Pop culture often reflects the more insidious trends at work beneath the surface of society. Take America�� current fascination with zombie shows like The Walking Dead. I manage a large portfolio of corporate bonds, but when I peer into my Bloomberg Terminal, I am confronted by the walking dead daily. I am referring to zombie credits��eemingly healthy bonds issued by institutions with dubious economic net worth and unsustainable business models.
The animator of these corporate corpses is none other than the Federal Reserve and its quantitative easing program. No industry outside banking has benefited more from the Fed�� largesse, and the yield hunger of investors, than retailers.
Screams and moans. Cries of despair. The smell of burning cash. Voracious appetites for capital that can never be satiated. Those should be the sounds coming from the boardrooms of two legacy retailers, J.C. Penney and Sears Holdings Sears Holdings. Yet these zombies somehow continue to anchor shopping malls.
Best Medical Companies For 2015: Nike Inc.(NKE)
NIKE, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the design, development, marketing, and sale of footwear, apparel, equipment, and accessory products for men, women, and children worldwide. The company offers products in the categories of running, training, basketball, soccer, sport-inspired casual shoes, and kids? shoes. It also markets footwear designed for baseball, cheerleading, football, golf, lacrosse, outdoor activities, skateboarding, tennis, volleyball, walking, wrestling, and other athletic and recreational uses. In addition, Nike sells sports apparel and accessories, sports-inspired lifestyle apparel, athletic bags, and accessory items; and markets apparel with licensed college, professional team, and league logos. Further, the company sells performance equipment, including bags, socks, sport balls, eyewear, timepieces, electronic devices, bats, gloves, protective equipment, golf clubs, and other equipment designed for sports activities under the brand na me of NIKE; and various plastic products to other manufacturers. It offers products under the trademarks of Cole Haan, Converse, Chuck Taylor, All Star, One Star, Star Chevron, Jack Purcell, Hurley, and Umbro. The company sells its products through retail accounts, its own retail stores and Internet sales, independent distributors, and licensees. NIKE, Inc. was founded in 1964 and is headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Rich Duprey]
Be a good sport
There's a difference between the controversy wracking Reebok now and that, say, of Nike (NYSE: NKE ) , which has gone out of its way to manufacture controversy at times, standing by Tiger Woods during his personal divorce problems.�Sports figures tend to have a more wholesome image, which is why they're among the biggest endorsers of products, but they, too, become embroiled in situations that leave the companies that sign their paychecks running for the exits.
- [By Reuters]
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesThe Dow Jones news ticker in Times Square, New York City. NEW YORK -- Investment bank Goldman Sachs Group (GS), credit-card company Visa (V), and footwear Nike (NKE) will join the blue chip Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) Dow Jones industrial average, the index managers said Tuesday, in the biggest shake-up for the 30-stock average in nearly a decade. The three companies will replace Bank of America (BAC), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and Alcoa (AA), all lower-priced stocks that exert a lesser pull on the price-weighted index. The changes will be effective on Sept. 23, S&P Dow Jones Indices said in a statement. The average, first established in 1896, includes 30 stocks, but very little money is indexed to its performance, unlike the broader Standard & Poor's 500 (^GSPC) or other indexes. In addition, because it is weighted by price, companies that are smaller in value with higher prices have more influence on the average. "Wow, those are big changes," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, N.Y. "The Dow is really an antiquated index. It is price-weighted, which makes no sense. But there are still are some people that pay attention to it, and some technicians, so it has an influence on some people." Google (GOOG) and other names were considered for inclusion but passed over because of high stock prices, David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the S&P Index Committee, told CNBC. The index manager said the changes were prompted by the low stock price of the three companies slated for removal and a desire to diversify the make-up of the index. Alcoa, in particular, has been seen as a candidate for elimination for some time, as the stock's market value of $8.5 billion is easily the lowest in the average. It is the first three-for-three change to the index since April 8, 2004, when American International Group (AIG), Pfizer (PFE) and Verizon (VZ) replaced AT&
- [By Paul Ausick]
Dow 30 component Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) is down 1.49% today and traded at $77.45 in its 52-week range of $53.27 to $80.26 shortly before today�� closing bell. The athletic gear company is probably feeling some impact from an announcement earlier today from competitor Adidas which warned that weakening currencies in emerging markets will hit sales. Trading volume for Nike�� shares was about 65% of the daily average of nearly 4 million shares.
