Top Companies To Watch For 2014

U.S. equities recouped $1 trillion of share value that was erased in the last seven weeks, as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke pledged to preserve stimulus and stocks rallied on signs of economic expansion.

Yesterday’s 1.4 percent gain wiped out losses for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index that had swelled to as much as 5.8 percent in the month after Bernanke raised the prospect of slowing bond purchases. Stocks rose in 10 of the last 12 days. Target Corp., Boeing Co. and 131 other companies are trading at 52-week highs, almost three times the average at four S&P 500 (SPX) peaks between 1990 and 2007, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Investors who had been putting aside concern U.S. policy makers will reduce stimulus kept buying this week after Bernanke said “highly accommodative monetary policy for the foreseeable future is what’s needed.” While bears say the rally won’t survive earnings reports that analysts estimate will be among the weakest in four years, bulls say an expanding economy ensures that future profits will rise and lift stocks.

Top Companies To Watch For 2014: Prumo Logistica SA (LLXL3)

Prumo Logistica SA, formerly LLX Logistica SA (LLX), is a Brazil-based company primarily engaged in the sector of port logistic services. The Company builds and develops the Acu Port, located in Sao Joao da Barra, in the north of the State of Rio de Janeiro. The Industrial Complex Acu Port has two port terminals (T1 and T2) and the capacity to handle various types of cargo, such as petroleum, iron ore, coal, solid and liquid bulk and general cargo. The Company’s subsidiaries include LLX Minas-Rio Logistica Comercial Exportadora SA, LLX Acu Operacoes Portuarias SA and LLX Brasil Operacoes Portuarias SA. In October, 2013, EIG LLX Holdings SARL reached a 52.82% stake in the ordinary share capital of the Company. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Denyse Godoy]

    A committee of exchange executives, banks and brokerages developed the changes to the benchmark index. BM&FBovespa said on its website that it hadn’t made changes to the gauge’s methodology since its inception in 1968. LLX Logistica SA (LLXL3), the shipping unit that Batista founded, is the second-lowest priced stock on the Ibovespa after dropping 36 percent this year to 1.53 reais.

Top Companies To Watch For 2014: JAKKS Pacific Inc.(JAKK)

JAKKS Pacific, Inc. designs, produces, markets, and distributes toys and consumer products worldwide. The company offers traditional toys and electronics, such as action figures and accessories, including licensed characters under Pokemon name; toy vehicles and accessories under Road Champs, Fly Wheels, and MXS names; electronics products under EyeClops Bionic Eye, Laser Challenge, and Plug It In & Play TV Games names; dolls and accessories, including small and large dolls, fashion dolls, and baby dolls under Disney Princess, Disney Fairies, Cabbage Patch Kids, Taylor Swift, Fancy Nancy, Hello Kitty, Graco, and Fisher Price names; private label products; pet products, including toys, consumables, and accessories under American Kennel Club and The Cat Fanciers? Association; and vehicles, play sets, plush products, construction toys, and infant and pre-school toys. It also offers role play, novelty, and seasonal toys, including food play and activity kits under Girl Gourmet, Creepy Crawlers, and BloPens names; role-play, dress-up, pretend play, and novelty products for boys and girls under Black & Decker, McDonald?s, Dirt Devil, Disney Princess, Disney Fairies, Barbie, and Dora the Explorer names; indoor and outdoor kids? furniture, activity trays, tables and room d Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lauren Pollock]

    Toy maker Jakks Pacific Inc.(JAKK) posted better-than-expected results, including revenue not falling as much as feared and profit surprisingly rising. Shares surged 22% to $6.03 premarket.

  • [By Sean Williams]

    What: The fun and games are over for toy and consumer products maker JAKKS Pacific (NASDAQ: JAKK  ) , which saw its shares get mauled by 37% after reporting its second-quarter results.

  • [By Rick Munarriz]

    Shares of JAKKS Pacific (NASDAQ: JAKK  ) shed roughly a third of their value today after the company posted disappointing quarterly results and nixed its quarterly dividend.

