Top 5 US Stocks To Invest In Right Now

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of RealD (NYSE: RLD  ) plunged for real today, down by 17% at the low, after the company announced disappointing box office sales for June.

So what: The company said that box office sales in June for RealD-enabled screens was approximately $291 million, of which $158 million was domestic and $133 million was international. Revenue for the fiscal quarter should be around $838 million, of which $431 million was domestic and $407 million was international.

Now what: The June sales were down sequentially from $345 million in May, which bodes poorly considering how important the summer is for Hollywood. Consumer interest in 3-D movies may be waning, as consumers may be becoming pickier about what they watch in the format since the prices are higher. RealD received a handful of analyst downgrades today following the figures.

Top Computer Hardware Companies To Watch In Right Now: MSC Industrial Direct Co Inc (MSM)

MSC Industrial Direct Co., Inc. (MSC), incorporated on October 25, 1995, is direct marketers and distributors of a range of metalworking and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) products to customers throughout the United States. The Company operates primarily in the United States, with customers in all 50 states, through a network of five customer fulfillment centers (four customer fulfillment centers are located within the United States and one is located in the United Kingdom and 106 branch offices (104 branches are located within the United States, one is located in the United Kingdom and the other is located in Mexico). The Company offers approximately 600,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) through its master catalogs, weekly, monthly and quarterly specialty and promotional catalogs, brochures and the Internet, including its Websites,, and (MSC Websites). In April 2013, the Company announced that it has completed the acquisition of the North American distribution business (BDNA or the Business) of Barnes Group Inc.

The Company's customers include a range of purchasers of industrial supply products, from individual machine shops to Fortune 1000 companies, to government agencies, such as the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Department of Defense. The Company uses its database of companies and contacts, and the Company also purchases information on prospective customers in the form of databases, mailing lists, and email lists to target the distribution of these various publications and other marketing vehicles to specific individuals within an organization whose purchasing history or other criteria suggest receptiveness to specific publication titles and promotions. The Company also provides electronic ordering capabilities (EDI and XML) to support its customers' purchase order processing.

The Company's products represent a range of MRO products that include cutting tools; measuring instruments; tooling component! s; metalworking products; fasteners; flat stock; raw materials; abrasives; machinery hand and power tools; safety and janitorial supplies; plumbing supplies; materials handling products; power transmission components; and electrical supplies. The Company provides product information and ordering capabilities on the Internet. The Company also maintains a hardware and software platform in support of its VMI program, which allows customers to integrate scanner-accumulated orders directly into its Sales Order Entry system.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Citing the benefits of providing high-margin, low-cost consumables with a broad distribution footprint throughout the U.S. and Canada, industrial supplier MSC Industrial Direct (NYSE: MSM  ) announced today that it has completed the�acquisition of Barnes Group's (NYSE: B  ) �North American distribution business�for $550 million.

  • [By Laura Brodbeck]


    Earnings Expected: WD-40 Company (NASDAQ: WDFC), MSC Industrial Direct Company (NYSE: MSM), CHC Group (NYSE: HELI) Economic Releases Expected:  Chinese trade balance, Australian unemployment rate


  • [By John Kell and Lauren Pollock var popups = dojo.query(".socialByline .popC"); ]

    MSC Industrial Direct Co.(MSM) said its fiscal second-quarter earnings fell 12%, as the industrial- and maintenance-supplies distributor’s higher costs and expenses offset an increase in revenue.

  • [By Eric Volkman]

    MSC Industrial Direct (NYSE: MSM  ) is continuing to put some of its money directly in the hands of its shareholders. The company has declared a fresh quarterly dividend of $0.30 per share. This will be paid on July 23 to shareholders of record as of July 9. That amount matches each of the firm's previous three distributions, the most recent of which was handed out at the end of April. Prior to that, the industrial supply firm dispensed $0.25 per share.

Top 5 US Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Avery Dennison Corp (AVY)

Avery Dennison Corporation (Avery Dennison), incorporated on February 23, 1977, is engaged in the production of pressure-sensitive materials, and a variety of tickets, tags, labels other converted products, and office and consumer products through embossing, printing, stamping and die-cutting. The Company operates in two segments: Pressure-sensitive Materials and Retail Branding and Information Solutions. In addition to its reportable segments, the Company has other specialty converting businesses comprised of Vancive Medical Technologies (Vancive) and Designed and Engineered Solutions (DES). Some are sold by the Company in converted form as printable media, tapes and reflective sheeting. The Company also manufacture and sells office and consumer products, other converted products and items not involving pressure-sensitive components, such as binders, organizing systems, markers, fasteners and business forms, as well as tickets, tags, radio-frequency identification (RFID) inlays and tags, and imprinting equipment and related services for retailers and apparel manufacturers. In 2012, the PSM and RBIS segments contributed approximately 71% and 25%, of its total sales, respectively. In 2012, international operations constituted a substantial majority of its business, representing approximately 72% of its sales. As of December 29, 2012, the Company operated approximately 200 manufacturing and distribution facilities worldwide, employed approximately 30,000 persons, and had operations in over 50 countries. In July 2013, Avery Dennison Corp completed the sale of its Office and Consumer Products and Designed and Engineered Solutions businesses to CCL Industries Inc.

Pressure-sensitive Materials Segment

Pressure-sensitive Materials segment manufactures and sells Fasson-,JAC -, and Avery Dennison-brand pressure-sensitive label and packaging materials, Avery- and Avery Dennison-brand graphics and graphic films, Avery Dennison-brand reflective products, and performance polymers (largel! y used to manufacture pressure-sensitive materials). The business of this segment tends not to be seasonal, except for certain outdoor graphics and reflective products and operations in Europe. Pressure-sensitive materials consist primarily of papers, plastic films, metal foils and fabrics, which are coated with company-developed and purchased adhesives, and then laminated with specially coated backing papers and films. They are sold in roll or sheet form with either solid or patterned adhesive coatings, and are available in a wide range of face materials, sizes, thicknesses and adhesive properties. These label and packaging materials are sold worldwide to label printers and converters for labeling, decorating, fastening, electronic data processing and special applications in the home and personal care, beer and beverage, durables, pharmaceutical, wine and spirits, and food market segments. A pressure-sensitive, or self-adhesive, material is one that adheres to a surface by press-on contact.

The Company�� graphics and reflective businesses sell a variety of films and other products to the architectural, commercial sign, digital printing, and other related market segments. The Company also sells durable cast and reflective films to the construction, automotive and fleet transportation market segments; and reflective films for traffic and safety applications. The Company provides sign shops, commercial printers and designers a range of pressure-sensitive materials to enable the creation of impactful and informative, brand and decorative graphics. The Company has an array of pressure-sensitive vinyl and specialty materials designed for digital imaging, screen printing and sign cutting applications.

The Company�� performance tapes business manufactures and sells coated tapes and adhesive transfer tapes for use in non-mechanical fastening, bonding and sealing systems in various industries. These tapes are sold to industrial original equipment manufacturers, converters, and dispo! sable dia! per producers worldwide in roll form and are available in a range of face materials, sizes, thicknesses and adhesive properties. Performance polymer products include a range of solvent- and emulsion-based acrylic polymer adhesives, protective coatings and other polymer additives for internal use, as well as for sale to other companies.

The Company competes with Raflatac, MacTac, Ritrama, Inc., Flexcon Corporation, Inc., Orafol Group, Inc., 3M, Tesa-SE, and Nitto Denko Corporation.

Retail Branding and Information Solutions Segment

The Company�� Retail Branding and Information Solutions segment (RBIS) designs, manufactures and sell a wide variety of branding and information solutions to retailers, brand owners, apparel manufacturers, distributors and industrial customers on a worldwide basis. RBIS branding solutions include creative services, brand embellishments, graphic tickets, tags, and labels, and sustainable packaging. RBIS information solutions include RFID-enabled inventory accuracy, visibility and loss prevention solutions, price ticketing and marking, care and content or origin compliance solutions, and brand protection and security solutions.

The Company competes with SML Group, R-pac Internation Corporation, and Checkpoint Systems.

Other specialty converting businesses

The Company�� specialty converting businesses include its designed and engineered solutions and Vancive businesses. These businesses manufacture and sell specialty tapes, engineered films, pressure-sensitive postage stamps and other converted products. These businesses are generally not seasonal, except for certain automotive products due to plant shutdowns by automotive manufacturers. It�� designed and engineered solutions business manufactures custom pressure-sensitive labels and multi-layer film constructions for durable goods, electronics and consumer packaged goods. These products are sold primarily to original equipment manufacturers, tie! r supplie! rs and packaging converters. For the automotive market segment, the businesses manufactures custom pressure-sensitive and heat-seal labels, and pressure-sensitive films, which are sold primarily to original equipment manufacturers and their suppliers. Its Vancive business manufactures an array of pressure-sensitive adhesive products for surgical, wound care, ostomy, and electromedical applications. These products are sold primarily to medical supply and device manufacturers and healthcare providers.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    3M has also done a good job of defending its intellectual property. Late last month, the company announced that it had won a lawsuit against Avery Dennison (NYSE: AVY  ) for patent infringement, and the court dismissed counterclaims that Avery had filed against 3M.

Top 5 US Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Moog Inc (MOGA)

Moog Inc. (Moog), incorporated on August 1, 1951, is a designer, manufacturer and integrator of precision motion and fluid controls and systems for a range of applications in aerospace and defense and industrial markets. The Company operates in five segments: Aircraft Controls, Space and Defense Controls, Industrial Systems, Components and Medical Devices. Within the aerospace and defense market, its products and systems include military and commercial aircraft flight controls, thrust vector controls for space launch vehicles, controls for gun aiming, stabilization and automatic ammunition loading for armored combat vehicles, satellite positioning controls and controls for steering tactical and strategic missiles. In July 2012, it acquired American Pacific Corporation's In-Space Propulsion business. In August 2012, the Company acquired Tritech International Limited. In January 2013, the Company acquired Broad Reach Engineering Company. Effective March 21, 2013, the Company acquired Aspen Motion Technologies Inc. In July 2013, Moog Inc completed the sale of its Buffalo, New York operations of Ethox Medical to Dempsey Ventures.

Aircraft Controls

The Company designs, manufactures and integrates primary and secondary flight controls for military and commercial aircraft and provide aftermarket support. The Company systems are used in commercial transports, supersonic fighters, multi-role military aircraft, business jets and rotorcraft. The Company also supply ground-based navigation aids. During the fiscal year ended September 29, 2012 (fiscal 2012). The Company is working on several development programs, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Boeing 787 Dreamliner, COMAC C919, Airbus A350XWB, several business jet programs and a new military air refueling tanker KC-46. The F-35 flight test phase has expanded covering three variants and initial production is increasing with aircraft being delivered to international partners. The Company�� military production programs include th! e F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, the Black Hawk/Seahawk helicopter and the F-35. The Company�� commercial production programs include the full line of Boeing 7-series aircraft, Airbus A330 and a range of business jets.

The Company competes with Parker Hannifin, UTC (Goodrich, Hamilton Sundstrand), Liebherr, Nabtesco, Woodward Governor and Curtiss-Wright.

