Top US Companies To Invest In 2015


If there were any doubt as to how much our nation’s capital relies on the federal government, consider this: the D.C. government has just announced that it will stop issuing tax refunds for individuals and businesses due to the federal shutdown.

No, don’t read it again. You got it right the first time. No D.C. tax refunds due to the federal shutdown.

So what’s the connection, exactly? Federal funds make up a quarter of the District of Columbia’s local budget. That dependency, combined with the collective hit to the city as tourists flee and workers stay home, has lead to an economic crunch. The city spends about $18 million per day on city services and payroll but currently only has about a week’s worth of cash ($153 million) left in its coffers. There’s an additional $110 million in emergency funds but that will only stretch out for another week. If the shutdown continues, woes won’t stop at delayed refund checks: chances are, payroll for city employees will be delayed.

Top US Companies To Invest In 2015: Applied Materials Inc.(AMAT)


Applied Materials, Inc. provides manufacturing equipment, services, and software to the semiconductor, flat panel display, solar photovoltaic (PV), and related industries worldwide. The company?s Silicon Systems Group segment offers a range of manufacturing equipment used to fabricate semiconductor chips or integrated circuits. This segment provides systems that perform primary processes used in chip fabrication, including atomic layer deposition, chemical vapor deposition, physical vapor deposition, electrochemical deposition, rapid thermal processing, chemical mechanical planarization, wet cleaning, and wafer metrology and inspection, as well as systems that etch or inspect circuit patterns on masks used in the photolithography process. Its Applied Global Services segment offers products and services designed to enhance the performance and productivity, and reduce the environmental impact of the fab operations of semiconductor, liquid crystal displays (LCDs), and solar P V manufacturers. The company?s Display segment provides products for manufacturing thin film transistor LCDs for televisions, personal computers (PCs), tablet PCs, smartphones, and other consumer-oriented electronic applications. Its Energy and Environmental Solutions segment offers manufacturing systems for the generation and conservation of energy, as well as manufacturing solutions for wafer-based crystalline silicon applications. This segment also provides roll-to-roll vacuum Web coating systems for deposition of a range of films on flexible substrates for functional, aesthetic, or optical properties; and roll-to-roll machine for depositing ultra-thin aluminum films for flexible packaging applications. The company serves manufacturers of semiconductor wafers and chips, flat panel LCDs, solar PV cells and modules, and other electronic devices. Applied Materials, Inc. was founded in 1967 and is headquartered in Santa Clara, California.


Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Sue Chang and Ben Eisen]

    Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT)  shares rose 3%. Analysts at Jefferies initiated the stock at a buy with a price target of $28.

  • [By Steven Russolillo]

    Applied Materials(AMAT) reported it swung to a second-quarter profit of $262 million, or 21 cents a share, from a loss of $129 million, or 11 cents a share, a year ago. On an adjusted basis, AMAT earned 28 cents a share. AMAT shares gained 3.3% in extended trading.

  • [By Erin McCarthy]

    Applied Materials Inc.(AMAT) on Thursday reported a 19% jump in second-quarter sales, while swinging to a profit and posting its best operating margin in nearly three years. Applied predicted that sales in the current quarter would rise another 13% to 19% from the year-earlier period.

  • [By Vanina Egea] ican corporation, based in Santa Clara, Calif., in the famous Silicon Valley. It provides chipmakers with the latest equipment, and tools to make state-of-the-art chips for our everyday mobile devices (processors, flash memories, computers memories, etc.) and to improve semiconductor factory efficiency. It also produces equipment for the manufacturing of flat panel displays and solar energy (solar cells and energy efficient glass) equipment.


    It has four divisions. Silicon Systems Group, handles the designs, manufacturing, and sales of equipment used to fabricate semiconductor chips. Applied Global Services maintains, services and optimizes customers’ display, semiconductors and solar fabs. The Displays division designs, manufactures and sells equipment used in flat panel display fabrication. And finally, Energy and Environmental Solutions designs, manufactures and handles the sales on equipment necessary in the fabrication of solar cells, modules and flexible electronics.

    The company provides the manufacturers it sells its equipment to with services to improve the fabrication process, helping them become more efficient.


    Advantages and Moat on AMAT

    The thing is, Applied Materials doesn’t specialize in one sector or portion of the production line like most its competitors do. The company has everything a chipmaker needs to fabricate a chip from scratch, like a Home Depot (HD) for chipmakers, competing in nearly every segment of the market. And as the chip industry continues to grow, the company continuously develops more and more complex equipment to meet the needs of a still flourishing market.

