Top 10 Consumer Service Stocks To Own For 2014

Jerry sits near the door at the last stop for retirees and others who are receiving free tax help one cold, but sunny, March day at City Hall in Warren, Mich. He makes sure the tax filers authorize that returns can be electronically filed and he reviews returns, too.

At 91, he’s been volunteering nearly 31 years to prepare taxes for the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide service.

“I was doing it when we did it on paper,” said Jerry, who, like other volunteers, goes by just a first name. The volunteers do not use a last name because they don’t want to be called at home to answer tax questions or track down refunds.

Many retirees and those on modest incomes who use the free services appreciate being able to save $200 or more on tax preparation, even if they need to make a second trip to a tax site because the time slots for the free service fill up quickly.

Top 10 Consumer Service Stocks To Own For 2014: Blucora Inc (BCOR)

Blucora, Inc., formerly InfoSpace, Inc., is a provider of online solutions for consumers and business partners. The Company owns and operates two Internet businesses. Through its InfoSpace business, the Company provides online search and monetization solutions to a network of more than 100 global partners. Through TaxACT, The Company provides online tax preparation solutions to consumers and professional preparers. The Company’s search business consists primarily of a business to business offering that provides its search technology, aggregated content and services to its distribution partners. The search business also offers search services directly to consumers through its own Internet search properties. On June 22, 2011, InfoSpace sold its Mercantila e-commerce business to Zoo Stores, Inc. On January 31, 2012, InfoSpace acquired TaxACT Holdings, Inc. and its subsidiary, 2nd Story Software, Inc. In August 2013, the Company announced that it has completed the acquisition of Monoprice.

InfoSpace primarily offers search services through the Web properties of its distribution partners, which are generally private-labeled and customized to address the requirements of each distribution partner. The search business also distributes aggregated search content through its own Websites, such as and The Search segment consists of the Company’s search services operations and the Tax Preparation segment is the TaxACT business. The Company’s revenues are generated primarily from its Web search services. The Company’s metasearch technology offers users a search experience, which combines the results of several search engine content providers, including Google, Yahoo!, and Bing, among others, and aggregates, filters, and prioritizes the results. This combination provides a more relevant search results page and leverages the investments made by its Search Customers to continually improve the user experience. Par tner versions of its Web offerings are private-labeled and d! elivered with each distribution partner’s requirements.

The Tax Preparation segment generates its revenue through three primary methods: the sale of state and upgraded federal income tax preparation software and online services to consumers, the sale of ancillary services to any user, paid or not, and the sale of its professional edition income tax preparation software to professional tax preparers. The ancillary services include, among other things, additional support, data archiving, a deferred payment option, and a bank card product.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Evan Niu, CFA]

    What: Shares of Blucora (NASDAQ: BCOR  ) have popped by as much as 24% today after the company announced first-quarter results.

    So what: Revenue in the first quarter totaled $165.3 million, which translated into non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.95. Investors would have been happy with just $158.8 million in sales, and Blucora’s bottom-line result decimated the consensus estimate of just $0.50 per share in profit. CEO Bill Ruckelshaus said both the company’s online search and tax preparation segments are off to a strong start for 2013.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    But then, H&R Block ran into trouble with its software. The IRS said that a limited number of software company products failed to provide for the correct treatment of the American Opportunity educational tax credit, forcing an estimated 660,000 taxpayers to have to wait an additional six weeks for their refunds, and H&R Block had been informing its customers about the problems. Intuit (NASDAQ: INTU  ) already has a commanding lead over H&R Block with Intuit’s TurboTax software, so H&R Block’s slip-up likely didn’t add much to Intuit’s dominance. But even Blucora’s (NASDAQ: BCOR  ) TaxAct software might well benefit from the issue, forcing H&R Block to rely even more on its bricks-and-mortar stores in order to keep its sales up.

  • [By Michael Lewis]

    Sea change
    As with many industries, tax prep is witnessing a period of technological disruption in the form of Web-based software. Intuit (NASDAQ: INTU  ) is the leader in the space with its Turbo Tax product. Lesser-known Blucora (NASDAQ: BCOR  ) has its hand in the game as well with TaxACT. The latter is a small but healthy business. TaxACT maintains strong margins and grows at roughly 8% to 10% annually. Currently, the company maintains around 12% of online tax-prep market share.

