Top 10 Stocks To Buy For 2014

Company and Financial Overview

Silver Spring Networks (SSNI) is a leading networking platform and solutions provider that enables utilities to transform the power grid infrastructure into smart grid. SSNI was founded in 2002 to address this challenge, pioneering a fundamentally new approach to connect utilities with millions of devices on the power grid. Since inception, SSNI has been awarded contracts to network more than 22 mn Silver Spring-enabled devices, of which 15.8 mn have been delivered to utility customers.

What are the Key Investment Highlights?

According to IDC Energy Insights, SSNI is the market leader in the US for Electric Advanced Metering (EMA) infrastructure communications with 31% market share. The company revenues have grown 60x over the past 3 years to touch $196 mn in 2012. Its gross margins have turned positive for the first time in 2011, while EBITDA is still negative. However things are expected to turn around from 2013, and EPS is projected to turn positive.

Top 10 Stocks To Buy For 2014: Crosstex Energy Inc.(XTXI)

Crosstex Energy, Inc., through its partnership interests in Crosstex Energy, L.P., engages in the gathering, transmission, processing, and marketing of natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGLs), and crude oil in the United States. The company connects the wells of natural gas producers in its market areas to its gathering systems; processes natural gas for the removal of NGLs; fractionates NGLs; and markets and transports natural gas and NGLs. It also purchases natural gas from natural gas producers and other supply sources; and sells that natural gas to utilities, industrial consumers, other marketers, and pipelines. In addition, the company operates processing plants that process gas transported to the plants by interstate pipelines or from its own gathering systems. Further, it purchases natural gas from producers not connected to its gathering systems for resale, as well as sells natural gas on behalf of producers; and through its crude oil terminal facilities in south L ouisiana provides access for crude oil producers. As of February 8, 2012, the company operated approximately 3,300 miles of pipeline, 9 processing plants, and 3 fractionators. Crosstex Energy, Inc. was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Dallas, Texas.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jake L’Ecuyer]Utilities sector was the only decliner in the US market today. Top losers in the sector included UIL Holdings (NYSE: UIL), off 2.1 percent, and Crosstex Energy (NASDAQ: XTXI), down 2.2 percent.
  • [By Jake L’Ecuyer]Utilities sector was the only decliner in the US market today. Top losers in the sector included UIL Holdings (NYSE: UIL), off 2.1 percent, and Crosstex Energy (NASDAQ: XTXI), down 2.2 percent.

Top 10 Stocks To Buy For 2014: Cincinnati Bell Inc (CBB)

Cincinnati Bell Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides telecommunications and technology services. The company?s Wireline segment provides local voice services, including local telephone service, switched access, and value-added services, such as caller identification, voicemail, call waiting, and call return; data services comprising high-speed Internet using digital subscriber line technology, fiber to the home, dial-up Internet access, network access, and gigabit Ethernet and asynchronous transfer mode data transport services. This segment?s services also comprise long distance and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP)services, such as long distance voice, audio conferencing, VoIP, and other broadband services; entertainment services that consist of television over fiber optic cable and coaxial cable in limited areas, and DirecTV commissioning over the company?s operating area; and other services consisting of security monitoring, inside wire installation for busi ness enterprises, rental revenue of space, public payphones, and clearinghouse services. It?s Wireless segment provides advanced digital wireless voice and data communications services through the wireless network in a licensed service territory, which includes Greater Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, and areas of northern Kentucky and southeastern Indiana. This segment offers postpaid and prepaid wireless subscription services; and wireless handset devices to customers to use its wireless services. The company?s Data Center Colocation segment provides data center colocation services to businesses. This segment operates 17 data centers with 639,000 square feet of total data center space in Texas, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois. It?s IT Services and Hardware segment offers a range of managed IT solutions, including managed infrastructure services, IT and telephony equipment sales, and professional IT staffing services. The company was founded in 1873 and is based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Paulo Santos]The birth of CONE was non-effusive; it came from the spin-off and IPO of the datacenter unit of Cincinnati Bell (CBB). Perhaps one could believe that not being a green field company, people didn’t go as gaga on it. It came from a telecom dinosaur, after all.
  • [By Mike Arnold]Cincinnati Bell (CBB) (“CB” or “the company”) is a storied, regional telecommunications player in Ohio undergoing considerable transformation, which began, in earnest, with the spin-off of its data warehousing business CyrusOne (CONE) (“Cyrus”) in January 2013. CB still holds a ~69% economic interest in Cyrus, with the stated goal to monetize the asset over the next several years in order to pay down debt.
  • [By Jim Royal]One of my favorite reasons to reinvest in stocks I already own is when an uncertain, but favorable catalyst occurs, but the stock does little. So my Special Situations portfolio is adding $1,000 to each of the following three stocks: Cincinnati Bell (NYSE: CBB  ) , Bridgepoint Education (NYSE: BPI  ) , and First Financial Northwest (NASDAQ: FFNW  ) . Read on to see why.

