Top 5 Defensive Companies To Own In Right Now

About a year and a half ago, the market drove shares of Idenix Pharmaceuticals (IDIX) up to $14 on hopes it had struck Hepatitis Type C Virus [HCV] gold. That was before the death and injury of several patients during a clinical trial of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMY) similar BMS-094.

After the 094 disaster, the FDA effectively put Idenix’s lead compounds on hold. Rather than play the wait-respond-wait game with the FDA over IDX-184 and IDX-19368, Idenix decided it was better to shelve the projects and move on to a slightly different, but perceivably safer nucleotide prodrug.

FDA to Idenix, “No new nucs.”

At the end of Q1 2013, Idenix announced its intention to file an investigational new drug [IND] application for uridine nucleotide prodrug, IDX20963, before the end of the first half of 2013. The company made good on its promise and the market rewarded it with a 57% share price boost from $3.36 on April 1, to $5.29 on June 19.

Top 5 Defensive Companies To Own In Right Now: AstraZeneca PLC (AZN)

AstraZeneca PLC (AstraZeneca), incorporated on June 17, 1992, is a global biopharmaceutical company. AstraZeneca discovers, develops and commercializes prescription medicines for six areas of healthcare: Cardiovascular, Gastrointestinal, Infection, Neuroscience, Oncology, and Respiratory and Inflammation. It has a range of medicines that includes treatments for illnesses, such as its antibiotic, Merrem/Meronem and Losec/Prilosec for acid related diseases. AstraZeneca’s products include Crestor, Atacand,Seloken/Toprol-XL, Plendil, Onglyza, Zestril, Symbicort and Zoladex. The Company owns and operates a range of research and development (R&D), production and marketing facilities worldwide. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries, including China, Mexico, Brazil and Russia. On August 31, 2011, the Company completed the sale of the Astra Tech business to DENTSPLY International Inc. On June 19, 2012, the Company acquired Ardea Biosciences Inc (Ardea), a biotechnology compa ny in San Diego, California. In July 2012, the Company acquired a portfolio of neuroscience assets from Link Medicine Corporation. In August 2012, Alliance Pharma plc’s wholly owned subsidiary, Alliance Pharmaceuticals Limited, acquired the antimalarial brands Paludrine, Avloclor and Savarine from AstraZeneca UK Limited. In August 2012, the Company and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company announced the acquisition of Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. In June 2013, the Company acquired Pearl Therapeutics.

Cardiovascular

The Company’s marketed products include Crestor (rosuvastatin calcium), Atacand2 (candesartan cilexetil), Seloken/Toprol-XL (metoprolol succinate), Tenormin (atenolol), Plendil (felodipine), Zestril3 (lisinopril dihydrate), Brilinta/Brilique (ticagrelor), and Axanum, (acetylsalicylic acid (ASA). Crestor1 is a statin used for the treatment of dyslipidaemia and hypercholesterolemia. In some markets, it is also in dicated to slow the progression of atherosclerosis and to re! duce the risk of first cardiovascular (CV) events. Atacand2 is an angiotensin II antagonist used for the 1st line treatment of hypertension and symptomatic heart failure. Seloken/Toprol-XL is a beta-blocker once-daily tablet used for 24-hour control of hypertension and for use in heart failure and angina.

Tenormin is a cardioselective beta-blocker used for hypertension, angina pectoris and other CV disorders. Plendil is a calcium antagonist used for the treatment of hypertension and angina. Zestril3 is an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor used for the treatment of a wide range of CV diseases, including hypertension. Brilinta/Brilique is an oral antiplatelet for the treatment of acute coronary syndromes (ACS). Axanum is a fixed dose combination indicated for prevention of CV events in high-risk CV patients in need of daily low-dose ASA treatment and who are at risk of gastric ulcers.

