By Anthony Harrington
At the recent economic forum to thrash out a new partnership model between Africa and France, Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank (ADB), said that if Africa could find ways of financing and developing improved infrastructure, the continent could push growth beyond the current year on year average of 5% to 7% and beyond. He said:
"We are all pleased and satisfied with the five percent GDP growth for the continent recorded in the past few years. But this rate is insufficient for our needs in Africa. Given strong demographic growth, the required growth rate should stand at 7%. The gap between 5% and 7% is due to poor infrastructure hindering the continent's development."
Europe, of course, would love to have five percent growth, never mind seven percent. So what is fueling growth in Africa? According to the McKinsey Global Institute, while
By George Leong, B.Comm
Currently, Apple Inc. (AAPL) is largely considered a commodity stock that needs to excite investors with new innovations and growth in order to propel its long-term growth.
The stock has been stuck in a relatively tight range between $500.00 and $560.00 since late October 2013, as Apple looks for stronger growth opportunities and convinces the stock market that it can expand its business and not just depend on “iPhone” and “iPad” sales.
To this point, the company took a positive step forward after announcing it was launching its “CarPlay” solution for the auto sector that aims at making the iPhone a powerful add-on in the car. The solution will allow drivers with iPhones access to multiple services while driving. The solution will be initially launched with high-end automakers, such as Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo, but it will eventually be available across a much wider auto segment.
Update: Since this article was submitted COUP priced at $16, the conclusion remains the same.
Based in Mountain View, CA, Coupons.com (COUP) scheduled a $130 million IPO on the NYSE with a market capitalization of $945 million at a price range midpoint of $13 for Friday, March 7, 2014.
The full IPO calendar is available at IPOpremium.
Manager, Joint managers: Goldman Sachs, Allen & Company, BofA Merrill Lynch, RBC Capital Markets
COUP operates a leading digital promotion platform that connects great brands and retailers with consumers.
COUP loss % of revenue was -7% in 2013, an improvement from -53% in 2013, and COUP moved to profitability in its seasonally strong December quarter.
The decrease in loss rate for all of 2013 was partially due to COUP's cutting sales and marketing expense to $62 million from $64 million, while top line revenue increased 50%
Valero Energy Partners LP (VLP)
Q4 2013 Earnings Conference Call
March 7, 2014 11:00 AM ET
John Locke - Executive Director, IR
Joe Gorder - Director and CEO
Donna Titzman - Director, SVP, CFO and Treasurer
Rich Lashway - Director, President and COO
Jeremy Tonet - J.P. Morgan
Brian Zarahn - Barclays Capital
TJ Schultz - RBC Capital Markets
Welcome to the Valero Energy Partners’ Fourth Quarter 2013 Earnings Results Conference Call. My name is Christine, and I will be your operator for today’s call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. Please note that this conference is being recorded.
I will now turn the call over to John Locke, Executive Director of Investor Relations. You may begin.
Thank you, Christine. Good morning everyone and welcome to Valero Energy Partners’ inaugural earnings conference call
Lehigh Gas Partners (LGP)
Q4 2013 Earnings Conference Call
March 07, 2014 09:00 AM ET
Joe Topper - Chairman and CEO
Mark Miller - CFO and Treasurer
Dave Hrinak - President
Ben Brownlow - Raymond James
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Fourth Quarter 2013 Earnings Conference Call for Lehigh Gas Partners. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. Instructions will be given to you at that time on how you may participate.
This conference may contain forward-looking statements relation to the Partnership’s future business expectations and predictions and financial conditions and results of operations. These forward-looking statements involve certain risks and uncertainties. The Partnership has listed some of the important factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in such forward-looking statements, which are referred to
Editor's Note: This article covers a stock trading at less than $1 per share and/or with less than a $100 million market cap. Please be aware of the risks associated with these stocks.
Results from David Fish's Dividend Champions Index members from Yahoo Finance tallied as of market closing prices February 28, 2014 were compared with analyst mean target gain results one year out. The resulting chart of that data below displayed eight stocks posting 4.1% to 12% price upsides. The eight included one technology sector firm at the top; a basic materials dog second; two consumer goods firms in third and seventh places; two financial firms fourth and eighth; one services representative in fifth; a utility in sixth.
Below, Arnold top dog selections for February by yield, price upsides, and net gain upsides were disclosed step by step. Four actionable conclusions were drawn.
Actionable Conclusion (1): 8 Champion
Information Services Group Inc. (III)
Q4 2013 Earnings Conference Call
March 7, 2014 9:00 am ET
Michael Connors – Chairman, Chief Executive Officer
David Berger – Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
Barry Holt – Senior Advisor
Vincent Colicchio – Noble Financial
Marco Rodriguez – Stonegate Securities
Justin Ruiss – Sidoti
Good morning ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the Information Services Group Fourth Quarter and 2013 Year-End conference call. Today’s conference is being recorded and a replay will be available on ISG’s website within 24 hours.
