Freddie Mac released its weekly update on national mortgage rates this morning, and it looks like the sharp price run-up of recent weeks is finally taking a breather.
Thirty-year fixed rate mortgages (FRM) edged down five basis points this week, falling to 3.93%, while 15-year FRMs showed a steeper six-basis-point drop to 3.04%. Among variable-rate products, 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages held steady at 2.79%, while one-year ARMs slipped one basis point to 2.57%.
Commenting on today’s news, Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said market participants were cautious this week while awaiting the Federal Reserve’s updated monetary policy announcement. “The Fed stated that economic growth has been expanding at a moderate pace and that labor market conditions have shown further improvement, although the unemployment rate remains elevated,” Nothaft is quoted as saying. In conjunction with low inflation levels, Nothaft noted this all adds up to “the Fed will continue its bond-buying program at the current pace and maintain its highly accommodative monetary policy stance.”
Top Services Companies To Own In Right Now: priceline.com Incorporated(PCLN)
priceline.com Incorporated, together with its subsidiaries, operates as an online travel company. The company provides price-disclosed hotel reservation services on a worldwide basis primarily under the Booking.com, priceline.com, and Agoda brand names; and price-disclosed rental car reservation services in approximately 80 countries through TravelJigsaw brand name. It also offers its customers the ability to purchase other travel services, including retail airline tickets; rental car days; vacations packages consisting of airfare, hotel, and rental car components; cruise trips; and destination services, including parking, event tickets, ground transfers, and tours through its ?Name Your Own Price? demand-collection system in the United States. In addition, the company offers an optional travel insurance package that provides coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption, medical expenses, and emergency evacuation, as well as for loss of baggage, property, and travel d ocuments for air, hotel, and vacation package customers; and collision damage waiver insurance for rental car customers in the United States. The company?s other brands include Lowestfare.com, rentalcars.com, Breezenet.com, MyTravelGuide.com, Travelweb, hotelroom.com, and Car Hire 3000. priceline.com Incorporated was founded in 1997 and is headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut.
- [By Andrés Cardenal]
Three main growth drivers
Expedia is benefiting from three main growth drivers: Travel demand is growing strongly, and an increasingly bigger part of that demand is happening online and via mobile devices, so the size of the market opportunity is getting bigger for online travel players such as Expedia and its main competitor Priceline (NASDAQ: PCLN ) .
- [By amal.singh70]
Day-by-day deals site Groupon (GRPN) shot up after Priceline (PCLN) advertised that it is getting online reservation service supplier Opentable. Due to this, Groupon will need to face one less adversary in an industry where rivalry has been warming up recently.
- [By Jayson Derrick]
Priceline Group (NASDAQ: PCLN) plans to offer a private offering of notes worth $1 billion. The company said part of the proceeds will be used for stock repurchases. Shares lost 1.14 percent, closing at $1,270.12.
Top Services Companies To Own In Right Now: SunOpta Inc (STKL)
SunOpta Inc. ( SunOpta), incorporated on January 1, 2008, is a global company operating businesses focused on a healthy products portfolio that promotes sustainable well-being. With expertise in field to table integration, it specializes in the sourcing, processing and packaging of natural, organic and specialty food products. The Company operates in two business segments: SunOpta Foods and Opta Minerals.
Its core natural and organic food operations focus on value-added grains, fiber and fruit-based product offerings, supported by a global sourcing and supply infrastructure. Its assets, operations and employees are principally located in North America and Europe. It has two non-core holdings: a 66.1% ownership position in Opta Minerals Inc. and its subsidiaries (Opta Minerals), a producer, distributor and recycler of industrial materials; and an 18.7% ownership position in Mascoma Corporation (Mascoma), a biofuels company.
SunOpta Foods operates in the natural, organic and specialty foods product sectors and utilizes a number of integrated business models to bring cost-effective and products to market. It believes these markets will continue to grow as consumers focus on health and wellness. SunOpta Foods consists of four operating segments: Grains and Foods Group, Ingredients Group, Consumer Products Group and International Foods Group .It focuses on three key go-to-market segments: raw materials, value-added ingredients and consumer-packaged products.
