Top 10 Dow Dividend Companies To Invest In 2014

Photo courtesy of Ford.

“Quite simply, it’s a great time to be in the truck business,” said Kurt McNeil, head of General Motors sales operations in the United States. He’s right, that simple sentence pretty much nails it. Full-size pickup trucks is the most profitable vehicle segment in the U.S. market and has historically been dominated by Detroit’s Big Three automakers, General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) , Ford (NYSE: F  ) , and Chrysler. I’ll explain why these sales are here to stay and why there’s such an advantage for Detroit over its Japanese competitors.

Good old days
As you can see in the chart below, which details America’s three top-selling trucks, sales are still far below peak selling numbers prior to the recession.

The full-size truck segment looks to continue the trend of increased sales, and comparing year-to-date sales to last year’s, the F-Series, Silverado, and Ram have surged 21.7%, 23.9% and 22.7%, respectively. That’s good news for Detroit’s Big Three because the segment brings in a majority of their profits – but it gets better.

Top 10 Dow Dividend Companies To Invest In 2014: Flowers Foods Inc (FLO)

Flowers Foods, Inc. (Flowers Foods), incorporated in October 2000, is a producer and marketer of bakery products in the United States. The Company is the producer and marketer of packaged bakery foods for retail and foodservice customers in the United States. Flowers Foods operates 44 bakeries that produce a range of bakery products, which include breads, buns, rolls, snack cakes, and pastries. These products are sold through a direct-store-delivery network with access to approximately 70% of the United States population in the East, South, and Southwest, as well as in certain markets in California. Select Flowers products are sold nationwide through customers’ delivery systems. Among the Company’s top brands are Nature’s Own and Tastykake. The Company has two business segments: direct-store-delivery (DSD segment) and warehouse delivery segment (warehouse segment). In May 2011, the Company acquired Tasty Baking Company. In July 2012, it acquired Lepage Bakeries, Inc.

The DSD segments focuses on the production and marketing of bakery products to United States customers in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and Southwest, as well as select markets in California and Nevada primarily through its DSD system. The warehouse segment produces snack cakes and breads and rolls that are shipped both fresh and frozen to national retail, foodservice, vending, and co-pack customers through their warehouse channels. The Company’s brands include Whitewheat, Cobblestone Mill, Blue Bird, ButterKrust, Dandee, Mary Jane, and Mary Jane and Friends. During the year ended December 31, 2011, it introduced the new products under this brand, including Nature’s Own Whitewheat Sandwich Rounds; Nature’s Own Whole Grain Sandwich Rolls and Hot Dog Rolls; Nature’s Own Cinnamon Raisin Thin Sliced Bagels; Nature’s Own Soft Oatmeal Specialty Bread; Nature’s Own 100% Whole Grain Specialty Bread, and Nature’s Own Honey Wheat Berry Specialty Brea d. In addition to Nature’s Own, its DSD segment also marke! ts: a range of specialty breads and rolls under the Company-owned Cobblestone Mill brand; white breads and buns under regional company owned and franchised brands, such as Sunbeam, Bunny, Aunt Hattie’s, Holsum, and ButterKrust; Tastykake and Blue Bird branded snack cakes and pastries; flour, white, and corn tortillas under the Mi Casa and Frestillas brands, and fresh packaged bakery products under store brands for retailers.

The Company’s warehouse segment markets a range of specialty breads and rolls under the European Bakers brand, breads, buns, and rolls for specific foodservice customers, and tortillas and tortilla chips under Leo’s Foods and Juarez. This segment’s snack cakes are sold under the Mrs. Freshley’s, Broad Street Bakery, and store brands. Its warehouse segment products are distributed nationally through retail, foodservice and vending customer warehouses.

The Company competes with Grupo Bimbo S.A. de C.V./Bimbo Bakeries, Ho stess Brands, Inc., Sara Lee Corporation, Campbell Soup Company, McKee Foods Corporation, Cloverhill Bakery, Hostess Brands, Inc., Alpha Baking Co., Inc., Rotella’s Italian Bakery, United States Bakery, Turano Baking Company and All Round Foods, Inc.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Gerrit De Vynck]

    Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (MFI), the Canadian producer of foods from hamburgers to frozen pasta, has drawn bids for its bread unit from Grupo Bimbo SAB, Flowers Foods Inc. (FLO) and several private-equity firms, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    Tomorrow, Flowers Foods (NYSE: FLO  ) will release its latest quarterly results. The key to making smart investment decisions on stocks reporting earnings is to anticipate how they’ll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise. That way, you’ll be less likely to make an uninformed, knee-jerk reaction to news that turns out to be exactly the wrong move.

