Top 5 Safest Companies For 2014

Like just about every other fixed-income investor these days, PIMCO CEO and co-CIO Mohamed El-Erian is now asking a simple yet huge question: What exactly is going on in the bond market?

Yet unlike many others, El-Erian (left) has come up with some solid observations, answers and investment ideas.

“To say that bonds are under pressure would be an understatement,” El-Erian writes in his September viewpoint, “What’s Happening to Bonds and Why?” “Over the last few months, sentiment about fixed income has flipped dramatically: from a favored investment destination that is deemed to benefit from exceptional support from central banks, to an asset class experiencing large outflows, negative returns and reduced standing as an anchor of a well-diversified asset allocation.”

Top 5 Safest Companies For 2014: Intersil Corporation(ISIL)

Intersil Corporation designs, develops, manufactures, and markets analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits for applications in the industrial, computing, consumer, and communications electronics markets. The company?s industrial products include operational amplifiers, bridge drivers, isolated and non-isolated power management products, switches and multiplexers, video decoders, and other standard analog and power management products used in medical imaging, energy management, automotive, military, instrumentation, security surveillance, and factory automation markets. Its computing products comprise desktop, server, notebook, and network attached storage power management products, including core power devices and other power management products for peripheral devices, as well as lithium ion battery chargers. The company?s consumer products consist of handheld, display, gaming, light sensor, and class-D audio amplifier products for use in smartphones, LCD televisions, t ablet computers, electronic game systems, set top boxes, MP3 players, GPS systems, AV receivers, and home audio systems. Its communication products include line drivers, isolated and non-isolated power management, radiation-hardened products, digital power management products, broadband and hot plug power management products, and high-speed data converters for applications in DSL, home gateway, satellite, networking, cellular base station, and networking/switching equipment markets. The company markets its products through distributors and value added resellers to original equipment manufacturers, original design manufacturers, and contract manufacturers in China, the United States, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Germany, Singapore, and Mexico. Intersil Corporation was founded in 1999 and is headquartered in Milpitas, California.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jake L’Ecuyer]

    Intersil (NASDAQ: ISIL) tumbled 4.81 percent to $10.92 after Evercore Partners downgraded the stock from Equal-Weight to Underweight.

    Texas Industries (NYSE: TXI) was down, falling 4.36 percent to $65.78 after Longbow Research downgraded the stock from buy to neutral.

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Basic guidelines
    In this series, I examine inventory using a simple rule of thumb: Inventory increases ought to roughly parallel revenue increases. If inventory bloats more quickly than sales grow, this might be a sign that expected sales haven’t materialized. Is the current inventory situation at Intersil (Nasdaq: ISIL  ) out of line? To figure that out, start by comparing the company’s inventory growth to sales growth. How is Intersil doing by this quick checkup? At first glance, pretty well. Trailing-12-month revenue decreased 18.7%, and inventory decreased 19.5%. Comparing the latest quarter to the prior-year quarter, the story looks decent. Revenue shrank 15.6%, and inventory shrank 19.5%. Over the sequential quarterly period, the trend looks OK but not great. Revenue dropped 4.2%, and inventory dropped 3.1%.

Top 5 Safest Companies For 2014: Superior Energy Services Inc.(SPN)

Superior Energy Services, Inc. provides specialized oilfield services and equipments to serve the production and drilling-related needs of oil and gas companies. It operates through three segments: Subsea and Well Enhancement; Drilling Products and Services; and Marine. The Subsea and Well Enhancement segment provides integrated subsea and engineering services, coiled tubing, electric line, pumping and stimulation, gas lift, well control, hydraulic workover and snubbing, recompletion, stimulation and sand control equipment and services, well evaluation, offshore oil and gas tank, vessel cleaning, decommissioning, plug and abandonment, and mechanical wireline services. This segment also manufactures and sells drilling rig instrumentation equipments; and involves in the production and sale of oil and gas from its properties in the Gulf of Mexico. The Drilling Products and Services segment manufactures, sells, and rents equipments for use with offshore and onshore oil and gas well drilling, completion, production, and workover activities. This segment?s products and services include pressure control equipment, drill pipe and landing strings, connecting iron, handling tools, stabilizers, drill collars, and on-site accommodations. The Marine segment owns and operates a fleet of liftboats in the Gulf of Mexico. The company operates 25 rental liftboats with leg lengths ranging from 145 feet to 265 feet. Superior Energy Services, Inc. sells its products and services in Latin America, North America, North Sea and Europe, the Middle East, West Africa, and the Asia Pacific region. The company was founded in 1991 and is based in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    As a result, the knives have come out. Cowen’s analysts downgraded six stocks–Baker Hughes (BHI), Cameron International (CAM), Nabors Industries (NBR), CGG (CGG), Superior Energy Services (SPN) and Helmerich & Payne (HP)–and cut their estimates on even more. Its analysts explain why:

