Top Electric Utility Stocks To Buy For 2014

For Jack Ablin, Chief Investment Officer at BMO Private Bank, the minimum wage should be raised, and here are his reasons why.

TERRY:  I’m Terry Savage from MoneyShow.com.  We’re talking with Jack Ablin, chief investment officer of BMO, that’s Bank of Montreal private bank, 60-plus billion dollars in assets.  We were talking off camera about raising the minimum wage.  The president said that will happen for federal works, he can do that.  There’s a lot of move afoot to raise the minimum wage.  Good idea or bad? 

JACK:  I think it’s a good idea.  I would call it a fix, not a solution, but one that I think could actually start our economy moving higher.  Consider that for example the biggest beneficiaries of the minimum wage aren’t necessarily minimum wage workers, it’s the companies that they work for, so you take for example a large company that pays minimum wage.  They work full time, they don’t earn a living wage, and so now we as tax payers have to subsidize their income to bring them up to a living wage standard.  What I would rather see is have the companies pay the minimum wage and let the market decide whether we want to do business, whether we want to subsidize those companies or not. 

Top Electric Utility Stocks To Buy For 2014: China BAK Battery Inc.(CBAK)

China BAK Battery, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture, commercialization, and distribution of various standard and customized lithium ion rechargeable batteries. The company offers various products, including aluminum-case prismatic, cylindrical, lithium polymer, and high-power lithium battery cells. Its battery cells are the principal component of rechargeable batteries used to power cellular phones and smart phones; notebook computers, tablet computers, and e-book readers; portable consumer electronics, such as digital cameras, portable media players, portable gaming devices, personal digital assistants, camcorders, and Bluetooth headsets; and electric bicycles, light electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, cordless power tools, and uninterruptible power supplies. The company serves battery pack manufacturers, original equipment manufactures, and replacement battery manufacturers primarily in the People?s Republic of China, Taiwan, Hon g Kong, India, the United States, the Middle East, Italy, Germany, and Turkey. China BAK Battery, Inc. was founded in 2001 and is based in Shenzhen, China.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Bryan Murphy]

    It’s fun to be right, but there’s such a thing as being a little too right, too fast. Such is the case with China BAK Battery Inc. (NASDAQ:CBAK) … a stock yours truly was touting as a buy-worthy ticker just two days ago following news from Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) that it was getting into the battery-pack business so it could become its own supplier for its electric vehicle business (Tesla automobiles need a huge battery pack to run). If there was enough demand for a carmaker to get into the game, then surely it meant there was enough potential business for an established battery market to bear plenty of fruit for CBAK too.

  • [By António Costa]

    China BAK Battery Inc. (NASDAQ: CBAK) still looks pretty good on the technical daily chart with volume expanding as it moves higher, MACD crossover too. CBAK continues to look bullish and had a decent day Friday. ( click to enlarge )

Top Electric Utility Stocks To Buy For 2014: PPL Corporation(PPL)

PPL Corporation, an energy and utility holding company, generates and sells electricity; and delivers natural gas to approximately 5.3 million utility customers primarily in the northeastern and northwestern U.S. The company operates in four segments: Kentucky Regulated, International Regulated, Pennsylvania Regulated, and Supply. The Kentucky Regulated segment engages in the generation, transmission, distribution, and sale of electricity; and the distribution and sale of natural gas to approximately 1.3 million customers in Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee. The International Regulated segment owns and operates electricity distribution businesses in the United Kingdom that deliver electricity to 7.7 million customers. The Pennsylvania Regulated segment delivers electricity to approximately 1.4 million customers in eastern and central Pennsylvania. The Supply segment owns and operates power plants to generate electricity using coal, uranium, natural gas, oil, and water res ources; markets and trades electricity and other purchased power to wholesale and retail markets; and acquires and develops domestic generation projects. It controls or owns a portfolio of generation assets of approximately 11,000 megawatts in Montana and Pennsylvania. As of December 31, 2010, the company?s distribution system included 649 substations with a capacity of 25 million kVA, 28,838 circuit miles of overhead lines, and 24,131 cable miles of underground conductors in the United Kingdom. It also operated 377 substations with a capacity of 31 million kVA, 33,122 circuit miles of overhead lines, and 7,368 cable miles of underground conductors in Pennsylvania. The company was founded in 1920 and is headquartered in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Energy and utility holding company PPL (PPL) raised its quarterly dividend 1% to 37.25 cents per share, payable on Apr. 1 to shareholders of record as of Mar. 10.
    PPL Dividend Yield: 4.86%

  • [By Richard Stavros]

    Among those companies that are winding down their spending programs, NextEra Energy Inc (NYSE: NEE) accounts for almost 30 percent of the projected $10 billion decline in annual spending from 2013 to 2015. Other larger-cap companies with projected 2015 budgets that are below their 2013 levels include: CenterPoint Energy Inc (NYSE: CNP), Dominion Resources Inc (NYSE: D), PPL Corp (NYSE: PPL), Public Service Enterprise Group Inc (NYSE: PEG), and Southern Company (NYSE: SO).