Top Companies To Watch For 2014: Sonova Holding AG (SOON)

Sonova Holding AG is a Switzerland-based company operating in the healthcare sector. The Company, along with its subsidiaries, specializes in the design, development, manufacture, worldwide distribution and service of technologically advanced hearing systems for adults and children with hearing impairment. The Company is active in two operating segments: the Hearing instruments segment includes the companies that are active in the design, development, manufacture, distribution and service of hearing instruments and related products, and the Cochlear implants segment includes the companies that are active in the design, development, manufacture, distribution and service of hearing implants and related products. The Company operates worldwide and distributes its products in over 90 countries through its own distribution network and through independent distributors. Sonova Holding AG is the holding company of the Sonova Group. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Sofia Horta e Costa]

    ThyssenKrupp AG slid to a 10-week low after raising 882.3 million euros ($1.2 billion) through a share sale. Antofagasta Plc led a measure of mining companies to a seven-week low. Sonova Holding AG (SOON) declined 1.5 percent as Morgan Stanley cut its rating on the Swiss hearing-aid maker. Orange SA slipped 3.4 percent amid concern a price war in the French mobile market will extend to fourth-generation data services.

  • [By Corinne Gretler]

    Sonova (SOON) advanced 6.9 percent to 126.50 Swiss francs after predicting that annual earnings before interest, taxes and amortization would grow as much as 14 percent, compared with a previous forecast of 9 percent to 13 percent. Sales will increase 8 percent to 10 percent, up from an earlier projection of 6 percent to 8 percent.

Top Companies To Watch For 2014: Mead Johnson Nutrition Company (MJN)

Mead Johnson Nutrition Company manufactures, distributes, and sells infant formulas, children?s nutritional products, and other nutritional products in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America. Its infant formula products include formulas for routine feeding; solutions formulas for mild intolerance and specialty formula products, including formulas for severe intolerance; formulas for premature and low birth weight infants; and medical nutrition products. The company also offers products for infants with milk protein allergy, gas/fussiness, lactose intolerance, anti-regurgitation, severe protein sensitivity, multiple food allergies, fat malabsorption, and premature infants, as well as soy formula. Its children?s nutrition products comprise nutritious powdered milk for picky eaters, nutritious powdered milk, and nutritious milk modifier. The company also offers a range of other products, including pre-natal and post-natal nutritional supplements for expectant and nurs ing mothers. Mead Johnson Nutrition Company markets its products under the Enfamil, Enfalac, Enfapro, Nutramigen, Pregestimil, Enfacare, Enfagrow, EnfaSchool, Enfakid, Sustagen KID, Lactum, Alacta, ChocoMilk, Cal-C-Tose, Expecta LIPIL, and EnfaMama names. It sells its products to retail channels, including mass merchandisers, club stores, grocery stores, drug stores, and convenience stores. The company was founded in 1905 and is headquartered in Glenview, Illinois. Mead Johnson Nutrition Company (NYSE: MJN), formerly a subsidiary of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., completed its initial public offering in February 2009.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Sue Chang and Saumya Vaishampayan]

    MJN: Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. (MJN)  shares declined 1.3%. The company is investigating possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act at its Chinese unit, according to reports.

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Mead Johnson Nutrition Company (NYSE: MJN) is estimated to report its Q3 earnings at $0.80 per share on revenue of $998.82 million.

    KBR (NYSE: KBR) is expected to post its Q3 earnings at $0.70 per share on revenue of $1.99 billion.

  • [By Lee Jackson]

    Consumer Staples: Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. (NYSE: MJN) has seen solid insider buying over the past six months. Two directors of the company bought more than $1 million worth of stock this year. Credit Suisse has a $90 price target, and the consensus target is $83.50. Shareholders are paid a 1.8% dividend. A move to the Credit Suisse Target represents a 20% gain. The stock closed Tuesday at $74.20.

  • [By Jim Jubak]

    Six milk powder producers, charged by China’s National Development and Reform Commission with price fixing, have pled guilty and will be fined 669 million yuan ($109 million.) The companies—Mead Johnson Nutrition (MJN), Danone (DANOY) subsidiary Dumex, Abbott Laboratories (ABT), Fonterra Cooperative Group (FSF:AU), FrieslandCampina, and Biostime International Holdings—admitted they set minimum prices for distributors in order to keep prices high. Many of the companies had earlier cut the prices they charge in China—Fonterra had cut the price of its Anmun brand of baby formula 9%, Abbott Laboratories had reduced prices by as much as 12%, and Mead Johnson had lowered prices by 7% to 15%. This is, CaixinOnline reports, the harshest penalty handed out under China’s five-year-old anti-monopoly law. The announcement of the fine, hard on the heels of a ban by China on all imports of whey protein products from Fonterra—after regulators found a batch of whey from a Fonterra plant in New Zealand contaminated with botulism—makes it clear that something big is going on here.

Top Companies To Watch For 2014: Petrodorado Energy Ltd (PDQ)

Petrodorado Energy Ltd. (Petrodorado), formerly Cap-Link Ventures Ltd., is engaged in petroleum and natural gas exploration and development activities in Colombia, Peru and Paraguay. The Company’s oil and gas interests are in the pre-production stage other than for two blocks in Colombia. As of December 31, 2010, Petrodorado’s oil and gas assets produced net 15,922 barrels of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs). As of December 31, 2010, it had participation in nine oil and gas blocks. In Columbia, the Company had Moriche Block, CPO-5 Block, Buganviles Block, La Maye Block, Talora Block and Tacacho Block. In Peru, its block included Block 135 and Block 138. In Paraguay, Petrodorado had Pirity Block. On October 27, 2010, it acquired all outstanding interest of PetroSouth Energy Corporation. In February 2010, Petrodorado, completed its acquisition of a 55% interest of the Talora Block. In February 2010, it closed the purchase of Holywell Resources S.A. (Holywell) . Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ning Jia]

    The average size of its stores is 7,300 square feet with the size of its stores ranging from approximately 6,000 to 8,000 square feet. Its stores carry a product offering of approximately 19,000 stock keeping units (SKUs), generally consisting of a custom mix of product based on the stores’ respective market. Its stores also have access to an additional assortment of 115,000 SKUs for same-day or next-day delivery from one of its 339 HUB stores or its network of 22 Parts Delivered Quickly (PDQ), facilities. Additionally, its customers have access to over 483,000 SKUs by ordering directly from one of its vendors for delivery to a particular store or other destination as chosen by the customer.

Top Companies To Watch For 2014: First Cash Financial Services Inc (FCFS)

First Cash Financial Services, Inc., incorporated on April 24, 1994, is an operator of retail-based pawn and consumer finance stores in the United States and Mexico. As of February 18, 2013 , the Company had approximately 829 locations twelve states in United States and 24 states in Mexico. The Company’s primary business is the operation of pawn stores, which engage in retail sales, purchasing of secondhand goods and consumer finance activities. The pawn stores generate retail sales from the merchandise acquired through collateral forfeitures and over-the-counter purchases from customers. Pawn stores are also a convenient source for small consumer loans to help customers meet their short-term cash needs. Personal property, such as jewelry, consumer electronics, tools, sporting goods and musical instruments are pledged as collateral for the loans. In addition, some of the Company’s pawn stores offer consumer loans or credit services products.

In March 2012, the Company acquired three Dallas-area pawn stores. In June 2012, the Company acquired 24 pawn stores located in the states of Colorado (13), Kentucky (seven), Wyoming (three) and Nebraska (one). In June 2013, First Cash Financial Services Inc announced the acquisition of 19 format U.S. pawn stores located in Texas.

Pawn Merchandise Sales

The Company’s pawn merchandise sales are primarily retail sales to the general public from its pawn stores. The items retailed are primarily used consumer electronics, jewelry, household appliances, tools, musical instruments, and sporting goods. The Company also melts down certain quantities of scrap jewelry and sells the gold, silver and diamonds in commodity markets.

The Company acquires pawn merchandise inventory primarily through forfeited pawn collateral and, to a lesser extent, through purchases of used goods directly from the general public. Merchandise acquired by the Company through forfeited p awn collateral is carried in inventory at the amount of the ! related pawn loan, exclusive of any accrued service fees. The Company does not provide financing to customers for the purchase of its merchandise, but does permit its customers to purchase merchandise on an interest-free layaway plan. Should the customer fail to make a required payment, the item is returned to inventory and previous payments are forfeited to the Company. Interim payments from customers on layaway sales are credited to deferred revenue and subsequently recorded as income in which final payment is received or when previous payments are forfeited to the Company.

Pawn Lending Activities

The Company’s pawn stores make small loans to their customers in order to help them meet short-term cash needs. All pawn loans are collateralized by personal property such as jewelry, electronic equipment, household appliances, tools, sporting goods and musical instruments. Pawn loans are non-recourse loans and the pledged goods provide the only security to the Company for the repayment of the loan. At the time a pawn transaction is entered into, an agreement, commonly referred to as a pawn ticket, is delivered to the borrower for signature that sets forth, among other items, the name and address of the pawnshop, borrower’s name, borrower’s identification number from his/her driver’s license or other identification, date, identification and description of the pledged goods, including applicable serial numbers, amount financed, pawn service fee, maturity date, total amount that must be paid to redeem the pledged goods on the maturity date, and the annual percentage rate. Pledged property is held through the term of the loan, unless the pawn is paid earlier or renewed. The typical loan term is generally one month plus an additional grace period (typically 30 to 90 days). The Company contracts for pawn loan fees and service charges as compensation for the use of the funds loaned and to cover direct operating expenses related t o the transaction and holding the pledged property. These pa! wn loan f! ees and service charges accounted for approximately 26% of the Company’s revenue from continuing operations during the year ended December 31, 2012 .

Credit Services and Consumer Loan Activities

The Company has significantly reduced its U.S.-based consumer loan activities, primarily from payday lending, over the past several years. In September 2012, the Company closed seven of its consumer loan stores located in the Texas cities of Austin and Dallas. The Company offers a fee-based credit services organization program (CSO Program) to assist consumers, in Texas markets, in obtaining extensions of credit. The Company’s consumer loan and pawn stores in Texas offer the CSO Program, and, in Texas, credit services are also offered via an Internet platform. Under the CSO Program, the Company assists customers in applying for a short-term extension of credit from an independent, non-bank, consumer lending company (the Independent Lender) and issues the Ind ependent Lender a letter of credit to guarantee the repayment of the extension of credit.

The Company subsequently collects a percentage of these bad debts by redepositing the customers’ checks, ACH collections or subsequent cash repayments by the customers. The profitability of the Company’s credit services operations is dependent upon adequate collection of these returned items. The Company also offers an automobile title lending product under the CSO Program. These credit services fees accounted for approximately 8% of the Company’s revenue from continuing operations during 2012 . In Mexico, the Company also offers an installment loan product with a term of 365 days and bears weekly service fees of 7% on the loan amount. These consumer loan fees accounted for less than 1% of the Company’s revenue from continuing operations during 2012 .

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Victor Selva]

    We can appreciate that Capital One´s ROE is lower than that of American Express, Discover Financial Services, First Cash Financial Services (FCFS) and Nelnet Inc. (NNI).

  • [By Eric Volkman]

    First Cash Financial Services (NASDAQ: FCFS  ) is becoming a pawn star. The company announced it has acquired a set of 19 large-format pawn shops in Texas, most of which operate under the Valu + Pawn brand name. The price was around $70 million in cash, funded for the most part under the company’s revolving credit facility.

  • [By Brian Pacampara]

    What: Shares of First Cash Financial Services (NASDAQ: FCFS  ) plunged as low as 14% today after the consumer finance company cut its short-term guidance outlook.