Monday, September 8, 2014

Top 5 Regional Bank Companies To Watch For 2014

A month ago, we were ahead of the curve calling for an uptick in regional bank stocks: “Regional Banks: In The Sweet Spot” (December 6, 2013).

That article appears to be spot on, as more and more banking sector analysts upgrade their calls on regional banks. Indeed, most regional bank stocks are headed in a northerly direction.

While that’s good news for any regional bank investor, one bank stock really holds my interest this week: SunTrust Bank (NYSE: STI), which is threatening to explode into breakout status as 2014 gets rolling. More on the merits of SunTrust in a moment, but first some background.

Last month, Credit Suisse analyst Craig Siegenthaler created a buzz with an interesting prediction: the nine regional US banks subjected to stress tests from the Federal Reserve would likely see their stock prices rise by 20 percent across the board.

Siegenthaler looks like Nostradamus right now, as 2013 flips into 2014. Without exception, share prices on all of the “Siegenthaler Nine” have risen over the past five weeks, and that tells us he’s on to something with regional bank stocks.

Top 5 Healthcare Equipment Companies To Invest In Right Now: Ameren Corp (AEE)

Ameren Corporation (Ameren), incorporated on August 7, 1995, is a utility holding company. The Company�� principal subsidiaries are Union Electric Company (Ameren Missouri) and Ameren Illinois Company (Ameren Illinois). The Company's segments include Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois. Ameren Missouri operates a rate-regulated electric generation, transmission and distribution business, and a rate-regulated natural gas transmission and distribution business in Missouri. Ameren Illinois operates a rate-regulated electric and natural gas transmission and distribution business in Illinois. AER consists of non-rate-regulated operations, including Ameren Energy Generating Company (Genco), AmerenEnergy Resources Generating Company (AERG) and Ameren Energy Marketing Company (Marketing Company). In December 2013, the Company announced that it has completed the divestiture of its merchant generation business, formerly known as Ameren Energy Resources Company, LLC (AER).

Ameren Missouri supplies electric and natural gas service to a 24,000-square-mile area in central and eastern Missouri. This area has an estimated population of 2.8 million and includes the Greater St. Louis area. Ameren Missouri supplies electric service to 1.2 million customers and natural gas service to 127,000 customers. Ameren Illinois supplies electric and natural gas utility service to portions of central and southern Illinois having an estimated population of 3.1 million in an area of 40,000 square miles. Ameren Illinois supplies electric service to 1.2 million customers and natural gas service to 806,000 customers. Ameren has other subsidiaries responsible for activities, such as the provision of shared services. Ameren owns an integrated transmission system that consists of the transmission assets of Ameren Missouri, Ameren Illinois and ATXI.

Ameren operates two balancing authority areas, AMMO (which includes Ameren Missouri), and AMIL (which includes Ameren Illinois, ATXI, AERG, and Genco excluding EEI an! d Genco�� Elgin CT energy center). During the year ended December 31, 2012, the peak demand was 8,868 megawatts in AMMO and 9,720 megawatts in AMIL. The Ameren transmission system directly connects with 15 other balancing authority areas for the exchange of electric energy. Ameren Missouri, Ameren Illinois and ATXI are transmission-owning members of MISO. EEI operates its own balancing authority area and its own transmission facilities in southern Illinois. The EEI transmission system is directly connected to the transmission systems of MISO, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and Louisville Gas and Electric Company. EEI�� energy centers are dispatched separately from those of Ameren Missouri, Genco and AERG.

Ameren�� portfolio of natural gas supply resources includes firm transportation capacity and firm no-notice storage capacity leased from interstate pipelines. Ameren Missouri primarily use the interstate pipeline systems of Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Company, Trunkline Gas Company, Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America, and Mississippi River Transmission Corporation to transport natural gas to energy centers. Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois develop and manage a portfolio supply under term agreements with producers, interstate and intrastate firm transportation capacity, firm storage capacity leased from interstate pipelines, and on-system storage facilities to maintain natural gas deliveries to customers throughout the year and especially during peak demand periods. Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois primarily use Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Company, Trunkline Gas Company, Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America, Mississippi River Transmission Corporation, Northern Border Pipeline Company, and Texas Eastern Transmission Corporation interstate pipeline systems to transport natural gas to their systems.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Justin Loiseau]

    Regulations station
    Ameren (NYSE: AEE  ) missed last quarter on sales and earnings, but the company's making major moves to stabilize its income. Since an announcement last December, Ameren has been selling off its generation business to move entirely into regulated territory.

