Monday, June 30, 2014

A Forecast Of Apple's Performance in Q3 2014

The analysts have predicted that for the fiscal year ending in late September, Apple (AAPL) is due to deliver reported revenue of over $182 billion versus reported revenue in the prior fiscal year of $170.91 billion. In dollar terms, revenue growth in the range of $12 billion appears more impressive than the underlying revenue growth rate of between 6% and 7%.

Apple had on March 29, 2014 announced its financial result for the second quarter. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $45.6 billion and quarterly net profit of $10.2 billion, or $11.62 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $43.6 billion and net profit of $9.5 billion, or $10.09 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 39.3 percent compared to 37.5 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 66 percent of the quarter's revenue. However, for the six-month period ended in June, the iPhone and iPad lines represented 75.20% of Apple's reported revenue total of $103.24 billion. While Apple's aggregate revenue rose 5.22%, the combined iPhone and iPad lines delivered revenue growth of 6.31%, the Mac line realized 8.64% revenue growth year-over-year and the combined iTunes/Software/Services & Accessories segments achieved revenue growth of 11.29%. The iPod line, in contrast, experienced a 53.82% decline in revenue. The iPod line's revenue decline in the six-month period was $1.671 billion. iPod line revenue fell from $3.105 billion in the first six months of FY2013 to $1.434 billion in the first half of FY2014.

Revenues From iPods:

In FY2011 iPod revenue was $7.453 billion. In FY2012 iPod revenue fell to $5.615 billion and in FY2013 iPod sales revenue came in at a lowly $4.411 billion. This fiscal year, iPod revenue may come in at or below $2 billion. In the first half of FY2014, iPod unit sales revenue declined by more than 50% on a year-over-year basis. The demise of the iPod product line materially reduced Apple's aggregate revenue growth rates over the past three fiscal years and will again reduce Apple's reported revenue in the fiscal year ending in September by more than $2 billion. Although Apple has recently reduced prices on the iPod touch and added conspicuously missing features to the entry-level model, this will not forestall the product line's fade into oblivion. This fiscal year, the decline in iPod unit sales will reduce total reported revenue by about $2.25 billion.

Moving forward, the iPod line will be essentially immaterial to the company's results in FY2015 as Apple's reported revenue will move above $200 billion. The iPod line will represent less than one percent of Apple's reported revenue total in the coming fiscal year. The net impact of the iPod line's demise is that next fiscal year Apple's reported revenue growth rates will reflect more the underlying growth rates of the company's three major device lines. Any new products or services released this fall will be wholly accretive to revenue.

"We generated $13.5 billion in cash flow from operations and returned almost $21 billion in cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases during the March quarter," Apple's CFO, Peter Oppenheimer had said during the March earnings release. "That brings cumulative payments under our capital return program to $66 billion", he had added.

Industry experts are currently forecasting revenue growth in the June quarter of about 7.0% to $37.80 billion and revenue of $40.57 billion in the September quarter representing expected revenue growth of 8.30%. For the fiscal year, the revenue consensus is $181.61 billion or a year-over-year revenue rise of about 6.30%. These consensus estimates reveal Wall Street expectations for revenue growth to accelerate in the second half of the fiscal year.

The forward looking analysis can be summed up to say that even though people have written iPods off but these devices still generate umpteen revenues for the company. When we compare the performance with that of iPads we find that iPods contribute significantly more than iPads. Come September and only ten can we know how much of a change will the revenues see from the last release in March.

Currently 0.00/512345

Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes)

Email FeedsSubscribe via Email RSS FeedsSubscribe RSS Comments Please leave your comment:
More GuruFocus Links
Latest Guru Picks Value Strategies
Warren Buffett Portfolio Ben Graham Net-Net
Real Time Picks Buffett-Munger Screener
Aggregated Portfolio Undervalued Predictable
ETFs, Options Low P/S Companies
Insider Trends 10-Year Financials
52-Week Lows Interactive Charts
Model Portfolios DCF Calculator
RSS Feed Monthly Newsletters
The All-In-One Screener Portfolio Tracking Tool
Latest Guru Picks Value Strategies
Warren Buffett Portfolio Ben Graham Net-Net
Real Time Picks Buffett-Munger Screener
Aggregated Portfolio Undervalued Predictable
ETFs, Options Low P/S Companies
Insider Trends 10-Year Financials
52-Week Lows Interactive Charts
Model Portfolios DCF Calculator
RSS Feed Monthly Newsletters
The All-In-One Screener Portfolio Tracking Tool
AAPL STOCK PRICE CHART 91.98 (1y: +57%) $(function(){var seriesOptions=[],yAxisOptions=[],name='AAPL',display='';Highcharts.setOptions({global:{useUTC:true}});var d=new Date();$current_day=d.getDay();if($current_day==5||$current_day==0||$current_day==6){day=4;}else{day=7;} seriesOptions[0]={id:name,animation:false,color:'#4572A7',lineWidth:1,name:name.toUpperCase()+' stock price',threshold:null,data:[[1372654800000,58.46],[1372741200000,59.784],[1372827600000,60.114],[1373000400000,59.631],[1373259600000,59.293],[1373346000000,60.336],[1373432400000,60.104],[1373518800000,61.041],[1373605200000,60.93],[1373864400000,61.063],[1373950800000,61.456],[1374037200000,61.473],[1374123600000,61.68],[1374210000000,60.707],[1374469200000,60.901],[1374555600000,59.856],[1374642000000,62.93],[1374728400000,62.643],[1374814800000,62.999],[1375074000000,63.97],[1375160400000,64.76],[1375246800000,64.647],[1375333200000,65.239],[1375419600000,66.077],[1375678800000,67.064],[1375765200000,66.464],[1375851600000,66.426],[1375938000000,65.859],[1376024400000,64.921],[1376283600000,66.766],[1376370000000,69.939],[1376456400000,71.214],[1376542800000,71.13],[1376629200000,71.761],[1376888400000,72.534],[1376974800000,71.581],[1377061200000,71.766],[1377147600000,71.851],[1377234000000,71.574],[1377493200000,71.853],[1377579600000,69.799],[1377666000000,70.128],[1377752400000,70.243],[1377838800000,69.602],[1378184400000,69.797],[1378270800000,71.242],[1378357200000,70.753],[1378443600000,71.174],[1378702800000,72.31],[1378789200000,70.663],[1378875600000,66.816],[1378962000000,67.527],[1379048400000,66.414],[1379307600000,64.303],[1379394000000,65.046],[1379480400000,66.383],[1379566800000,67.471],[1379653200000,66.773],[1379912400000,70.091],[1379998800000,69.871],[1380085200000,68.79],[1380171600000,69.46],[1380258000000,68.964],[1380517200000,68.107],[1380603600000,69.709],[1380690000000,69.937],[1380776400000,69.059],[1380862800000,69.004],[1381122000000,69.679],[1381208400000,68.706],[1381294800000,69.513],[1381381200000,69.948],[1381467600000,70.402],[1381726800000,70.863],[1381813200000,71.24],[1381899600000,71.588],[1381986000000,72.071],[1382072400000,72.699],[1382331600000,74.48],[1382418000000,74.267],[1382504400000,74.994],[1382590800000,75.987],[1382677200000,75.137],[13829364000! 00,75.697],[1383022800000,73.811],[1383109200000,74.985],[1383195600000,74.672],[1383282000000,74.29],[1383544800000,75.25],[1383631200000,75.064],[1383717600000,74.417],[1383804000000,73.213],[1383890400000,74.366],[1384149600000,74.15],[1384236000000,74.287],[1384322400000,74.376],[1384408800000,75.451],[1384495200000,74.999],[1384754400000,74.09],[1384840800000,74.221],[1384927200000,73.571],[1385013600000,74.448],[1385100000000,74.257],[1385359200000,74.82],[1385445600000,76.2],[1385532000000,77.994],[1385704800000,79.439],[1385964000000,78.747],[1386050400000,80.903],[1386136800000,80.714],[1386223200000,81.129],[1386309600000,80.003],[1386568800000,80.919],[1386655200000,80.793],[1386741600000,80.194],[1386828000000,80.077],[1386914400000,79.204],[1387173600000,79.643],[1387260000000,79.284],[1387346400000,78.681],[1387432800000,77.78],[1387519200000,78.431],[1387778400000,81.441],[1387864800000,81.096],[1388037600000,80.557],[1388124000000,80.013],[1388383200000,79.217],[1388469600000,80.146],[1388642400000,79.019],[1388728800000,77.283],[1388988000000,77.704],[1389074400000,77.148],[1389160800000,77.637],[1389247200000,76.646],[1389333600000,76.134],[1389592800000,76.533],[1389679200000,78.056],[1389765600000,79.623],[1389852000000,79.179],[1389938400000,77.239],[1390284000000,78.439],[1390370400000

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Fed’s Dreaded Dilemma: A Weak Economy Plus Inflation

Print Friendly

While the economy contracted at a greater than expected 2.9 percent in the first quarter of 2014, in May the consumer price index (CPI) rose at an annualized 2.1 percent, its highest level since October 2012. Energy prices were up 5.8 percent from a year earlier, while food prices rose 2.1 percent. Even the Federal Reserve's own preferred measure of inflation, the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index, popped up to 1.8 percent last month.

The fact that the Fed's PCE index is showing inflationary pressure is significant, since it is essentially designed to lowball price increases. The CPI gives a 31 percent weighting to shelter costs and a 17 percent weighting to transportation (read as rent and gasoline), which the PCE basically cuts in half. By reducing the volatility of its preferred inflation gauge, the Fed essentially gives itself the leeway to maintain a looser policy longer.

But the fact that the PCE is on the rise leaves the Fed in a conundrum, having said for years now that it would act when inflation reaches an annualized 2 percent, a level that is fast approaching. The primary policy tool at its disposal for addressing inflationary pressures is interest rates, a lever the Fed probably doesn't want to press just yet. Despite the fact that inflation is clearly picking up, consumer spending has actually contracted over the past two months on an inflation-adjusted basis and is growing well below the pre-recession average of 5 percent. Incomes were also up by just 3.5 percent last month, another metric which typically ran above 5 percent for much of the two decades prior to 2008.

As we've often said in the past, the Fed has historically been slow to pull the trigger on increasing interest rates and contributed to the formation of bubbles in the economy. While some Fed officials, such as Charles Plosser, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, have said that the ba! nk should be aggressive on rates, this is the classic dreaded dilemma. It's been created by the Fed's dual mandate of working towards full employment while maintaining price stability. If it acts now to address rising inflation by raising rates, the Fed runs the risk of stalling out what has been an anemic recovery. If you lived through the 1970s, the term stagflation (a stagnant economy combined with inflation) is likely coming to mind about now, though we're nowhere near those levels yet.

Still, it should come as little surprise that the inflation debate is becoming more heated with forecasters and economists from Barclays (NYSE: BCS) to BlackRock (NYSE: BLK) sounding the alarm on the rising prices and a changing investment environment.

