Top 10 Integrated Utility Companies For 2014

Gold isn’t the only former darling that has fallen out of favor recently. Emerging markets securities, which were on everyone’s “must own” list not long ago, have performed poorly over the last couple of years. After peaking in mid-2011, the MSCI Emerging Market Index has been on a bumpy downward trajectory culminating in a loss of 9.6% so far in 2013.

Some people fear that rising interest rates will slow global growth and that will have the most pronounced impact on the developing countries. A related fear is that the apparent slowdown in China will drag down not only that country’s securities but the stocks in many other emerging markets as well. In addition, the weakness in commodities prices will hurt many of the developing countries whose economies depend heavily on the natural resources sector. Added to all of these are worries about social unrest in a number of areas of the globe.

Top 10 Integrated Utility Companies For 2014: Campus Crest Communities Inc (CCG)

Campus Crest Communities, Inc., incorporated on March 1, 2010, is a self-managed, self-administered and vertically-integrated developer, builder, owner and manager of purpose-built student housing properties in the United States. The Company operates in two segments: student housing operations and development, construction and management services. It owns the general partner interest and owns limited partner interests in Campus Crest Communities Operating Partnership, LP (the Operating Partnership). It holds substantially all of its assets and conducts substantially all of its business, through the Operating Partnership. As of December 31, 2010, it owned interests in 27 operating student housing properties containing approximately 5,048 apartment units and 13,580 beds. Twenty-one of its properties, containing approximately 3,920 apartment units and 10,528 beds, are wholly owned. On October 19, 2010, it acquired the remaining interest in Campus Crest at San Marcos, LLC, whi ch owns The Grove at San Marcos, from HSRE. In January 2012, the Company acquired 50.1% interests in The Grove. On December 27, 2013, the Company closed its sale of four wholly owned student housing properties. In January 2014, Campus Crest Communities Inc and Beaumont Partners joint venture partnership acquired the 488-room, 22-story Holiday Inn Midtown in Montreal, Quebec.

As of December 31, 2010, the average occupancy for its 27 properties was approximately 88%. Its properties are primarily located in medium-sized college and university markets. As of December 31, 2010, the Company were party to one joint venture arrangement with HSRE, in which it owns a 49.9% interest.

Student Housing Operations

The Company’s student housing operations are consisted of rental and other service revenues, such as application fees, pet fees and late payment fees. In August 2010, the Company opened three additional properties that were owned by the same real estate venture.

Development, Construc! tion and Management Services

The Company provides development and construction services to unconsolidated joint ventures in which it has an ownership interest. The Company acts as a general contractor on all of its construction projects. In addition to its wholly owned properties, all of which are managed by the Company, it also provides management services to uncombined joint ventures in which, it has an ownership interest.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jonas Elmerraji]

    2013 is panning out to be a rough year for Campus Crest Communities (CCG) — shares of the small-cap student housing REIT have slid 12.7% since the calendar flipped over to January. While that sounds bad enough as it is, it’s actually 31% underperformance vs. the S&P 500. And a quick glance at the chart makes it pretty clear to see why.

    CCG is stuck in a textbook downtrend right now, bouncing between trendline resisatnce to the upside and a parallel support level below. You don’t have to be an expert technical analyst to figure out where CCG’s high probability price action is from here; it’s down. Trendline resistance has acted as a ceiling for shares on the last four tests in 2013 – and with shares hitting their head on that resistance level this week, now’s the optimal time to sell (or short) this REIT.

    If you’re looking for an opportunity to buy CCG, you could be in for a long wait. But the 50-day moving average has been a pretty good proxy for resistance since the start of the summer. I’d recommend waiting for that line to get broken before even thinking about doing anything but selling this stock. Until then, it’s toxic.

  • [By Lawrence Meyers]

    Campus Crest Communities (CCG) operates 33 student housing properties comprising 6,324 apartment units under its “Grove” brand name. It’s a REIT, so it distributes a minimum of 90% of taxable income as a common dividend of roughly 6%, which may even attract other investors. Campus Crest carries $225 million in debt and services it at a rate of about 5%. The company came into its own in 2012, as it reported solid EBITDA of $16.5 million and a profit after debt service and preferred stock payments, which it just started that year.

