Top 5 Investments For 2014

Bloomberg News

InvestmentNews caught up with LPL Financial LLC chief executive Mark Casady yesterday at the firm’s annual adviser conference to ask him about some of the firm’s recent developments, including its technology improvements, efforts to start a bank and regulatory scrutiny.

InvestmentNews: Is the announcement of a package of technology upgrades really LPL playing catch-up on its technology?

Mr. Casady: Not now. I would have said that a year ago. The [enhanced] trading system, the new account view, which is the way end clients look at data, and with mobile access as well, we’re right there in terms of clients and mobile access.

Top 5 Investments For 2014: Protective Life Corporation(PL)

Protective Life Corporation and its subsidiaries engage in the production, distribution, and administration of insurance and investment products in the United States. Its Life Marketing segment markets universal life, variable universal life, level premium term insurance, and bank-owned life insurance products primarily through a network of independent insurance agents and brokers, stockbrokers, and independent marketing organizations. The company?s Acquisitions segment focuses on acquiring, converting, and servicing life insurance policies and annuity products sold to individuals, which are acquired from other companies. Its Annuities segment markets variable annuity products that offer the policyholder the opportunity to invest in various investment accounts; and fixed annuity products, such as modified guaranteed annuities, single premium deferred annuities, single premium immediate annuities, and equity indexed annuities primarily through broker-dealers, financial ins titutions, and independent agents and brokers. The company?s Stable Value Products segment offers guaranteed funding agreements to special purpose entities; fixed and floating rate funding agreements directly to the trustees of municipal bond proceeds, institutional investors, bank trust departments, and money market funds; and guaranteed investment contracts to qualified retirement savings plans. Its Asset Protection segment primarily markets extended service contracts, and credit life and disability insurance to protect consumers? investments in automobiles, watercraft, and recreational vehicles; and markets a guaranteed asset protection product primarily through a national network of approximately 3,750 automobile, marine, and recreational vehicle dealers. The company was founded in 1907 and is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By David Sterman]

    My favorite insurers: AIG (NYSE: AIG) (which I discussed a few months ago), Protective Life (NYSE: PL) and Reinsurance Group of America (NYSE: RGA).

Top 5 Investments For 2014: American Superconductor Corporation(AMSC)

American Superconductor Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, provides wind and power grid products and services primarily in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific. The company?s Wind segment designs, develops, and licenses engineered wind turbine designs to wind turbine manufactures; provides engineering and customer support services; supplies power electronics and software-based control systems to wind turbine manufactures to regulate voltage, control power flows, and maximize wind turbine efficiency; offers consulting services to the wind industry; and provides products that enhance power quality for industrial operations. This segment serves the transmission and distribution, wind power, and manufacturing industries. Its Grid segment manufactures high-temperature superconductor wire and coils; designs and develops superconductor products, such as power cables, fault current limiters, electric motors, generators, and synchronous condensers; manages large-s cale superconductor projects; and provides transmission planning services that identify power grid congestion, poor power quality, and other risks. This segment?s products enable electric utilities and renewable energy project developers to connect, transmit, and distribute power. Its products include D-VAR systems that provide the reactive power needed to stabilize voltage on the grid, and are used to connect wind farms and solar power plants to the power grid; SolarTie Grid Interconnection Systems, which provide the inversion and reactive compensation necessary to connect megawatt-scale solar photovoltaic power plants to the power grid; superconductor wires for various applications, including motors, generators, fault current limiters, and power cables; and power cable systems that are manufactured by third parties, as well as turnkey project management services to electric utilities. American Superconductor Corporation was founded in 1987 and is headquartered in Devens, M assachusetts.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    American Superconductor (NASDAQ: AMSC) shares touched a new 52-week low of $1.89. American Superconductor shares have dropped 39.25% over the past 52 weeks, while the S&P 500 index has gained 26.62% in the same period.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    On Friday, American Superconductor (NASDAQ: AMSC  ) will release its latest quarterly results. After the loss of its largest customer two years ago, the company has had to make a massive readjustment in its business model, and investors still aren’t sure whether it can bounce back from that major setback.