Space and Defense Controls

Space and Defense Controls provides controls for satellites and space vehicles, launch vehicles, armored combat vehicles, tactical and strategic missiles, security and surveillance and other defense applications. For commercial and military satellites, The Company design, manufacture and integrate propulsion systems and components (attitude control and orbit insertion) and actuation systems and components for deploying solar panels and antennae pointing. The Atlas, Delta and Ariane launch vehicle programs use its steering and propulsion controls. The Company is also developing products for NASA�� new Space Launch System.

The Company designs and builds steering and propulsion controls for tactical and strategic missile programs, including Hellfire, TOW and Trident. The Company supply valves and steering controls on the U.S. National Missile Defense Agency's Ballistic Missile Defense initiative. The Company designs and manufactures systems for gun aiming, stabilization, turrets, automatic ammunition loading and driver vision enhancement on armored combat vehicles for a range of international and United States customers. The Company designs, builds and integrate stores management systems for light attack aerial reconnaissance platforms. The Company also designs and builds high power, quiet controls for naval surface ship and submarine applications.

The Company competes with Honeywell, Parker Hannifin, Vacco, Valvetech, Marotta, SABCA, ESW, Aerojet, Snecma, Valcor, Aeroflex, UTC (Hamilton Sundstrand), Limitorque, Sargeant Industries, RVision! , Directe! d Perception, ATA Engineering, CDA InterCorp, RUAG, Rockwell Collins, Woodward Governor, Sierra-Nevada, Vicon, Videotec and Lord Corp.

Industrial Systems

Industrial Systems serves a global customer base across a range of markets. For wind energy, Industrial Systems serves a global customer base across a variety of markets. For wind energy, The Company designs and manufactures electric pitch controls and blade monitoring systems for wind turbines. The Company supply electromechanical motion simulation bases for the flight simulation and training markets. For the plastics making machinery market, the Company designs, manufactures and integrates systems for all axes of injection and blow molding machines. For the test markets, the Company supply controls for automotive, structural and fatigue testing.

The Company supply electromechanical motion simulation bases for the flight simulation and training markets. In the power generation market, the Company designs, manufactures and integrates complete control assemblies for fuel, steam and variable geometry control applications. For the test markets, the Company supply controls for automotive, structural and fatigue testing. Metal forming markets use its systems to provide precise control of position, velocity, force, pressure, acceleration and other critical parameters. Heavy industry uses its high precision electrical and hydraulic servovalves for steel and aluminum mill equipment. Other markets include oil exploration, material handling, auto racing, carpet tufting, paper and lumber mills.

The Company competes with Bosch Rexroth, Danaher, Baumueller, Siemens, SSB, Parker Hannifin, Suzhou ReEnergy, MTS Systems Corp., Exlar and Hydraudyne.


The Components segment�� product categories are slip rings, fiber optic rotary joints and motors. Slip rings and fiber optic rotary joints use sliding contacts and optical technology to allow unimpeded rotation while delivering power ! and data ! through a rotating interface. They come in a range of sizes that allow them to be used in many applications, including diagnostic imaging computed tomography (CT) scan medical equipment featuring high-speed data communications, de-icing and data transfer for rotorcraft, forward-looking infrared camera installations, radar pedestals, satellites, missiles, wind turbines, surveillance cameras and remotely operated vehicles and floating platforms for offshore oil exploration.

The Company�� motors are used in an equally range of markets, many of which are the same as for slip rings. Components designs and manufactures a series of fractional horsepower brushless motors that provide extremely low acoustic noise and reliable long life operation, with the market being sleep apnea equipment. Industrial markets use its motors for material handling and electric pumps. Military applications use its motors for gimbals, missiles and radar pedestals. Components��other product lines include electromechanical actuators for military, aerospace and commercial applications, fiber optic modems that provide electrical-to-optical conversion of communication and data signals, avionic instrumentation, optical switches and resolvers.

The Company competes with Danaher, Allied Motion, Ametek, Woodward MPC, Axsys, Schleifring, Airflyte, Smiths, Kearfott and Stemmann.

Medical Devices

Medical Devices segment operates within four medical devices market areas: infusion therapy, enteral clinical nutrition, sensors and surgical hand pieces. For infusion therapy, its primary products are electronic ambulatory infusion pumps along with the associated administration sets. Applications of these products include hydration, nutrition, patient-controlled analgesia, local anesthesia, chemotherapy and antibiotics. The Company manufactures and distributes a complete line of portable pumps, stationary pumps and disposable sets that are used in the delivery of enteral nutrition for patients in ! their own! homes, hospitals and long-term care facilities. The Company manufactures and distributes ultrasonic and optical sensors used to detect air bubbles in infusion pump lines and ensure accurate fluid delivery. The Company�� surgical hand pieces are used to safely fragment and aspirate tissue in common medical procedures such as cataract removal.

The Company competes with B. Braun, CareFusion, Smiths Medical, Hospira, Alcon, Baxter International, CME, I-Flow, Covidien, Etalon, Introtek and Ross (Abbott).

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Moog (NYSE: MOGA  ) reported earnings on April 26. Here are the numbers you need to know.

    The 10-second takeaway
    For the quarter ended March 30 (Q2), Moog met expectations on revenues and beat expectations on earnings per share.

Top 5 US Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Nordstrom Inc.(JWN)

Nordstrom, Inc., a fashion specialty retailer, offers apparel, shoes, cosmetics, and accessories for women, men, and children in the United States. It offers a selection of brand name and private label merchandise. The company sells its products through various channels, including Nordstrom full-line stores, off-price Nordstrom Rack stores, Jeffrey? boutiques, treasure & bond, and Last Chance clearance stores; and its online store,, as well as through catalog. Nordstrom also provides a private label card, two Nordstrom VISA credit cards, and a debit card for Nordstrom purchases. The company?s credit and debit cards feature a shopping-based loyalty program. As of September 30, 2011, it operated 222 stores, including 117 full-line stores, 101 Nordstrom Racks, 2 Jeffrey boutiques, 1 treasure & bond store, and 1 clearance store in 30 states. The company was founded in 1901 and is based in Seattle, Washington.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    The day’s winners include Nordstrom (JWN), which gained 3.4% to $60.79 and is scheduled to report earnings on Thursday, and Mosaic (MOS), which jumped 3.2% to $43.85 and continued its strong showing following a Friday upgrade.

  • [By Johanna Bennett]

    Nordstrom (JWN) rose 1.3% after reporting better-than-expected results in the third quarter.

    Hertz Global Holdings (HTZ) fell 4.58% after announcing Friday it would restate its results for 2012 and 2013 as the company continues investigating its financial statements dating back to 2011. The company previously said it would restate results for 2011 and revise results for 2012 and 2013. Hertz also announced changes to its rental-car fleet strategy and unveiled a $100 million cost-cutting plan.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    [Sears Canada is also] seeing or about to see a wave of fresh competition from Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) and Target’s (TGT) recent northern expansions to Nordstrom’s (JWN) upcoming launch. The company still operates 24.8 million square feet of retail space, but only 14 full-line department stores are company-owned and as we mentioned above, much of the best real estate has been sold. Yes, Sears Canada has a net cash position, but we expect Sears Holdings to take as much cash as they can beforehand in the event of any sale or spin-off.

  • [By Peter Graham]

    The Q1 2014 earnings report for troubled J.C. Penney Company, Inc (NYSE: JCP), a peer of other department store stocks like Kohl's Corporation (NYSE: KSS), The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc (NASDAQ: BONT) and Nordstrom, Inc (NYSE: JWN), is scheduled for after the market closes on Thursday. Aside from the J.C. Penney Company's earnings report, it should be said that�Kohl's Corporation will report Q1 2014 when the market opens on Thursday; Nordstrom will report earnings after the market closes on Thursday; and The Bon-Ton Stores will report Q1 2014 earnings on Thursday, May 22nd before the market opens. However, all eyes will be on the J.C. Penney Company earnings report to see if there are any signs the company has turned itself around from the ill-fated�leadership of CEO Ron Johnson���who ironically was also trying to turn things around��/p>

Hot Promising Stocks To Invest In 2015

Hot Promising Stocks To Invest In 2015: STR Holdings Inc(STRI)

STR Holdings, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, designs, develops, manufactures, and sells encapsulants for the solar industry worldwide. Its encapsulants protect the embedded semiconductor circuits of solar panels. The company sells its products to crystalline silicon and thin-film solar module manufacturers. STR Holdings, Inc. was founded in 1944 and is headquartered in Enfield, Connecticut.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By John Udovich]

    Solar stocks have not exactly given buy and hold investors a smooth ride, but small cap GT Advanced Technologies Inc (NASDAQ: GTAT) could be an interesting materials play on the solar sector – meaning its worth taking a closer look at the stock along with potential peers like Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc (NASDAQ: ASTI) and STR Holdings, Inc (NYSE: STRI) plus solar ETF Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSEARCA: TAN). I should mention that just last week, we added GT Advanced Technologies to our SmallCap Network Elite Opportunity (SCN EO) portfolio for both fundamentals and technical reasons and we are already up almost 9%.

  • source from Top Stocks For 2015:

Top 10 Chemical Companies To Invest In Right Now

LM Otero/AP WASHINGTON -- U.S. wholesale inventories barely rose in July, suggesting a slower pace of stock accumulation at the start of the third quarter that prompted economists to trim growth estimates. The Commerce Department said Wednesday wholesale inventories edged up 0.1 percent, the smallest rise since July of last year, after a 0.2 percent gain in June. Inventories are a key component of gross domestic product changes. The component that goes into the calculation of GDP -- wholesale stocks excluding autos -- was flat. The rise in overall stocks at wholesalers in July was well below the 0.5 percent increase that Wall Street had anticipated, leading some economists to lower their GDP growth estimates for the July-September quarter. Barclays cut its third-quarter growth estimate by two-tenths of a percentage point to a 2.5 percent annual rate. Action Economics lowered its forecast to a 2.8 percent pace from 3 percent. A report last week showed stocks of manufactured goods at factories rose only 0.1 percent in July. Retail inventory data for July, due to be released Friday, will shed more light on the state of restocking early in the third quarter. Inventories added 1.4 percentage points to GDP growth in the second quarter. The slow pace of inventory accumulation, however, bodes well for fourth-quarter growth. "While there is very little information about fourth-quarter growth available at this point, a more modest inventory accumulation in the third quarter is a positive development for fourth-quarter GDP, all else equal," said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan (JPM) in New York. Wholesale inventories in July were held back by declines in stocks of farm products, chemicals, furniture, professional equipment, petroleum, paper and metals. Auto inventories increased 1 percent in July after declining 0.2 percent in June. Sales at wholesalers rose 0.7 percent in July after climbing 0.4 percent in June. At July's sales pace it would take 1.16 months to clear shelves, the lowest since December 2013 and down from 1.17 months in June.