Top 10 Integrated Utility Companies For 2014: NII Holdings Inc.(NIHD)

NII Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides wireless communication services under the Nextel brand name to businesses and individuals in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Chile. Its services include mobile telephone service; Nextel Direct Connect service, which allows subscribers to talk to each other on a push-to-talk basis for private one-to-one calls or on group calls. The company also provides value-added services, including text messaging services; mobile Internet services; e-mail services; location-based services, such as the use of global positioning system technologies; digital media services; and a set of applications available via its content management system and the Android open application market. In addition, it offers business solutions, such as security, work force management, logistics support, and other applications to improve productivity; and international roaming services. NII Holdings, Inc. sells its products and services through direct sales representatives, indirect sales agents, retail stores, kiosks, and Website. The company was formerly known as Nextel International, Inc. and changed its name to NII Holdings, Inc. in December 2001. NII Holdings, Inc. was founded in 1995 and is based in Reston, Virginia.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By John Kell]

    NII Holdings Inc.(NIHD) warned that it faces long-term liquidity issues, following its weak operating performance and continued investment to turn around its results. The company, which provides wireless service under the Nextel brand in several Latin American countries, said Friday that it will have to significantly improve its performance and consider other options to build up its liquidity position “to meet its financial obligations and fund its business in 2015 and beyond.” Shares dropped 32% to $1.74 premarket.

  • [By Jake L’Ecuyer]

    Shares of NII Holdings (NASDAQ: NIHD) was up as well, gaining 11.48 percent to $3.35 after its advanced push to talk app was launched for the iPhone.

Top 10 Integrated Utility Companies For 2014: United Technologies Corporation(UTX)

United Technologies Corporation provides technology products and services to the building systems and aerospace industries worldwide. The company?s Otis segment designs, manufactures, sells, and installs passenger and freight elevators, escalators, and moving walkways, as well as provides maintenance and repair services. Its Carrier segment offers heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems, controls, services, and energy-efficient products for residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation applications. The company?s UTC Fire and Security segment provides electronic security products comprising intruder alarms, and access control and video surveillance systems; fire safety products, such as specialty hazard detection and fixed suppression products, fire extinguishers, fire detection and life safety systems, and other firefighting equipment; systems integration, video surveillance, installation, maintenance, and inspection services; and mon i toring, response, and security personnel services. Its Pratt and Whitney segment supplies aircraft engines for the commercial, military, business jet, and general aviation markets; industrial gas turbines; geo thermal power systems; and space propulsion systems, as well as provides fleet management, maintenance, repair, and overhaul services. The company?s Hamilton Sundstrand segment supplies aerospace products, such as power generation, management and distribution, flight control, engine control, environmental control, auxiliary power units, and propeller systems; and industrial products, including air compressors, metering pumps, and fluid handling equipment under the Sullair, Sundyne, and Milton Roy names. Its Sikorsky segment manufactures military and commercial helicopters, as well as offers aftermarket helicopter and aircraft parts and services. United Technologies Corporation was founded in 1934 and is based in Hartford, Connecticut.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    The S&P 500 hit another new high today, as Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) and Staples (SPLS). The Dow Jones Industrial Average, however, still can’t get positive for the year, despite big gains in Caterpillar (CAT), United Technologies (UTX) and Pfizer (PFE).

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Defense contractor United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) bounced higher today, to close the month down 1.67 % but up 1.74% for the day to $116.80 in a 52-week range of $90.30 to $118.42 after bouncing about the same amount lower on Friday. Share volume was about 30% lower than the daily average of around 3.6 million shares traded.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Stocks bucked their recent Monday weakness today as Visa (V), International Business Machines (IBM), United Technologies (UTX), Micron Technology (MU) and Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) gained. But your view of today likely depended on the index you were watching.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    The 777 includes 3 million parts that come from 500 suppliers around the world. Boeing uses three suppliers for the 777-200ER’s two engines: General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE); Pratt &Whitney, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX); and London-listed Rolls Royce. The 777-300ER uses two GE engines each of which develops 115,540 pounds of thrust.

