LONDON — I’m browsing for bargain shares right now, so should I pop Diageo (LSE: DGE ) (NYSE: DEO ) into my basket?
It’s rare for investors to agree, but a strong consensus seems to be developing around global drinks giant Diageo, which owns Guinness, Johnnie Walker, Baileys, and many other top brands. It’s a great company, but the shares are expensive. So are they too expensive?
Outgoing chief executive Paul Walsh has transformed Diageo since taking over 13 years ago, creating the world’s biggest premium-drinks company. His acquisition-driven growth strategy tripled the company’s share price in that time, but he’s calling last orders from July, and that will worry many investors. Will Diageo miss Walsh as much as Tesco misses Sir Terry Leahy?
Following an inspirational leader is never easy. Cynics often say that good leaders move on because they can see trouble coming. That’s another worry, especially given April’s disappointing interim management statement, which admitted that Western European sales had dropped 4%, with peripheral eurozone troubles giving Diageo a nasty hangover. However, that performance was offset by 6% growth in North America.
Top Cheap Stocks To Own Right Now: Oracle Corporation(ORCL)
Oracle Corporation, an enterprise software company, develops, manufactures, markets, distributes, and services database and middleware software, applications software, and hardware systems worldwide. It licenses of database and middleware software, including database management software, application server software, service-oriented architecture and business process management software, data integration software, business intelligence software, identity and access management software, content management software, portals and user interaction software, development tools, and Java; and applications software comprising enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, enterprise performance management, supply chain management, business intelligence applications, enterprise portfolio project management, Web commerce, and industry-specific applications software. The company also offers customers with rights to unspecified software product upgrades and maintenance releases; Internet access to technical content; and Internet and telephone access to technical support personnel. In addition, its hardware systems products consist of computer server and hardware-related software, including the Oracle Solaris Operating System; and storage products, such as tape, disk and networking solutions for open systems and mainframe server environments. Its hardware systems support solutions include software updates for the software components. Further, the company offers consulting solutions in business and IT strategy alignment, enterprise architecture planning and design, initial product implementation and integration, and ongoing product enhancements and upgrades; cloud services, including Oracle Cloud Services and Advanced Customer Services; and education solutions comprising instructor-led, media-based, and Internet-based training in the use of its software and hardware products. The company was founded in 1977 and is headquartered in Redwood Ci ty, California.
- [By Mani]
Cloud is the future and critical for most tech giants. Oracle Corporation (NYSE:ORCL) is no exception.
Oracle now generates more than $1 billion of subscription revenues annually from its cloud-hosted application suite, equal to about 3 percent of total revenues and 11 percent of total software license and subscription revenues.
- [By Gaurav Seetharam]
But Mr. Henderson’s insights convinced me that the tag team of Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) and Oracle (NYSE: ORCL ) is a far better play. He famously wrote that “if a firm is outside the top three, it should attempt to improve its position through consolidation or by shifting the basis of competition,” (my emphasis). Right now, the basis of competition is price, but only because new developments haven’t been taken into account.
- [By David Trainer]
Unfortunately for CALD, it’s not the only company filing those gaps. Numerous small companies compete with CALD as does Oracle (NYSE: ORCL). In fact, ORCL is making a big push into the cloud software space and it seems to view CALD as a less formidable adversary than CRM or N.
- [By Monica Wolfe]
Oracle Corporation (ORCL)
Pzena’s second largest holding goes to Oracle Corporation where, as of the fourth quarter, he held on to 17,097,751 shares of the company’s stock. His holdings make up for 3.7% of his total portfolio and 0.37% of the company’s shares outstanding.