To break stagflation's back, famous Fed chairman Paul Volcker hiked interest rates to unprecedented levels. In 1981 the federal funds rate peaked at 20 percent and the prime rate rose to 21.5 percent. We're unlikely to see such a scenario again, but some are saying that we're likely to see rate increases by mid-2015. That, in turn, could bring the great bond run to a grinding halt as yields rise and bond prices fall. We've already seen that effect in action when the spending and inflation data was released last week, pushing the 10-year Treasury yield up to 2.625 percent and pushing gold prices up by nearly 3 percent on the day of the release.

Clearly, the time for decisive action is approaching if the Fed truly means to keep inflation tame. At this point, the deciding factor will likely be economic growth in the next half of the year; if it comes in at or above 3 percent – a reading actually well below the general consensus – look for a rate by mid-2015. Otherwise, low interest rates are likely to persist for some time yet to come, allowing inflationary pressures to continue building in the US economy.

Friday, June 27, 2014

With Aereo Dead, What's Next for Internet TV?

Aereo/AP LOS ANGELES -- The Supreme Court shot down Aereo's business model this week, but that doesn't mean customers' desire for a better TV experience is gone. Americans are still fed up with huge channel bundles, high prices, poor service and the lack of ability to watch all their shows on all their devices. That's part of why Aereo was attractive: It offered local broadcast channels and a few others on multiple devices for just $8 a month. Industry watchers say the pay TV business must continue to evolve to win over unhappy customers, even if the nation's top court said grabbing signals from the airwaves and distributing them online without content-owner permission isn't the way. "Even without Aereo, the reason people were cutting the cord, for cost reasons and so on, those don't go away," said Robin Flynn, an analyst with market research firm SNL Kagan. Last year, the number of pay TV subscribers in the U.S. fell for the first time, slipping 0.1 percent to 94.6 million, according to Leichtman Research Group. Into that breach have leapt companies that have offered quality TV content online for low cost, including Netflix (NFLX) and (AMZN). Hulu, which is owned by major broadcast networks ABC (DIS), NBC and Fox (FOX), offers full episodes of popular shows like "The Colbert Report" the next day for free. While that's not live TV, which Aereo offered, for many it's a good-enough substitute. The decision against Aereo is a setback, but not a fatal one for people who want to break away from traditional TV, said Bill Niemeyer, senior analyst at TDG Research. "While the content on the major broadcast networks is very important for some people, it's not important for everyone," Niemeyer said. "So it's a dent, but I don't think it's going to significantly change the trends." If anything, the rise and fall of Aereo has highlighted an important fact -- that high-quality TV signals are available on the airwaves for free -- something that might have been forgotten if Aereo hadn't insisted that its technology simply replicates the antenna and wire that an average person could set up on their own. "What Aereo has really done in our perspective is to address the lack of understanding that over-the-air is free," said Mark Buff, CEO of Mohu, a company that makes flat indoor antennas that attach to walls. Mohu has sold 1.5 million antennas since it began in 2011 and they work in the kind of dense urban areas like New York where Aereo is believed to have had a small subscriber base. It is about to launch Mohu Channels, a device that blends Internet video services like Netflix with free-to-air TV in a single channel guide. "We certainly do see and believe that the cord-cutting movement is on the rise," he said. Alki David, the CEO of online streaming company FilmOn, said the Supreme Court's ruling actually creates an opportunity for startups because the court said that Aereo bears an "overwhelming likeness" to cable companies. According to David, that means online video companies can compel broadcasters to license their TV signals under the "retransmission consent" rules outlined in the 1976 Copyright Act. That could help online video companies create small broadcast-channel only bundles for consumers rather than 100-plus channel packages from traditional pay TV operators that cost more than what some consumers are willing to pay. "This might be the undoing of the bundling system," David said. "The only compulsory license we're after are the four or five local channels in the city we're in. Of course it would be great. What else can it mean?" But it's not like the pay TV industry is standing still. Satellite-TV company Dish Network (DISH) said it's preparing to launch an online TV service with channels such as ESPN, ABC, Disney Channel and others for about $20 to $30 a month before the end of the year. The target audience is young urban professionals who don't want to watch more than 20 or 30 channels. Since last year, Comcast (CMCSA) has offered a slimmed down package combining Internet service, a little more than 10 local TV channels and HBO for $40 a month for 12 months. That's just $10 more than getting the Internet alone. Niemeyer says the incremental $10 charge for broadcast TV and HBO seems like a very Aereo-like offering, especially because the HBO GO app allows for online viewing, and having a pay TV subscription will allow customers to sign in to different online offerings by networks.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

4 Big Stocks on Traders' Radars

BALTIMORE (Stockpickr) -- Put down the 10-K filings and the stock screeners. It's time to take a break from the traditional methods of generating investment ideas. Instead, let the crowd do it for you.

>>5 Short-Squeeze Stocks Ready to Pop

From hedge funds to individual investors, scores of market participants are turning to social media to figure out which stocks are worth watching. It's a concept that's known as "crowdsourcing," and it uses the masses to identify emerging trends in the market.

Crowdsourcing has long been a popular tool for the advertising industry, but it also makes a lot of sense as an investment tool. After all, the market is completely driven by the supply and demand, so it can be valuable to see what names are trending among the crowd.

While some fund managers are already trying to leverage social media resources like Twitter to find algorithmic trading opportunities, for most investors, crowdsourcing works best as a starting point for investors who want a starting point in their analysis. Today, we'll leverage the power of the crowd to take a look at some of the most active stocks on the market today.

>>5 Blue-Chip Stocks to Trade Gains

These "most active" names are the most heavily-traded names on the market -- and often, uber-active names have some sort of a technical or fundamental catalyst driving investors' attention on shares. And when there's a big catalyst, there's often a trading opportunity.

Without further ado, here's a look at today's stocks.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings

Nearest Resistance: $23.50

Nearest Support: $22

Catalyst: Secondary Offering

Shares of $22 billion hotel chain Hilton Worldwide Holdings (HLT) are up 1.76% this afternoon on big volume, following the pricing of the firm's 90 million share secondary offering at $22.50. That price tag on the offering, which is expected to close on Friday, is a good indication that HLT still has ample demand for shares at attractive prices.

From a technical standpoint, the HLT is currently forming an ascending triangle pattern, a price setup that's formed by horizontal resistance above shares (at $23.50 resistance) and uptrending support to the downside. A breakout above that $23.50 price ceiling is the next high-probability buy signal for this large-cap hotelier.

Valero Energy

Nearest Resistance: $53

Nearest Support: $40

Catalyst: Lifted Oil Export Ban

Valero Energy (VLO) is down more than 8% on big volume this afternoon -- along with a slew of other domestic refiners -- thanks to a U.S. Commerce Department rule change that allows more U.S. oil exports. A handful of research firms are sending negative notes on refiners this afternoon, turning bearish on refiners now that more lightly refined oil will be eligible for export from shale formations. International buying competition means lower margins for domestic refiners, a painful change after some of the big investments in refining facilities that were made specifically for increased shale supply.

For Valero, the technical picture just turned ugly today. While shares had been bouncing their way higher in a well-defined uptrend, this morning's gap lower is officially breaking the trend line support level that's been a floor for shares since February. With support broken, VLO is a sell now.

CVR Refining

Nearest Resistance: $26.50

Nearest Support: $22

Catalyst: Lifted Oil Export Ban

Mid-cap refining stock CVR Refining (CVRR) is another oil refiner that's getting sold off close to 9% this afternoon in the wake of the Commerce Department's oil new export interpretation.

The price action in CVRR is particularly rough because this name has looked so technically attractive for the last two months. Shares were forming an ascending triangle setup since the start of May, but that pattern broke to the downside this morning. That means that there's a lot more downside risk ahead for CVRR, versus pretty tepid upside – it's a sell.


Nearest Resistance: N/A

Nearest Support: $122

Catalyst: Q3 Earnings

Monsanto (MON) is pushing to new highs this afternoon, following the firm's third-quarter earnings release. Monsanto earned $1.62 for the quarter, beating expectations of $1.55. The firm guided earnings higher for the full year as well, up to between $5 and $5.20. Those new highs are driving a technical buy signal this afternoon for traders willing to take on a little extra risk.

New highs are significant from an investor psychology standpoint because they mean that everyone who has bought shares in the last year is sitting on gains. As a result, the "back to even" mentality is less of a concern than it would be for a name with a higher proportion of shareholders sitting on losses.

To see these stocks in action, check out the at Most-Active Stocks portfolio on Stockpickr.

-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.


>>Buy These 5 Rocket Stocks to Beat the Market

>>4 Stocks Rising on Unusual Volume

>>5 Stocks Under $10 Poised to Pop in June

Follow Stockpickr on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

At the time of publication, author had no positions in the names mentioned.

Jonas Elmerraji, CMT, is a senior market analyst at Agora Financial in Baltimore and a contributor to

TheStreet. Before that, he managed a portfolio of stocks for an investment advisory returned 15% in 2008. He has been featured in Forbes , Investor's Business Daily, and on Jonas holds a degree in financial economics from UMBC and the Chartered Market Technician designation.

Follow Jonas on Twitter @JonasElmerraji

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dodge & Cox Began to Collect, Should You Take a Position?

A few companies excel over their market peers, granting them an unconventional competitive advantage. Everybody knows the market leaders, or the mammoth companies, but there are other particular services that can give a firm greater exposure. No other example is more relevant than the rotary rig count offered by Baker Hughes (BIH). The Baker Hughes Rig Counts provides a weekly count of U.S. and Canadian drilling activity to the industry since 1944, and has become an important business barometer for the drilling industry and its suppliers. Most importantly, the index allows industry analysts to identify industry trends, while providing valuable information to prospect investors beyond Baker Hughes itself. After experiencing a decline in performance from mid-2011 to the end of 2012, the company saw great improvement in overall performance during 2013. Can the trend be expected to continue?

Mapping Current Activity

During the prior count dated March 21, the Baker Hughes Rig Counts reported a decline of 91 wells for Canada, while six had been added in the U.S. Meanwhile, the international are recording an increase of 16 wells during January. The last count, dated March 28 and February, respectively, saw increments in all three areas. However, Canada has recovered a little over half of the 91 wells lost during the second half of March. The increase in activity across the board is clear, offering strong synergies to be absorbed and materialized into growth.

Baker Hughes has seen greater activity, especially through new partnerships. With CGG (CGG), the company has signed a long-term agreement to provide RoqSCAN technology, a real-time, fully portable, quantitative and automated rock properties and mineralogical analyzer. Also, the firm will acquire Weatherford (WFT)'s pipeline and specialty services business through one of its subsidiaries. Last, the business has signed a letter of intent to develop integrated well completion solutions with TMK.

Product introduction has also been a highlight for Baker Hughes. The EasyReach extended-reach coiled tubing service is a response to the growing number of long horizontal wells and the need to be able to service them confidently. Meanwhile, the Baker Hughes AutoTrak Curve rotary steerable system has reached an unprecedented milestone, after drilling 10 million feet in unconventional shale plays in two years.

Mapping Future Activity

Baker Hughes has lost some ground in deepwater activity on the Brazilian basin during 2013 in drilling and logging services. Internationally activity is expected to be further compounded by higher mobilization costs, most notable in Norway. Additionally, hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and extreme winter conditions in the U.S., Canada, Russia and the North Sea will be the likely reasons behind a lower demand for the firm's services and operations.