The Grains and Foods Group specializes in marketing organic, identity preserved (IP), and non-GMO grains, ingredients, packaged goods and processing services with a core focus on soybean, sunflower and corn products. The Grains and Foods Group works to ensure that it provides its customers with organic, non-GMO and IP specialty grains and seeds by serving as a grower’s supplier of seed; purchaser of the grower’s specialty crops; and processor and packager of a wide range of grains-! based ingredients and consumer-packaged products. It offers a variety of IP, non-GMO and organic seeds and whole grains including soy, corn and sunflower for food applications offering varieties with superior food , raw material sourcing and processing of soy based ingredients in liquid, spray-dried and roasted formats. It offers Grain-based ingredients which utilize non-GMO and organic soy, corn, sunflower and rice; specialty organic functional ingredients, including maltodextrins, tack blends, fiber products; flavor enhancing products, including snack coatings, cheese powders and flavor systems; an line of organic dairy ingredients; and organic soy and sunflower oils. It offers variety of packaged food products for retail and foodservice use and a full range of bulk grain-based animal feed and pet food products.
The Ingredients Group is focused primarily on fiber products and specialty fruit ingredients. It works closely with its customers to identify product formulation, cost and productivity opportunities aimed at transforming raw materials into value-added food ingredient solutions. It offers fibers and brans, including Canadian Harvest Oat Fiber, SunOpta Soy Fiber, SunOpta Rice Fiber, SunOpta Cellulose Fiber and SunOpta Pea Fiber brands of insoluble organic and conventional fiber products, Barley Balance soluble fiber, MultiFiber blends, value-added starch-based texturizers, and a number of custom processed ingredients. It offers SunOpta Specialty Starch products, including OptaGrade and OptaMist. OptaGrade is a natural, starch-based texturizing agent that is used commercially in a variety of dairy products including natural, imitation, and processed cheeses, sour cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt. OptaMist is also a starch-based texturizing agent that improves the taste, texture and appearance of dairy products, yogurt, cheese products, and salad dressings.
The Consumer Products Group provides natu ral and organic consumer packaged food products to global fo! od manufa! cturers, distributors and supermarket chains with a variety of branded and private label products. The Consumer Products Group’s products include Conventional and organic beverage processing and re-sealable pouch filling solutions in a variety of product categories, including shelf stable and refrigerated juices, frozen fruits and vegetables, specialty beverages, vitamin waters, electrolyte waters, energy drinks, soups, baby food, and healthy fruit and vegetable based snacks in flexible pouches. It offers nutritious healthy snacks including natural and organic fruit based snacks in bar, twist, rope and bite size shapes, with the ability to add a variety of ingredients including fiber, plus a range of baked and extruded nutrition bars using a wide variety of ingredients including grains, proteins and other ingredients.
The International Foods Group includes European and North American based operations that source and supply raw material ingredients and t rade organic commodities. Its principal operations are located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Santa Cruz, California and comprise the global sourcing and supply operations of Tradin Organic, including a business in Dalian, China that supplies food grade organic soybeans, feed, organic sunflower kernels and other grains and distributes certain organic food products, as well as sourcing and processing operations in Ethiopia for organic and specialty coffees and organic and conventional sesame seeds. In addition, the International Foods Group is expanding its integrated processing capabilities with the construction of its value-added organic and specialty cocoa facility in the Netherlands.
SunOpta Foods is subject to a wide range of governmental regulations and policies in various countries and regions where it operates,including the
United States,Canada, the Netherlands, throughout the rest of the EU, China and Ethiopia. These laws, regulations and polici es are implemented, as applicable in each jurisdiction, on t! he nation! al, federal, state, provincial and local levels. For example, SunOpta Foods is affected by laws and regulations related to: seed, fertilizer and pesticides; the purchasing, harvesting, transportation and warehousing of grain and other products; the processing, packaging and sale of food, including wholesale operations; and product labelling and marketing, food safety and food defense. SunOpta Foods is also affected by government-sponsored price supports, acreage set aside programs and a number of environmental regulations.
