable margin.

Top 10 Clean Energy Companies To Watch For 2014: Vale SA (VALE5)

Vale SA (Vale) is a Brazil-based metals and mining company. The Company services are divided into four segments: Bulk Material, including the extraction of iron ore, manganese and ferroalloys, as well as pellet production; Basic metals, comprising the production of non-ferrous minerals, including nickel, copper and aluminum; Fertilizers, including the production of potash, phosphate and nitrogen; and Logistic services, including cargo transportation for third parties divided into rail transport, port and shipping services. Additionally, Vale is active in investments in joint ventures and associate in other businesses. The Company operates through subsidiaries and jointly-controlled entities, incorporated in Brazil, Chile, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Mozambique, Singapore and the USA, among others. In December, 2013, the Company sold Sociedad Contractual Minera Tres Valles to Inversiones Porto San Giorgio SA. In December 2013, it sold entire stake in Log-in Logistica Inter modal SA. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Julia Leite]

    Fibria Celulose SA (FIBR3), the world’s largest pulp producer, climbed after settling a tax dispute with Brazil over profits at its foreign units. Iron-ore producer Vale SA (VALE5) gained before a report due this weekend forecast to show manufacturing is still expanding in China, the company’s main export market.

  • [By Ney Hayashi]

    Iron-ore producer Vale SA (VALE5) may be active after agreeing to pay 22.3 billion reais ($9.6 billion) to settle a tax dispute with Brazil over profits at its foreign units. Meatpacker Minerva SA may move after Russia lifted a ban on beef exports from one of its plants.

  • [By Harry Suhartono]

    The Ibovespa dropped 1.8 percent as iron-ore producer Vale SA (VALE5), whose main export market is China, snapped a two-day gain. Pulp producer Fibria Celulose SA (FIBR3) retreated after posting quarterly earnings that trailed analysts’ estimates. Brazil plans to sell dollar bonds due in 2025, creating a new benchmark security in international markets, and buy back notes maturing in as little as four years.

Top 10 Clean Energy Companies To Watch For 2014: Home BancShares Inc.(HOMB)

Home BancShares, Inc. operates as a holding company for the Centennial Bank that provides various commercial and retail banking, and related financial products and services to businesses, real estate developers, investors, individuals, and municipalities. It offers various deposit products, including checking, savings, and money market accounts, as well as certificates of deposit. The company also offers commercial real estate, construction and land development, commercial and industrial, residential real estate, agricultural, and consumer loans. In addition, it provides Internet banking and voice response information, cash management, overdraft protection, direct deposit, safe deposit boxes, the United States savings bonds, and automatic account transfers services. Further, the company provides trust services focusing on personal trusts, corporate trusts, and employee benefit trusts, as well as writes insurance policies for commercial and personal lines of businesses. As of December 31, 2010, it operated 49 branches in Arkansas, 9 branches in the Florida Keys, 6 branches in central Florida, 3 branches in southwest Florida, and 29 branches in the Florida Panhandle. Home BancShares, Inc. is headquartered in Conway, Arkansas.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Sean Williams]

    What: Shares of Home BancShares (NASDAQ: HOMB  ) , the holding company of Centennial Bank, jumped as much as 13% after receiving an analyst upgrade.

Top 10 Clean Energy Companies To Watch For 2014: Global Indemnity plc (GBLI)

Global Indemnity plc, through its subsidiaries, operates as a specialty property and casualty insurer. The company provides property and casualty insurance products in the excess and surplus lines marketplace to customers in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It offers property and general liability products for small commercial businesses through a network of wholesale general agents; property, general liability, and professional lines products through program administrators; and property, casualty, and professional lines products through wholesale brokers. The company also provides reinsurance solutions to excess and surplus lines carriers, specialty property and casualty insurance companies, and regional insurance writers. It offers reinsurance solutions worldwide through brokers; primary writers, including regional insurance companies; and program managers. Global Indemnity plc is based in Dublin, Ireland.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Damian Illia]

    As we can see, the firm ratio is higher than the ones shown by Alleghany, Fidelity, Federated National Holding Co. (FNHC) and Global Indemnity Plc (GBLI).

