Regular readers probably know I am a big fan of organic food companies, and I regularly use Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM ) as a proxy for organic retailing. According to the Organic Trade Association industry survey for 2011, organic food sales grew about 13.4% annually from 2002 to 2010, while conventional food sales remained largely flat. That kind of growth is about in line with that of Whole Foods, which has been at the center of it all.
But beyond Whole Foods, there’s United Natural Foods (NASDAQ: UNFI ) , the industry’s chief distributor of organic food products. In fact, a third of the company’s sales come from Whole Foods, so the two companies’ fates are tightly interwoven. United Natural released third-quarter earnings Tuesday and raised its full-year guidance, and there was a bit of good news and a bit of bad news to go around.
First, the good news
Net sales were up 13%, with net income up 9%, and the company raised full-year sales guidance to a range of $6.03 billion to $6.06 billion, from an earlier range of $5.88 billion to $5.98 billion. At the high end, that would represent close to a 16% increase over 2012 sales.
Top 5 Cheap Companies To Invest In Right Now: Ford Motor Credit Company(F)
Ford Motor Company primarily develops, manufactures, distributes, and services vehicles and parts worldwide. It operates in two sectors, Automotive and Financial Services. The Automotive sector offers vehicles primarily under the Ford and Lincoln brand names. This sector markets cars, trucks, and parts through retail dealers in North America, and through distributors and dealers outside of North America. It also sells cars and trucks to dealers for sale to fleet customers, including daily rental car companies, commercial fleet customers, leasing companies, and governments. In addition, this sector provides retail customers with a range of after-sale vehicle services and products in the areas, such as maintenance and light repair, heavy repair, collision repair, vehicle accessories, and extended service contracts under the Ford Service, Lincoln Service, Ford Custom Accessories, Ford Extended Service Plan, and Motorcraft brand names. The Financial Services sector offers vari ous automotive financing products to and through automotive dealers. It offers retail financing, which includes retail installment contracts for new and used vehicles; direct financing leases; wholesale financing products that comprise loans to dealers to finance the purchase of vehicle inventory; loans to dealers to finance working capital, purchase real estate dealership, and/or make improvements to dealership facilities; and other financing products, as well as provides insurance services. Ford Motor Company was founded in 1903 and is based in Dearborn, Michigan.
- [By Douglas A. McIntyre]
The top two spots will continue to be held by the traditional industry leaders. General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) sales should rise 0.5% to 247,101. Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) sales are expected to rise 1.6% to 239,423. Industry laggard Volkswagen AG will continue to struggle with sales off 4.2% to 48,825. VW vies with GM and Toyota each year for the spot as the world’s largest car company by units sold. It is the leading car company in Europe, and competes for that title with China–the world’s largest car market. Without a strong foothold in the United States — the world’s second largest market – it will be nearly impossible to overtake either GM or VW.
- [By Travis Hoium]
Detroit can’t seem to get electric vehicles right. The Chevy Volt by General Motors (NYSE: GM ) is only half electric and isn’t inspirational for the high-end market that can go electric. The Nissan Leaf would leave even the shortest commuter with range anxiety. And the Ford (NYSE: F ) Focus Electric doesn’t quite provide enough range or excitement to be a real competitor.
- [By Douglas A. McIntyre]
There is more than one way to look at how popular car models are. The most traditional is monthly and annual sales. This list has been dominated by full-sized pickups, such as the Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) F-150, and fuel-efficient, inexpensive cars like the Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) Camry. Another measure of vehicle popularity is which vehicles people search for online. Since at least some portion of people who go to cars sites plan to buy, search volume and intent likely lead to real sales sometimes.
- [By Paul Ausick]
KBB expects Chrysler Group LLC to post the biggest year-over-year gain in March, 7.2%. Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) is expected to get an increase of 2.3%, while Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) is expected to get a 1% boost, and General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) should see a gain of just 0.4%. Sales for Honda Motor Corp. (NYSE: HMC) are slated to be flat with March of 2013.
Top 5 Cheap Companies To Invest In Right Now: Emerson Electric Company(EMR)
Emerson Electric Co. operates as a diversified manufacturing and technology company. The company engages in appliance solutions, climate technologies, industrial automation, motor technology, network power, process management, professional tools, and storage solutions businesses. Its appliance solutions business provides appliance controls, appliance motors, heating products, and white-rodgers; climate technology business provides heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) solutions for residential, industrial, and commercial applications; and industrial automation business offers bearings and power transmission products, electrical power generation products, electric motors, variable speed drives and servos, electrical products, material joining solutions, fluid automation products, and wind turbine systems. The company?s motor technology business provides appliance motors, HVACR motors, DC motors, fractional horsepower motors, integral horsepower a nd larger motors, and drives; network power business provides power, precision cooling, connectivity, and embedded solutions; and process management business provides various wireless related products from self-organizing field networks to wireless asset and people tracking. Its professional tools business offers pipe working and threading equipment, pressing technology, utility locating and visual diagnostics systems, drain maintenance tools, power tools, air tools, general purpose hand tools, wet/dry vacs, job site storage equipment, truck tool boxes and equipment, and van storage equipment; and storage solutions business provides shelving and storage products for residential, commercial, and foodservice needs, as well as offers specialized carts, mobile computer workstations, and cabinet fixtures. The company was founded in 1890 and is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri.
