The housing and auto industries continued to support an economy that expanded moderately in most of the country last month, though holiday retail sales were mixed, according to a Federal Reserve report Wednesday.
The Fed’s Beige Book, named for the color of its cover, shed little light on a job market that seemed to slow markedly in December, simply stating that two-thirds of the Fed’s 12 bank districts reported increases in hiring. The Labor Department said last week that employers added a disappointing 74,000 jobs in December, far below the 200,000 forecast by some economists.
Yet official government data highlighted an economy that was generally shifting into a higher gear last month, with manufacturing output, exports, business investment and consumer spending picking up.
MORE: Read the Fed’s Beige Book report
Top Cheap Stocks To Watch For 2014: International Busin ess Machines Corporation(IBM)
International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) provides information technology (IT) products and services worldwide. Its Global Technology Services segment provides IT infrastructure and business process services, including strategic outsourcing, process, integrated technology, and maintenance services, as well as technology-based support services. The company?s Global Business Services segment offers consulting and systems integration, and application management services. Its Software segment offers middleware and operating systems software, such as WebSphere software to integrate and manage business processes; information management software for database and enterprise content management, information integration, data warehousing, business analytics and intelligence, performance management, and predictive analytics; Tivoli software for identity management, data security, storage management, and datacenter automation; Lotus software for collaboration, messaging, and so cial networking; rational software to support software development for IT and embedded systems; business intelligence software, which provides querying and forecasting tools; SPSS predictive analytics software to predict outcomes and act on that insight; and operating systems software. Its Systems and Technology segment provides computing and storage solutions, including servers, disk and tape storage systems and software, point-of-sale retail systems, and microelectronics. The company?s Global Financing segment provides lease and loan financing to end users and internal clients; commercial financing to dealers and remarketers of IT products; and remanufacturing and remarketing services. It serves financial services, public, industrial, distribution, communications, and general business sectors. The company was formerly known as Computing-Tabulating-Recording Co. and changed its name to International Business Machines Corporation in 1924. IBM was founded in 1910 and is base d in Armonk, New York.
- [By Jon C. Ogg]
Before thinking that these five are the biggest drags on the DJIA for 2014, other DJIA stocks have been dead weight for a bit longer then 2014. Shares of Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) are down some 18% from their 52-week high, and International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) are down some 14% from their 52-week high. Their problems began in 2014, so they are not on the year-to-date loser list of the DJIA stocks.
- [By Philip Springer]
What’s this week’s big story for investors?
Candidate #1: RadioShack (NYSE: RSH) said it will close up to 1,100 of its nearly 5,200 US stores amid widening losses. The company also announced that revenue in the fourth quarter of 2013 fell 20 percent from year-earlier levels.
It doesn’t matter whether the latest announcement is in addition to or merely an expansion of the company’s Feb. 5 statement that it would close 500 stores. That, in turn, shortly followed the beleaguered company’s $4 million expenditure for a widely praised but clearly ill-timed 30-second ad during the Super Bowl.
Also this week, Radio Shack agreed to pay its top executives “retention” bonuses, saying their skills are critical to the company’s comeback plan. CEO Joe Magnacca will get a $500,000 payment, while other executives will receive $187,500 to $275,000.
The stock currently trades around $2, down from its 1999 peak of $61.
No, that’s not the week’s big story. But it was too good to ignore.
Candidate #2: The current bull market celebrates its fifth birthday this week, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 delivering a total return of about 175 percent during that time.
Since 1921, the median bull market has been 50 months long and has delivered 115 percent in price appreciation. So this market is older and better than most. Still, the conditions aren’t yet present to suggest the end is near. Indeed, Wednesday’s advance, the best of the year to date, was exceptional for both its breadth and heavy volume.
The five-year anniversary also means that stocks, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, closed-end funds and so on will boast very good five-year returns. Don’t be overly impressed. Reason: Almost everybody will be a winner. (Other than Radio Shack.) But you should dig deeper: Comparisons will be useful to sort out leaders and laggards f or potential investme
- [By WALLSTCHEATSHEET]
IBM is a global technology company that provides essential products and services to companies and consumers worldwide. Hundreds of workers at a plant run by IBM have gone on strike. The stock has been struggling over the past couple of years, but is currently surging higher. Over the last four quarters, earnings have been rising while revenues have been declining, which has produced conflicting feelings among investors. Relative to its peers and sector, IBM has been a poor year-to-date performer. WAIT AND SEE what IBM does next.
