Top Gas Utility Stocks For 2014

LONDON — I’m always searching for shares that can help ordinary investors like you make money from the stock market.

Right now I am trawling through the FTSE 100 and giving my verdict on every member of the blue-chip index.

I hope to pinpoint the very best buying opportunities in today’s uncertain market, as well as highlight those shares I feel you should hold… and those I feel you should sell!

I’m assessing every share on five different measures. Here’s what I’m looking for in each company:

1. Financial strength: Low levels of debt and other liabilities;

2. Profitability: Consistent earnings and high profit margins;

3. Management: Competent executives creating shareholder value;

4. Long-term prospects: A solid competitive position and respectable growth prospects.

5. Valuation: An underrated share price.

A look at ARM
Today I’m evaluating ARM Holdings  (LSE: ARM  ) (NASDAQ: ARMH  ) , the world’s leading semiconductor intellectual property supplier, which currently trades at 1,066 pence. Here are my thoughts:

Top Gas Utility Stocks For 2014: HomeTrust Bancshares Inc (HTBI)

HomeTrust Bancshares, Inc. is a bank holding company. The Company operates through HomeTrust Bank (the Bank). The Bank is a federally chartered mutual savings bank with 20 retail offices located in North Carolina. The business of the Bank is conducted through its seven operating divisions: HomeTrust Bank, Cherryville Federal Bank, Home Savings Bank of Eden, Industrial Federal Bank of Lexington, Shelby Savings Bank, Tryon Federal Bank and Rutherford County Bank. Its wholly owned subsidiary, Western North Carolina Service Corporation (WNCSC), owns office buildings in Asheville and Hendersonville, North Carolina that are leased to the Bank and several other tenants. Effective July 31, 2013, it announced the completion of its acquisition of BankGreenville Financial Corporation, the holding company for BankGreenville.

Lending activities

The Bank’s loan portfolio is organized into two segments (retail consumer loans and commercial loans) and into four classes within each segment. Its loan portfolio also includes one to four family loans, commercial real estate loans, home equity lines of credit, commercial loans and consumer loans. The Bank underwrites its retail consumer loans using automated credit scoring and analysis tools. These credit scoring tools take into account factors, such as payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, types of credit in use and recent credit inquiries. One to four family and construction and land/lot loans are to individuals and are typically secured by one-to-four family residential property, undeveloped land, and partially developed land in anticipation of pending construction of a personal residence. Consumer loans include loans secured by deposit accounts or personal property, such as automobiles, boats, and motorcycles, as well as unsecured consumer debt.

The Bank’s commercial loans are centrally underwritten based primarily on the customer’s ability to generate the required cash flow to service the debt in a! ccordance with the contractual terms and conditions of the loan agreement. Real estate owned consists of real estate acquired as a result of customers’ loan defaults.

Investment activities

The Company’s investment securities consist of United States Government Agencies, Residential Mortgage-backed Securities of United States Government and Agencies. It also includes Government-Sponsored Enterprises. Securities available for sale were $26.7 million, as of March 31, 2012.

Sources of funds

The Company offers a variety of deposit accounts for individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations. Deposits are its primary source of funds for lending and investing activities.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Tim Melvin]

    Home Trust Bancshares (HTBI) is another example of a cheap, well-financed community bank that has the potential for strong performance over the next couple of years. While the bank’s nonperforming assets are a little above average at 3.87% of total assets, HTBI has plenty of excess capital. The equity-to-assets ratio is more than 20 as of the end of the third quarter, and HTBI has been using its capital to buy back HTBI shares below book value.

Top Gas Utility Stocks For 2014: Swift Transportation Company(SWFT)

Swift Transportation Company, through its subsidiary, Swift Transportation Co., LLC, operates as a multi-faceted transportation services company and truckload carrier in North America. The company offers its truckload services through dry van, temperature-controlled, flatbed, and specialized trailers; and rail intermodal services. It also provides freight brokerage and logistics management services to other trucking companies, as well as leases tractors and offers repair services. As of December 31, 2011, the company operated a tractor fleet of approximately 15,900 units, including 11,900 tractors driven by company drivers and 4,000 owner-operator tractors; 50,600 trailers; and 6,200 intermodal containers in the United States and Mexico. It serves various industries, such as retail, discount retail, consumer products, food and beverage, manufacturing, and transportation and logistics industries. The company, formerly known Swift Holdings Corp., and was founded in 1966 and is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Shares of Heartland Express have gained 50% this year, trumping the 38% rise in Con-Way (CNW) and the 29% advance in J.B. Hunt Transport Services (JBHT) but lagging Old Dominion Freight Lines (ODFL) and Swift Transportation (SWFT).

  • [By Jake L’Ecuyer]

    Swift Transportation (NYSE: SWFT) was also down, falling 6.83 percent to $21.95 after the company released some poor guidance after the close on Thursday.

Top Gas Utility Stocks For 2014: CSG Systems International Inc.(CSGS)

CSG Systems International, Inc. provides business support solutions primarily to the communications industry. Its suite of solutions comprises Advanced Convergent Platform, a billing and customer care, and business optimization platform; Singleview suite, an integrated customer care, billing, and real-time rating and charging solution; Total Service Mediation (TSM) framework supports offline, and real-time mediation requirements, as well as service activation; and Wholesale Business Management (WBM) solution, a wholesale settlement and routing solution that handles various types of traffic consisting of voice, data, and content. The company?s solutions also include customer interaction management solutions that deliver interactive voice, SMS/text, print, email, Web, and fax messages on behalf of clients; analytics and intelligence services suite delivers an approach for enhancing the customer experience, increasing sales opportunities, and optimizing business; and Content Direct solutions, which enable content providers to manage subscriber preferences and offer digital content. It also licenses software products, such as WBM solution, TSM, and Singleview products; and offers professional services to implement these software products. The company also provides its services to financial services, healthcare, utilities, entertainment, and content distribution industries. It operates in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia Pacific. The company was founded in 1994 and is headquartered in Englewood, Colorado.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [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 CSG Systems International (Nasdaq: CSGS  ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Telecom industry services provider CSG Systems (NASDAQ: CSGS  ) announced today that it would initiate the payment of a quarterly dividend to investors, marking the first time in company history it has done so.

Top Gas Utility Stocks For 2014: Ferchem Egypt Fertilizers and Chemicals (FERC)

Ferchem Egypt Fertilizers and Chemicals is an Egypt-based company engaged in the establishment and operation of a factory for mixing and packaging of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides and hormones, as well as other agricultural related activities. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jim Jubak]

    Cheniere also has received other good news on Corpus Christi. To get a permit for the unrestricted export of liquefied natural gas, a facility has to win approval from the US Department of Energy (DOE) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). DOE has accelerated its permit process, but FERC approval has become a major bottleneck, since the commission needs to coordinate studies from several other agencies before it can complete its review. Cheniere has recently received a scheduling notice from FERC, which looks to put that facility on track for a permit ruling by the end of 2014 or early 2015.

Top Gas Utility Stocks For 2014: Cooper Companies Inc (COO)

The Cooper Companies, Inc., incorporated on March 4, 1980, is a global medical device company. The Company operates through two business units, CooperVision, Inc. and CooperSurgical, Inc. CooperVision is a global manufacturer providing products for contact lens wearers. CooperSurgical focuses on supplying women’s health clinicians with products and treatment options to improve the delivery of healthcare to women.

CooperVision develops, manufactures and markets a range of monthly, two-week and single-use contact lenses, featuring advanced materials and optics. CooperVision’s products are designed to solve vision challenges such as astigmatism, presbyopia and ocular dryness with a collection of spherical, toric and multifocal contact lenses. CooperVision’s products are primarily manufactured at its facilities located in Hampshire, United Kingdom, Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico, and Scottsville, New York. CooperVision distributes products from West Henrietta, New York, Fareham, United Kingdom, Liege, Belgium, and various smaller international distribution facilities. Under the Biofinity brand, CooperVision has launched monthly silicone hydrogel spherical, toric and multifocal lens products. CooperVision has also launched two-week silicone hydrogel spherical and toric lens products under its Avaira brand. During the fiscal year ended October 31, 2013 (fiscal 2013), the Company launched MyDay, its single-use spherical silicone hydrogel lens, in Europe. CooperVision’s Proclear line of spherical, toric and multifocal lenses are manufactured with omafilcon, a material that incorporates Phosphorylcholine (PC) Technology that helps enhance tissue-device compatibility.

CooperSurgical offers an array of products used in the care and treatment of women’s health. The Company participates in the women’s healthcare market through offering quality products, technologies and service to clinicians worldwide. CooperSurgical collaborates with c linicians to identify products and new technologies from dis! posable products to instruments and equipment. The result is a portfolio of products that aid in the delivery of improved clinical outcomes that healthcare professionals use routinely in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide spectrum of women’s health issues.

The Company competes with Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., CIBA Vision, Bausch & Lomb Incorporated, Boston Scientific, Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon Endo-Surgery and Ethicon Women’s Health and Urology companies, Gyrus ACMI and Covidien

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Victor Selva]

    The company has a very attractive current ratio of 33.03% which is higher than its comps: Becton Dickinson & Co (BDX), Cardinal Health Inc (CAH), Cooper Companies (COO) and Luxottica Group S.p.A. (LUX).

  • [By John Kell and Lauren Pollock var popups = dojo.query(“.socialByline .popC”); ]

    Cooper Cos.(COO) said its revenue jumped more than 6% in its fiscal first quarter, though its profit still fell as result of higher costs and expenses.

  • [By Johanna Bennett]

    Copper Cos (COO) shrank 6.5% to $125 after fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and the company’s full-year 2014 financial forecasts fell below expectations. For the period ended Oct. 31, Cooper earned $57.4 million, or $1.15 a share, down from $71.9 million, or $1.46 a share, in the prior-year period. Excluding impacts from a divestiture, adjusted earnings were $1.48, up from $1.47. Revenue gained 3.9% to $411.9 million. Excluding currency impacts, the growth was 7%.  For the new fiscal year, Cooper said it expects per-share earnings of $6.70 to $7 and revenue of $1.675 billion to $1.735 billion Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting $7 a share in profit and $1.71 billion in revenue.

  • [By Chuck Carnevale]

    The following example looking at Cooper Cos. Inc. (COO), and reveals a very cyclical company that provides insight into the PE equals 15 hypotheses that this series of articles has presented. Clearly, price follows earnings even when earnings are dropping, and interestingly, the market tends to apply our standard PE equals 15 even when this happens.

Top Gas Utility Stocks For 2014: Morgan Stanley(MS)

Morgan Stanley, a financial holding company, provides various financial products and services to corporations, governments, financial institutions, and individuals worldwide. It operates in three segments: Institutional Securities, Global Wealth Management Group, and Asset Management. The Institutional Securities segment offers financial advisory services on mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, corporate restructurings, recapitalizations, spin-offs, exchange offers, and leveraged buyouts and takeover defenses, as well as shareholder relations, capital raising, corporate lending, and investments. This segment also engages in sales, trading, financing, and market-making activities, including equity trading, commodities, and interest rates, credit, and currencies, as well as financing services, such as prime brokerage, consolidated clearance, settlement, custody, financing, and portfolio reporting services. The Global Wealth Management Group segment provide s brokerage and investment advisory services covering various investment alternatives comprising equities, options, futures, foreign currencies, precious metals, fixed income securities, mutual funds, structured products, alternative investments, unit investment trusts, managed futures, separately managed accounts, and mutual fund asset allocation programs; education savings programs, financial and wealth planning services, and annuity and insurance products; credit and other lending products; cash management services; retirement services; and trust and fiduciary services. The Asset Management segment offers products and services in equity, fixed income, and alternative investments, such as hedge funds, fund of funds, real estate, private equity, and infrastructure to institutional and retail clients through proprietary and third party distribution channels. This segment also involves in investment and merchant banking activities. The company was founded in 1935 and is head q uartered in New York.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Morgan Stanley (MS),  JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Bank of America (BAC) had their capital plans approved. Morgan Stanley has gained 0.6%, JPMorgan Chase has dropped 0.8% and Bank of America has dropped 0.8%.

  • [By Jim Jubak]

    Zions Bancorp isn’t the only bank in danger of getting a “No” from the Fed this week. Bank of America (BAC), Morgan Stanley (MS), Goldman Sachs (GS), and JP Morgan Chase (JPM) all came in with capital ratios below 7% in the Fed’s test. That puts them relatively close to the 5% limit and might lead the Fed to veto their plans for buybacks and dividend increases. Last year, the Fed gave an initial “No” to both Bank of America and Citigroup (C). (Citigroup is a member of my Jubak’s Picks portfolio.)