    Applied Materials should start to benefit from the adoption of new mobile devices. In the words of the company’s new CEO, Gary Dickerson (former president of Varian, a well-known chip equipment company acquired by Applied on 2012), tablets and smartphones nowadays generate more revenue than all the other semiconductors’ electronics combine

Top US Companies To Invest In 2015: Acme United Corp (ACU)


Acme United Corporation, incorporated in 1882, is a worldwide supplier of cutting, measuring and safety products to the school, home, office, hardware and industrial markets. It markets and sells under five main brands – Westcott, Clauss, Camillus, PhysiciansCare and Pac-Kit. The Company has grouped its operations into three segments based on the Company’s geographical organization and structure: United States, which includes its Asian operations; Canada and Europe. On February 28, 2011, the Company purchased all of the assets of The Pac-Kit Safety Equipment Company, which is a manufacturer of first aid kits for the industrial, safety, transportation and marine markets. In June 2012, the Company acquired selected assets of The C-Thru Ruler Company. In August 2013, the Company purchased a manufacturing and distribution center in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.


The Company’s operations are in the United States, Canada, Europe (located in Germany) and Asia (located in Hong Kong and China). The operations in the United States, Canada and Europe are primarily engaged in product development, marketing, sales, administrative and distribution activities. The operations in Asia consist of sourcing, product development, production planning, quality control and sales activities.

Cutting

Principal products within the cutting device category are scissors, shears, guillotine paper trimmers, rotary paper trimmers, rotary cutters, knives, hobby knives and blades, utility knives, pruners, loppers, saws, manicure products, medical cutting instruments and pencil sharpeners. During the year ended December 31, 2011, products introduced included an expanded line of heavy duty school and office iPoint pencil sharpeners. Other recent product introductions included Westcott TrimAir paper trimmers with patented titanium coating and a blade change system for rotary and personal trimmers, Westcott Ultra Soft Handle scissors with anti- microbial product protection, True Professional sewing shear! s, as well as a line of iPoint pencil sharpeners utilizing the Company’s non-stick coating. The Company also added to its KleenEarth family of recycled products by modifying the production process to allow for multi-colored products as opposed to the traditional black. During 2011, Clauss introduced the AirShoc line of titanium coated non stick garden tools.


Measuring

Principal products within the measuring instrument category are rulers, and math tools. During 2011, product introductions included Westcott branded compasses, protractors, rulers and math kits with anti-microbial product protection.

Safety

Principal products within the safety product category are first aid kits, personal protection products and over-the-counter medication refills. The Company markets these products under the PhysiciansCare brand.

The Company competes with Fiskars Corporation, Helix International Ltd. and Johnson and Johnson.


Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Bristol Voss]

    Acme United (NYSE: ACU) is a global supplier of cutting, measuring and safety products to consumer and industrial markets. It has neatly tracked the S&P small-cap index and shown the least volatility of the three stocks. While its $43.7 million market cap is the lowest of the three, its nearly $14 share price is the highest. It has a forward P/E of 9.2, and its dividend yield is the best of the three at 2.3%. In its most recent quarter, Acme posted a 7% increase in net income and a 3% rise in earnings.

Top US Companies To Invest In 2015: Centor Energy Inc (CNTO)


Centor Energy Inc, formerly Centor, Inc., incorporated on February 16, 2011, is an exploration-stage company. The Company is engaged in the business of mineral exploration.

On November 26, 2012, the Company entered into a purchase agreement with Bullnet Gold Resources Limited. As of May 31, 2013, the Company had not generated revenues. As of May 31, 2013, the Company had no mining operations.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By John Udovich]

    Many American oil and gas investors are probably familiar with the major large and small cap players in the Bakken formation in North Dakota and Montana, but few American investors are probably familiar with the active players further to the north in the oil and gas rich Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta with small cap stocks like Alexander Energy Ltd (CVE: ALX), Renegade Petroleum Ltd (CVE: RPL) and Centor Energy Inc (OTCBB: CNTO) along with large cap Suncor Energy Inc (NYSE: SU) being among those pumping out their share of noteworthy news lately. I should point out that Canada’s oil reserves are ranked #3 after to Venezuela and Saudi Arabia with over 95% of these reserves being the controversial oil sands of Alberta while the neighboring province of Saskatchewan (which the Bakken formation actually stretches into) along with offshore areas of Newfoundland also containing substantial production and reserves. Moreover and excluding the oil sands, Alber ta would have 39% of Canada’s remaining conventional oil reserves, followed by offshore Newfoundland with 28% and Saskatchewan with 27%.

  • [By James E. Brumley]

    Well, that answers that question. Questerre Energy Corp. (TSE:QEC) and Crescent Point Energy Corp. (TSE:CPG) likely knew they had some shale-oil mining neighbors in the Bakken Shale neighborhood in Saskatchewan, Canada, but they hadn’t seen much of that competition. That’s about to change soon. Adequately funded and eager to begin laying its final mining plans, Centor Energy Inc. (OTCBB:CNTO) is going to officially own 55% of a 21,000 acre shale oil property that’s anywhere from just a few miles away to just a few meters away from and Crescent Point Energy’s and Questerre Energy’s operations in one of the oil-richest known areas in the Bakken formation. And to be clear, it’s not like Centor Energy is just getting the ball rolling; the planning for this project has been underway for months. Once the property-acquisition deal is inked in mid-February, CNTO will likely finish up its feasibility study and begin the approval process for its facility later in the year. That’s pr etty quick, but as was noted, a great deal of the legwork has already been done.

  • [By John Udovich]

    While the Bakken formation is already on most investor radars, few American investors may realize that the formation stretches North into the oil and gas rich Canadian province of Saskatchewan where stocks like Surge Energy Inc (TSE: SGY), Questerre Energy Corp (TSE: QEC), Crescent Point Energy Corp (TSE: CPG), Keyera Corp (TSE: KEY) and Centor Energy Inc (OTCBB: CNTO) have been pumping out a good flow of newsworthy news in recent weeks. I should mention that Canada’s oil reserves are ranked #3 after to Venezuela and Saudi Arabia with over 95% of these reserves being the oil sands of Alberta while the neighboring province of Saskatchewan (which the Bakken formation stretches into from South Dakota and Montana) along with offshore areas of Newfoundland also contain substantial production and reserves (Note: Excluding oil sands, Alberta would have 39% of Canada’s remaining conventional oil reserves, followed by offshore Newfoundland with 28% and Saskatchewan with 2 7%).

  • [By James E. Brumley]

    What do Questerre Energy Corp. (TSE:QEC) and Crescent Point Energy Corp. (TSE:CPG) know about oil in Saskatchewan that Centor Energy Inc. (OTCBB:CNTO) doesn’t? Absolutely nothing. All three companies know there’s oil in the southern part of the Canadian province, and they know exactly how to go get it. The only difference between QEC, CPG, and CNTO is, Questerre Energy and Crescent Point Energy are further along the development of their operations there than Centor Energy.

Top US Companies To Invest In 2015: Lucara Diamond Corp (LUCRF.PK)


Lucara Diamond Corp. (Lucara) is a diamond development company focused in Africa. The business of Lucara consists of the acquisition, exploration and development of diamond properties. The principal assets of Lucara and the focus of Lucara’s development and exploration activities are its interest in mining, exploration and prospecting diamond licenses in Lesotho, Botswana and Namibia. The Company’s project Mothae Diamond Project is located in northeast Lesotho. In May 2010, it commenced test mining in Mothae Diamond Project-Lesotho. Mothae Diamonds (PTY) Ltd (Mothae Diamonds), an indirect 75% owned subsidiary of the Company, holds a 100% interest in the Mothae project. As of March 23, 2011, a total of 175,000 dry tons had been processed from the C domain, producing 5,484 carats at an average grade of 3.13 carats per hundred tons. In December 2010, the Company completed the acquisition of African Diamonds PLC, upon which Lucara indirectly owns 100% of the AK6 Diamond Proje ct. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By John Leonard]

    Lucara Diamond (LUCRF.PK) is still being valued as a riskier exploration stage miner rather than a profitable and growing producer. The current "backward looking" valuation fails to reflect the recent and significant operational transition.

Top US Companies To Invest In 2015: Humboldt Capital Corp (HMB)

Humboldt Capital Corporation (Humboldt) is an investment company with its holdings concentrated in the resource sector. The Company’s principal business is to purchase securities for investment income and capital appreciation over the long term. The Company provides early-stage risk capital, business experience and guidance to junior oil and gas enterprises. Humboldt is engaged in making investments in a range of very small to large companies, which are in turn engaged in the exploration, development, production and acquisition of crude oil and natural gas or minerals, or companies, which provides services to such companies. Humboldt also makes investments in other businesses that have potential for growth. Humboldt has investments in western Canadian energy companies, international oil and gas companies and in the mining sector, with particular emphasis on companies exploring or producing commodities. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Tom Stoukas]

    Ladbrokes (LAD) Plc plunged to its lowest price in almost a year after issuing a profit warning for its digital division. Thomas Cook Group Plc slid 6.6 percent after it said winter bookings have slowed. Hennes & Mauritz AB (HMB), Europe’s second-biggest clothing retailer, rose to its highest price after posting third-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates.

  • [By Namitha Jagadeesh]

    Zurich Insurance Group AG (ZURN) lost 3.6 percent after second-quarter profit missed analysts’ estimates. Hennes & Mauritz AB (HMB) declined the most in seven weeks as Europe’s second-biggest clothing retailer reported worse-than-expected sales. BG Group Plc, which derives 20 percent of its oil-and-gas production from Egypt, slipped 2.4 percent as the death toll from nationwide violence in the most populous Arab country climbed above 500.

  • [By Inyoung Hwang]

    EasyJet Plc and International Consolidated Airlines Group SA climbed as oil prices fell after the U.S. and Russia agreed on a plan to destroy Syrian chemical weapons. Hennes & Mauritz AB (HMB) advanced to a three-year high after sales topped estimates. Remy Cointreau SA (RCO) soared the most in almost four years as Chinese cognac shipments increased.

Top US Companies To Invest In 2015: Austin Engineering Ltd (ANG)

Austin Engineering Limited is engaged in the manufacture, repair, overhaul and supply of mining attachment products, general steelwork structures and other associated products and services for the industrial and resources-related business sectors. The Company operates in four segments: Australia, which includes mining equipment, other products and repair and maintenance services; Americas, which includes mining equipment and other products, consisting of North America and South America; Asia, which includes Indonesia for mining equipment and other products, and the Middle East, which includes aluminum smelter equipment and products. In October 2013, Austin Engineering Limited completed the acquisition of the business of Servigrut. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Julia Leite]

    South African miners rallied after a recovery in gold prices. The FTSE/JSE Africa All-Share Index climbed 1.5 percent in Johannesburg, with Harmony Gold Mining Co. (HAR) and AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. (ANG) adding at least 5.2 percent.

Top US Companies To Invest In 2015: Southwest Airlines Co (LUV)

Southwest Airlines Co., incorporated on March 9, 1967, operates Southwest Airlines, a passenger airline, which provides scheduled air transportation in the United States. As of December 31, 2011, the Company was serving 72 cities in 37 states throughout the United States. During the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company added addition services in two new states and three new cities: Charleston, South Carolina; Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina; and Newark, New Jersey. Southwest provides point-to-point. On May 2, 2011, the Company acquired AirTran Holdings, Inc. (AirTran).


AirTran’s route system provides hub-and-spoke, rather than point-to-point, service, with approximately half of AirTran’s flights originating or terminating at its hub in Atlanta, Georgia. AirTran also serves a range of markets with non-stop service from bases of operation in Baltimore, Maryland; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Orlando, Florida. As of December 31, 2011, AirTran was serv ing 68 United States and near-international destinations, including San Juan, Puerto Rico; Cancun, Mexico; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Nassau, The Bahamas; Oranjestad, Aruba; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and Bermuda. As of January 31, 2012, AirTran served 65 destinations. During 2011, approximately 71% of Southwest’s customers flew non-stop, and Southwest’s average aircraft trip stage length was 664 miles with an average duration of approximately 1.8 hours.


As of December 31, 2011, Southwest offered 25 weekday roundtrips from Dallas Love Field to Houston Hobby, 13 weekday roundtrips from Phoenix to Las Vegas, 13 weekday roundtrips from Burbank to Oakland, and 12 weekday roundtrips from Los Angeles International to Oakland. Southwest offers connecting service opportunities from over 60 Southwest cities to different Volaris airports in Mexico including Aguascalientes, Guadalajara, Mexico City (MEX), Mexico City-Toluca (TLC), Morelia, and Zacatecas. The Company’ s International Connect portal conducts two separate transac! tions: one with Southwest’s reservation system and one with Volaris’s reservation system.

Southwest bundles fares into three categories: Wanna Get Away, Anytime, and Business Select. Wanna Get Away fares are lowest fares. Business Select fares are refundable and changeable, and funds may be applied toward future travel on Southwest. Business Select fares also include additional perks, such as priority boarding, a frequent flyer point multiplier, priority security and ticket counter access in select airports, and one complimentary adult beverage coupon for the day of travel. The Company’s Internet Website, southwest.com, is the avenue for Southwest Customers to purchase tickets online. During 2011, southwest.com accounted for approximately 78% of all Southwest bookings. During 2011, approximately 84% of Southwest’s Passenger revenues came through its Website, including revenues from SWABIZ, the Company’s business travel reservation Web page.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Airline stocks are getting hammered today after Lufthansa issued a profit warning. Delta Air Lines (DAL) has, while United Continental (UAL) has, American Airlines (AAL) has and Southwest Airlines (LUV) has.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    You can never let a little good news stand between you and your desire to sell. That seems to be the case for American Airlines (AAL) and Southwest Airlines (LUV) today, who’s solid revenue numbers have caused shares of these airlines–as well as Delta Air Lines (DAL) and United Continental (UAL) to fall today.

  • [By Tim Beyers]

    We don’t yet have full data on the discounters, but JetBlue endured a year-over-year decline in April. In May, Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV  ) enjoyed an almost Delta-like gain of 1.8 percentage points to end with an 83.7% load factor. Passenger revenue miles improved 0.6% as a result, and that’s despite a 5.6% decline in trips flown.