  • [By Caroline Bennett]

    The board of directors for Flowers Foods (NYSE: FLO  ) announced a three-for-two stock split at the annual shareholders meeting this week and increased the total annual cash dividend by $0.035.

Top 10 Dow Dividend Companies To Invest In 2014: Genesis Energy LP (GEL)

Genesis Energy, L.P. (Genesis) is a limited partnership focused on the midstream segment of the oil and gas industry in the Gulf Coast region of the United States, primarily Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico. The Company has a portfolio of customers, operations and assets, including pipelines, refinery-related plants, storage tanks and terminals, barges and trucks. Genesis provides an integrated range of services to refineries, oil, natural gas and carbon dioxide (CO2) producers, industrial and commercial enterprises that use sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS) and caustic soda, and businesses that use CO2 and other industrial gases. The Company operates in three segments: Pipeline Transportation, Refinery Services, and Supply and Logistics. In August 2011, the Company acquired black oil barge transportation business of Florida Marine Transporters, Inc. In November 2011, it acquired a 90% interest in a 3,500 barrel per day refinery located in Converse County, Wyoming, including 300 miles of abandoned 3- 6 pipeline. On January 3, 2012, it acquired interests in several Gulf of Mexico crude oil pipeline systems, including its 28% interest in the Poseidon pipeline system, its 29% interest in the Odyssey pipeline system, and its 23% interest in the Eugene Island pipeline system. In August 2013, the Company announced that it has completed the acquisition of all the assets of the downstream transportation business of Hornbeck Offshore Transportation, LLC (Hornbeck).

Pipeline Transportation

The Company transports crude oil and carbon dioxide (CO2) for others for a fee in the Gulf Coast region of the United States through approximately 550 miles of pipeline. Its Pipeline Transportation segment owns and operates three crude oil common carrier pipelines and two CO2 pipelines. Its 235-mile Mississippi System provides shippers of crude oil in Mississippi indirect access to refineries, pipe lines, storage terminals and other crude oil infrastructure ! located in the Midwest. Its 100-mile Jay System originates in southern Alabama and the panhandle of Florida and provides crude oil shippers access to refineries, pipelines and storage near Mobile, Alabama. The Company’s 90-mile Texas System transports crude oil from West Columbia to several delivery points near Houston. Its crude oil pipeline systems include access to a total of approximately 0.7 million barrels of crude oil storage.

The Company’s Free State Pipeline is an 86-mile, 20 CO2 pipelines that extends from CO2 source fields near Jackson, Mississippi, to oil fields in eastern Mississippi. It has a twenty-year transportation services agreement (through 2028) related to the transportation of CO2 on its Free State Pipeline.

Refinery Services

Genesis provides services to eight refining operations located in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, which operates storage and transportation assets in relation to its business and sell NaHS and caustic soda to industrial and commercial companies. The refinery services involve processing refiner’s sulfur (sour) gas streams to remove the sulfur. The refinery services also include terminals and it utilizes railcars, ships, barges and trucks to transport product. Its contracts are long-term in nature and have an average remaining term of four years.

Supply and Logistics

The Company provides services to Gulf Coast oil and gas producers and refineries through a combination of purchasing, transporting, storing, blending and marketing of crude oil and refined products, primarily fuel oil. It has access to a range of more than 250 trucks, 350 trailers and 50 barges with 1.5 million barrels of terminal storage capacity in multiple locations along the Gulf Coast, as well as capacity associated with its three common carrier crude oil pipelines.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Dividends4Life]

    This week a few companies answered the call and rewarded their shareholders with higher cash dividends:

    Consolidated Edison Inc. (ED) engages in regulated electric, gas, and steam delivery businesses. January 16th the company increased its quarterly dividend 2.4% to $0.63 per share. The dividend is payable March 15, 2014, to stockholders of record on February 12, 2014. The yield based on the new payout is 4.7%.

    Cousins Properties Incorporated (CUZ), a real estate investment trust (REIT), owns, develops, and manages real estate portfolio, as well as performs certain real estate-related services. January 16th the company increased its quarterly dividend 66.7% to $0.075 per share. The dividend is payable February 24, 2014, to stockholders of record on February 10, 2014. The yield based on the new payout is 2.8%.