- [By Bob Ciura]
In the investing world, boring businesses don’t get much attention. The financial media obsesses over the next hot stock, preferring to ignore the seemingly sleepy companies that generate reliable profits year after year. Some of the high-quality companies that fly under the radar are pure industrials, such as Emerson Electric (NYSE: EMR ) , Dover (NYSE: DOV ) , and Illinois Tool Works (NYSE: ITW ) .
- [By Ben Levisohn]
That negative sentiment “flashed as a positive indicator,” Inch and Lau say, and some stocks appear to be “‘locked and loaded’ to meaningfully exceed forecast estimates.” Those include Rockwell Automation (ROK), Eaton (ETN) and Emerson Electric (EMR).
- [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 5 Cheap Companies To Invest In Right Now: Ur Energy Inc(URG)
Ur-Energy Inc., an exploration stage junior mining company, engages in the identification, acquisition, evaluation, exploration, and development of uranium mineral properties. The company has 13 projects located in Wyoming and Nebraska, the United States; and 3 exploration projects located in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, Canada. Its landholdings cover approximately 90,000 acres in the United States and approximately 140,000 acres in Canada. The company was founded in 2004 and is headquartered in Littleton, Colorado.
- [By Bryan Murphy]
If you listened to my bullish calls from December 27th and/or February 24th about Uranerz Energy Corp. (NYSEMKT:URZ), Uranium Resources, Inc. (NASDAQ:URRE), and Ur-Energy Inc. (NYSEMKT:URG), then congratulations – you’re now up as much as 50%, depending on when you stepped into a trade, and which stock you chose. Now get out. See, as well as URZ and URG have done and are doing (URRE not so much), it looks like the short-term rally I first spotted a little more than a couple of months ago has fully run its course, and now these names are setting up a pullback.
- [By James E. Brumley]
Well, I’ll give myself an A for effort, but a C- for timing. But, I can bump that C- up to a B+ if my intuition is right as we head into the last few days of 2013 and the first few of 2014. What I’m talking about is a bullish commentary I penned back on November 26th regarding Uranerz Energy Corp. (NYSEMKT:URZ), Uranium Resources, Inc. (NASDAQ:URRE), and Ur-Energy Inc. (NYSEMKT:URG). All three stocks were perking up, and more than that, the buzz surrounding URG, URRE, and URZ was getting louder. More often than not, when the fervor and bullish action and chatter reaches the levels they had reached a month ago, an explosion is right around the corner.
- [By James Brumley]
PLAB’s per share income is expected to double next year, from 2013′s profit of 30 cents per share to 60 cents per share in 2014.
12/2 Price: $1.15
- [By James E. Brumley]
You know, were it just Uranium Resources, Inc. (NASDAQ:URRE) or just Ur-Energy Inc. (NYSEMKT:URG) or just Uranerz Energy Corp. (NYSEMKT:URZ) making a decided bullish move, I might be able to dismiss it. Similarly, if URZ had only been moving higher for one or two days (or only URG or only URRE), it might be easy to not be impressed. Neither of those situations has been the actual case, however. All three stocks have been moving upward for several days now, quite a bit, on noticeably higher volume. There’s something “going on”, as it were, and if prior group-wide movements are any clue, it’s the kind of move worth tapping into.
Top 5 Cheap Companies To Invest In Right Now: Kohl’s Corporation(KSS)
Kohl?s Corporation operates department stores in the United States. The company?s stores offer private and exclusive, as well as national branded apparel, footwear, and accessories for women, men, and children; soft home products, such as sheets and pillows; and housewares primarily to middle-income customers. As of January 29, 2011, it operated 1,089 stores in 49 states. The company also offers on-line shopping on its Web site at Kohls.com. Kohl?s Corporation was founded in 1962 and is headquartered in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.
- [By Dan Moskowitz]
When it comes to investing in department stores, most people would opt for Macy’s (NYSE: M ) or Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS ) over J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP ) or Sears Holdings (NASDAQ: SHLD ) .