The Company’s marketed products for diabetes include Kombog lyze ((saxagliptin and metformin HCl), Kombiglyze XR (saxagliptin and metformin XR) and Onglyza (saxagliptin). Komboglyze is an immediate release fixed dose combination indicated as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycaemic control in adult patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus inadequately controlled on their maximally tolerated dose of metformin alone or those already being treated with the combination of saxagliptin and metformin as separate tablets. Kombiglyze XR is an extended release fixed dose combination indicated as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycaemic control in adults with Type 2 diabetes mellitus when treatment with both saxagliptin and metformin is appropriate. Onglyza is a DPP-IV inhibitor used for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes.

Gastrointestinal

AstraZeneca’s marketed products include Nexium (esomeprazole), Losec/Prilosec (omeprazole) and Entocort (budesonide). Nexium is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) us ed for the treatment of acid-related diseases to offer clini! cal impro! vements over other PPIs and other treatments. Losec/Prilosec is used for the short-term and long-term treatment of acid-related diseases. Entocort is a corticosteroid used for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Nexium is marketed in approximately 120 countries and is available in oral (tablet/capsules and oral suspension) and intravenous (i.v.) dosage forms for the treatment of acid-related diseases.

Infection

The Company’s marketed products include Merrem/Meronem (meropenem), Cubicin (daptomycin) and FluMist/Fluenz (influenza vaccine live, intranasal). Merrem/Meronem is a carbapenem anti-bacterial used for the treatment of serious infections in hospitalised patients. Cubicin is a cyclic lipopeptide anti-bacterial used for the treatment of serious infections in hospitalised patients. FluMist/Fluenz is an intranasal live, attenuated, trivalent influenza vaccine.

Neuroscience

AstraZeneca’s marketed products inc lude Seroquel IR (quetiapine fumarate), Seroquel XR (an extended release formulation of quetiapine fumarate), Zomig (zolmitriptan), Diprivan (propofol), Vimovo (naproxen/esomeprazole magnesium), Naropin (ropivacaine), Xylocaine (lidocaine) and EMLA (lidocaine and prilocaine). Seroquel IR is an atypical anti-psychotic drug used for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (mania, depression and maintenance). Seroquel XR is used for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, MDD and in some territories for generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).

Zomig is used for the treatment of migraines with or without aura and Zomig Nasal Spray is indicated for the acute treatment of cluster. Diprivan is an intravenous general anaesthetic used in the induction and maintenance of general anaesthesia, for use in intensive care sedation and conscious sedation for surgical as well as diagnostic procedures. Vimovo is a fixed-dose combination of enteric-coated naproxe n (an NSAID) with the gastroprotection of immediate release ! esomepraz! ole (a proton pump inhibitor) for the relief of signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, and to decrease the developing of gastric ulcers in patients at risk of developing NSAID-associated gastric ulcers. Naropin is used as a long-acting local anaesthetic, for surgical anaesthesia and acute pain management. Xylocaine is a used short-acting local anaesthetic. EMLA is used as a local anaesthetic for topical application.

Oncology

AstraZeneca’s marketed products include Arimidex (anastrozole), Zoladex (goserelin acetate implant), Casodex (bicalutamide), Iressa (gefitinib), Faslodex (fulvestrant), Nolvadex (tamoxifen citrate) and Caprelsa (vandetanib). Arimidex is an aromatase inhibitor used for the treatment of early breast cancer. Zoladex, in one- and three-month depots, is a luteinising hormone-releasing hormone agonist used for the treatment of prostate cancer, breast cancer and certain benign gynaecol ogical disorders. Casodex is an anti-androgen therapy used for the treatment of prostate cancer.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jayson Derrick]

    AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) said that its Nexium therapy is safe despite an FDA-imposed ban on US shipments on a key ingredient’s manufacturer. Shares gained 0.15 percent, closing at $66.94.