Top 10 Stocks To Buy For 2014: Orkla ASA (ORK)

Orkla ASA is a Norway-based company active in various sectors. The Company’s operations are structured into two segments: Branded Consumer Goods and Other Businesses. The Branded Consumer Goods segment is divided into five units: Orkla Foods, which comprises the Company’s food businesses in the Nordic region and the Baltics; Orkla Confectionery, which comprises five branded consumer goods businesses which serve the Nordic region and the Baltics as their home markets; Orkls Home & Personal consists of five branded consumer goods businesses, including Lilleborg, Lilleborg Profesjonell, the Axellus Group, Pierre Robert Group and House Care; Orkla Food Ingredients cover product categories, including margarine, marzipan, bread improvers and mixes, and yeast, and Orkla International includes branded consumer goods companies outside the Nordic region and the Baltics. The Other Businesses segment covers the Company’s operation in aluminum, real estate and hydropower sectors, among others. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jonathan Morgan]Orkla ASA (ORK), the Norwegian industrial conglomerate transforming itself into a consumer-goods producer, slumped 11 percent to 46.78 kroner, the largest drop since November 2011. The company reported second-quarter pretax profit of 514 million kroner ($86 million), missing estimates of 965 million kroner in a Bloomberg survey of analysts.

Top 10 Stocks To Buy For 2014: Flow International Corporation(FLOW)

Flow International Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a technology-based company providing waterjet cutting, surface preparation, and cleaning solutions in the United States, Europe, Asia, and internationally. The company?s products include ultrahigh-pressure water pumps and power waterjet systems used to cut and clean materials. It also offers ultrahigh-pressure surface preparation and industrial cleaning systems used in waterjet cleaning for coating removal; and consumable parts used by the pump and cutting heads during operations, such as seals and orifices, as well as provides related services. The company sells its consumable parts online through flowparts.com in the United States and floweuropeparts.com in Europe. It offers its products to various end-user applications and industries, including automotive, aerospace, paper, job shop, and stone and tile industries. The company was founded in 1974 and is headquartered in Kent, Washington.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]Flow International (FLOW) has gained 9.6% to $3.99 after it reported a loss of 2 cents a share, below forecasts for a 1 cent profit. Profits were hit by currency fluctuations and a $1.6 million charge.

Top 10 Stocks To Buy For 2014: Neustar Inc (NSR)

NeuStar, Inc., incorporated on December 8, 1998, is a provider of real-time information and analysis. The Company operates in three segments: carrier services, enterprise services and information services. The Company combines data sets to develop algorithms, models, point solutions and complete work flow solutions. The Company provides services, such as database services (telephone number databases, domain names, short-codes and fixed Internet protocol (IP) addresses), analytics platforms used for Internet security services, caller identification services, Web performance monitoring services and real-time information and analytics services. In October 2013, Neustar, Inc acquired Aggregate Knowledge, Inc.

 

Carrier Services

 

The Company’s carrier services include numbering services, order management services and IP services. Its numbering services enable the dynamic routing of calls and text messages. In particular, the Company provides near real-time updates to the North American telephone numbering system that is essential for the accurate routing of telephone calls and text messages. In addition, it also facilitates order management and work-flow processing among carriers, including telephone number inventory management, and allow carriers to manage and optimize the addressing and routing of IP communications. The numbering services the Company provides to its carrier customers using these databases include number portability administration center services (NPAC Services), in the United States and Canada and local number portability (LNP), services in Taiwan and Brazil, or international LNP solutions, and number inventory and allocation management. The Company’s order management services permit its carrier customers to exchange essential operating information with multiple carriers in order to provision and manage services. The Company provides these services through a single interface or on-premise installations. In addition, it offers inventory management services that allow its carrier customers to manage their assigned telephone numbers and associated resources. The Company provides scalable IP services to global carriers and service providers that allow them to manage access for the routing of IP communications, such as multimedia messaging service. Its solutions also provide accurate and reliable routing of text messages and voice calls by identifying terminating service provider networks. In addition, it provides a solution for carriers to migrate from the public switched telephone network to IP Interconnect through mapping a phone number to an IP address for accurate and reliable routing to a carrier’s network.