  • [By Justin Loiseau]

    Bucks from the Brits
    PPL (NYSE: PPL  ) managed to wow investors in 2011 when the company beat analyst estimates for four straight quarters. When it did it again in 2012, it was really only a matter of time until its shares hit a new 52-week high, now up 17.7 % in the last year. With 85% of 2013 earnings per share (EPS) originating from regulated business, the utility has taken a tried-and-true page out of Ameren’s book. PPL boasts a friendly and diverse regulatory environment across three states and the United Kingdom, and its 4.7% yield is above average for utilities dividend stocks.

  • [By Justin Loiseau]

    PPL (NYSE: PPL  ) celebrated Earth Day with the opening of a unique “clean coal” facility that recovers around 300,000 tons of gypsum mineral annually to be used in fertilizers. “Innovative projects like this show how coal has and will continue to be a major contributor to the economic vitality of Kentucky and of the U.S., not just in the energy sector, but in science and innovation and now agriculture,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at the plant’s grand opening. In the next five years, PPL expects to invest around $6 billion in its system.

Top Electric Utility Stocks To Buy For 2014: Lexington Realty Trust (LXP)

Lexington Corporate Properties Trust operates as a self-managed and self-administered real estate investment trust (REIT). The company acquires, owns, and manages a portfolio of office, industrial, and retail properties net-leased to corporate tenants in the United States. It also provides investment advisory and asset management services to institutional investors in the net lease area. As of June 30, 2005, the company operated 185 properties and managed 2 properties. Lexington Corporate Properties Trust has elected to qualify as a REIT for federal income tax purposes. As a REIT, it would not be taxed on the portion of its income, which is distributed to shareholders, provided it distributes at least 90% of its taxable income. The company was founded in 1991 and is based in New York City.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Brad Thomas]

    Compared with the public REIT peers, I believe that Chambers Street will compare favorably to W.P. Carey (WPC) and Lexington Realty Trust (LXP). Both of these REITs own larger box assets and they both have conservative and well-positioned balance sheets. Here is a snapshot of Chambers Street’s capitalization:

  • [By Eric Volkman]

    Lexington Realty Trust (NYSE: LXP  ) is acting like a relaxed landlord that doesn’t want or need to modify the rent. The company is maintaining its dividend policy by declaring a $0.15-per-share distribution for its current quarter, to be paid on or about July 15 to shareholders of record as of June 28. That amount matches the firm’s previous three distributions, the most recent of which was paid in April. Prior to that, the real estate investment trust dispensed $0.125 per share.

Top Electric Utility Stocks To Buy For 2014: Thales SA (HO)

Thales SA is a France-based provider of integrated solutions and equipment of security systems primarily to the aerospace and defense markets. The Company operates in numerous countries through its divisions, including Aerospace, specialized in onboard equipment, electronics and systems for the civil and military markets; Space, offering solutions combining space and terrestrial technologies; Defence, which designs and delivers systems for all four environments: air, land, sea and space; Security, which offer the emergence of new types of threats from terrorism and organized crime to drug trafficking, mass immigration and cyber attacks; and Transportation, which offers a range of railways signaling solutions and integrated transportation systems, to ensure safe and secure transportation of operators, freight and passengers. In November 2013, it acquired XPI Simulation Ltd. In February 2014, it created a new business line called Critical Information Systems and Cybersecurity. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By USATODAY 8 a.m. EST February 15]

    Alex Pettyfer about to take the wheel of the Maserati Gran Turismo for a joyride with co-star Dayo Okeniyi.(Photo: HO)

    Pettyfer and Okeniyi’s character end up joyriding in the car along with Gabriella Wilde, who plays the rich girl falling in love with Pettyfer.