  • [By Peter Stephens]

    GlaxoSmithKline isn’t the only pharmaceutical company that’s had some encouraging news flow with regard to its drug pipeline in 2014. The diabetes alliance between Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY  ) and AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN  ) , which has now been bought outright by AstraZeneca for around $4 billion, has received approval for two drugs in 2014: Farxiga in the U.S. and combination drug Xigduo in the European Union.

  • [By James Brumley]

    Conversely, though BMY has no apparent plans to shed its slumping Plavix or Abilify franchises, the company isn’t devoting a great deal of time or resources to develop replacements…. perhaps because the heir-apparent to Plavix, Eliquis, has been a very slow starter. In fact, Bristol-Myers Squibb is looking to shed many of its non-cancer and non-immunotherapy projects to better focus on those two areas. Case in point: Despite decent revenue growth from its diabetes portfolio in Q4, the company will be selling all four of its diabetes drugs to AstraZeneca (AZN) later in the year.

Top 5 Defensive Companies To Own In Right Now: Comstock Resources Inc. (CRK)

Comstock Resources, Inc., an independent energy company, engages in the acquisition, development, exploration, and production of oil and natural gas properties in the United States. The company’s oil and gas operations are primarily located in East Texas/North Louisiana and South Texas. It owns interests in approximately 1,570 producing oil and natural gas wells. As of December 31, 2012, the company had proved reserves of 551 billion cubic feet of natural gas equivalent. Comstock Resources, Inc. was founded in 1919 and is headquartered in Frisco, Texas.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Value Digger]

    It is clear that these key metrics match the metrics of a heavily natural gas weighted company that also carries significant debt. To prove this, let’s check out Comstock Resources (CRK). Comstock sold some assets recently to Rosetta Resources (ROSE) to reduce its long term debt which still remains high though.

Top 5 Defensive Companies To Own In Right Now: Pier 1 Imports Inc (PIR)

Pier 1 Imports, Inc. (Pier 1 Imports), incorporated in April 30, 1986, is a global importer of imported decorative home furnishings and gifts. As of March 2, 2013, the Company had 1,062 stores in the United States and Canada. During the fiscal year ended March 2, 2013 (fiscal 2013), the Company opened 22 new Pier 1 Imports stores and closed 12 stores. The Company operates regional distribution center facilities in or near Baltimore, Maryland; Columbus, Ohio; Fort Worth, Texas; Ontario, California; Savannah, Georgia, and Tacoma, Washington. The specialty retail operations of the Company consist of retail stores and e-Commerce operations conducting business under the name Pier 1 Imports, which sell a range of furniture, decorative home furnishings, dining and kitchen goods, candles, gifts and other specialty items for the home.

As of March 2, 2013, the Company operated 982 Pier 1 Imports stores in the United States and 80 Pier 1 Imports stores in Canada. During fiscal 2013, the Company supplied merchandise and licensed the Pier 1 Imports name to Grupo Sanborns, which sold Pier 1 Imports merchandise primarily in a store within a store format in 49 Sears Mexico stores and one store in El Salvador. The stores consist of freestanding units located near shopping centers or malls and in-line positions in major shopping centers. Pier 1 Imports operates in all major United States metropolitan areas and many of the primary smaller markets.

Decorative Accessories

This merchandise group constitutes the range of category of merchandise in Pier 1 Imports’ sales mix. These items are imported primarily from Asian and European countries, as well as some domestic sources. This merchandise group includes decorative accents, lamps, vases, dried and artificial flowers, baskets, ceramics, dinnerware, bath and fragrance products, candles, seasonal and gift items.

Furniture

This merchandise group cons ists of furniture and furniture cushions to be used in livin! g, dining, office, kitchen and bedroom areas, sunrooms and on patios. Also included in this group are wall decorations and mirrors. These goods are imported from a variety of countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Brazil, Thailand, China, the Philippines, India and Indonesia, and are also obtained from domestic sources. This merchandise group is made of metal or handcrafted natural materials, including rattan, pine, beech, rubberwood and selected hardwoods with either natural, stained, painted or upholstered finishes.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Laura Brodbeck]

    Earnings Expected From: Family Dollar Stores, Inc (NYSE: FDO), Pier 1 Imports, Inc (NYSE: PIR), Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD), Shaw Communications Inc (NYSE: SJR)

  • [By Brian O’Connell]

    Home furnishing companies are usually a good short-term play as spring starts to bloom.