Top Cheap Stocks To Own Right Now: Bank of America Corporation(BAC)
Bank of America Corporation, a financial holding company, provides banking and nonbanking financial services and products to individuals, small- and middle-market businesses, large corporations, and governments in the United States and internationally. The company?s Deposits segment generates savings accounts, money market savings accounts, certificate of deposits, and checking accounts; and Global Card Services segment provides the U.S. consumer and business card, consumer lending, international card and debit card services. Its Home Loans & Insurance segment offers consumer real estate products and services, including mortgage loans, reverse mortgages, home equity lines of credit, and home equity loans. It also provides property, disability, and credit insurance. The company?s Global Commercial Banking segment offers lending products, including commercial loans and commitment facilities, real estate lending, leasing, trade finance, short-term credit, asset-based lending, and indirect consumer loans; and capital management and treasury solutions, such as treasury management, foreign exchange, and short-term investing options. Its Global Banking & Markets segment provides financial products, advisory services, settlement, and custody services; debt and equity underwriting and distribution, merger-related advisory services, and risk management products; and integrated working capital management and treasury solutions. The company?s Global Wealth & Investment Management segment offers investment and brokerage services, estate management, financial planning services, fiduciary management, credit and banking expertise, and asset management products. Bank of America Corporation serves customers through a network of approximately 5,900 banking centers and 18,000 automated teller machines. It was formerly known as NationsBank Corporation and changed its name on October 1, 1998. Bank of America Corporation was founded in 1874 and is based in Charlott e, North Carolina.
- [By Rich Smith]
AFP/Getty Images/Frederic J. Brown Over the past decade or so, waves of computer-aided identity theft have washed over the U.S. Since the first big hack attack on ChoicePoint in 2005, through more recent data breaches at Evernote, LivingSocial, and now the massive Target (TGT) breach involving 110 million pieces of data (just the third-largest data breach in U.S. history, by the way), companies have more or less figured out a routine for dealing with data breaches. You notify the FBI. You (eventually) notify your customers. And you replace everybody’s credit cards. With the latest breach at Target, that process is already well under way. Megabanks like JP Morgan Chase (JPM), Bank of America (BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC), and Citigroup (C) have collectively handed out millions of new cards, with new card numbers, to customers whose data may have been compromised by the Target data breach. Last week, the Independent Community Bankers of America issued a release confirming its members — small banks around the country — have “reissued more than 4 million credit and debit cards.” To ensure that credit and debit card numbers that hacker stole from Target and Neiman Marcus will soon be useless, ICBA member bankers absorbed costs in excess of $40 million. And as a result of their quick action, says the group, “community banks’ initial fraud costs were relatively low, with less than 1 percent of community bank customers reporting fraud.” So, while the Target breach and the “110 million pieces of data lost” sounds bad, the damage probably won’t be as bad as you think. In fact, you can use this epic data fail to your advantage. You Have to Set up New Auto-Payments When your bank sends you a new credit or debit card, it will come with a new number to replace the one that Target lost. Your old number has been canceled. This means any automatic payment plans you’ve set up — your subscriptions and the card numbers that you have preselected for payments on Amazon (AMZN), P
- [By Reuters]
LM Otero/AP WASHINGTON — U.S. job growth accelerated sharply in February despite the icy weather that gripped much of the nation, easing fears of an abrupt economic slowdown and keeping the Federal Reserve on track to continue reducing its monetary stimulus. Employers added 175,000 jobs to their payrolls last month after creating 129,000 new positions in January, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate, however, rose to 6.7 percent from a five-year low of 6.6 percent, as Americans flooded into the labor market to search for work. “It reinforces the case for the economy being stronger than it’s looked for the last couple of months,” said Bill Cheney, chief economist at John Hancock Financial Services in Boston. “It makes life easier for the Fed and feeds into continuing the tapering process.” The report also showed the largest increase in average hourly earnings in eight months and the payrolls count for December and January was revised up to show 25,000 more jobs created during those months than previously reported. Investors on Wall Street cheered the report and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (^GPSC) reached a fresh intraday record high before falling back to trade little changed. The dollar lifted off a four-month low against a basket of currencies, while the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note jumped to a six-week high, putting it on course for its biggest weekly rise in three months. Interest rate futures showed that traders ramped up bets on the Fed hiking rates a bit sooner than had been previously thought. They now point to a 53 percent probability of a rate hike in June 2015. Unusually cold and snowy weather has disrupted activity in much of the United States for months, and a few economists had begun to speculate that the U.S. central bank could reconsider its plan to wind down its bond-buying stimulus. With snow and ice covering densely populated areas during the week employers were surveyed for Februar