Top Electric Utility Stocks To Buy For 2014: Synopsys Inc (SNPS)

Synopsys, Inc., incorporated in 1986, is engaged in providing technology solutions used to develop electronics and electronic systems. It supplies the electronic design automation (EDA) software that engineers use to design, create prototypes for and test integrated circuits, also known as chips. It also supplies software and hardware used to develop the systems that incorporate integrated circuits and the software that runs on those integrated circuits. Its intellectual property (IP) products are pre-designed circuits that engineers use as components of larger chip designs rather than redesigning those circuits themselves. It also provides technical services to support its solutions and it help its customers develop chips and electronic systems. Its products and services are organized into four groups: Core EDA (which includes the Galaxy Design Platform, the Discovery Verification Platform and its Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) design products); IP and System-Level Solutions; Manufacturing Solutions and Professional Services. In July 2012, it acquired Ciranova. In October 2012, it acquired EVE. On November 30, 2012, the Company acquired SpringSoft. In February 2014, Synopsys Inc completed the acquisition of Target Compiler Technologies.

On September 2, 2010, the Company acquired Virage Logic Corporation. In October 2010, the Company acquired Optical Research Associates. In September 2011, the Company acquired nSys Design Systems Private Limited (nSys). In October 2011, the Company acquired Extreme DA. In January 2012, the Company acquired ExpertIO, Inc. In February 2012, the Company acquired Magma Design Automation Inc.

Core EDA products

The Company offers a number of Core EDA products to address the process. Its Core EDA products fall into the suites, which included the Galaxy Design Platform, which includes tools to design an integrated circuit; the Discovery Verification Platform, which includes tools to verify that an integrated circuit behaves! as intended, and the FPGA design products. Its Galaxy Design Platform provides its customers with a single, integrated chip design solution, which includes individual products and incorporates common libraries and consistent timing, delay calculation and constraints throughout the design process. The platform allows designers the flexibility to integrate internally-developed and third-party tools. With this advanced functionality, common foundation and flexibility, its Galaxy Design Platform reduces design times; decrease integration costs and minimize the risks inherent in advanced, integrated circuit designs. Its products span both digital and analog/mixed-signal designs.

The products included in the Galaxy Design Platform are the IC Compiler physical design solution, Design Compiler logic synthesis product, Galaxy Custom Designer physical design solution for analog/mixed-signal designs, PrimeTime/PrimeTime SI timing analysis products, StarRC product for ext raction, and the Hercules and IC Validator physical verification product family. The Lynx Design System is a production-ready chip implementation environment that combines a Galaxy-based design flow, graphical user interface (GUI)-based runtime automation, design metrics capture and reporting, and utilities that automate the configuration of pre-validated foundry data. The Lynx Design System helps customers improve their productivity and optimally deploy Synopsys tools and methodologies.

The Company’s Discovery Verification Platform is an integrated portfolio of functional, analog/mixed-signal, formal and low-power verification products. The platform includes its simulation and verification products and design-for-verification methodologies, and provides a consistent control environment to help improve the speed, breadth and accuracy of its customers’ verification efforts. The Discovery Verification Platform’s components support industry standards and spa n both digital and analog/mixed-signal designs. The principa! l product! s included in the Discovery Verification Platform are the VCS comprehensive RTL verification solution, Formality formal verification sign-off solution, NanoSim FastSPICE circuit simulation and analysis product, high-speed interface module (HSIM) hierarchical FastSPICE circuit simulation and analysis product, HSPICE circuit simulator, and CustomSim circuit simulation solution. FPGAs are chips that can be customized or programmed to perform a specific function after they are manufactured.

Intellectual Property (IP) and System-Level Solutions

Synopsys is a provider of high-quality, silicon-proven IP solutions for system-on-chip (SoC) designs. The broad DesignWare IP portfolio includes high quality solutions for widely used interfaces such as universal serial bus (USB), PCI Express, double data rate (DDR), Ethernet, serial advanced technology attachment (SATA) and high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI). In addition, Synopsys offers analog IP for h igh-definition video, analog-to-digital data conversion and audio. With its recent acquisition of Virage Logic Corporation, we added embedded memories, including static random access memory (SRAMs) and non-volatile memory, logic libraries, embedded test and repair IP and configurable processor cores, to its IP portfolio.