  • [By Justin Loiseau]

    First: falling sales. Although this is a common trend across all utilities, Dominion relies on regulated electricity sales for 50% of its revenue, a significant chunk of its profit pie. Regulated utilities offer some of the steadiest rates of return on the stock market, but overall sales still slump if customers use less energy. Ameren (NYSE: AEE  ) is currently cutting out its merchant generation business entirely, a move that could keep its profits in the pits if electricity use doesn't pick up.

  • [By Justin Loiseau]

    Regulatory resilience
    Ameren (NYSE: AEE  ) and Dynegy (NYSE: DYN  ) aren't letting regulatory snafus get in the way of their plans. The two companies published a statement this week assuring investors that despite the Illinois Pollution Control Board's denial of a variance relief transfer, Dynegy still plans to acquire Ameren Energy Resources.

Top 5 Regional Bank Companies To Watch For 2014: W.R. Berkley Corporation(WRB)

W. R. Berkley Corporation, an insurance holding company, operates as commercial lines writers in the property casualty insurance business primarily in the United States. The company operates in five segments: Specialty, Regional, Alternative Markets, Reinsurance, and International. The Specialty segment underwrites third-party liability risks, primarily excess, and surplus lines, including premises operations, professional liability, commercial automobile, products liability, and property lines. The Regional segments provide commercial insurance products to small-to-mid-sized businesses, and state and local governmental entities primarily in the 45 states of the United States. The Alternative Markets segment develops, insures, reinsures, and administers self-insurance programs and other alternative risk transfer mechanisms. This segment offers its services to employers, employer groups, insurers, and alternative market funds, as well as provides a range of fee-based servic es, including consulting and administrative services. The Reinsurance segment engages in the underwriting property casualty reinsurance on a treaty and a facultative basis, including individual certificates and program facultative business; and specialty and standard reinsurance lines, and property and casualty reinsurance. The International segment offers personal and commercial property casualty insurance in South America; commercial property casualty insurance in the United Kingdom and continental Europe; and reinsurance in Australia, Southeast Asia, and Canada. The company was founded in 1967 and is based in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Rich Duprey]

    Insurance holding company�W.R. Berkley� (NYSE: WRB  ) �announced yesterday�its second-quarter dividend of $0.10 per share, an 11% increase over the $0.09 per share it paid last quarter.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    For the past several years, Berkshire has contrasted its own cost-free float provided by profitable underwriting against the industry�� (unimpressive) tendency to lose money on underwriting while generating net returns from investment income. So far, so good. Less edifying, though, is the repeated contrast of Berkshire�� track record of profitability to State Farm��…even though, as a mutual company, State Farm�� profitability goals are inherently different from for-profit insurers like Berkshire. It�� true that through year-end 2013, Berkshire�� underwriters have ��ow operated at an underwriting profit for eleven consecutive years,��but so have ACE (ACE), American Financial (AFG),� AmTrust Financial (AFSI), Arch Capital (ACGL), Chubb (CB), HCC (HCC), Progressive (PGR), RLI (RLI), and W.R. Berkley (WRB), any or all of whom provide a more meaningful comparison than contrasting Berkshire�� results to a company that�� not out to produce a profit in the first place.

Top 5 Regional Bank Companies To Watch For 2014: Callidus Software Inc.(CALD)