    People are buying and selling homes, the nice weather has homeowners thinking about home improvements, and investment property owners — both residential and commercial — are looking to spruce up their investments.

    That’s all good news for home furnishing companies, which tend to see revenues rise as the ice melts and opening day beckons across U.S. ball fields.

    But there is one home furnishings provider that really stands out in the crowd this week, in the key first week of April.

    It’s Restoration Hardware Holdings (NYSE: RH), and not only are its short-term financial prospects looking as solid as a granite countertop, its long-term prospects look equally strong.

    That spells opportunity for investors, so let’s dig a little deeper and examine why.

    RH bills itself as a retailer of home furnishings, providing bedroom, dining, upholstery, home office, and media furniture products. It also offers cabinets; ceiling, table, floor, wall, and outdoor lighting products; textiles, such as bed linens, bath linens, drapery, rugs, and pillows and throws; and bath ware products comprising faucets, hardware, furniture, and sinks.

    That pretty much covers the home furnishings product line from A-to-Z.

    The firm has 71 retail stores, and 13 outlet stores across the U.S., but it also makes a lot of hay selling items through its catalog and web site outlets. The company’s chief competitors include Pier 1 Imports (NYSE: PIR) and Williams-Sonoma (NYSE: WSM).

    Financially, investors might have reservations about RH, at first blush. Q4 revenue figures came in slightly less than analysts had forecast ($471 million versus $491 million), but most investors evidently wrote-off the missed forecast due to the historically icy, frosty, snowy, and chilly months of December and January.

    But a look inside the nu mbers reveals why the

  • [By DailyFinance Staff]

    Concerns about the political uncertainty in Ukraine caused some volatility in the markets Friday afternoon, with the major indexes making several U-turns ahead of the weekend. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI), which had been up by as much as 125 points, briefly dropped into loss territory before rebounding to end 49 points higher. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index (^GPSC) edged up 5 points, adding to Thursday’s record high, but the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) lost 10 points. AP/Darko VojinovicPro-Russian militias have seized local government buildings in Crimea, Ukraine; the unrest there is making investors around the world nervous. February was a great month for investors. All three major averages jumped by about 4 percent. UnitedHealth Group (UNH) led the blue chips, gaining 1½ percent. Other health providers – Aetna (AET), Wellpoint (WLP), Cigna (CI) and Humana (HUM) — all gained between 1½ and 2 percent. And retail stocks remained active. Target (TGT) added another 3 percent. Best Buy rose 4 percent, and Fred’s (FRED), a regional department store chain, jumped 10 percent. But Pier 1 (PIR) fell 5½ percent after lowering its earnings outlook for a second time. That led to a series of brokerage downgrades. Decker Outdoor (DECK) tumbled 12 percent. The maker of footwear brands such as Ugg and Teva issued a weak outlook. And apparel maker Lululemon (LULU) fell 5-percent on negative comments from Credit Suisse. It seems as though there are always some big movers in the drug and biotech sectors – and that was certainly the case today. GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH) rose 2 percent after the FDA granted orphan status to its drug to treat a rare form of childhood epilepsy. But most of the action was on the downside. Endologix (ELGX) slid 24 percent after forecasting lower revenue growth. Questcor (QCOR) fell 10 percent. It’s lost big for three straight days amid allegations of questionable business practices. Jazz Pharma

Top 5 Defensive Companies To Own In Right Now: PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust(PMT)

PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust is based in the United States.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust (PMT), a REIT involved in mortgages and mortgage-related assets, raised its quarterly dividend 4% to 59 cents per share, payable Jan. 28 to shareholders of record as of Jan. 14. At more than 10%, PMT is the highest yielder of this week’s list of dividend stocks.
    PMT Stock Dividend Yield: 10.15%

  • [By Sally Jones] ng>Current Shares: 3,570,000

    Value: $80,968,000

    Weighting: 19.8%

    Down 9% over 12 months, PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust, a residential REIT, has a market cap of $1.61 billion; its shares were traded at around $22.94 with a P/E of 7.30. The dividend yield is 10%.