- [By Eric Volkman]
Getty Images/Scott Olson The demise of Crocs (CROX), it seems, may have been greatly exaggerated. Remember the company's signature product? Close to a decade ago, those colorful, clunky resin clogs were all the rage. The company that made them couldn't sell the things fast enough, at one point reaching sales of 50 million pairs in 2007. Then fashion moved on, as it always does, and the economic slowdown started to bite into sales. Crocs plunged from a $168 million net profit in 2007 to a $185 million loss in 2008. In 2009, the company nearly ran out of cash and had a hard time making payroll. But Crocs' fortunes have improved. In its most recent quarter, the firm posted a loss, but it was narrower than the market was expecting. And it's found an investor that believes in its future -- private equity giant Blackstone Group (BX), which recently provided a $200 million cash investment in return for a block of preferred shares eventually convertible into a stake of around 13 percent of the company. Perhaps the time has come to take those old clogs out of the closet, dust them off, and slip them on for a stroll. Stepping It Up Fashion is highly susceptible to consumer whim. The hot item is never hot for very long, and once consumers move on, it can be hard for the company to recover. In Crocs' case, this was exacerbated by its limited product line -- almost exclusively the clogs. The company learned from its mistakes. Since consumer tastes moved out of clog-land, Crocs has significantly broadened its product line to 300 styles. It now offers boots, flip-flops, deck shoes and slip-ons akin to the casuals from VF Corp.'s (VFC) Vans subsidiary. In terms of profitability, Crocs recovered quickly from its time in the fashion wilderness. From that 2008 bottom-line deficit of $185 million, the company sliced its loss to $42 million the following year, then stepped back into the black in 2010 (to the tune of $68 million). After two straight years of declines, revenue
Top 5 Stocks To Watch Right Now: U.S. Silica Holdings Inc (SLCA)
US Silica Holdings, Inc. is a silica sand supplier company. The Company is a producer of industrial minerals, including sand proppants, whole grain silica, ground silica, fine ground silica, calcined kaolin clay and aplite clay. The Company operates in two segments: oil and gas, and industrial and specialty products. The Company�� shipping capabilities include five of the class-one railroads, barge, full truckload, partial truckload and intermodal. The Company�� products include proppants, whole grain silica, ground silica, fine ground silica, testing silica, recreational silica, aplite, kaolin, hydrous kaolin and FLORISIL. It also operates as a research and development specialist for customized products and solutions. The Company serves a range of industries and applications, which includes oil and gas, glass, chemicals, foundry, building products, fillers and extenders, recreation, industrial filtration and treatment, and testing and analysis.
Oil & Gas
The Company�� oil and gas segment include OTTAWA WHITE and SHALE FRAC product lines. The Company has a selection of offerings from number of mining and transload locations. Its products consist of unconventional reservoirs, including tight gas, coal bed methane, shale gas, and liquids.
Industrial & Specialty Products
The Company�� industrial and specialty products include glass, chemical, foundry, building products, fillers and extenders, recreation, industry filtration and treatment, and testing and analysis. The Company produces a range of whole grain silica, ground silica and kaolin clays.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Matt DiLallo]
Because of that payout and the company's solid growth prospects, I'm personally looking to add units to my portfolio. I also like the fact that this company is a pure play in pure frack sand, which is why I prefer it to U.S Silica (NYSE: SLCA ) . That being said, being a pure play adds to the risks: Lack of diversification is the chief risk. The difference here is that U.S. Silica has over 200 products and 1,400 customers while Hi-Crush has just one product and a handful of customers. Still, those customers are secured by long-term contracts, which is why Hi-Crush is one of the best dividend stocks out there these days.
- [By Matt Jarzemsky var popups = dojo.query(".socialByline .popC"); popups.forEach]
The company is among a small handful of frac-sand producers that have gotten a warm reception from investors lately. Peers Hi-Crush Partners LP and U.S. Silica Holdings Inc.(SLCA) have both seen their shares climb more than 120% the past year.
- [By Seth Jayson]
Calling all cash flows
When you are trying to buy the market's best stocks, it's worth checking up on your companies' free cash flow once a quarter or so, to see whether it bears any relationship to the net income in the headlines. That's what we do with this series. Today, we're checking in on U.S. Silica Holdings (NYSE: SLCA ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.
Top 5 Stocks To Watch Right Now: Acuity Brands Inc (AYI)
Acuity Brands, Inc. (Acuity Brands), incorporated on September 20, 2007, is the parent company of Acuity Brands Lighting, Inc. (ABL), and other subsidiaries. Acuity Brands is a provider of lighting solutions for commercial, institutional, industrial, infrastructure, and residential applications throughout North America and select international markets. The Company's lighting solutions include devices, such as luminaires, lighting controls, power supplies, prismatic skylights, light-emitting diode (LED) lamps, and integrated lighting systems for indoor and outdoor applications utilizing a combination of light sources, including daylight, and other devices controlled by software that monitors and manages light levels while optimizing energy consumption (collectively referred to herein as lighting solutions). Effective March 14, 2013, the Company acquired eldoLED Europe BV.