Top 10 Clean Energy Companies To Watch For 2014: Independent Bank Group Inc (IBTX)

Independent Bank Group, Inc., incorporated on September 20, 2002, is bank holding company. Through its wholly owned subsidiary, Independent Bank (Bank), a state chartered bank, the Company provides a range of commercial banking products and services for businesses, professionals and individuals. Commercial lending products includes owner-occupied commercial real estate loans, interim construction loans, commercial loans (such as Small Business Administration (SBA) guaranteed loans, business term loans, equipment financing and lines of credit) to a diversified mix of small and midsized businesses, and loans to professionals, particularly medical practices. Retail lending products include residential first and second mortgage loans, and consumer installment loans such as loans to purchase cars, boats and other recreational vehicles. On April 1, 2012, it acquired I Bank Holding Company and its bank subsidiary, and on October 1, 2012, it acquired The Community Group and its ba nk subsidiary. As of March 18, 2013, it operated 30 banking offices in 26 communities in two market regions located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area and in the greater Austin area. Independent Bank operates 30 banking offices throughout North and Central Texas. In December 2013, the Company announced that it has completed the acquisition of Collin Bank, Plano, Texas. In January 2014, Independent Bank Group, Inc. acquired Live Oak Financial Corp. and its subsidiary, Live Oak State Bank.

Lending Activities

Its loans are primarily real estate secured loans spread among a variety of types of borrowers, including owner occupied offices for small businesses, medical practices and offices, retail operations, and multi-family properties. Its loans are diversified geographically throughout its Dallas/North Texas region (approximately 55%) and its Austin/Central Texas region (approximately 45%). As of December 31, 2012, it had total loans of approxi mately $1.4 billion

The Company is primarily a real es! tate secured lender. It originates real estate loans to finance commercial property that is owner-occupied, as well as commercial property owned by real estate investors. The total amount of owner-occupied commercial real estate loans outstanding as of December 31, 2012, was $353.5 million, or 25.6% of its loan portfolio. The total amount of commercial real estate loans outstanding as of December 31, 2012, excluding owner-occupied properties, was $295 million, or 21.4% of its loan portfolio. The real estate securing its existing commercial real estate loans includes a variety of property types, such as owner-occupied offices/warehouses/production facilities, office buildings, healthcare facilities, hotels, mixed-use residential/commercial, retail centers, multifamily properties, restaurants, churches and assisted living facilities.

The Company’s construction portfolio includes loans to small and midsized businesses to construct owner-user properties, and, to a much lesser extent, loans to developers of commercial real estate investment properties and residential developments. These loans are typically disbursed as construction progresses and carry interest rates that vary with the prime rate. As of December 31, 2012, the outstanding balance of its construction loans was $97.3 million, or 7.1% of its total loan portfolio. It offers first and second mortgage loans to its individual customers primarily for the purchase of primary and secondary residences. As of December 31, 2012, the outstanding balance of one-to four-family real estate secured loans, including home equity loans, represented $315.3 million, or 22.9%, of its total loan portfolio. Residential real estate loans held for sale of $9.2 million at December 31, 2012, were also included in this category.

The Company makes single-family interim construction loans to home builders and individuals to fund the construction of single family residences. Such loans are secured by the real property being built and are made based! on its a! ssessment of the value of the property on an as-completed basis. As of December 31, 2012, the outstanding balance of its single-family interim construction loans was $67.9 million, or 4.9% of its total loan portfolio. The Company originates commercial loans to small businesses and professionals, in particular, medical practices, located in its market areas. These loans are primarily term loans to purchase capital equipment and small loans for working capital and operational purposes. As of December 31, 2012, it had outstanding commercial loans, of $169.9 million, or 12.3% of its total loan portfolio.