- [By Paul Ausick]
Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), with its driverless cars, is also committed to being the leader in new technology for automakers. Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) and International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) are other contenders for platform dominance.
Top Cheap Stocks To Watch For 2014: CVS Corporation(CVS)
CVS Caremark Corporation operates as a pharmacy services company in the United States. The company?s Pharmacy Services segment provides a range of pharmacy benefit management services, including mail order pharmacy services, specialty pharmacy services, plan design and administration, formulary management, and claims processing; and drug benefits to eligible beneficiaries under the Federal Government?s Medicare Part D program. This segment primarily serves employers, insurance companies, unions, government employee groups, managed care organizations and other sponsors of health benefit plans, and individuals. As of December 31, 2010, it operated 44 retail specialty pharmacy stores, 18 specialty mail order pharmacies, and 4 mail service pharmacies located in 25 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. This segment operates business under the CVS Caremark Pharmacy Services, Caremark, CVS Caremark, CarePlus CVS/pharmacy, CarePlus, RxAmerica, Accordant, and TheraCom names. The company?s Retail Pharmacy segment sells prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, beauty products and cosmetics, seasonal merchandise, greeting cards, and convenience foods through its pharmacy retail stores and online, as well as offers film and photo finishing, and health care services. This segment operated 7,182 retail drugstores located in 41 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia; and 560 retail health care clinics in 26 states and the District of Columbia under the MinuteClinic name. It has a strategic alliance with Alere, L.L.C. for the management of disease management program offerings that cover chronic diseases, such as asthma, diabetes, congestive heart failure, and coronary artery disease. CVS Caremark Corporation was founded in 1892 and is based in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.
- [By Bloomberg]
Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images Cerberus Capital Management’s $9 billion deal to merge Safeway (SWY) with Albertsons is a bet that a larger supermarket chain can better fend off an attack on the grocery business by big-box stores and online retailers. Safeway, the No. 2 grocery-store operator in the U.S., agreed Thursday to be acquired by Cerberus’s Albertsons for about $40 a share. The deal will unite two chains with locations across the country — especially in the West — and narrow Kroger’s (KR) lead as the nation’s top supermarket company. Cerberus, a private-equity firm that has spent years investing in the supermarket industry, will use the new company’s heft to combat a growing array of threats. Big-box retailers such as Walmart Stores (WMT) and warehouse clubs are increasingly targeting grocery customers, using their size and breadth of products to attract shoppers. Online food sellers and delivery services, including Amazon.com (AMZN), also have made neighborhood supermarkets less essential than before. “This merger will improve our competitive position,” Safeway Chief Executive Officer Robert Edwards, who will be in charge of the combined company, said Thursday on a conference call. “Our customers will benefit from significant cost saving synergies and a stronger management team.” Safeway shares fell as much as 6.3 percent to $37 in extended trading, reflecting concerns the deal may not close at the current price. The shares had increased 21 percent this year through the close of regular trading Thursday, outpacing the 1.6 percent gain of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. Blackhawk Network As part of the agreement, investors will get $32.50 a share in cash, plus stock in Safeway’s gift-card unit Blackhawk Network Holdings (HAWK), according to a statement Thursday. Safeway, based in Pleasanton, Calif., had said last month that it was in talks about a sale of the company. Assuming a diluted share count of about 235 million shares,
- [By GURUFOCUS]
Healthcare stocks in the Fund had a strong fourth quarter and year. CVS (CVS)’s 26% performance for the quarter is reflective of the fact that 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day and will for the next 15 years. Businesses that are able to serve this growing segment with improving service, innovation, technology, product quality and value should continue to win.