Top 10 Consumer Service Stocks To Own For 2014: CRB Futures Index(CR)

Crane Co. manufactures and sells engineered industrial products in the United States and internationally. The company operates in five segments: Aerospace & Electronics, Engineered Materials, Merchandising Systems, Fluid Handling, and Controls. The Aerospace & Electronics segment offers pressure, fuel flow, and position sensors and subsystems; brake control systems; coolant, lube and fuel pumps; and seat actuation products. This segment also provides power supplies and custom microelectronics for aerospace, defense, medical, and other applications; and electrical power components, power management products, electronic radio frequency, and microwave frequency components and subsystems for the defense, space, and military communications markets. The Engineered Materials segment manufactures fiberglass-reinforced plastic panels for the truck trailer and recreational vehicle markets, industrial markets, and the commercial construction industry. The Merchandising Systems segmen t offers vending solutions, such as food, snack, and beverage vending machines; and vending machine software and online solutions, as well as payment solutions, including coin accepters and dispensers, coin hoppers, coin recyclers, bill validators, and bill recyclers. The Fluid Handling segment manufactures and sells various industrial and commercial valves and actuators; provides valve testing, parts, and services; manufactures and sells pumps and water purification solutions; distributes pipe, pipe fittings, couplings, and connectors; and designs, manufactures, and sells corrosion-resistant plastic-lined pipes and fittings. The Controls segment produces ride-leveling, air-suspension control valves for heavy trucks and trailers; pressure, temperature, and level sensors; ultra-rugged computers, measurement and control systems, and intelligent data acquisition products; and water treatment equipment. Crane Co. was founded in 1855 and is based in Stamford, Connecticut.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Chuck Carnevale]

    Next, I run graphs on liquidity ratios and additional data on various valuation ratios to include price to book value (pb), price to cash flow (pcfl), price to free cash flow (pfcfl) and others that can be seen as options on the navigation bar to the left of the sample graph which only plots the current ratio (cr), a quick ratio (qr) and for those diehards concerned with volatility [size=11.0pt;line-height:115%; font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri;mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”;mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language:AR-SA”>—

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Basic guidelines
    In this series, I examine inventory using a simple rule of thumb: Inventory increases ought to roughly parallel revenue increases. If inventory bloats more quickly than sales grow, this might be a sign that expected sales haven’t materialized. Is the current inventory situation at Crane (NYSE: CR  ) out of line? To figure that out, start by comparing the company’s inventory growth to sales growth. How is Crane doing by this quick checkup? At first glance, OK, it seems. Trailing-12-month revenue increased 0.6%, and inventory decreased 2.4%. Comparing the latest quarter to the prior-year quarter, the story looks decent. Revenue dropped 2.8%, and inventory contracted 2.4%. Over the sequential quarterly period, the trend looks OK but not great. Revenue dropped 0.4%, and inventory grew 2.0%.

  • [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 Crane (NYSE: CR  ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.

  • [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 Crane (NYSE: CR  ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.

Top 10 Consumer Service Stocks To Own For 2014: LG Display Co Ltd (LPL)

LG Display Co., Ltd. (LG Display), incorporated in 1985, manufactures thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panels in a range of sizes and specifications primarily for use in televisions, notebook computers and desktop monitors, and the Company is a suppliers of high-definition television panels. The Company also manufactures TFT-LCDs for other application products, such as mobile phones, certain types of tablet personal computers and industrial and other applications, including entertainment systems, automotives, portable navigation devices, e-books, digital photo displays and medical diagnostic equipment. During the year ended December 31, 2010, LG Display sold a total of 160.4 million large-size (nine-inch or larger) TFT-LCD panels. In addition to TFT-LCD panels, the Company also manufactures organic light-emitting diode (OLEDs) and flexible displays. As of March 31, 2011, the Company held a total of 15,049 patents, including 6,724 in Korea and 8,325 in other countries, including in the United States, China, Japan, Germany, France, Great Britain and Taiwan.

In May 2010, the Company purchased the liquid crystal display module division of LG Innotek Co., Ltd. (LG Innotek), a subsidiary of LG Electronics. In June 2010, the Company entered into a joint venture agreement with Iriver Ltd. to establish L&I Electronic Technology (Dongguan) Ltd. in Dongguan, China. In August 2010, the Company entered into a joint venture agreement with Everlight Electronics Co., Ltd. and AmTRAN Technology Co., Ltd., to establish Eralite Optoelectronics (Jiangsu) Co., Ltd.

As of December 31, 2010, the Company operated 12 panel fabrication facilities (five in Paju, Korea and seven in Gumi, Korea, and including expansions of certain facilities) and a total of nine module facilities (three in Nanjing, China, two in Guangzhou, China and one each in Gumi and Paju, Korea, Yantai, China and Wroclaw, Poland). In 2010, its display p anels were included in products sold by LG Electronics, Appl! e, Toshiba, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Philips Electronics.


The Company’s television panels range from 15 inches to 72-inch wide-format in size. The Company’s product portfolio includes panels of various sizes, such as 17-inch, 19-inch, 20-inch, 22-inch, 26-inch, 32-inch, 37-inch, 42-inch, 47-inch and 55-inch panels.As of december 31, 2010, 32-inch, 37-inch, 42-inch and 47-inch wide-format panels consists of principal products in this category in terms of sales revenue and sales volume.

