Top 5 Performing Companies To Invest In 2014

Vladimir Putin kills puppies.

Ok, that comment probably needs a little context. The president of Russia does not personally murder small dogs for sadistic pleasure. But in preparation for the winter Olympics, the Sochi city government has culling the large local stray dog population by poisoning their food.

Putin, Slayer of Puppies

An authoritarian regime can lock political dissidents in jail and commit untold numbers of human rights abuses. But poisoning dogs by the hundreds just seems…well, for lack of better word, mean.

Sochi’s dogs are not the only ones at risk these days. 57% of Americans believe that a violent act of terrorism at the games is likely. And pity the poor residents of Sochi itself. Human Rights Watch has an entire webpage dedicated to listing out human rights abuses in the lead up to the games, including everything from forced evictions of locals, abuse of migrant workers, and intimidation of the media.

Top 5 Performing Companies To Invest In 2014: China Distance Education Holdings Ltd (DL)

China Distance Education Holdings Limited (CDEL), incorporated on January 11, 2008, offers a range of online education and test preparation courses and other related services and products. The Company operates and manages its business in the provision of online and offline education services and selling of related products. The Company’s online courses are designed to help professionals and other course participants obtain and maintain the skills, licenses and certifications necessary to pursue careers in China in the areas of accounting, law, healthcare, construction engineering and other industries. In addition, the Company also offers online foreign language courses. As of September 30, 2012, the Company operated 17 websites, including its main Website and 16 other websites. The Company’s online courses feature audio-video lectures delivered through the Internet using streaming media and other Internet-based technologies, and are supplemented by text books, tutoring, online assignments and exercises, mock examinations, and other forms of learning activities and course-related support.

The Company sell books and reference materials through third-party bookstores and distributors across China, and, to a lesser extent, through its online bookstore and its offices in Beijing. In addition, it also offers offline business start-up training courses and in-person accounting and healthcare professional training to accounting firms and the general public. The Company provides course production services and platform production services for certain customers at their request.

Online Education Services

The Company offers online courses through its websites designed to help course participants obtain and maintain the skills, licenses and certifications necessary to pursue their careers and professions in China. Its online professional education courses cover a range of industries, includi ng accounting, law, healthcare, construction engineering and! others. It also offers online test preparation courses to self-taught learners pursuing higher education diplomas or degrees and to secondary school and college students for various academic and entrance exams. Additionally, the Company offers online foreign language courses.

The Company’s courses feature audio-video lectures by experienced lecturers or practitioners within their respective fields delivered through a multimedia and interactive Web interface using streaming media and other Internet-based technologies. Its online lectures are supplemented by textbooks, tutoring, online assignments, exercises, mock examinations, and other forms of learning activities and course-related support. Course participants using different platforms, including smart phones, tablets or regular computers, are able to access its courses through the Internet at times and places convenient for them.

The Web page also provides hyperlinks allowing course participants to access o ther useful functions during the lecture. It also provides its course lectures in the form of downloadable media files that allow course participants to save copies of the lectures onto their own personal computers and to play them offline. The Company utilizes digital rights management, or digital rights management (DRM), technology to restrict the transfer and viewing of downloadable media files.

Professional Course Offerings

The Company’s professional course offerings include accounting Courses, legal courses, healthcare courses, construction engineering courses, online information technology courses and other professional education courses. The Company offer courses relating to China’s important nationwide legal examination, the National Judicial Examination. It offers courses relating to three nationwide healthcare exams: the National Practicing Medical Doctor Qualification Examination, the Healthcare Professional Technical Qu alification Examination jointly administered by the Ministry! of Healt! h and the MOP and the National Pharmacist Qualification Examination administered by the MOP and the State Administration of Drug Supervision. It offers courses mainly relating to exams: Associate Constructor and Constructor Qualification Examinations, Construction Supervisor Qualification Examination, Construction Pricing Engineer Qualification Examination, Certified Safety Engineer Qualification Examination, Consulting Engineer Qualification Examination and Real Estate Appraiser Qualification Examination The Company provides professional education courses in the areas of information technology, securities and various civil service positions.

Higher Education for Self-Taught Learners

The Company through its Website offers courses targeted at self-taught learners pursuing associate diplomas or bachelor’s degrees in various academic areas. They complete their self study and obtain government accredited diplomas or deg rees by passing the Higher Education Examination for Self-Taught Learners administered by the MOE without having to enroll in and physically attend a traditional college or university. It offer test preparatory courses to help self-taught learners pass the requisite exams.