Hot Food Stocks For 2015: Rockwood Holdings Inc (ROC)

Rockwood Holdings, Inc. (Rockwood), incorporated in September 19, 2000, is a developer, manufacturer and marketer of specialty chemicals and advanced materials used for industrial and commercial purposes. Rockwood is focused on surface treatment and lithium chemicals, advanced ceramics, titanium dioxide pigments, iron-oxide pigments, timber-treatment chemicals and clay-based additives. Its products consist primarily of inorganic chemicals and solutions and engineered materials. As of December 31, 2012, it manufactured its products in 80 facilities in more than twenty countries and sold its products and services to more than 60,000 customers. The Company operates in five segments: Lithium, Surface Treatment, Performance Additives, Titanium Dioxide Pigments, and Advanced Ceramics. In September 2012, its subsidiary, Chemetall GmbH, completed the formal legal split of its operations into two independent legal entities. In September 2013, Rockwood Holdings, Inc completed the sale of CeramTec, its advanced ceramics business to Cinven. In October 2013, Rockwood Holdings Inc announced that the specialty chemicals group ALTANA completed the acquisition of the rheology business of Rockwood Holdings, Inc.


The Company�� Lithium segment operates under the Rockwood Lithium brand name and develops lithium chemicals for a range of industries and end markets. It develops and manufactures a broad range of basic lithium compounds, including lithium carbonate, lithium hydroxide, lithium chloride, and lithium specialties and reagents, including butyllithium and lithium aluminum hydride. The Company operates its lithium business along five business divisions: Lithium Salts, Special Salts, Butyllithium/Lithium Metal, Battery Products and Lithium Specialties.

The Company develops and manufactures basic lithium compounds, which serve a range of industries and applications, and potash. Its products include lithium carbonate, lithium hydroxide, lithium nitrate, lithium chloride ! and potash. The Company develops and manufactures products which include lithium phosphate, lithium bromide and lithium carbonate pharmaceutical grade. It develops and manufactures lithium products for electronic applications, mainly for the primary (disposable) and secondary (rechargeable) battery industries. It develop and manufacture lithium compounds and other products for life science applications, such as special reagents for the synthesis of drug intermediates as well as for the flavor and fragrances industry. The Company develops and manufactures a range of products based on special metal compounds derived from cesium, zirconium, titanium, barium and rubidium.

The Company competes with FMC Corporation, Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A., Cabot Corporation, Sigma Aldrich Corporation.

Surface Treatment

The Company�� Surface Treatment segment operates under the Chemetall brand name and develops and manufactures metal surface treatment products and services for a range of industries and end markets. This segment supplies surface treatment products and solutions for metal processing industries. It develops and supplies products and solutions for the chemical pre-treatment of metals and other substrates, some of which are customized for individual customers and applications. The Company provides surface treatment products and solutions for automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), including an entire range of products and services for use in the paint shop step of car-body and automotive component manufacture. It provides products and services used to facilitate the cold forming of tubes, wire drawing and cold extrusion of metal.

The Company competes with Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, Nihon Parkerizing Co., Ltd., PPG Industries, Inc. and Nippon Paint Co., Ltd.

Performance Additives

The Company�� Performance Additives segment consists of business lines which develop and manufacture a range of specialty chemicals us! ed indust! rial and consumer products and processes. The Company produces synthetic iron-oxide and other inorganic pigments in a range of yellow, red, orange, ultramarine blue, black, manganese violet or blended shades, and serves the construction, paints and coatings, plastics, and specialty application markets with powder, granular and liquid grades. The Company develops and manufactures principally iron-oxide pigments for manufacturers of construction products for use in the coloring of concrete products, including paving stones, bricks, concrete blocks, roofing tiles, stucco and mortar.

It also develops and manufactures color pigments for the paints, coatings, plastics, paper and rubber end-use markets including its brands Ferroxide, Trans-oxide, Solaplex, Solarox and Colourplex. It produces a wide variety of pigments that include synthetic iron-oxides, corrosion inhibitor pigments, complex inorganic color pigments and process natural pigments such as burnt umbers and siennas. Its iron-oxide pigments are also used in a variety of specialty applications such as toner for printers and copiers, security inks used to print bank notes, catalysts for styrene production and cosmetics.

The Company�� Timber Treatment Chemicals business line manufactures food protection products primarily in North America and Europe. Its Timber Treatment Chemicals business also manufactures inorganic chemicals such as nitrates and chlorides for various industrial applications including chemicals that are added to concrete as curing accelerants and corrosion inhibitors, chemicals that are used for odor control in water treatment, galvanizing fluxes, micronutrients, pesticides and catalysts used in the manufacture of textile resins. The Company also develops and manufacture inorganic metallic chemicals for certain specialty markets. Its Clay-based Additives business develops and manufactures a range of specialty rheology modifiers and additives.

The Company competes with Lanxess AG, Cathay Pigment! s Group, ! Interstar Materials Inc. and Shanghai Yipin Pigments Co., Ltd., Lonza Group Ltd, Osmose, Inc., BASF Group, Kurt Obermeier GmbH & Co. KG, Rutgers AG, Elementis plc, Laviosa Chimica Mineraria S.p.A., R.T. Vanderbilt Company, Inc., Amcol, and Feralco AB.

Titanium Dioxide Pigments

The Company�� Titanium Dioxide Pigments segment operates under the Sachtleben brand name. Titanium Dioxide Pigments consists of two business lines: Titanium Dioxide and Functional Additives. It produces specialty grade titanium dioxide (TiO2) serving a variety of customers in the synthetic fibers, plastics, paints, packaging inks, coatings, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and paper industries. The Company also develops TiO2 pigments, which are mainly used in special applications such as selected coatings, paints, packaging inks, plastics and laminated paper production processes. Its Functional Additives business line is a global manufacturer of barium-based and zinc-based inorganic fine white pigments and additives.

The Company competes with Fuji Titanium Industry Co., Ltd, Kronos Worldwide, Inc, DuPont Titanium Technologies, Cristal Global, Tronox Incorporated, Huntsman LLC, Tayca Corporation, Ishihara Corporation and Evonik Degussa., Solvay S.A., Gruppo Chimico Dalton S.p.A., Sakai Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.

Advanced Ceramics

The Company�� Advanced Ceramics segment operates under the CeramTec brand name. The Company produces ceramic components for hip joint prostheses, such as ball heads and inserts and ceramic glove formers latex gloves. The Company develops and manufacture products used in cutting tools, other tools and tooling systems. The Company develops and manufactures ceramic components that are used in mechanical applications and systems. Its products in mechanical applications include cutting blades, drawing and forming tools, drawing cones and capstans, guide elements, precision parts, pre-forms and friction discs. It also produces products used for app! lications! in certain niche markets, such as electrical/thermal and ceramic metal connections, pre-forms for the casting process of piston engines, mainly for diesel engines, and wear and corrosion protection in industrial plants and armor components used in vehicle protection.

The Company competes with Kyocera Corporation, CoorsTek, Inc., The Morgan Crucible Company plc and 3M.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Air Products & Chemicals’ (APD) gain is Rockwood Holdings’ (ROC) loss after Air Products hired away Rockwood’s CEO Seifi Ghasemi to run the chemical company.

  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Specialty chemicals maker�Rockwood Holdings� (NYSE: ROC  ) �announced yesterday�its second-quarter dividend of $0.40 per share, the same rate it paid last quarter after raising the payout 14%, from $0.35 per share.

  • [By Vivian Lewis]

    The other major component of the payout is return of capital (ROC), which is not taxed but added to your basis for US taxes. EXG's 2012 distributions comprised 15% QIF and 85% ROC. It distributes monthly. Of course the makeup may change this year.

Top 10 Chemical Companies To Invest In Right Now: Stepan Co (SCL)

Stepan Company, incorporated on February 19, 1959, produces specialty and intermediate chemicals, which are sold to other manufacturers and then made into a variety of end products. The Company serves principal markets, such as manufacturers of cleaning and washing compounds (including detergents, shampoos, fabric softeners, toothpastes and household cleaners), paints, cosmetics, food and beverages, agricultural products, plastics, furniture, automotive equipment, insulation and refrigeration. The Company has three segments: surfactants, polymers and specialty products. The Company operates in the geographical regions of North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia. As of December 31, 2012, the Surfactants segment accounted to 72%, Polymers segment accounted to 24% and Specialty segment accounted to 4% of the Company�� revenues. On March 22, 2012, the Company increased its controlling interest in Stepan Philippines Inc from 89% to 100%.


Surfactants are used in a variety of consumer and industrial cleaning compounds as well as in agricultural products, lubricating ingredients, biodiesel and other specialized applications. The Surfactants are principal ingredients in consumer and industrial cleaning products, such as detergents for washing clothes, dishes, carpets, floors and walls, as well as shampoos, body washes, toothpastes and fabric softeners. Surfactants are manufactured at six North American sites (five in the United States and one in Canada), three European sites (United Kingdom, France and Germany), and three Latin American sites (Mexico, Brazil and Colombia), and one Asian site (Philippines and Singapore). The Company also holds a 50% ownership interest in a joint venture, TIORCO, LLC (TIORCO), that markets chemical solutions for increasing the production of crude oil and natural gas from existing fields.


Polymers generate its revenues primarily from the sale of polyols and phthalic anhydride used in plastics, buildi! ng materials and refrigeration systems. It includes two primary product lines: polyols and phthalic anhydride. Polyols are used in the manufacture of rigid laminate insulation board for thermal insulation in the construction industry. Polyols are also a base raw material for flexible foams, coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers.

Phthalic anhydride is used in unsaturated polyester resins, alkyd resins and plasticizers for applications in construction materials and components of automotive, boating and other consumer products. In addition, phthalic anhydride is used internally in the production of polyols. In the United States, polymer product lines are manufactured at the Company�� Millsdale, Illinois, site. In Europe, polyols are manufactured at the Company�� subsidiaries in Germany and Poland. In Asia, polyols are produced at the Company�� 80% owned joint venture in Nanjing, China.

Specialty Products

Specialty products are used in food, flavoring and pharmaceutical applications. It includes flavors, emulsifiers and solubilizers used in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Specialty products are primarily manufactured at the Company�� Maywood, New Jersey, site.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Basic guidelines
    In this series, I examine inventory using a simple rule of thumb: Inventory increases ought to roughly parallel revenue increases. If inventory bloats more quickly than sales grow, this might be a sign that expected sales haven't materialized. Is the current inventory situation at Stepan (NYSE: SCL  ) out of line? To figure that out, start by comparing the company's inventory growth to sales growth. How is Stepan doing by this quick checkup? At first glance, not so great. Trailing-12-month revenue decreased 4.8%, and inventory increased 30.6%. Comparing the latest quarter to the prior-year quarter, the story looks potentially problematic. Revenue dropped 1.9%, and inventory grew 30.6%. Over the sequential quarterly period, the trend looks OK but not great. Revenue grew 6.9%, and inventory grew 9.5%.

Top 10 Chemical Companies To Invest In Right Now: Symrise AG (SY1)

Symrise AG is a Germany-based fragrances and flavors manufacturer. The Company diversifies its activities into two business divisions: Flavor & Nutrition and Scent & Care. The Flavor & Nutrition business division produces flavors in liquid, powder, granulated and paste form, providing individual flavors as well as complete solutions which, apart from aroma, can contain additional functional raw materials, colorants or microencapsulated components. The products are divided into the beverages, savory, sweet and consumer health groups. The Scent & Care business division is divided into Fragrances, Oral Care, Life Essentials and Aroma Molecules. The Fragrances products are divided into the Fine Fragrances, Personal Care and Household groups. The Life Essentials are used in the cosmetic ingredients market, and include Botanicals and Cosmetic Ingredients, among others. The Aroma Molecules are used in the aroma chemicals market, and include Sensates (Menthols), among others. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Inyoung Hwang]

    Symrise AG (SY1) jumped 5.7 percent to 32.95 euros. The fourth-largest maker of flavors and fragrances pledged to remain one of the most profitable companies in its industry amid higher demand for aroma molecules and fragrances. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, will be about 20 percent of sales in 2013 and will stay in the range of 19 percent to 22 percent in coming years, the company said today.

