One of my favorite businesses, Winmark (NASDAQ: WINA ) , reported earnings this week. Earnings boosted 14% compared to the prior year's first quarter. Though the company continues to franchise its range of secondhand stores, the most compelling growth comes from the leasing division, which saw revenues jump by 30%. The company is underfollowed yet has been paying attractive special dividends while giving investors two-year capital appreciation of roughly 50%. As the company moves forward and pushes its leasing business to new heights, should you get in now?
Winmark's core business is franchising secondhand-goods stores -- Plato's Closet (women's apparel), Play It Again Sports, Music Go Round, and Once Upon A Child. As of this past quarter, the company had nearly 1,000 franchised locations. Secondhand-goods stores tend to do great in rough economic times, and pretty good in boom times. Winmark has slowly and steadily grown the business over the years. This quarter, royalties from sales hit nearly $8.5 million, up from $8.22 million in the prior year's quarter. Now, 3.3% growth isn't too thrilling, especially for a business that isn't the most thrilling to begin with, but there were much more interesting figures from this quarter's earnings.
Best Gas Utility Stocks To Own For 2015: Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings(LH)
Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings operates as an independent clinical laboratory company in the United States. The company offers a range of testing services used by the medical profession in routine testing, patient diagnosis, and in the monitoring and treatment of disease, as well as specialty testing services. Its routine tests include blood chemistry analyses, urinalyses, blood cell counts, thyroid tests, Pap tests, HIV tests, microbiology cultures and procedures, and alcohol and other substance-abuse tests. The company?s specialty tests and related services comprise viral load measurements, genotyping and phenotyping, and host genetic factors for managing and treating HIV infections; cytogenetic, molecular cytogenetic, biochemical, and molecular genetic tests for diagnostic genetics; oncology tests for diagnosing and monitoring certain cancers and treatments; clinical trials testing for pharmaceutical companies, which conducts clinical research trials on diag nostic assays; forensic identity testing used in criminal proceedings and parentage evaluation services, as well as testing services in reconstruction cases; allergy testing; and occupational testing for the detection of drug and alcohol abuse. Its customers include independent physicians and physician groups, hospitals, managed care organizations, governmental agencies, employers, pharmaceutical companies, and other independent clinical laboratories. The company operates a network of 51 primary laboratories and approximately 1,700 patient service centers. In addition, it delivers a co-branded electronic health records Lite solution for physician practices. The company works with university, hospital, and academic institutions, such as Duke University, The Johns Hopkins University, the University of Minnesota, and Yale University to license and commercialize new diagnostic tests. Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings was founded in 1971 and is headquartered in Burlingto n, North Carolina.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Any time a stock falls more than 10% in a single day, you know something has gone wrong. Such is the case with medical-testing provider Laboratory Corporation of America (LH), or LabCorp.
