On Friday, Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK ) will release its latest quarterly results. The key to making smart investment decisions on stocks reporting earnings is to anticipate how they’ll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise. That way, you’ll be less likely to make an uninformed knee-jerk reaction to news that turns out to be exactly the wrong move.
Duke Energy’s merger with Progress Energy helped vault the utility into the uppermost echelon of industry players. But after such a big transaction, when will Duke see earnings start moving back in the right direction? Let’s take an early look at what’s been happening with Duke Energy over the past quarter and what we’re likely to see in its quarterly report.
Stats on Duke Energy
Analyst EPS Estimate
Top Small Cap Companies To Invest In Right Now: InterDigital Inc.(IDCC)
Interdigital, Inc. engages in the design and development of digital wireless technology solutions. The company offers technology solutions for use in digital cellular and wireless products and networks, including 2G, 3G, 4G, and IEEE 802-related products and networks. It holds patents related to the fundamental technologies that enable wireless communications. The company licenses its patents to equipment producers that manufacture, use, and sell digital cellular and IEEE 802-related products; and licenses or sells mobile broadband modem solutions, including modem IP, know-how, and reference platforms to mobile device manufacturers, semiconductor companies, and other equipment producers that manufacture, use, and sell digital cellular products. InterDigital?s solutions are incorporated in various products comprising mobile devices, such as cellular phones, tablets, notebook computers, and wireless personal digital assistants; wireless infrastructure equipment, such as base stations; and components, dongles, and modules for wireless devices. The company was founded in 1972 and is headquartered in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
- [By Holly LaFon]
The most disappointing investment in the portfolio for 2013 was InterDigital (IDCC). This stock declined approximately 28% during the year, despite posting roughly 25% operating margins. Our thesis on IDCC is that the company should benefit from its wireless technology patents as more smartphones and mobile tablets are connected to the in ternet. IDCC creates wireless technology, applies for patents for the technology it creates, and then licenses its technology to manufacturers who produce the aforementioned products. In the past, Nokia, Samsung, Apple, LG, and many other manufacturers hav e licensed the company’s technology to use in their products and paid IDCC royalties.
- [By James E. Brumley]
Endeavor IP isn’t the only publicly-traded intellectual property enforcement company out there. It is, however, the only one to focus on quality over quantity. Whereas other players like patent portfolio names like InterDigital, Inc. (NASDAQ:IDCC) and Vringo, Inc. (NASDAQ:VRNG) will literally buy patents by the hundreds – perhaps sometimes without even knowing what some of those patents even cover – in an effort to arm itself with any and every possible patent for any and every contingency. Most are likely worthless, which means companies like InterDigital or Vringo may have wasted shareholder money by buying IP that isn’t capable of bearing revenue.
- [By James E. Brumley]
When traders think of an IP (intellectual property) company, they tend to conjure up names like InterDigital, Inc. (NASDAQ:IDCC), VirnetX Holding Corporation (NYSEMKT:VHC), or of course, the well-known Vringo, Inc. (NASDAQ:VRNG). And, investors see these patent-enforcement names as such for good reason…. between VRNG, IDCC, and VHC, the three organizations own well over 20,000 technology patents, and their efforts to enforce them have been well-documented, and well publicized. Thing is, as the patent-protection industry matures, companies like Vringo, InterDigital, or VirnetX Holding may well find that it’s the quality of the patent portfolio rather than the quantity of patents that makes an IP owner a potent investment. Enter Endeavor IP Inc. (OTCBB:ENIP).
Top Small Cap Companies To Invest In Right Now: bebe stores inc.(BEBE)
bebe stores, inc. engages in the design, development, and production of women?s apparel and accessories. Its products include a range of separates, tops, dresses, active wear, and accessories in career, evening, casual, and active lifestyle categories. The company markets its products under the bebe, BEBE SPORT, bbsp, and 2b bebe brand names targeting 21 to 34-year-old woman. As of July 2, 2011, it operated 252 retail stores, and an online store at bebe.com in the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Japan, and Canada, as well as 60 international licensee operated stores in south east Asia, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Russia, Mexico, and Turkey. The company was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in Brisbane, California.
- [By Rich Smith]
This series, brought to you by Yahoo! Finance, looks at which upgrades and downgrades make sense and which ones investors should act on. Today, our headlines include upgrades for both industrialist Aixtron (NASDAQ: AIXG ) and fashionista bebe stores (NASDAQ: BEBE ) . But the news isn’t all good, so let’s start off with a few words on…
- [By Jeremy Bowman]
What: Shares of Bebe Stores (NASDAQ: BEBE ) were back in style today, gaining as much as 11% after receiving an upgrade from Janney Capital from Neutral to Buy.