The Company manufactures lighting devices primarily in North America, Europe and Asia. The Company's lighting solutions are marketed under numerous brand names, including Lithonia Lighting, Holophane, Peerless, Mark Architectural Lighting, Hydrel, American Electric Lighting, Gotham, Carandini, RELOC, Antique Street Lamps, Tersen, Winona Lighting, Synergy Lighting Controls, Sensor Switch, Lighting Control & Design, Dark to Light, ROAM, Sunoptics, acculamp, Pathway Connectivity, and Healthcare Lighting. As of August 31, 2012, the Company manufactures products in 18 facilities in North America and two facilities in Europe.
Principal customers include electrical distributors, retail home improvement centers, electric utilities, municipalities, lighting showrooms, and energy service companies located in North America and select international markets serving new construction, renovation, and facility maintenance applications. In North America, the Company's lighting solutions are sold primarily by independent sales agents, electrical wholesalers, and factory sales representatives who cover specific geographic areas! and market channels. Products are delivered directly or through a network of distribution centers, regional warehouses, and commercial warehouses using both common carriers and a company-owned truck fleet. During the fiscal year ended August 31, 2012 (fiscal 2012), North American sales accounted for approximately 98% of net sales. The Company has one operating segment serving the North American lighting market and select international markets.
The Company provides a range of lighting solutions, as well as services used in the applications, such as lighting solutions and services. Lighting solutions and services includes commercial and institutional, industrial, infrastructure, residential and services. Commercial and Institutional includes stores, hotels, offices, schools, and hospitals, as well as other government and public buildings. Lighting solutions that serve these applications include recessed, surface, and suspended lighting products, recessed down lighting, track lighting, day lighting, and lighting controls (occupancy sensors, photocontrols, relay panels, architectural dimming panels, and integrated lighting controls systems), as well as special-use lighting products. The outdoor areas associated with these applications are addressed by a range of outdoor lighting products, such as area and flood lighting, decorative site lighting, and landscape lighting. Industrial includes primarily warehouses and manufacturing facilities, which utilize a range of general purpose, day lighting, and special-use lighting solutions. Infrastructure includes highways, tunnels, airports, railway yards, and ports. Products that serve these applications include street, area, high-mast, off-set roadway, sign lighting, poles, and integrated controls systems. Residential includes a combination of decorative, utilitarian, and down lighting products. Services include monitoring and controlling of lighting systems through network technologies.
The Company competes with Cooper Industries plc, Hu! bbell Inc! orporated, Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V., OSRAM AG, Schneider Electric and General Electric Company.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Monica Gerson]
Acuity Brands (NYSE: AYI) is estimated to report its Q4 earnings at $$1.02 per share on revenue of $569.33 million.
Walgreen Co (NYSE: WAG) is projected to report its Q4 earnings at $0.72 per share on revenue of $17.95 billion.
Top 5 Stocks To Watch Right Now: Spdr Kbw Regional Banking (KRE)
SPDR KBW Regional Banking ETF (the Fund), formerly KBW Regional Banking ETF, is a non-diversified investment company. The Fund seeks to replicate as closely as possible the performance of the KBW Regional Banking Index (the Index). The Fund has entered into an investment advisory agreement with SSgA Funds Management, Inc.
The Regional Banking Index is an equal weighted index of geographically diverse companies representing regional banking institutions listed on the United States stock markets. It is created and maintained by Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By L.A. Little]
A slightly different kind of set-up is exhibited by the SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (KRE) � which has exhibited a strong continuation move of a prior leg up with good volume and the break of multiple swing points on the same time frame.
- [By Charley Blaine]
The Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSE: XLF) exchange-traded fund is up 4.86%, tops among ETFs that mimic the sectors of the S&P 500. The SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (NYSE: KRE) is up 7.1 percent this month.
- [By Fiona MacDonald]
The Kuwait SE Price Index rose for a sixth day, climbing 0.5 percent to 6,851.17 at the close. Kuwait Real Estate Co. (KRE) climbed to the highest level in a month. Agility (AGLTY) advanced 1.7 percent after winning a $190 million UN contract in Sudan�� Darfur region. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index, which tracks the biggest 200 companies in the Gulf Cooperation Council, fell 0.1 percent.