Top 10 Dividend Companies To Invest In Right Now: Pepsico Inc.(PEP)
PepsiCo, Inc. engages in the manufacture, marketing, and sale of foods, snacks, and carbonated and non-carbonated beverages worldwide. The company operates in four divisions: PepsiCo Americas Foods (PAF); PepsiCo Americas Beverages (PAB); PepsiCo Europe; and PepsiCo Asia, Middle East, and Africa (AMEA). The PAF division offers Lay?s and Ruffles potato chips, Doritos and Tostitos tortilla chips and dips, Cheetos cheese flavored snacks, Fritos corn chips, Quaker Chewy granola bars, and SunChips multigrain snacks in North America; Quaker oatmeal, Aunt Jemima mixes and syrups, Cap?n Crunch cereal, Quaker grits, and Life cereal, as well as Rice-A-Roni, Pasta Roni, and Near East side dishes in North America; and various snack foods under Doritos, Marias Gamesa, Cheetos, Ruffles, Emperador, Saladitas, Sabritas, and Lay?s brands in Latin America. The PAB division provides carbonated soft drinks, beverage concentrates, fountain syrups, and finished goods under Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Gatorade, 7UP, Tropicana Pure Premium, Electropura, Sierra Mist, Epura, and Mirinda brands; ready-to-drink tea, coffee, and water products through joint ventures with Unilever and Starbucks; and sells concentrate to authorized bottlers, and branded finished goods directly to independent distributors and retailers. This division also manufactures third-party brands, such as Dr Pepper, Crush, Rock Star, and Muscle Milk. The PepsiCo Europe division offers Frito Lay Snacks, Pepsi-Cola beverages, Gatorade sports drinks, Tropicana juices, and Quaker foods in Europe. The AMEA division provides snack food under the Lay?s, Kurkure, Chipsy, Doritos, Smith?s, Cheetos, Red Rock Deli, and Ruffles brands; Quaker-brand cereals and snacks; and beverage concentrates, fountain syrups, and finished goods under the Pepsi, Mirinda, 7UP, and Mountain Dew brands. PepsiCo, Inc. was founded in 1898 and is headquartered in Purchase, New York.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Ben Levisohn]
But buried at the end of the report is a list of companies Stirling thinks will benefit from the continued legalization of marijuana–namely those that can cater to a case of the munchies. Stirling names four: Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), Domino’s Pizza (DPZ), PepsiCo’s (PEP) Frito Lay and Yum Brands’ (YUM) Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.
- [By Dan Caplinger]
PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP ) will release its quarterly report on Wednesday, but its stock has already popped higher, hitting all-time record highs earlier this month. Despite the share-price celebration, though, Pepsi earnings growth has been somewhat less impressive, raising concerns about whether the stock is getting ahead of itself.
Top 10 Dividend Companies To Invest In Right Now: Seadrill Limited(SDRL)
Seadrill Limited, an offshore drilling contractor, provides offshore drilling services to the oil and gas industries worldwide. It also offers platform drilling, well intervention, and engineering services. As of March 31, 2011 the company owned and operated 54 offshore drilling units, which consist of drillships, jack-up rigs, semisubmersible rigs, and tender rigs for operations in shallow and deepwater areas, as well as in benign and harsh environments. Seadrill Limited was founded in 1972 and is based in Hamilton, Bermuda.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Shares of Transocean are unchanged at $40.47 today, while Ensco (ESV) has risen 0.7% to $52.43, Atwood Oceanics (ATW) is little changed at $49.47,�Diamond Offshore�(DO) has risen 0.4% to $47.02 and� Seadrill (SDRL), whose strategy Transocean may be following, has ticked up 0.2% to $34.30.
Top 10 Dividend Companies To Invest In Right Now: CRB Futures Index(CR)
Crane Co. manufactures and sells engineered industrial products in the United States and internationally. The company operates in five segments: Aerospace & Electronics, Engineered Materials, Merchandising Systems, Fluid Handling, and Controls. The Aerospace & Electronics segment offers pressure, fuel flow, and position sensors and subsystems; brake control systems; coolant, lube and fuel pumps; and seat actuation products. This segment also provides power supplies and custom microelectronics for aerospace, defense, medical, and other applications; and electrical power components, power management products, electronic radio frequency, and microwave frequency components and subsystems for the defense, space, and military communications markets. The Engineered Materials segment manufactures fiberglass-reinforced plastic panels for the truck trailer and recreational vehicle markets, industrial markets, and the commercial construction industry. The Merchandising Systems segmen t offers vending solutions, such as food, snack, and beverage vending machines; and vending machine software and online solutions, as well as payment solutions, including coin accepters and dispensers, coin hoppers, coin recyclers, bill validators, and bill recyclers. The Fluid Handling segment manufactures and sells various industrial and commercial valves and actuators; provides valve testing, parts, and services; manufactures and sells pumps and water purification solutions; distributes pipe, pipe fittings, couplings, and connectors; and designs, manufactures, and sells corrosion-resistant plastic-lined pipes and fittings. The Controls segment produces ride-leveling, air-suspension control valves for heavy trucks and trailers; pressure, temperature, and level sensors; ultra-rugged computers, measurement and control systems, and intelligent data acquisition products; and water treatment equipment. Crane Co. was founded in 1855 and is based in Stamford, Connecticut.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 Crane (NYSE: CR ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.
- [By CRWE]
Crane Co. (NYSE:CR) reported that Andrew L. Krawitt, Vice President, Treasurer and Principal Financial Officer, will be speaking at the 2012 Citi Global Industrials Conference in Boston on Wednesday, September 19, 2012 from 2:00 PM to 2:40 PM.
- [By Seth Jayson]
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 Crane (NYSE: CR ) out of line? To figure that out, start by comparing the company's inventory growth to sales growth. How is Crane doing by this quick checkup? At first glance, OK, it seems. Trailing-12-month revenue increased 0.6%, and inventory decreased 2.4%. Comparing the latest quarter to the prior-year quarter, the story looks decent. Revenue dropped 2.8%, and inventory contracted 2.4%. Over the sequential quarterly period, the trend looks OK but not great. Revenue dropped 0.4%, and inventory grew 2.0%.
Top 10 Dividend Companies To Invest In Right Now: Pacific Gas & Electric Co.(PCG)
PG&E Corporation, through its subsidiaries, operates as a public utility company that engages in electricity and natural gas distribution primarily in northern and central California. The company also involves in the generation, procurement, transmission, and distribution of electricity; and procurement, transportation, storage, and distribution of natural gas. It owns and operates electricity generation facilities, transmission and distribution lines, and substations; and an integrated natural gas transportation, storage, and distribution system, as well as has underground natural gas storage fields in California. The company serves residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, public street and highway lighting, and other electric utility customers. As of December 31, 2009, it served approximately 5.1 million electricity distribution customers and approximately 4.3 million natural gas distribution customers. The company also operated 18,650 circuit miles of intercon nected transmission lines and 141,213 circuit miles of distribution lines for electricity; and 42,142 miles of distribution pipelines, 6,438 miles of backbone and local transmission pipelines, and 3 storage facilities for natural gas. PG&E Corporation was founded in 1905 and is based in San Francisco, California.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By John Kell and Lauren Pollock var popups = dojo.query(".socialByline .popC"); ]
Among the companies with shares expected to actively trade in Friday’s session are BlackBerry Ltd.(BB.T), PG&E Corp.(PCG) and Restoration Hardware Holdings Inc.(RH)
- [By Alyce Lomax]
Even massive conglomerate Honeywell (NYSE: HON ) has delved into the demand response and energy efficiency arena. In March, Honeywell teamed up with Opower to provide an integrated energy management platform with five utilities, including PG&E (NYSE: PCG ) , to test-drive the relatively untapped residential market.
- [By Richard Stavros]
There are also thermal energy storage systems that turn rooftop air conditioners and campus-wide cogeneration plants into virtual-grid, energy-shifting arrays, and PG&E Corp (NYSE: PCG) is developing a compressed-air energy storage (CAES) system. Meanwhile, Southern California Edison, a subsidiary of Edison International (NYSE: EIX), is looking into using plug-in electrical vehicles as storage, and Sempra Energy’s (NYSE: SRE) San Diego Gas and Electric has focused on microgrid projects.
- [By Jason Shubnell]
Leading and Lagging Sectors
Technology stocks gained Friday, with Parametric Sound (NASDAQ: PAMT) leading advancers after the company provided post merger update and outlook. Among the leading sector stocks, gains came from 21Vianet Group (NASDAQ: VNET), BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY), Canadian Solar (NASDAQ: CSIQ), and Veeco Instruments (NASDAQ: VECO).
In trading on Friday, utilities shares rose by just 0.06 percent. Among the sector stocks, Exterran Partners LP (NASDAQ: EXLP) was down more than 4.8 percent, while PG&E (NYSE: PCG) tumbled around 3.75 percent.
BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY) posted a narrower-than-expected fourth-quarter loss.
BlackBerry posted a quarterly net loss of $423 million, or $0.80 per share, versus a year-ago profit of $98 million, or $0.19 per share. Its loss from continuing operations came in at $423 million, or $0.80 per share, compared to a year-ago profit of $94 million, or $0.18 per share. BlackBerry�� adjusted loss from continuing operations came in at $0.08 per share.
Its revenue slipped 64% to $976 million. However, analysts were estimating a loss of $0.56 per share on revenue of $1.17 billion. BlackBerry sold around 3.4 million smartphones in the quarter.
Equities Trading UP
Finish Line (NASDAQ: FINL) shares shot up 3.64 percent to $27.44 after the company posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings.
Top 10 Dividend Companies To Invest In Right Now: Nucor Corporation(NUE)
Nucor Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and sale of steel and steel products in North America and internationally. It operates through three segments: Steel Mills, Steel Products, and Raw Materials. The Steel Mills segment produces hot and cold-rolled sheet steel; plate steel; structural steel comprising wide-flange beams, beam blanks, and sheet piling; and bar steel, such as blooms, billets, concrete reinforcing bar, merchant bar, and special bar quality products. The Steel Products segment offers steel joists and joist girders, steel deck, fabricated concrete reinforcing steel, cold finished steel, steel fasteners, metal building systems, light gauge steel framing, steel grating and expanded metal, and wire and wire mesh products. The Raw Materials segment produces direct reduced iron (DRI); brokers ferrous and nonferrous metals, pig iron, hot briquetted iron, and DRI; supplies ferro-alloys; and processes ferrous and nonferrous scrap metal products. The company?s operations also include various international trading companies that buy and sell steel and steel products. It sells its hot-rolled steel and cold-rolled steel to steel service centers, fabricators, and manufacturers; steel joists and joist girders, and steel deck to general contractors and fabricators; and cold finished steel and steel fasteners to distributors and manufacturers. The company?s products are used by contractors in constructing highways, bridges, reservoirs, utilities, hospitals, schools, airports, stadiums, and high-rise buildings. Nucor Corporation was founded in 1940 and is based in Charlotte, North Carolina.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Dividends4Life]
Linked here is a detailed quantitative analysis of Nucor Corporation (NUE). Below are some highlights from the above linked analysis:
Company Description: Nucor Corporation is the largest minimill steelmaker in the U.S., Nucor has one of the most diverse product lines of any steelmaker in the Americas.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Ever have those moments where you read an analyst report and are left scratching your head? Well, Credit Suisse’s downgrades of US Steel (X) and Nucor (NUE) today fit the bill.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
That dynamic means that companies that can benefit from construction strength and cut costs will outperform others. For that reason, Murphy keeps Nucor (NUE) and�Steel Dynamics (STLD) at Buy. He wasn’t so kind to Reliance Steel (RS), US Steel (X) and AK Steel (AKS), which were all cut, though for different reasons.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Analysts tend to group steel makers into two groups–AK Steel (AKS) and US Steel (X), who are more reliant on higher steel prices, and Steel Dynamics (STLD) and Nucor (NUE), who have more flexibility in their businesses.
Top 10 Dividend Companies To Invest In Right Now: 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 Steve Symington]
That's too bad, considering that DaVita was the first company I singled out in February as a potential acquisition candidate for Berkshire after it announced a joint arrangement with 3G Capital to acquire H.J. Heinz (NYSE: HNZ ) .
- [By Tim Brugger]
An investment consortium comprised of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A ) and a 3G Capital investment fund has completed the acquisition of H.J. Heinz (NYSE: HNZ ) for $72.50 per share and a new CEO has taken over Heinz, the company announced today.