Callidus Software Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides sales performance management (SPM) software applications and services. Its products include TrueComp Manager application that automates the modeling, design, administration, reporting, and analysis of pay-for-performance programs; Callidus Reporting for delivering real-time production reports; Callidus Analytics, which enable businesses to deploy performance dashboards across the finance, sales executive, and sales force teams; Callidus Objective Management to design and deploy strategic objective-based bonus plans and long term incentive programs; and Callidus Quota Management to allocate quotas effectively. The company?s products also comprise Callidus Communicator, which accelerates and streamlines communications with a business sales force and sales channels; Callidus Channel Management for telecommunication companies to view and update dealer information; Callidus Producer Management for insurance carri ers; Callidus Onboarding to build and optimize discrete, re-usable workflows; Callidus Coaching to optimize performance of their sales force and call centers; Callidus Plan Communicator that accelerates the process of rolling out and communicating incentive plans across the sales force; Callidus Commissions Manager for sales professionals; and ACom3, an incentive compensation automation suite. In addition, it provides software consulting services, including a range of SPM solution implementations, system upgrades, compensation plan enhancements, migration assistance, reporting and integration consulting, and solution architecture services; and SaaS-based sales assessments, coaching, and talent development solutions. The company serves the telecommunications, insurance, banking, technology, and life sciences/pharmaceuticals markets in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Asia Pacific. Callidus Software was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Pleasanton, California.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By James Oberweis]

    Callidus Software (CALD) is a leading software-as-a-service provider of sales force effectiveness solutions, with more than 1,700 customers.

    Its products help align sales reps' goals with the firm's goals. Since the beginning of 2011, Callidus has dramatically expanded its product offering through the completion of eight acquisitions.

  • [By karnacua2]

    Posted-In: Markets Trading Ideas

      Around the Web, We're Loving... Cyber Trading University Presents: The Psychology of a Winning Trader Rumsfeld: Denial of Benefits to Fallen Soldiers' Families 'Inexcusable' Facebook, Baidu Lead Big Caps Beating Shutdown What Should You Know About AMZN? Most Popular These Four Story Stocks Got Beat Up Tuesday (TSLA, LNKD, NFLX, FB) Hewlett Packard's Chromebook 11 Features Innovation Not Found In Apple's MacBook (GOOG, HPQ) UPDATE: J. C. Penney Company, Inc. Provides Update on Progress of Turnaround Yahoo Chose Apple's iPhone, MacBook Pro To Promote Mail Upgrade Apple's iPad 5 Event To Crash Surface Release Party On October 22 Apple Should Have 'Immediately' Apologized For iPhone Blunder Related Articles (CALD) Callidus Software (CALD) Expects Q3 FY2013 Financial Results Will Exceed Previous Guidance, Shares Surged Stocks Hitting 52-Week Highs Morning Market Movers

Top 5 Regional Bank Companies To Watch For 2014: eLong Inc.(LONG)

eLong, Inc. operates as an online travel service provider in the People?s Republic of China. The company provides its customers with travel information and the ability to book rooms, air tickets, vacation packages, and other travel related services utilizing call center and Web-based distribution technologies. It facilitates the customers to book rooms in approximately 10,000 hotels in 450 cities across China, and fulfills air ticket reservations in approximately 80 cities across China. In addition, the company offers the ability to book rooms at approximately 100,000 hotels outside of China; and provides the customers informative content relevant to hotel and air travel decisions, including tourist and event site destination information, hotel facility information, and photos. eLong markets its services through online marketing, traditional media advertising, co-marketing with established brands of other companies, and direct marketing. The company was founded in 1999 and is headquartered in Beijing, the People?s Republic of China. eLong, Inc. operates as a subsidiary of Expedia Asia Pacific Limited.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Belinda Cao]

    The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index (HSCEI) of the most-traded Chinese stocks in the U.S. added 0.3 percent to 103.21 yesterday. Renren, owner of a real-name social network website, jumped to the highest level since August as volumes surged. Web travel agency Elong Inc. (LONG) soared 20 percent. China Southern Airlines Co. (ZNH), Asia�� biggest carrier by passenger numbers, fell the most in a week and China Eastern Airlines Corp. slid to a three-week low.

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    eLong (Nasdaq: LONG  ) reported earnings on May 13. Here are the numbers you need to know.

    The 10-second takeaway
    For the quarter ended March 31 (Q1), eLong beat expectations on revenues and beat expectations on earnings per share.

  • [By Tom Taulli]

    Strong Portfolio: Expedia has massive scale, with supply from about 200,000 hotels, 300 airlines and various car rentals and cruise lines. And EXPE sites — which�include,, and more, on top of the Expedia namesake — get�about 50 million unique visitors every month. Plus, EXPE also owns a majority stake in eLong (LONG), which is the second largest online travel company in China.

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