 

Enterprise Services

 

The Company’s Enterprise Services include Internet infrastructure services and registry services. It provides Internet infrastructure services that its customers use in order to direct, prioritize and manage Internet traffic. In addition, enterprise customers rely on its services to optimize their Website performance, including protecting against malicious traffic. Enterprises use its infrastructure and its datasets to identify the location of their online customers for a variety of purposes, including fraud prevention and marketing. It also operates the authoritative common short codes registry on behalf of the United States wireless industry. The Company provides a suite of domain name systems (DNS) services to its enterprise customers built on a global directory platform. These services play a key role in directing and managing Internet traffic flow, resolving Internet queries, providing security protection against distributed denial of service attacks, providing geolocation services used to enhance fraud prevention and online marketing, and monitoring, testing and measuring the performance of Websites and networks. The Company operates the authoritative registries of Internet domain names for the .biz, .us, .co, .tel and .travel top-level domains. It also provides international registry gateways for China’s .cn and Taiwan’s .tw country-code top-level domains. All Internet communications routed to any of these domains must query a copy of its directory to ensure that the communication is routed to the appropriate destination. The Company also operates the authoritative common short codes registry on behalf of the United States wireless industry. In addition, it operates the user authentication and rights management system, which supports the UltraViolet digital content locker that consumers use to access their entertainment content.

 

Information Services

 

The Company’s Information Services include identification services, verification and analytics services, and local search and licensed data services. It utilizes databases and solutions to inform real-time decisions on customer initiated interactions over the telephone, Internet and at points of sale. Its services correlate attributes, such as demographic information, projected buying behaviors and location. Its business listings identity management services manage the placement of its customers’ online local business listings on search engines, improving brand awareness and targeted advertising. The Company provides Caller ID services to carriers in the United States and real-time identification and location services to over 1,000 businesses in the United States across multiple industries. Its location service enables clients to match a 10-digit phone number to a latitude and longitude, and is used for a number of applications, including intelligent site planning, market scoring, and Web-based location lookup. In addition, it provides services that enable clients to remarket to non-converting prospects and to help identify whether an inbound inquiry is coming from an existing customer or a prospect. The Company provides lead verification services that allow clients to validate customer data, enhance leads and assign a lead quality rating to each lead to provide a client the ability to contact a customer. The Company provides an online local business listing identity management solution that serves local search platforms, national brands, authorized channel partners and local businesses. This service provides businesses and channel partners the essential tools to verify, enhance and manage the identity of local listings on local search platforms across the Web, and offers local search platforms an accurate, complete and up-to-date database of local business listings for online publishing.

 

The Company competes with Accenture plc, Computer Sciences Corporation, Hewlett-Packard Company, International Business Machines Corporation, Noblis, Inc., Nortel Networks Corporation, Pearson Education, Inc., Perot Systems Corporation, Telcordia Technologies, Inc., VeriSign, Inc., Afilias Limited, Oracle Corporation, Synchronoss Technologies, Inc., Syniverse Technologies, Inc., Akamai Technologies, Inc., F5 Networks, Inc., Keynote Systems, Inc., Compuware Corporation, TNS, Inc., eBureau, LLC, Acxiom, Nielsen Holdings N.V., DataLogix International Inc. and infoGROUP Inc.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Magic Diligence]Short sellers have been mouthing off about GameStop since at least 2008, and all the stock did was go up – all the way to a high of over $55 back in October. So forgive me if I’m not sold on digital distribution and smartphone gaming “killing” the company just yet! There were 2 catalysts for the recent drop. One, the stock was probably overvalued in the $50’s, considering its less-than-stellar growth prospects. Two, the firmreported a 22.5% drop in new software sales during the holidays. That’s not great, but console transitions have historically caused disruptions in software sales. In the meantime, GameStop continues to buy back large amounts of shares and the dividend yield is now over 3%. WORTHY OF CONSIDERATION.