Top 5 Investments For 2014: WestJet Airlines Ltd (WJA)

WestJet Airlines Ltd. (WestJet) provides airline service and travel packages with scheduled service to more than 85 destinations in North America, Central America and the Caribbean, and has partnership agreements with over 30 airlines around the world. WestJet operates a fleet of more than 100 Boeing Next-Generation 737 and Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft. The Company’s subsidiaries include WestJet Investment Corp., WestJet Operations Corp., WestJet Vacations Inc. and WestJet Encore Ltd. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Gerrit De Vynck]

    Closely held Porter unveiled plans in April to add as many as 30 CSeries jets in an order valued at as much as $2.1 billion from Montreal-based Bombardier to reach as far as Los Angeles and the Caribbean as it challenges the country’s two biggest carriers, Air Canada and WestJet Airlines Ltd. (WJA) The order, which would be Bombardier’s first for the aircraft with a Canadian carrier, is conditional on the runway extension and a removal of the jet ban.

  • [By Eric Lam]

    BlackBerry, the smartphone maker looking to sell itself, lost 3.6 percent to pace declines among technology stocks. WestJet (WJA) Airlines Ltd. dropped 2.5 percent as load factor slipped in September. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. rose 1.4 percent after receiving approvals for products in the U.S. and Canada. Agrium Inc. added 0.7 percent after naming a successor for its retiring chief executive officer.

Top 5 Investments For 2014: Energy Transfer Equity L.P. (ETE)

Energy Transfer Equity, L.P., through its direct and indirect investments in the limited partner and general partner interests in Energy Transfer Partners, L.P., engages in midstream, intrastate, and interstate transportation of natural gas, as well as in storage of natural gas in the United States. The company?s Intrastate Transportation and Storage segment engages in the ownership and operation of natural gas transportation pipelines and natural gas storage facilities. As of December 31, 2009, it owned and operated approximately 7,800 miles of natural gas transportation pipelines and 3 natural gas storage facilities. This segment sells natural gas to electric utilities, independent power plants, local distribution companies, industrial end-users, and other marketing companies on the Houston pipeline system. Its Interstate Transportation segment involves owns and operates interstate natural gas pipeline. It owned and operates approximately 2,700 miles of interstate natura l gas pipeline with an additional 180 miles under construction. The company?s Midstream segment engages in the ownership and operation of in service natural gas gathering pipelines, natural gas processing plants, natural gas treating facilities, and natural gas conditioning facilities. This segment owned and operated approximately 7,000 miles of in service natural gas gathering pipelines, 3 natural gas processing plants, 11 natural gas treating facilities, and 11 natural gas conditioning facilities. Its Retail Propane segment operates a retail distribution network consisting of approximately 440 customer service locations in approximately 40 states. The company was formerly known as La Grange Energy, L.P. Energy Transfer Equity, L.P. was founded in 2002 and is based in Dallas, Texas.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By codyeustice1@google] global banking and financial service company with its headquarters in Athens, Greece. The bank offers financial products, and services, brokerage, insurance, asset management, shipping finance, leasing and factoring markets. It was founded by Swiss banker Jean-Gabriel Eynard and George Starvros in 1841 as a commerical bank. From its inception until the establishment of the Bank of Greece in 1928, it had the right to issue banknotes. The bank listed on the Athens Stock Exchange right after its founding in the 1880s.

    Company History & Operations

    National Bank of Greece was formed in 1841 in Athens, making it the oldest bank in the country. It wasn’t government owned from its inception, but had the right of note issue, which it lost in 1928 when Greece established its own central bank. The bank in 1899 aquired the Privileged Bank of Epirus and Thessaly.

    At the beginning of the 20th century the bank began its international expansion. In 1956 the bank aquired the Bank of Athens, which was at the time the second largest bank in Greece. The bank in 1965 aquired the Greek Tapeza Epagelmatikis Pristis (Professional Credit Bank). In 1966 bank governor Georgios Mavros founded the National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation. Since the 1999 the bank has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In banking it sold all its operations in Canada to the Bank of Nova Scotia in 2005. The next year the bank sold its U.S. arm, Altantic Bank of New York, to New York Community Bancorp for $400 million (EUR 331 million) in cash. It used the proceeds from these sells to finance aquisitions in Southern Europe.