The higher note for Baker Hughes in the long term is a strong portfolio of products and services, which are expected to help the business post better-than-average results in North America and further expand in the international market. International expansion is key to growth in order to continue reducing exposure to North America. In line, major focus has been placed upon Iraq and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East specifically. Attention has already been given to growth opportunities in Europe, Africa, Russia and the Caspian region.

Currently trading at 26.5 times its trailing earnings, Baker Hughes' stock carries a 12% premium to the industry average. Since 2009, the company has reported revenues and net income increases while sustaining debt levels, an uptrend only interrupted by employee conflicts in Norway that affected overall performance through 2011. While the stock price continues to recover on the back of positive oil and gas drilling trends, and a small premium, prospective investors can find in the firm a secure long-term investment. The good moment is confirmed by Dodge & Cox's recent sale to collect winnings, while remaining the largest shareholder.

Disclosure: Vanina Egea holds no position in any of the mentioned stocks.

About the author:Vanina EgeaA fundamental analyst at Lone Tree Analytics

Visit Vanina Egea's Website

Currently 5.00/512345

Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes)

Email FeedsSubscribe via Email RSS FeedsSubscribe RSS

Google Inc: Getting Serious About Games

While not exactly an Achilles' heel, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG  ) (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) Play has only performed marginally well. Despite having more mobile devices running its Android OS than anyone on the planet, Google Play is an extremely popular, but not very profitable part of the Google empire. Based on sheer volume, Google Play is the hands-down winner. Last year, Android devices accounted for about 75% of all app downloads, compared to rival Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) 18%.

As for the relative newcomer to the app download wars, Facebook, it's just now getting serious about apps and isn't more than a blip on the radar. But before Google fans chalk up a win over Apple and Facebook, there's the little matter of translating all those apps to revenue. And so far, Apple is head-and-shoulders above Google, generating nearly eight times the app revenue in 2013. But don't celebrate too soon iFans, the app winds are beginning to shift in Google's direction.

What's done, is done
Last year is well behind us, but 2013 does provide some context as Google and Apple battled for app developers, and the revenues that followed. Despite its paltry 18% of all mobile app downloads in 2013, Apple generated $10 billion in annual revenue, compared to Google's $1.3 billion. Google's app revenues are estimates, as it doesn't break out app revenue as a separate line item.

Less fragmented mobile operating systems, better pay, and Google's perceived security concerns, all played a part in driving Apple's commanding position in app revenue. But looking back, it was the last half of 2013 when we began to see positive signs pointing in Google's direction, and it appears that trend is continuing into this year.

Let the gaming wars begin
Google's emphasis on incenting developer's to add to its long list of app downloads is beginning to pay off. As of June of this year, Google Play now boasts 1.5 million apps -- a 60% jump in the past year. But, Google Play has always offered a ton of alternatives, the key is to monetize it, as Apple has accomplished with its App Store.

For Google proponents, this is where the app story begins to get good. As alluded to earlier, the number of downloads on Google Play is unmatched, and now it appears revenues are beginning to follow suit. According to recent industry research, Google Play revenues have jumped two-and-a-half times in the past year. And that could be just the beginning as Google Play picks up steam.

Based on Google's first quarter, it would appear that the increase in app revenues suggested by industry pundits is on the mark. Again, Google doesn't post app revenues directly, but it's generally considered to fall into its "Other Revenues" silo. Last quarter, Google enjoyed a 48% jump in other revenues compared to 2013's Q1, up to $1.55 billion. Assuming a decent portion of Google's $6 billion annual run-rate for other revenues is app-related, that's a significant improvement compared to last year.

Not surprisingly, games are leading the resurgence in Google Play revenues, and most are free games that are generating in-app revenues. In other words, the vast majority of downloads on Google Play are of the free variety, but "incent" gamers purchase items to enhance the experience. Of all Google Play revenues, 90% are thanks to gamers, and 98% of those are freebies.

Significantly more entertainment, social media, and communication apps are being downloaded, too. Those trends bode well for app up-start Facebook, who recently hosted its F8 app developer's conference to help light a fire under its own app revenues.

Final Foolish thoughts
There are several reasons developers have made Apple's App Store so successful financially -- simplicity and a non-fragmented base of OS users are two that come to mind -- but what it really boils down to is iOS apps have historically made developers more money.

But Google is inching up the app revenue chain by doing more than just offering a laundry list of alternatives, both it and its developers are beginning to reap the financial rewards. With $10 billion in app revenues in 2013, Apple will likely hold a commanding lead for a while. But Google is quickly getting in the game.

Leaked: Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you)
Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out, and some early viewers are claiming its everyday impact could trump the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Freeport-McMoRan, Newmont Mining: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Indonesia?

Indonesia–and its desire to make more off of its natural resources–has been a thorn in the side of both Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) and Newmont Mining (NEM) this year. That could be changing.


Reuters reports that Indonesia reached a deal with Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold to resume copper shipments. The deal would require Freeport to build a smelter in exchange for losing an export tax.

Citigroup’s Brian Yu and Daniel Knauff explain the significance:

Freeport previously estimated the cost of constructing a smelter and slime processing facility at $2.0 – $2.5 bln. Since mid-January [Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold] has been operating Grasberg at ~50% of normal milling rates, reducing production by 40 mln lbs Cu and 80k ozs Au per month. In the interim, they continue to process ~40% of concentrates or 205kt per year of copper domestically at PT Smelting in Gresik…

The ability to resume exports, even at the cost of a new smelter, should be a marginal positive for [Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold] shares since Grasberg is key to the company's deleveraging plans. However, we will need details behind the smelter financing and any potential impact to the mining plan to properly assess the impact to our model.

Still, Yu and Knauff aren’t feeling much love for Freeport-McMoRan. They maintained their sell rating due to an expected fall in copper prices.

When reports first surfaced yesterday that a deal was close, Cowen’s Anthony Rizzuto and team noted that “other mining companies taking similar actions to [Freeport-McMoRan] are also expected to be granted a reprieve from the export tax.” That could be the reason shares of Newmont have been rallying today. JPMorgan, for one, had previously noted that that a Newmont Mining rally would depend on an Indonesia resolution.

Investors appear to be betting that one is at hand. Shares of Newmont Mining have gained 4.5% to $23.98 at 2:43 p.m. today, while Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold is up 1% at $32.73.

Buy a Warren Buffett Fathead for $29.99

warren buffett fathead

An oversize photo of Warren Buffett's head is now on sale, and the proceeds will go to two Detroit charities.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) Investors have been known to pay $1 million for the chance to pick Warren Buffett's brain over lunch. Now they can get his entire head for only $29.99.

Fathead, which generally sells pictures of sports and movie stars like LeBron James or the "Hunger Games" cast, is selling an oversized picture of Buffett's face. The proceeds will go to charity.

The pictures were intended as a promotion for the $1 billion perfect NCAA bracket challenge from Quicken Loans and Yahoo Sports.

Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA, Fortune 500) wrote the insurance policy that would have paid big if anyone had correctly picked the outcome of every game of the NCAA tournament. But nobody made it out of the first round with a perfect bracket.

The Buffett Fathead (1 foot, 7 inches across by 2 feet tall) debuted when Buffett went on "Late Night with Seth Myers" to promote the NCAA challenge last week. He appeared with Dan Gilbert, who is founder and chairman of Quicken Loans as well as the owner of Fathead.

Buffett agreed to the sale of the Fatheads as long as the money went to charity. For his part, Gilbert is active in charitable work in Detroit, where his companies are based.

The two charities that will benefit from the sale are About Money Matters for Youth, which promotes financial literacy for Detroit youngsters; and Motor City Blight Busters, which works to demolish blighted houses and other abandoned structures in the city.

"I was flattered, and frankly surprised, that anyone would want to purchase a Big Head with my face on it," said Buffett.

Buffett's charitable efforts include an annual auction to a private lunch with him and a campaign to get other b! illionaires to pledge with him to donate their wealth. To top of page

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Chinese Billionaire Xiong Xuqiang Targets Tech, Joins Diversifying Real Estate Tycoons

Chinese real estate billionaire Xiong Xuqiang has purchased a 20% stake in a Chinese publicly traded semiconductor packaging company, the latest in a flurry of moves by property developers to diversify as China faces slower economic growth.

Xiong, who is the chairman of real estate developer Ningbo Yinyi Group, paid 352 million yuan, or $58 million, for Ningbo Pulisaisi Electronics, which in turn holds a 20% stake in Shenzhen-listed Ningbo Kangqiang Electronics today. 

Xiong bought the stake through his nearly 100% owned Yingyi Holding, according to an announcement by Ningbo Kangqiang today.

Greater China – including Taiwan, the mainland and Hong Kong—accounted for 55% of the world's consumption of semiconductors in 2012, according to a report by PwC.   Notable semiconductor companies with operations in the mainland include Intel, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing and Advanced Semiconductor Engineering. Ningbo Kangqiang's customers Tianshui Huatian Technology and Jiangsu Changjiang Electronics Technology.

 Xiong, who ranked No. 1,210 on Forbes 2014 Billionaires List with wealth of $1.4 billion,  injected his real estate business into Shenzhen-traded Gansu Languang Science and Technology several years ago and changed the company's name to Yinyi Real Estate. Xiong's holding company also invests in minerals. He founded Yinyi in 1994 after successfully turning around a state-owned canned food factory.

Xiong is the latest real estate billionaire to announce an investment in an different industry recently.  Among others, Hui Wing Mau's Shimao and Hui Kai Yan's Evergrande announced bank investments.

– with Maggie Chen

– Follow me on Twitter @rflannerychina


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Dear Sen. Waxman, Leave Gilead Alone

In case you've been living under a rock this year, there's a battle waging over just the much biotech giant Gilead Sciences (GILD) is charging for its new hepatitis C drug Sovaldi. Insurers are balking at the $1,000-a-pill price tag for the medication, which generated sales of $2.5 billion in the first three months of 2014. Reports that Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) has sent a letter to Gilead’s CEO asking him to justify the price of Sovaldi have ignited a debate about very high drug prices.

And now, Waxman, a ranking member of the Senate Energy and Commerce Committee, has called for hearings on the matter.

Piper Jaffray analysts Joshua E. Schimmer, Kristina N. Cibor and Jerry Yang have taken Waxman to task, in a note published today that reiterates the firm's Overweight rating and $106 price target on Gilead shares.

In short, the trio tell Waxman, get off Gilead's back. They write:

If you consider the dollars society chooses to allocate on smart phones with screens a little bigger than the prior iteration, computer games where you shoot hostile birds at unsuspecting pigs, romance novels (look it up!), Super Bowl parties (look that up too!), the cost of eliminating HCV and all its downstream complications may not seem all that unreasonable.

The Piper Jaffray analysts argue that while Sovaldi is the fastest growing drug in the U.S., it is not the most expensive. They blame insurers, arguing Gilead issued warnings about a fast launch. They write:

But most seem to have failed to heed these warnings– perhaps basing their own estimates on Wall Street consensus which were broadly known to be ultra-conservative? When you are done interrogating GILD, you may want to bring some of the payors in next and ask what they didn’t forecast and budget appropriately, considering that there are 3M HCV patients in the U.S. and Sovaldi pricing was widely anticipated.