  • [By Sara Murphy]

    Basic Energy Services (NYSE: BAS  ) derived more than a quarter of 2012 revenues from its fluid services unit. Its operations rely heavily on the legacy model of hauling water. Superior Energy Services (NYSE: SPN  ) counts on its traditional fluid services offerings for about 20% of revenues.

  • [By David Smith]

    Superior Energy Services (NYSE: SPN  )
    The largest of the three “smaller” oil-field services companies for this discussion carries an approximately $4.4 billion market cap. The Houston-based company has been accorded a rating of 1.6 by the analysts, with no single rating below a buy. (All three of the companies discussed here are headquartered in Houston. But that’s a coincidence, not a requirement.)

  • [By Dimitra DeFotis]

    Sterne Agee said in July research that operators with Bakken-formation leverage, including Oasis, Superior Energy Services (SPN), Whiting Petroleum (WLL) and QEP Resources (QEP), “have improved their communication with Wall Street and appropriately managed expectations for the impact that flooding in North Dakota could have on second-quarter earnings.”  See Barron’s Investor’s Soapbox PM for July 17, subscription required.)

Top 5 Safest Companies For 2014: Pinnacle Foods Inc (PF)

Pinnacle Foods Inc., incorporated on July 28, 2003, is a manufacturer, marketer and distributor of branded food products in North America. The Company operates in three segments: the Birds Eye Frozen Division, the Duncan Hines Grocery Division and the Specialty Foods Division. The Birds Eye Frozen Division and the Duncan Hines Grocery Division, which collectively represent its North America Retail operations, include the brands. Its brand portfolio enjoys household penetration in the United States, where its products can be found in approximately 85% of U.S. households. Its products are sold through supermarkets, grocery wholesalers and distributors, mass merchandisers, super centers, convenience stores, dollar stores, drug stores and warehouse clubs in the United States and Canada, as well as in military channels and foodservice locations. On June 24, 2011, the Company completed the sale of its Watsonville, California facility which had been recorded as an asset held for sale.

Birds Eye Frozen Division

The Company’s Birds Eye Frozen Division includes its steamed and non-steamed product offerings, with a 27.0% market share, making Birds Eye the recognized frozen vegetables brand in the United States. Birds Eye was the Company to capture a nationwide market share with a product that enables consumers to conveniently steam vegetables in microwaveable packaging.

Duncan Hines Grocery Division

Duncan Hines is the division’s brand and includes cake mixes, ready-to-serve frostings, brownie mixes, muffin mixes, and cookie mixes. During the fiscal year ended September 23, 2012, the Company added two additional items to the line. In February 2012, the Company introduced a line of frosting products, Duncan Hines Frosting Creations, which uses a patent pending frosting system to allow consumers to customize their frosting into one of 12 different flavors. The Company also offers a complete line of shelf-stable pickle products that we market and distribute n! ationally, primarily under the Vlasic brand, and regionally under the Milwaukee’s and Wiejske Wyroby brands. In 2012, the Company introduced Vlasic Farmers Garden, artisan-quality pickle line.

Specialty Foods Division

The Company’s snack products primarily consist of Tim’s Cascade, Snyder of Berlin and Husman’s. These direct store delivery brands have local awareness and hold market share positions in their regional markets. The Company also manufactures and distributes certain products, mainly in the frozen breakfast, canned meat, and pie and pastry fruit filling categories, through food service channels. The Company also manufactures and distributes certain private label products in the canned meat, shelf-stable pickles and frozen seafood. As part of its ongoing strategic focus over the last several years, the Company has deemphasized the food service and private label businesses for the benefit of its higher margin branded food products.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Branded food products distributor Pinnacle Foods (PF) raised its dividend 16.7% to 21 cents per share, payable on Jan. 10 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 2.
    PF Dividend Yield: 2.95%

  • [By Jacob Roche]

    Recently, Pinnacle Foods (NYSE: PF  ) held its initial public offering, priced at $20 per share, at the high end of the expected range. The IPO brought in a net $627 million for the company, and the stock has continued to trade up a bit. Now that the typical IPO dust is settling, however, it may be worth taking a look.