Top 10 Integrated Utility Companies For 2014: Prosiebensat 1 Media AG (PSM)

ProSiebenSat 1 Media AG is a Germany-based broadcasting company. It owns commercial television stations, pay television (TV) channels and radio networks in numerous European countries. The Company operates in three business segments, including Free TV German-speaking, Free TV International and Diversification. Free TV German-speaking segment includes the stations SAT.1, ProSieben, kabel eins and sixx, as well as the sales companies SevenOneMedia and SevenOne AdFactory. Free TV International constitute of commercial TV stations in the Benelux countries and the CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) region. The Diversification segment includes all activities not directly dependent on the TV advertising market, such as call TV, music, commerce or Pay TV. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jonathan Morgan]

    RWE AG (RWE) jumped 6.4 percent, leading a gauge of utilities higher. Deutz AG (DEZ) plunged the most in more than two years after an investor sold a 8.4 percent stake in the manufacturer of diesel engines. ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG (PSM) dropped 1.1 percent after Telegraaf Media Groep NV sold its stake in the company.

Top 10 Integrated Utility Companies For 2014: Optimer Pharmaceuticals Inc.(OPTR)

Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, focuses on discovering, developing, and commercializing hospital specialty products worldwide. It develops products that treat gastrointestinal infections and related diseases. The company provides two late-stage anti-infective product candidates, including Fidaxomicin, a narrow spectrum antibiotic for the treatment of Clostridium difficile-infection, which completed two Phase 3 trials; and Pruvel, a prodrug in the fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics, has completed two Phase 3 trials for the treatment of infectious diarrhea, including traveler?s diarrhea. It also develops product candidates using its proprietary technology Optimer One-Pot Synthesis, a computer-aided technology that enables the rapid synthesis of various proprietary molecules. In addition, the company?s other pipeline product candidates consist of CEM-101 (OP-1068), a macrolide and ketolide antibiotic, which is in Phase 2 trials for the treatment of upper and lower respiratory tract infections; and OPT-822/821, a novel carbohydrate-based cancer immunotherapy, is in Phase 2/3 trials for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. It has collaborative agreements with Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd.; Par Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Nippon Shinyaku, Co., Ltd.; Cempra Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; and The Scripps Research Institute. Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc. was founded in 1998 and is based in San Diego, California.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Keith Speights]

    “Bidness” is good (part 2)
    Obagi isn’t the only company for which “bidness” is good. Antibiotic maker Optimer Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: OPTR  ) shares soared 22% this week on talk of interest by multiple potential buyers.

Top 10 Integrated Utility Companies For 2014: Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.(TTWO)

Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. publishes, develops, and distributes interactive entertainment software, hardware, and accessories worldwide. The company develops and publishes software titles for various gaming and entertainment hardware platforms, including PlayStation3 and PlayStation2 computer entertainment systems, PlayStation Portable system, Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system, and Wii and DS systems, as well as for the personal computer and games for Windows. It offers products through its wholly owned labels Rockstar Games and 2K, which publishes titles under 2K Games, 2K Sports, and 2K Play. The company, through its subsidiary, Jack of All Games, also distributes software, hardware, and accessories in North America. Its proprietary brand franchises include Grand Theft Auto; Sid Meier’s Civilization; Max Payne; Midnight Club; Manhunt; Red Dead Revolver; Bully; BioShock; Sid Meier’s Railroads!; Sid Meier’s Pirates!; Carnival Games; and Top Spin, as wel l as licensed brands comprise the sports games Major League Baseball 2K; NBA 2K; and NHL 2K. The company sells its software titles to retail outlets through direct relationships with large retail customers and third party distributors. Its customers include mass merchandisers, specialty retailers, video stores, electronics stores, toy stores, national and regional drug stores, and supermarket and discount store chains. The company was founded in 1993 and is headquartered in New York, New York.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Kurt Avard]

    Fool Rick Munarriz wrote about four video game stocks to watch this past December. While two of these companies, Activision (NASDAQ: ATVI  ) and Take-Two Interactive Software (NASDAQ: TTWO  ) , are priced notably higher than when that article was published, detractors note that the burst in stock prices means very little in the long run.