Drug prices will become an increasingly hot issue in the years to come. Drug companies have had strong pricing power for new, innovative therapies. But with the industry focusing on expensive-to-treat maladies such as cancer and autoimmune disases and and agingpopualtion and expanding Medicaid coverage putting the government on the hook for big bucks, the party may be coming to an end. Experts agree that drug makers will have to increasingly justify that a drug's benefit warrants a high price tag.

For now, Schimmer and his colleagues argue Waxman's time may be better spent elsewhere. Their recommendation: Defending intellectual property on drugs globally.

Crowdfunding Site Guidelines for Charitable Fundraisers

U.S. charities, like many individuals and entities trying to raise funds for special projects, are embracing crowdfunding.

At the same time, many brand-name nonprofits are concerned that individuals unaffiliated with an organization may be the ones pitching a proposal on crowdfunding sites, depriving the charity of an opportunity to train volunteers about its mission and what it wants to tell donors.

Another issue for nonprofits is that they usually don’t know who contributes to them through crowdfunding sites, often because the sites won’t reveal names or will charge for the information. As a result, the charity is unable to build a relationship with donors to encourage them to give more.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported last week from the annual SXSW Interactive festival in Austin, Texas, that two players in the crowdfunding arena had proposed best practices they would ask sites to follow.

Miriam Kagan, a senior principal at Kimbia, an online fundraising outfit, and David Neff, a digital strategist at PricewaterhouseCoopers and co-founder of Lights. Camera. Help., a nonprofit group that encourages other nonprofits to use film and video to tell their stories, offered the following guidelines:

Friday, June 20, 2014

Why Tesla Stock Is Up 12% This Week

Tesla Motors Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) stock has gained 12% in the last two trading sessions and reached its highest price since April today (Tuesday) when the stock touched $235.54 this afternoon.

Tesla has always been a momentum stock that experiences sharp ups and downs depending on the company's news, and this week's spike is a prime example.

#symbols-c4ca4238a0b923820dcc509a6f75849b { width: 253px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 11px; color: #333333; } #symbols-c4ca4238a0b923820dcc509a6f75849b .header { float: left; font-family: Georgia; font-size: 14px; color: #456626; line-height: 14px; padding-left: 14px; font-weight: bold; } #symbols-c4ca4238a0b923820dcc509a6f75849b .date { float: right; padding-right: 32px; font-weight: bold; } #symbols-c4ca4238a0b923820dcc509a6f75849b .chart { font-family: Georgia; font-size: 12px; color: #456626; width: 253px; height: 135px; line-height: 135px; text-align: center; } #symbols-c4ca4238a0b923820dcc509a6f75849b ul { list-style: none; padding: 0; margin: 0; } #symbols-c4ca4238a0b923820dcc509a6f75849b li { padding: 0; margin: 0; } #symbols-c4ca4238a0b923820dcc509a6f75849b li:nth-child(odd) { background-color: #eeebe6; } #symbols-c4ca4238a0b923820dcc509a6f75849b .symbols-item .name { float: left; width: 100px; overflow: hidden; padding: 3px; } #symbols-c4ca4238a0b923820dcc509a6f75849b .symbols-item .price { float: left; width: 55px; overflow: hidden; padding: 3px; text-align: right; } #symbols-c4ca4238a0b923820dcc509a6f75849b .symbols-item .percent { float: left; width: 80px; overflow: hidden; padding: 3px; text-align: right; } #symbols-c4ca4238a0b923820dcc509a6f75849b { background-color: #456626; color: #ffffff; } #symbols-c4ca4238a0b923820dcc509a6f75849b .chart-container { width: 253px; height: 135px; padding: 0 0 5px 0; } #symbols-c4ca4238a0b923820dcc509a6f75849b .chart-container img { width: 253px; height: 135px; max-width: none; } .clear { clear: both; } TESLA MTRS NASDAQ: TSLA Jun 20 loading chart... Price: 229.59 | Ch: 1.80 (0.8%)

TSLA stock gained nearly 9% on Monday following reports that Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (OTCMKTS ADR: NSANY) and BMW AG are in collaborative talks with Tesla to help expand electric vehicle (EV) charging technologies.

The three automakers account for 80% of the world's EV sales combined, and, together, the companies are looking to solve one of the industry's biggest problems: vehicle charging.

EVs have different charging standards depending on the brand, making it impossible for a Nissan owner to charge his or her car on a Tesla charger, and vice versa. Universal charging standards would benefit all electric car makers, as consumers could more easily power their vehicles.

Concern over access to chargers, or "range anxiety," is thought to be one of the biggest factors holding back the EV market.

"It is obviously clear that everyone would benefit if there was a far more simple way for everyone to charge their cars," one executive who declined to be named told The Financial Times.

Yesterday's news followed last week's bold announcement from Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk that he would open up all of the company's patents to his electric-vehicle competitors. Musk noted that by sharing Tesla's patents, other car manufacturers could help expand and improve the EV market.

"Our true competition is not the small trickle of non-Tesla electric cars being produced, but rather the enormous flood of gasoline cars pouring out of the world's factories every day," Musk said. "We believe that applying the open source philosophy to our patents will strengthen rather than diminish Tesla's position in this regard."

The news of the three largest EV manufacturers joining forces carried into TSLA's performance today as the stock gained more than 4% by Tuesday afternoon.

For investors wondering what TSLA stock will do now, here's what they can expect...  

Where Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) Stock Is Headed Now

In the short term, volatility will remain the name of the game for Tesla stock, just as it has over the past 18 months.

From January 2013 through February 2014, TSLA soared an incredible 637%. From there, the stock sold off more than 15% from March through May. Now, this week's gains have put TSLA up 12% for the month of June.

It's almost impossible to predict how TSLA stock will perform day to day, as the slightest hint of good or bad news moves the stock considerably. For that reason, TSLA is not a short-term play.

But for investors looking for long-term growth, TSLA is an attractive option.

Backed by Musk - one of the world's boldest and most innovative CEOs - Tesla is hell-bent on changing the landscape of the automotive industry, regardless of what it takes. That was evidenced last week when he gave away his EV technology secrets to his biggest competitors.

"Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport," said Musk. "If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal."

Tesla's biggest competitors appear on board with Musk's strategy, and that's good news for TSLA shareholders. Rather than taking Tesla's patents and using the information for themselves, they have decided that collaborating and improving the world's EV charging infrastructure will help all EV manufacturers.

Money Morning's Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald also says the long-term potential for TSLA stock is undeniable.

"I think Elon Musk is one of the most dynamic CEOs on the planet, and I believe he has the potential to make Tesla a $1,000 stock within the decade," Fitz-Gerald said.

Editor's Note: Elon Musk has helped Tesla stock gain a whopping 128% in the past year as the company operates as a major tech game changer.

Now Tesla is engaged in a highly sensitive venture called BlueStar that could disrupt $737 billion of the U.S. economy and impact 98% of the population.

Few details concerning BlueStar have made their way into the press. However, a recent investigation uncovered some shocking revelations... take a look.

Where do you think TSLA stock is heading from here? Let us know on Twitter @moneymorning using #Tesla.

Related Articles:

Financial Times: Electric Car Groups Eye Collaboration over Charging Technology

IntelliCell BioSciences Gets Back on the Horse... Again (SVFC)

Well, though I give myself a C for timing, it looks like I'm going to be able to give myself an A for stock-picking. Back on January 27th I deemed IntelliCell BioSciences, Inc. (OTCMKTS:SVFC) was a compelling buy, and though SVFC was stagnant for a month after that, it looks like the stock's finally getting on its horse. If you didn't get it then, you may want to get in now.

If you're not familiar with the company, IntelliCell BioSciences is a stem cell company. It's not a biotech stock per se, as the organization doesn't do any stem cell R&D itself. Rather SVFC supplies biotechnology companies that are creating stem cell therapies with the "good" stem cells that developers want to replicate for its patients.

That's not what makes SVFC such an interesting trade at this point, however. In fact, there's not been any real news from the company - or even really about the company - in months. Yet, the stock's still a compelling near-term "buy". Why? Because (and this is a 100% serious answer) shares of IntelliCell BioSciences have dropped key hints that they're ready to go higher.

That hint is, today's (back to back with Friday's) surge out of a narrow range and above the ceiling at $0.0064. When I first started pounding the table in favor of SVFC, it was largely due to January's pop above that line. In February when IntelliCell BioSciences, Inc. shares pulled back below $0.0064, it would have been easy to throw in the towel on the stock. It also would have been a big mistake. See, though volatile, there was a rising support line in place that wasn't going to give up. In fact, a big part of the reason shares were able to muster as much strength as they have over the past couple of trading days is the push up and off of that line. The clincher is that there was plenty of volume behind this thrust. Take a look.

The point is, this second effort is the one that should get traction, doing what the first effort from late January couldn't achieve. Now that the ball's rolling again - and there's a heck of a lot less doubt - the would-be buyers are coming out of the woodwork.

As for a target, the 200-day moving average line (not shown on our chart) currently at $0.0146 might be a natural stopping and regrouping point. That would also be a key Fibonacci extension level, which are just natural "enough is enough" points for traders - a purely psychological (though still very meaningful) target-setting approach.

For more trading ideas and insights like these, be sure to sign up for the free SmallCap Network newsletter. You'll get stock picks, market calls, and more, every day. Here's what you've missed recently.

Enbridge Clears Yet Another Hurdle

Print Friendly

In the past few weeks, we've focused on some of the challenges facing Canada's LNG export projects. Meanwhile, progress continues toward getting landlocked Canadian crude to fast-growing Asian markets. This week, the country's federal government finally approved Enbridge Inc's (TSX: ENB, NYSE: ENB) CAD7.9 billion Northern Gateway project.

The company's nearly 1,200 kilometer pipeline will have the capacity to move as much as 525,000 barrels of oil per day from the resource-rich province of Alberta to a deepwater port on Canada's west coast.

Northern Gateway is key to Canada's eventual diversification of its export markets. At present, the US absorbs 99 percent of the country's crude oil exports, often at discounted prices.

Indeed, the spread between the benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude and Western Canada Select is currently USD20.75, or a discount of 19.5 percent for Canadian crude. Over the past year, the differential between the two benchmarks has been as wide as USD42.00 and as narrow as USD12.00.

There are a number of factors contributing to the spread. The glut of production in Canada is competing with similarly abundant supplies from the prolific US shale plays. The result is that Canadian crude is being crowded out from crucial pipelines leading to various US markets. And the heavy, sour crude mined from Canada's oil sands is more costly to refine than the light, sweet crude produced from North Dakota's Bakken.

But the latest approval for Northern Gateway is just one hurdle in what continues to be a mind-numbingly complex approval process. We've previously detailed Enbridge's efforts to pacify various constituencies at the provincial level in British Columbia, including politicians, First Nations groups, environmentalists and labor unions.

Though the pipeline could commence operations by late 2018, Enbridge must still decide if the project will ult! imately prove economic.

That's because the company must fulfill 209 conditions set by the Joint Review Panel established by the government's National Energy Board. And 113 of those must be met before construction can even begin. This process is expected to take 12 to 15 months.

