Top 5 Companies To Buy For 2014

A leading employee benefits-only agency in the U.S., Digital Insurance entered into an alliance with Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) to provide its employees with enhanced health insurance services. Digital Insurance is a wholly owned subsidiary of a leading title insurance provider, Fidelity National Financial Inc. (FNF)

As per the deal, Digital Insurance’s largest segment, Digital Benefit Advisors (DBA) will provide resources, expertise and education to the PCUA credit union members and their employees. This is aimed to assist the targeted clients to comprehend and steer through the complications associated with health care reform, propagated by the Affordable Care Act.

The Affordable Care Act aims to increase the rate of health insurance coverage and at the same time reduce the overall health care costs thereby making health insurance affordable. For this, the insurance companies are required to provide coverage to all applicants at the same rate. The alliance of Digital and PCUA is in line with the objectives of the act as it aims to insure more members and their employees through Digital’s employee-benefits program.

Top 5 Companies To Buy For 2014: Norfolk Souther Corporation(NSC)

Norfolk Southern Corporation, through its subsidiaries, engages in the rail transportation of raw materials, intermediate products, and finished goods primarily in the United States. The company transports coal products, such as coal, coke, and iron ore; automotive products, including finished vehicles and auto parts; chemicals products consisting of sulfur and related chemicals, petroleum products, chlorine and bleaching compounds, plastics, rubber, industrial chemicals, chemical wastes, and municipal wastes; metals and construction products comprising steel, aluminum products, machinery, scrap metals, cement, aggregates, bricks, and minerals; and paper, clay, and forest products, including lumber and wood products, pulp board and paper products, wood fibers, wood pulp, scrap paper, and clay. It also transports agriculture, consumer, and government products, such as soybeans, wheat, corn, fertilizer, animal and poultry feed, food oils, flour, beverages, canned goods, swee teners, consumer products, ethanol, and items for the military. In addition, it engages in the intermodal operations that include moving of shipments in trailers, the United States and international containers, and roadrailer equipment. Further, the company transports overseas freight through various Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports, as well as provides a range of logistics services; and operates passenger and commuter trains. Additionally, it involves in the acquisition, leasing, and management of coal, oil, gas, and minerals; the development of commercial real estate; telecommunications; and the leasing or sale of rail property and equipment. As of December 31, 2010, the company operated approximately 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia. The company was founded in 1883 and is based in Norfolk, Virginia.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Teresa Rivas]

    Oglenski and Mori also cut their price target on Norfolk Southern (NSC) by $1 to $100, a reflection of their trimmed earnings forecasts, also related to their outlook for coal. They rate Norfolk Southern at Equal Weight.

  • [By Mani]

    Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE:NSC) is well positioned for a pickup in truckload rates, and an improvement in truckload rates should be positive for intermodal pricing.

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Railroad operator Norfolk Southern (NSC) raised its quarterly dividend 3.8% to 54 cents per share, payable on Mar. 10 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 7.
    NSC Dividend Yield: 2.37%

Top 5 Companies To Buy For 2014: Arcos Dorados Holdings Inc (ARCO)

Arcos Dorados Holdings Inc., incorporated on December 9, 2010, is a McDonald’s franchisee. As of December 31, 2010, the Company operated or franchised 1,755 McDonald’s-branded restaurants, which represented 6.7% of McDonald’s total franchised restaurants globally. It operates McDonald’s-branded restaurants under two different operating formats, Company-operated restaurants and franchised restaurants. As of December 31, 2010, of its 1,755 McDonald’s-branded restaurants in the territories, 1,292 (or 74%) were Company-operated restaurants and 463 (or 26%) were franchised restaurants. It generates revenues from two sources: sales by Company-operated restaurants and revenues from franchised restaurants, which consist of rental income, which is based on the greater of a flat fee or a percentage of sales reported by franchised restaurants. As of December 31, 2010, it owned the land for 510 of its restaurants (totaling approximately 1.2 million square meters) and the bui ldings for all but 12 of its restaurants. It divides its operations into four geographical divisions: Brazil; the Caribbean division, consisting of Aruba, Curacao, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands of St. Croix and St. Thomas; North Latin America division (NOLAD), consisting of Costa Rica, Mexico and Panama, and South Latin America division (SLAD), consisting of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. As of December 31, 2010, 35.1% of its restaurants were located in Brazil, 29.7% in SLAD, 27.1% in NOLAD and 8.1% in the Caribbean division. The Company conducts its business through its indirect, wholly owned subsidiary Arcos Dorados B.V.