Desktop Monitors

The Company’s desktop monitor display panels range from 15 inches to 30-inch wide-format in size in a variety of display resolutions and formats. In 2010, 19-inch and 21.5-inch display panels were its principal products in terms of sales revenue and sales volume in this category.

Notebook Computers

The Company’s display panels for notebook computers range from seven inches to 20.1- inch wide-format in size in a variety of display formats. In 2010, 15.6-inch, 9.7-inch and 14-inch panels were its principal products in this category.

Mobile and Other Applications

The Company’s product portfolio also includes panels for mobile and other applications, which utilize a wide array of display panel sizes, including mobile phones, certain types of tablet personal computers and industrial and other applications, including entertainment systems, automotives, portable navigation devices, e-books, digital photo displays and medical diagnostic equipment. TFT-LCD panels that are nine inches and smaller are referred to as small and medium-size panels, with those smaller than four inches being considered small-size panels. In 2010, sales of small-size panels constituted a significant majority in terms of both sales revenue and sales volume in the mobile and other applications category. Some of the panels the Company produces for industrial pr oducts, such as medical diagnostic equipment.

T! he Compan! y competes with Samsung Electronics, Samsung Mobile Display and Hydis Technologies, AU Optronics, Chimei Innolux, Chunghwa Picture Tubes, HannStar, Sharp, Hitachi, TMDisplay, Mitsubishi, IPS-Alpha, SAVIC, Infovision and BOE-OT.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Steve Sechrist]

    No trouble with the curve
    The curved OLED screens in UHD are top-of-the-line, and LG  (NYSE: LPL  ) and rival Samsung (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF  ) are both expanding the line of spectacular display sets with a 65-inch and 77-inch size, respectively. LG’s 77-inch television is a “bendable” version that can transform back to a flat screen when used for ambient viewing of art. These UHD curved TVs, according to Dr. Ray Soneira of DisplayMate Labs, have marked advantages in that reduce glare and screen reflection from bright images behind the user. Curved displays “substantially” improve performance and are “no marketing gimmick,” according to Soneira’s technology review. 

  • [By Rahul Chattaraj]

    Among other smartphone makers LG (LPL) is the only one that witnessed a rise in market share, but it still controls less the 10% of the market. Although the company saw a marginal increase in its market share, it should thank its stars considering other major players’ disappointing performance. One of the prime reasons why LG managed a positive market share trend is that it made Google’s (GOOG) Nexus 4 and 5. These handsets did decent enough to pull up LG’s presence in the smartphone arena, although it is way behind Apple’s and Samsung’s.


    A Bendable TV? A Bendable TV!:
    Earlier this week, we mentioned the 105-inch curved television from LG Display Co. (NYSE: LPL). That’s pretty tame compared to Samsung’s 85-inch bendable television.

  • [By Simon Erickson]

    Organic LED televisions were one of the hottest topics at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. LG (NYSE: LPL  ) gave a sneak peek of its three new OLED sets that will hit the market in 2014 — coming with screen sizes of 55, 65, and even 77 inches! OLED televisions are brighter, thinner, and more cost-efficient than other technologies. Watching movies at home might never be the same.

Top 10 Consumer Service Stocks To Own For 2014: Codexis Inc.(CDXS)

Codexis, Inc. engages in the production of custom industrial enzymes for use in the manufacture of biofuels, chemicals, and pharmaceutical ingredients. The company offers Codex Biocatalyst Panels and Kits to pharmaceutical companies that are engaged in drug development and the marketing of approved drugs to allow them to screen and identify possible enzymatic manufacturing processes for their drug candidates and their marketed products. It also provides enzyme screening services, enzyme optimization services, and enzymes, as well as supplies intermediates and active pharmaceutical ingredients to pharmaceutical companies. In addition, the company develops CodeXyme cellulase enzymes to convert cellulosic biomass, a non-food plant material into affordable sugars, which can then be converted into renewable fuels and chemicals; and CodeXol detergent alcohols that are used to manufacture surfactants, which are used as cleaning ingredients in consumer products, such as shampoos, liquid soaps, and laundry detergents. It intends to market CodeXyme cellulase enzymes to chemicals manufacturers; and CodeXol detergent alcohols as a drop-in substitute for the detergent alcohols market. The company has strategic collaborations with Royal Dutch Shell plc and Iogen Energy Corporation for the production of cellulosic ethanol from wheat straw and corn stover feedstocks. Codexis, Inc. was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in Redwood City, California.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Laura Brodbeck]