Academic Exam Preparation and Foreign Language Courses Study Courses

The Company through its Website Website, the Company offer test preparation courses targeted at university students intending to take nationwide graduate school entrance exams in various disciplines administered by the MOE. It also operates websites focused on the secondary and college education market, foreign language study and other subjects. Its secondary education courses are designed to provide an online resource for secondary school course participants to prepare for these exams.

Other Products and Services

The Company sells books and reference m aterials relating to various professional courses and exam s! ubjects. ! To promote the use of its online courses, the Company also sells books and reference materials related to its courses such as the Elementary Level and Intermediate Level Accounting Professional Qualification Examination, the CPA Qualification Examination, the Registered Tax Agent Qualification Examination, the Certified Asset Appraiser Qualification Examination, the Accounting Professional Qualification Examination, accounting continuing education, the National Judicial Examination, the National Practicing Medical Doctor Qualification Examination, the Construction Supervisor Qualification Examination, the Constructor Qualification Examination, the Construction Pricing Engineer Qualification Examination, and the Intermediate Economist Qualification Examination.

The Company provides primary and secondary school supplementary tutoring services to students in a range of subject areas, such as Chinese, math and science. Students may attend offline courses taught by i ts in-person lecturers or view pre-recorded video courses on its Website at Its offline classes are available in Beijing and are subscribed during winter and summer breaks. It also provides course production services to certain customers on a contractual basis.

Regular, Premium and Elite Classes

The Company offer regular, premium and elite classes, which include foundation classes, intensified focus classes, exam Questions analysis classes and crash-course classes. It offers elite classes to legal practitioners, self-taught learners pursuing higher education diplomas or degrees, and professionals in the healthcare, construction engineering and other industries. Its foundation classes contain detailed instructions and content to provide course participants with a broad and comprehensive knowledge base relating to a specific subject area. Its intensified focus classes are designed to provide more intensive instructions focu sed on important topics in a specific subject area at a more! advanced! pace to course participants who already have basic knowledge of the subject area. Its exam questions analysis classes contain materials and instructions tailored specifically to preparation for the actual exams and the types of questions and topics that come up in each exam. Its crash-course classes are designed to provide a quick review of critical topic areas for specific exam subjects to enable course participants to make final preparations in the weeks prior to an exam. Its exam simulation system offers a wealth of mock test questions developed based on real tests, closely conforms to the syllabus and test requirements, and fully covers various key examination points.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Louis Navellier]

    NDZ returned to profit this year, and huge earnings increases are expected next year. The rapid improvement in fundamentals was noticed by Portfolio Grader back in September and the stock was upgraded to an “A.” NDZ stock is a “strong buy” at the current price.

    Great International Stocks: China Distance Education (DL)

    China Distance Education (DL) provides education services in the China. Its online courses are designed to help professionals and other course participants to obtain and maintain the skills, licenses, and certifications necessary to pursue careers in fields like accounting, law and engineering.

  • [By Louis Navellier]

    ABTL stock was upgraded to an “A” in Portfolio Grader back in July, and remains a “strong buy” as we head into the end of the year.

    ‘Best of the Best’ Stock Picks #2: China Distance Education Holdings (DL)

    China Distance Education Holdings (DL) provides education services in China.

Top 5 Performing Companies To Invest In 2014: Republic Bancorp Inc.(RBCAA)

Republic Bancorp, Inc. operates as the holding company for Republic Bank & Trust Company and Republic Bank, which provides banking, tax refund solutions, and mortgage banking services to individuals and businesses in the United States. The company offers a range of deposit products, including demand deposits, money market accounts, brokered and Internet money market accounts, savings deposits, individual retirement accounts, time deposits, and certificates of deposit. It also provides single family residential real estate loans; commercial loans; residential construction real estate loans; and consumer loans, which consists of home improvement and home equity loans, as well as secured and unsecured personal loans. In addition, the company offers private banking services; treasury management services, such as lockbox processing, remote deposit capture, business online banking, account reconciliation, and automated clearing house processing services; Internet banking service s and products through its Website,; and trust, title insurance, and other financial institution related products and services. Further, it provides tax refund solutions that include the payment of federal and state tax refunds through third party tax preparers. The company facilitates the payment of these tax refunds through refund anticipation loans, electronic refund checks, and electronic refund deposits. Its mortgage banking activities comprise origination and sale of loans in the secondary market, and the servicing of loans for others. As of December 31, 2009, the company had 44 banking centers, including 35 located in Kentucky; 5 located in metropolitan Tampa, Florida; 3 located in southern Indiana; and 1 located in metropolitan Cincinnati, Ohio. Republic Bancorp, Inc. was founded in 1974 and is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Holly LaFon]

    In the fourth quarter, he bought 32 new stocks. The largest new buys are: Air Lease (AL), Colfax (CFX) and Republic Bancorp Inc. (RBCAA).