    Wisconsin Energy Corporation (WEC) generates and distributes electric energy, as well as distributes natural gas. The company operates in two segments, Utility Energy and Non-Utility Energy. January 16th the company increased its quarterly dividend 2% to $0.3900 per share. The dividend is payable March 1, 2014, to stockholders of record on February 14, 2014. The yield based on the new payout is 3.8%.

    BlackRock Inc. (BLK) is a publicly owned investment manager. The firm primarily provides its services to institutional, intermediary, and individual investors. January 16th the company increased its quarterly dividend 14.9% to $1.93 per share. The dividend is payable March 24, 2014, to stockholders of record on March 7, 2014. The yield based on the new payout is 2.4%.

    ONEOK Inc. (OKE) operates as a diversified energy company in the United States. January 15th the company increased its quarterly dividend 5.3% to $0.40 per share. The dividend is payable February 18, 2014, to stockholders of record on February 10, 2014. The yield based on the new payout is 2.5%.

    Omega Healthcare Investors Inc. (OHI) is a real es

  • [By Aimee Duffy]

    Distributions are incredibly important to master limited partnerships — they are the reason many investors buy in, and ultimately what drive the market performance for this asset class. As news of distribution increases trickle in for the third quarter, Fool.com contributor Aimee Duffy takes a look at the payouts from Genesis Energy (NYSE: GEL  ) , Plains All American Pipeline (NYSE: PAA  ) , and Memorial Production Partners (NASDAQ: MEMP  ) , as all three MLPs are leading the way with the biggest distribution increases.

Top 10 Dow Dividend Companies To Invest In 2014: Medley Capital Corporation (MCC)

Medley Capital Corporation is a business development company. The fund seeks to invest in privately negotiated debt and equity securities of small and middle market companies. It targets private debt transactions ranging in size from $10 million to $50 million to borrowers principally located in North America. It structures its investments as first lien senior secured loans, second lien senior secured loans, senior secured notes, senior subordinated notes, unitranche loans, and seeks warrants or other equity participation. The fund may take a board seat on its investee companies and exits its investments between three years and seven years.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Nathan Slaughter]

    All of this is to say that while I strive to hunt down and recommend attractive securities with double-digit yields — and own a few, like Medley Capital Corp. (NYSE: MCC) — they are the exception in this environment, not the rule.

Top 10 Dow Dividend Companies To Invest In 2014: Communications Systems Inc.(JCS)

Communications Systems, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells modular connecting and wiring devices, digital subscriber line filters, structured wiring systems, and media and rate conversion products primarily in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The company?s Suttle segment manufactures and markets copper and fiber connectivity systems, enclosure systems, XDSL filters and splitters, and active technologies for voice, data, and video communications under the Suttle brand name; and residential structured wiring products under the SOHO Access brand name. This segment offers its products directly and through distributors to communication companies, smaller telephone companies, electrical/low voltage contractors, home builders, cable customers, and original equipment manufacturers. Its Transition Networks segment designs, assembles, and markets network interface devices, media converters, network interface cards, Ethernet switches, sma ll form factor pluggable modules, and other connectivity products under the Transition Networks and MILAN brand names. This segment sells its products through distributors, resellers, integrators, and original equipment manufacturers. The company?s JDL Technologies segment offers information technology (IT) solutions, including network design and integration IT service management, network security, desktop virtualization, and managed network operation center services. This segment serves educational clients, IT value added resellers, and managed service providers, as well as healthcare, enterprise, and government markets. Its Austin Taylor segment provides telephony and data networking products to telecommunications companies, distributors, and installers. This segment designs and manufactures external metal cabinets and internal metal boxes to industry standards and to customer specifications. The company was founded in 1969 and is headquartered in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Victor Selva]

    On Dec.24, Mario Gabelli, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GAMCO Investors, Inc. added Communications Systems Inc. (JCS) at an average price of $11.05 and currently holds 330,172 shares of the stock. It was the 5th time he added the stock during this year, which makes me feel that he is betting in favor of a positive future for the consumption of network capacity.
    Recommendations of the Board
    Communications Systems is engaged in the manufacture and sale of modular connecting and wiring devices for voice and data communications, digital subscriber line filters, and structured wiring systems, and through its Transition Networks business unit in the manufacture of media and rate conversion products for telecommunications networks.
    Few months ago the firm announced a series of actions to increase revenues and improve profitability. The first change was to operate as a holding company, monitoring and supporting all the business units: Suttle, Transition Ne tworks (TN) unit and JDL Technologies. With this “new format”, each unit will operate with a high degree of autonomy. This will result in the reduction of labor costs, the emphasizing of accountability in the units as well as better recognition of performance. “While difficult decisions for the Board, we believe the changes we have taken to restructure our parent company as a holding company and to focus on individual business unit performance is in the best interest of our shareholders and will increase shareholder value” said Curtis A. Sampson, the Company’s Board Chair and Interim CEO. Furthermore, strategic investments in the TN unit such as marketing, sales and product development will boost revenues in the future.
    Severe Warning Signs
    Not all are good news, we found three severe warning signs issued by GuruFocus: Piotroski F-Score of 2 is low, which usually implies poor business operation; revenue has been in decline over the past 3 years and operating margi n has been in 5-year