    The National Bank of Greece has suffered since the the Greek government debt crisis. It had to write off more then $19 billion in debt. The bank has over 500 branches in Greece, Australia, Egypt and the UK. It has banking subidiaries in Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, South Africa, Turkey, etc.

    Finances

    The bank has an 8% of capital adequacy ra

  • [By Robert Rapier]

    The purchases will be financed with debt and the issuance of Regency units worth nearly $700 million, roughly 13 percent of the current market capitalization, with general partner Energy Transfer Equity (NYSE: ETE) buying $400 million.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Many of the MLPs also have a publicly traded general partner. Because the general partner typically owns incentive distribution rights that can skyrocket after the limited partnership distributions are paid, these companies tend to show higher growth rates than the MLPs themselves. For example, Energy Transfer Equity LP (NYSE: ETE), the general partner for Enterprise Products, has a market cap of $24.23 billion on its own. ETE’s yield is 3.4% compared with EPD’s yield of 4.2%, but the general partner’s ability to grow is potentially much higher. The downside is that these stocks are expensive compared with an MLP’s common unit price.

  • [By Robert Rapier]

    This question really piqued my interest. Intuitively, I felt like it was probably true, but I didn’t want to answer the question until I could dig into it a bit more. I thought it would be interesting to have a look at the historical performance of a few publicly-traded general partners versus their limited partner to find out if that hypothesis is supported.

    Consider Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (NYSE: KMP) and its general partner Kinder Morgan  (NYSE: KMI). Over the past year, KMI did indeed outperform KMP, but if we track performance back to the IPO of KMI on Feb. 10, 2011 — KMP outperformed KMI during significant time periods. But both generally tracked each other quite closely in terms of returns.

    Next consider Energy Transfer Partners (NYSE: ETP) and Energy Transfer Equity (NYSE: ETE), which owns the general partner and went public in 2006. ETE has significantly outperformed ETP since its IPO, particularly over the past four years:

    But it is important to note that ETE also has interests in Sunoco Logistics Partners (NYSE: SXL) and Regency Energy Partners (NYSE: RGP).

Top 5 Investments For 2014: Avanir Pharmaceuticals Inc(AVNR)

Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in acquiring, developing, and commercializing novel therapeutic products for the treatment of central nervous system disorders primarily in the United States. The company primarily offers NUEDEXTA, a unique proprietary combination of dextromethorphan and low-dose quinidine for the treatment of pseudobulbar affect. Its product line also comprises AVP-923 in Phase II clinical trial for the treatment of central neuropathic pain in patients with multiple sclerosis; and in Phase III trial for the treatment of patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain. In addition, the company provides Docosanol 10% cream, an over-the-counter product for cold sores treatment. Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. was founded in 1988 and is headquartered in Aliso Viejo, California.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lauren Pollock]

    Among the companies with shares expected to actively trade in Wednesday’s session are Joy Global Inc.(JOY), Costco Wholesale Corp.(COST) and Avanir Pharmaceuticals Inc.(AVNR)

  • [By Roberto Pedone]

    Avanir Pharmaceuticals (AVNR) is a pharmaceutical company focused on acquiring, developing and commercializing novel therapeutic products for the treatment of central nervous system disorders. This stock closed up 1.3% to $4.52 in Tuesday’s trading session.

    Tuesday’s Range: $4.38-$4.59

    52-Week Range: $2.34-$6.00

    Tuesday’s Volume: 1.41 million

    Three-Month Average Volume: 2.76 million

    From a technical perspective, AVNR bounced modestly higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $4.42 with lighter-than-average volume. This move is starting to push shares of AVNR within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if AVNR manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $4.71 to $5.07 with high volume.

    Traders should now look for long-biased trades in AVNR as long as it’s trending above some near-term support at $4.20 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 2.76 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then AVNR will set up to re-test or possibly take out its 52-week high at $6.