    Air Lease (AL)

Top 5 Performing Companies To Invest In 2014: AK Steel Holding Corp (AKS)

AK Steel Holding Corporation (AK Holding), incorporated on December 20, 1993, is an integrated producer of flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steels and tubular products through its wholly-owned subsidiary, AK Steel Corporation (AK Steel and, together with AK Holding, the Company). The Company’s operations consist primarily of nine steelmaking and finishing plants and tubular production facilities located in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The Company’s operations produce flat-rolled value-added carbon steels, including coated, cold-rolled and hot-rolled carbon steel products, and specialty stainless and electrical steels that are sold in sheet and strip form, as well as carbon and stainless steel that is finished into welded steel tubing. In addition, the Company’s operations include European trading companies that buy and sell steel and steel products and other materials, AK Coal Resources, Inc. (AK Coal), which controls and is developing metall urgical coal reserves in Pennsylvania, and a 49.9% equity interest in Magnetation LLC (Magnetation), a joint venture that produces iron ore concentrate from previously-mined ore reserves.

The Company’s flat-rolled carbon steel products are sold primarily to automotive manufacturers and to customers in the infrastructure and manufacturing market. The infrastructure and manufacturing market includes electrical transmission, heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment, and appliances. The Company also sells coated, cold-rolled, and hot-rolled carbon steel products to distributors, service centers and converters who may further process these products prior to reselling them. The Company sells its stainless steel products to manufacturers and their suppliers in the automotive industry, to manufacturers of food handling, chemical processing, pollution control, medical and health equipment, and to distributors and service centers.

The Company sel ls its electrical steel products in the infrastructure and m! anufacturing market. These products are sold primarily to manufacturers of power transmission and distribution transformers, both for new and replacement installation. The principal driver in the demand for new transformers is housing starts, while the demand for replacement transformers is driven more by age and obsolescence. The Company also sells electrical steel products for use in the manufacture of electrical motors and generators.

The Company owns its research building located in Middletown, Ohio. Steelmaking, finishing and tubing operations are conducted at nine facilities located in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania. All of these facilities are owned by the Company, either directly or through wholly-owned subsidiaries.

Ashland Works is located in Ashland, Kentucky, and consists of a blast furnace, basic oxygen furnaces and continuous caster for the production of carbon steel. A coating line at Ashland also helps to complete the finis hing operation of material processed at the Middletown plant.Butler Works is situated in Butler, Pennsylvania, and produces stainless, electrical and carbon steel. Melting takes place in a new, electric arc furnace that feeds an argon-oxygen decarburization unit for the specialty steels. A new ladle metallurgy furnace feeds two double-strand continuous casters. The Butler Works also includes a hot rolling mill, annealing and pickling units and two fully automated tandem cold rolling mills. It also has various intermediate and finishing operations for both stainless and electrical steels.

Coshocton Works is located in Coshocton, Ohio, and consists of a stainless steel finishing plant containing two Sendzimer mills and two Z-high mills for cold reduction, four annealing and pickling lines, nine bell annealing furnaces, four hydrogen annealing furnaces, two bright annealing lines and other processing equipment, including temper rolling, slitting and packaging facil ities.Mansfield Works is located in Mansfield, Ohio, and pro! duces sta! inless steel. Operations include a melt shop with two electric arc furnaces, an argon-oxygen decarburization unit, a thin-slab continuous caster and a six-stand hot rolling mill.

Middletown Works is located in Middletown, Ohio, and consists of a coke facility, blast furnace, basic oxygen furnaces and continuous caster for the production of carbon steel. Also located at the Middletown site are a hot rolling mill, cold rolling mill, two pickling lines, four annealing facilities, two temper mills and three coating lines for finishing the product.Rockport Works is located near Rockport, Indiana, and consists of a continuous cold rolling mill, a continuous hot-dip galvanizing and galvannealing line, a continuous carbon and stainless steel pickling line, a continuous stainless steel annealing and pickling line, hydrogen annealing facilities and a temper mill.

Zanesville Works is located in Zanesville, Ohio, and consists of a finishing plant for some of th e stainless and electrical steel produced at Butler Works and Mansfield Works and has a Sendzimer cold rolling mill, annealing and pickling lines, high temperature box anneal and other decarburization and coating units.AK Tube LLC (AK Tube), a Company subsidiary, has a plant in Walbridge, Ohio, which operates six electric resistance weld tube mills and a slitter. AK Tube also has a plant in Columbus, Indiana, which operates eight electric resistance weld and two laser weld tube mills.

The Company’s operations consist primarily of nine steelmaking and finishing plants and tubular production facilities located in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The Company sells its carbon products principally to domestic customers. The Company’s electrical and stainless steel products are sold both domestically and internationally. The Company also produces carbon and stainless steel that is finished into welded steel tubing used in the automotive, truck, industrial and construction markets.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    First, let Credit Suisse analyst Nathan Littlewood and team explain why they not only downgraded US Steel and Nucor, but lowered their EBITDA forecasts for AK Steel (AKS), Commercial Metals (CMC) and Steel Dynamics (STLD), as well:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    I just wrote about iron miners getting pounded; now it’s time for the steel stocks like US Steel (X), AK Steel (AKS) and Steel Dynamics (STLD).

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    We are maintaining our HOLD rating on shares of AK Steel Holding Corp. (AKS). We are raising our 2014 and 2015 EPS estimates to $0.58 (from $0.20) and to $0.75 (from $0.70) vs. the Street’s $0.48 and $0.88, respectively; the upside to our forecasts reflects weaker carbon flat rolled pricing, offset by better recognition of company-specific input cost and pension-related savings. We retain our cautious stance on AKS via relative valuation and near-term free cash flow headwinds, but we are cognizant
    of AKS’s self-help vertical integration strategy, improving pension funding profile, and outstanding trade cases (GOES and NGOES).

Top 5 Performing Companies To Invest In 2014: Deutsche Boerse AG (DBOEF)

Deutsche Boerse AG is a Germany-based international financial marketplace operator. It operates four business segments: Xetra; Eurex; Clearstream, and Market Data & Analytics. The Xetra business segment comprises three business areas: cash market using the Xetra electronic trading system and Xetra Frankfurt specialist trading; central counterparty for equities, and admission of securities to listing. The Eurex business segment comprises four business areas: electronic derivatives market trading platform Eurex; electronic options trading platform ISE; over-the-counter trading platforms Eurex Bonds, Eurex Repo, and Eurex Clearing. The Clearstream business segment comprises three business areas: custody, administration and settlement services for securities; global securities financing services, and investment funds services. The Market Data & Analytics business segment comprises two business areas: sales of price information and information distribution, and index development a nd sales. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Mark Thompson]

    The contracts are often cleared through exchanges such as CME and Eurex, operated by Deutsche Boerse (DBOEF).

    CME said it would gradually apply an additional “event risk” margin of 12% to all over-the-counter interest rate swaps due to the “additional uncertainty brought by the debt ceiling debate.”

Top 5 Performing Companies To Invest In 2014: QCR Holdings Inc.(QCRH)

QCR Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides commercial and consumer banking, and trust and asset management services for the Quad City, Cedar Rapids, and Rockford communities. The company accepts deposits and invests in loans/leases and securities. Its deposit products comprise interest bearing deposits, non-interest bearing and interest bearing demand deposits, savings deposits, time deposits, and brokered time deposits. The company also offers a range of commercial and retail lending and investment services to corporations, partnerships, individuals, and government agencies. Its loan portfolio comprises commercial loans, including loans to wholesalers, manufacturers, building contractors, business services companies, other banks, and retailers; business loans, which include lines of credit for working capital and operational purposes; term loans for the acquisition of facilities, equipment, and other purposes; commercial real estate loans; and consumer loans c omprising motor vehicle, home improvement, home equity, and signature loans, as well as small personal credit lines. In addition, the company engages in the direct financing lease contracts; holding the real estate property; and issuing various trust preferred securities. QCR Holdings was founded in 1993 and is headquartered in Moline, Illinois.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Tim Melvin]

    QCR Holdings (QCRH) is another bank that has consistently had a lower return on assets than its peer group. The Illinois based bank has 9 offices and about $2.4 billion in total assets. The bank has an equity-to-assets ratio of just 7.4, which is well below the national average. The Illinois market has seen strong merger and acquisition activity in the past year, and this bank could become a target .