Company-Operated and Franchised Restaurants

The Company operates its McDonald’s-branded restaurants under two basic structures: Company-operated restaurants operated by the Company and franchised restaurants operated by franchisees. Und er both operating alternatives the real estate location may ! either be owned or leased by the Company. It owns, fully manages and operates the Company-operated restaurants and retains any operating profits generated by such restaurants, after paying operating expenses and the franchise and other fees owed to McDonald’s under the Master Franchise Agreements (MFAs). In Company-operated restaurants, it assumes the capital expenditures for the building and equipment of the restaurant and, if it owns the real estate location, for the land as well. Under its franchise arrangements, franchisees provide a portion of the capital required by initially investing in the equipment, signs, seating and decor of their restaurants, and by reinvesting in the business over time. It is required by the MFAs to own the real estate or to secure long-term leases for franchised restaurant sites. It subsequently leases or subleases the property to franchisees.

In exchange for the lease and services, franchisees pay a monthly rent to the Company , based on the greater of a fixed rent or a certain percentage of gross sales. In addition to this monthly rent, it collects the monthly continuing franchise fee, which generally is 5% of the United States dollar equivalent of the restaurant’s gross sales, and pays these fees to McDonald’s pursuant to the MFAs. However, if a franchisee fails to pay its monthly continuing franchise fee, it remains liable for payment in full of these fees to McDonald’s. As of December 31, 2010, it was engaged in several joint ventures, which collectively owned 24 restaurants, in Argentina, Chile and Colombia.

Restaurant Categories

The Company classifies its restaurants into one of four categories: freestanding, food court, in-store and mall stores. Freestanding restaurants are the type of restaurant, which have ample indoor seating and include a drive-through area. Food court restaurants are located in malls and consist of a front counter and kitchen and do not have their own seating area. In-store restaurants are part ! of a larg! er building and resemble freestanding restaurants, except for the lack of a drive-through area. Mall stores are located in malls like food court restaurants, but have their own seating areas. As of December 31, 2010, 808 (or 46.2%) of its restaurants were freestanding, 359 (or 20.5%) were food court, 265 (or 15.1%) were in-stores and 319 (or 18.2%) were mall stores. In addition, it has four non-traditional stores, such as food carts.

Reimaging

As of December 31, 2010, the Company had completed the reimaging of 308 of 1,569 restaurants. Many of the reimaging projects include the addition of McCafe locations to the restaurant. It has developed system-wide guidelines for the interior and exterior design of reimaged restaurants.

McCafe Locations and Dessert Centers

McCafe locations are stylish, separate areas within restaurants where customers can purchase a range of customizable beverages, including lattes, cappuccinos, moc has, hot and iced premium coffees and hot chocolate. As of December 31, 2010, there were 267 McCafe locations in the Territories, of which 12% were operated by franchisees. Argentina, with 71 locations, has McCafe locations, followed by Brazil, with 67 locations. In addition to McCafe locations, it has Dessert Centers. Dessert Centers operate from existing restaurants, but depend on them for supplies and operational support. As of December 31, 2010, there were 1,306 Dessert Centers in the Territories.

Product Offerings

The Company’s menus feature three tiers of products: affordable entry-level options, such as its Big Pleasures, Small Prices or Combo del Dia (Daily Extra Value Meal) offerings, core menu options, such as the Big Mac, Happy Meal and Quarter Pounder, and premium options, such as Big Tasty or Angus premium hamburgers and chicken sandwiches and low-calorie or low-sodium products, which are marketed through common platforms rather than as individual items. These platforms can be based on the ty! pe of pro! ducts, such as beef, chicken, salads or desserts, or on the type of customer targeted, such as the children’s menu.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Chris Hill]

    In this segment of Friday’s Investor Beat, Motley Fool analyst Ron Gross gives investors one stock that he’ll be watching closely this week. He takes a look at Arcos Dorados (NYSE: ARCO  ) , which holds the franchise rights to McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD  ) in Latin America and the Caribbean. The company reports earnings next week, and while it has been a long-time holding for Ron in the Motley Fool’s Million-Dollar Portfolio service, he sees reasons to be concerned here. The company’s store growth is slowing, so he’ll be watching closely to see what the company has to say next week.