    Earnings Expected: The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc (NASDAQ: BONT), American Eagle Outfitters, Inc (NYSE: AEO), Codexis, Inc. (NASDAQ: CDXS), Verifone Systems, Inc. (NYSE: PAY), Caesars Entertainment Corporation (NASDAQ: CZR) Economic Releases Expected: Indian trade balance, German trade balance, British industrial production, British manufacturing production


  • [By Maxx Chatsko]

    Synthetic biology company and industrial bio-enzyme manufacturer Codexis (NASDAQ: CDXS  ) announced its first-quarter earnings after the market closed Tuesday. The industrial enzyme firm is still attempting to get back on its feet after Shell (NYSE: RDS-A  ) ended a major collaboration in the second half of 2012. The partnership provided more than $350 million to Codexis over several years, so it is easy to see how the developmental-stage company has foundered since. Despite continued losses, it appears that Codexis is slowly climbing back to a bright future. Here is what investors need to know about the latest developments.

Top 10 Consumer Service Stocks To Own For 2014: T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS)

T-Mobile US, Inc., formerly MetroPCS Communications, Inc., incorporated on March 10, 2004, is a wireless telecommunications carrier, which offers wireless broadband mobile services primarily in metropolitan areas in the United States, including the Atlanta, Boston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orlando/Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Sacramento, San Francisco and Tampa/Sarasota metropolitan areas. Its flagship brands include T-Mobile and MetroPCS. As of December 31, 2012, it held licenses for wireless spectrum suitable for wireless broadband mobile services covering a total population of 144 million people in and around many of the metropolitan areas in the United States. It provides its services using code division multiple accesses (CDMA) networks using 1xRTT technology and evolution data optimized (EVDO) and fourth generation long term evolution (4G LTE).

The Company has roaming agreements with other wireless broadband mob ile carriers that allow them to offer its customers service in many areas when they are outside its service area. These roaming agreements, together with the area it serve with its own networks, allows its customers to receive service in an area covering over 280 million in total population under the Metro USA brand. The Company sells products and services to customers through its Company-owned retail stores, as well as indirectly through relationships with independent retailers and third party dealers. Its service allows its customers to place unlimited local calls from within its local service area and to receive unlimited calls from any area while in its service area, for a flat-rate monthly service fee. For additional usage fees, it also provide certain other value-added services. All of these plans require payment in advance for one month of service. If no payment is made in advance for month of service, service is suspended at the end of the month that was paid for by the customer and, if the customer does not pay within 30 day! s, the customer is terminated. It believes its service plans differentiate them from the more complex plans and long-term contract requirements of traditional wireless carriers.

The Company voice services allow customers to place voice calls to, and receive calls from, any telephone in the world, including local, domestic long distance, and international calls. Its voice services also allow customers to receive and make calls while they are located in areas served by its networks and in those geographic areas served by the networks of certain other wireless broadband mobile carriers with whom it has roaming arrangements. The Company’s data services include text messaging services (domestic and international); multimedia messaging services; mobile Internet access; mobile instant messaging; location-based services; social networking services; push e-mail; multimedia streaming and downloads; and services provided, depending on the network and locale, through the Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless, or BREW, Blackberry, Windows, and the Android platforms, such as ringtones, ring back tones, games, content, and applications.

The Company’s Custom calling features offers custom calling features, including caller ID, call waiting, three-way calling and voicemail. Its Advanced handsets sells a variety of feature phones, and increasingly, smartphones, predominately manufactured by nationally recognized manufacturers for use on its network, including models that have cameras, include HTML browsers, play music, play streaming audio, display streaming video and downloaded video, and have other features facilitating digital data. It sells a variety of handsets using vendor or handset specific operating systems, such as BREW, Blackberry, Windows, and the Android operating system.

The Company provides its wireless broadband mobile services using paired personal communications services (PCS), spectrum and advanced wireless services, or AWS, spectrum. In addition, it holds a! license ! for 12 MHz of paired 700 MHz Lower Band A spectrum in the Boston-Worcester, MA/NH/RI/VT basic economic area (BEA), which, unless it receives a waiver from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), of the four year construction requirements, it plans to construct in the first half of 2013. In each of its metropolitan areas where irt provides service. As of December 31, 2012, it holds between 10 mega hertz (MHz) and 60 MHz of paired spectrum and on average it has approximately 22 MHz of paired spectrum in the metropolitan areas it serves. In the aggregate, as of December 31, 2012, it offers wireless broadband mobile services using its own network.