At this time for opening remarks and introductions, I’d like to turn the conference over to Mr. Barry Holt. Please go ahead, sir.
Thank you, Operator. Hello and good morning. My name is Barry Holt. I’m a senior communications executive at ISG. I’d like to welcome everyone to ISG’s 2013 fourth quarter and full-year results conference call.
Around one year ago, I wrote an article titled "Gold Speculators Are Being Fed". In it, I explained that anecdotal observation was similar to what had happened in the previous gold (GLD) bubble back in the early eighties. The anecdotal observation was regarding the huge increase in the number of gold-buying stores. Since then gold has performed poorly.
So poorly, in fact, that many of these gold-buying stores are now closing; be it due to lower volumes or to lower pricing, the fact is that the business is no longer as attractive. A new kind of store, however, is cropping up everywhere, sometimes even in the very places where gold stores close. The new kind of store is a store selling e-cigarettes.
This development doesn't mean much for gold, but it does have meaning for the tobacco industry. I had already written on how e-cigarettes were a threat
I know what you're saying - "you wrote this article yesterday!"
But, alas, the good news keeps piling in for Ford (F), while the stock keeps staying right around the same price. At some point, as I said in my article yesterday, I'm expecting this to change.
If you're in Ford for the same reasons that I am, you're in it for the international growth. Domestically, it's been a bit of a rough winter across the board in tons of different sectors - we all know that. But, we're expecting the sales that we didn't see in January and February to eventually make their way to the dealerships when it warms up -whenever that is.
Meanwhile the good news from overseas continues. Seeking Alpha reported yesterday afternoon, just hours after my article was published:
- The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reports auto sales in the U.K.
Spark Networks (LOV) owns and operates two internet dating properties, jdate.com and christianmingle.com. JDate is an annuity-like cash flow machine, generating contribution margins around 90% and requiring very little marketing spend given its enviable position ("moat") among the demographic it serves. Meanwhile, management continues to invest the JDate cash flow in its growth platform, christianmingle.com.
I do have to admit, on the surface, the subscriber growth trends in Christian Mingle do not instill my animal spirits. While subscribers are up meaningfully year/year (~24,000), Christian Mingle lost around five thousand subscribers sequentially.
(Source: 2013 earnings release)
Is there a reason for lack of subscriber growth at Christian Mingle?Management provided a bit of good insight on the call, which I think is helpful. It has to do with first time renewals. Net subscriber growth, of course, is driven by two variables: (1) gross adds and (2) churn. For every subscriber
The American equity market and the national economy headed in different directions in February, as the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) advanced to an all-time-high monthly closing share price of $186.29 and my U.S. Economic Index (USEI) declined to a four-year low of 51.80.
As is widely known, SPY is an exchange-traded fund based on the S&P 500 large-capitalization stock index. As is not widely known, the USEI is the result of my effort to capture all U.S. economic activity in a single monthly figure founded on my torturing of Institute for Supply Management (ISM) manufacturing and nonmanufacturing numbers. (I have discussed the relationship between SPY and the USEI previously at both J.J.'s Risky Business and Seeking Alpha.)
All else being equal, I believe changes in the U.S. equity market mirror changes in the national economy. And vice versa. I monitor this continuous feedback loop between the
By Michael Lombardi, MBA
Consumer spending in the U.S. economy is highly correlated to consumer confidence. If consumers are worried about the economy, they pull back on their spending.
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index decreased by 1.63% in February from January. (Source: Conference Board, February 25, 2014.) And we see the corresponding pullback on consumer spending in weak U.S. retail sales.
Macy's, Inc. (M) reported a decline of 1.6% in revenue in its latest quarter - which includes the holiday season. For its just-completed fiscal year, company revenues were up by only 0.9%. (Source: Macy's, Inc., February 25, 2014.)
Sears Holdings Corporation (SHLD) reported a decline of 12.6% in revenues in its latest quarter. Yes, I know this company is having problems. But a drop in revenue of 12.6% for a retail giant like this - and during the holiday shopping season - is an indicator that consumer
The recent launch of new video game consoles of Xbox One and PS4 have resulted in slowing down of game software sales as the publishers are yet to create games geared for these consoles. However, publisher Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA) does not have much to worry about. According to NPD, during December, three games by Electronic Arts were in the top ten listing. Shooter game Battlefield 4 was the second highest selling game with Madden NFL 25 coming in fourth and FIFA 14 at the ninth place. As Electronic Arts continues to expand their digital offerings, their revenue growth is returning.
Electronic Arts’ Financials
Electronic Arts’ third quarter revenues grew 33% over the year to $1.57 billion, falling short of the Street’s projections of $1.66 billion. EPS of $1.26 was, however, ahead of the market’s targeted earnings of $1.23 per share.
Mobile was the high growth segment for the company
By New Deal Democrat
In February 175,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy. The unemployment rate rose slightly, up 0.1% to 6.7% . December and January were both revised upward by a total of +25,000. Given the relatively poor data in a number of sectors that we have seen in the last couple of months, this was a surprisingly decent report - although there are a few cracks in the facade.
As usual, first, let's look at the more leading numbers in the report which tell us about where the economy is likely to be a few months from now. These were either positive or neutral:
- The average manufacturing workweek was unchanged at 40.7 hours (but is down 0.3 hours from several months ago). This is one of the 10 components of the LEI.
- Construction jobs increased by 15,000. YoY 152,000 construction jobs have been added.
- Manufacturing jobs rose
The High Yield Dividend Champion stock portfolio has been updated for February. The portfolio is tracked publicly as a continuous hypothetical portfolio with a starting balance of $100,000 on Scott’s Investments.
The High Yield Dividend Champion Portfolio uses a small number of historically relevant ideas to create a simple, yet powerful investment plan. As I previously detailed, “Some studies have shown that the, highest yielding, low payout stocks perform better over time than stocks with higher payouts and lower yields.”
The High Yield Dividend Champion Portfolio attempts to capture the best high yield, low payout stocks with a history of raising dividends. There are numerous ways to rank high yield/low payout stocks. The screening process for this portfolio starts with the “Dividend Champions” as compiled by DRIP Investing. The list is comprised of stocks that have increased their dividend payout for at least 25 consecutive years.
The following is a summary and extension of my post-employment tweets.
- 175k +25k revisions, nice jobs figure. Oh, but unemployment up to 6.7%. Love how these seem to always provide opposite surprises.
- One of my favorite labor charts. Want a job now, versus the unemployment rate:
- One way to add more jobs is to have them all work less. Is this an Obamacare effect since part-timers don't count?
(click to enlarge)
- …regardless, fewer hours worked ->lower output. Expect more downward revisions to Q1 growth estimates. Q2 too, if this is ACA.
- If we all end up with jobs, but we're all working only 30 hours per week, is that better than if only 93% have jobs, working 40?
It will be interesting over the next few months to see if the hours worked figures are weather-related (as will be claimed). I suspect that for the most part, they are not.
Former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Ben Bernanke argued that the way to speed up economic growth was to create a consumer "wealth effect" and this would drive consumption spending, which would lead to business investment, and so on and so forth.
The support of this argument came from his academic research, among other things.
Well, in the first instance, Mr. Bernanke was very successful in his tenure as Chairman of the Fed. We read in the Wall Street Journal, "U.S. Household Net Worth Hits Record High."
"Americans' wealth hit the highest level ever last year…reflecting a surge in the value of stocks and homes that has boosted the most affluent U. S. households."
Mr. Bernanke was a success, after all!
Well, at least it appears so.
But, there are rumblings on the sidelines. For example, Andrew Smithers writes in the Financial
by Taras Berezowsky
The consultancy that has undergone a post-Colonel Sanders-ification of its name, EY (formerly known as Ernst & Young; just as 'KFC' left 'Kentucky Fried Chicken' in the dust), have an index that shows the United States' renewables sector could be on its way down - giving way to, who else, China.
According to EY in an e-mailed report:
"China scored 73.1 out of 100 on the Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index in the fourth quarter, up from 71.6 in the third, while the U.S. slipped to 74.4 from 74.7."
Germany, Japan and the UK were next in line.
It could be likely that China's renewable energy demand, driven in large part by cutting down on air pollution, is itself driving the prices of neodymium, silicon, cobalt cathodes and other materials used by PVs, wind turbines, etc. The monthly Renewables MMI registered a value of 65 in
By Michael Lombardi, MBA
The chart below is of the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index, an index that tracks home prices in the U.S. housing market. As the chart shows, from their peak in 2007 to their low in late 2011, U.S. homes prices fell by about 30%. Since then, prices in the housing market have improved, but they are still down about 20% compared to 2007. Basically, home prices have recouped only one-third of their losses from the 2007 real estate crash.
Yes, the U.S. housing market has regained some lost ground, but it’s far from being back to where it was in 2007. And I’m very worried about the pace of the housing market recovery; I feel that the recovery is in jeopardy.
(click to enlarge)
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
Consider this: the interest rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage tracked by Freddie Mac increased to 4.43% in
SandRidge Permian Trust (PER) provided an updated PV-10 report in its 10-K published on February 28, 2014. This article augments information provided in the on-going series of reports on the Trust performance since its IPO.
The most recent PV-10 at SandRidge Permian Trust showed a standardized measure drop from $13.39 to $11.16 per unit. When underlying production of 1,515 MBOE in 2013 is taken into account and a generally favorable product pricing compared to 2012, the downward adjustment is a harsh, but probably not totally unexpected, result by the market. A big component in the drop is shown in the graph below, a 2,192 MBOE downward adjustment in proven reserves estimated to be recoverable by the Trust. This is a 10.2% reduction if you look at the number from the perspective of the proven reserve estimate of 21,559 provided as an estimate to new investors at the IPO of the