    Neustar (NSR) – down 31.3%We’ve written about Neustar recently, with a positive opinion of the company. However, I also commented that the number portability contract renewal was a key risk. That risk looks even more acute considering the firm’s comments about a second proposal being rejected by NAPM. It is rather mind-boggling that management would goof on such an important piece of business – it is well over half of the company’s revenue. But a Neustar without that contract is an entirely different company altogether, and the risks are too large now. PASS.

  • [By Magic Diligence]Neustar (NSR) is a provider of a wide array of communications information services. Examining all of the different services Neustar provides is an article in itself, but let’s try to order them in importance to the company from a standpoint of revenue.

Top 10 Stocks To Buy For 2014: Nuveen Credit Strategies Income Fund (JQC)

Nuveen Multi-Strategy Income & Growth Fund 2 (the Fund), formerly Nuveen Preferred and Convertible Income Fund 2, is a diversified, closed-end management investment company. The Fund intends to invest in a portfolio of preferred securities, securities and, to a lesser degree, high yield securities. The Fund may also invest in other debt instruments and common stocks acquired upon conversion of a convertible security.

 

On January 1, 2005, Nuveen Institutional Advisory Corp. (NIAC), the Funds’ previous adviser, and its affiliate, Nuveen Advisory Corp. (NAC), were merged into Nuveen Asset Management (NAM), each wholly owned subsidiaries of Nuveen Investments, Inc. (Nuveen). As a result of the merger, NAM is the Adviser to all funds previously advised by either NIAC or NAC. The investment portfolio of the Fund includes JPMorgan Chase & Company, ING Group NV, Union Planters Corporation, HBSC Holdings Public Limited Company, Wachovia Corporation, Omnicare Capital Trust II, Hanover Compressor Capital Trust and CIT Group Incorporated.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By John Dowdee]The following 10 funds satisfied all of these conditions:

    BlackRock Float Rate Strategies (FRA). This CEF sells at a discount of 3%, which is low compared to an average premium of 2% over the past year. The distribution has been managed at 6.1% and a small amount (less than 10%) has been return of capital (ROC). However, this has not negatively affected net asset value (NAV) so has not been destructive. The fund holds 447 securities, with 90% in floating rate loans. FRA utilizes 27% leverage and has an expense ratio of 1.7%, including interest payments. Eaton Vance Floating Rate (EFR). This CEF sells at a 1% premium, which is low compared to an average premium of 5% over the past year. The distribution is 6.2%, none of which was ROC. The fund holds 800 securities, with 90% in floating rate loans. About 85% of the securities are from U.S. companies. EFR utilizes 35% leverage and has an expense ratio of 1.8% including interest payments. ING Prime Rate Trust (PPR). This CEF sells for a premium of 2%, which is below the average premium of 5%. It has a distribution of 6.8%, none of which was ROC. The fund has 350 holdings, virtually all in senior loans and from US companies. PPR utilizes 29% leverage and has a high expense ratio of 2.1%, including interest payments. Invesco VK Dynamic Credit Opportunities (VTA). This CEF sells for a discount of 5%, which is below the average discount of 1%. It has a distribution of 7.1%, none of which was ROC. The fund has 495 holdings, with 76% in floating rate loans. About 25% of the loans are from non-US companies. VTA utilizes a relatively low 20% leverage but still has a high expense ratio of 2.1%, including interest payments. Invesco VK Senior Income (VVR). This CEF sells for a discount of 1%, which is below the average premium of 3%. It has a distribution of 7.1%, none of which was ROC. The fund has over 500 holdings, with 89% in floating rate loans. Almost all (95%) securities are from US companies. VVR ut

Top 10 Stocks To Buy For 2014: Computer Task Group Inc (CTG)

Computer Task Group, Incorporated (CTG), incorporated on March 11, 1966, is an information technology (IT) solutions and staffing company with operations in North America and Europe. CTG provides IT services to its clients, which includes IT Solutions and IT Staffing. During the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company had six operating subsidiaries: Computer Task Group of Canada, Inc., providing services in Canada; and Computer Task Group Belgium N.V., CTG ITS S.A., Computer Task Group IT Solutions, S.A., Computer Task Group Luxembourg PSF, and Computer Task Group (U.K.) Ltd., each were providing services in Europe. Services provided in North America are performed by CTG. It provides services to all of the markets, which it serves. The services provided encompass the IT business solution life cycle, including phases for planning, developing, implementing, managing, and maintaining the IT solution. In February 2013, it acquired etrinity from i-Cros Nv of Antwerp, Belgium.