Top Cheap Stocks To Watch For 2014: MEDIWARE Information Systems Inc.(MEDW)
Mediware Information Systems, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the design, development, and marketing of software solutions targeting specific processes within healthcare institutions. The company offers software systems consisting of company’s proprietary application software, and third-party licensed software and hardware. It licenses, implements, and supports clinical and performance management, blood donor, and blood and biologic management products in the United States; and medication management solutions in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa. The company?s blood and biologics management solutions include HCLL Transfusion and HCLL Donor, which address blood donor recruitment, blood processing, and transfusion activities for hospitals and medical centers; BloodSafe suite of hardware and software that enable healthcare facilities to store, monitor, distribute, and track blood products; LifeTrak software for blood centers; a nd BiologiCare, a bone, tissue, and cellular product tracking software. Its medication management products comprise WORx, a pharmacy information system to manage inpatient and outpatient pharmacy operations; MediCOE, a physician order entry module; MediMAR, a nurse point-of-care administration and bedside documentation module; MediREC, which assists in achieving compliance with a Joint Commission mandate; and pharmacy management and electronic prescribing systems. The company?s performance management products include InSight software that tracks performance metrics to assist healthcare managers to manage performance. It also provides software installation and maintenance services, as well as billing and collection services to home infusion and home/durable medical equipment markets. The company markets its products primarily through its direct sales force. Mediware Information Systems, Inc. was founded in 1970 and is headquartered in Lenexa, Kansas.
- [By CRWE]
Mediware Information Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq:MEDW) plans to acquire the assets of Indianapolis-based Strategic Healthcare Group LLC (SHG), a leading provider of blood management consulting, education and informatics solutions.
Top Cheap Stocks To Watch For 2014: Rent-A-Center Inc.(RCII)
Rent-A-Center, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, primarily engages in leasing household durable goods to customers on a rent-to-own basis. The company?s stores offer durable products, such as consumer electronics, appliances, computers, and furniture and accessories under flexible rental purchase agreements that allow the customer to obtain ownership of the merchandise at the conclusion of an agreed upon rental period. It also provides merchandise on an installment sales basis in its stores. As of December 31, 2010, the company operated 3,008 company-owned stores in the United States, and in Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, including 42 retail installment sales stores under the names ?Get It Now? and ?Home Choice?; and 18 rent-to-own stores located in Canada under the ?Rent-A-Centre? name. It also operates 209 franchised rent-to-own stores in 32 states under the ColorTyme trade name; and 384 kiosk locations under the ?RAC Acceptance? model. In addition, the company, th rough its ColorTyme?s franchised stores, offers custom rims and tires for sale or rental under the trade names ?RimTyme? or ?ColorTyme Custom Wheels?. Rent-A-Center, Inc. was founded in 1986 and is headquartered in Plano, Texas.
- [By Jake L’Ecuyer]
Equities Trading DOWN
Shares of Rent-A-Center (NASDAQ: RCII) were down 21.51 percent to $24.51 on Q4 results.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) shares tumbled 7.80 percent to $507.55 after the company issued weak sales forecast for the second quarter and reported downbeat holiday iPhone sales.
- [By Marc Bastow]
Rent-to-own consumer products company Rent-A-Center (RCII) raised its quarterly dividend 10% to 23 cents per share, payable on Jan. 23 to shareholders of record as of Jan. 3.
RCII Dividend Yield: 2.77%
Top Cheap Stocks To Watch For 2014: Uranium Resources Inc.(URRE)
Uranium Resources, Inc. engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, and mining of uranium properties, using the in situ recovery or solution mining process. It owns developed and undeveloped uranium properties in South Texas; and undeveloped uranium properties in New Mexico. The company?s primary customers include utilities who utilize nuclear power to generate electricity. Uranium Resources, Inc. was founded in 1977 and is based in Lewisville, Texas.
- [By Bryan Murphy]
If you listened to my bullish calls from December 27th and/or February 24th about Uranerz Energy Corp. (NYSEMKT:URZ), Uranium Resources, Inc. (NASDAQ:URRE), and Ur-Energy Inc. (NYSEMKT:URG), then congratulations – you’re now up as much as 50%, depending on when you stepped into a trade, and which stock you chose. Now get out. See, as well as URZ and URG have done and are doing (URRE not so much), it looks like the short-term rally I first spotted a little more than a couple of months ago has fully run its course, and now these names are setting up a pullback.
- [By James E. Brumley]
Well, I’ll give myself an A for effort, but a C- for timing. But, I can bump that C- up to a B+ if my intuition is right as we head into the last few days of 2013 and the first few of 2014. What I’m talking about is a bullish commentary I penned back on November 26th regarding Uranerz Energy Corp. (NYSEMKT:URZ), Uranium Resources, Inc. (NASDAQ:URRE), and Ur-Energy Inc. (NYSEMKT:URG). All three stocks were perking up, and more than that, the buzz surrounding URG, URRE, and URZ was getting louder. More often than not, when the fervor and bullish action and chatter reaches the levels they had reached a month ago, an explosion is right around the corner.