Top Cheap Stocks To Own Right Now: USG Corporation(USG)
USG Corporation, through its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and distribution of building materials worldwide. The company offers gypsum and related products, including gypsum wallboard, joint compounds used for finishing wallboard joints, cement boards, glass mat sheathing, gypsum fiber panels, poured gypsum underlayments, ultra light panels, and various construction plaster products. Its gypsum products are used in various building applications to finish the interior walls, ceilings, and floors in residential, commercial, and institutional constructions, and repair and remodel constructions. The company also produces gypsum-based products for agricultural and industrial customers to use in various applications, including soil conditioning, road repair, fireproofing, and ceramics. In addition, it manufactures ceiling grid and acoustical ceiling tile for electrical and mechanical systems, and air distribution and maintenance applications. USG Corporation distribut es its gypsum products through specialty wallboard distributors, building materials dealers, home improvement centers and other retailers, contractors, and a network of distributors. Further, it distributes other manufacturers? gypsum wallboard, joint compound and other gypsum products, as well as drywall metal, insulation, and roofing products and accessories. The company sells its products under SHEETROCK, DUROCK, FIBEROCK, SECUROCK, LEVELROCK, RED TOP, IMPERIAL, DIAMOND, SUPREMO, AURATONE, ACOUSTONE, DONN, DX, FINELINE, CENTRICITEE, CURVATURA, and COMPASSO brands. The company was founded in 1901 and is based in Chicago, Illinois.
- [By Matt Jarzemsky]
While economists attributed some of the downtick to cold and snowy weather, some are wondering if the Federal Reserve’s plan to dial back its stimulus program this year could lead to a rise in interest rates, putting the brakes on the housing recovery. The SPDR S&P Homebuilders exchange-traded fund—which tracks a broad basket of housing-related stocks from builders to Sheetrock maker USG Corp.(USG)—is down about 3.6% year-to-date.
- [By Holly LaFon]
Pimco managing director Mark Kiesel mentions Whirlpool (WHR), Weyerhaeuser (WY), USG (USG), Toll Brothers (TOLL) and KB Home (KBH) as good plays on housing:
Top Cheap Stocks To Own Right Now: Merck & Company Inc.(MRK)
Merck & Co., Inc. provides various health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products. The company?s Pharmaceutical segment provides human health pharmaceutical products, such as therapeutic and preventive agents for the treatment of human disorders in the areas of bone, respiratory, immunology, dermatology, cardiovascular, diabetes and obesity, infectious diseases, neurosciences and ophthalmology, oncology, vaccines, and women’s health and endocrine. This segment also offers human health vaccines, such as preventive pediatric, adolescent, and adult vaccines. Its Animal Health segment discovers, develops, manufactures, and markets animal health products. This segment offers antibiotics, anti-inflammatory products, vaccines, products for the treatment of fertility disorders, and parasiticides for cattle, swine, horses, poultry, dogs, cats, salmons, and fish. The Consumer Care segment develops, manufac tures, and markets over-the-counter, foot care, and sun care products. Its over-the-counter product line includes non-drowsy antihistamines; treatment for occasional constipation; decongestant-free cold/flu medicine for people with high blood pressure; nasal decongestant spray; and treatment for frequent heartburn. This segment?s foot care products comprise topical antifungal, and foot and sneaker odor/wetness products; and sun care products include sun care lotions, sprays and dry oils; and sunburn relief products. The company serves drug wholesalers and retailers, hospitals, government agencies, physicians, physician distributors, veterinarians, animal producers, and managed health care providers, as well as food chain and mass merchandiser outlets in the United States and Canada. Merck & Co., Inc. was founded in 1891 and is headquartered in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey.
- [By Vanina Egea]
The first on the list is Pfizer Inc. (PFE), in which Blackhill disclosed a $23.6 million stake with over 772,140 shares. Pfizer is a biopharmaceutical company which sells health care products worldwide. It operates in a highly competitive industry with Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK), Novartis AG (NVS) and Sanofi (SNY). It has reported fourth quarter EPS and revenues above the Zacks Consensus Estimate. It has a proven commitment to returning cash to investors, with a current dividend yield of 3% which is considered quite good to protect investors’ purchasing power. The company returned about $15 billion to shareholders (dividends and share buybacks) in 2012.