The Company operates 1xRTT CDMA networks in all of the metropolitan areas it serves and it has upgraded its networks to 4G LTE in all of metropolitan areas. It also has deployed EVDO at selected high use sites in its CDMA network to increase network data capacity to meet the growing data needs of iy customers. Its net work includes a mobile switching center (for CDMA), enhanced packet core (for 4G LTE), and IP core. These serve several purposes, including routing traffic, managing call handoffs, and managing access to the public switched telephone network (for CDMA) or the Internet (CDMA and 4G LTE). These network elements also provide access to voicemail and other value-added services, base stations (for CDMA) or eNodeBs (for 4G LTE), cell sites or distributed antenna system (DAS), nodes, and backhaul facilities, which carry traffic to and from its cell sites and its switching or enhanced packet core facilities, consisting of a combination of dedicated circuits, cable, fiber, and microwave facilities.

Its cell sites in the network are co-located, meaning its equipment is located on leased facilities that are owned by third parties who retain the right to lease the locations to additional carriers and in many cases other wireless broadband mobile service providers already hav e facilities at such locations. The switching centers and na! tional op! erations center provide around-the-clock monitoring of its network. Its switches connect to the public switched telephone network through fiber rings leased from third-parties, which transmit originating and terminating traffic between its equipment and local exchange and long distance carriers. It also has negotiated interconnection agreements with relevant local exchange carriers, or LECs, in its service areas. It uses third-party providers for domestic and international long distance services, international SMS interconnection with the public switched network and other carriers, roaming services, and the majority of its backhaul services.

The Company competes with AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA , Deutsche Telekom, Clearwire, Dish Network , Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Cox Communications, Cricket Communications, Leap Wireless International and Google.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Evan Niu, CFA and Erin Kennedy]

    Recently, T-Mobile (NYSE: TMUS  ) has been shaking things up in the domestic wireless industry with its “Uncarrier” strategies. However, the company’s latest move seems somewhat removed from this philosophy, and has caused some backlash among consumers. While T-Mobile has made pricing transparency a priority, CEO John Legere just announced that the company is getting rid of its corporate employer rate plan discounts. While this could make prices more transparent, it could also cause them to go up significantly for a large number of T-Mobile users.

  • [By Live investor]

    The U.S. telecom is by and large dominated by Verizon and AT&T, while Sprint and T-Mobile (TMUS) are distant competitors; thanks to their size. Son understands it quite well that Sprint, in isolation, stands little chance to challenge the likes of the top two. It’s only when it would combine with T-Mobile and win the confidence of others that the company would be able to fight the larger rivals.

Top 10 Consumer Service Stocks To Own For 2014: Realogy Holdings Corp (RLGY)

Realogy Holdings Corp., incorporated on December 14, 2006, is an integrated provider of residential real estate services in the United States. The Company is the franchisor of residential real estate brokerages with some of the recognized brands in the real estate industry, the owner of United States residential real estate brokerage offices, the global provider of outsourced employee relocation services and a provider of title and settlement services. The Company’s operating platform is supported by the Company’s portfolio of industry franchise brokerage brands, including Century 21 , Coldwell Banker , Coldwell Banker Commercial , ERA , Sotheby’s International Realty and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate and the Company also owns and operates the Corcoran Group and CitiHabitats brands. In October 2013, Realogy Holdings Corp’s Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate LLC announced that it has acquired the assets of Coldwell Banker Cocoa Beach Realty’s two offices in Coco a Beach, Fla. In October 2013, Realogy Holdings Corp’s NRT LLC announced the acquisition of Frank Howard Allen Realtors Company-owned operations in Northern California.

The Company operates in four segments: Real Estate Franchise Services (RFG), Company Owned Real Estate Brokerage Services (NRT), Relocation Services (Cartus) and Title and Settlement Services (TRG).As of December 31, 2012 , the Company’s franchise systems had approximately 13,600 franchised and company owned offices and 238,900 independent sales associates operating under its franchise and brands in the United States and 101 other countries and territories around the world, which includes approximately 710 of its company owned and operated brokerage offices.

Real Estate Franchise Services

The Company is the franchisor of residential real estate brokerages in the world through its portfolio of well known brokerage brands, including Century 21 , Coldwell Banker , Coldwell Banker Commercial , ERA , Sotheby’s International Realty an! d Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. The Company derives substantially all of its real estate franchising revenues from royalty fees received under long-term (typically ten year) franchise agreements with its franchiseesThe Company’s franchisees pay the Company fees for the right to operate under one of the Company’s trademarks and to enjoy the benefits of the systems and business enhancing tools provided by its real estate franchise operations.

As of December 31, 2012 , the Company’s real estate franchise systems had approximately 13,600 offices worldwide in 102 countries and territories, including approximately 6,100 brokerage offices in the United States and approximately 238,900 independent sales associates worldwide (which included approximately 41,300 independent sales agents working with its company owned brokerage offices) including approximately 166,000 sales associates operating under its franchise and brands in the United States, with an average t enure among United States franchisees of approximately 19 years as of December 31, 2012 .