Opta Minerals is a vertically integrated provider of custom process optimization solutions and supplier of industrial minerals and silica-free abrasives for use primarily in the steel, foundry, loose abrasive cleaning and municipal water filtration industries. Opta Minerals has offices and production and distribution facilities in Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and production locations in Europe in Kosice, Slovakia; Romans, France; and Ermsleben and Rodermark, Germany. Opta Minerals integration of its business acquisitions into its existing operations and financial management systems has created synergies that have increased revenues and profit margins. It has invested in improving plant equipment and infrastructure and has been able to reduce costs while growing production capabilities. It believes that Opta Minerals is well-positioned to expand current operations with modest capital expenditures.
Opta Minerals produces, manufactures, distributes and recycles industrial minerals, silica-free abrasives and specialty sands and other products and services to the foundry, steel, loose abrasive cleaning, roofing granule, marine/bridge cleaning, waterjet cutting, and municipal, recreational and industrial water filtration industries. Its principal product lines include: blends of industrial minerals used primarily in heavy industrial a! pplicatio! ns; silica-free abrasives,and specialty sands, filtration media and other products and services.
Opta Minerals sells industrial mineral products primarily to the foundry and steel industries. Industrial minerals products produced by Opta Minerals include chromites, magnesium blends, lime, nozzle sands, clays, coated sands, petroleum coke, crushed graphite, pre-cast refractory shapes, injection lances, and a wide range of foundry pre-mixes.
Opta Minerals abrasive products are primarily sold into shipbuilding, ship repair, bridge cleaning, waterjet cutting and roofing granule markets. The abrasives produced are free of silica, making them a clean, efficient and recyclable alternative to traditional abrasives. Recycling operations are conducted at Waterdown, Ontario, Norfolk, Virginia and Ermsleben, Germany. This is an important service that Opta Minerals provides to its customers which results in the reuse of materials that would otherwise be sent d irectly to landfills. Silica-free abrasive products produced by Opta Minerals include BlackBlast, Ultra Blast, EconoBlast, EbonyGrit, Powerblast, Galaxy Garnet, Emerald Creek Garnet, Bengal Bay Garnet and other specialty abrasives.
Opta Minerals also generates revenues from the sale of specialty sands, filtration media and other products and technical services. The silica sands are not sold for use as an abrasive material.Speciality sands and other products and services of Opta Minerals include filtration and industrial sands, garnets for filtration and waterjet cutting, construction sands, golf bunker sand, silica (not sold for loose abrasive applications), colored sand, waterjet cutting replacement parts and components, and technical services.
The industrial minerals industry is characterized by a number of public and private companies that service the bulk of requirements for both the foundry and steel industry. The remaining market requirements are fulfilled by small regionally based companies with limi! ted produ! ct lines that generally focus on local markets.
The silica-free abrasives industry is characterized by a number of regionally-based companies with limited product lines tending to focus on geographically adjacent markets. Their competition varies by product line, customer classification and geographic market. Opta Minerals conducts business throughout North America with a focus on key regions including the Quebec-Detroit corridor, New York, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana and Texas, all of which are areas of high volume ship repairs and bridge cleaning activities.
The Company competes with Vesuvius Group S.A./N.V., Stollberg Group, SKW Mettalurgie Gmbh, Magnesium Elektron and Prince Minerals.
- [By Jake L’Ecuyer]
Equities Trading UP
SunOpta (NASDAQ: STKL) shares shot up 12.89 percent to $12.70 after the company reported upbeat Q1 earnings.
Shares of Isis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ISIS) got a boost, shooting up 10.16 percent to $27.64 after the company reported positive Phase 2 data on ISIS-GCGR Rx in HbA1c in patients with type 2 diabetes.