The Company’s agricultural loan portfolio primarily includes loans secured by real property used for agricultural purposes. It provides loans for the acquisition of farm and ranch land, as well as the construction of buildings upon agricultural real estate. On a more limited basis, it offers agricultural equipment financing and crop production loans which are sec ured by crops, equipment, and crop insurance. The total amount of agricultural loans outstanding at December 31, 2012, was $40.1 million, or 2.9% of its total loan portfolio. The Company offers a variety of consumer loans, such as installment loans to purchase cars, boats and other recreational vehicles. Its consumer loans typically are part of an overall customer relationship designed to support the individual consumer borrowing needs of its commercial loan and deposit customers. As of December 31, 2012, it had outstanding $39.5 million of consumer loans, or 2.9% of its total loan portfolio. The Company also engages in the origination of residential loans sold into the secondary market. Its mortgage originations were $177.1 million during the year ended December 31, 2012. It sells all of the originated mortgages to institutional purchasers shortly after closing.

Investment Activities

The types and maturities of securities purchased are primarily b ased on its liquidity and interest rate sensitivity position! s. As of ! December 31, 2012, investment securities held were United States Treasury securities, government agency securities, obligations of state and municipal subdivisions, Residential mortgage backed securities, and corporate bonds.

Sources of Funds

Deposits are the Company’s principal source of funds for use in lending and other general banking purposes. The Company provides a range of deposit products and services, including a variety of checking and savings accounts, debit cards, online banking, mobile banking, eStatements and bank-by-mail and direct deposit services. It also offers business accounts and management services, including analyzed business checking, business savings, and treasury management services. As of December 31, 2012, it had total deposits of approximately $1.4 billion. In addition to deposits, it utilizes Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) advances either as a short-term funding source or a longer-term funding source and to manage its interest rate risks on its loan portfolio. The maximum amount of short-term FHLB advances it had outstanding at any month end during the year ended December 31, 2012, was $16.0 million. The Company’s FHLB borrowings totaled $164.6 million as of December 31, 2012. Its FHLB advances are collateralized by assets, including a blanket pledge of certain loans with a carrying value of $524.8 million and FHLB stock. As of December 31, 2012, it had $92.7 million in undisbursed advance commitments (letters of credit) with the FHLB.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Markus Aarnio]

    2. Independent Bank Group (IBTX) operates as a bank holding company for Independent Bank that provides commercial banking products and services for small to medium size businesses, professionals, and individuals in North and Central Texas.

Top 10 Clean Energy Companies To Watch For 2014: 22nd Century Group Inc (XXII)

22nd Century Group, Inc. (22nd Century Group), incorporated on September 12, 2005, is a holding company. The Company’s wholly owned subsidiary, 22nd Century Limited, LLC (22nd Century Ltd), which is a plant biotechnology company. The Company’s products include X-22 Smoking Cessation Aid, Modified Risk Cigarettes, BRAND A Cigarettes and BRAND B Cigarettes. On January 25, 2011, 22nd Century Limited, LLC (22nd Century Ltd) completed a reverse merger transaction (the Merger) with 22nd Century Group, and as a result, 22nd Century Ltd became a wholly owned subsidiary of 22nd Century Group, which continues to operate the business of 22nd Century Ltd. the Company’s drug application for X-22 was cleared by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in July 2011. The Company’s subsidiary, Goodrich Tobacco Company, LLC (Goodrich Tobacco), had introduced two cigarette brands, RED SUN and MAGIC, into the United States marketed during the year ended December 31, 2011. In December 2013, 22nd Century Group Inc acquired an undisclosed manufacturing facility located in Mocksville, North Carolina. Effective December 11, 2013, 22nd Century Group Inc acquired NASCO Specialty Brands LLC.

X-22 is a tobacco-based botanical medical product for use as a smoking cessation therapy. X-22 is a prescription-only kit consists of very low nicotine (VLN) cigarettes made from its tobacco. The therapy protocol allows the patient to smoke its VLN cigarettes without restriction over the six-week treatment period to facilitate the goal of the patient quitting smoking by the end of the treatment period. In 2011, Biotech Crops were planted in 29 countries on 395 million acres (160 million hectares).