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Shelf-stable and frozen food purveyor Pinnacle Foods (NYSE: PF  ) is going to initiate a quarterly regular cash dividend, with the initial payment at $0.18 per share.

  • [By Eric Volkman]

    Diamond’s new hire was most recently CFO of privately held Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company. Before that, he filled the same role with a number of firms, including Cott and Swift & Company. Silcock launched his career at Campbell Soup (NYSE: CPB  ) in 1979. He currently serves on the board of directors of Pinnacle Foods (NYSE: PF  ) .

Top 5 Safest Companies For 2014: Micropac Industries Inc (MPAD)

Micropac Industries, Inc. (Micropac), incorporated on March 3, 1969, manufactures and distributes various types of hybrid microelectronic circuits, solid state relays, power operational amplifiers, and optoelectronic components and assemblies. Micropac’s products are used as components in a range of military, space and industrial systems, including aircraft instrumentation and navigation systems, power supplies, electronic controls, computers, medical devices, and high-temperature (200o degree Celsius) products. The Company’s products are either custom (being application-specific circuits designed and manufactured to meet the particular requirements of a single customer) or standard components. During the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011 (fiscal 2011), its custom-designed components accounted for approximately 34% of its revenue and standard components accounted for approximately 66% of its revenue.

Micropac occupies approximately 36,000 square feet of manufacturing, engineering and office space in Garland, Texas. The Company owns 31,200 square feet of that space and leases an additional 4,800 square feet. It also sub-contracts some manufacturing to Inmobiliaria San Jose De Ciuddad Juarez S.A. DE C.V, a maquila contract manufacturer in Juarez, Mexico.

Micropac provides microelectronic and optoelectronic components and assemblies along with contract electronic manufacturing services, and offers a range of products sold to the industrial, medical, military, aerospace and space markets. The Microcircuits product line includes custom microcircuits, solid state relays, power operational amplifiers, and regulators. During fiscal 2011, microcircuits product line accounted for 51% of its revenue and the optoelectronics product line accounted for 62% of its business respectively. The Company’s core technology is the packaging and interconnects of miniature electronic components, utilizing thick film and thin film sub strates, forming microelectronics circuits. Other technologi! es include light emitting and light sensitive materials and products, including light emitting diodes and silicon phototransistors used in its optoelectronic components, and assemblies.

The Company’s basic products and technologies include custom design hybrid microelectronic circuits, solid state relays and power controllers, custom optoelectronic assemblies and components, optocouplers, light-emitting diodes, Hall-Effect devices, displays, power operational amplifiers, fiber optic components and assemblies, and high temperature (200o degree Celsius) products. Micropac’s products are primarily sold to original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s) who serve major markets, which includes military/aerospace, such as aircraft instrumentation, guidance and navigations systems, control circuitry, power supplies and laser positioning; space, which include control circuitry, power monitoring and sensing, and industrial, which includes power control equipment and robot ics.

The Company’s products are marketed throughout the United States and in Western Europe. During fiscal 2011, approximately 21% of the Company’s revenue was from international customers. The Company’s major customers include contractors to the United States Government. During fiscal 2010, sales to these customers for the Department of Defense (DOD) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) contracts accounted for approximately 62% of its revenues. The Company’s customers are Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Rockwell Int’l, and NASA.

The Company compete with Teledyne Industries, Inc., MS Kennedy, Honeywell, Avago and International Rectifier.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Geoff Gannon] strong>ADDvantage Technologies (AEY)

    · Solitron Devices (SODI)

    · OPT-Sciences (OPST)

    Micropac

    Micropac is 76% owned by Heinz-Werner Hempel. He’s a German businessman. You can see the German company he founded here. He’s had control of Micropac for a long-time. I don’t have an exact number in front of me. But I would guess it’s been something like 25 years.

    ADDvantage

    ADDvantage Technologies is controlled by the Chymiak brothers. See the company’s April 4 press release explaining their decision to turn over the CEO position to an outsider. Regardless, the Chymiaks still control 47% of the company. Ken Chymiak is now chairman. And David Chymiak is still a director and now the company’s chief technology officer. Clearly, it’s still their company.

    By the way, the name ADDvantage Technologies has nothing to do with the Chymiaks. Today’s AEY really traces its roots to a private company called Tulsat. The Chymiak brothe rs acquired that company about 27 years ago. So, effectively, when you buy shares of AEY you are buying into a 27-year-old family-controlled company.

    That’s pretty typical in the world of net-nets.

