Top Services Companies To Watch For 2014

Shares of Lumber Liquidators (NYSE: LL  ) soared 12% yesterday — and have continued to hit new all-time highs this morning — after posting blowout quarterly results.

The hardwood flooring retailer saw net sales soar 22.5%, to $230.4 million during the first quarter, fueled by a 15.2% spike in comps. Margins expanded, and profitability nearly doubled, to $0.57 a share. Wall Street didn’t have a clue. The pros were projecting a profit of $0.42 a share on $215.5 million in revenue.

The market should be used to this by now: Lumber Liquidators has beaten Wall Street’s bottom-line targets by 16% or better every quarter for the past year. The chain of nearly 300 stores that specializes in hardwood planks and other flooring options raised its guidance, but we know the drill. Lumber Liquidators is going to make analysts look silly again in three months.

The report naturally bodes well for Trex (NYSE: TREX  ) . The leading provider of wood-alternative decking posts next week, and what’s good for one has been good for the other. Trex has also blasted through Wall Street estimates, beating quarterly profit targets by a double-digit percentage margin every single period over the past year.

Top Services Companies To Watch For 2014: Unwired Planet Inc (UPIP)

Unwired Planet, Inc. (Unwired Planet), formerly Openwave Systems Inc., incorporated on December 16, 1994, is an intellectual property and technology licensing company. As of June 30, 2012, the Company had patent portfolio of approximately 200 issued United States and foreign patents and approximately 75 pending applications, many of which is considered foundational to mobile communications. In May 2012, the Company officially changed name to Unwired Planet, Inc.

On February 1, 2012, the Company sold its location business to Persistent Telecom Solutions Inc. On April 30, 2012, the Company completed the sale of its mediation and messaging product businesses to Openwave Mobility, Inc. The Company generates revenue by licensing its patented innovations and technologies to companies that develop mobile communications software infrastructure or hardware and/or develop mobile communications products.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Anora Mahmudova]

    Among individual stocks, Unwired Planet (UPIP) , an intellectual property company focused on the mobile industry, soared 49% after news that Chinese computer-maker Lenovo Group Ltd. (HK:0992)  was buying 21 of its patent families for $100 million.

  • [By Wallace Witkowski]

    Shares of Unwired Planet Inc. (UPIP)  jumped 75% to $2.27 on heavy volume after Lenovo Group (HK:0992)  said it would buy about 21 patent families from Unwired for $100 million.

Top Services Companies To Watch For 2014: Fiserv Inc.(FISV)

Fiserv, Inc. and its subsidiaries provide various financial services technology solutions. Its solutions include electronic commerce systems and services, such as transaction processing, electronic bill payment and presentment, business process outsourcing, document distribution services, and software and systems solutions. The company operates in two segments, Payments and Industry Products, and Financial Institution Services. The Payments and Industry Products segment provides electronic bill payment and presentment services, and debit and other card-based payment products and services to meet the electronic transaction processing needs of the financial services industry. It also offers Internet banking, investment account processing services for separately managed accounts, card and print personalization services, and fraud and risk management products and services. The Financial Institution Services segment provides account processing services, item processing services , loan origination and servicing products, cash management and consulting services, and other products and services that support various types of financial transactions. The company serves banks, thrifts, credit unions, investment management firms, leasing and finance companies, retailers, merchants, and government agencies. It has operations in the United States, Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, France, India, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Poland, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. Fiserv, Inc. was founded in 1984 and is headquartered in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Rich Smith]

    On Tuesday, the regional banker, which does business in 16 states throughout the American South, Midwest, and Texas, announced it’s inked a deal with online banking software Fiserv (NASDAQ: FISV  ) to revamp its online banking and bill-pay system to enhance the customer experience.

  • [By Kyial Robinson]

    Fiserv (NASDAQ: FISV) is causing quite a trending buzz with its movements this month.

    Shares are considered as a company with strong buyback activity.