Top 10 Chemical Companies To Invest In Right Now: Braskem SA (BRKM5)

Braskem SA is a Brazil-based company primarily engaged in the manufacture of basic petrochemical products. The Company operates in five segments: Basic petrochemicals, Polyolefins, Vinyls, International businesses and Chemical Distribution. The Company�� products portfolio includes ethylene, propylene, butadiene, toluene, xylene, benzene, gasoline, diesel oil, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), as well as thermoplastic resins, such as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Additionally, Braskem is also engaged in the import and export of chemicals, petrochemicals and fuels; the production, supply and sale of utilities, such as steam, water, compressed air, industrial gases, as well as the provision of industrial services, and the production, supply and sale of electric energy for its own use and use by other companies. The Company also invests in other companies, either as a partner or shareholder. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Harry Suhartono]

    Brazil�� Ibovespa rose for a third day as traders pared bets on higher borrowing costs in Brazil, boosting the outlook for companies that sell in the local market. B2W Cia. Digital led gains among retailers, with Lojas Americanas SA (LAME3) and Natura Cosmeticos SA (NATU3) also trading higher. Petrochemicals producer Braskem SA (BRKM5) was the worst performer on the equity gauge after O Estado de S.Paulo reported Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4) is seeking to raise prices of naphtha sold to the company by 5 percent.

Top 10 Chemical Companies To Invest In Right Now: W. R. Grace & Co (GRA)

W.R. Grace & Co. (Grace), incorporated on August 6, 1997, is engaged in the production and sale of specialty chemicals and specialty materials on a global basis. The Company operates in three segments: Grace Catalysts Technologies; Grace Materials Technologies; and Grace Construction Products. Grace Catalysts Technologies will include catalysts and related technologies used in refining, petrochemical and other chemical manufacturing applications. Grace's Advanced Refining Technologies LLC (ART) joint venture will be managed in this segment. Grace Materials Technologies will include engineered materials, coatings and sealants used in industrial, consumer, pharmaceutical and packaging applications. Grace Construction Products will include specialty construction chemicals and specialty building materials used in commercial, infrastructure and residential construction. The Company conducts business in over 40 countries. In July 2012, the Company acquired Rheoset Industria e Comercio de Aditivos Ltda. In November 2012, the Company acquired the assets of Noblestar Catalysts Co., Ltd. In April 2013, it acquired Chemind Construction Products. In December 2013, the Company announced that it has completed the acquisition of the assets of the Polypropylene Licensing and Catalysts business of The Dow Chemical Company.

Refining Technologies

The Company is engaged in developing and manufacturing fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) catalysts and additives for petroleum refiners. Grace markets hydroprocessing catalysts primarily through ART, its joint venture with Chevron Products Company (Chevron). The Company established ART to combine its technology with that of Chevron and to develop, market and sell hydroprocessing catalysts to customers in the petroleum refining industry worldwide. Grace is a supplier of hydroprocessing catalysts designed for processing these feedstocks. The Company offers products for fixed-bed resid hydrotreating, on-stream catalyst replacement, ebullating-bed resid hydro! cracking and distillate hydrotreating processes. It also offers a full line of catalysts, customized for individual refiners, used in processing ultra-low sulfur content gasoline and diesel fuel, including its SMART Catalyst System and ApART catalyst system.

Grace provides enabling technologies that are silica- and silica-alumina-based functional additives and process aids, such as silica gel, colloidal silica, zeolitic adsorbents, precipitated silica and silica-aluminas, for a range of applications. The Company�� product portfolio includes PERKASIL, LUDOX, PHONOSORB, PHONOSORB MTX, SYLOBEAD, SYLOSIV, CRYOSIV, SAFETYSORB, PoliEdge, SYLODENT, SYLOID FP, SYLOBLANC, ELFADENT, SYLOID, DARACLAR, TriSyl, SHIELDEX, SYLOWHITE, SYLOJET, DURAFILL, LUDOX, DAREX, DARAFORM, DARASEAL, DARABLEND, Sincera, Celox, Apperta, Sistiaga, and SAFETYSORB.

Specialty Technologies

The Company is a provider of catalyst systems and catalyst supports to the polyolefins industry for a variety of polyethylene and polypropylene process technologies. These types of catalysts are used for the manufacture of polyethylene and polypropylene resins used in products such as plastic film, high-performance plastic pipe, automobile parts, household appliances and household containers. Its Magnapore polymerization catalyst is used to produce high performance polyethylene in the slurry loop process for pipe and film applications. Its POLYTRAK polymerization catalyst is used in automobile bumpers and household appliances. The Company's DAVICAT standard and customized catalysts offer a range of chemical and physical properties based on its material science technology for supported catalysts, polystyrene, herbicide, neutriceuticals and on purpose olefins. The Company's RANEY nickel, cobalt and copper hydrogenation and dehydrogenation catalysts are used for the synthesis of organic compounds for the fibers, polyurethanes, engineered plastics, pharmaceuticals, sweeteners and petroleum industries.

Gr! ace Const! ruction Products

Grace Construction Products produces and sells specialty construction chemicals and specialty building materials. It includes construction chemicals including concrete admixtures and fibers used to modify the rheology, improve the durability and enhance various other properties of concrete, mortar, masonry and other cementitious construction materials; and additives used in cement processing to improve energy efficiency in manufacturing, enhance the characteristics of finished cement and improve ease of use, and Building materials used in both new construction and renovation/repair projects. The products protect buildings and civil engineering structures from water, vapor and air penetration. The portfolio includes waterproofing membranes for commercial and residential buildings, specialty grouts for use in waterproofing and soil stabilization applications, air and vapor barriers, and other products to solve the specialized needs of preventative and repair applications.

The Company competes with Albemarle, BASF, Criterion, Haldor Topsoe, Axens, PQ/INEOS, Evonik, UOP, Altana, Waters Corporation, Agilent Technologies, Thermo-Fisher and Sika.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Selena Maranjian]

    Tiger Global Management reduced its stake in lots of companies, including specialty chemical company W. R. Grace (NYSE: GRA  ) , which is getting close to emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Its last earnings report featured revenue and earnings below the company's own expectations, but that didn't faze Goldman Sachs, which recently upgraded Grace stock to its Conviction Buy list, citing its cash flow and a strengthening construction market.

Top 10 Chemical Companies To Invest In Right Now: Sensient Technologies Corp (SXT)

Sensient Technologies Corporation, incorporated on December 07, 1882, is a global manufacturer and marketer of colors, flavors and fragrances. Sensient uses advanced technologies at facilities around the world to develop specialty food and beverage systems, cosmetic and pharmaceutical systems, inkjet and specialty inks and colors, and other specialty and chemicals. The Company�� customers include international manufacturers representing some of the Known brands. The Company operates in two segments: Flavors & Fragrances Group and the Color Group. The Asia Pacific and the China Groups are included in the Corporate & Other category, along with the Company�� corporate expenses. The Company's principal products include: flavors, flavor enhancers and bionutrients; fragrances and aroma chemicals; dehydrated vegetables and other food ingredients; natural and synthetic food and beverage colors; cosmetic and pharmaceutical colors and additives; and technical colors, inkjet colors and inks, and specialty dyes and pigments.

Flavors & Fragrances Group

The Company is a developer, manufacturer and supplier of flavor and fragrance systems for the food, beverage, pharmaceutical, personal care and household-products industries. The Company�� flavor formulations are used in consumer products. Under the unified brand names of Sensient Flavors, Sensient Dehydrated Flavors and Sensient Fragrances, the Company is a supplier to multinational companies. The Flavors & Fragrances Group produces flavor and fragrance products, which impart a taste, texture, aroma and/or other characteristics to a range of consumer and other products. It includes the Company�� dehydrated flavors business, which produces ingredients for food processors. The products are systems products, including flavor-delivery systems, and compounded and blended products. In addition, the Company is engaged in selected ingredient products, such as essential oils, natural and synthetic flavors, and aroma chemicals. The Company ! serves food and non-food industries. In food industries, markets include savory, beverage, dairy, confectionery and bakery flavors. In non-food industries, the Company supplies fragrance products to the personal and home-care markets and supplies flavor products to the pharmaceuticals market.

Operating through the Company�� Sensient Dehydrated Flavors business, the Company is produces dehydrated onion and garlic products in the United States. The Company is also producers and distributors of chili powder, paprika, chili pepper and dehydrated vegetables, such as parsley, celery and spinach. Domestically, the Company sells dehydrated products to food manufacturers for use as ingredients and also for repackaging under private labels for sale to the retail market and to the food service industry. In addition, Sensient Dehydrated Flavors is dehydrators of specialty vegetables in Europe. The Flavors & Fragrances Group operates through the Company's subsidiaries Sensient Flavors LLC and Sensient Dehydrated Flavors LLC. The Company�� principal manufacturing plants are located in California, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Belgium, Canada, the People�� Republic of China, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Color Group

The Company is a developer, manufacturer and supplier of colors for businesses globally. The Company provides natural and synthetic color systems for use in foods, beverages and pharmaceuticals; colors and other ingredients for cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, and technical colors for industrial applications and digital imaging. The Company sells its synthetic and natural colors to domestic and international producers of beverages, bakery products, processed foods, confections, pet foods, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. The Company also makes inkjet inks and other dyes and pigments used in a variety of non-food applications.

The Color Group operates through the Company's subsidiary Sensient Col! ors LLC. ! Its principal manufacturing plants are located in California, Missouri, New Jersey, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The Color Group operates under trade names of Sensient Food Colors (food and beverage colors); Sensient Pharmaceutical Coating Systems (pharmaceutical colors and coatings); Sensient Cosmetic Technologies (cosmetic colors and ingredients and systems). and Sensient Industrial Colors (including paper colors; industrial colors for plastics, leather, wood stains, antifreeze and other uses; inkjet colors and inks; specialty inks, and display imaging).

Asia Pacific and China Groups

The Asia Pacific Group and the China Group focus on marketing the Company�� diverse product line in the Pacific Rim under the Sensient name. Through these operations, the Company offers a range of products from its Flavors & Fragrances Group and Color Group, as well as products developed by regional technical teams to appeal to local preferences. Sales, marketing and technical functions are managed through the Asia Pacific Group's headquarters in Australia. Manufacturing operations are located in Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the Philippines. The Asia Pacific Group maintains offices for research and development, as well as sales, in India, Indonesia, Korea, Singapore and Thailand.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [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 Sensient Technologies (NYSE: SXT  ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.

