Higher energy costs contributed to much of the only slight increase in consumer prices last month, while food prices stayed relatively the same.
The consumer price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in September, the Labor Department said Wednesday. That’s up from 0.1% in August. Higher gas, electricity and other energy costs rose 0.8%, making up about half the overall increase. The figures are the latest evidence that slow economic growth is keeping inflation tame.
WEDNESDAY STOCKS: How markets are doing
In the past year, consumer prices have increased just 1.2%. That’s down from the annual gain of 1.5% as of August and the smallest 12-month gain since April.
Excluding volatile food and energy costs, core prices rose just 0.1% and are up 1.7% in the past 12 months.
Top 5 Consumer Companies To Buy For 2015: Control4 Corp (CTRL)
Control4 Corporation, incorporated on March 27, 2003, is a provider of automation and control solutions for the connected home. The Company provides its consumers with the ability to integrate music, video, lighting, temperature, security, communications and other functionalities into a unified home automation solution. The Company’s solution functions as the operating system of the home, making connected devices work together to control, automate and personalize the homes of its consumers. Control4 Home Operating System (C4 OS) is one of the product line of the Company. It embeds its C4 OS in a range of products, including controller appliances, interfaces and connected devices that interact with various music, video, lighting, temperature, security, communications and other devices. The Company offers its 4Sight subscription service, which allows consumers to control and monitor their homes remotely from their smartphone, tablet or laptop, and allows its dealers to perfo rm remote diagnostic services. The Company’s 4Sight allows consumer to remotely unlock the front door to let in a repairman, to turn on the air conditioning on the way home, and to monitor the home security cameras from a smartphone. In addition, its 4Store application marketplace offers a range of third-party applications for use with the Company’s products. The Company’s solution provides consumers with access to over 6,400 third-party devices.
At the center of the Control4 product line is the Control4 Home Operating System, and the associated application software and software development kits (SDKs). The high-level software components include Director, Navigator, Composer Professional Edition, Composer Home Edition and Composer Media Edition, DriverWorks SDK, and Navigator SDK and Application SDK. Director is a real-time, extensible home operating system kernel that is responsible for monitoring and receiving events from numer ous devices and services, processing those events according ! to consumer personalized settings, and then dispatching commands to the appropriate devices to perform predefined actions. Navigator displays intuitive and rich graphical user interfaces on televisions, in-wall and table-top touch panels, smartphones and tablets, as well as list-based devices, such as a remote controls with LCD text-displays. Composer Professional Edition is a software application that enables trained and certified Control4 dealers and installers to design, configure and personalize a Control4 home automation system for consumers. Composer Home Edition and Media Edition enable consumers to view and configure their Control4 managed devices. These drag-and-drop programs provide the ability to manage digital media and create and modify simple programs and policies (such as changing lighting scenes, modifying custom buttons and controlling behaviors among devices based on schedules or times of the day). DriverWorks SDK is a software development kit that enables dealers, programmers and device manufacturers to independently develop and test custom two-way interface drivers to support the integration of a new device or device model into its system, or to customize and enhance an existing driver. Navigator SDK and Application SDK are software development kits that enable third-party dealers and programmers to customize and deliver new application functionality within Navigator user interfaces on Control4 interface devices through the development of applications.
Products with Embedded Software and Services
The Company’s controller appliances run its Director software to monitor, process and automate events, statuses and actions for numerous devices and services, creating a connected home experience. It offers the HC-800, a whole home controller appliance, and the HC-250, a single-room controller appliance. It also licenses its Director software on the new Sony ES 5800 and 2800 receivers, transforming them i nto controller appliances with home theater audio and video ! capabilit! ies. The Company offers touch panels, handheld remote controls and keypads as interface devices. It also develops and delivers software applications for Apple iOS and Android smartphones and tablets that enable these personal devices to become control interfaces to Control4 connected homes, both on-premise and remotely. The Company offers network-enabled 4×4 and 8×8 zone audio amplifiers, and a 16×16 audio matrix switch for versatile multi-room and whole-home audio distribution. It also offers an integrated digital media player for integration of local digital audio and video, as well as Wi-Fi and Ethernet amplified speaker points for streaming digital audio to speakers in areas without an audio receiver.