Top 10 Dow Dividend Companies To Invest In 2014: OMNOVA Solutions Inc.(OMN)

OMNOVA Solutions Inc. provides emulsion polymers, specialty chemicals, and decorative and functional surfaces for commercial, industrial, and residential end uses primarily in North America, Europe, and Asia. The company operates in two segments, Performance Chemicals and Decorative Products. The Performance Chemicals segment offers a range of emulsion polymers and specialty chemicals based primarily on styrene butadiene, styrene butadiene acrylonitrile, styrene butadiene vinyl pyridine, nitrile butadiene, polyvinyl acetate, acrylic, styrene acrylic, vinyl acrylic, glyoxal, phenolic and diphenylamine antioxidants, hollow plastic pigment, fluorochemicals, and bio-based chemistries. Its custom-formulated products include tailored resins, binders, adhesives, specialty rubbers, antioxidants, and elastomeric modifiers, which are used in paper, specialty coatings, carpets, nonwovens, construction, oil/gas drilling, adhesives, tapes, tire cords, floor care, textiles, graphic arts , polymer stabilization, industrial rubbers and hoses, bio-based polymers, and various other applications. This segment primarily sells its products directly to manufacturers. The Decorative Products segment develops, designs, produces, and markets a line of functional and decorative surfacing products, including coated fabrics, vinyl, paper and specialty laminates, and performance films. Its products are used in various applications, such as commercial building refurbishment, remodeling, and new construction; residential cabinets, flooring, and furnishings; retail display; transportation markets; recreational vehicles; manufactured housing; medical devices and products; and various industrial film applications. This segment distributes its products primarily through a direct sales force; and agents to manufacturers of cabinets, furniture, seating, health care and medical components, and other products. OMNOVA Solutions Inc. was founded in 1999 and is headquartered in Fairl a wn, Ohio.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    OMNOVA Solutions (NYSE: OMN) is estimated to report its Q4 earnings at $0.12 per share on revenue of $226.00 million.

    CA Technologies (NASDAQ: CA) is expected to post its Q3 earnings at $0.71 per share on revenue of $1.13 billion.

  • [By Sean Williams]

    Chemical reaction
    The disappointments are starting to mount for investors in OMNOVA Solutions (NYSE: OMN  ) , an emulsion polymer and specialty chemicals maker that has missed the Street’s estimates in worsening fashion for three straight quarters. Its first-quarter results, released earlier this month, showed a 9% decline in total revenue from the year-ago period because of lower volumes in Europe and India, and business seasonality. However, optimistic contentions could also be made based on this same earnings report.

Top 10 Dow Dividend Companies To Invest In 2014: Diamondback Energy Inc (FANG)

Diamondback Energy, Inc., incorporated on December 30, 2011, is an independent oil and natural gas company. The Company is focused on the acquisition, development, exploration and exploitation of unconventional, onshore oil and natural gas reserves in the Permian Basin in West Texas. The Company is the operator of Janey 16H in Upton County with a 3,842 foot lateral in the Wolfcamp B interval. During the year ended December 31, 2012, the Janey 16H had produced a total of 48 thousand barrels of oil and 62 million cubic feet of natural gas. As of December 31, 2012, the Company had drilled 193 gross (176 net) wells, and participated in an additional 18 gross (eight net) non-operated wells, in the Permian Basin. Of these 211 gross wells, 191 were completed as producing wells and 20 were in various stages of completion. In the aggregate, as of December 31, 2012, it held interests in 225 gross (201 net) producing well in the Permian Basin.