In addition to the numerous consultations required with First Nations groups and other communities along the pipeline's proposed route, Enbridge will also have to apply for regulatory permits and authorizations from federal and provincial governments.

Some Aboriginal groups have threatened legal action to further delay the pipeline's construction. To date, the company has signed 26 equity partnerships with these communities, representing about 60 percent of their population in British Columbia.

Of course, the cost of compliance, revenue sharing and taxation all add up. And Enbridge CEO Al Monaco has said the firm will have to recalculate the cost of the project before it can proceed with a final investment decision. "Obviously there's a lot of capital involved here to put to work, to execute a project like this, and that takes careful consideration," Mr. Monaco observed during the company's Tuesday conference call. The final cost estimate is expected later this year.

Still, Enbridge is hardly going it alone. This massive project has 10 funding partners, including oil sands giant Suncor Energy Inc (TSX: SU, NYSE: SU).

But even if Northern Gateway meets the aforementioned conditions and secures sufficient long-term commitments from energy shippers, it still faces competition from other projects, including TransCanada Corp's (TSX: TRP, NYSE: TRP) Keystone XL pipeline, which itself remains mired in endless political maneuvering.

While Northern Gateway is an important project for Enbridge that has cost the company and its partners CAD400 million thus far, it's just one of an estimated CAD36 billion worth of projects that the company considers commercially secure through 201! 7, with a! nother CAD5 billion worth of projects under development.

As such, some analysts believe that the project won't move the needle all that much for the company's near- to medium-term earnings. Management has targeted earnings per share growth of 10 percent to 12 percent annually through 2017.

But while Enbridge can endure without Northern Gateway, Canada can't remain dependent on the US as its sole energy export market forever. Although environmentalists and other groups have stymied progress in building necessary infrastructure, when there's demand, at least some output will always find a way to reach the market, as the crude-by-rail phenomenon has demonstrated.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Delta Air Lines: Between Smart Growth and Being a Bully

Delta Air Lines (DAL) is the big dog in the air, letting the likes of United Continental Holdings (UAL) and American Airlines (AAL) play catchup. Is it also becoming a bully?


Cowen’s Helane Becker and Conor Cunningham think Delta might be–they ask “Delta Becoming the Schoolyard Bully / the Junkyard Dog?”–and that has them worried. They explain:

Last week Hawaiian Airlines (HA) announced they will suspend service from Honolulu to Fukuoka after two years of unprofitable service. Hawaiian stated the market was not profitable. Delta recently started flying Honolulu-Fukuoka (and they have hedged the Yen at 80); both US airlines were operating about half full. As a result of Hawaiian leaving the market, we expect Delta’s load factors to improve. Delta has been slowly overlaying a lot of competitor capacity on the West Coast, especially to / from Seattle…

We have long viewed Delta as an industry thought leader, so we aren’t surprised they have become the industry’s growth leader. We are modestly concerned about this competitive capacity though as much of the industry turnaround was related to playing well in the sandbox, and Delta is now walking a thin line between smart growth and market share grab.

Shares of Delta Air Lines have dropped 2.4% to $32.41, while United Continental Holdings has fallen 2.5% to $43.86, American Airlines has declined 2.7% to $35.94 and Hawaiian Airlines has gained 1.2% to $12.18.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Market Optimism Isn’t Translating into Higher Contributions

Print Friendly

U.S. investors are bullish on the stock market, but they're not showing it by increasing their 401k savings.

That lack of follow-through is a shame, as even a 1% hike in your monthly 401(k) savings plan can add up to $330 per month in your retiree “paycheck” down the road.

This figure comes from Fidelity Investments, which is chiding Americans these days about not saving enough for retirement, even though eight out of 10 investors believe the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index will rise by the end of the year.

However, there is some progress for Americans with their retirement accounts. According to Fidelity, 401(k) plan balances rose 11% recently to a nationwide average of $80,600. And if you have been working for a company that offered 401(k) plans for the past 10 years, the average balance number leaps to $211,800—up 19% from a year ago.

But in a recent report from Fidelity on U.S. workers and their 401(k) plans, company analysts say Americans are costing themselves income in retirement by being stingy on their retirement plan contributions now.

Says James MacDonald, president of workplace investing at Fidelity: "While it’s a good sign that some workers are increasing their savings for retirement, many younger workers—especially  Millennials—aren’t saving at the recommended 10% to 15% of their income. It is critical young workers realize that even the smallest increase to their monthly savings today or just 1%, whether in a 401(k) or an IRA, could have a meaningful impact on their retirement paycheck down the road.”

Here is how that translates into real dollars:

Say you’re 25 and have a salary of $40,000, and you added just $33 per month to your 401(k), with an assumed average annual rate of return of 7%. Fidelity says you could add $330 (in pretax income) to your monthly "retirement paycheck" by doing so. Even if you scale! d back to an average annual rate of return of 5.5%, a 1% uptick in savings translates into an extra $200 every month in retirement.

If you’re 35 and make $60,000 annually, and you add $50 to your monthly 401(k) contribution, an average 7% annual rate of return will yield an additional $270 every month after you turn 65, or an extra $180 at a 5.5% annual rate of return.

Those are real dollars, and they really add up during your golden years. But that only holds true if you play the game right and start contributing that extra 1% every month, Fidelity says.

Do that and you'll gain some much-needed momentum on your way to becoming a 401k Millionaire – on your terms, and no matter what your employer does.

As always, good luck, and good 401k savings – and I'll see you next week.

Brian O'Connell is an investment analyst at Investing Daily, and the editor of the 401K Millionaire. An ex-Wall Street bond trader, he has appeared as an expert financial commentator on CNN, NPR, Fox News, Bloomberg, CNBC, C-Span, CBS Radio, and many other media broadcast outlets, and is the author of two best-selling books on retirement investing.

FedEx: Could Oil Undo Optimism?

FedEx delivered top-notch financial results and its shares are being rewarded for it. There is one reason for pessimism, however: The rising price of oil.


Cowen’s Helane Becker and Conor Cunningham explain why oil could be a problem:

FedEx forecasts F2015 EPS to be in the range of $8.50 to $9.00, compared to our estimate of $8.15 and the consensus estimate of $8.76. Management’s F2015 expectations assume a similar fuel environment and modest economic improvement. FedEx F2015 results should benefit from improving results at Express, continued strong results at Ground and Freight and further execution of their share repurchase program. We believe the shares will react favorably to the outlook despite guidance being in line with Street expectations. Forward earnings estimates across the Street have declined, as many were somewhat cautious on the quarter, so a confirmation should be viewed favorably. We are a little concerned about management expecting fuel to be relatively unchanged as crude prices have spiked in the near-term; clearly this could be short lived but it might cause some concern around the outlook.

Those concerns, whoever, will be left for another day. Shares of FedEx have gained 4.6% to $146.60 at 10:43 a.m. today, and its good news have given other shippers a boost: United Parcel Service (UPS) has risen 0.9% to $102.49.

Geopolitical Risk Derails ECB Plan Market Awaits FOMC

IMF cuts 2014, longer-term U.S. growth forecasts Iraq and Ukraine heat up geopolitical risk VIX rose from 3.86% to 12.65% European inflation confirmed low at 0.6%

Euro strengthens boosted by safe haven flows.

The European Central Bank decision to turn to negative deposit rates had limited effect. The policy had the intended result and started weakening the currency below 1.36, but geopolitical events changed the economic landscape. The EUR had proven resilient to the Ukraine turmoil but the Iraqi insurgency proved to much. The USD has lost some of its appeal as a safe haven so the EUR recovered and even the inflation data confirming the deflation fears could not bring it below 1.3550. Eurostat released inflation figures today. Deflation continues to be a the rate of inflation in April was 0.8% only to fall even further to 0.6 last month.


Germany's ZEW Economic Sentiment release could give further insight to the single currency against the ECB recovery plans. Germany continues to be the single engine of European growth but has started to slow down dragged by a strong EUR. The ZEW has posted negative figures as economist and business leaders are not optimistic about German growth given the challenged faced by the Eurozone as rampant unemployment and low inflation continue to erode productivity gains.


The United States economy continues to post mixed data. Friday's PPI and Consumer Confidence were lower that combined with low retail sales and a pessimistic jobless claims. This week US Manufacturing came in above the forecast and even the revisions to April's numbers were better than expected.

The Federal Reserve will hold its Federal Open Market Committee on Wednesday. There are no changes expected to interest rates and there is a small possibility of an increase in the tapering pace. The US employment situation does not warrant faster taper, but given how the Bank of England has stepped up their own time table it would not be a total surprise if the Fed adjusts to the expectations of higher rates early next year. Ironically the Fed might not need to reduce the amount of funds it designates to buying bonds given that in that now famous Janet Yellen inaugural press conference as Fed Chair. During her first question and answer period Yellen said that the Fed would start hiking six months after the end of the taper. At the current pace the end would be in the Fall of 2014 with an expectation of a rate hike in Spring 2015. This now seems to the be timetable that the BoE under governor Carney seem to have set for the UK economy.

IMF Trims US Growth Forecast. Employment Still Weak.

The International Monetary Fund has cut its forecast for the US economy by 0.8% in 2014, but maintains its 3% growth forecast for 2015. The IMF recommends the US stick to lower rates for longer as the organization sees shaky unemployment recovery. The Fund is urging the US to stimulate the economy by investing in infrastructure and take the burden off the Federal Reserve whose intervention has had questionable results even as they are planning to end the quantitative easing program. Yellen and her team will have the final word this week and the market is not expecting the IMF warning to have much of an effect in the FOMC decision.


BOE MPC Member Sees Higher UK Rates Sooner Rather Than Later


Bank of England David Miles MPC external member said in an interview that he would vote for a rate hike before his term ends in 11 months. The fact that he is a known dove raises the probability of Carney getting more than enough votes before Spring 2015 to raise UK rates. The British economy has caught many analysts offside. This includes the teams at the Bank of England and the IMF who offered a retraction after their missed call. Mark Carney has worked alongside the government to prepare the Old Lady to meet the demands of a modern economy. The new powers over mortgages awarded to the central bank address one of the biggest risk identified by several agencies: housing.

Gold and Oil stable but upward trend expected due to Iraq and Ukraine-Russia
The situation in Iraq continues to escalate. The US has not ruled out armed intervention and there are talks with estranged Iran to counter the ISIS threat. US Secretary of State John Kerry said, “I wouldn't rule out anything that would be constructive.” Russia has followed through on the gas deadline and after its passing without an acceptable agreement it has ceased to provide energy to Ukraine. The weekend saw renewed fighting between the Ukraine military and Pro-Moskow rebels after a plane was attacked resulting in the deaths of 49 Ukrainian soldiers.

The following article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.

Posted-In: Forex Markets

Originally posted here...

  Most Popular Why Tesla Is Up Over 8% Tesla Stock Gains On Patent Sharing News - Analyst Blog Google Glass Rapidly Gaining Traction With Physicians Wall Street Comfortable With Covidien Buy; Some See Move By Johnson & Johnson Trulia Rumored To Acquire Move 4 Top Restaurant Stocks For The Rest Of 2014 Related Articles () Benzinga's M&A Chatter for Tuesday June 17, 2014 Shanda Reports Decline In Q1 Profit RealD Responds to Claims by Volfoni Will Destiny Be The Biggest Game Launch In History? Adobe Shoots Higher On Q2 Report, Guidance La-Z-Boy Q4 Net $0.33 Per Share, Slightly Beats Street View Around the Web, We're Loving...