    Solitron

    Solitron Devices is 29% owned by Shevach Saraf. He has been the CEO for 20 years. The post-bankruptcy Solitron has never known another CEO. Before the bankruptcy, Solitron was a much bigger, much different company. So even though we are not talking about the founder here – and even though 70% of the company’s shares are not held by the CEO – we’re still talking about a company where one person has a lot of control. Solitron only has three directors. Saraf is the chairman, CEO, president, CFO and treasurer. Neither of the other two directors joined the board within the last 15 years. So, we aren’t talking about a lot of tumult at the top.

    In fact, profitable net-nets seem to be especially common candidates for abandoning the responsibili ties of a public comp

  • [By Geoff Gannon] % of NCAV, has similar (slightly better) z- and f-scores, a FCF margin of 6%, but has ROA of 28%.

    ADDvantage (AEY) sells at 95% of NCAV, has similar (in the ballpark) scores and FCF and ROA of 23%.

    The slightly better businesses are currently more expensive in terms of price/NCAV. They have less asset-based downside protection, but they are better businesses.

    How do you quantify and qualify what is cheap enough? To me, there’s a big difference in relative cheapness in a company selling at 74% of NCAV versus one selling at 95%. I’m wondering if I’m putting too much weight on this cheapness measurement instead of acknowledging that any decent business selling at less than NCAV is cheap enough. Yet, one has to have some quantifiable idea of when something is not cheap enough anymore.

    Can you help me put this into a unified framework?

    Dan

    There’s a great post over at Oddball Stocks called: “A Stock is a Business”. Read it. Then go over to Richard Beddard’s Interactive Investor Blog. Bookmark that blog. Read it religiously. He looks at Ben Graham type stocks in the U.K. And he looks at them not just as stocks but as pieces of a business.

    Here’s what Richard said in a post called “Giving Up on Mastery of the Universe”:

    I need to know:

    1. Whether the managers have made good decisions in the past, and whether their incentives work in the interests of the owners, because those kind of managers often add value to a company.

    2. The products a company sells will still be in demand for years to come, because if they’re not then the past, which we know, does not tell us anything about the future, which we don’t.

    3. A company is financially strong enough to withstand the kinds of shocks companies typically experience bearing in mind some are more sensitive to events than others.

    4. How to judge whether the share price undervalues the company, bearing in mind the precedi ng three factors.

Top 5 Safest Companies For 2014: Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd (TRQ)

Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd., formerly Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., is an international mineral exploration and development company. The Company’s principal mineral resource property is the Oyu Tolgoi Project, located in Mongolia. The Company also has two subsidiaries, through which it holds interests in coal resource properties in Mongolia and molybdenum, rhenium, copper, gold and uranium resource properties in Australia. Its subsidiary, SouthGobi Resources Ltd. (SGQ), owns and operates the Ovoot Tolgoi Coal Project located in Mongolia. Its subsidiary, Ivanhoe Australia Limited (Ivanhoe Australia), owns the Osborne Project, the Merlin Project and the Mount Dore Project, all of which are located in Queensland, Australia. It also holds interests in several other mineral resource projects in Asia, including a 50% interest in the Kyzyl Gold Project, located in Kazakhstan, through a shareholding in Altynalmas Gold. In July 2012, Rio Tinto plc acquired 51% interest in the Company. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Mining giant Rio Tinto PLC (NYSE: RIO) already owns 50.8% of Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. (NYSE: TRQ), and speculation that Rio Tinto will buy the other 49.2% has boosted Turquoise Hill’s share price by nearly 13% in the week ending Thursday. Most of the gain came in the last two days, although shares were giving some of that gain back Friday probably because Rio Tinto has not announced an offer yet.

  • [By Sally Jones]

    According to the GuruFocus Value Screen for finding 52-Week Lows, Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. (TRQ), Global-Tech Advanced Innovations (GAI) and Rentech Nitrogen Partners LP (RNF) are companies on a low and still held by billionaire investors. All three companies are on a 52-week low, and more than 64% off a 52-week high.

  • [By Gary Bourgeault]

    Shares of Turquoise Hill (TRQ) have soared since closing at $4.01 per share on October 15, 2013. The company has been under pressure since the government of Mongolia let it be known it has 22 points of contention with the company, which resulted in the second phase of development at its giant Oyu Tolgoi copper/gold mine to be suspended.

  • [By Brian Pacampara]

    What: Shares of Canadian mineral explorer Turquoise Hill Resources (NYSE: TRQ  ) sank 12% today after receiving notification from the government of Mongolia that project financing for Oyu Tolgoi will now require approval by the Mongolian parliament.