- [By Lisa Levin]
© 2014 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
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Top Services Companies To Own In Right Now: Seven & i Holdings Co Ltd (SVNDY)
Seven & i Holdings Co., Ltd. is a Japan-based holding company. The Company operates in six business segments. The Convenience Store segment operates convenience stores under the name 7-Eleven through direct operation and franchising. The Super Store segment operates general supermarkets, food supermarkets and specialty stores. The Department Store segment operates department stores with a focus on Seibu. The Food Service segment is engaged in the restaurant business, the contract food business and the fast food business. The Financial-related segment is engaged in the banking service, credit card and electronic money services. The Others segment is engaged in the information technology (IT) business. Advisors’ Opinion:
- [By Jim Jubak]
If you’re a trader, you try to catch these ups and downs. If you’re a longer term trader, you sort of go with Japanese equities. The one that I’ve got in Jubak’s Picks is Toyota Motor, (TM), which trades in New York as an ADR. You can also go with something like Torre Industries (TRYIF), which trades as an ADR in New York as well as on the Tokyo exchange. They’re the world’s largest maker of carbon fiber, good play on exports to the aircraft and car industries. Or you can do something like Seven & I (SVNDY), the Japanese company that owns 7-Elevens around the world. So, those would be my ways to play a weak yen if you want to use Japanese equities for the week and the year ahead.
Top Services Companies To Own In Right Now: Scholastic Corporation(SCHL)
Scholastic Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a children?s publishing, education, and media company primarily in the United States. The company?s Children?s Book Publishing and Distribution segment publishes and distributes children?s books through school-based book clubs and book fairs, ecommerce, and the trade channel in the United States. Its Educational Publishing segment publishes and distributes educational technology products and services, curriculum materials, children?s books and collections, classroom magazines, and print and online reference and non-fiction products for grades pre-K to 12 to schools and libraries in the United States. The company?s Media, Licensing, and Advertising segment creates and produces programming and digital content for various platforms, including television, DVDs, audio, movies, interactive games, applications, and Websites. This segment produces and sells a television library consisting of approximately 50 0 hal f-hour productions; produces television programming, including the animated series; creates audiovisual adaptations of classic children?s picture books; produces young adult and children?s audio recordings; and creates original and licensed consumer software, including handheld and console products with accessories and mobile applications for grades pre-K to 8. This segment also develops sponsored educational materials and supplementary classroom programs in partnership with government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and business organizations; and operates a direct-to-home catalog business specializing in children?s toys. Its International segment publishes and distributes products and services in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, India, China, Singapore, and other parts of Asia, as well as includes its export and foreign rights businesses. Scholastic Corporation was founded in 1920 and is headquartered in New York, New York.
- [By Mark Lin]
What implications does this have for Amazon and peers such as Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS ) and Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL ) ?
- [By Sue Chang]
Scholastic Corp. (SCHL) is forecast to report a loss of 37 cents a share in the fiscal third quarter.
Top Services Companies To Own In Right Now: Molina Healthcare Inc (MOH)
Molina Healthcare, Inc., incorporated on July 24, 2002, provides medicaid-related solutions. The Company operates in two segments: Health Plans and Molina Medicaid Solutions. The Company’s Health Plans segment consists of health plans in California, Florida, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin, and includes the Company’s direct delivery business. The Company’s Molina Medicaid Solutions segment provides design, development, implementation, and business process outsourcing solutions to state governments for their Medicaid Management Information Systems (MMIS).As of December 31, 2012, Health Plans segment served approximately 1.8 million members eligible for Medicaid, Medicare, and other government-sponsored health care programs for low-income families and individuals. In June 2013, Molina Healthcare Inc announced that, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Molina Center LLC, it has successfully completed a sale and lease back transaction with th e dedicated net lease group of Angelo, Gordon & Co (AG).