  • [By Jay Jenkins]

    For U.S. Bancorp, a fine of this magnitude is nothing more than a slap on the wrist. However, it is a harbinger for change in how regulators view third-party relationships. Banks will now have to think long and hard about outsourcing, even to reputable companies like Jack Henry and Associates (NASDAQ: JKHY  ) and Fiserv (NASDAQ: FISV  ) . 

Top Services Companies To Watch For 2014: Village Super Market Inc.(VLGEA)

Village Super Market, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates a chain of supermarkets in the United States. The company?s superstores feature specialty departments, such as home meal replacement, on-site bakery, and expanded delicatessen that includes prepared food, natural and organic food, ethnic and international food, seafood sections, as well as pharmacies and salad bars. Its superstores also offer non-food items, including cut flowers, health and beauty aids, greeting cards, and small appliances. As of December 16, 2011, the company operated a chain of 28 supermarkets under the ShopRite name in New Jersey, Maryland, and eastern Pennsylvania. Village Super Market, Inc. was founded in 1933 and is based in Springfield, New Jersey.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Geoff Gannon]

    Line up the return on capital lines – for the last 10 years – for Arden, Village (VLGEA), Weis, Harris Teeter (HTSI), and Kroger and you’ll see that the grocer this analyst thinks is unique clearly isn’t. Other grocers earn their cost of capital. They just aren’t as well known.

  • [By Geoff Gannon]

    Okay. So my point is just that a business is a business — it’s not an industry. Just because a company is categorized in an industry doesn’t mean it works like the other companies in the industry. For example, Amazon (AMZN) and Best Buy (BBY) and Walgreens (WAG) and Village Supermarket (VLGEA) are all retailers. But they are all really, really different retailers. Technology changes have vastly different influences on them. They have completely different business models. They are actually trying to do totally different things. And you would analyze them – especially starting with customer habits – totally differently.

Top Services Companies To Watch For 2014: HCA Holdings Inc (HCA)

HCA Holdings, Inc. (HCA), incorporated in January 1990, is a holding company whose affiliates owns and operates hospitals and related health care entities. HCA is a health care services companies in the United States. At December 31, 2011, it operated 163 hospitals, comprised of 157 general, acute care hospitals; five psychiatric hospitals, and one rehabilitation hospital. In addition, it operated 108 freestanding surgery centers. Its operations are structured into three geographically organized groups: the National, Southwest and Central Groups. At December 31, 2011, the National Group includes 64 hospitals located in Florida, South Carolina, southern Georgia, Alaska, California, Nevada, Utah and Idaho, the Southwest Group includes 46 hospitals located in Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma and the Wichita, Kansas market, and the Central Group includes 47 hospitals located in Louisiana, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, New Hampshire, northern Georgia and the Kansas City mark et. The Company also operates six hospitals in England, and these facilities are included in the Corporate and other group. Its facilities are located in 20 states and England. During October 2011, the Company completed its acquisition of the Colorado Health Foundation’s (Foundation).In December 2011, it sold Palmyra Medical Center in Albany, Ga.

The Company’s general, acute care hospitals typically provide a range of services to accommodate such medical specialties as internal medicine, general surgery, cardiology, oncology, neurosurgery, orthopedics and obstetrics, as well as diagnostic and emergency services. Outpatient and ancillary health care services are provided by its general, acute care hospitals, freestanding surgery centers, diagnostic centers and rehabilitation facilities. Its psychiatric hospitals provide a full range of mental health care services through inpatient, partial hospitalization and outpatient settings.

The Company own s, manages or operates hospitals; freestanding surgery cente! rs; diagnostic and imaging centers; radiation and oncology therapy centers; rehabilitation and physical therapy centers, and various other facilities. At December 31, 2011, it owned and operated 157 general, acute care hospitals with 40,988 licensed beds. Most of its general, acute care hospitals provide medical and surgical services, including inpatient care, intensive care, cardiac care, diagnostic services and emergency services. The general, acute care hospitals also provide outpatient services such as outpatient surgery, laboratory, radiology, respiratory therapy, cardiology and physical therapy. At December 31, 2011, it operated five psychiatric hospitals with 506 licensed beds. Its psychiatric hospitals provide therapeutic programs including child, adolescent and adult psychiatric care, adult and adolescent alcohol and drug abuse treatment and counseling.