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Top 10 Construction Material Stocks To Watch Right Now

Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) plans to internally separate its commercial operations into three separate business segments, the company announced today. Two of those segments will include what the company calls innovative business lines, and a third will include its value lines.

One of the innovative segments will include products that cover several therapeutic areas, including inflammation and immunology, CV/metabolic, neuroscience and pain, rare diseases, and women's and men's health. Those products will have market exclusivity beyond 2015.

The other innovative segment will include vaccines, oncology, and consumer health care, with each of those areas operating as a separate global business.

The value business segment will include products that have lost market exclusivity, as well as products that are mature, patient-protected, and expected to lose exclusivity through 2015 in most major markets. Those products will be positioned to provide lower-cost treatments to patients.

Top 10 Construction Material Stocks To Watch Right Now: Holcim Ltd (HOLN)

Holcim Ltd (Holcim) is a Switzerland-based holding company that specializes in the manufacture, distribution and marketing of building materials. The Company operates four business segments, including Cement, Aggregates, Other construction materials and services, and Corporate. The Cement segment is engaged in the development of cement and comprises clinker and other cementitious materials, among others. The Aggregates business segment includes crushed stone, gravel and sand. The Other construction materials and services business segment comprises ready-mix concrete, concrete products, asphalt, construction and paving, and trading, among others. Additionally, other construction materials and services segment provides environmental services, including waste management, among others. The Corporate segment is engaged in holding activities and general management. It operates through subsidiaries in Asia Pacific, Latin America, Europe, North America, Africa and Middle East regions. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Sofia Horta e Costa]

    Holcim Ltd. (HOLN) lost 0.9 percent to 68.15 francs in Zurich. Bank of America Corp.�� Merrill Lynch unit cut its rating on the world�� largest cement maker to underperform, similar to a sell recommendation, from neutral. Merrill Lynch cited the company�� exposure to emerging markets.

Top 10 Construction Material Stocks To Watch Right Now: Eagle Materials Inc (EXP)

Eagle Materials Inc., incorporated on January 27, 1994, manufactures and distributes gypsum wallboard and also manufactures and sells cement. Gypsum wallboard is distributed throughout the United States with particular emphasis in the geographic markets nearest to its production facilities. The Company sells cement in six regional markets, including northern Nevada and California, the greater Chicago area, the Rocky Mountain region, the Central Plains region and Texas. Its gypsum wallboard business is supported by its recycled paperboard business, while its cement business is supported by its concrete and aggregates business. The Company operates in Cement and Concrete and Aggregates, and Gypsum Wallboard and Recycled Paperboard segments. As of March 31, 2013, the Company operated six cement plants (one of which belongs to its joint venture company), five gypsum wallboard plants, one recycled paperboard plant, seventeen concrete batching plants and four aggregates facilities. The Company�� products are used in the construction and renovation of houses, roads, bridges, commercial and industrial buildings and other, newer generation structures like wind farms.

Cement, Concrete and Aggregates Operations

The Company�� cement production facilities are located in or near Buda, Texas; LaSalle, Illinois; Laramie, Wyoming; Sugar Creek, Missouri; Tulsa, Oklahoma and Fernley, Nevada. The Company�� cement subsidiaries are wholly-owned except the Buda, Texas plant, which is owned by Texas Lehigh Cement Company LP, a limited partnership joint venture owned 50% by the Company and 50% by Lehigh Cement Company LLC, a subsidiary of Heidelberg Cement AG. Its LaSalle, Illinois plant operates under the name of Illinois Cement Company; the Laramie, Wyoming plant operates under the name of Mountain Cement Company; the Fernley, Nevada plant operates under the name of Nevada Cement Company and its Sugar Creek, Missouri and Tulsa, Oklahoma plants operate under the name Central Plains Cement Com! pany. The Company produces and distributes ready-mix concrete from Company-owned sites north of Sacramento, California; Austin, Texas and the greater Kansas City area. The Company�� activities in its frac sand business are in the Utica, Illinois area and in south Texas. The Company sells aggregates to building contractors and other customers engaged in a variety of construction activities.

Gypsum Wallboard and Recycled Paperboard Operations

The Company owns five gypsum wallboard manufacturing facilities. As of March 31, 2013, the Company�� gypsum wallboard production totaled 1,950 million square feet. Total gypsum wallboard sales were 1,909 million square feet during the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013 (fiscal 2013). The Company also manufactures alternative products, including containerboard grades (such as linerboard and medium) and lightweight packaging grades (such as bag liner). In addition, recycled industrial paperboard grades (tube/core stock and protective angle board stock) are produced to maximize manufacturing efficiencies. The Company�� manufactured recycled paperboard products are sold to gypsum wallboard manufacturers and other industrial users.

The Company competes with USG Corporation, National Gypsum Company and Koch Industries.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Jake L'Ecuyer]

    Top decliners in the sector included Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM), off 6.3 percent, and Eagle Materials (NYSE: EXP), down 4.3 percent.

    Top Headline
    Forest Laboratories (NYSE: FRX) announced its plans to buy Furiex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: FURX) for up to $1.46 billion. Forest will pay around $95 per share, or around $1.1 billion in cash. Forest Labs will also pay up to $30 per share, or around $360 million in a contingent value right. The deal is projected to close in the second or third quarter of 2014.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    Tomorrow, Eagle Materials (NYSE: EXP  ) 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.

  • [By Jake L'Ecuyer]

    Top decliners in the sector included Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM), off 6.3 percent, and Eagle Materials (NYSE: EXP), down 4.3 percent.

    Top Headline
    Forest Laboratories (NYSE: FRX) announced its plans to buy Furiex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: FURX) for up to $1.46 billion. Forest will pay around $95 per share, or around $1.1 billion in cash. Forest Labs will also pay up to $30 per share, or around $360 million in a contingent value right. The deal is projected to close in the second or third quarter of 2014.

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Cement and building materials maker�Eagle Materials� (NYSE: EXP  ) �announced yesterday�its second-quarter dividend of $0.10 per share, the same rate it's paid since 2008.

Hot Biotech Stocks To Invest In 2015: Societe Libanaise des Ciments Blancs SAL (CBN)

Societe Libanaise des Ciments Blancs SAL is a Lebanon-based joint stock company that operates in the construction materials industry sector. The Company is engaged in the production and sale of white cement. The Company is a 65.99% owned by Holcim (Liban) SAL. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By CanadianValue]

    Nigeria�� reformed banking system has provided many foreigners with an attractive means to invest in the fast-growing domestic economy. The banking industry is important, not only because of the rise of microfinance, but because of the move by banks into consumer banking. Until recently, banks were mainly financing large businesses or the government through bond purchases. Following a banking crisis in 2008, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) conducted an audit of the commercial banking sector. All banks that failed the audit had their CEOs replaced. The state-owned Asset Management Corporation (AMCON) was created to purchase non-performing loans and recapitalize the unhealthy banks. A recent review of the country�� banks by the IMF showed a dramatic increase in profits for the industry in 2012, while the capital adequacy ratio was above the minimum requirement of 10% and non-performing loans were below the mandated threshold of 5%5.

Top 10 Construction Material Stocks To Watch Right Now: Ply Gem Holdings Inc (PGEM)

Ply Gem Holdings, Inc. (Ply Gem Holdings), incorporated on January 23, 2004, is a manufacturer of residential exterior building products in North America. The Company operates in two segments: Siding, Fencing, and Stone and Windows and Doors. These two segments produce a product line of vinyl siding, designer accents, cellular polyvinyl chloride (PVC) trim, vinyl fencing, vinyl and composite railing, stone veneer and vinyl windows and doors used in both new construction and home repair and remodeling in the United States and Western Canada. It also manufactures vinyl and aluminum soffit and siding accessories, aluminum trim coil, wood windows, aluminum windows, vinyl and aluminum-clad windows and steel and fiberglass doors, enabling it to bundle complementary and color-matched products and accessories with its core products. The Company�� subsidiaries includes including Ply Gem Industries, MWM Holding, AWC Holding Company, MHE, and Pacific Windows. On July 30, 2012, Ply Gem acquired substantially all of the assets of Greendeck Products, LLC.

Siding, Fencing, and Stone Segment

In the Siding, Fencing, and Stone segment, its principal products include vinyl siding and skirting, vinyl and aluminum soffit, aluminum trim coil, J-channels, wide crown molding, window and door trim, F-channels, H-molds, fascia, undersill trims, outside/inside corner posts, rain removal systems, injection molded designer accents, such as shakes, shingles, scallops, shutters, vents and mounts, vinyl fence, vinyl and composite railing, and stone veneer. It sells its siding and accessories under its Variform, Napco, Mastic Home Exteriors, and Cellwood brand names and under the Georgia-Pacific brand name through a private label program. It also sells its Providence line of vinyl siding and accessories to Lowe�� under its Durabuilt private label brand name. Its vinyl and vinyl-composite fencing and railing products are sold under its Kroy and Kroy Express brand names. Ply Gem Holdings stone veneer produ! cts are sold under its United Stone Veneer brand name.

The Company sells the siding and accessories to specialty distributors (one-step distribution) and to wholesale distributors (two-step distribution). Its specialty distributors sell directly to remodeling contractors and builders. Its wholesale distributors sell to retail home centers and lumberyards who, in turn, sell to remodeling contractors, builders and consumers. In the specialty channel, it has developed a network of approximately 800 independent distributors, serving over 22,000 contractors and builders nationwide.

Windows and Doors Segment

In the Windows and Doors segment, its principal products include vinyl, aluminum, wood and clad-wood windows and patio doors, and steel, wood, and fiberglass entry doors that serve both the new home construction and the repair and remodeling sectors in the United States and Western Canada. Its products in its Windows and Doors segment are sold under the Ply Gem Windows, Great Lakes Mastic by Ply Gem, and Ply Gem Canada brands.

The Company competes with Alsco, Gentek, U.S. Fence, Homeland, Westech, Bufftech, Royal, Azek., Eldorado Stone, Coronado Stone, Jeld-Wen, Simonton, Pella and Andersen, MI Home Products, Atrium, Weathershield, Milgard, Jeld-Wen, Gienow, All Weather and Loewen.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Ply Gem Holdings (NYSE: PGEM) shares reached a new 52-week low of $11.48 after the company reported wider-than-expected Q4 loss and issued a weak Q1 revenue forecast.

  • [By Matt Jarzemsky]

    Installed Building Products��debut follows mixed performance from shares of some newly public building-products companies. Through Tuesday, siding manufacturer Ply Gem Holdings Inc.(PGEM)�� shares were down 39% from the offer price in its $381 May debut. Wood-products maker Boise Cascade Co.(BCC) was up 46% from its $284 million February IPO.

  • [By Traders Reserve]

    There hasn�� been a January effect rally in shares of Ply Gem (PGEM). In fact, it has been quite the opposite. Shares are down a whopping 25% during the month. For a stock I rated as on of the Top 10 Sizzling Stocks, such a move is painful, but not disastrous. Sizzling Stocks are meant to be held for the duration of the year and we have 11 months to go. Small-cap stocks like Ply Gem can move sharply one direction or the other.