- [By Louis Navellier]
Ligand Pharmacuticals (LGND) is a biotech company that focuses on acquisition and development of royalty revenue generating assets in the United States. Ligand has relationships with most of the leading drug companies including GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Merck (MRK), Bristol-Myers (BMY), Eli Lilly (LLY) and others.
- [By Benjamin Shepherd]
“Man’s best friend” could turn out to be one of your best investments, too. The numbers tell the story: Pet care is a high-growth industry.
More than 60 percent of US households report an animal in residence. About 46 million US families own at least one dog, with 40 million reporting that they own cats. Not only are dogs and cats good company, but years of research show that pets convey health benefits, with owners reporting lower blood pressure, less anxiety and higher immunity to illness
But pets aren’t cheap. Aside from the obvious cost of purchasing the animals they also need to eat, play and have their own health issues addressed, costing Americans an estimated $55.53 billion last year. That price tag has been steadily rising for more than a decade, as an ever-growing number of households call at least one animal “family.”
- [By Peter Stephens]
Developments at pharmaceutical peers
Of course, animal health is also a key market for Merck (NYSE: MRK ) . It announced last week that marketing authorization has been granted by the European Commission for the veterinary medicinal product, Bravecto. This is positive news for Merck, since Bravecto is the first and only treatment that has been shown to quickly and effectively kill fleas and ticks for up to 12 weeks in a single dose.
Top Cheap Stocks To Own Right Now: Compass Minerals Intl Inc(CMP)
Compass Minerals International, Inc., through its subsidiaries, produces and markets inorganic mineral products primarily in North America and the United Kingdom. The company operates in two segments, Salt and Specialty Fertilizer. The Salt segment produces salt and magnesium chloride for use in road deicing and dust control, food processing, water softeners, pool salt, and agricultural and industrial applications. This segment also purchases potassium chloride and sells as a finished product. The Specialty Fertilizer segment produces and markets sulphate of potash crop nutrients and industrial grade sulfate of potash for use in the production of specialty fertilizers for vegetables, fruits, potatoes, nuts, tobacco, and turf grass. The company also produces and markets consumer deicing and water conditioning products, ingredients used in consumer and commercial food preparation, and other mineral-based products for consumer, agricultural, and industrial applications. In ad dition, Compass Minerals provides records management services to businesses located in the U.K. The company operates rock salt mines in Goderich, Ontario, Canada; and Winsford, Chesire, the United Kingdom. It primarily serves producers of intermediate chemical products used in the production of vinyls and other chemicals, and pulp and paper, as well as water treatment and other industrial uses. The company markets its products through direct sales personnel, contract personnel, and a network of brokers or manufacturers? representatives. Compass Minerals International, Inc., formerly known as Salt Holdings Corporation, was founded in 1993 and is headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas.
- [By Brendan Mathews]
Compass Minerals (NYSE: CMP ) is a sleepy producer of a boring product: rock salt. But it has a strong competitive advantage. It owns the world’s largest rock salt mine, which luckily is conveniently located near the major deicing markets of the Great Lakes region. This combination of a great mining resource and ideal location provide the company with a wide, crocodile-filled competitive moat.
- [By Alex Planes]
PotashCorp’s difficulty sustaining its pricing power is underscored by recent reports from sulfate of potash (SOP) producer Compass Minerals (NYSE: CMP ) , which charged a hefty premium of almost $300 per ton against Potash Corp’s prices for muriate of potash. Efforts to move away from SOP sales seem to be the right choice — PotashCorp peer Intrepid Potash’s SOP sales fell by 37%, while the average price received has slumped nearly 14% in the last quarter. Even ore miner BHP Billiton has recently jumped into the fertilizer industry with a $2.6 billion build-out of a potash mine in Canada, which is all but certain to produce further downward pressure on potash prices.
Top Cheap Stocks To Own Right Now: Kohl’s Corporation(KSS)
Kohl?s Corporation operates department stores in the United States. The company?s stores offer private and exclusive, as well as national branded apparel, footwear, and accessories for women, men, and children; soft home products, such as sheets and pillows; and housewares primarily to middle-income customers. As of January 29, 2011, it operated 1,089 stores in 49 states. The company also offers on-line shopping on its Web site at Kohls.com. Kohl?s Corporation was founded in 1962 and is headquartered in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.