 

The Company promotes its services through four vertical market focus areas: technology service providers; healthcare, which includes services provided to healthcare providers, health insurers (payers), and life sciences companies; energy, and financial services. At December 31, 2011, CTG provided IT services to approximately 300 clients in North America and Europe. In North America, the Company operates in the United States and Canada. In Europe, the Company operates in Belgium, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom.

 

IT Solutions

 

CTG’s services in IT solution area include helping clients assess their business needs and identifying the IT solutions. The services delivered by the Company include the selection and implementation of packaged software and the design, development, testing, and integration of new systems, and the development and implementation of customized software and solutions designed to fit the needs of a specific client or vertical market. Also included in IT Solutions is Transitional Application Management (TAM).

 

In 2011, the healthcare market accounted for most of CTG’s TAM business. In 2011, CTG continued to invest in new IT solutions development, primarily targeted to the healthcare market, which support cost reductions and productivity improvements. In 2011, several healthcare solutions under development moved from the pilot stage of testing using live data into the sales process as completed tools. These solutions include medical fraud, waste, and abuse detection and reduction, medical care and disease management, and group insurance underwriting risk assessment. The Company has developed software to support these offerings. These solutions support both the healthcare provider and payer markets.

 

IT Staffing

 

The Company recruits, retains, and manages IT talent for its clients, which are technology service providers and companies with multiple locations and need for external IT resources. The Company also supports companies and organizations that need to augment their own IT staff on a flexible basis. It provides IT talent services on a temporary or long-term basis. CTG’s recruiting organization works with customers to define their staffing requirements. The primary focus of the Company’s staffing business is a managed services model that provides clients with support through supply models customized to client needs, resource management support, vendor management programs, and a automated recruiting process and system. During 2011, its IT staffing service generated 63% of its total revenue.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Seth Jayson]Computer Task Group (Nasdaq: CTG  ) reported earnings on July 22. Here are the numbers you need to know.

    The 10-second takeaway
    For the quarter ended June 28 (Q2), Computer Task Group missed estimates on revenues and met expectations on earnings per share.

Top 10 Stocks To Buy For 2014: Stream Group Ltd (SGO)

Stream Group Limited, formerly LongReach Group Limited, is an Australia-based company operating in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector. The Company is engaged in the design, integration, installation and maintenance of integrated information and communications technology based products and services to the defense, public safety and security sectors, as well as for government, telecommunications and corporate customers, both locally and internationally. The Company together with its subsidiaries is also engaged in the provision of consulting services to certain key defense organizations. In January 2013, the Company sold its C4i business. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jonathan Morgan]Saint-Gobain (SGO) dropped 3.7 percent to 36.87 euros. Morgan Stanley cut its rating on the stock to underweight, similar to a sell recommendation, from equal weight, saying it doesn’t see a recovery yet in the European building industry and the contribution from emerging markets will slow.

Top 10 Stocks To Buy For 2014: Thomas Cook Group plc (TCG)

Thomas Cook Group plc is a United Kingdom-based leisure travel company. The Company operates in 19 source markets and operates under brands, including Thomas Cook, Neckermann, Condor, Jet tours, Ving, Spies and Tja reborg. Thomas Cook directly or indirectly controls a number of subsidiaries. The Company also has investments in other companies. It operates a combined fleet of 87 aircraft. The Company’s operating structure comprises four segments which are principally organized according to the location of the customer’s origin. These are United Kingdom, Continental Europe, Northern Europe and Airlines Germany. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Sofia Horta e Costa]Rio Tinto Group climbed 2.9 percent after saying it will cost $3 billion less than projected to increase iron ore output capacity. Boliden AB (BOL) added 3.1 percent as Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the stock. Thomas Cook Group Plc (TCG) rose 13 percent after the travel operator posted a 49 percent increase in full-year earnings. British tobacco companies slipped following a report that after a U.K. minister announced the review of cigarette packaging.
  • [By Sarah Jones]Thomas Cook Group Plc (TCG) dropped 7.7 percent to 116.1 pence. The tour operator admitted new shares to its listing this week. The company last month announced plans to raise 425 million pounds in a rights offer and share placement.