The Company competes with Pfizer Inc., GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Novartis International AG, Reynolds American Inc, Philip Morris USA Inc., Reynolds American Inc., Lorillard Inc., Commonwealth Brands, Inc., Liggett Group LLC, Vector Tobacco Inc., St ar Scientific Inc, Philip Morris International Inc., British! American Tobacco, JT International SA, Imperial Tobacco Group PLC and China National Tobacco Corporation.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    Small cap stocks Chromadex Corp (OTCMKTS: CDXC) and 22nd Century Group Inc (OTCBB: XXII) are, one way or the other, focused on natural products and have been getting some extra attention lately. Moreover, one of these stocks have been the subject of a disclosed investor awareness campaign. Keeping that in mind, are these two small cap stocks natural winners for investors? Here is a quick look:

Top 10 Clean Energy Companies To Watch For 2014: Pluristem Therapeutics Inc.(PSTI)

Pluristem Therapeutics Inc., a bio-therapeutic company, engages in the research, development, and commercialization of standardized cell therapy products for the treatment of life threatening diseases. The company?s products are derived from human placenta, a non-controversial, non-embryonic, adult cell source. Its Placental adherent stromal cells are grown in the company’s proprietary PluriX three-dimensional process that allows cells to grow in a natural environment. The company provides PLX-PAD that has completed Phase I clinical trials for people suffering from peripheral artery disease. It also offers various product candidates for diabetic foot ulcers, adjuvant hip replacement surgery, athletic injuries, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain, ischemic stroke, adjuvant for UCB transplantation, and radiation exposure. The company was formerly known as Pluristem Life Systems Inc. and changed its name to Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. in November 2007. Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. was founded in 2001 and is headquartered in Haifa, Israel.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By James E. Brumley]

    Traders may not want to get married for the long haul to any of them, but for speculators looking for a quick, profitable hit, Arca Biopharma Inc. (NASDAQ:ABIO), Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:PSTI), and Bacterin International Holdings Inc. (NYSEMKT:BONE) may be better-than-average bets. Here’s why.

  • [By John Udovich]

    Stem cell stocks have not exactly been the best performers lately in part because the controversy over their use has died down over the years while major breakthroughs have been few or far between, but the industry along with small cap stem cell stocks Pluristem Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: PSTI), BioTime, Inc (NYSEMKT: BTX) and BioRestorative Therapies (OTCBB: BRTX) are still quietly producing their share of news or minor breakthroughs worth taking note of. Just consider the following stem cell news or news from small cap players in the sector:

Top 10 Clean Energy Companies To Watch For 2014: Rockwell Medical Technologies Inc.(RMTI)

Rockwell Medical Technologies, Inc. manufactures, sells, and distributes hemodialysis concentrate solutions and dialysis kits primarily in the United States, Latin America, Asia, and Europe. The company?s hemodialysis product duplicates kidney function in patients with failing kidneys, known as end stage renal disease, an advanced stage of chronic kidney disease; and dialysis solutions are used to maintain life, remove toxins, and replace nutrients in the dialysis patient?s bloodstream. Its products include Renal Pure and CitraPure liquid acid concentrate, Dri-Sate dry acid concentrate and mixing systems, RenalPure powder bicarbonate concentrate, and SteriLyte liquid bicarbonate concentrates; and various ancillary products comprising blood tubing, fistula needles, specialized custom kits, dressings, cleaning agents, filtration salts, and other supplies. The company also has a license to manufacture and sell soluble ferric pyrophosphate (SFP), a Phase III clinical trial p r oduct to improve the treatment of dialysis patients with iron deficiency. Rockwell Medical Technologies sells its products to domestic hemodialysis providers through direct sales people and independent sales representation companies, as well as through independent sales agents and distributors internationally. The company was founded in 1995 and is based in Wixom, Michigan.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By John Udovich]

    Small cap dialysis stock Rockwell Medical Inc (NASDAQ: RMTI) looks set to decline when the market opens after Brean Capital initiated coverage with a sell rating and a price target of $4.00, meaning it might be time to take a closer look at what is going on with the stock along with the performance of large cap dialysis stocks DaVita Healthcare Partners (NYSE: DVA) and Fresenius Medical Care (NYSE: FMS) along with small cap dialysis stocks NxStage Medical, Inc (NASDAQ: NXTM). 

  • [By Jake L’Ecuyer]

    Rockwell Medical (NASDAQ: RMTI) was also down, falling 19.90 percent to $10.80 after Brean Capital initiated the company at a Sell rating and a $4 price target.

  • [By Roberto Pedone]

    Rockwell Medical (RMTI) manufactures hemodialysis concentrate solutions and dialysis kits, and it sells, distributes and delivers these and other ancillary hemodialysis products primarily to hemodialysis providers in the U.S. and internationally. This stock closed up 5.3% to $5.17 in Tuesday’s trading session.

    Tuesday’s Range: $4.89-$5.25

    52-Week Range: $3.16-$8.59

    Tuesday’s Volume: 1.15 million

    Three-Month Average Volume: 1.26 million

    From a technical perspective, RMTI bounced sharply higher here right above some near-term support levels at $4.81 to $4.65 with decent upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of RMTI within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if RMTI manages to take out its 200-day moving average at $5.24 and then once it clears more near-term resistance at $5.94 with high volume.

    Traders should now look for long-biased trades in RMTI as long as it’s trending above some key near-term support levels at $4.81 to $4.65 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 1.26 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then RMTI will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $8 to $8.50.

Top 10 Clean Energy Companies To Watch For 2014: The Finish Line Inc.(FINL)

The Finish Line, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a mall-based specialty retailer in the United States. It operates Finish Line stores that offer performance and athletic casual footwear, apparel, and accessories for men, women, and kids. The company also sells merchandise through its Web site, As of September 22, 2011, it operated 646 stores in the United States. The company was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Mall-based specialty retailer Finish Line (FINL) raised its quarterly dividend 14% to 8 cents per share, payable March 17 to shareholders of record Feb. 28.
    FINL Dividend Yield: 1.19%

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    In our opinion, this was a fine quarter with no surprises; however, as we expected expenses are accelerating resulting in guidance that implies a meaningful reduction to Q3 and Q4 estimates. Also, gross margin headwinds are mounting as the favorability from raw materials has turned and supply chain disruptions in Mexico will persist for two Q’s. Given NKE’s premium 25x multiple, we prefer to play its strength through its retail partners ([Foot Locker (FL) and Finish Line (FINL)]).

  • [By Lauren Pollock]

    Finish Line Inc.(FINL) swung to a fiscal third-quarter profit that easily beat expectations as the athletic-gear retailer posted strong same-store sales growth. Finish Line raised its earnings outlook for the year, pushing shares up 7.5% to $28.11.

  • [By Shauna O’Brien]

    Shares of Finish Line Inc (FINL) were up nearly 6% on Friday morning after the company reported better than expected third quarter results and raised its FY2014 outlook.

    FINL’s Earnings in Brief

    -FINL reported Q3 earnings of $2.32 million, compared to a a loss of $0.11 million a year ago. On a per share basis, earnings were 5 cents per share.

    -On a Non-GAAP basis, EPS came in at 6 cents, 5 cents above analysts’ estimate of 1 cent.

    -Revenue for the quarter rose to $364.5 million, up from $296.62 million last year. Analysts expected to see revenue of $354.57 million.

    -Comparable store sales increased 7.1% during the quarter.

    -Looking ahead, FINL has raised its outlook for FY2014 and now sees earnings between $1.60 and $1.65 per share. Analysts expect to see earnings of $1.59 per share.

    CEO Commentary
    Chairman and CEO, Glenn Lyon commented: “We are very pleased with the top and bottom line performance we delivered in the third quarter. Our commitment to developing a premier omni-channel platform is strengthening both our customer relationships and our brand partnerships while also reinforcing our market leadership position. We are continually adapting and refining our strategies in this rapidly evolving retail landscape to ensure we meet the needs of today’s empowered consumer. Finish Line is on the right strategic course and is well-positioned to deliver on our near and longer term goals.”

    FINL’s Dividend
    FINL made no mention of when its next quarterly dividend will be, as the company just paid a 7 cent dividend on December 16. However, it is likely that FINL will announce a 1 cent dividend increase in January.

    Stock Performance
    Finish Line shares were up $1.54, or 5.89%, during pre-market trading Friday. The stock is up 38% YTD.