- [By Reuters]
Craig Warga/Bloomberg via Getty Images NEW YORK — Looks like the best suitor won. After an extended chase that included overtures on both sides, Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank will combine to create the nation’s fourth largest seller of menswear. Men’s Wearhouse (MW) said Tuesday that it’s buying its rival Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (JOSB) for $1.8 billion. The company will pay $65 a share, a 5 percent premium to Jos. A. Bank’s most recent closing price. As part of the deal, Jos. A. Bank also said it’s terminating its deal to acquire the parent company of Eddie Bauer, which sells rugged outerwear. Shares of both companies rose on the news: Men’s Wearhouse’s shares were up nearly 5 percent to $57.13, while shares of Jos. A. Bank increased nearly 4 percent to $64.22. The acquisition comes after months of the two chains publicly fighting over who would acquire whom. Industry watchers had speculated that a merger was inevitable given the challenges the companies face in the increasingly competitive menswear landscape. With more than 1,700 U.S. stores and $3.5 billion in annual sales, the combined company’s reach in men’s clothing will fall behind only Macy’s (M), Kohl’s (KSS) and J.C. Penney (JCP). “Together, Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank will have increased scale and breadth,” Doug Ewert, president and CEO of Men’s Wearhouse, said in a statement. Jos. A. Bank made the first move in October when it offered to buy its larger rival for $2.3 billion, just a few months after Men’s Wearhouse ousted its founder and chairman. Men’s Wearhouse shot down that offer, and turned the tables, offering to buy its rival for $1.54 billion. But after Jos. A. Bank turned down that bid, Men’s Wearhouse increased its offer to $1.6 billion, and then again to $1.78 billion. In the middle of the back-and forth, Jos. A. Bank said last month that it was buying the parent of Eddie Bauer, but left the door open for a deal with Men’s Wearhouse. At the time, it said if it received
- [By Bloomberg]
Companies added fewer workers than projected in February, a sign that U.S. employers were waiting for a pickup in demand before boosting headcount, a private report based on payrolls showed today. The 139,000 increase in employment followed a revised 127,000 gain in January that was weaker than initially reported, the weakest two months since August-September 2012, according to the ADP Research Institute in Roseland, N.J. The median forecast of 39 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 155,000 advance. Harsh winter weather conditions, which kept some shoppers away from stores and car dealerships, help explain why companies were hesitant to accelerate hiring at a more robust pace. Faster payroll growth that spurs bigger wage gains would help to boost the consumer purchases that make up almost 70 percent of the economy. “Employment was weak across a number of industries,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pa., said in a statement. Moody’s produces the figures with ADP (ADP). “Bad winter weather, especially in mid-month, weighed on payrolls. Job growth is expected to improve with warmer temperatures.” Estimates in the Bloomberg survey of economists ranged from gains of 100,000 to 180,000 after a previously reported increase of 175,000 in January. Missing Mark ADP’s numbers have missed the mark in tracking the government’s jobs figures over the past couple of months. The group’s initial estimates showed a 238,000 gain in employment for December followed by a 175,000 January increase. That compares with the Labor Department’s initial estimate of an 87,000 gain in December private payrolls and a 142,000 increase in January. Stock-index futures were little changed after the report. The contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (^GSPC) expiring this month rose less than 0.1 percent to 1,872 at 9:06 a.m. in New York. Payrolls at goods-producing industries increased headcount by 19,000. Factories added 1,000 workers,
- [By Steve Mauzy]
Retailing also allows any investor to easily kick the tires. When I walk into Sears, I see an antiquated retailing concept. When I walk into Sears’ subsidiary, K-Mart, I see dilapidation. J.C. Penney, to me, is a poor imitation of Kohl’s (KSS).
- [By Andrés Cardenal]
Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS ) hasn’t provided specific information regarding performance during the holiday period. However, the company reported a 1.6% decline in comparable-store sales for the quarter ended on Nov. 2. Management is expecting comparable sales for the current quarter to be between flat and a 2% decline, so Kohl’s isn’t offering many reasons for optimism regarding the possibility of improving conditions for department stores.