Top 10 Chemical Companies To Invest In Right Now: Arkema SA (AKE)

Arkema SA is a France-based company which specializes in the manufacture and marketing of chemical products. The Company operates through its two business segments: Industrial Chemicals and Performance Products. The Industrial Chemicals division offers the production of acrylics, polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), hydrogen peroxide, fluorochemicals and thiochemicals, and includes such brands as Forane, Albone, Norsocryl, Altuglas and Sarbio. The Performance Products include the production of technical polymers, specialty chemicals and functional additives. The Company's products are used in the construction, automotive and transportation, health, electrical and electronics, agricultural and packaging industries, among others. In April 2013, it acquired a majority stake in AEC Polymers. In October 2013, it inaugurated the new Sumitomo Seika superabsorbent plant on the Carling site, which makes the overall superabsorbent production capacity of the Carling facility up to 47,000 ton/year. Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Inyoung Hwang]

    Arkema SA (AKE) added 4.7 percent to 83.93 euros. UBS AG raised its rating on the French chemicals maker to a buy from neutral, saying the stock is undervalued. The firm also boosted its price target to 100 euros from 80 euros.

Top 10 US Stocks To Own For 2014

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10 Best Semiconductor Stocks To Watch Right Now: Vanguard FTSE All World ex US Index Fund Investor Shares (VEU)

Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF (the Fund) is an exchange-traded class of shares of Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US Index Fund. The Fund seeks to track the performance of an index that measures the investment return of stocks of companies located in developed and emerging markets worldwide. The Fund employs a passive management or indexing investment approach designed to track the performance of the FTSE All-World ex US Index (the Index), a free-float-adjusted, market capitalization-weighted index designed to measure equity market performance of international markets.

The Index includes approximately 2,200 stocks of companies located in 47 countries, including both developed and emerging markets. The Fund typically holds 1,200 to 1,300 stocks in the Index (covering nearly 95% of the Index�� total market capitalization) and a representative sample of the remaining stocks. The Fund holds a range of securities that, in the aggregate, approximate the full Index in terms of key characteristics. These key characteristics include industry weightings and market capitalization, as well as certain financial measures, such as price/earnings ratio and dividend yield. The Fund�� investment advisor is The Vanguard Group, Inc.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Philip Springer, President, Retirement Wealth Management, Inc.]

    Our favorite is Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US (VEU). This all-in-one ETF combines broad diversification, a high yield (4.7%) and a rock-bottom expense ratio (0.15%).

Top 10 US Stocks To Own For 2014: Kirby Corp (KEX)

Kirby Corporation, incorporated on January 31, 1969, is a domestic tank barge operator, transporting bulk liquid products throughout the Mississippi River System, on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and along all three United States coasts and in Alaska and Hawaii. The Company transports petrochemicals, black oil products, refined petroleum products and agricultural chemicals by tank barge. The Company, through its subsidiaries, conducts operations in two business segments: marine transportation and diesel engine services. Through the diesel engine services segment, the Company provides after-market service for diesel engines and reduction gears used in marine and power generation applications. The Company also distributes and services diesel engines and transmissions, pumps and compression products, and manufactures oilfield service equipment, including hydraulic fracturing equipment, for land-based pressure pumping and oilfield service markets. The Company, through its marine transportation segment, is a provider of marine transportation services, operating tank barges and towing vessels transporting bulk liquid products throughout the Mississippi River System, on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and along all three United States coasts and in Alaska and Hawaii. On December 15, 2011, the Company completed the purchase of the coastal tank barge fleet of Seaboats, Inc. and affiliated companies (Seaboats). On July 1, 2011, the Company completed the acquisition of K-Sea Transportation Partners L.P. (K-Sea). On April 15, 2011, the Company purchased United Holdings LLC (United), a distributor and service provider of engine and transmission related products for the oil and gas services, power generation and on-highway transportation industries, and manufacturer of oilfield service equipment. On February 24, 2011, the Company acquired 21 inland and offshore tank barges and 15 inland towboats and offshore tugboats from Enterprise Marine Services LLC (Enterprise). On February 9, 2011, the Company acquired from ! Kinder Morgan Petcoke, L.P. (Kinder Morgan).

The Company transports petrochemicals, black oil products, refined petroleum products, and agricultural chemicals by tank barge. The Company also owns and operates fits offshore dry-bulk barges and tugboats engaged in the coastal transportation of dry-bulk cargoes. It is a provider of transportation services for its customers. The Company, through its diesel engine services segment, sells replacement parts, provides service mechanics to overhaul and repair diesel engines, transmissions, reduction gears, pumps and compression products, maintains facilities to rebuild component parts or diesel engines, transmissions and reduction gears, and manufactures oilfield service equipment, including hydraulic fracturing equipment. The Company services the marine, power generation, oilfield service, and land-based oil and gas operator and producer markets.

Marine Transportation

The marine transportation segment is a provider of transportation services by tank barge for the inland and coastal markets. As of February 22, 2012, the equipment owned or operated by the marine transportation segment consisted of 819 inland tank barges, 236 inland towboats, 59 coastal tank barges, 65 coastal tugboats, fits offshore dry-cargo barges, fits offshore tugboats and one docking tugboat. The 236 inland towboats, 65 coastal tugboats, fits offshore tugboats and one docking tugboat provide the power source and the 819 inland tank barges, 59 coastal tank barges and fits offshore dry-cargo barges provide the freight capacity for the marine transportation segment. The Company�� coastal and offshore tows consist of one tugboat and one tank barge or dry-cargo barge.

During the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company�� inland marine transportation operation moved over 50 million tons of liquid cargo on the United States inland waterway system. Products transported for its customers along the inland waterway system consisted of petrochemi! cals, bla! ck oil products, refined petroleum products and agricultural chemicals. Bulk liquid petrochemicals transported include, such products as benzene, styrene, methanol, acrylonitrile, xylene and caustic soda, all consumed in the production of paper, fibers and plastics. During 2011, the transportation of petrochemical products represented 59% of the segment�� revenues. Customers shipping these products are refining and petrochemical companies. Black oil products transported include products, such as asphalt, residual fuel oil, No. 6 fuel oil, coker feedstock, vacuum gas oil, carbon black feedstock, crude oil and ship bunkers (engine fuel). During 2011, such products represented 20% of the segment�� revenues. During 2011, refined petroleum products transported include the various blends of finished gasoline, gasoline blendstocks, jet fuel, No. 2 oil, naphtha, heating oil and diesel fuel, and represented 16% of the segment�� revenues. The Company also classifies ethanol in the refined petroleum product category. Customers are oil and refining companies, marketers and ethanol producers.

During 2011, agricultural chemicals transported represented 5% of the segment�� revenues. They include anhydrous ammonia and nitrogen-based liquid fertilizer, as well as industrial ammonia. Agricultural chemical customers consist of domestic and foreign producers of such products. As of December 31, 2011, the marine transportation segment operated a fleet of 819 inland tank barges and 236 inland towboats, as well as 59 coastal tank barges and 65 coastal tugboats. The segment also owns and operates fits offshore barge and tug units transporting dry-bulk commodities in coastal trade. As of December 31, 2011, the marine transportation segment operated a fleet of 819 inland tank barges and 236 inland towboats, as well as 59 coastal tank barges and 65 coastal tugboats. The segment also owns and operates fits offshore barge and tug units transporting dry-bulk commodities in coastal trade.

The Canal ! fleet tra! nsports petrochemical feedstocks, processed chemicals, pressurized products, black oil products and refined petroleum products along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, the Mississippi River below Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the Houston Ship Channel. The Linehaul fleet transports petrochemical feedstocks, chemicals, agricultural chemicals and lube oils along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Mississippi River and the Illinois and Ohio Rivers. Loaded tank barges are staged in the Baton Rouge area from Gulf Coast refineries and petrochemical plants, and are transported from Baton Rouge to waterfront terminals and plants on the Mississippi, Illinois and Ohio Rivers, and along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The River fleet transports petrochemical feedstocks, chemicals, refined petroleum products, agricultural chemicals and black oil products along the Mississippi River System above Baton Rouge. Petrochemical feedstocks and processed chemicals are transported to waterfront petrochemical and chemical plants, while black oil products, refined petroleum products and agricultural chemicals are transported to waterfront terminals.

The marine transportation inland operation moves and handles a range of cargoes. As of December 21, 2011, of the 819 inland tank barges operated, 618 were petrochemical and refined products barges, 123 were black oil barges, 63 were pressure barges, 10 were refrigerated anhydrous ammonia barges and five were specialty barges. Marine transportation services for inland movements are conducted under long-term contracts, ranging from one to five years. Kirby Inland Marine, LP (Kirby Inland Marine) operates commercial tank barge fleeting service (temporary barge storage facilities) in ports, including Houston, Corpus Christi and Freeport, Texas, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana and other locations on the Mississippi River. Included in the fleeting service is a 51% interest and management control of a shifting operation and fleeting service for dry cargo barges and tank barges ! on the Ho! uston Ship Channel. Kirby Inland Marine provides service for its own barges, as well as outside customers, transferring barges within the areas noted, as well as fleeting barges.

Kirby Logistics Management (KLM) is a division of Kirby Inland Marine providing shore-based tankerman and support services to the Company and third parties. Services provided by KLM include barge tankermen, marine terminal, refinery and chemical plant dock operators, and terminal management services. KLM�� services to the Company and third parties cover the Gulf Coast, mid-Mississippi Valley, and the Ohio River Valley. The Company owns a 66% interest in Osprey Line, L.L.C. (Osprey), which transports project cargoes and cargo containers by barge on the United States inland waterway system. The segment�� coastal operations are conducted through wholly owned subsidiaries, K-Sea Transportation Partners LLC and Kirby Ocean Transport Company (Kirby Ocean Transport). K-Sea provides marine transportation of refined petroleum products and black oil products in each coastal region of the United States. The coastal operations consist of the Atlantic, New York, Pacific and Hawaii Divisions. The Atlantic Division operates along the eastern seaboard of the United States and along the Gulf Coast. The Atlantic Division vessels call on coastal states from Maine to Texas, servicing refineries, storage terminals and power plants. The Atlantic Division also operates equipment on the Great Lakes, in the Caribbean, and in Venezuela and the Eastern Canadian provinces.

The New York Division operates in the New York Harbor, close to container terminals, cruise piers, refineries and petroleum storage facilities. The New York Division also performs coastal voyages between Maine and Norfork, Virginia and manages operations in Philadelphia. The New York Division�� fleet consists of tank barges in the 10,000 to 89,000 barrel capacity range and tugboats in the 1800 to 3400 horsepower range, transporting refined petroleum produ! cts for l! ocal and regional customers, black oil products to power generation customers and the delivery of bunker fuel to ships. The Pacific Division operates along the Pacific coast of the United States, servicing refineries and storage terminals from Southern California to Washington State, throughout Alaska, including Dutch Harbor, Cook Inlet and the Alaska River Systems, and from California to Hawaii. The Pacific Division�� fleet consists of tank barges in the 13,000 to 185,000 barrel capacity range and tugboats in the 1000 to 11800 horsepower range, transporting refined petroleum products.

The Hawaii Division services local petroleum retailers and oil companies distributing refined petroleum products and black oil products between the Hawaiian islands and provides other services to the local maritime community. As of December 31, 2011, the Hawaii Division�� fleet consisted of tank barges in the 52,000 to 86,000 barrel capacity range and tugboats in the 1200 to 7200 horsepower range, transporting refined petroleum products for local and regional customers, black oil products to power generation customers, and the delivery of bunker fuel to ships. The Hawaii Division also provides service docking, standby tug assistance and line handling to vessels using the Single Point Mooring installation at Barbers Point, Oahu, a facility for tankers to load and discharge their cargos through an offshore buoy and submerged pipeline without entering the port. As of December 31, 2011, the coastal fleet consisted of 59 tank barges, 56 of which were double hull and three of which were single hull, with 3.8 million barrels of capacity, transporting refined petroleum products and black oil products. As of December 31, 2011, the Company operated 65 Company-owned coastal tugboats ranging from 1000 to 11800 horsepower. Tugboats in the 1800 to 3400 horsepower classes provide power for barges used in the New York Division. Tugboats in the 1000 to 11800 horsepower classes provide power for barges used in the Atlantic! , Pacific! and Hawaii Divisions. Kirby Ocean Transport owns and operates a fleet of fits offshore dry-bulk barges, fits offshore tugboats and one docking tugboat. Kirby Ocean Transport also has a contract with Holcim (US) Inc. (Holcim) to transport Holcim�� limestone requirements from a facility adjacent to the PEF facility at Crystal River to Holcim�� plant in Theodore, Alabama. Kirby Ocean Transport is also engaged in the transportation of coal, fertilizer and other bulk cargoes on a short-term basis between domestic ports and occasionally the transportation of grain from domestic ports to ports primarily in the Caribbean Basin.

Diesel Engines

The Company, through wholly owned subsidiary Kirby Engines Systems, Inc. (Kirby Engine Systems), is engaged in the overhaul and repair of medium-speed and high-speed diesel engines and reduction gears, and related parts sales used in marine and power generation applications, and distributes and services high-speed diesel engines and transmissions, pumps and compression products, and manufactures oilfield service equipment, including hydraulic fracturing equipment, used in land-based pressure pumping, oilfield service, power generation and transportation applications.

For the marine market, the Company sells Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) replacement parts, provides service mechanics to overhaul and repair engines and reduction gears, and maintains facilities to rebuild component parts or entire engines and reduction gears. For the power generation market, the Company provides service and parts capabilities and safety-related products to power generation operators and to the nuclear industry, and manufactures engine generator and pump sets for the power generation operators and municipalities. The Company expanded its diesel engine services operation with the purchase of United, a manufacturer, diesel engine and transmission distributor and service provider for the land-based oil and gas services market, oil and gas operat! ors and p! roducers, compression companies, power generation companies, on-highway transportation companies and agricultural markets. United�� principal businesses are the distribution and service of diesel engines, pumps and transmissions, the manufacture and remanufacture of oilfield service equipment, including hydraulic fracturing equipment, and the manufacture of compression equipment for natural gas transmission and for natural gas fired power generation plants.

The Company is engaged in the overhaul and repair of medium-speed and high-speed diesel engines and reduction gears, line boring, block welding services and related parts sales for customers in the marine industry. The Company services medium-speed and high-speed diesel engines utilized in the inland and offshore barge industries. It also services marine equipment and offshore drilling equipment used in the offshore petroleum exploration and oil service industry, marine equipment used in the offshore commercial fishing industry and vessels owned by the United States government. The Company has marine operations throughout the United States providing in-house and in-field repair capabilities and related parts sales. The medium-speed operations are located in Houma, Louisiana, Chesapeake, Virginia, Paducah, Kentucky, Seattle, Washington and Tampa, Florida. The operations based in Chesapeake, Virginia and Tampa, Florida are authorized distributors for 17 eastern states and the Caribbean for Electro-Motive Diesel, Inc. (EMD). The marine operations based in Houma, Louisiana, Paducah, Kentucky and Seattle, Washington are nonexclusive authorized service centers for EMD providing service and related parts sales. The Houma, Louisiana operation concentrates on the inland and offshore barge and oil services industries. The Tampa, Florida operation concentrates on Gulf of Mexico offshore dry-bulk, tank barge and harbor docking operators. The Paducah, Kentucky operation concentrates on the inland river towboat and barge operators and the Great Lake! s carrier! s. The Seattle, Washington operation concentrates on the offshore commercial fishing industry, tugboat and barge industry, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and Navy, and other customers in Alaska, Hawaii and the Pacific Rim. The high-speed operations are located in Houma, Baton Rouge, Belle Chasse and New Iberia, Louisiana, Paducah, Kentucky, Mobile, Alabama and Houston, Texas. The Company serves as a factory-authorized marine dealer for Caterpillar diesel engines in Alabama, Kentucky and Louisiana. The Company also operates factory-authorized full service marine dealerships for Cummins, Detroit Diesel and John Deere diesel engines, as well as Allison transmissions and Twin Disk marine gears.

During 2011, the Company was engaged in the overhaul and repair of diesel engines and reduction gears, line boring, block welding service and related parts sales for power generation customers, which represented 9% of the segment�� revenues. The Company is also engaged in the sale and distribution of parts for diesel engines and governors to the nuclear industry. The Company services users of diesel engines, which provides standby, peak and base load power generation, as well as users of industrial reduction gears, such as the cement, paper and mining industries. The Company provides in-house and in-field repair capabilities and safety-related products to power generation operators from its Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Paducah, Kentucky and Seattle, Washington locations. The Rocky Mount operation is also the distributor of EMD products to the nuclear industry, the global distributor for Woodward Governor products to the nuclear industry, the global distributor of Cooper Energy Services, Inc. products to the nuclear industry, and owns the assets and technology necessary to support the Nordberg medium-speed diesel engines used in nuclear applications. In addition, the Rocky Mount operation is a distributor for Honeywell International Incorporated industrial measurement and control products to the ! nuclear i! ndustry, an distributor for Norlake Manufacturing Company transformer products to the nuclear industry and a non-exclusive distributor of analog Weschler Instruments metering products and distributor of digital Weschler metering products to the nuclear industry. The Paducah, Kentucky operation provides in-house and in-field repair services for Falk industrial reduction gears in the Midwest. The Seattle, Washington operation provides in-house and in-field repair services for Alco engines located on the West Coast and the Pacific Rim.

The Company�� power generation customers are domestic utilities and the global nuclear power industry. The Company is engaged in the distribution and service of diesel engines, pumps and transmissions, the manufacture and remanufacture of oilfield service equipment and the manufacture of compression equipment for natural gas transmission and for natural gas fired power generation plants. The Company offers a range of custom fabricated oilfield service equipment, fully tested and field ready. The Company manufactures products or components that are purchased by a company and marketed under the purchasing company�� brand name. The Company distributes, sells parts and services diesel engines and transmissions for on and off-highway use, and provide in-house and in-field service capabilities. The Company is also the exclusive distributor for Daimler for engines and related equipment in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. The Company manufactures and re-manufacturers oilfield service equipment, including hydraulic fracturing equipment, pressure pumping units, nitrogen pumping units, cementers, hydration equipment, mud pumps and blenders. The Company also manufactures and packages custom compressor systems, including electric motor driven systems, natural gas driven systems and industrial air systems, and manufactures natural gas General Motors and Isuzu diesel-powered engines for a range of applications from 40 to 500 horsepower. The Company is a dealer of Thermo K! ing refri! gerated systems for trucks, railroad cars and other land transportation markets in south and central Texas. The Company�� land-based customers include oilfield service providers, oil and gas operators and producers, compression companies, domestic utilities, on-highway transportation companies and companies associated with the agricultural markets.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Aimee Duffy]

    The role of the barge can't be underestimated. Barge receipts increased more than two percentage points year over year, and this is a great place for investors to look for opportunity. Companies with maritime resources benefit from this trend, as well as growth in exports. Three such companies that are worth a look are:

    Kirby Corporation (NYSE: KEX  ) , which operates 30% of the coastal tank barges in the U.S.� Oiltanking Partners (NYSE: OILT  ) , which has storage capacity of 12.1 million barrels and six deepwater docks on the Houston Ship Channel Martin Midstream Partners (NASDAQ: MMLP  ) , which operates a large fleet of inland barges and controls 31 marine terminals�

    These companies won't be the only winners, but they are a good place to start your research.

Top 10 US Stocks To Own For 2014: H.J. Heinz Company (HNZ)

H. J. Heinz Company manufactures and markets food products for consumers, and foodservice and institutional customers in North America, Europe, the Asia Pacific, and internationally. The company primarily offers ketchup, condiments and sauces, frozen food, soups, beans and pasta meals, infant nutrition, and other food products. It sells its products through its sales organizations, independent brokers, agents, and distributors to chain, wholesale, cooperative, and independent grocery accounts; convenience stores; bakeries; pharmacies; mass merchants; club stores; foodservice distributors; and institutions, including hotels, restaurants, hospitals, health-care facilities, and government agencies. The company was founded in 1869 and is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Matt Koppenheffer]

    There's a lot that's not surprising about the acquisition. The size, if anything, is small. Buffett's been very vocal about his desire to make "elephant"-sized purchases. Nor is it surprising that the conglomerate is expanding its reach with a steady utility business. These types of businesses add stability to the insurance and consumer-goods-heavy Berkshire. And it shouldn't be all that surprising that the price for NV Energy doesn't look all that cheap. If the�Heinz� (NYSE: HNZ  ) deal reminded us of anything, it's that Buffett is willing to shell out a "full" price for a good buy.

  • [By Eric Volkman]

    McGraw-Hill Financial's (NYSE: MHFI  ) S&P Dow Jones Indices has brought in a pair of big-name stocks to replace issues on two of its signature products. After the close of trading on June 6, both the S&P 100 and the 500 will be home to General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) . The stock replaces Heinz (NYSE: HNZ  ) , which was recently acquired by a consortium led by Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B  ) .

Top 10 US Stocks To Own For 2014: Value Line Inc (VALU)

Value Line, Inc., incorporated on October 29, 1982, is engaged in producing investment periodicals and related publications and making available copyright data, including certain Ranking System and other information, to third parties under written agreements for use in third-party managed and marketed investment products. The Company operates in two segments: investment periodicals and related publications. During the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013 (fiscal 2013), the Company�� Wholly-owned operating subsidiaries include Value Line Publishing LLC, Vanderbilt Advertising Agency, Compupower Corporation (CPWR) and Value Line Distribution Center (VLDC). The Company markets under brands including Value Line, the Value Line Logo, The Value Line Investment Survey and The Most Trusted Name in Investment Research.

Investment Related Periodicals and Publications

The investment periodicals and related publications offered by Value Line Publishing LLC (VLP) covers a spectrum of investments, including stocks, mutual funds, options and convertible securities. The services generally fall into four categories include Comprehensive reference periodical publications; Targeted, niche periodical newsletters, and Current and historical financial databases. The services (The Value Line Investment Survey, The Value Line Investment Survey - Small and Mid-Cap, The Value Line 600, and The Value Line Fund Advisor Plus) provide both statistical and text coverage of a number of investment securities, with a focus placed on Value Line's research, analysis and statistical ranks. The Value Line Investment Survey is the Company's premier service, published each week and covering approximately 1,700 stocks.

The newsletters (The Value Line Special Situations Service, The Value Line Fund Advisor, The Value Line Convertibles Survey and The Value Line Options Survey) provide information on securities. The Company offers online versions of its products at the Company's Website, T! he Value Line Investment Survey is an investment periodical research product providing both timely articles on economic, financial and investment matters and analysis and ranks for equity securities. The Value Line Investment Survey is an investment periodical research product providing both timely articles on economic, financial and investment matters and analysis and ranks for equity securities. The Value Line Investment Survey - Small and Mid-Cap is an investment research product that provides short descriptions of and data for approximately 1,800 small and medium-capitalization stocks.

Value Line Investment Analyzer is a menu-driven software program with filtering, ranking, reporting and graphing capabilities utilizing over 350 data fields for range of industries and indices and for the approximately 1,700 stocks covered in VLP's publication, The Value Line Investment Survey. Value Line Investment Analyzer allows subscribers to apply more than 60 charting and graphing variables for comparative research. Value Line Mutual Fund Survey for Windows is a monthly CD-ROM or Internet product with weekly Internet updates. The program features powerful sorting and filtering analysis tools. It includes features, such as style attribution analysis, a portfolio stress tester, portfolio rebalancing, correlation of fund returns and hypothetical assets. For the Company's institutional customers, Value Line offers both current and historical data for equities, mutual funds, exchange traded funds (ETFs), and convertibles.

Value Line's Fundamental DataFile I contains fundamental data (both current and historical) on approximately 6,400 publicly traded companies that follow United States generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Estimates and Projections DataFile offering contains the estimates from Value Line analysts on approximately 1,700 companies. Data includes earnings, sales, cash flow, book value, margin, and other popular fields. Projections are for the future one year, three ! year and ! five year periods. The Value Line Mutual Fund DataFile, covers more than 20,000 mutual funds with up to 20 years of historical data with more than 200 data fields. The Mutual Fund DataFile provides monthly pricing, basic fund information, weekly performance data, sector weights, and many other popular mutual fund data fields. The Value Line Research Center provides on-line access to select Company investment research products covering stocks, mutual funds, options and convertible securities, as well as special situation stocks.

Copyright Data Fees Programs

The Company has copyright data, which include certain ranking system information and other information used in third party products, such as unit investment trusts, variable annuities, managed accounts and exchange traded funds, which it distributes under copyright data agreements. The Company�� primary copyright data products have been structured as unit investment trusts, ETFs, annuity products and other types of managed products.

Investment Management Services

The Company through its wholly-owned subsidiary ESI, was the distributor for the Value Line Funds. State Street Bank is the custodian of the assets of the Value Line Funds and provides them with fund accounting and administrative services. Shareholder services for the Value Line Funds are provided by Boston Financial Data Services, an affiliate of State Street Bank.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Geoff Gannon]

    If a company has an at risk business, it can allocate capital to other areas. Many successful companies no longer engage in the business they started in. If American Express (AXP) stayed in its original business, it wouldn't be around today. The same is true of IBM, MMM, and BRK.B. Some companies choose to pay large dividends or buy back stock while the business is failing rather than allocating capital into a different industry. Let's look at Value Line (VALU). Over the last 10 years, Value Line has paid out about 85% of the company's current market cap. It's a dying business. It had a decision to make. It could allocate capital to new areas inside the corporation, it could pay dividends, or it could buyback stock. It chose to pay dividends.

  • [By Geoff Gannon] be cheap enough. It was an issue of Warren Buffett being confident enough to invest in IBM.

    By the way, let�� look at IBM�� past record:

    10-Year Average Return on Assets: 10.3%

    10-Year Annual Sales Growth: 2.8%

    10-Year Annual Asset Growth: 1.9%

    As you can see, IBM isn�� much of a growth company. But that doesn�� mean the shares can�� be growth shares. IBM has improved margins and bought back stock. That has led to a 20% annual increase in earnings per share compared to just a 3% annual increase in total revenue.

    So can we answer the question of why Warren Buffett is interested in companies like IBM and Norfolk Southern (NSC) rather than Hewlett-Packard and Value Line?

    Well, Value Line is obviously too small an investment for Buffett. But we��e using it as a stand in for all the publishers Buffett once loved but now shuns.

    Buffett is a return on investment investor. He isn�� exactly a growth investor or a value investor ��if by growth we mean total revenue growth and if by value we mean the company�� value as of today.

    Buffett wants to compound his money at the fastest rate possible. So he looks at how much of the company�� sales, assets, etc. he is getting. Basically, he looks at a price ratio. And then he looks into the company�� return on its own sales, assets, etc. When you take those two numbers together you get something very close to a rate of return.

    The last part you need to consider is the change in assets versus the change in sales (and earnings). Does the company need to grow assets faster than earnings?

    Or ��like See�� Candy ��can it grow sales a little faster than assets?

    Let�� take a look at Norfolk Southern as a good example of the kind of railroad Buffett would own ��if he didn�� own all of Burlington Northern.

    Norfolk Southern

    10-Year Average Return on Assets: 4.9%

    10-Year Annual Sales Growth: 6.0%

    10-Year Annual Asset Gr

Top 10 US Stocks To Own For 2014: McGraw Hill Financial Inc (MHFI)

McGraw Hill Financial, Inc. incorporated on December 29, 1925, is a financial intelligence company. The Company is engaged in credit ratings, benchmarks and analytics for the global capital and commodity markets. The Company�� brands include Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts, CRISIL, J.D. Power & Associates, McGraw Hill Construction and Aviation Week. The Company�� credit ratings, indices, price assessments and other capabilities provide clients with the intelligence to manage risk. Standard & Poor�� Ratings Services helps investors and markets participants measure and manage credit risk through credit ratings, research and analytics. S&P Capital IQ is a provider of real-time data, research and analytics to institutional investors, investment and commercial banks, investment advisors and wealth managers, corporations and universities globally. On March 22, 2013, the Company sold McGraw-Hill Education. Effective July 18, 2013, McGraw Hill Financial Inc acquired a remaining undisclosed interest which it did not already own in Tata McGraw-Hill Education Pvt Ltd from Tata charitable trust. In August 2013, McGraw Hill Financial Inc completed the sale of Aviation Week to Penton.

The Company provides a range of capabilities designed to help track performance, generate alpha, identify new trading and investment ideas, and perform risk analysis and mitigation strategies. The Company�� S&P Dow Jones Indices is the provider of financial market indices. Its Platts is a provider of information and a source of benchmark price assessments for the energy, petrochemicals, metals and agriculture markets. J.D. Power & Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in business sectors, including customer satisfaction research, market research, social media research, and performance improvement programs. McGraw Hill Construction connects people, projects, and products across the design and construction industry. AVIATION WEEK is! the multimedia information and services provider to the global aviation, aerospace and defense industries.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Financial intelligence company McGraw-Hill (MHFI) raised its quarterly dividend 7.1% to 30 cents per share, payable on Mar. 12 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 26.
    MHFI Dividend Yield: 1.57%

  • [By Associated Press]

    Crude oil supplies grew by 300,000 barrels, or 0.1 percent, in the week ended April 5, according to the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department's statistical arm. At 388.9 million barrels, the U.S. oil supply is the highest since July 1990. Analysts had expected a bigger increase of 1.4 million barrels, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill (NYSE: MHFI  ) .

  • [By Amanda Alix]

    Less diversity, higher risk, dubious ratings
    The Wall Street Journal�notes that these type of investments have seen a lot less action since the financial crisis, since the reliance on only one loan is considered quite risky. But low interest rates have increased investor appetite for yield and, therefore, risk. Also a factor is that ratings agencies like (NYSE: MHFI  ) Standard & Poor's are often giving these products very high investment ratings, as well, fueling speculation that this entity in particular is easing standards in order to get a slice of the pie.

  • [By Lauren Pollock]

    McGraw Hill Financial Inc.(MHFI) named Neeraj Sahai as president of Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, succeeding Douglas Peterson, who took over as chief executive of the parent company earlier this month. Mr. Sahai, 56 years old, will step into the new role on Jan. 6. Since 2005, he has worked as the head of Citigroup Inc.'s(C) (C) securities and fund-services business, which offers securities services to investors, issuers and intermediaries.

Top 10 US Stocks To Own For 2014: Microsoft Corporation(MSFT)

Microsoft Corporation develops, licenses, and supports a range of software products and services for various computing devices worldwide. The company?s Windows & Windows Live Division segment offers PC operating system that primarily includes Windows 7 and Windows Vista operating systems; Windows live suite of applications and Web services; and Microsoft PC hardware products. Its Microsoft?s Server and Tools segment provides Windows Server operating systems, Windows Azure, Microsoft SQL Server, SQL Azure, Windows Intune, Windows Embedded, Visual Studio, Silverlight, system center products, Microsoft consulting services, and product support services. This segment also offers enterprise consulting services; and training and certification to developers and information technology professionals, as well as builds standalone and software development lifecycle tools for software architects, developers, testers, and project managers. The company?s Online Services Division segment provides online information and content through Bing, MSN portals, and adCenter, as well as Atlas online tools for advertisers. Its Microsoft Business Division segment offers Microsoft office; Microsoft Exchange; Microsoft SharePoint; Microsoft Lync; Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM; and Microsoft Office Web Apps, as well as office 365, an online service, offering Microsoft Office, Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync. The company?s Entertainment and Devices Division segment provides Xbox 360 entertainment platform, which includes the Xbox 360 gaming and entertainment console, Kinect for Xbox 360, Xbox 360 video games, Xbox LIVE, and Xbox 360 accessories; Mediaroom, an Internet protocol television software; and Windows Phone that provide Microsoft Office and Xbox LIVE functionality. It markets and distributes its products and services through original equipment manufacturers, distributors, and resellers, as well as through online. Microsoft was founded in 1975 and is headquartered i n Redmond, Washington.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By John Kell]

    Among the companies with shares expected to actively trade in Friday’s session are Intuitive Surgical Inc.(ISRG), Juniper Networks Inc.(JNPR) and Microsoft Corp.(MSFT)

  • [By Eric Bleeker, CFA, Chris Hill, and Lyons George]

    The two also discuss whether Apple signing up for trademarks makes any product launch imminent, and the possible success of watch concepts from Microsoft� (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) and Android companies like�Sony� (NYSE: SNE  ) and Samsung.�

  • [By Evan Niu, CFA]

    Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) big push into tablets over a decade ago fell flat, in part because the Windows value chain is highly segmented and all the players involved failed to coherently create a compelling product. All the while, Bill Gates has remained a staunch supporter of tablet form factors in general, even as Apple has run away with the iPad.

Top 10 US Stocks To Own For 2014: Exelis Inc (XLS)

Exelis Inc. (Exelis), incorporated on May 4, 2011, is engaged in Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) related products and systems and information and technical services, which the Company supplies to military, government and commercial customers in the United States and globally. The Company's customers include the United States Department of Defense (DoD), including the United States Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force, and its prime contractors, the United States Government intelligence agencies, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), allied foreign governments and domestic and foreign commercial customers. As a prime contractor, subcontractor, or preferred supplier, the Company participates in many high priority defense and non-defense programs in the United States. In January 2013, it acquired C4i Pty. Ltd. In February 2014, Exelis, Inc purchased FareSight, ARC's Web-based tool for corporate air travel optimization.