  • [By Brandy Betz]

    Shares of Activision Blizzard  (NASDAQ: ATVI  )  have risen over 13% in the past week following positive fourth-quarter and full-year reports. The company is fresh off the launch of Call of Duty: Ghosts, which became the second best-selling game of the year behind Take-Two’s  (NASDAQ: TTWO  )  Grand Theft Auto V. The shares of Take-Two and Electronic Arts  (NASDAQ: EA  )  fell after these companies’ recent earnings reports as investors decide what to do with gaming companies now that the next-gen consoles have launched. How did Activision avoid a similar fate?  

  • [By MARKETWATCH]

    SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Wall Street hedge-fund investor David Einhorn was active in the last quarter of 2013, taking new stakes in technology and energy companies, while trimming existing holdings in insurer Aetna (AET) , NCR Corp (NCR) and WPX Energy (WPX) , according to an SEC filing Friday. Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital picked up stakes in Anadarko Petroleum (APC) , BP (BP) , McDermott Intl. (MDR) , Micron Technolgy (MU) and Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) , according to the latest 13F filing. He trimmed stakes in Aetna, Einstein Noah (BAGL) and WPX Energy, according to the filing.

  • [By Demitrios Kalogeropoulos]

    Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ: TTWO  ) had a much better 2013 than its rival video game publishers. But you wouldn’t know that by comparing the companies’ stocks. Despite massively outperforming profit and sales expectations — and releasing the year’s biggest game in Grand Theft Auto V — Take-Two is trailing industry giants Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA  ) and Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI  ) . So what does the company need to do to finally win some respect from Wall Street?

Top 10 Integrated Utility Companies For 2014: Comerica Inc (CMA)

Comerica Incorporated (Comerica) is a financial services company. Comercia operates in four segments: the Business Bank, the Retail Bank, Wealth Management and the Finance Division. As of December 31, 2011, Comerica owned two active banking and 49 non-banking subsidiaries. The Company’s Business Bank meets the needs of middle market businesses, multinational corporations and governmental entities by offering products and services, including commercial loans and lines of credit, deposits, cash management, capital market products, international trade finance, letters of credit, foreign exchange management services and loan syndication services. On July 28, 2011, Comerica acquired Sterling Bancshares, Inc. (Sterling), a bank holding company.

The Company’s Retail Bank includes small business banking and personal financial services, consisting of consumer lending, consumer deposit gathering and mortgage loan origination. In addition to a range of financial services provided to small business customers, this business segment offers a range of consumer products, including deposit accounts, installment loans, credit cards, student loans, home equity lines of credit and residential mortgage loans.

Wealth Management offers products and services consisting of fiduciary services, private banking, retirement services, investment management and advisory services, investment banking and brokerage services. This business segment also offers the sale of annuity products, as well as life, disability and long-term care insurance products. The Finance segment includes Comerica’s securities portfolio and asset and liability management activities. This segment is engaged in managing Comerica’s funding, liquidity and capital needs, performing interest sensitivity analysis and executing strategies to manage Comerica’s exposure to liquidity, interest rate risk and foreign exchange risk.

The Other category includes discont inued operations, the income and expense impact of equity an! d cash, tax benefits not assigned to specific business segments and miscellaneous other expenses of a corporate nature. In addition, Comerica delivers financial services in its four markets: Midwest, Western, Texas and Florida. The Midwest market consists of Michigan, Ohio and Illinois. The Western market consists of the states of California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Washington. California operations represent the the Western market. The Texas and Florida markets consist of the states of Texas and Florida, respectively. Other Markets include businesses with a national perspective, Comerica’s investment management and trust alliance businesses, as well as activities in all other markets, in which Comerica has operations, except for the International market. The International market represents the activities of Comerica’s international finance division, which provides banking services to foreign-owned, North American-based companies and to international operations of North American-based companies.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Dallas, Texas-based financial services company Comerica (CMA) raised its quarterly 12% to 19 cents per share, payable on Apr. 1 to shareholders of record as of Mar. 14.
    CMA Dividend Yield: 1.59%

  • [By Jim Jubak]

    Today’s financial service sector reports include regionals Sun Trust Bank (STI) and Comerica (CMA), plus Wall Street’s Morgan Stanley (MS).