    PMT is not ranked for business predictability.

    Track historical data:

    Guru Action: As of Sept. 30, 2013, Kyle Bass made a new buy of 3,570,000 shares at an average price of $21.84 per share, for a gain of 4.3%.

    The GuruFocus analysis of PMT shows five warning signs.

    Vodafone Group PLC (VOD)

    Current Shares: 1,349,200

    Value: $47,465,000

    Weighting: 11.6%

    Up 55% over 12 months, Vodafone Group PLC has a market cap of $189.2 billion; its shares were traded at around $39.14 with a P/E of 273.80. The dividend yield is 4.00%.

    Vodafone Group PLC is a provider of mobile communications services and products in Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, Europe, India and Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific.

    GuruFocus ranked VOD with one out of five stars for business predictability.

    Track historical data:

    Guru Action: As of Sept. 30, 2013, Kyle Bass made a new buy of 1,349,200 shares at an average price of $31.01 per share, for a gain of 25.9%.

    The GuruFocus analysis of VOD shows nine warning signs.

    Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)

    Current Shares: 1,500,000

    Value: $49,920,000

    Weighting: 12.2%

    Up 38% over 12 months, Microsoft Corporation has a market cap of $309.54 billion; its shares were traded at around $37.45 with a P/E of 13.70. The dividend yield is 2.60%.

    GuruFocus ranked MSFT with three out of five stars for business predictability.

    Track historical data:

    Guru Action: As of Sept. 30, 2013, Kyle Bass made a new buy of 1,500,000 shares at an average price of $32.90 per share, for a gain of 12.7%.

    The GuruFocus analysis of MSFT shows two go

  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    Sterne Agee’s team said, “We continue to prefer credit risk oriented Mortgage REITs over their Agency-only focused counterparts. Among the larger cap names in our coverage, our top picks are MFA Financial, Inc. (NYSE: MFA) and PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust (NYSE: PMT).”

Top 5 Defensive Companies To Own In Right Now: Mueller Industries Inc (MLI)

Mueller Industries, Inc., incorporated on October 03, 1990, is a manufacturer of copper, brass, plastic, and aluminum products. The Company’s products include copper tube and fittings; brass and copper alloy rod, bar, and shapes; aluminum and brass forgings; aluminum and copper impact extrusions; plastic pipe, fittings and valves; refrigeration valves and fittings; fabricated tubular products; and steel nipples. The Company also resells imported brass and plastic plumbing valves, malleable iron fittings, faucets and plumbing specialty products. Mueller’s operations are located throughout the United States and in Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, and China. The Company has two segments: the Plumbing & Refrigeration segment and the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) segment. The Plumbing & Refrigeration segment is composed of the Standard Products Division (SPD), European Operations, and Mexican Operations. The OEM segment is composed of the Industrial Products Division (IPD), Engineered Products Division (EPD), and Jiangsu Mueller-Xingrong Copper Industries Limited (Mueller-Xingrong), the Company’s Chinese joint venture. On August 16, 2012, the Company acquired 100% of the stock of Westermeyer Industries, Inc. (Westermeyer), located in Bluffs, Illinois. Westermeyer designs, manufactures, and distributes high-pressure components and accessories for the air-conditioning and refrigeration markets. In October 2013, Commercial Metals Company completed the sale of Howell Metal Company, to Mueller Copper Tube Products, Inc., a subsidiary of Mueller Industries, Inc.