The Company’s activities are primarily focused on the Clearfork, Spraberry, Wolfcamp, Cline, Strawn and Atoka formations, which it refers to collectively as the Wolfberry play. The Wolfberry play is characterized by high oil and liquids rich natural gas, multiple vertical and horizontal target horizons, extensive production history, long-lived reserves and high drilling success rates. The Wolfberry play is a modification and extension of the Spraberry play, the majority of which is designated in the Spraberry Trend area field. As of December 31, 2012, its estimated proved oil and natural gas reserves were 40,210 million barrels of oil equivalent based on a reserve report prepared by Ryder Scott Company L.P. (Ryder Scott), its independent reserve engineers. Of these reserves, approximately 29.5% are classified as proved developed producing, (PDP). Proved undeveloped (PUD), reserves included in this estimate are from 306 vertical gross well locations on 40-acre spacing and four gross horizontal well l ocations. As of December 31, 2012, these proved reserves wer! e approximately 65% oil, 21% natural gas liquids and 14% natural gas.

The Company had have 881 identified potential vertical drilling locations on 40-acre spacing based on its evaluation of applicable geologic and engineering data as of December 31, 2012, and had an additional 1,118 identified potential vertical drilling locations based on 20-acre downspacing. It also has identified 731 potential horizontal drilling locations in multiple horizons on its acreage. The Company’s second horizontal well, Kemmer 4209H in Midland County is a non-operated well in which the Company owns a 47% working interest. In 2012, the Kemmer 4209H produced a total of 41 thousand barrels of oil and 45 million cubic feet of natural gas. In addition to the Janey and Kemmer wells, as of February 28, 2013, the Company had three additional horizontal wells in Midland County and four horizontal wells in Upton County in various stages of development. In Midland County, it drilled the ST25 -1H well (83% working interest) with a lateral length of 4,617 feet.

In Upton County, the Company drilled three additional wells, the Neal 8-1H (100% working interest) with a lateral length of 7,652 feet, the Neal 8-2H (100% working interest) with a lateral length of 6,658 feet and the Janey 3H (100% working interest) with a lateral length of 4,629 feet. It completed a 32 stage frac on the Neal 8-1H well in January 2013. As of February 26, 2013, flowback operations were underway and for the last seven days the well averaged 806 barrel of oil equivalent per day with a peak rate of 871 barrel of oil equivalent per day with an 85% oil component.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Michael Cintolo]

    Diamondback Energy (FANG) went public in October 2012, and has been growing at a breakneck pace ever since. The company currently explores and is developing the oil-rich Wolfberry area of the Permian Basin in West Texas.

  • [By Robert Rapier]

    As far as the best buy post drop — it comes down to risk tolerance. If you believe oil prices are going to remain strong in 2014, and you are aggressively inclined, there are several solid names. One that may not be on a lot of people’s radars is Diamondback Energy (NASDAQ: FANG), a Permian Basin-focused producer which IPO’d in October of 2012 and has gained 140 percent year-to-date. It was off recently 20 percent from its highs of early November, but has once again been moving up over the past few sessions. If the stock experiences a sharp correction as a result of broader market weakness, this is one that aggressive investors should consider.     

Top 10 Dow Dividend Companies To Invest In 2014: Compucon Computer Applications SA (COMP)

Compucon Computer Applications SA is a Greek company engaged mainly in the information technology sector. The Company’s activities include the manufacture and trade of electronics and software for the embroidery, telematics, laser, Web solutions and medical fields. In the embroidery field it offers album presentation or embroidery designs, lettering with a variety of fonts, frames and specialized features, and realistic three-dimensional views of embroidery designs. The Company also produces laser cutting and engraving devices for the embroidery sector. The range of telematics applications includes automotive positioning systems, fleet management and navigation systems. Its Web solutions offering includes the SiteCosmos, which is an integrated tool for on-line content management and Website design for small and medium enterprises, while the medical applications target the management of patient-oriented information, diet schedules, word processing, prescriptions and other serv ices. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Benjamin Pimentel]

    But the Nasdaq Composite Index (COMP)  edged higher by 0.2% to close at 4,276, even as the Morgan Stanley High Tech 35 Index (MSH)  and the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) were each down a fraction.

  • [By Victor Reklaitis]

    Tech stocks in general were under pressure during the week, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (COMP) falling 2.8% for its worst percentage drop since October 2012. Other big losers among Internet companies were TripAdvisor Inc. (TRIP) , down 11.3% for the week, and Netflix Inc. (NFLX) , which slid 11.6% for the week.

Top 10 Dow Dividend Companies To Invest In 2014: American Heritage International Inc (AHII)

American Heritage International Inc., formerly Cumberland Hills Ltd., incorporated on January 19, 2010, intends to focus on electronic cigarette. The Company’s product includes American Heritage, American One, American Freedom, American Nights, American Standard and Smoking Alternative Gums and Mints.