Company Owned Real Estate Brokerage Services

The Company owns and operates the residential real estate brokerage business in the United States under the Coldwell Banker , Sotheby’s International Realty , ERA , Corcoran Group and CitiHabitats brand names. The Company offers full-service residential brokerage services through approximately 710 company owned brokerage offices in more than 35 metropolitan areas of the United States. In addition, the Company participates in the mortgage process through its 49.9% ownership of PHH Home Loans LLC (PHH Home Loans), its home mortgage venture with PHH. The Company’s home mortgage joint venture with PHH is the recommended provider of mortgages for the Company’s real estate brokerage and relocation service customers (unless exclusivity is waived by PHH). The Company also assists landlords and tenants through property manage ment services. In addition, as a full-service real estate br! okerage c! ompany, the Company promotes the complementary services of its relocation and title and settlement services businesses, in addition to PHH Home Loans.

Relocation Services

The Company is a global provider of outsourced employee relocation services. The Company is the provider of such services in the United States and also operates in key international relocation destinations. The Company offers a range of employee relocation services designed to manage all aspects of an employee’s move to facilitate a smooth transition in what otherwise may be a complex and difficult process for the employee and employer. The Company’s relocation services business serves corporations, including over 64% of the Fortune 50 companies, as well as affinity organizations such as insurance companies and credit unions that provide the Company’s services to their members. During the year ended December 31, 2012, the Company assisted in over 158,000 relocations in more than 15 0 countries for approximately 1,500 active clients and as of December 31, 2012, its top 25 relocation clients had an average tenure of 17 years with the Company.

The Company primarily offers corporate clients employee relocation services, such as homesale assistance, including the evaluation, inspection, purchasing and selling of a transferee’s home; the issuance of home equity advances to transferees permitting them to purchase a new home before selling their current home (these advances are generally guaranteed by the client); certain home management services; assistance in locating a new home; and closing on the sale of the old home, generally at the instruction of the client; expense processing, relocation policy counseling, relocation-related accounting, including international assignment compensation services, and other consulting services; arranging household goods moving services, with approximately 72,000 domestic and international shipments in 2012 , a nd providing support for all aspects of moving a transferee’! s househo! ld goods, including the handling of insurance and claim assistance, invoice auditing and quality control; coordinating visa and immigration support, intercultural and language training, and expatriation/repatriation counseling and destination services, and group move management services providing coordination for moves involving a number of transferees to or from a specific regional area over a short period of time.

Title and Settlement Services

The Company assists with the closing of real estate transactions by providing full-service title and settlement, which is closing and escrow services to customers, real estate companies, including its Company-owned real estate brokerage and relocation services businesses, as well as a targeted channel of financial institution clients, including PHH. In 2012, TRG was involved in the closing of approximately 194,000 transactions of which approximately 54,000 related to NRT. In addition to the Company’s own tit le and settlement services, the Company also coordinates a nationwide network of attorneys, title agents and notaries to service financial institution clients on a national basis. The Company also serves as an underwriter of title insurance policies in connection with residential and commercial real estate transactions. As of December 31, 2012 , the Company had approximately 340 offices, approximately 200 of which are co-located within one of its company owned brokerage offices.

The Company competes with HSF Affiliates LLC, Brookfield Residential Property Services, HomeServices of America, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices; RE/MAX International, Inc.; and Keller Williams Realty, Inc.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Big Earnings Movers: Kellogg Co. (NYSE: K) is up 0.7% at $62.72 after announcing a restructuring program. CME Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CME) is down 1.2% at $73.77 after reporting earnings this morning. Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY) is up 7.7% at $43.79.

  • [By Traders Reserve]

    Realogy Holdings (RLGY) is a real estate services provider that owns a huge corner of the market with Century 21, Coldwell Banker, ERA and Sotheby’s International Realty (BID). In 2012, the company had a sales volume three times that of its nearest domestic competitor, accounting for 26% of all broker-assisted transactions in the U.S. It has 239,000 agents working in every corner of the world.

Top 10 Consumer Service Stocks To Own For 2014: First Advantage Bancorp(FABK)

First Advantage Bancorp operates as the holding company for First Federal Savings Bank that provides various financial services to individuals and businesses in Tennessee. The company offers various deposit products comprising non-interest-bearing demand deposits, such as checking accounts; interest-bearing demand accounts, including NOW and money market accounts; regular savings accounts; and certificates of deposit. Its loan portfolio include real estate mortgage loans, including one-to-four family residential loans and nonresidential real estate loans; construction loans for one-to-four family homes, commercial, multi-family, and other nonresidential purposes; land loans for developing vacant land; consumer loans consisting primarily of home equity loans; and commercial business loans secured by equipment, inventory, or accounts receivable to small businesses. As of June 10, 2010, the company operated five full-service offices in Montgomery County. First Advantage Banco rp was founded in 1953 and is headquartered in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Tim Melvin]

    PL Capital has not filed any 13Ds in a couple of months, but earlier this year it disclosed a 5.99% position in shares of First Advantage Bancorp (FABK). The Clarksville, Tenn.-based bank has seven branches and trades at about 75% of book value. PL Capital also filed a 13D announcing 8% ownership of Mutual First Financial (MFSF) over the summer. The bank has 31 branches and is based in Muncie, Ind. — an area that has seen substantial consolidation in the past few years.

Top 10 Consumer Service Stocks To Own For 2014: The Charles Schwab Corporation(SCHW)

The Charles Schwab Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides securities brokerage, banking, and related financial services to individuals and institutional clients. It offers various brokerage products and services comprising brokerage accounts with check-writing features, debit card, and billpay; individual retirement accounts; retirement plans for small to large businesses; college savings accounts; designated brokerage accounts; equity incentive plan accounts; and margin loans, as well as access to fixed income securities, equity and debt offerings, options, and futures. The company also provides various banking products and services, including checking accounts linked to brokerage accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposit, demand deposit accounts, first mortgages, home equity lines of credit, and personal loans collateralized by securities. In addition, it offers trust custody services, personal trust reporting services, and administrative trustee servi ces; advisory services comprising separately managed accounts, customized personal advice for tailored portfolios, and planning and portfolio management; and third-party mutual funds, such as no-load mutual funds, proprietary mutual funds, and other third-party mutual funds, as well as mutual fund trading and clearing services to broker dealers. Further, the company offers third-party and proprietary exchange-traded funds; research, analytic tools, performance reports, market analysis, and educational materials; custodial, trading, technology, practice management, trust asset, and other support services to independent investment advisors; and retirement plan recordkeeping and related services, retirement plan trust and custody services, specialty brokerage services, and mutual fund clearing services. It operates primarily in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong. The company was founded in 1971 and is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    What a difference a day makes. After plunging yesterday, stocks gained today as investors came to terms with the Federal Reserve’s revised schedule for higher rates, sending shares of Invesco (IVZ), Zions Bancorporation (ZION), JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Charles Schwab (SCHW) soaring.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Fears–and hopes–for rising rates were apparent everywhere. Charles Schwab (SCHW), a beneficiary of higher rates, rose 3.2% to $27.58. Newmont Mining (NEM) dropped 3.1% to $24.50 because who needs gold when rates are heading higher? The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) fell 2.1% to $38.57 because we all know higher rates in the US are bad news for emerging markets. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 2.77% and the CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust (FXY) declined 1.1% to $95.22.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Even the discount brokers would benefit. In a report released yesterday, Bernstein’s Brad Hintz noted that for every percentage point increase in rates, Charles Schwab’s (SCHW) net revenue would grow 4%, while eliminating fee waivers would add another 12%. Similarly, every percentage point rate increase would add 11% to 15% to TD Ameritrade’s (AMTD) pre-tax income.

  • [By Matthew Cowley]

    “The problem is cheap is great, but there just doesn’t appear to be a catalyst for a rebound in the market,” says Michelle Gibley Director of International Research at Charles Schwab(SCHW).

Top 10 Consumer Service Stocks To Own For 2014: Newcastle Investment Corp (NCT)

Newcastle Investment Corp. (Newcastle) is a real estate investment and finance company. Newcastle invests in, and actively manages, a portfolio of, real estate securities, loans, excess mortgage servicing rights (MSRs) and other real estate related assets. The Company segments include unlevered CDOs, which include unlevered investments in deconsolidated Newcastle CDO debt; unlevered excess MSRs; non-recourse other, which includes investments financed with other non-recourse debt; recourse, which includes investments and debt repurchases financed with recourse debt; unlevered other, which includes other unlevered investments, and corporate. In April 2011, Newcastle sold its retained interests in Newcastle CDO VII, a non-consolidated VIE of Newcastle. On May 15, 2013, the Company announced the spin-off of New Residential Investment Corp. In June 2013, Newcastle Investment Corp completed the sale of 100% of the assets in Newcastle CDO IV.

Real Estate Securities

Newcastle underwrite, acquire and manage a portfolio of credit sensitive real estate securities, including commercial mortgage backed securities (CMBS), senior unsecured real estate investment trust (REIT) debt issued by REITs, real estate related asset backed securities (ABS), including subprime securities, and Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA)/ Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (FHLMC) securities. As of December 31, 2011, the Company’s real estate securities represented 47.4% of its assets.

Real Estate Related Loans

Newcastle acquires and originates loans to real estate owners, including B-notes, mezzanine loans, corporate bank loans, and whole loans. As of December 31, 2011, the Company’s real estate related loans represented 22.3% of its assets.

Residential Mortgage Loans

Newcastle acquires residential mortgage loans, including manufactured housing loans and subprime mortgage loans. As of Decem ber 31, 2011, the Company’s residential mortgage loans rep! resented 9.1% of its assets.

Operating Real Estate

Newcastle acquires and manages direct and indirect interests in operating real estate. As of December 31, 2011, the Company’s operating real estate represented 0.9% of its assets.

Excess Mortgage Servicing Rights

Newcastle invested in excess MSRs in December 2011. As of December 31, 2011, the Company’s interests in these rights represented 1.2% of its assets.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Albert Alfonso]

    On April 26, Newcastle Investment Corp. (NCT) finally announced the spin-off date for shares in its wholly owned subsidiary New Residential (NRZ). The distribution is expected to be made on or about May 15, 2013. Below is a helpful timeline from the presentation related to the spin-off of New Residential:

  • [By Amanda Alix]

    This turn of events worked in favor of Fortress Investment Group’s (NYSE: FIG  ) portfolio, which held the former Centex Corp, the subprime mortgage lending unit of a Texas homebuilder. That company is now Nationstar, which is definitely doing its fair share to add to its parent’s bottom line. Also owned by Fortress is Newcastle Investment (NYSE: NCT  ) , the diversified REIT with an involvement in almost anything to do with real estate, whether residential or commercial.

  • [By Matt Koppenheffer and David Hanson]

    After an incredible run-up this year, the broader market trend was downward this week, to the tune of 1.6%, but some of the stocks out there were hit particularly hard. In this video, Motley Fool financial analysts Matt Koppenheffer and David Hanson take a look at what was behind three big dives this week: National Bank of Greece  (NYSE: NBG  ) , Newcastle Investment  (NYSE: NCT  ) , and American Capital Mortgage Investment  (NASDAQ: MTGE  ) . 

  • [By Eric Volkman]

    Newcastle Investment (NYSE: NCT  ) shareholders will find a little less money in their pockets following a reduction in the company’s common stock dividend. A fresh quarterly payout of $0.17 per share will be handed out on July 31 to shareholders of record as of June 13. That amount is a nickel lower than the firm’s previous distribution of $0.22 per share. The upcoming payout, however, will be the first one since Newcastle completed the divestment of onetime subsidiary New Residential Investment.

Top 10 Consumer Service Stocks To Own For 2014: Intelligent Living Inc (ILIV)

Intelligent Living Inc., formerly Feel Golf Co., Inc., incorporated on February 14, 2000, is a developer of healthy aging software tracking systems and wellness centers, which will provide integrated services promoting optimal health and wellness programs. The services to be offered by the Company are personalized programs and regimens developed by nutritionists, fitness specialists and hormone replacement therapists. The Company focuses to offer the benefits of tailored nutritional programs and its products, combined with healthy-aging bio-identical hormone replacement therapies (BHRT). The Company provides services, such as Age Management Medicine, Excercise & Nutrition, MIND360.COM, Nutraceuticals, Hormone Therapy, and Business Solutions.

Age Management Medicine

The Company’s Age Management Medicine is a proactive and preventative approach to healthcare for an aging population. The basic tenets of Age Management Medicine include medical histor y examination of the patient, a thorough lifestyle assessment, and physical and laboratory evaluations, which are used to establish personalized treatment plans.

Business Solutions

The Company is in the development stages of launching its own Electronic Medical Records software. The product will be a Web-based clinical application for the management of patients with hormone and other chronic conditions.

Excercise & Nutrition

The Company has on-site fitness specialists and nutritionists to help one attain goals. Depending on personal goals, personalized consultations are available at their request.

Hormone Therapy

The Company works directly with a pharmacy that compounds products for hormone replacement therapy (HRT). It serves both men and women.


Mind360 enhances and maintains people’s mental fitness through an online cognitive training platform. Its enga ging brain training games are designed to help strengthen ke! y cognitive functions, including memory, attention, executive functions, thinking and reasoning, and visual perception. Mind360 has over 10,000 users in every continent with more than 40 games.


The Company is focused on optimizing health goals through proper nutrition and dietary supplementation. Its Nutraceutical products support this proactive approach to healthy aging and helps reduce the negative effects of aging and improve quality of life. The Company’s Nutraceutical line of products are formulated by both pharmacists and physicians.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    Small cap healthcare and lifestyle stocks Axxess Pharma Inc (OTCMKTS: AXXE), Medefile International Inc (OTCMKTS: MDFI) and Intelligent Living Inc (OTCMKTS: ILIV) have all been getting some extra attention lately thanks in part to a few disclosed paid promotions or investor relations type of activities. But just how healthy are these small cap stocks for investors and traders alike? Here is a quick reality check: