Top Growth Companies To Watch For 2015

The following video is from Friday’s Motley Fool Money roundtable discussion with host Chris Hill, and analysts Ron Gross, Jason Moser, and Charly Travers.

This week, five new cases of the bird flu were reported in China. Thirty-eight cases have been reported in China so far, and 10 people have died. China poultry and restaurant businesses have been particularly hard hit. What does the news mean for Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM  ) , parent company of KFC? How worried should Yum! Shareholders be? In this installment of Motley Fool Money, our analysts discuss whether investors should take stock in the embattled retailer.

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The relevant video segment can be found between 14:41 and 16:04

Top Growth Companies To Watch For 2015: Thoratec Corporation(THOR)

Thoratec Corporation engages in the development, manufacture, and marketing of proprietary medical devices used for circulatory support. The company?s primary product lines include ventricular assist devices, such as HeartMate II, an implantable left ventricular assist device consisting of a rotary blood pump to provide intermediate and long-term mechanical circulatory support (MCS); and HeartMate XVE, an implantable and pulsatile left ventricular assist device for intermediate and longer-term MCS. Its ventricular assist devices also comprise Paracorporeal Ventricular Assist Device, an external pulsatile ventricular assist device, which provides left, right, and biventricular MCS approved for bridge-to-transplantation (BTT), including home discharge, and post-cardiotomy myocardial recovery; and Implantable Ventricular Assist Device, an implantable and pulsatile ventricular assist device designed to provide left, right, and biventricular MCS approved for BTT comprising hom e discharge, and post-cardiotomy myocardial recovery. The company also provides CentriMag, an extracorporeal full-flow acute surgical support platform that offers support up to 30 days for cardiac and respiratory failure. In addition, it offers PediMag and PediVAS extracorporeal full-flow acute surgical support platforms designed to provide acute surgical support to pediatric patients. The company sells its products through direct sales force in the United States, as well as through a network of distributors internationally. Thoratec Corporation was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in Pleasanton, California.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Todd Campbell]

    Competing for heart pump market share
    Abiomed’s products provide circulatory support for up to six hours and are designed for use in cardiac cath labs or during heart surgery, but competitors Thoratec (NASDAQ: THOR  ) and Heartware (NASDAQ: HTWR  ) target the intermediate- and long-term-use market instead.

  • [By Brian Pacampara]

    What: Shares of medical device company Thoratec (NASDAQ: THOR  ) sank 12% today after its quarterly results missed Wall Street expectations.  

Top Growth Companies To Watch For 2015: Crocs Inc.(CROX)

Crocs, Inc. and its subsidiaries engage in the design, development, manufacture, marketing, and distribution of footwear, apparel, and accessories for men, women, and children. The company primarily offers casual and athletic shoes, and shoe charms. It also designs and sells a range of footwear and accessories that utilize its proprietary closed cell-resin, called Croslite. The company?s footwear products include boots, sandals, sneakers, mules, and flats. In addition, it provides footwear products for the hospital, restaurant, hotel, and hospitality markets, as well as general foot care and diabetic-needs markets. Further, the company offers leather and ethylene vinyl acetate based footwear, sandals, and printed apparels principally for the beach, adventure, and action sports markets; and accessories comprising snap-on charms. The company sells its products through the United States and international retailers and distributors, as well as directly to end-user consumers th rough its company-operated retail stores, outlets, kiosks, and Web stores primarily under the Crocs Work, Crocs Rx, Jibbitz, Ocean Minded, and YOU by Crocs brand names. As of December 31, 2010, it operated 164 retail kiosks located in malls and other high foot traffic areas; 138 retail stores; 76 outlet stores; and 46 Web stores. Crocs, Inc. operates in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. The company was formerly known as Western Brands, LLC and changed its name to Crocs, Inc. in January 2005. Crocs, Inc. was founded in 1999 and is headquartered in Niwot, Colorado.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Suravi Thacker]

    Skechers has also been able to outpace its peers such as Wolverine World Wide (WWW) and Crocs (CROX). Skechers has provided a return of 88.8%, in terms of stock price appreciation, in the last year. On the other hand, Wolverine World Wide’s stock price dropped by 1.1% and Crocs’ price declined 15.1%. This highlights Skechers’ attractiveness and its outperformance against its peers.

  • [By Pratik Thacker]

    Strong recovery from the past
    Although the shoe retailer’s performance has been remarkable, this isn’t the case when we look at its stock price. Over the last five years, Skechers did not perform as well as peer Crocs (NASDAQ: CROX  ) , as evidenced by returns. However, it did manage to outperform Nike (NYSE: NKE  ) during the same period.

  • [By Eric Volkman]

    Getty Images/Scott Olson The demise of Crocs (CROX), it seems, may have been greatly exaggerated. Remember the company’s signature product? Close to a decade ago, those colorful, clunky resin clogs were all the rage. The company that made them couldn’t sell the things fast enough, at one point reaching sales of 50 million pairs in 2007. Then fashion moved on, as it always does, and the economic slowdown started to bite into sales. Crocs plunged from a $168 million net profit in 2007 to a $185 million loss in 2008. In 2009, the company nearly ran out of cash and had a hard time making payroll. But Crocs’ fortunes have improved. In its most recent quarter, the firm posted a loss, but it was narrower than the market was expecting. And it’s found an investor that believes in its future — private equity giant Blackstone Group (BX), which recently provided a $200 million cash investment in return for a block of preferred shares eventually convertible into a stake of around 13 percent of the company. Perhaps the time has come to take those old clogs out of the closet, dust them off, and slip them on for a stroll. Stepping It Up Fashion is highly susceptible to consumer whim. The hot item is never hot for very long, and once consumers move on, it can be hard for the company to recover. In Crocs’ case, this was exacerbated by its limited product line — almost exclusively the clogs. The company learned from its mistakes. Since consumer tastes moved out of clog-land, Crocs has significantly broadened its product line to 300 styles. It now offers boots, flip-flops, deck shoes and slip-ons akin to the casuals from VF Corp.’s (VFC) Vans subsidiary. In terms of profitability, Crocs recovered quickly from its time in the fashion wilderness. From that 2008 bottom-line deficit of $185 million, the company sliced its loss to $42 million the following year, then stepped back into the black in 2010 (to the tune of $68 million). After two straight years of declines, revenue

Top Growth Companies To Watch For 2015: Intuitive Surgical Inc.(ISRG)

Intuitive Surgical, Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets da Vinci surgical systems for various surgical procedures, including urologic, gynecologic, cardiothoracic, general, and head and neck surgeries. Its da Vinci surgical system consists of a surgeon?s console or consoles, a patient-side cart, a 3-D vision system, and proprietary ?wristed? instruments. The company?s da Vinci surgical system translates the surgeon?s natural hand movements on instrument controls at the console into corresponding micro-movements of instruments positioned inside the patient through small puncture incisions, or ports. It also manufactures a range of EndoWrist instruments, which incorporate wrist joints for natural dexterity for various surgical procedures. Its EndoWrist instruments consist of forceps, scissors, electrocautery, scalpels, and other surgical tools. In addition, it sells various vision and accessory products for use in conjunction with the da Vinci Surgical System as surgical procedures are performed. The company?s accessory products include sterile drapes used to ensure a sterile field during surgery; vision products, such as replacement 3-D stereo endoscopes, camera heads, light guides, and other items. It markets its products through sales representatives in the United States, and through sales representatives and distributors in international markets. The company was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Shares of Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) have jumped this morning after the maker of surgical robots announced that it would buy back $1 billion dollars of its shares from Goldman Sachs (GS).

    ISI Group’s Vijay Kumar calls the buyback “huge for investors.” He explains why:

    This is a huge positive for shareholders, and reiterates our belief in the long term opportunity for robotic surgery. Recall that the company reiterated its commitment to grow OpEx by 12-15% on its 1Q call (April 22) while lowering procedure estimates by ~500bps at the mid-point, implying its belief in new product opportunity and willingness to spend. We had urged management…to back this belief by share repurchases and send a proactive message to the Street. We are encouraged to see this announcement, and would further note that our recent channel checks on the new Xi product has been very positive. Given this, we reiterate our Strong Buy rating of [Intuitive Surgical] shares.

    …[Intuitive Surgical] could repurchase ~2-2.8MM of shares, which implies earnings accretion by ~5-7% (and consequently expect shares to be up at least ~7%).

    Shares of Intuitive Surgical have gained 1.7% to $365.24 at 2:04 p.m., while Goldman Sachs has dropped 1% to $158.81.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Can you decide which is the bigger disaster? On the one hand, there’s the Other Woman, the new Cameron Diaz flick that’s most notable for a slow motion shot of her and a bikini-clad Kate Upton running. On the other, there’s the stock market which finished down this week after tumbles by Netflix (NFLX) and Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) outweighed big gains in Apple (AAPL), Micron Technology (MU) and Diamond Offshore (DO).

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    All good things must come to an end. And so it is with the S&P 500′s six-day winning streak, as AT&T (T), Intuitive Surgical (ISRG), International Game Technology (IGT), Amgen (AMGN) and Netflix (NFLX) helped lead the market lower.

Top Growth Companies To Watch For 2015: MEDIFAST INC(MED)

Medifast, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the production, distribution, and sale of weight management and disease management products, and other consumable health and diet products in the United States. The company?s product lines include weight and disease management, meal replacement, and vitamins. It also operates weight control centers that offer Medifast programs for weight loss and maintenance, customized patient counseling, and inbody composition analysis. The company markets its products under the Medifast and Essential brand names, including shakes, appetite suppression shakes, women?s health shakes, diabetics shakes, joint health shakes, coronary health shakes, calorie burn drinks, calorie burn flavor infusers, antioxidant shakes, antioxidant flavor infusers, bars, crunch bars, soups, chili, oatmeal, pudding, scrambled eggs, hot cocoa, cappuccino, chai latte, iced teas, fruit drinks, pretzels, puffs, brownie, pancakes, soy crisps, crackers, and omega 3 and digestive health products. Medifast Inc. sells its products through various channels of distribution comprising Web, call center, independent health advisors, medical professionals, weight loss clinics, and direct consumer marketing supported via the phone and the Web; Take Shape for Life, a physician led network of independent health coaches; and weight control centers. The company was founded in 1980 and is headquartered in Owings Mills, Maryland.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Shares of Weight Watchers have gained 23% to $24.36 at 11:27 a.m., while NutriSystem (NTRI) has gained 2.4% to $15.36 and Medifast (MED) has dropped 1.6% to $31.15.

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Medifast (NYSE: MED) is expected to post its Q4 earnings at $0.36 per share on revenue of $80.83 million.

    Full House Resorts (NASDAQ: FLL) is estimated to post a Q4 loss at $0.06 per share on revenue of $33.24 million.

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Analysts expect Medifast (NYSE: MED) to post its Q4 earnings at $0.36 per share on revenue of $80.83 million. Medifast shares surged 2.19% to close at $26.08 on Friday.

  • [By John Udovich]

    Last Friday, small cap dieting stock Weight Watchers International, Inc (NYSE: WTW) lost weight for investors when shares tumbled 27.73% to $22.10, meaning its probabaly a good idea to take a closer look at the stock along with other small cap weight loss or dieting stocks like NutriSystem Inc (NASDAQ: NTRI), Medifast Inc (NYSE: MED) and Reliv International, Inc (NASDAQ: RELV). Why did Weight Watchers International loose weight last Friday? The company reported its fourth straight quarterly sales decline as fewer people attended meetings and bought its products and also projected earnings that trailed analysts’ estimates with the blame being placed on new mobile applications and bracelets that track calories – thus hurting traditional diet companies.

Top Growth Companies To Watch For 2015: Checkpoint Systms Inc.(CKP)

Checkpoint Systems, Inc. manufactures and markets identification, tracking, security, and merchandising solutions for the retail and apparel industry worldwide. The company operates in three segments: Shrink Management Solutions, Apparel Labeling Solutions, and Retail Merchandising Solutions. The Shrink Management Solutions segment provides shrink management and merchandise visibility solutions. It offers electronic article surveillance systems, such as EVOLVE, a suite of RF and RFID-enabled products that act as a deterrent to prevent merchandise theft in retail stores; and electronic article surveillance consumables, including EAS-RF and EAS-EM labels that work in combination with EAS systems to reduce merchandise theft in retail stores. This segment also provides keepers, spider wraps, bottle security, and hard tags, as well as Showsafe, a line alarm system for protecting display merchandise. In addition, it offers physical and electronic store monitoring solutions, incl uding fire alarms, intrusion alarms, and digital video recording systems for retail environments; and RFID tags and labels. The Apparel Labeling Solutions segment provides apparel labeling solutions to apparel retailers, brand owners, and manufacturers. It has Web-enabled apparel labeling solutions platform and network of 28 service bureaus located in 22 countries that supplies customers with customized apparel tags and labels. The Retail Merchandising Solutions segment offers hand-held label applicators and tags, promotional displays, and queuing systems. The company serves retailers in the supermarket, drug store, hypermarket, and mass merchandiser markets through direct distribution and reseller channels. Checkpoint Systems was founded in 1969 and is based in Thorofare, New Jersey.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Checkpoint Systems (NYSE: CKP) surged 17.73% to $14.21. The volume of Checkpoint Systems shares traded was 525% higher than normal. Checkpoint announced its intent to extend the filing date of its annual report.

  • [By John Udovich]

    Small cap Checkpoint Systems, Inc (NYSE: CKP) fights shoplifting or retail theft and other forms of “shrink” that costs retailers over $112 billion worldwide last year (according to a study funded by the company), meaning it might be an interesting stock to take a closer look at and to compare its performance with that of SPDR S&P Retail ETF (NYSEARCA: XRT) and PowerShares Dynamic Retail ETF (NYSEARCA: PMR). Just how bad can shoplifting or shrink be for a retailer? Troubled retailer J.C. Penney Company, Inc (NYSE: JCP) has just reported that shoplifting took a full percentage point off the department store chain’s profit margins during the quarter. Moreover and given that tens of millions of Americans are now facing higher health insurance costs thanks to Obamacare (which will likely impact consumer discretionary spending), retailers will need to find ways to shore up their margins and bottom lines by preventing retail theft with solutions from company’s like C heckpoint Systems.

  • [By Rich Smith]

    Three months after settling upon a new chief executive officer, it looks like Thorofare, N. J.-based Checkpoint Systems (NYSE: CKP  ) will soon have itself a new CFO as well.