  • [By Geoffrey Seiler]

    Analyst John Ivankoe took Arcos Dorados (ARCO) from neutral to overweight and increased his target from $13 to $14. It is the first time the analyst has had a positive view on the stock since it IPO’d.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    Next Tuesday, Arcos Dorados (NYSE: ARCO  ) 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 Dan Caplinger]

    Internationally, Jamba still has a small presence, but it made a big step by making a master franchise development agreement to open 80 stores throughout Mexico beginning later this year. The success that Arcos Dorados (NYSE: ARCO  ) has had in Mexico and other Latin American countries in franchising McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD  ) locations shows the huge potential that the region has generally for American restaurants, and focusing on warmer climates should help Jamba avoid the seasonality it suffers colder markets like the U.S. and Canada.

Top 5 Companies To Buy For 2014: Noodles & Co (NDLS)

Noodles & Company, incorporated on December 19, 2002, is a casual restaurant concept offering lunch and dinner. The Company offers noodle and pasta dishes, staples of many cuisines, with the goal of delivering fresh ingredients and flavors globally under one roof from Pad Thai to Mac & Cheese. The Company’s globally inspired menu includes a variety of cooked-to-order dishes, including noodles and pasta, soups, salads and sandwiches, which are served on china by its friendly team members.

As of May 28, 2013, including the 16 Company owned restaurants and one franchise restaurant opened in 2013. The Company opened 39 new company owned restaurants and six franchise restaurants. In 2012, the Company began using Your World Kitchen to describe the breadth of its offering and its customers’ dining experience.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Rick Aristotle Munarriz]

    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images March hasn’t been a good month for the quick-service industry. Sbarro — the pizza and pasta chain that’s a staple in many malls — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization earlier this month. A few days later it was toasted-sandwich maker Quiznos following suit. This doesn’t mean that you’ll never have another slice of Sbarro’s New York-style pizza or a French dip sub at Quiznos. Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, where cash-strapped companies wind down their operations, Chapter 11 gives companies another chance to get it right after negotiating with creditors. It’s not a good place to be — and this is the second time Sbarro has gone this route in the past three years. However, things have to be pretty bad if you’re willing to risk upsetting creditors and potentially hand over ownership in the pursuit of a cleaner balance sheet. Sbarro and Quiznos hope that a fiscal makeover will turn the tide. Sbarro will surrender ownership to lenders in a move that will replace 80 percent of its debt with equity. Quiznos filed a prepackaged restructuring plan that would shave $400 million of debt. Both chains will live on, but they may not be the same. Mauled at the Mall Sbarro has shut 180 company-owned locations with plans to shutter dozens more. There are now less than 800 units. Quiznos has 2,100 largely franchisee-owned locations, but we’ll have to see how that holds up over time. Sbarro cited an “unprecedented decline in mall traffic” as a factor in its slide. As shoppers migrate online, there has been slower foot traffic at the suburban mall and hence to the food court. Quiznos relies on standalone locations and strip-mall outlets that haven’t necessarily suffered from the thinning shopping mall crowds that have hurt Sbarro. However, Quiznos has been hit by everything from the larger Subway following it into toasted subs to folks scaling back on carbohydrates. It didn’t seem as if this was a problem last year. Two of the hotte

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    What happens when noodles gets overcooked? They turn into a gooey, mushy mess. What happens when Noodles & Co (NDLS), which trades at a 78.5 times forward earnings, releases disappointing results? It too turns into a gooey, mushy mess.