Top 10 Construction Material Stocks To Watch Right Now: CEMEX SAB de CV (CX)

CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V. (CEMEX), incorporated on January 20, 1931, is a global cement manufacturer with operations in North America, Europe, South America, Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The Company is a holding company engaged through the operating subsidiaries in the production, distribution, marketing and sale of cement, ready-mix concrete, aggregates and clinker. As of December 31, 2009, the Company�� cement production facilities were located in Mexico, the United States, Spain, the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, Croatia, Latvia, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Egypt, the Philippines and Thailand.

The Company manufactures cement through a closely controlled chemical process, which begins with the mining and crushing of limestone and clay, and, in some instances, other raw materials. The clay and limestone are then pre-homogenized, a process which consists of combining different types of clay and limestone. The mix is typically dried, then fed into a grinder, which grinds the various materials in preparation for the kiln. The raw materials are calcined, or processed, at a very high temperature in a kiln, to produce clinker. Clinker is the intermediate product used in the manufacture of cement.

Ready-mix concrete is a combination of cement, fine and coarse aggregates, admixtures (which control properties of the concrete including plasticity, pumpability, freeze-thaw resistance, strength and setting time), and water. The Company is a supplier of aggregates primarily the crushed stone, sand and gravel, used in virtually all forms of construction.

Mexican Operations

During the year ended December 31, 2009, the Mexican operations represented approximately 21% of the Company�� net sales. CEMEX Mexico is a direct subsidiary of CEMEX and is both a holding company for some of the operating companies in Mexico and an operating company involved in the manufacturing and ma! rketing of cement, plaster, gypsum, groundstone and other construction materials and cement by-products in Mexico. CEMEX Mexico, indirectly, is also the holding company for the international operations. The Company owns Tolteca, Monterrey, Maya, Anahuac, Campana, Gallo, and Centenario brands in Mexico. As of December 31, 2009, the Company owned 100% of CEMEX Mexico.

The Company competes with Holcim Ltd., Sociedad Cooperativa Cruz Azul, Cementos Moctezuma, Grupo Cementos Chihuahua and Lafarge Cementos in Mexico.

U.S. Operations

As of December 31, 2009, the Company�� operations in the United States represented approximately 19% of the Company�� net sales. As of December 31, 2009, the Company held 100% of CEMEX, Inc. As of December 31, 2009, CEMEX had a cement manufacturing capacity of approximately 17.9 million tons per year in the United States operations. As of December 31, 2009, the Company operated 14 cement plants located in Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas. As of December 31, 2009, it also had 48 rails or water served active cement distribution terminals in the United States. As of December 31, 2009, the Company had 336 ready-mix concrete plants located in the Carolinas, Florida, Georgia, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington and aggregates facilities in North Carolina, South Carolina, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.

Spanish Operations

As of December 31, 2009, the operations in Spain represented approximately 5% of the Company�� net sales. As of December 31, 2009, the Company held approximately 99.8% of CEMEX Espana, the main operating subsidiary in Spain. The cement activities in Spain are conducted by CEMEX Espana. The ready-mix concrete activities in Spain are conducted by Hormicemex, S.A., a subsidiary of CEMEX Espana, and the aggregates activities in Spain ar! e conduct! ed by Aricemex S.A., also a subsidiary of CEMEX Espana.

U.K. Operations

As of December 31, 2009, the Company�� operations in the United Kingdom represented approximately 8% of the Company�� net sales. As of December 31, 2009, it held 100% of CEMEX Investments Limited, the holding subsidiary in the United Kingdom. The Company is a provider of building materials in the United Kingdom with vertically integrated cement, ready-mix concrete, aggregates and asphalt operations. It is also a provider of concrete and precast materials solutions, such as concrete blocks, concrete block paving, roof tiles, flooring systems and sleepers for rail infrastructure.

The Company competes with Lafarge, Heidelberg, Tarmac, and Aggregate Industries in the United Kingdom.

German Operations

As of December 31, 2009, the operations in the Rest of Europe consisted of the operations in Germany, France, Ireland, Poland, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Austria and Hungary, as well as the other European assets. The Company is a provider of building materials in Germany, with vertically integrated cement, ready-mix concrete, aggregates and concrete products operations (consisting mainly of prefabricated concrete ceilings and walls). It maintains a network for ready-mix concrete and aggregates in Germany. As of December 31, 2009, the Company held 100% of CEMEX Deutschland AG, the holding subsidiary in Germany.

The Company competes with Heidelberg, Dyckerhoff, Lafarge, Holcim and Schwenk in Germany.

French Operations

As of December 31, 2009, the Company held 100% of CEMEX France Gestion (S.A.S.), the holding subsidiary in France. It is a ready-mix concrete producer and aggregate producer in France. As of December 31, 2009, the Company operated 239 ready-mix concrete plants in France, one maritime cement terminal located in LeHavre, on the northern coast of France, 20 land distribution centers and 42 aggregates quarries.

The Company competes with Lafarge, Holcim, Italcementi, Vicat, Lafarge, Italcementi, Colas (Bouygues) and Eurovia (Vinci) in France.

Irish Operations

As of December 31, 2009, the Company held approximately 61.2% of Readymix Plc, the operating subsidiary in the Republic of Ireland. The operations in Ireland produce and supply sand, stone and gravel, as well as ready-mix concrete, mortar and concrete blocks. As of December 31, 2009, we operated 43 ready-mix concrete plants, 27 aggregates quarries and 15 block plants located in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. The Company imports and distributes cement in the Isle of Man.

The Company competes with CRH, the Lagan Group and Kilsaran in the Republic of Ireland.

Polish Operations

As of December 31, 2009, the Company held 100% of CEMEX Polska Sp. z.o.o. (CEMEX Polska), the holding subsidiary in Poland. It is a provider of building materials in Poland serving the cement, ready-mix concrete and aggregates markets. As of December 31, 2009, CEMEX operated two cement plants and one grinding mill in Poland, with a total installed cement capacity of three million tons per year. As of December 31, 2009, the Company also operated 39 ready-mix concrete plants and nine aggregates quarries in Poland. As of December 31, 2009, the Company also operated 10 land distribution centers and two maritime terminals in Poland.

The Company competes with Heidelberg, Lafarge, CRH and Dyckerhoff in Poland.

Southeast European Operations

As of December 31, 2009, the Company held 100% of CEMEX Hrvatska d.d. (Hrvatska), the operating subsidiary in Croatia. As of December 31, 2009, it operated three cement plants in Croatia, with an installed capacity of 2.4 million tons per year. As of December 31, 2009, the Company also operated ten land distribution centers, three maritime cement terminals, eight ready-mix concrete facilities and one aggregates quarry! in Croat! ia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By GuruFocus]

    George Soros (Trades, Portfolio) just reported his first quarter portfolio. He buys Citrix Systems Inc, Baker Hughes Inc, Comcast Corp, Spansion Inc, etc during the 3-months ended 03/31/2014, according to the most recent filings of his investment company, Soros Fund Management LLC. As of 03/31/2014, Soros Fund Management LLC owns 305 stocks with a total value of $10.1 billion. These are the details of the buys and sells.New Purchases: BHI, CODE, CTRP, CLI, AVB, COMM, CNQ, AGO, AUY, ATML, ASH, BXMT, CSTM, AEM, CMA, ARE, CHKP, AUQ, BEAV, CX, ADSK, AALCP, BLK, AIG, BIIB, ADEP, AMRI, ARWR, ATHX, BALT, BCRX, BEAT, CFX, CLFD, CUR, CODE,Added Positions: CTXS, CMCSA, CNP, ALTR, BRCD, CBS, CRM, CHTR, CCJ, CIEN, BIDU, ALLE, ABT, CDNS, ACT,Reduced Positions: AAPL, CCI, AMT, ABBV, AAL, BITA, AL, ANGI, ARIA, CBST, BA, BIRT, EXAR,Sold Out: C, BAC, CRI, AMZN, AGN, CF, BRCM, COTY, BMY, AMCX, CAR, A, ADBE, AFL,For the details of George Soros (Trades, Portfolio)'s stock buys and sells, go to is the sector weightings of his portfolio:Technology18.9%Energy14%Healthcare8.3%Consumer Defensive8.2%Communication Services8.1%Consumer Cyclical5.4%Industrials5.1%Basic Materials4.9%Financial Services2.5%Real Estate1.9%Utilities0.5%These are the top 5 holdings of George Soros (Trades, Portfolio)1. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TEVA) - 10,310,041 shares, 5.4% of the total portfolio. Shares added by 10.67%2. Herbalife Ltd (HLF) - 4,901,337 shares, 2.8% of the total portfolio. Shares added by 52.9%3. EQT Corp (EQT) - 2,573,814 shares, 2.5% of the total portfolio. Shares added by 3.27%4. Adecoagro SA (AGRO) - 25,915,076 shares, 2.1% of the total portfolio.5. Halliburton Co (HAL) - 3,596,353 shares, 2.1% of the total portfolio. Shares reduced by 20.73%New Purchase: Baker Hughes Inc (BHI)George Soros (Trades, Portfolio) initiated holdings in Baker Hughes Inc. His purchase prices were between $51.82 and $65.27, with an estimated

  • [By Monica Wolfe]

    Cemex SAB de CV (CX)

    As of the close of the third quarter there were nine guru owners of Cemex. These gurus held a combined weighting of 5.30%. During the third quarter, there were three gurus making buys and nine making sells of their stake in CX.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Shares of Vulcan have gained 7.6%, and given a lift to other cement makers today, including Martin Marietta Materials (MLM), which has risen 4.9% and reports earnings on Thursday, Cemex (CX), which has advanced 1.5%, and Texas Industries (TXI), which is up 4.9%.

  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    Even now, though, it's far from clear whether the recent rebound has staying power. Earlier this month, peer Vulcan Materials (NYSE: VMC  ) reported 5% lower shipments of aggregates, although rising prices helped offset the impact, and the company noted double-digit-percentage increases in shipments to hot housing areas including Arizona, California, and Florida. Similarly, Cemex (NYSE: CX  ) posted a substantial loss for its March quarter on with 5% lower revenue, but the Mexican company pointed to strength in the U.S. and Asian markets as offsetting weakness in Mexico, Europe, and Latin America.

Top 10 Construction Material Stocks To Watch Right Now: Texas Industries Inc (TXI)

Texas Industries, Inc., incorporated on April 19, 1951, is a supplier of construction materials in the southwestern United States. The Company operates in three segments: cement, aggregates and consumer products. Its cement segment produces gray portland cement and specialty cements. The Company�� cement production and distribution facilities are concentrated primarily in Texas and California. Its aggregates segment produces natural aggregates, including sand, gravel and crushed limestone. The Company�� consumer products segment produces ready-mix concrete. It is also a supplier of natural aggregates and ready-mix concrete in Texas and northern Louisiana and in Oklahoma and Arkansas. As of May 31, 2013, the Company had 123 manufacturing facilities in five states.