Top Small Cap Companies To Invest In Right Now: Sky-mobi Limited(MOBI)
Sky-mobi Limited engages in the operation of a mobile application store in the People?s Republic of China. It works with handset companies to pre-install its Maopao mobile application store on handsets and with content developers to provide users with applications and content titles. The users of its Maopao store could browse, download, and purchase a range of applications and content, such as single-player games, mobile music, and books. The company?s Maopao store enables mobile applications and content to be downloaded and run on various mobile handsets with hardware and operating system configurations. It also operates a mobile social network community, the Maopao Community, where it offers localized mobile social games, as well as applications and content with social network functions to its registered members. The company owns proprietary mobile application technology in the cloud computing, the MRP format, and SDK development environment. As of March 31, 2011, it had entered into cooperation agreements with approximately 523 handset companies to pre-install Maopao. The company was formerly known as Profit Star Limited and changed its name to Sky-Mobi Limited in October 2010. Sky-mobi Limited was incorporated in 2007 and is headquartered in Hangzhou, China.
- [By Roberto Pedone]
Another stock that’s starting to move within range of triggering a big breakout trade is Sky-mobi (MOBI), which, through its subsidiaries, engages in the operation of a mobile application platform embedded on mobile phones to provide mobile application store and services in the Peoples Republic of China. This stock has been red hot so far in 2013, with shares up a whopping 88%.
If you look at the chart for Sky-mobi, you’ll notice that this stock recently formed a triple bottom chart pattern at $3.31, $3.28 and $3.40 a share. That bottoming pattern occurred over the last two months. Shares of MOBI have now started to uptrend and flirt with its 50-day moving average of $3.76 a share. That move is quickly pushing MOBI within range of triggering a big breakout trade.
Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MOBI if it manages to break out above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $3.71 to $3.83 a share with high volume. Look for a sustained move or close above those levels with volume that hits near or above its three-month average action of 145,934 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then MOBI will set up to re-test or possibly take out its 52-week high at $4.96 a share. Any high-volume move above that level will then give MOBI a chance to tag its next major overhead resistance levels at $5.55 to $6.13 a share.
Traders can look to buy MOBI off any weakness to anticipate that breakout and simply use a stop that sits right below some key near-term support levels at $3.40 to $3.28 a share. One can also buy MOBI off strength once it takes out that breakout levels with volume and then simply use a stop that sits a comfortable percentage from your entry point.
Top Small Cap Companies To Invest In Right Now: Texas Instruments Incorporated(TXN)
Texas Instruments Incorporated engages in the design and sale of semiconductors to electronics designers and manufacturers worldwide. The company?s Analog segment offers high-performance analog products comprising standard analog semiconductors, such as amplifiers, data converters, and interface semiconductors; high-volume analog and logic products; and power management semiconductors and line-powered systems. Its Embedded Processing segment includes DSPs that perform mathematical computations to process and enhance digital data; and microcontrollers, which are designed to control a set of specific tasks for electronic equipment. The company?s Wireless segment designs, manufactures, and sells application processors and connectivity products. Its Other segment offers smaller semiconductor products, which include DLP products that are primarily used in projectors to create high-definition images; and application-specific integrated circuits. This segment also provides handhe ld graphing and scientific calculators, as well as licenses technologies to other electronic companies. The company serves the communications, computing, industrial, consumer electronics, automotive, and education sectors. Texas Instruments Incorporated sells its products through a direct sales force, distributors, and third-party sales representatives. It has collaboration agreements with PLX Technology Inc.; Neonode, Inc.; and Ubiquisys Ltd. The company was founded in 1938 and is headquartered in Dallas, Texas.
- [By Chuck Saletta]
Texas Instruments (NASDAQ: TXN ) is a selection for the real-money Inflation-Protected Income Growth portfolio. In this brief video, portfolio manager Chuck Saletta offers two-and-a-half reasons he’s holding on to Texas Instruments’ stock despite its substantial rise since he bought those shares a little more than a year ago.
- [By Victor Selva]
Several tech vendors like Intel (INTC), IBM (IBM), Texas Instruments (TXN) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) have announced job cuts for 2014. These reductions will take effect in the near future while management will continue to explore additional opportunities to improve profitability.
Top Small Cap Companies To Invest In Right Now: Rackspace Hosting Inc(RAX)
Rackspace Hosting, Inc. operates in the hosting and cloud computing industry. It provides information technology (IT) as a service, managing Web-based IT systems for small and medium-sized businesses, as well as large enterprises worldwide. The company?s service suite includes dedicated hosting comprising customer management portal and other management tools that manage data center, network, hardware devices, and operating system software; and cloud computing that enables customers to provide and manage a pool of computing resources, as well as delivery of computing resources to business when they need them. It offers cloud servers, cloud files, and cloud sites, as well as cloud applications, such as email, collaboration, and file back-ups; and hybrid hosting that provides a combination of dedicated hosting and cloud computing services. The company also offers customer support services. It sells its service suite through direct sales teams, third-party channel partners, an d online ordering. The company was formerly known as Rackspace.com, Inc. and changed its name to Rackspace Hosting, Inc. in June 2008. Rackspace Hosting, Inc. was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas.
- [By Jim Jubak]
This is the part of the cloud market where Google competes—and where Google cuts prices. The public cloud sector is dominated by Amazon.com (AMZN) with Microsoft (MSFT), Google, IBM (IBM), and Rackspace Hosting (RAX) competing for the Number Two slot.
- [By Jake L’Ecuyer]
Rackspace Hosting (NYSE: RAX) was down, falling 17.02 percent to $33.40 after the company reported a drop in its fourth-quarter net income and announced the retirement of its Chief Executive Lanham Napier.
Top Small Cap Companies To Invest In Right Now: KongZhong Corporation(KONG)
KongZhong Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, provides wireless interactive entertainment, media, and community services to mobile phone users in the People’s Republic of China. It also involves in the development, distribution, and marketing of consumer wireless value-added services, including wireless application protocol, multimedia messaging services, short messaging services, interactive voice response services, and color ring back tones. In addition, it offers interactive entertainment services, such as mobile games, pictures, karaoke, electronic books, mobile phone personalization features, entertainment news, chat, and message boards; and through Kong.net offer news, community services, games, and other interactive media and entertainment services; and sells advertising space in the form of text-link, banner, and button advertisements. Further, the company develops and publishes mobile games, including downloadable mobile games and online mobile games cons isting of action, role-playing, and leisure games. As of December 31, 2009, it had a library of approximately 300 internally developed mobile games. Additionally, it develops online games; and provides consulting and technology services, as well as media and net book services. The company was formerly known as Communication Over The Air Inc. and changed its name to KongZhong Corporation in March 2004. KongZhong Corporation was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in Beijing, the People?s Republic of China
- [By Roberto Pedone]
One under-$10 wireless services player that looks poised for a big spike higher is KongZhong (KONG), which is a provider of WVAS and mobile games to mobile phone users and a wireless media company providing news, content, community and mobile advertising services through its wireless Internet sites in the PRC. This stock is off to a hot start in 2013, with shares up sharply by 53%.
If you take a look at the chart for KongZhong, you’ll notice that this stock has been downtrending badly for the last two months, with shares plunging lower from its high of $14.92 to its recent low of $7.78 a share. During that downtrend, shares of KONG have been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of KONG into oversold territory, since its current relative strength index reading is 30.21. Shares of KONG are now starting to spike higher off its recent low of $7.78 a share and off its 200-day moving average of $7.95 a share. This spike could be signaling that the downside volatility for KONG is over in the short-term and the stock is ready to trend higher.
Traders should now look for long-biased trades in KONG if it manages to break out above some near-term overhead resistance at $8.50 a share with high volume. Look for a sustained move or close above that level with volume that hits near or above its three-month average action of 519,857 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then KONG will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $10 to its 50-day moving average at $11.33 a share.
Traders can look to buy KONG off any weakness to anticipate that breakout and simply use a stop that sits right below some key near-term support at $7.78 a share. One can also buy KONG off strength once it takes out $8.50 a share with volume and then simply use a stop that sits a comfortable percentage from your entry point.
- [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 Kongzhong (Nasdaq: KONG ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.
Top Small Cap Companies To Invest In Right Now: EZchip Semiconductor Limited(EZCH)
EZchip, a fabless semiconductor company, engages in the development and marketing of Ethernet network processors for networking equipment. Its products include network processor chips, evaluation boards and network-processor based systems, and development software toolkits. The company offers network processors for use in forming the silicon core of networking equipment, such as switches and routers; and for voice, video and data integration in various applications. Its network processors are single-chip solutions, which enable its customers to design multi-port line cards, such as processing and classification engines, traffic managers, media access controllers, as well as a range of specialized hardware blocks that accelerate various functions. The company offers Evaluation systems which enable customers to test NPU-based systems; and toolkits that assist customers in creating, verifying, and implementing solutions based on its network processors. It provides a library f eaturing data plane code for a range of applications, which include Metro Ethernet protocols, Multi-Protocol Label Switching, IPv4 and IPv6 routing, Access Control Lists, GPON/EPON OLT functionality, Network Address Translation, and Server Load Balancing. The company sells its products directly, and through contract manufacturers and distributors to network equipment vendors. It markets its products in Israel, China, Hong Kong, the Far East, Canada, the United States, and Europe. The company was formerly known as LanOptics Ltd. and changed its name to EZchip Semiconductor Ltd. in July 2008. EZchip Semiconductor Ltd. was founded in 1989 and is based in Yokneam, Israel.
- [By Evan Niu, CFA]
What: Shares of EZchip (NASDAQ: EZCH ) have jumped today by as much as 13% after the company reported first-quarter earnings.
So what: Revenue in the first quarter totaled $15.3 million, topping the Street’s forecast of $15.1 million. Non-GAAP net income per share came in at $0.23, which was right on target with expectations.
- [By Paul McWilliams]
Paul McWilliams: Oh, absolutely. Another company that most investors probably have never heard of is a tiny little Israeli semiconductor company named EZChip (EZCH).
- [By Jake L’Ecuyer]
EZchip Semiconductor (NASDAQ: EZCH) was also up, gaining 7.16 percent to $24.11 after a Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) announced a new product that would not threaten the company as previously thought. Equities Trading DOWN
Shares of Cypress Semiconductor (NASDAQ: CY) were down 16.05 percent to $9.91 after the company lowered its Q3 forecast.
Top Small Cap Companies To Invest In Right Now: Panera Bread Company(PNRA)
Panera Bread Company, together with its subsidiaries, owns, operates, and franchises retail bakery-cafes in the United States and Canada. Its bakery-cafes offer fresh baked goods, sandwiches, soups, salads, custom roasted coffees, and other complementary products, as well as provide catering services. The company also manufactures and supplies dough and other products to company-owned and franchise-operated bakery-cafes. As of March 29, 2011, it owned and franchised 1,467 bakery-cafes under the Panera Bread, Saint Louis Bread Co., and Paradise Bakery & Cafe names. The company was founded in 1981 and is based in St. Louis, Missouri.
- [By Rich Duprey]
Although Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG ) and Panera Bread (NASDAQ: PNRA ) have become shorthand for fast casual dining, and are seen as the reason fast food restaurants are fast losing sales, there may be a different culprit at work — one that, until now, has been surreptitiously siphoning off sales.
- [By Adrian Campos]
The attractive combination of high margins and aggressive revenue expansion has caused Starbucks’ value to increase enormously. How did Starbucks manage to create a strong coffee empire despite increasing competition from traditional players such as Dunkin’ Brands (NASDAQ: DNKN ) , and the emergence of challengers like Panera Bread (NASDAQ: PNRA ) ? More importantly, how long will Starbucks’ dominance in the coffee world last?
Top Small Cap Companies To Invest In Right Now: Hot Topic Inc.(HOTT)
Hot Topic, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a mall- and Web-based specialty retailer in the United States. The company operates Hot Topic and Torrid store concepts, as well as an e-space music discovery concept, ShockHound. Its Hot Topic stores sell music/pop culture-licensed merchandise, including tee shirts, hats, posters, stickers, patches, postcards, books, novelty accessories, CDs, and DVDs; and music/pop culture-influenced merchandise comprising women?s and men?s apparel and accessories, such as woven and knit tops, skirts, pants, shorts, jackets, shoes, costume jewelry, body jewelry, sunglasses, cosmetics, leather accessories, and gift items for young men and women primarily between the ages of 12 and 22. The company?s Torrid stores sells casual and dressy jeans and pants, fashion and novelty tops, sweaters, skirts, jackets, dresses, hosiery, shoes, intimate apparel, and fashion accessories for various lifestyles for plus-size females primarily betw een the ages of 15 and 29. As of July 30, 2011, it operated 636 Hot Topic stores in 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada; 145 Torrid stores; and Internet stores, hottopic.com and torrid.com. The company was founded in 1988 and is headquartered in City of Industry, California.
- [By Marshall Hargrave]
In May True Religion (TRGL) announced a buyout offer from TowerBrook Capital for $826 million. Also in May, Rue21 decided to sell itself to Apax Partners for $2.2 billion. Before that, in March, Hot Topic (HOTT) announced that Sycamore Partners was buying out it out for $600 million.