  • [By Lauren Pollock]

    Noodles(NDLS) & Co.’s third-quarter profit soared as the fast-casual dining chain’s sales were bolstered by new restaurant openings and rising demand at established locations. Though sales were boosted by higher traffic and an increase in the amount spent per customer, shares of Noodles dropped 7.9% to $43 in premarket trading as the revenue growth wasn’t as lofty as analysts expected.

Top 5 Companies To Buy For 2014: Nintendo Co Ltd (NTDOF)

Nintendo Co., Ltd. is mainly engaged in the development, manufacture and sale of entertainment products in home entertainment field. The Company’s main products include leisure machines such as portable and console game machines and software, as well as trump and Carta (Japanese-style playing cards). As of March 31, 2013, the Company had 29 subsidiaries and five associated companies. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Parija Kavilanz]

    The retailer said the service will accept unlimited number of games for popular consoles, including Sony (SNE) Playstation, Nintendo (NTDOF)’s Wii and Microsoft’s XBOX as long as they aren’t damaged and are in their original packaging.

  • [By Alanna Petroff]

    The downgrade comes in the same month that Nintendo (NTDOF) warned investors that it was expecting an operating loss of 35 billion yen ($335.2 million) for the fiscal year ending in March, following disappointing software and hardware sales in the busy end-of-year buying season.

  • [By MARKETWATCH]

    LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) — Stocks in Japan started with losses Friday, the final session before the release of the closely watched U.S. jobs report later in the day. The Nikkei Stock Average (JP:NIK) shed 0.3% to 15,836.37, as the yen edged higher against the U.S. dollar overnight, and the broader Topix gave up 0.5%. Tech issues were mostly lower, including a 3.3% pullback in Trend Micro Inc. (JP:4704) (TMICY) , and a 2.7% decline in Nintendo Co. (JP:7974) (NTDOF) . Nintendo shares rallied Thursday after China temporarily lifted a ban on manufacturing and selling video game consoles within in the country. But among Friday’s best performers were shares of Fast Retailing Co. (JP:9983) (FRCOF) , up 4.4% after the company posted a nearly 9% rise in its fiscal first-quarter net profit to ¥41.85 billion ($399 million). Sales were driven by a nearly 80% gain in Fast Retailing’s overseas sales at Uniqlo stores.

  • [By MARKETWATCH]

    LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) — Japanese stocks weakened in early Thursday trading as the yen rose and Wall Street ended mixed, with the Nikkei Stock Average (JP:NIK) falling 1.2% to 15,929.74 after a 1.9% advance a day earlier. With the yen (USDJPY) slightly firmer than in the previous session, some investors sold currency-sensitive exporters, with Fanuc Corp. (JP:6954) (FANUF) down 2%, Kyocera Corp. (JP:6971) (KYOCF) off 1.9%, and Fujitsu Ltd. (JP:6702) (FJTSY) losing 2.3%. News that China would lift a ban on some sales of videogame consoles had sent shares of Nintendo Co. (JP:7974) (NTDOF) shooting 11% higher on Wednesday, but apparent profit-taking sent the stock down 4.2% in early Thursday action. Shares of rival Sony Corp. (JP:6758) (SNE) , however, followed with a 4% rise, also possibly buoyed by a Nikkei Asian Review report that it was planning a “smartphone offensive” in the U.S. and China. Canon Inc. (JP:7751) (CAJ) fell 2% on a separate Nikkei report that the company’s 2013 operating profit would miss forecasts. Toshiba Corp. (JP:6502) (TOSYY)

Top 5 Companies To Buy For 2014: Linear Technology Corporation(LLTC)

Linear Technology Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, designs, manufactures, and markets a line of linear integrated circuits. The company’s products include amplifiers, comparators, voltage regulators, voltage references, monolithic filters, linear regulators, DC-DC converters, power over Ethernet controllers, battery chargers, data converters, communications interface circuits, RF signal conditioning circuits, 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 Marc Bastow]

    Analog integrated circuits and products manufacturer Linear Technology (LLTC) raised its quarterly dividend 3.8% to 27 cents per share, payable Feb. 26 to shareholders of record Feb. 14. This marks the 22nd consecutive annual dividend increase for Linear.
    LLTC Dividend Yield: 2.33%