The health plans are operated by the Company’s wholly owned subsidiaries in those states, each of which is licensed as a health maintenance organization (HMO). The Company’s direct delivery business consists of 24 primary care clinics in California, Florida, New Mexico, and Washington, and the Company manages three county-owned primary care clinics under a contract with Fairfax County, Virginia. The Company’s Health Plans segment derives its revenue principally in the form of premiums received under Medicaid contracts with the states in which the Company’s health plans operate. All of the Company’s health plans operate on a single managed care platform for claims processing (the QNXT 4.8 system). MMIS is a core tool used to support the administration of state Medicaid and other health care entitlement programs. Molina Medicaid Solutions holds MMIS contracts with the states of Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, New J ersey, and West Virginia, as well as a contract to provide d! rug rebate administration services for the Florida Medicaid program. The Company arranges health care services for its members through contracts with providers that include independent physicians and groups, hospitals, ancillary providers, and its own clinics. The Company’s network of providers includes primary care physicians, specialists and hospitals. The Company contracts with both primary care physicians and specialists many of whom are organized into medical groups or independent practice associations (IPAs).
The Company develops specialized disease management programs that address the particular health care needs of its members. motherhood matters! sm is a comprehensive program designed to improve pregnancy outcomes and enhance member satisfaction. breathe with ease! is a multi-disciplinary disease management program that provides health education resources and case management services to assist physicians caring for asthmatic members between the ages of three and 15. Healthy Living with Diabetes is a diabetes disease management program. Heart Health Living is a cardiovascular disease management program for members who have suffered from congestive heart failure, angina, heart attack, or high blood pressure. The Company provides its members with information to guide them through various episodes of care. This information, which is available in several languages, is designed to educate parents on the use of primary care physicians, emergency rooms, and nurse call centers. The Company’s pharmacy management programs focus on physician education regarding appropriate medication utilization and encouraging the use of generic medications. The Company’s pharmacists and medical directors work with the Company’s pharmacy benefits manager to maintain a formulary that promotes both improved patient care and generic drug use. The Company provides certain centralized medical and administrative services to its health plans pursuant to adm inistrative services agreements, including medical affairs a! nd qualit! y management, health education, credentialing, management, financial, legal, information systems, and human resources services.
The Company competes with HP Enterprise Services, ACS, Computer Services Corporation, and CNSI.
- [By Susan J. Aluise]
Although big insurers may retreat in the near term, here are three healthcare stocks still poised to win big from the Affordable Care Act:
Healthcare Stocks: Molina Healthcare (MOH)
Molina Healthcare (MOH) is an insurance payor focused on the Medicaid niche — it covers an estimates 2 million patients in 11 states.
- [By Daniel Jennings]
The White House was planning a massive Obamacare marketing effort with the help of unions and nonprofit groups. That effort has apparently been put on the backburner.
The Obamacare news didn’t help UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH). Its share price fell by .017 percent in mid-day trading on Wednesday. Yet it seemed to help WellPoint (NYSE: WLP). The operator of the Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans saw its share price rise by .01% on Wednesday . A smaller operator of healthcare plans, Molina Healthcare (NYSE: MOH) saw its share price fall.
Top Services Companies To Own In Right Now: Pearson Plc(PSO)
Pearson plc engages in education, business information, and consumer publishing businesses worldwide. The company?s North American Education segment provides higher education services, such as higher education publishing; MyLab digital learning, homework, and assessment programs; and LearningStudio, a suite of learning management technologies, including eCollege and Fronter. This segment also offers assessment and information services; school curriculum services consisting of school publishing; enVisionMATH, a digital math curriculum; America’s Choice school reform services; online learning platform for teachers and students; Poptropica video game; digital programs, such as digits, a digital middle school math?s program; Writing Coach, a blended print and online program; and Online Learning Exchange, a personalized digital learning program. Its International Education segment provides educational content, assessment, technologies, and related services to educational inst i tutions. This segment offers spoken English training for adults, as well as provides eCollege and Fronter learning management systems. It also offers MyLab digital learning, homework, and assessment programs. The company?s Professional segment focuses on publishing, training, testing, and certification for professionals. Its Financial Times group segment provides business and financial news, data, comment, and analysis in print and online formats to the international business community. Its products include Financial Times newspaper; FT.com Website; financial magazines and online services; and Mergermarket, which provides forward-looking insights and intelligence to businesses and financial institutions. The company?s Penguin Group segment engages in book publishing business, under the Hamish Hamilton, Putnam, Berkley, Viking, Dorling Kindersley, Puffin, and Ladybird imprints. It also offers ebooks. The company was founded in 1844 and is headquartered in London, the Unite d Kingdom.
- [By Lisa Levin]
Publishing – Books: This industry moved up 1.52% by 10:25 am. The top performer in this industry was Pearson plc (NYSE: PSO), which gained 1.8%. Pearson shares have dropped 1.94% over the past 52 weeks, while the S&P 500 index has gained 16.94% in the same period.
- [By Mark Rogers]
LONDON — The shares of Pearson (LSE: PSON ) (NYSE: PSO ) were flat at 1,146p early this afternoon after the Financial Times publisher reported first-quarter sales rising 3%, to £1.2bn.
Top Services Companies To Own In Right Now: Universal Technical Institute Inc(UTI)
Universal Technical Institute, Inc. engages in the provision of postsecondary education for students seeking careers as professional automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle, and marine technicians in the United States. It offers undergraduate degree, diploma, and certificate programs through its campuses under various brands, including Universal Technical Institute, Motorcycle Mechanics Institute and Marine Mechanics Institute, and NASCAR Technical Institute. The company also provides manufacturer-specific training programs comprising student paid electives at its campuses and manufacturer or dealer sponsored training at certain campuses and dedicated training centers. Universal Technical Institute, Inc. was founded in 1965 and is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona.
- [By Laura Brodbeck]
Earnings Expected From: Bank of Montreal (NYSE: BMO), United Natural Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ: UNFI), OmniVision Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: OVTI), Universal Technical Institute, Inc. (NYSE: UTI) Economic Releases Expected: Chinese HSBC Services PMI, Australian GDP, Brazilian GDP, eurozone PPI, British construction PMI.
- [By Eric Volkman]
Universal Technical Institute (NYSE: UTI ) doesn’t seem like it needs to learn how to make dividend payments. The company is staying true to recent form by declaring a quarterly distribution, which is to be $0.10 per share. This will be paid on June 28 to shareholders of record as of June 21. That amount matches each of the firm’s previous regular distributions, the most recent of which was disbursed in late March.
Top Services Companies To Own In Right Now: Tencent Holdings Ltd (TCTZF)
Tencent Holdings Limited is an investment holding company. The Company and its subsidiaries are principally engaged in the provision of Internet value-added services, mobile and telecommunications value-added services and online advertising services to users in the People’s Republic of China. The Company operates in four segments: Internet value-added services, Mobile and telecommunications value-added services, Online advertising, and Others. As of December 31, 2011, its subsidiaries included Tencent Cyber (Tianjin) Company Limited, Tencent Asset Management Limited, Tencent Technology (Beijing) Company Limited, Tencent Cyber (Shenzhen) Company Limited, Tencent Technology (Shanghai) Company Limited and others. Advisors’ Opinion:
- [By John Seward]
And online television company Tencent Holdings Ltd. (OTC: TCTZF) picked up 2.6 percent, to trade at $15.28.
Posted-In: China Chinese Internet Companies InternetNews Emerging Markets Rumors Markets Tech
- [By Craig Stephen]
Still, this pilot scheme offers something new to mainland investors. They can now invest in sectors of the economy which were previously off limits, giving more choice outside the old state-owned industries. This will include areas such as Macau gaming and Internet stocks. One of the largest, traded stocks in Hong Kong is Tencent (HK:0700) (TCTZF) , which is likely to be added to mainland portfolios.