The Company offers a suite of lighting products that provide personalized control and energy management. Its suite of wireless light switches and dimmers can replace devices in an existing home or be installed in new homes. It offers in-wall wireless switches and dimmers for 120V, 240V and 277V electrical loads, which meet the requirements of North America and many international markets. The also plan to offer panelized systems, where all of the lighting control will be done on a remote panel. Its new Control4 lighting products will have the ability to measure how much energy each load is using and provide suggestions to the consumer on how to conserve energy and reduce costs. The Company offers devices that provide energy savings, convenience and efficiency for temperature control. Its wireless multi-stage thermostat is completely programmable with up to six set points per day and, using its 4Sight subscription service, is remotely accessible and controllable. The Company provides a set of products and software services created by the Company, as well as distribute certified third-party products, including deadbolts, door and window sensors, motion sensors, garage access systems and water leak detection systems, from its securit y partners, such as Baldwin, Card Access, Kwikset and Yale. ! The Compa! ny offers full motion video and hi-fidelity audio intercom capability through its in-wall and tabletop touchscreens, as well as its exterior weather-resistant door stations. 4Sight is a subscription service that enables 24×7 home monitoring and control from virtually anywhere, remote home programming and support, and instant email alerts based on home events so that homeowners are always in-the-know.
The Company offers a subscription service called 4Sight that enables remote access to the connected home without exposing the installer or consumer to the complexities of communicating around firewalls and private Internet Protocol addresses. This service facilitates connections between remote client devices and its systems through a cloud-based service. Using 4Sight, consumers can remotely monitor and control their Control4 systems as if they were at their homes.
The Company competes with AMX, Crestron, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung, Savant, L ogitech, Lutron, Nest, Roku, Sonos and Universal Remote Control, ADT, Comcast, Verizon and Vivint.
- [By Jason Moser]
In this edition of The Motley Fool’s “Ask a Fool” series, Motley Fool analysts Jason Moser and Brendan Mathews take a question from a reader who asks, “Is there any specific reason why Control4 (NASDAQ: CTRL ) is pretty volatile? Seems like it’s up or down over 5% everyday!”
- [By Rick Aristotle Munarriz]
Alamy You can never know in advance all the news that will move the market in a given week, but some things you can see coming. From food giants to tech bellwethers, here are some of the things that will help shape the week that lies ahead on Wall Street. Monday — Organic Growth: The market for organic foods has never been hotter, and Annie’s (BNNY) is there to cash in on consumers craving more natural edibles. It makes organic pastas, crackers, frozen pizzas, and other food products. Annie’s reports after the market closes on Monday. It should be another quarter of healthy growth. Analysts see revenue and earnings growing by roughly 20 percent for the quarter that ended in December. The one thing that investors will need to watch out for is that Annie’s has missed Wall Street’s profit targets in the previous two quarters. Tuesday — In Control: One of last month’s big winners was Control4 (CTRL). Shares of the home automation specialist soared 29 percent in January, bucking the market, which took a bit of a tumble. And you don’t have to look too hard to spot the catalyst behind its rally. Google’s (GOOG) acquisition of smart thermostat maker Nest drew attention to Control4 as another play on automated home technology. The thinking here is that if Google is buying into the niche of Web-fueled home automation, other dot-com giants may consider acquiring Control4 to establish a presence in this new battlefield. Control4 reports on Tuesday. It’s unlikely to admit that it’s receiving buyout interest on the heels of Google’s move, but you know it’s going to be asked. Wednesday — The Cisco kid: It may seem hard to believe, but there was a time when Cisco (CSCO) was this country’s most valuable company. Just before the dot-com bubble popped, the leading provider of routers, switches, and other networking gear commanded the market’s largest market cap. Then again, at the time we thought that anything Web-related was worth a whole lot of money, and Cisco was the co
Top 5 Consumer Companies To Buy For 2015: Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc (NSM)
Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc. is a non-bank residential mortgage servicer with a range of services across the residential mortgage product spectrum. As of December 31, 2011, the Company serviced over 645,000 residential mortgage loans. The Company’s clients include national and regional banks, government organizations, securitization trusts, private investment funds and other owners of residential mortgage loans and securities. It is a partner of financial organizations, including government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) and other regulated institutions. The Company is a licensed servicer in all 50 states. In addition to its core servicing business, the Company has a fully integrated loan originations platform and suite of adjacent businesses.
Nationstar offers clients a range of services. The Company combines its mortgage servicing with a fully integrated loan originations platform. Nationstar offers clients a diversified array of residential mortgage se rvices: Servicing, Originations and Other Related Services.
The Company offers mortgage investors two primary ways to partner. A portion of its portfolio consists of owned mortgage servicing rights (MSRs). In this arrangement, the Company owns the right to collect the principal and interest due from a mortgage borrower, as well as manage the title and property insurance escrow of the collateral on behalf of mortgage investors in exchange for a monthly fee proportional to the unpaid principle balance (UPB) of the mortgage. The Company acquires MSRs either through its own origination of mortgages or by acquiring these rights from other MSR owners or the mortgage investor. It subservices multiple portfolios for federal agencies, Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) and large banks. For its subservicing clients, the Company is organized to serve its clients with an Investor Collections Professional and Senior Portfolio Manager(s) assigned t o each portfolio.
The! Company offers a fully integrated loan origination platform. It also operates a wholesale origination channel capable of purchasing loans primarily from Financial Institutions operating as a broker.
Other Related Services
The Company offers a full suite of additional residential mortgage services to complement its servicing business and supporting originations platform. These businesses offer a range of ancillary services, including providing services for delinquent loans, managing loans in the foreclosure/real estate owned (REO) process and providing title insurance agency, loan settlement and valuation services on newly originated and re-originated loans. Nationstar is a part owner in NREIS, which is a provider of residential and commercial mortgage and real estate solutions in the United States. Their services include title insurance and property reports; real estate appraisals and alternative valuation products; settlement and closing services; commercial real estate services; default and property preservation services, and flood and tax certifications.
- [By Monica Wolfe]
The following information is a highlight of the real-time guru activity we saw this week. To view more information on these gurus, check out their guru portfolios. The “Real Time Picks” reports the stock purchases and sells that Gurus have made within the prior two weeks. If a Guru makes a purchase or sell of a company in which they own a greater-than 5% stake, SEC regulations require them to report their transaction within two days. This week we saw notable increases and buys in Real Time activity from Kyle Bass (Trades, Portfolio) and Paul Singer (Trades, Portfolio).Kyle Bass (Trades, Portfolio) Over the past week Kyle Bass (Trades, Portfolio) made a notable increase in to Nationstar Mortgage Holdings (NSM). The guru added a total of 3,673,972 shares of the company’s stock. He bought these shares at an average price of $31.27 per share, and since then the price per share has gone up about 5% to $32.80 per share.Bass now holds on to 4,759,610 shares of Nationstar M ortgage holdings, representing 5.26% of the company’s shares outstanding.Bass’s historical holding history as of the close of the fourth quarter 2013:Nationstar Mortgage provides residential mortgage loan services. It services residential mortgage loans throughout the United States. Nationstar is one of the largest servicers in the US, with a residential mortgage servicing portfolio of over $391 billion in unpaid principal balance as of Dec. 31, 2013.Nationstar Mortgage’s historical revenue and net income:The company recently released its fourth quarter and full year financial results which highlighted:- 2013 GAAP EPS of $2.40 on net income of $217 million.- Ending servicing portfolio UPB of $391 billion.- 2013 servicing portfolio growth of 88%.- 2013 return on equity of 25%.- Funded volume of $24 billion in 2013.The company also recently announced that they had received a letter from Benjamin Lawsky, Superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services, whi ch inquires about Nat
- [By Christina Rexrode]
Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc. (NSM) was down nearly 2%. The mortgage servicer had jumped 5% Wednesday. It told investors then that it expected a fourth-quarter loss from one-time charges, but reaffirmed its full-year earnings predictions, said Jefferies analyst Daniel Furtado.
- [By Lauren Pollock]
New Residential Investment Corp.(NRZ) and other investors agreed to buy about $3.2 billion of servicing advances from Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc.(NSM), part of Nationstar’s plan to reconfigure its acquisition structure. The advances relate to nonagency residential mortgage loans with an unpaid principal balance of about $58 billion. Nationstar shares rose 4.1% to $42.50 in light premarket trading.
Top 5 Consumer Companies To Buy For 2015: Danone SA (DANOY)
Danone SA, incorporated on February 2, 1899, is a France-based company engaged in food processing activities. The Company operates in four business lines, including Fresh Dairy Products, Waters, Baby Nutrition and Medical Nutrition. The Fresh Dairy Products business line’s brands are Danone, Actimel, Activia, Danacol and Vitalinea. The Water business line offers brands, such as Evian, Volvic, Aqua, Bonafont, Font Vella and Lanjaron. The Baby Nutrition business line include Bledina, Gallia, Nutricia, Cow & Gate, Milupa, Mellin and Dumex brands. Medical nutrition business includes Nutricia, Nutrini, Nutrison, Fortimel, FortiCare, Fortisip, Neocate and Infatrini brands. As of December 31, 2009, the Company acquired Danone Clover and a 26.85% interest in Micropharma. In December 2010, the Company and Unimilk announced the finalization of the merger of their Fresh Dairy Product businesses.
In Europe the Company’s main markets are France, Spain, Germany, Italy, the Benelux countries, the United Kingdom, Poland and Russia. The Company’s product Actimel, the probiotic dairy product, if consumed daily, helps to strengthen the organism’s natural defenses. The Waters business line includes activities focused on natural or flavored mineral water and on fruit-flavored or tea drinks, with a positioning concerned with health benefits. The Company’s baby nutrition business line’s activities consist mainly of producing food for newborns and babies (infant milk formula, follow-on milk, and growing up milk). It also offers a diverse range of products for
children aged 6 to 36 months. Specially developed and clinically tested formulas have also been developed for babies suffering from milk protein intolerance. The Medical Nutrition business line develops nutritional products adapted to specific needs, namely those of hospitalized patients, in order to prevent malnutrition and to improve its consumers daily life.
The Co mpany competes with Nestle, PepsiCo, Coca-cola, Abbott, Mead! Johnson and Fresenius.
- [By Jamal Carnette]
More than just Os
The American public’s seemingly insatiable desire for lean protein in an “on-the-go” form will help General Mills going forward. They have a strong brand with the controlling acquisition of Yoplait, but have yet to parlay that brand recognition to rival Groupe Danone’s (NASDAQOTH: DANOY ) Dannon brand, and privately held Chobani’s lock on the “Greek Yogurt Craze.” I’d encourage management to make this a priority; matter of fact, I’d consider this a microcosm of management’s execution effectiveness. I’m willing to give this some time to materialize, because the company has executed so well over the last couple of years from both an operations and capital allocation standpoint.
- [By Jeff Reeves]
Take the widely held Fidelity Worldwide Fund (FWWFX), which has 30% of its assets invested in Europe. Holdings include Swiss bank UBS (UBS), German automaker Volkswagen (VLKAY) and French food and consumer products giant Danone (DANOY).
- [By Rich Smith]
On Tuesday, the Seattle coffee company announced that it’s teaming up with France’s Danone (NASDAQOTH: DANOY ) to begin marketing a “jointly created and developed” selection of specialty yogurt products.
- [By Andrew Marder]
Yogurt for breakfast is good. Coffee for breakfast is good. Yogurt-coffee might be crossing a hidden line, though. Thankfully, that’s apparently not what Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX ) and Danone (NASDAQOTH: DANOY ) had in mind when they recently announced a plan to release yogurt together starting in 2014. The companies both get a benefit from the agreement, with Danone using Starbucks to get more exposure in the American market, while Starbucks gets another arrow in its food-quiver.
Top 5 Consumer Companies To Buy For 2015: Farmer Brothers Company(FARM)
Farmer Bros. Co. engages in the manufacture, wholesale, and distribution of coffee, tea, and culinary products. Its product line includes roasted coffee; liquid coffee; and coffee related products, such as coffee filters, sugar and creamers, assorted teas, cappuccino, cocoa, spices, gelatins and puddings, soup, gravy and sauce mixes, pancake and biscuit mixes, and jellies and preserves. The company distributes its products through direct and brokered sales to institutional foodservice establishments, including restaurants, hotels, casinos, hospitals, and foodservice providers, as well as retailers, such as convenience stores, coffee houses, general merchandisers, private label retailers, and grocery stores in the United States. Farmer Bros. Co. was founded in 1912 and is headquartered in Torrance, California.
- [By Eric Volkman]
Farmer Brothers (NASDAQ: FARM ) has a new top financial executive. The company has appointed Mark Nelson to its CFO and treasurer positions, effective April 15. He will initially be assisted by, then replace, interim Treasurer and CFO Jeffrey Wahba.
- [By Laura Brodbeck]
Earnings Releases Expected: Diamond Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ: DMND), Farmer Brothers Company (NASDAQ: FARM) Economic Releases Expected: US Chicago PMI
Top 5 Consumer Companies To Buy For 2015: Limoneira Co(LMNR)
Limoneira Company engages in agribusiness and real estate development businesses primarily in the United States. The Company operates in three reportable operating segments; Agribusiness, Rental Operations, and Real Estate Development. The agribusiness segment farms, packages, and sells lemons directly to food service, wholesale, and retail customers. It also grows oranges, and a range of specialty citrus and other crops, such as pummelos, Moro blood oranges, Cara Cara oranges, Satsuma mandarin oranges, Minneola tangelos, pistachios, cherries, and Star Ruby grapefruits. This segment has approximately 1,766 acres of lemons; 1,254 acres of avocados; 1,062 acres of oranges; and 401 acres of specialty citrus and other crops Ventura and Tulare Counties, California. The Rental Operations segment rents residential and commercial facilities; leases land; and provides organic recycling services. This segment owns and maintains approximately 188 residential housing units located in Ventura and Tulare Counties; owns various commercial office buildings and a multi-use facility consisting of a retail convenience store, gas station, car wash, and quick-serve restaurant; and leases approximately 586 acres of land to third party agricultural tenants. The Real Estate Development segment develops land parcels, multi-family housing, and single-family homes. This segment has 1,873 units in various stages of planning and development. The company also processes and packs lemons lemons grown by third parties. Limoneira Company was founded in 1893 and is headquartered in Santa Paula, California.
- [By John Udovich]
Last Friday, small cap Farmland Partners Inc (NYSEMKT: FPI) had an IPO to join Gladstone Land Corp (NASDAQ: LAND), Alico, Inc (NASDAQ: ALCO) and Limoneira Company (NASDAQ: LMNR) as the latest option for retail investors seeking a way to invest in American farmland. After all, there is that old quote attributed to Mark Twain: “Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.” Moreover, February Wall Street Journal article noted that From 2009 to mid-2013, average prices for agricultural land in the US rose by half while in Iowa, Nebraska and some other Midwest farm states, prices more than doubled. However, the same article noted that there is mounting evidence that the farmland boom is fizzling out as farmland prices in Iowa fell 3% over the second half of last year and those in Nebraska fell 1%. The good news though is that today’s agricultural sector looks markedly different than it did during the last farmland bust back in the early 1980s while Greyson Colvin, the managing partner at investment manager Colvin & Co. (which owns about 7,000 acres of farmland), was quoted as saying: “We think this next 12 months is going to be the best window we’ve had in the past five years [to invest in farmland].”
- [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 Limoneira (Nasdaq: LMNR ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.