- [By Reuters]
Craig Warga/Bloomberg via Getty Images NEW YORK — Looks like the best suitor won. After an extended chase that included overtures on both sides, Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank will combine to create the nation’s fourth largest seller of menswear. Men’s Wearhouse (MW) said Tuesday that it’s buying its rival Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (JOSB) for $1.8 billion. The company will pay $65 a share, a 5 percent premium to Jos. A. Bank’s most recent closing price. As part of the deal, Jos. A. Bank also said it’s terminating its deal to acquire the parent company of Eddie Bauer, which sells rugged outerwear. Shares of both companies rose on the news: Men’s Wearhouse’s shares were up nearly 5 percent to $57.13, while shares of Jos. A. Bank increased nearly 4 percent to $64.22. The acquisition comes after months of the two chains publicly fighting over who would acquire whom. Industry watchers had speculated that a merger was inevitable given the challenges the companies face in the increasingly competitive menswear landscape. With more than 1,700 U.S. stores and $3.5 billion in annual sales, the combined company’s reach in men’s clothing will fall behind only Macy’s (M), Kohl’s (KSS) and J.C. Penney (JCP). “Together, Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank will have increased scale and breadth,” Doug Ewert, president and CEO of Men’s Wearhouse, said in a statement. Jos. A. Bank made the first move in October when it offered to buy its larger rival for $2.3 billion, just a few months after Men’s Wearhouse ousted its founder and chairman. Men’s Wearhouse shot down that offer, and turned the tables, offering to buy its rival for $1.54 billion. But after Jos. A. Bank turned down that bid, Men’s Wearhouse increased its offer to $1.6 billion, and then again to $1.78 billion. In the middle of the back-and forth, Jos. A. Bank said last month that it was buying the parent of Eddie Bauer, but left the door open for a deal with Men’s Wearhouse. At the time, it said if it received
- [By Bloomberg]
Companies added fewer workers than projected in February, a sign that U.S. employers were waiting for a pickup in demand before boosting headcount, a private report based on payrolls showed today. The 139,000 increase in employment followed a revised 127,000 gain in January that was weaker than initially reported, the weakest two months since August-September 2012, according to the ADP Research Institute in Roseland, N.J. The median forecast of 39 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 155,000 advance. Harsh winter weather conditions, which kept some shoppers away from stores and car dealerships, help explain why companies were hesitant to accelerate hiring at a more robust pace. Faster payroll growth that spurs bigger wage gains would help to boost the consumer purchases that make up almost 70 percent of the economy. “Employment was weak across a number of industries,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pa., said in a statement. Moody’s produces the figures with ADP (ADP). “Bad winter weather, especially in mid-month, weighed on payrolls. Job growth is expected to improve with warmer temperatures.” Estimates in the Bloomberg survey of economists ranged from gains of 100,000 to 180,000 after a previously reported increase of 175,000 in January. Missing Mark ADP’s numbers have missed the mark in tracking the government’s jobs figures over the past couple of months. The group’s initial estimates showed a 238,000 gain in employment for December followed by a 175,000 January increase. That compares with the Labor Department’s initial estimate of an 87,000 gain in December private payrolls and a 142,000 increase in January. Stock-index futures were little changed after the report. The contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (^GSPC) expiring this month rose less than 0.1 percent to 1,872 at 9:06 a.m. in New York. Payrolls at goods-producing industries increased headcount by 19,000. Factories added 1,000 workers,
- [By Steve Mauzy]
Retailing also allows any investor to easily kick the tires. When I walk into Sears, I see an antiquated retailing concept. When I walk into Sears’ subsidiary, K-Mart, I see dilapidation. J.C. Penney, to me, is a poor imitation of Kohl’s (KSS).
Top 5 Cheap Companies To Invest In Right Now: Lionbridge Technologies Inc.(LIOX)
Lionbridge Technologies, Inc. provides language, development, and testing services. Its Global Language and Content segment provides product localization services, such as creating foreign language versions of its clients? products and software applications, including the user interface, online help systems, and documentation; and content translation services, such as translating and maintaining clients? Web-based content, eLearning courseware and training materials, technical support, and sales and marketing information. It also offers technical authoring, eLearning courseware development, and production and integration of content; and global language and content services delivery. The company?s Global Development and Testing segment develops and maintains on-premise, SaaS, and smart phone and tablet applications, as well as provides Web production services. This segment also offers various testing services under the VeriTest brand, including managed test teams, test proc ess design, test automation, functional testing, performance testing, globalization testing, and product certification. In addition, it provides specialized search relevance, online content editorial, keyword optimization, and related services. Its Interpretation segment offers interpretation services for government business and healthcare organizations that require experienced linguists to facilitate communication. It provides interpretation communication services, such as onsite interpretation, over-the-phone interpretation and interpreter testing, training, and assessment services in approximately 360 languages and dialects. The company serves the technology, mobile and telecommunications, Internet and media, life sciences, government, manufacturing, automotive, retail, and aerospace sectors in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Lionbridge Technologies, Inc. was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts.
- [By Jeff Reeves]
Lionbridge (LIOX) is the kind of cheap, small-cap stock that investors love. This player has soared 60% in the last three months thanks to nice earnings and improving investor sentiment.
- [By Seth Jayson]
Calling all cash flows
When you are trying to buy the market’s best stocks, it’s worth checking up on your companies’ free cash flow once a quarter or so, to see whether it bears any relationship to the net income in the headlines. That’s what we do with this series. Today, we’re checking in on Lionbridge Technologies (Nasdaq: LIOX ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.