The Company operates in two segments: C4ISR Electronics and Systems, and Information and Technical Services. The Company's C4ISR Electronics and Systems segment provides communications, electronic warfare, imaging and image-processing, radar and sonar systems, space systems, and aerostructures for government and commercial customers globally. The Company's Information and Technical Services segment provides a range of systems integration, network design and development, cyber, intelligence, operations, sustainment, advanced engineering, logistics, space launch and range-support solutions for a range of the United States military and government agency customers. The Company has successfully completed and integrated several acquisitions over the last five years, which has broadened its product and technology portfolio and expanded its customer base.

C4ISR Electronics and Systems

Integrated Electronic Warfare Systems (IEWS) is a Electro! nic Warfare Countermeasures (ECM) and engaged in space microelectronics, mine-defense solutions and antennas. IEWS develops, produces and sells electronic warfare solutions to DoD services, classified customers and to allied nations. IEWS is a key player on platforms, such as the strike fighter, the F-18, and Special Operations Forces (SOF) MH-60s and MH-47, and also holds electronic warfare positions on the B-1B, B-52, CV-22, C-130 and F-16 (International) platforms. The Company is a provider of mechanical and combined influences mine sweeping devices to the United States Navy. IEWS is engaged in Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA), fielding systems on the B-1, B-52, F-16, F-18, SOF C-130s and the EA-6B. Communication Systems and Force Protection Systems (CFPS) is a engaged in the design and manufacture of radio frequency (RF)-based systems. The business has fielded more than 25,000 CREW Vehicle Receiver/Jammer (CVRJ) systems, in use by the United States Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force. The Company also specializes in tactical, satellite, wireless and special mission communications systems; information assurance and cryptographic systems; Global Positioning Systems (GPS); mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) solutions, and integrated C3 solutions for the United States and allied forces, as well as many government agencies. Products include SINCGARS, deployed military tactical radio program globally with more than 650,000 units in use in more than 35 countries. CFPS is also the developer of the Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW).

The Company's Night Vision and Imaging business is a engaged in image intensification, sensor fusion and digital night vision technology, integrated power and sensing devices, and decision support software and services solutions, which manage, exploit, analyze, visualize, interpret, and disseminate image related data. The Company is a developer, producer, and supplier of Generation 3 images intensification technology for the United States and allied military forces, as ! well as t! he federal homeland security market, and the Company is a producer of night vision products globally. The Company provides AN /PVS-14 and AN /PVS-7 ground night visions goggles and spare image intensifier tubes to the the United States military and allies, through foreign military sales, and the Company is a supplier to the United States military for the AN/AVS-6 and AN/AVS-9 aviation night visions goggle, which provides rotary- and fixed-wing pilots the ability to operate in extreme low-light situations. The Company is a supplier of the 2nd generation ENVG(O) system, the Spiral Enhanced Night Vision Goggle (SENVG), to the United States military. In addition the Company offers integrated software solutions, which scientists, defense and intelligence professionals, Geographic Information System users, researchers, and medical researches professionals use to turn complex data into useful information. The Company delivers streaming imagery and video data in an environment challenged by information overloads.

The Company's Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Systems business serves a range of government, civil and commercial customers with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems, provide actionable data, and protect property and human life. The Company's capabilities include remote sensing payloads for ground, air and space, offering active and motion imaging, which provide data processing, exploitation, and dissemination and system performance modeling and simulation. The Company also provides solutions, which map and monitors the earth for a range of commercial and governmental users. The Company's sensors provide the commercial resolution space-based imagery in the United States.

Radar, Reconnaissance and Acoustic Systems (R2A) provides radio frequency (RF) and acoustic surveillance sensors for both domestic and international defense customers, with a portfolio of related technology-based products in the commercial area. R2A's capabilities include d! efense su! rveillance radars, air traffic control radars, command and control, towed and hull mount sonars, tactical data links and airborne multifunction radars. The R2A business also provides electronic warfare and signal intelligence systems for reconnaissance and surveillance, with monitoring and signal processing systems and equipment for Electronic Intelligence (ELINT), Electronic Support Measures (ESM), Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) applications.

Integrated Structures (IS) is a designer and producer of aircraft-armament suspension and release equipment, weapons interface systems, and advanced composite structures and subsystems for military and commercial customers. IS is an advanced designers and manufacturers of lightweight advanced fiber-reinforced composite structures. The Company has supplied composites to aerospace prime contractors, including Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky and BAE Systems.

The Company's Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) business is a total GPS navigation systems supplier providing GPS payload, receiver and control solutions. The next generation Global Positioning System Operational Control System (GPS OCX) provide command, control and mission support for current and future GPS satellites based on a modern, service-oriented architecture, which will integrate a government and industry open system standard. The Company is providing the key navigation processing elements and precision monitors station receivers during the current phase of the GPS OCX program, which includes advanced anti-jam capabilities, and system security, accuracy and reliability.

Information and Technical Services

The Company's Communication, Command and Control Systems (C3S) business provides systems engineering, lifecycle sustainment, logistic support, modernization, and operations and maintenance for the United States military launch, test and training ranges, NASA's Ground Communications Networks and ot! her the U! nited States Government assets globally. C3S supports complex mission requirements, which covers a spectrum of support, from facilities maintenance to reverse engineering of legacy systems. Key areas of support include system engineering, sustainment, logistics, depot maintenance, software engineering and configuration management for range instrumentation, such as tracking, telemetry, optical, weather, communications, and command & control networks and systems. The Company is a contractor on NASA's Space Communications Network Services (SCNS) contract for the Goddard Space Flight Center, which provides communications and tracking services for a range of Earth-orbiting spacecraft, such as the International Space Station. The Company operates, maintain, and sustain the communications networks and infrastructure, which supports deep space exploration missions, such as the Cassini mission to Saturn and the Mars Rovers. The Company is also the contractor for the Joint Spectrum Center's (JSC) Electromagnetic Spectrum Engineering Services contracts, where the Company provides engineering systems support, technical analysis, test support, and long-term strategic planning. C3S also provides payload processing and launch services for numerous government agencies. These systems and assets are critical to the launch range and space communications network infrastructures, including air, land and sea training range for the United States Navy, the United States Air Force space launch ranges on the United States East and West Coasts and NASA's space ground communications networks.

The Company's Advanced Information Systems business serves a range of federal customers in defense, intelligence and homeland security. The Company serves missions in military and national intelligence, deterrence and defenses against chemical, biological, radiological nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) threats, strategic programs and other core defense programs. The Company develops information-enabled solutions for the United States! Governme! nt customers.

Afghanistan Programs (AP) consists of two contracts with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to provide facilities operations, maintenance and training services for the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and the Combined Security Transition Command in both Northern and Southern Afghanistan (ANSF Facilities Support programs). Under these two contracts, AP provides operations and maintenance support for more than 300 ANSF locations in Afghanistan, while simultaneously training Afghans to assume responsibility for the facilities at the completion of the contract. AP also supports the warfighter under the Logistics Civilian Augmentation Program (LOGCAP), which provides logistics and supply operations, airfield operations and transportation support to the United States warfighter and to the Afghanistan National Security Forces.

The Company provides the FAA with engineering expertise and full system solutions in the development and implementation of a modernized air traffics system. The Company's core program is the ADS-B system: the cornerstone program of the FAA's Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) initiative to modernize from a ground-based system of air traffic control to a satellite-based system of air traffic management. As a contractor on ADS-B, the Company is designing, building and operating a nationwide system of radio communications, telecommunications networks, information technology and software to deliver accurate, networked, real-time surveillance data to the automated systems of the FAA. The Company is developing concepts under the Systems Engineering 2020 (SE2020) contract. The work spans all dimensions of a national effort to transform air traffic control, including ground systems, avionics, aircraft, air traffic control rules and procedures, human factors, safety and security, environmental processes and standards.

Middle East Programs (MEP) provides oversight and management for the Company's teams working in t! hat regio! n. The core capabilities of the MEP include logistics, vehicle maintenance and repair, facility and utilities maintenance and repair services, civil engineering, minor construction, transportation services, base operations, guard services, and emergency fire and life support services. MEP also maintains a range of equipment, from small arms to Patriot missiles, performing maintenance tasks both domestically and overseas. Logistics services also include transport of soldiers and equipment for combat operations. The Company's vehicle maintenance and repair contract is its Kuwait based Army Preposition Stock-5 (APS-5 Kuwait) contract.

The Communications and Information Systems (CYBER) business supports a range of the United States and Joint Forces military activities, as well as Federal civilian communications infrastructures globally, ranging from wideband satellite communications systems to network operations and management services. CYBER's capabilities include network management; mobile and fixed satellite communications operations and maintenance (SATCOM O&M); help desk support; switch, node and router support; database development; engineering; furnishing and installation of communications systems; information assurance of protected military networks, and field and depot level maintenance of communications equipment. As the prime contractor for the United States Army Network Command's Total Army Communications for Southwest Asia, central Asia and Africa program (TACSWACAA), CYBER maintains operational availability and information security for network resources in the battlefield network ever deployed. For the United States Southern Command, it operates and maintains tethered aerostats, which perform core drug interdiction and air sovereignty missions along the United States southern border. Communications support includes operations and maintenance for missions, such as the Defense Red Switch Network, which provides the President, Secretary of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, combatant co! mmanders ! and various agencies with secure communications technology and systems.

The United States and Europe Programs is centered on logistics, base operations and infrastructure support to multiple military and governmental agencies in the United States and Europe. The business consists of supporting contracts with the United States Air Force and United States Army, including bases in the United States and Germany. The Company provides full spectrum base operating support, logistics, supply, maintenance and security to each of these installations. United States and Europe programs also focus on the nature of surface, rail and air transportation services, all life support services, as well as civil engineering and minor construction services.

The Company competes with Lockheed Martin Corporation, The Boeing Company, Raytheon Company, General Dynamics Corporation, L-3 Communications Corporation, SAIC Inc., Northrop Grumman Corporation, Harris Corporation, BAE Systems, Inc., Thales Group, EADS N.V., Finmeccanica S.p.A., DynCorp, KBR and Fluor.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Rich Smith]

    Defense contractor Exelis (NYSE: XLS  ) landed a sizable Pentagon contract Thursday. The award, for $125.7 million, came in the form of an option-exercise extending a previously awarded firm-fixed-price production contract to supply the U.S. Navy with 62 AN/ALQ-214(V)4 On-Board Jammer Systems as part of Full Rate Production Lot 10.

  • [By Rich Smith]

    Maybe there's something to this whole "sequestration" phenomenon after all -- because for all intents and purposes -- and certainly in comparison with recent trends -- Department of Defense spending has come to a screeching halt in recent days. On Wednesday, for example, DoD issued a grand total of three new contracts, totaling a mere Pentagon pittance of just $44.4 million.

  • [By Rich Smith]

    Opportunities on the horizon
    That was about it for contracts of significant size awarded last week. Sure, there were other awards: $13 million for Lockheed to repair some helicopters here, $8 million for Exelis (NYSE: XLS  ) to deliver some spare parts there. But really, the more interesting news last week concerned future contract wins -- and because those aren't "news" yet, they've received much less attention in the media and offer more potential for profit for investors.