Cement Segment

The Company produces specialty cements, such as masonry and oil well cements. Its cement production facilities are located at Midlothian, Texas, south of Dallas/Fort Worth, Hunter, Texas, between Austin and San Antonio, and Oro Grande, California, near Los Angeles. It also operates a cement terminal and packaging facility at its Crestmore plant near Riverside, California, and the Company operates its gray portland cement grinding facility on an as needed basis. During the fiscal year ended May 31, 2013 (fiscal 2013), it produced approximately 4.3 million tons of finished cement. The Company shipped approximately 4.4 million tons during fiscal 2013, of which 3.8 million tons were shipped to outside trade customers.

Aggregates Segment

The Company�� operations are conducted from facilities primarily serving the Dallas/Fort Worth and Austin areas in Texas; the southern Oklahoma area, and the Alexandria and Monroe areas in Louisiana. The Company produced approximately 14.2 million tons of natural aggregates during fiscal 2013. It shipped approximately 14.8 million tons of natural aggregates during fiscal 2013, of which 11.3 million tons were shipped to outside trade customers! . The Company shipped approximately 1.0 million cubic yards of lightweight aggregates during fiscal 2013, of which approximately 0.9 million cubic yards were shipped to outside trade customers.

Consumer Products Segment

The Company�� ready-mix concrete operations are situated in three areas in Texas (the Dallas/Fort Worth/Denton area of north Texas, the Austin area of central Texas and from Beaumont to Texarkana in east Texas), in north and central Louisiana, and in southwestern Arkansas. It is also a 40% partner in a joint venture that has ready mix concrete operations in the northern part of central Texas area centered around Waco, Texas. It shipped approximately 2.8 million cubic yards of ready-mix concrete during fiscal 2013. The Company manufacture and supply a substantial amount of the cement and aggregates raw materials used by our ready-mix plants. The Company also marketed its Maximizer packaged concrete mixes in southern California.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Sean Williams]

    Texas Industries (NYSE: TXI  )
    In spite of the steady rebound in the construction industry, certain companies look predisposed to underperform. Take Texas Industries as a perfect example. It provides heavy construction aggregates to the commercial construction industry while also acting a cement supplier to the consumer segment. Although its orders, and even to some remote extent its pricing power for cement, has improved modestly as the housing sector has rebounded, Texas Industries is still turning only marginal profits. In fact, looking toward next year you'd see a forward P/E approaching 500!

  • [By Holly LaFon]

    Competitively advantaged holdings continued to demonstrate the value of moats at FedEx (FDX), Melco, and Texas Industries (TXI). These holdings were among our largest contributors to performance, and they exemplify activity prevalent across most of our holdings throughout the year.

Top 10 Construction Material Stocks To Watch Right Now: Boral Ltd (BLD)

Boral Limited (Boral), is engaged in the manufacture and supply of building and construction materials in Australia, the United States and Asia. The Company�� operating segments include Construction Materials & Cement, Building Products, Boral Gypsum, and Boral USA. The Construction Materials & Cement is engaged in quarries, concrete, asphalt, transport, landfill, property, cement and concrete placing. The Building Products segment is engaged in Australian bricks, roof tiles, masonry, timber products and windows. The Boral Gypsum involves Australian and Asian plasterboard. The Boral USA is engaged in Bricks, cultured stone, roof tiles, fly ash, concrete and quarries. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Eric Lam]

    Ballard Power (BLD), which designs and manufactures hydrogen fuel cells, slumped 15 percent to C$1.42, the biggest decline since March. The company yesterday said it will sell about 9 million units at $1.40 a unit for proceeds of about $12.6 million. The cash generated will be used to fund working capital, support growth and general corporate purposes, the company said.

Top 10 Construction Material Stocks To Watch Right Now: Amcol International Corp (ACO)

AMCOL International Corporation (AMCOL), incorporated on December 3, 1959, is focused on the development and application of minerals and technology products and services to various industrial and consumer markets. It operates in five segments: performance materials, construction technologies, energy services, transportation and corporate. Its performance materials segment previously referred to as its minerals and materials segment is a supplier of bentonite related products. Its construction technologies segment previously referred to as its environmental segment provides products for non-residential construction, environmental and infrastructure projects worldwide. Its energy services segment previously referred to as its oilfield services segment offers a range of patented technologies, products and services for both upstream and downstream oil and gas production. Its transportation segment serves domestic subsidiaries, as well as third parties, is a dry van and flatbed carrier and freight brokerage service provider.

Performance Materials Segment

The Company supplies chromite and leonardite, and operates more than 25 mining or production facilities worldwide. It mines chromite, an iron chromium oxide, from open cast mines in South Africa and transport it to our nearby processing facility. Its primary uses include metalcasting, drilling fluid additive, and agricultural applications. Its performance materials segment conducts its business through wholly owned subsidiaries and investments in affiliates and joint ventures throughout the world. It consists of four product lines: metalcasting; specialty materials; basic minerals, and pet products. Its principal products are marketed under various registered trade names, including VOLCLAY, PANTHER CREEK, PREMIUM GEL, ADDITROL, ENERSOL, and Hevi-Sand.

The Company�� metalcasting products include blended mineral binders containing sodium and calcium bentonite and organic additives sold under the trade name ADDITROL. I! n the ferrous casting market, the Company specializes in blending bentonite of various grades by themselves or with mineral binders containing sodium bentonite, calcium bentonite, seacoal and other ingredients. It also has a line of formulated additives that introduce silicon and carbon in the melt phase of the casting process. In the steel alloy casting market, it sells a chromite product with a particle size distribution specific to a customer�� needs.

The Company�� specialty materials products contain bentonite and synthetic additives offering solutions for consumer and industrial applications. It also offers products for bio-agricultural applications. The markets and applications of its specialty materials products include fabric care, personal care, basic materials and pet products. It supply high-grade, agglomerated bentonite and other mineral additives used in fabric care products. It manufactures adsorbent polymers and purified grades of bentonite for sale to manufacturers of personal skin care products. The adsorbent polymers are used to deliver high-value actives in skin-care products. Microsponge and Poly-Pore are the principal trade names under which these products are sold. Its basic minerals product line supplies minerals to a variety of markets and industrial applications, including drilling fluid additives, ferro alloys and other industrial.

The Company�� pet products include sodium bentonite-based scoopable (clumping), traditional and alternative cat litters, as well as specialty pet products sold to grocery and drug stores, mass merchandisers, wholesale clubs and pet specialty stores throughout the United States. It is primarily a private-label producer of cat litter, and its products are marketed under various trade names. These products are sold solely in the United States from three principal sites from which it package and distribute finished goods. Its transportation segment provides logistics services and is a component of its capability in supplyi! ng custom! ers on a national basis.

Construction Technologies Segment

The Company�� construction technologies segment serves customers engaged in a range of construction projects, including site remediation, concrete waterproofing for underground structures, liquid containment on projects ranging from landfills to flood control, and drilling applications including foundation, slurry wall, tunneling, water well and horizontal drilling. Its construction technologies segment conducts its business through wholly owned subsidiaries and joint ventures throughout the world. This segment consists of four product lines: building materials; contracting services; drilling products, and lining technologies.

The Company sells lining and other products for a variety of applications, most of which are directed to preserving or remediating environmental issues. It helps customers protect ground water and soil through the sale of geosynthetic clay liner products containing bentonite. It market these products under the BENTOMAT and CLAYMAX trade names principally for lining and capping landfills, mine waste disposal sites, water and wastewater lagoons, secondary containments in tank farms, and other contaminated sites. It also provides associated geosynthetic materials for these applications, including geotextiles and drainage geocomposites.

The Company�� lining technologies product line also includes specialized technologies to mitigate vapor intrusion in new building construction. It also provides reactive capping technologies and solutions to contain residual contamination, reduce costs associated with ex-situ remedies, and aid in environmental protection. Products offered include Liquid Boot, a liquid applied vapor barrier system; REACTIVE CORE-MAT, an in-situ sediment capping material; ORGANOCLAY, which absorbs organic containments, and QUIK-SOLID, a super absorbent media.

The Company offer a variety of active and passive waterproofing and greenroof technolog! ies for u! se in protecting the building envelope of non-residential constructions, including buildings, subways, and parkway systems. Its products include VOLTEX, a waterproofing composite comprised of two polypropylene geotextiles filled with sodium bentonite; ULTRASEAL, an advanced membrane using a active polymer core, and COREFLEX, featuring heat-welded seams for protection of critical infrastructure. In addition to these membrane materials, it also provides roofing products and a variety of sealants and other accessories required to create a functional waterproofing system.

The Company drilling products are used in environmental and geotechnical drilling applications, horizontal directional drilling, mineral exploration and foundation construction. The products are used to install monitoring wells, facilitate horizontal and water well drilling, and seal abandoned exploration drill holes. VOLCLAY GROUT, HYDRAUL-EZ, BENTOGROUT and VOLCLAY TABLETS are among the trade names for products used in these applications. It also offer a range of drilling products used in the excavation of foundations for large buildings, bridges and dams; these products include SHORE PAC and PREMIUM GEL. Contracting services, which involve installation of products, are occasionally offered to customers for select projects.

Energy Services Segment

The Company�� energy services segment provides services to improve the production, costs, compliance, and environmental impact of activities performed in the oil and gas industry. Operating as CETCO Energy Services, it offer a range of patented technologies, products and services for all phases of oil and gas production, transportation, refining, and storage throughout the world. It provide both land-based and offshore water treatment, well testing, pipeline separation, nitrogen, coil tubing and other services to the oil and gas industry. The Company provides its services through subsidiaries located in Australia, Brazil, Malaysia, Nigeria, the United Ki! ngdom, an! d the United States, principally in the Gulf of Mexico and the surrounding on-shore area. Its principal services include water treatment, coil tubing, well testing, nitrogen services and pipeline. The Company helps customers comply with regulatory requirements by providing equipment, technologies, personnel and filtration media to treat waste water generated during oil production.

The Company's coil tubing services utilize metal piping, which comes spooled on a large reel. It provide both equipment and operating personnel to perform services ranging from acid stimulation, reverse circulation, cementing, pressure control, nitrogen injection, and other operations that involve pumping fluids into a well. Horizontal wells and shale completions are a large component of its operations. It provide equipment and personnel to help customers control well production, as well as to clean up, unload, separate, measure component flow, and dispose of fluids from oil and gas wells. Nitrogen services are provided in jetting wells that are loaded with fluid; stimulating wells, including fracturizing and acidizing; displacing completion fluids prior to perforating; inflating flotation devices for offshore installations, and pressure testing and other maintenance activities.

Transportation Segment

The Company operates a long-haul trucking business through Ameri-Co Carriers, Inc., and a freight brokerage business through Ameri-Co Logistics, Inc. primarily for delivery of finished products throughout the continental United States. These services are provided to its subsidiaries, as well as third-party customers.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Seth Jayson]

    AMCOL International (NYSE: ACO  ) is expected to report Q2 earnings on July 26. 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 AMCOL International's revenues will grow 1.6% and EPS will wither -16.9%.

  • [By Jake L'Ecuyer]

    Leading and Lagging Sectors
    In trading on Friday, Basic Materials shares were relative leaders, up on the day by 0.78 percent. Top gainer in the sector was AMCOL International (NYSE: ACO), up 9 percent.