    Full disclosure: I don’t own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this post in my personal portfolio. When in 2010 I started the mutual fund I manage, Jubak Global Equity Fund, I liquidated all my individual stock holdings and put the money into the fund. The fund may or may not now own positions in any stock mentioned in this post. The fund did not own shares of any stock mentioned in this post as of the end of December. For a full list of the stocks in the fund, see the fund’s portfolio here. For more of Jim’s posts and picks check out his free site here or his subscription site here.

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Comerica (NYSE: CMA) is estimated to report its Q3 earnings at $0.71 per share on revenue of $616.42 million.

    Posted-In: Earnings scheduleEarnings News Pre-Market Outlook Markets

Top 10 Integrated Utility Companies For 2014: Dot Hill Systems Corporation(HILL)

Dot Hill Systems Corp. designs, manufactures, and markets a range of software and hardware storage systems for the entry and midrange storage markets worldwide. Its storage solutions consist of integrated hardware, firmware, and software products employing a modular system that allows end-users to add various protocol, performance, capacity, or data protection schemes. The company offers AssuredSAN products, a flexible line of networked data storage solutions for open systems environments, including fiber channel, Internet small computer systems interface, and serial attached small computer systems interface, or SAS storage markets. Its AssuredSAN product lines range from approximately 146 gigabyte to 192 terabyte storage systems. The company also provides RAID software for industry standard Windows and Linux servers, as well as storage management applications, which manage its storage system configurations. In addition, it sells DMS software products comprising AssuredSna p, AssuredCopy, AssuredRemote, and RAIDar. Further, the company offers standalone storage software products, such as AssuredUVS, a unified virtual storage appliance product; and AssuredVRA. It sells its products through original equipment manufacturers, systems integrators, distributors, and value added resellers. The company was founded in 1988 and is headquartered in Longmont, Colorado.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By John Udovich]

    On Monday, small cap storage stock Violin Memory Inc (NYSE: VMEM) surged 21.56% after booting out its CEO in the wake of disappointing earnings and IPO, meaning its time to take a closer look at the stock along with the performance of potential or better known storage peers like large caps SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK) and Western Digital Corp (NASDAQ: WDC) plus small cap Dot Hill Systems Corp (NASDAQ: HILL).

  • [By John Udovich]

    Small cap storage stock Dot Hill Systems Corp (NASDAQ: HILL) is up 193.4% since the start of the year for a much better performance than its larger cap peers Western Digital Corp (NASDAQ: WDC) and SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), which are 55.5% and 35.3%, respectively, since the start of the year. So why has this relatively unknown small cap storage stock been a better performer than its better known storage stock peers?

Top 10 Integrated Utility Companies For 2014: Investors Bancorp Inc.(ISBC)

Investors Bancorp, Inc. operates as the holding company for Investors Savings Bank that provides a range of banking services in the United States. The company accepts deposits and originates loans. Its deposit products include savings accounts, checking accounts, money market accounts, and certificates of deposit. The company offers commercial real estate, construction, multi-family, and commercial and industrial loans; and consumer loans, including home equity loans and home equity lines of credit, as well as mortgage loans secured by one-to four-family residential real estate. As of December 31, 2010, it operated 82 full-service branch offices located in Essex, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Union, and Warren Counties, New Jersey; Nassau and Queens, New York; and Massachusetts. The company was founded in 1926 and is headquartered in Short Hills, New Jersey. Investors Bancorp, Inc. is a subsidiary of Investors Bancorp, MHC.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jim Royal]

    I’m about to buy shares in Investors Bancorp (NASDAQ: ISBC  ) , a soon-to-demutualize thrift that is undervalued. The thrift has quickly grown assets since it went public in 2005 and, with improving credit metrics and a solid return on equity, the bank is ready to make the final leap to full public ownership. So my Special Situations portfolio will acquire shares shortly. Here’s why I like the stock.