The Company also operates outpatient health care facilities, which include freestanding ambulatory su rgery centers (ASCs), freestanding emergency care facilities, diagnostic and imaging centers, comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation and physical therapy centers, outpatient radiation and oncology therapy centers and various other facilities. Most of its ASCs are operated through partnerships or limited liability companies, with majority ownership of each partnership or Limited Liability Company typically held by a general partner or subsidiary that is an affiliate of HCA. Certain of its affiliates provide a variety of management services to its health care facilities, including patient safety programs; ethics and compliance programs; national supply contracts; equipment purchasing and leasing contracts; accounting, financial and clinical systems; governmental reimbursement assistance; construction planning and coordination; information technology systems and solutions; legal counsel; human resources services; and internal audit services. Under the Medicare program, it rece ives reimbursement under a prospective payment system (PPS) ! for gener! al, acute care hospital inpatient services.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Michael Douglass and David Williamson]

    Metal plans help consumers understand the so-called actuarial value of their plan, or what percentage of essential health benefits their plan covers. The lowest actuarial value plans are bronze, followed by silver, gold, and platinum. The death spiral refers to the fear that the final insurance pool for 2014 may be less healthy than insurers had anticipated, causing them to lose money and thereby raise premiums next year. Michael and David consider the two main issues with the death spiral argument. The individual mandate, or the law’s requirement that all individuals get insurance or face tax penalties, has consistently been the least popular aspect of Obamacare, but hospitals, including large for-profit operators Tenet Healthcare (NYSE: THC  ) and HCA Holdings (NYSE: HCA  ) , are poised to benefit. See the video to find out why.

  • [By Michael Calia]

    HCA Holdings Inc.(HCA) said its fourth-quarter earnings rose 35% on improved revenue that masked a decline in the hospital operator’s same-facility admissions. The company projected earnings for 2014 that were below estimates.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Tenets plunge has helped drag other healthcare stocks lower. Community Health (CYH) has dropped 3.6% to $42.21, HCA Holdings (HCA) has fallen 2.1% to $46.72 and Universal Health Services (UHS) is off 1% at $80.59.

Top Services Companies To Watch For 2014: Hastings Entertainment Inc.(HAST)

Hastings Entertainment, Inc. operates as a multimedia entertainment retailer. It operates entertainment superstores that buy, sell, trade, and rent various home entertainment products, including books, music, software, periodicals, movies on DVD and Blu-Ray, video games, video game consoles and consumer electronics. The company?s stores also provide consumables and trends products, such as apparel, t-shirts, action figures, posters, greeting cards, and seasonal merchandise. As of March 31, 2011, it operated 145 superstores in medium-sized markets located in 20 states, primarily in the western and midwestern United States. The company also operates a concept store, Sun Adventure Sports that sells a range of bicycles and related accessories, skateboards, other athletic equipment, apparel, and shoes, as well as offers bicycle repair services and cycling classes. In addition, it operates a multimedia entertainment e-commerce Web site, which offers a range of books, software, v ideo games, movies on DVDs and Blu-Ray, music, trends, and electronics. The company was founded in 1968 and is headquartered in Amarillo, Texas.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By James E. Brumley]

    At first glance it would be easy to assume the recent bullishness from Hastings Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAST) was nothing more than a little volatility, as is common for many small cap stocks. After all, HAST shares have been beaten down pretty well since the middle of last year, and a little bit of “up” relief is likely in the cards. As it turns out, however, the current reversal we’re seeing from this stock may be a far bigger – and a far longer lasting – turnaround than traders may realize with just a quick look.

Top Services Companies To Watch For 2014: Albany Molecular Research Inc.(AMRI)

Albany Molecular Research, Inc. provides contract services to various pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies primarily in the United States, Europe, and Asia. The company offers a range of drug discovery services, including assay development and design, screening, screening library, natural product, medicinal chemistry, computer-aided drug discovery, in vitro ADMET, and bioanalytical services. It also provides chemical development services consisting of process research and development, custom synthesis, process safety assessment, scale-up capabilities, high potency and controlled substances, analytical services, preformulation services and physical characterization, preparative chromatography, IND support services, fermentation development and optimization, and building blocks collection and database services. In addition, the company offers chemical synthesis and manufacturing services. It manufactures active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs)and advanced intermediate s. Further, the company provides contract manufacturing services in sterile syringe and vial filling for small molecule drug products and biologicals. Additionally, it offers formulation services, including neat API or pharmaceutical blend in capsules; PIB for solution and suspension; blending and sieving; milling; tableting; rheology; roller compaction; wet granulation; and fluid bed processing, including wurster coating; and associated analytical testing services for dosage formulation products, as well as provides analytical services, such as impurity identification and structure elucidation; method development, qualification, and validation; preformulation and physical characterization; quality control; stability services; analytical and preparative supercritical fluid chromatography; preparative chromatography; good laboratory practices bioanalytical services; and regulatory support/quality assurance services. The company was founded in 1991 and is based in Albany, New York.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jake L’Ecuyer]

    Among the sector stocks, Albany Molecular Research (NASDAQ: AMRI) was down more than 13 percent, while Sangamo Biosciences (NASDAQ: SGMO) tumbled around 6 percent.

Top Services Companies To Watch For 2014: Natura Cosmeticos SA (NATU3)

Natura Cosmeticos SA is a Brazil-based company that, together with its subsidiaries, is engaged in the manufacture, industrialization, distribution and commercialization of cosmetics, fragrances and personal hygiene products under the brand name Natura. The Company’s product line includes deodorants, makeup, sunscreens, lotions, creams, lipsticks and perfumes, among others. It operates in Chile, Peru, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Spain and Netherlands, among others, and, as of December 31, 2011, the Company had such subsidiaries as Industria e Comercio de Cosmeticos Natura Ltda, Natura Cosmeticos SA, Natura Cosmeticos de Mexico SA de CV, Natura Cosmeticos Espana SL, Natura (Brasil) International BV and Natura Inovacao e Tecnologia de Produtos Ltda, among several others. On February 28, 2013, the Company concluded the acquisition of a 65% stake in Emeis Holdings Pty Ltd, operating under Aesop brand. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Harry Suhartono]

    Brazil’s Ibovespa rose for a third day as traders pared bets on higher borrowing costs in Brazil, boosting the outlook for companies that sell in the local market. B2W Cia. Digital led gains among retailers, with Lojas Americanas SA (LAME3) and Natura Cosmeticos SA (NATU3) also trading higher. Petrochemicals producer Braskem SA (BRKM5) was the worst performer on the equity gauge after O Estado de S.Paulo reported Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4) is seeking to raise prices of naphtha sold to the company by 5 percent.

Top Services Companies To Watch For 2014: Anhanguera Educacional Participacoes SA (AEDU3)

Anhanguera Educacional Participacoes SA, formerly Mehir Holdings SA, is a Brazil-based holding company engaged in the education sector. The Company provides higher graduate and postgraduate education through full time and distance learning programs. It is also engaged in the provision of preparatory courses for public competition and other specialization courses. The Company offers the academic programs, such as full time graduate, distance graduate and post-graduate courses. Additionally, the Company provides selected courses through the methodology of distance learning, including graduate, post-graduate and continuous education courses. Anhanguera Educacional Participacoes SA offers its services for working adults and operates in approximately 71 campuses and around 500 learning centers located throughout each of around the 26 Brazilian states. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ney Hayashi]

    Anhanguera Educacional Participacoes SA (AEDU3) tumbled after Brazil’s antitrust regulator signaled it may limit the education company’s merger with competitor Kroton Educacional SA. (KROT3) Lojas Renner SA (LREN3) led retailers higher after a report showed Brazil’s industrial production expanded faster than expected in October, easing concern that growth is faltering.