The Company’s initial and primary line will be the American Heritage line. American One is a disposable Electronic Cigarette, good for over 500 draws, about the equivalent of over two packs of traditional cigarettes. American Freedom will be the brand name for its Nicotine-Free line of Electronic Cigarettes. American Nights will be a product line targeted to the young adult market of social smokers. Smoking Alternative products will include gums, and mints.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Bryan Murphy]

    Lorillard Inc. (NYSE:LO), Altria Group Inc. (NYSE:MO), and the rest of the big tobacco names may want to take notice. For that matter, anyone with a presence in the electronic cigarette market (which still includes the aforementioned Altria and Lorillard, but many other small payers too) may want to pay attention as well…. e-cig newcomer American Heritage International Inc. (OTCBB:AHII) has just added two states to the number where its premium product can be purchased. The young company promised it was going to expand after jumping into the game on a small scale in – and this isn’t a misprint – January of this year. With today’s addition of Nevada and Illinois, AHII is now giving MO and LO a run for their money in eleven states. Thirty-nine more to go.

  • [By John Udovich]

    Small cap electronic cigarette stocks Vapor Corp (OTCMKTS: VPCO), Smokefree Innotec (OTCMKTS: SFIO), Hop-On Inc (OTCMKTS: HPNN) and American Heritage International Inc (OTCBB: AHII) are what’s left of the e-Cig market not controlled by “Big Tobacco” and at least one of these stocks is positioning itself or its technology to exploit opportunities in marijuana or cannabis. Last year, industry experts were saying that US retail sales of e-cigarettes could reach $1 billion for the year or 1% of the country’s cigarette market but twice that of 2012 as sales go off the Internet and into more mainstream retailers. Moreover, they are being positioned as a “healthier” alternative to smoking (albeit some places have already extended their smoking bans to cover the devices). It should be stated that electronic cigarettes look just like traditional cigarettes and are usually comprised of three functional components:

  • [By Bryan Murphy]

    The latest and greatest of these new entrants is a little startup called American Heritage International Inc. (OTCBB:AHII)… a little company that could really rattle the cages of its bigger brothers.

Top 10 Dow Dividend Companies To Invest In 2014: Peet’s Coffee & Tea Inc.(PEET)

Peet?s Coffee & Tea, Inc. operates as a specialty coffee roaster and marketer of fresh roasted whole bean coffee and tea in the United States. It offers whole bean coffee and related products consisting of products for home brewing, tea, and packaged foods; and beverages and pastries. The company also provides brewing equipment for coffee and tea; paper filters and brewing accessories; and branded and non-branded cups, saucers, travel mugs, and serve ware. Peet?s sells its products through various channels of distribution, including grocery stores; home delivery, office, restaurant, and foodservice accounts; and company-owned and operated stores. As of January 2, 2011, it operated 192 retail stores in California, Colorado, Illinois, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Washington. The company was founded in 1966 and is headquartered in Emeryville, California.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Chris Hill]

    In 2012, the Germany-based Benckiser Group spent $1.3B to buy Peet’s Coffee & Tea, as well as Caribou Coffee. On Friday, Benckiser announced that it’s buying European coffee maker Master Blenders for around $10 billion. In the United States, Benckiser is closing 15% of Caribou locations, and converting 20% of the stores into Peet’s (NASDAQ: PEET  ) . In this installment of Motley Fool Money, our analysts discuss whether Benckiser’s big bet on coffee poses a threat to Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX  ) .

Top 10 Dow Dividend Companies To Invest In 2014: XO Group Inc (XOXO)

XO Group Inc. (XO Group), formerly The Knot, Inc., is a media and technology company. The Company is engaged in the business of weddings, pregnancy and everything in between, providing young women with the information, products and advice to guide them through the transformative events of their lives. Its family of brands began with the wedding brand, The Knot, and it also include WeddingChannel.com, The Nest, The Bump and Ijie.com. XO Group has its presence in all media from the Web to social media and mobile, magazines and books, and video – and social platforms. XO Group has businesses in online sponsorship and advertising, registry services, ecommerce and publishing.

The Company has a network of Websites under several different brands, TheKnot.com, the wedding Website, WeddingChannel.com, the wedding registry site and wedding vendor review site with nearly 350,000 reviews, TheNest.com, a site for newlyweds and new couples, and TheBump.com, a pre-natal and pregnancy Website. These sites offer content and services tailored to the engaged, newly married, and pregnant audiences. Weddings, nesting, and first-time pregnancy are information-intensive events requiring research, planning, and decision-making.

The sites provides future brides and grooms with databases that draw on thousands of articles about weddings, including planning advice, etiquette, Q&As, real wedding stories, tips on getting engaged, fashion, beauty, grooms, the wedding party, and honeymoons. TheNest.com offers information and resources on merging bank accounts and making dinner, with searchable databases for recipes, home decor, and real estate. For couples who are getting ready for a baby, the same urgent need for information surfaces, which the Company provides at TheBump.com with baby naming tools, nursery decor ideas, and a host of health and development-related information. Each of the content areas offers articles, ideas, hundreds of photo slideshows, and videos, all covering a wide range of styles,! perspectives, budgets, traditions, lifestyles and ethnicities.

Active Community Participation and Social Networking

The community areas on XO Group websites generate member involvement through message boards, blogs, and personalized interactive services. Women who are planning their weddings actively seek forums to exchange ideas and ask questions. The community areas feature 24-hour activity.

User-Generated Content

Through blogs, message boards, and photo-posting features, all XO Group sites feature many forms of user-generated content related to the particular interests of its audience. Recent brides post wedding photos, vendor reviews, and their own wedding advice for future brides. Recent home purchasers post home-buying stories, before and after photos, and photos of their own home decor ideas. Pregnant women post chronicles of their pregnancies, reviews of their doctors, photos of their nurseries, and stories of the ir newborns at key developmental stages.

Interactive Tools

TheKnot.com offers, personalized wedding planning tools, including checklists, budgeters, guest list managers, calendars, and reminder services. An online scrapbook gives users the ability to save favorite dresses, articles, photos, vendors, honeymoons, wedding supplies, and other planning information. After a couple’s wedding day, these personalized tools are automatically converted to its newlywed Website, TheNest.com, to help them organize their new life as a married couple. The guest list manager is used to track thank-you notes, and couples receive an entirely new checklist and budgeter to help them organize their newlywed to-dos and finances. On TheBump.com, it offers checklists, budget tools, a baby name tool, and tools to track everything from ovulation to breastfeeding. These tools are also available on mobile platforms, which provide its users the ability to modify budgets and c heck off tasks from the convenience of their mobile phones. !

The Company offers personal pregnancy and baby websites through TheBump.com. XO Group Websites offers tools to assist with shopping for key elements of a wedding. Its wedding planning sites highlight a searchable bridal gown database with more than 5,000 gown images from over 200 designers, plus searchable databases for bridesmaid, mother-of-the-bride, and flower girl dresses, bridal accessories, engagement and wedding rings and tuxedos. The sites also offer search tools for honeymoon resorts, jewelry, and tabletop products. Local Resource Listings

The local resource areas on XO Group websites provide access to the local wedding market through online regional guides that host nearly 21,000 local vendors who display over 28,000 profiles, highlighting offerings for reception halls, bands, florists, caterers and other wedding-related products and services across 85 local markets in North America.

One-Stop Registry Shopping Service

We ddingChannel.com is the registry site online. Its patented registry aggregation service offers couples and their guests one place to view all their gift registries via a registry system that searches approximately 4.5 million registries from many retail partners, including Macy’s, Crate & Barrel, Williams-Sonoma, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target, Amazon.com, Tiffany & Co., JCPenney and others. TheBump.com uses the same patented registry aggregation service to focus on baby registries, including Target, Buy Buy Baby, Diapers.com, Pottery Barn Kids and more.

The Company integrates informative content with online shops that feature an array of attendant gifts, favors, and supplies that relate to the wedding itself, as well as apparel, toys, gifts, and other goods for babies. It sells directly to consumers through its integrated shopping destinations, The Knot Wedding Shop, the WeddingChannel Store and The Bump Baby Shop. These online stores offer over 4,000 products, including cocktail napkins, wedding bubbles and bells, candy! and cook! ies, ring pillows, toasting flutes, reception decorations, table centerpieces, goblets and glasses, garters, and unity candles.

Broadband Video Content

The Knot TV is a continuous video stream that includes a range of wedding content, including shows about choosing a creative cake, hiring the videographer, planning dream honeymoons and learning about real weddings across the country. It produces video on demand content for The Knot, The Nest, and The Bump brands, covering everything from wedding fashion to home tours to mommy advice. The Knot TV On Demand provides video content from bridal fashion runway shows for brides to watch when they want, including programs on the trends in dresses, silhouettes, necklines, and accessories. Its video content is also distributed to MSN.com video, YouTube, and Sling Media. The Knot TV also features live programming with limited runs of The Knot LIVE, a weekly magazine format show.

Informative E-ma il

Members of XO Group Websites subscribe to newsletters and e-mail updates, many of which are targeted with information for members in a specific stage of the wedding planning process. Other newsletters and e-mails are focused on specific topics, including honeymoon deals and personalized e-mails containing relevant local information or offers, such as bridal events or dress sample sales. E-mails are also sent to members of The Nest and The Bump with sponsored promotions and information about their stage of pregnancy or the age of their newborn.

Niche Website Network and Sister Sites

The Company also owns and operates a network of targeted websites that offer services of interest to its core audience of engaged couples. These include niche weddings sites such as ChineseWeddingsbyTheKnot.com, BeachWeddingsbyTheKnot.com, GayWeddingsbyTheKnot.com and over 300 other sites tailored to the searched-for wedding destinations and themes. The s ites features local listings, forums, real wedding photos an! d local p! lanning advice.

The Company sells both the national and local editions of The Knot Weddings magazines through newsstands, bookstores, and on its Website, and it distributes local editions of The Bump pregnancy guide to doctors’ offices across the country. It also offers a library of books complementing the content on its lifestages websites.

The Knot Weddings National Magazine

It publishes The Knot Weddings magazine four times a year. It features hundreds of dresses from the industry’s top designers. Also featured is an array of photos of wedding party attire and accessories, including bridesmaid, mother-of-the-bride, and flower girl dresses, as well as veils, shoes, and tuxedos.

The Knot Weddings Local Magazines

It publishes regional wedding magazines semi-annually in 17 markets in the United States. The Knot’s regional magazines combine national editorial content with up-to-date, region-specific inf ormation, including sections featuring real weddings within the market, making these publications a must-have wedding planning companion for engaged couples.

The Bump Magazine

A pocketbook-sized magazine for first-time moms, The Bump magazine features local resources and modern advice from its editors and nationally-recognized experts.

The Company sells both the national and local editions of The Knot Weddings magazines through newsstands, bookstores, and on its Website, and it distributes local editions of The Bump pregnancy guide to doctors’ offices across the country. It also offers a library of books complementing the content on its lifestages Websites. It publishes The Knot Weddings magazine four times a year.

The Company publishes regional wedding magazines semi-annually in 17 markets in the United States. The Knot’s regional magazines combine national editorial content with up-to-date, region-specific informa tion, including sections featuring real weddings within the ! market, m! aking these publications a must-have wedding planning companion for engaged couples.

A pocketbook-sized magazine for first-time moms, The Bump magazine features local resources and modern advice from our editors and nationally-recognized experts. Distributed at no charge through OB/GYN offices in 20 markets nationwide, The Bump magazine is specifically designed to connect first-time parents with the information and resources they need to prepare for a baby. It publishes The Bump magazine semi-annually.

The Company offers a library of up-to-date wedding books authored by itsChief Content Officer Carley Roney and published by divisions of Random House and Chronicle Books. Its first three-book wedding planning series published by Random House’s Broadway Books includes The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner, The Knot Complete Guide to Weddings in the Real World, and The Knot Guide to Wedding Vows and Traditions. These books feature information on everything a b ride and groom need to know when planning their wedding and includes worksheets, checklists, etiquette, and answers to frequently asked questions. Its gift book series published by Chronicle Books includes The Knot Book of Wedding Gowns, The Knot Book of Wedding Flowers, The Knot Guide for the Mother of the Bride, and The Knot Guide for the Groom. Its second planning series, published by Random House’s Clarkson Potter, includes The Knot Guide to Destination Weddings, The Knot Book of Wedding Lists and The Knot Bridesmaid Handbook.

The Company offers a series of books for The Nest brand published by Clarkson Potter. The first book in the series, The Nest Newlywed Handbook, goes on the topics of interest to the newlywed, from changing its name to deciding how to divide up the daily chores. The second title, The Nest Home Design Handbook, is a four-color, photo-filled book on home decoration and design.

The Company competes with Brides magazine (pu blished by Conde Nast), Bridal Guide (published by RFP LLC) ! and Marth! a Stewart Weddings.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Wallace Witkowski]

    Shares of XO Group Inc. (XOXO) fell 16% to $10 on light volume after the weddings and pregnancy website operator reported adjusted earnings of 2 cents a share on revenue of $32.6 million, and appointed current president Michael Steib as the new chief executive, replacing David Liu, who will continue on as chairman.