  • [By Tim Melvin]

    He also pointed out that the approaching completion of Roma Financial (ROMA) and Investors Bancorp (ISBC) has some interesting implications for bank stock investors. Both are mutual holding companies, and the newly formed bank is expected to complete the process and do a second-step conversion offering. That will be a fairly large deal, much larger than most second-step offerings, as the combined banks should be somewhere around $3 billion in market cap. There will be larger investment banks involved, complete with road shows and institutional meetings to promote the deal. The attention could well cause a revaluation of the mutual holding company and converted thrift sector of the banking market.

Top 10 Integrated Utility Companies For 2014: Mercury General Corporation (MCY)

Mercury General Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in writing personal automobile insurance products. The company also writes homeowners, commercial automobile and property, mechanical breakdown, fire, and umbrella insurance products. Its insurance products cover collision, property damage liability, bodily injury liability, comprehensive, personal injury protection, underinsured and uninsured motorist, and other hazards for automobile policy holders. The company sells its policies through a network of independent agents in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, and Michigan. Mercury General Corporation was founded in 1960 and is headquartered in Los Angeles, California.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Chuck Carnevale] their website:

    “Mercury General (NYSE-MCY) is the leading independent broker and agency writer of automobile insurance in California and has been one of the fastest growing automobile insurers in the nation. It is ranked as the third largest private passenger automobile insurer in California, with total assets over $4 billion. Mercury also writes automobile insurance in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. In addition to automobile insurance, Mercury writes other lines of insurance in various states, including mechanical breakdown and homeowners insurance.”

    [ Enlarge Image ]

    Performance and Dividends Impacted by Operating Stress

    It should be clear from the above graphs that the earnings records of these three Dividend Champions have been far from steady, consistent or reliable. Therefore, I cannot get comfortable either recommending them or investing in them bec ause I cannot get comfortable predicting what their future operating results may be. Furthermore, by examining the performance results associated with the above earnings and price-correlated graphs illustrates a lot of uncertainty. A focus on the earnings growth rate column illustrates a lot of stress on each company’s ability to keep their dividend streaks alive (Blue Circles).

    [ Enlarge Image ]

    [ Enlarge Image ]

    [ Enlarge Image ]

    The Overvaluation Rejection

    Other reasons besides irregular earnings growth that caused a Dividend Champion to be rejected include one of my all-time favorites, valuation. Or to be more precise — overvaluation. The following example, McCormick & Co. (MKC), represents one of my favorite Dividend Champions based on a very consistent above-average record of earnings growth that produced its impressive dividend streak. The only reason that this Dividend Champion was rejected was because of current overvaluation.< /p>

    [ Enlarge Imag

  • [By Fredrik Arnold]

    Ten Champion dogs that promised the biggest dividend yields into July included firms representing five of nine market sectors. The top stocks were three of five from the financial sector: Universal Health Realty Trust (UHT); Mercury General Corp. (MCY); Old Republic Int’l (ORI). The other two financial firms, HCP Inc., and United Bankshares Inc. (UBSI), placed sixth and eighth.

  • [By John Udovich]

    Auto sales are booming and that’s good news for large cap auto insurer the Progressive Corporation (NYSE: PGR) along with small cap auto insurers Safety Insurance Group, Inc (NASDAQ: SAFT) and Mercury General Corporation (NYSE: MCY) as they offer income to yield hungry investors as well as income in the form of dividends. Specifically, a Yahoo! Autos blog recently noted that last month, automakers sold 1.5 million new vehicles for the highest rate in years with most industry forecasters expecting sales to return to the level they hit before the 2008 recession of 16 million vehicles a year. The blog post then went on to note the three forces driving auto sales: