Sunday, March 23, 2014

Top Healthcare Technology Companies To Buy For 2014

USA TODAY markets reporter Matt Krantz answers a different reader question every weekday. To submit a question, e-mail Matt at

Q: Have any South African companies emerged for investors?

A: South Africa at times showed promise to be an economic powerhouse. But global public outcry over apartheid turned the country into a political hot spot instead.

Some hoped that would change. In 1991, the last major apartheid rules were repealed and Nelson Mandela was elected president of the African National Congress. That means the African nation has had more than two decades to reinvigorate its economy and return to the global trade stage.

FULL COVERAGE: Nelson Mandela

So far, though, the nation hasn't been a big incubator for companies. Investors interested in this region of the world can invest in a basket of South African companies through the iShares MSCI South Africa exchange traded fund (EZA).

Top Healthcare Technology Companies To Buy For 2014: NxStage Medical Inc.(NXTM)

NxStage Medical, Inc., a medical device company, develops, manufactures, and markets products for the treatment of kidney failure, fluid overload, and related blood treatments and procedures. Its primary product, the NxStage System One, is a portable hemodialysis system used for home hemodialysis and a range of dialysis therapies for chronic home hemodialysis treatment, and the treatment of acute kidney failure and fluid overload. The NxStage System One comprises components, such as The NxStage Cycler, a compact portable electromechanical device; The NxStage Cartridge, a single-use integrated treatment cartridge; and premixed dialysate for hemodialysis applications. The company also sells a line of extracorporeal disposable products for use primarily for in-center dialysis treatments for patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD); and needles and blood tubing sets primarily to dialysis clinics for the treatment of ESRD. NxStage Medical, Inc. markets its products primaril y to dialysis clinics, nephrologists, and hospitals through distributors and sales representatives in the United States, Mexico, and Europe. The company was formerly known as QB Medical, Inc. and changed its name to NxStage Medical, Inc. NxStage Medical, Inc. founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By John Udovich]

    Small cap dialysis stock Rockwell Medical Inc (NASDAQ: RMTI) looks set to decline when the market opens after Brean Capital initiated coverage with a sell rating and a price target of $4.00, meaning it might be time to take a closer look at what is going on with the stock along with�the performance of large cap dialysis stocks DaVita Healthcare Partners (NYSE: DVA)�and Fresenius Medical Care (NYSE: FMS) along with small cap dialysis stocks NxStage Medical, Inc (NASDAQ: NXTM).�

Top Healthcare Technology Companies To Buy For 2014: US Ecology Inc.(ECOL)

US Ecology, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides waste treatment, disposal, recycling, and transportation services to commercial and government entities in the United States. The company offers treatment and disposal services for radioactive, hazardous, polychlorinated biphenyl, and non-hazardous industrial wastes. Its customers include oil refineries, chemical production facilities, manufacturers, electric utilities, steel mills, biotechnology companies, military installations, waste brokers/aggregators, and medical and academic institutions. The company was formerly known as American Ecology Corporation and changed its name to US Ecology, Inc. in February 2010. US Ecology, Inc. was founded in 1952 and is headquartered in Boise, Idaho.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Seth Jayson]

    US Ecology (Nasdaq: ECOL  ) is expected to report Q1 earnings on April 25. Here's what Wall Street wants to see:

    The 10-second takeaway
    Comparing the upcoming quarter to the prior-year quarter, average analyst estimates predict US Ecology's revenues will increase 20.4% and EPS will grow 19.0%.

  • [By Brian Pacampara]

    Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, hazardous waste disposal specialist US Ecology (NASDAQ: ECOL  ) has earned a coveted five-star ranking.

  • [By Lauren Pollock]

    Among the stocks to watch in Monday’s session are US Ecology Inc.(ECOL), Akamai, and Dow Chemical Co.(DOW)

    US Ecology again raised its earnings guidance for the year, pointing to strong volumes and accelerated project shipments, but warned its results for next year may take a hit as a result. The company, which provides waste- management and recycling services, also outlined plans to offer about $100 million in stock. Shares dropped 10% to $34.51 premarket.

Top 5 Performing Stocks For 2014: Ulta Salon Cosmetics and Fragrance Inc (ULTA)

Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. (Ulta), incorporated on January 9, 1990, is a beauty retailer, which provides one-stop shopping for prestige, mass and salon products and salon services in the United States. During the year ended January 28, 2012 (fiscal 2011), the Company opened 61 new stores. It operates full-service salons in all of its stores. Its Ulta store format includes an open and modern salon area with approximately eight to 10 stations. The entire salon area is approximately 950 square feet with a concierge desk, skin treatment room, semi-private shampoo and hair color processing areas. Each salon is a full-service salon offering hair cuts, hair coloring and permanent texture, with salons also providing facials and waxing.

The Company offers products in the categories, such as cosmetics, which includes products for the face, eyes, cheeks, lips and nails; haircare, which includes shampoos, conditioners, styling products, and hair accessories; salon styling tools, which includes hair dryers, curling irons and flat irons; skincare and bath and body, which includes products for the face, hands and body; fragrance for both men and women; private label, consisting of Ulta branded cosmetics, skincare, bath and body products and haircare, and other, including candles, home fragrance products and other miscellaneous health and beauty products. The Company has combined its three operating segments: retail stores, salon services and e-commerce, into one reportable segment.

The Company competes with Macy��, Nordstrom, Sephora, Bath & Body Works, CVS/pharmacy, Walgreens, Target, Wal-Mart, Regis Corp., Sally Beauty and JCPenney salons.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Johanna Bennett]

    Ulta Salon Cosmetics & Fragrance (ULTA) dropped 20% after the company issued a cautious outlook for the current quarter, as the beauty-products retailer warned of soft sales trends and likely high promotions during the holiday season

  • [By Amal Singh]

    Some companies in the beauty and personal care segment have one important characteristic -- a recession-proof nature, which is a result of everyone's desire to look beautiful and young. This brings us to Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance (NASDAQ: ULTA  ) and Sally Beauty Holdings (NYSE: SBH  ) . Both have performed quite well over the last few years, as shown in the chart below, even during the recession (the gray area being the recession period). Their performance stands in stark contrast to that of�Regis (NYSE: RGS  ) , which has seen its top line drop continuously after peaking in 2008.

Top Healthcare Technology Companies To Buy For 2014: National Bank of Greece SA (NBGA)

National Bank of Greece SA (the Bank) is a Greece-based financial institution. It provides a range of financial services including retail and commercial banking, asset management, brokerage, investment banking, insurance and real estate at a global level. Its segments are: Retail Banking, which mainly offers different types of loans, deposits and investment products; Corporate and Investment Banking, which includes financial and investment advisory services, deposit accounts, loans, foreighn exchange and trade service activities; Global Markets and Asset Management, which includes all treasury activities, private banking, asset management, custody services, private equity and brokerage; Insurance; International Banking Operations; Turkish Banking Operations, as well as Other. In September 2013, state-owned Hellenic Financial Stability Fund acquired an 84.39% interest in the Company. On December 30, 2013, it sold a 66% of its subsidiary National Pangaea REIC to Invel Real Estate II BV. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By codyeustice1@google]

    National Bank of Greece (ETE),(NBGA),(NBG) is a Greece global banking and financial service company with its headquarters in Athens, Greece. The bank offers financial products, and services, brokerage, insurance, asset management, shipping finance, leasing and factoring markets. It was founded by Swiss banker Jean-Gabriel Eynard and George Starvros in 1841 as a commerical bank. From its inception until the establishment of the Bank of Greece in 1928, it had the right to issue banknotes. The bank listed on the Athens Stock Exchange right after its founding in the 1880s.

Top Healthcare Technology Companies To Buy For 2014: Korian SA (KORI)

Korian SA is a France-based company that operates healthcare facilities and medical establishments. The Company's holdings include residential centers for the elderly (EHPAD), offering permanent social care and medical support; follow-up care and rehabilitation centers, including general and specialized centers. Korian SA's establishments are located in France, Italy and Germany via its subsidiaries, Segesta S.p.A., Phonix GmBH, Reacti Malt SAS, Sas La Normandie, Sa La Bastide de la tourne, Sas Mapadex La Roseraie, among others. In March 8, 2013, it finalized the acquisition of Curanum AG by Korian SA's Korian Deutschland AG. In February 2014, it announced the acquisition of a clinic in Florence and the sale of the psychiatry division in France comprising seven clinics and two nursing homes. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Corinne Gretler]

    Korian (KORI) declined 3.8 percent to 24.35 euros. The merger with Medica will create the largest French operator of nursing homes. Medica holders will receive Korian stock valued at about 23.01 euros a share, the companies said in a statement today. That�� 15 percent above Medica�� closing price on Nov. 15. Medica shares added 2.4 percent to 20.50 euros.

Top Healthcare Technology Companies To Buy For 2014: Assurant Inc (AIZ)

Assurant, Inc. (Assurant) is a provider of specialized insurance products and related services in North America and select worldwide markets. The Company operates in four segments: Assurant Solutions, Assurant Specialty Property, Assurant Health, and Assurant Employee Benefits. The products offered by the segments include warranties and service contracts, pre-funded funeral insurance, lender-placed homeowners insurance, manufactured housing homeowners insurance, individual health and small employer group health insurance, group dental, disability, and life insurance and employee-funded voluntary benefits. On June 21, 2011, the Company acquired the SureDeposit business, the provider of security deposit alternatives to the multifamily housing industry. In October 2013, FirstService Corporation completed the sale of its Field Asset Services business to Assurant, Inc. In October 2013, Assurant Inc acquired Lifestyle Services Group Ltd.

Assurant Solutions

Assurant Solutions targets three product areas: domestic and international extended service contracts (ESC) and warranties, preneed life insurance, and international credit insurance. Through partnerships with retailers and original equipment manufacturers, the Company underwrites and provides administrative services for ESC and warranties. These contracts provide consumers with coverage on cellular phones, personal computers, consumer electronics, appliances, automobiles and recreational vehicles, protecting them from certain covered losses. It pays the cost of repairing or replacing customers��property in the event of mechanical breakdown, accidental damage, and casualty losses such as theft, fire, and water damage. The Company provides administration, claims handling and customer service. Preneed life insurance allows individuals to prepay for a funeral in a single payment or in multiple payments over a fixed number of years. The insurance policy proceeds are used to address funeral costs at death. These products are only so! ld in the United States and Canada and are generally structured as whole life insurance policies in the United States and annuity products in Canada.

The Company�� credit insurance products offer protection from life events and uncertainties that arise in purchasing and borrowing transactions. Credit insurance programs offer consumers the option to protect a credit card balance or installment loan in the event of death, involuntary unemployment or disability, and are generally available to all consumers without the underwriting restrictions that apply to term life insurance. In addition to the domestic market, the Company operates in Canada, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Chile, Germany, Spain, Italy, Mexico and China. In these markets, it primarily sells ESC and credit insurance products through agreements with financial institutions, retailers and wireless service providers.

Assurant Specialty Property

The product line within Assurant Specialty Property is homeowners insurance, consisting principally of fire and dwelling hazard insurance offered through its lender-placed programs. The lender-placed program provides collateral protection to lenders, mortgage servicers and investors in mortgaged properties in the event that a homeowner does not maintain insurance on a mortgaged dwelling. Lender-placed insurance coverage is not limited to the outstanding loan balance; it provides structural coverage, similar to that of a standard homeowners policy. The policy is based on the replacement cost of the property and ensures that a home can be repaired or rebuilt completely in the event of damage. The Company also provides insurance to some of its clients on properties that have been foreclosed and are being managed by its clients. This type of insurance is called Real Estate Owned (REO) insurance. Lender-placed and voluntary manufactured housing insurance: Manufactured housing insurance is offered on a lender-placed and voluntary basis. Lender-plac! ed insura! nce is issued after an insurance tracking process similar to that described above. The tracking is performed by Assurant Specialty Property using an insurance tracking administration system, or by the lenders themselves.

The Company has developed products in adjacent and emerging markets, such as the lender-placed flood and mandatory insurance rental markets. It also acts as an administrator for the United States Government under the voluntary National Flood Insurance Program, for which it earns a fee for collecting premiums and processing claims. This business is 100% reinsured to the Federal Government. The Company offers its manufactured housing insurance programs primarily through manufactured housing lenders and retailers, along with independent specialty agents. The independent specialty agents distribute flood products and miscellaneous specialty property products. Multi-family housing products are distributed primarily through property management companies and affinity marketing partners. Its lender-placed homeowners insurance program and certain of its manufactured home products are not underwritten on an individual policy basis.

Assurant Health

Assurant Health offers medical insurance and short-term medical insurance to individuals and families in the medical insurance market. Its products are offered with different plan options. Assurant Health also offers medical insurance to small employer groups. The Company�� medical insurance products are sold to individuals, primarily between the ages of 18 and 64, and their families, who do not have employer-sponsored coverage. It offers a variety of benefit plans at different price points. The Company�� group medical insurance is primarily sold to small companies with 2 to 50 employees, although larger employer coverage is available. The Company�� health insurance products are principally marketed through a network of independent agents. It also markets through a variety of national account relationships ! and direc! t distribution channels. In addition, the Company markets its products through North Star Marketing, a wholly owned affiliate.

Assurant Employee Benefits

The Company offers group disability, dental, vision, life and supplemental worksite products, as well as individual dental products. The group products are offered with funding options ranging from fully employer-paid to fully employee-paid (voluntary). In addition, it reinsures disability and life products through its wholly owned subsidiary, Disability Reinsurance Management Services, Inc. (DRMS). Group disability insurance provides partial replacement of lost earnings for insured employees who become disabled, as defined by their plan provisions. The Company�� products include both short- and long-term disability coverage options. It also reinsures disability policies written by other carriers through its DRMS subsidiary.

Dental benefit plans provide funding for necessary or elective dental care. Customers may select a traditional indemnity arrangement, a preferred provider organization (PPO) arrangement, or a prepaid or managed care arrangement. Coverage is subject to deductibles, coinsurance and annual or lifetime maximums. In a prepaid plan, members must use participating dentists in order to receive benefits. Assurant Employee Benefits owns and operates Dental Health Alliance, L.L.C., a dental PPO network. The Company also has an agreement with Aetna that allows it to use Aetna�� Dental Access network. Fully insured vision coverage is offered through its agreement with Vision Service Plan, Inc., a supplier of vision insurance. The Company�� plans cover eye exams, glasses and contact lenses, and are sold in combination with one or more of its other products.

Group term life insurance provided through the workplace provides benefits in the event of death. The Company also provides accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance. Insurance consists primarily of renewable term life insu! rance wit! h the amount of coverage provided being either a flat amount, a multiple of the employee�� earnings, or a combination of the two. It also reinsures life policies written by other carriers through DRMS. In addition, the Company provides group critical illness, cancer, accident, and gap insurance. These products are paid for by the employee through payroll deduction, and the employee is enrolled in the coverage(s) at the worksite. Its products and services are distributed through a group sales force located in 34 offices near metropolitan areas.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Specialized insurance products provider�Assurant (NYSE: AIZ  ) announced yesterday its third-quarter dividend of $0.25 per share, the same rate it paid last quarter after raising the payout 19%, from $0.21 per share.

  • [By Whitney Kisling]

    Assurant (AIZ), the insurer of foreclosed homes, has climbed 72 percent in 2013, extending the rally since the bull market started to 245 percent. Per-share profit the last two quarters exceeded analyst projections. Earnings growth at the New York-based company will slow to 1 percent next year and 5 percent in 2015, when sales contract, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Top Healthcare Technology Companies To Buy For 2014: Nissan Motor Co Ltd (NSANY)

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. is engaged in the manufacturing, sales and related business of automotive products, industrial machinery and marine equipment. The Company has two business segments: automobile and sales financing. The automobile segment is engaged in the passenger cars, trucks, buses, forklifts, manufacturing parts for oversea production. The sales financing segment is engaged in credit, lease. The Sales financing segment consists of Nissan Financial Services Co., Ltd. (Japan), Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation (USA), NR Finance Mexico S.A. de C.V. SOFOM E.N.R (Mexico) and other seven companies, totaling 10 companies, and sales finance operations of Nissan Canada Inc. (Canada).

The Company has four production bases in Japan, United States, Spain, and Sweden, producing approximately 30,000 units annually for distribution in 85 countries. The Company has geographic operations in various countries, which include North America, Europe and Other. North America consists of The United States of America, Canada, and Mexico; Europe consists of France, The United Kingdom, Spain and other European countries, and Other, which includes Asia, Oceania, the Middle East, Central and South America excluding Mexico, and South Africa.

Advisors' Opinion:

    LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) - Japanese stocks chugged higher early Thursday, finding support after a record close for the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and by strengthening in the U.S. dollar versus the yen. The Nikkei Stock Average (JP:NIK) rose 0.5% to 15,888.56, and the broader Topix tacked on 0.6%, with gains also coming after Japanese core machinery orders surpassed expectations. Among exporters, Sharp Corp. (JP:6753) (SHCAF) surged 4.7%, Pioneer Corp. (JP:6773) (PNCOF) picked up 3.1% and Nissan Motor Co. (JP:7201) (NSANY) gained 2.4%. Shares of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (JP:9501) (TKECF) were higher by 2% following government approval of the power firm's turnaround plan.

  • [By John Rosevear]

    It may not look like much now, but look carefully
    The first BMW i vehicle won't be a direct Tesla competitor. The BMW i3, shown above, will launch later this year. It's a lightweight small electric car that seems aimed more at Nissan's (NASDAQOTH: NSANY  ) LEAF and General Motors' (NYSE: GM  ) Chevy Volt hybrid than at Tesla.

  • [By Associated Press]

    Likewise, electric cars have not enjoyed the success many expected. The battery alone in an electric car costs as much as a new gasoline-powered car, and electric vehicles are not selling nearly as fast as once projected. General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) expected to sell 60,000 Chevy Volts globally last year, but sold just half that many. Sales of Nissan's (NASDAQOTH: NSANY  ) all-electric Leaf grew 22 percent around the world last year to 26,000, short of Nissan's projected 50 percent growth.

  • [By Alex Planes]

    A comparison between the price of cars at the start of the 20th century and the price of EVs today shows another advantage in electricity's favor: the average car in 1900 cost nearly twice the typical household income, while the average base price of the top three EVs on the market today -- Nissan's (NASDAQOTH: NSANY  ) Leaf, Tesla's Model S, and General Motors' (NYSE: GM  ) Chevrolet Volt -- is about 90% of the median national income.

Top Healthcare Technology Companies To Buy For 2014: Enerplus Corporation (ERF)

Enerplus Corporation, together with subsidiaries, engages in the exploration and development of crude oil and natural gas in United States and Canada. As of December 31, 2011, it had 322 MMBOE of proved plus probable reserves. The company also held a portfolio of approximately 380,000 net acres of land comprised of 75,000 net acres at Fort Berthold targeting the Bakken and Three Forks; 65,000 net acres in the Duvernay; 33,000 net acres in the Montney; 67,000 net acres in the Stacked Mannville; 30,000 net acres in the Cardium and other emerging oil plays in Canada; and 110,000 net acres in the Marcellus. In addition, it had 120 gross producing wells. The company was founded in 1986 and is headquartered in Calgary, Canada.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    Tomorrow, Enerplus (NYSE: ERF  ) 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.

Top Healthcare Technology Companies To Buy For 2014: Le Gaga Holdings Limited (GAGA)

Le Gaga Holdings Limited engages in cultivating, processing, and distributing vegetables, fruits, and tea leaves in the People�s Republic of China and Hong Kong. The company is also involved in cultivating and selling fir trees. It offers solanaceous vegetables, including sweet peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, pumpkins, and cucumbers; leafy vegetables comprising flowering Chinese cabbage, baby bok choy, and baby Chinese cabbage; and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and Chinese cabbage. As of March 31, 2012, the company operated 11 farms with an aggregate area of 1,671 hectares in Fujian, Guangdong, and Hebei provinces. It sells approximately 50 varieties of vegetables primarily to wholesalers, institutional customers, and supermarket chains. The company was founded in 2004 and is based in Kowloon, Hong Kong.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Le Gaga Holdings (NASDAQ: GAGA) is estimated to report its Q4 earnings.

    Adobe Systems (NASDAQ: ADBE) is expected to post its Q3 earnings at $0.34 per share on revenue of $1.01 billion.

Top Healthcare Technology Companies To Buy For 2014: Hasbro Inc.(HAS)

Hasbro, Inc. engages in the design, manufacture, and marketing of games and toys. The company principally provides children?s and family leisure time and entertainment products and services. It offers various games, including traditional board, card, hand-held electronic, trading card, roleplaying, and DVD games, as well as electronic learning aids and puzzles. Hasbro?s toy products include boy?s action figures, vehicles and playsets, girl?s toys, electronic toys, plush products, preschool toys and infant products, electronic interactive products, creative play products, and toy related specialty products. The company also licenses certain of its trademarks, characters, and other property rights to third parties for use in connection with consumer promotions and for the sale of noncompeting toys and games, and non-toy products. It offers its products primarily under PLAYSKOOL, TRANSFORMERS, NERF, MY LITTLE PONY, LITTLEST PET SHOP, TONKA, G.I. JOE, SUPER SOAKER, MILTON BRAD LEY, PARKER BROTHERS, CRANIUM, AVALON HILL, TIGER, FURREAL FRIENDS, BABY ALIVE, STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE, and WIZARDS OF THE COAST brand names. The company markets its products to various customers, including wholesalers, distributors, chain stores, discount stores, mail order houses, catalog stores, department stores, and other retailers, as well as Internet-based e-tailers. It has a strategic licensing agreement with Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), which provides EA with the worldwide rights to create digital games for various platforms, including mobile phones, personal computers, and game consoles, as well as; and a strategic relationship with Universal Pictures to produce approximately three motion pictures based on certain of company?s brands. Hasbro sells its products through its own sales force and distributors primarily in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Asia Pacific, Latin America, and South America. The company was founded in 1923 and is headquartered in Paw tucket, Rhode Island.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS) is estimated to report its Q3 earnings at $1.29 per share on revenue of $1.34 billion.

    Gannett Co (NYSE: GCI) is expected to report its Q3 earnings at $0.41 per share on revenue of $1.27 billion.

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