Synopsys has a portfolio of tools, models and services for the system-level design of SoCs. Primary system-level products include Platform Architect for architectural optimization, SPW and System Studio for algorithm design, Processor Designer for custom processor design, and Synphony Model and C Compiler for High Level Synthesis. In addition to these tools for the system-level design of SoCs, its portfolio includes prototyping tools for hardware verification, software development and hardware-software integration. With FPGA-based prototyping systems (HAPS), designers can speed embedded software development by three to six months with near real runtime speeds and real world interfaces, such as its pre-t! ested Des! ignWare IP components. The HAPS hardware systems are a modular, scalable and accurate way to model a chip. Its virtual prototyping solutions enable software engineers to start SoC and application software up to twelve months before traditional methods.

Manufacturing Solutions

The Company’s Manufacturing Solutions products and technologies address this problem by introducing manufacturability and yield considerations early in the design process, thereby improving yields. Some of its Manufacturing Solutions address mask-making and yield enhancement of very small-geometry integrated circuits, as well as high-level modeling of physical effects within the integrated circuit. Its Manufacturing Solutions include the Technology-CAD (TCAD) device modeling products, Proteus OPC optical proximity correction (OPC) products, CATS mask data preparation product and yield management solutions, including odyssey and recipe manager and editor (RME), and yield exp lorer.

Professional Services and Training

Synopsys provides consulting and design services that address all phases of the SoC development process. These services assist Synopsys customers with new tool and methodology adoption, chip architecture and specification development, functional and low power design and verification, and physical implementation and signoff. It also provides a range of expert training and workshops on its latest tools and methodologies.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Anna Prior]

    Synopsys Inc.’s(SNPS) fiscal fourth-quarter profit nearly doubled on a top-line increase driven by growth in the company’s time-based license revenue. However, the company’s guidance for the current quarter came in below Wall Street expectations.

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Calling all cash flows
    When you are trying to buy the market’s best stocks, it’s worth checking up on your companies’ free cash flow once a quarter or so, to see whether it bears any relationship to the net income in the headlines. That’s what we do with this series. Today, we’re checking in on Synopsys (Nasdaq: SNPS  ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.

Top Electric Utility Stocks To Buy For 2014: Progress Energy Inc.(PGN)

Progress Energy, Inc., a utility holding company, engages in the generation, transmission, distribution, and sale of electricity in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. It uses coal, oil, hydroelectric, natural gas, and nuclear power to generate electricity. The company also engages in various alternative energy projects to generate electricity from swine waste and other plant or animal sources, biomass, solar, hydrogen, and landfill-gas technologies. Progress Energy serves various industries, including chemicals, textiles, paper, food, metals, wood products, rubber and plastics, and stone products, as well as phosphate rock mining and processing, electronics design and manufacturing, and citrus and other food processing. It has approximately 22,000 megawatts of regulated electric generation capacity and serves approximately 3.1 million retail electric customers, as well as other load-serving entities. The company was formerly known as CP&L Energy, Inc. Progress En ergy, Inc. was founded in 1925 and is headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Holly LaFon] ess Energy shares climbed over 2011 as the company announced in January it would merge with Duke Energy. Together, they will form the nation’s largest utility with a combined enterprise value of $65 billion and $37 billion in market cap. The new company will have 57 gigawatts of domestic generating capacity through a mix of coal, nuclear, natural gas, oil and renewable resources. Progress energy shareholders will receive an approximately 3 percent dividend increase.

    Incidentally, development of a comprehensive energy policy was one of what Grantham called “the most important and most dangerous issues” facing the world.

    Progress is at the forefront of the push for nuclear energy in the U.S., which has been deemed the “nuclear renaissance.” Thirty-five percent of the electricity used by Progress Energy customers comes from one of their four nuclear sites, two in North Carolina, and one each in South Carolina and Florida. It plans to build another reactor in Levy County, Florida.

    Revenue at Progress Energy has declined at a 2.6% annual rate over the past five years, and it achieved cash flow of $95 million in 2010, after three years of losses. Earnings have remained positive, reaching a record for the decade of $856 million in 2010.

    RSC Holdings (RRR)

    RSC is a machinery rental service for construction, industrial, petrochemical, governmental and manufacturing businesses in the U.S. and Canada. RSC tends to benefit in economic downturns, as more businesses turn to renting rather than buying equipment to cut costs. Rented equipment rose 20.7% percent (the sixth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth) and rental revenue increased 27% in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared to last year.

    United Rentals (URI), one of RSC’s largest competitors, had a rental revenue increase of 18.5% in the fourth quarter compared to last year, which included a 6.7% increase in rental rates.

    The company’s fl eet utilization also