Plumbing & Refrigeration segment

SPD manufactures and sells copper tube, copper and plastic fittings, plastic pipe, and valves in North America and sources products for import distribution in North America. European Operations manufacture copper tube in Europe, which is sold in Europe and the Middle East; activities also include import distribution in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Mexican Operations consist of pi! pe nipple manufacturing and import distribution businesses, including product lines of malleable iron fittings and other plumbing specialties. The Plumbing & Refrigeration segment sells products to wholesalers in the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC), plumbing, and refrigeration markets, to distributors to the manufactured housing and recreational vehicle industries, and to building material retailers.

Mueller’s Plumbing & Refrigeration segment includes SPD, which manufactures a line of copper tube, in sizes ranging from 1/8 inch to eight inch diameter, which are sold in various straight lengths and coils. Mueller is in the air-conditioning and refrigeration service tube markets. In addition, Mueller supplies a variety of water tube in straight lengths and coils used for plumbing applications in virtually every type of construction project. SPD also manufactures copper and plastic fittings and related components for the plumbing and heating ind ustry that are used in water distribution systems, heating systems, air-conditioning, and refrigeration applications, and drainage, waste, and vent systems. SPD’s products are used in the domestic residential and commercial construction markets. The Plumbing & Refrigeration segment also fabricates steel pipe nipples and resells imported brass and plastic plumbing valves, malleable iron fittings, faucets, and plumbing specialty products to plumbing wholesalers, distributors to the manufactured housing and recreational vehicle industries and building materials retailers.

The Company competes with Cerro Flow Products, Inc., Cambridge-Lee Industries LLC , Wolverine Tube, Inc., KobeWieland Copper Products LLC, Howell Metal Company, Elkhart Products Company, NIBCO, Inc. and Charlotte Pipe & Foundry.

OEM segment

The OEM segment manufactures and sells brass and copper alloy rod, bar, and shapes; aluminum and brass forgings; aluminum and coppe r impact extrusions; refrigeration valves and fittings; fabr! icated tu! bular products, and gas valves and assemblies. Mueller-Xingrong manufactures engineered copper tube primarily for air-conditioning applications. The products are sold primarily to OEMs located in China. The OEM segment sells its products primarily to original equipment manufacturers, many of which are in the HVAC, plumbing, and refrigeration markets.

Mueller’s OEM segment includes IPD, which manufactures brass rod, nonferrous forgings, and impact extrusions that are sold primarily to OEMs in the plumbing, refrigeration, fluid power, and automotive industries, as well as to other manufacturers and distributors. The Company extrudes brass, bronze and copper alloy rod in sizes ranging from 3/8 inches to four inches in diameter. These alloys are used in applications that require a high degree of machinability, wear and corrosion resistance, as well as electrical conductivity. IPD also manufactures brass and aluminum forgings, which are used in a variety of product s, including automotive components, brass fittings, industrial machinery, valve bodies, gear blanks, and computer hardware. IPD also serves the automotive, military ordnance, aerospace, and general manufacturing industries with cold-formed aluminum and copper impact extrusions. The OEM segment also includes EPD, which manufactures and fabricates valves and custom OEM products for refrigeration and air-conditioning, gas appliance, and barbecue grill applications. In addition, EPD manufactures shaped and formed tube, produced to tight tolerances, for baseboard heating, appliances, and medical instruments.

The Company competes with Chase Brass and Copper Company.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Neil Macneale]

    Among the potential addition to our portfolio, Mueller Industries (MLI) may seem among the least likely. It’s a very small-cap company ($1.8B) and it’s not very well known (covered by only two analysts).

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Mueller Industries (NYSE: MLI  ) reported earnings on July 23. Here are the numbers you need to know.

    The 10-second takeaway
    For the quarter ended June 29 (Q2), Mueller Industries met expectations on revenues and beat expectations on earnings per share.