Stocks are set to open ever so slightly lower–and perhaps continue their four-day losing streak.MARIA R. BASTONE/AFP/Getty Images
�S&P 500 futures have fallen 1.9 points to 1,690.60, while Dow Jones Industrial futures have dropped 6 points to 15,280.00.
Ascena Retail Group (ASNA) has gained 13% to $19.65 after the retailer reported a profit of 34 cents a share, trouncing analyst forecasts of 21 cents.
AAR Corp. (AIR) has dropped 5.6% to $28.25 after it said it earned 45 cents a share, in line with analyst estimates, but sales missed.
Landec (LNDC) has plunged 13% to $11.85 after it reported a profit of 18 cents a share, below forecasts for 23 cents.
Carnival (CCL) has dropped 4.2% to $33.10 after it was downgraded at Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley one day after losing 8% following disappointing earnings.
Top New Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Office Depot Inc.(ODP)
Office Depot, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, supplies office products and services. Its North American Retail division sells an assortment of merchandise, such as general office supplies, computer supplies, business machines and related supplies, and office furniture under various labels, including Office Depot, Viking Office Products, Foray, Ativa, Break Escapes, Niceday, and Worklife through its chain of office supply stores. It also provides printing, reproduction, mailing, shipping, and other services, as well as personal computer support and network installation service. As of December 25, 2010, this division operated 1,147 office supply stores in the United States and Canada. The company?s North American Business Solutions division sells nationally branded and private brand office supplies, technology products, furniture, and services to small- to medium-sized customers through a dedicated sales force, catalogs, and Internet. Its International division sells o ffice products and services through direct mail catalogs, contract sales forces, Internet sites, and retail stores using a mix of company-owned operations, joint ventures, licensing and franchise agreements, alliances, and other arrangements. As of December 25, 2010, it sold its office products to customers in 53 countries in North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. This division operated, through wholly-owned or majority-owned entities, 97 retail stores in France, Hungary, South Korea, and Sweden; and participates under licensing and merchandise arrangements in South Korea, Thailand, India, Israel, Japan, and the Middle East. The company was founded in 1986 and is headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Mathew Schwartz]
AlamyA Starbucks coffee shop in downtown Beijing, China. • There are prices to be paid for expanding your economy at a gallop, and China pays plenty of them. Today, anyone looking out across that nation's northern cities can see that winter has arrived there -- or rather, they can't, because the smog is so appallingly bad. In the city of Harbin, for example, visibility dropped to around 11 yards Monday, and small-particle pollution soared to 40 times higher than the international safety standard -- a record, by the way, though one we're sure nobody would want to break. It's a pretty clear case of cause and effect: Harbin's city heating systems were fired up on Sunday, and by Monday, you could barely see your hand in front of your face. • While we're on the subject of the world's rising economic superpower, China has a big complaint with Starbucks (SBUX) -- and it's probably the same one you have: Why does it charge so much for coffee? This may shock those of us in the U.S. who feel we're paying through the nose for our lattes, but Starbucks charges more in China than it does elsewhere -- about a third more than in the United States. • But back in America, the biggest news involving your money today is a no-brainer: the continuing glitches in the Obamacare websites. The administration has called out the computer cavalry, expanding the team that's trying to get the system working properly. And President Obama plans to speak publicly about the problems Monday. But in the meantime, the website is producing far more complaints than anything else. • We all know that taking out a student loan requires filling out a raft of complicated paperwork, but paying it back, at least, ought to be simple. Unfortunately, it's not, the advocates over at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau inform us in a new report. Some loan servicers -- the companies lenders hire to collect payments on private student loans -- make a concerted effort to maximize fee
- [By Rich Duprey]
As the merger between office products suppliers OfficeMax (NYSE: OMX ) and Office Depot (NYSE: ODP ) wends its way through the regulatory process, they've hired�global talent management consultancy Korn/Ferry International (NYSE: KFY ) to begin the process of finding a CEO to lead the combined companies once the deal is completed.
- [By WWW.DAILYFINANCE.COM]
Richard Drew/AP BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Office Depot is planning to close at least 400 U.S. stores, as its merger with OfficeMax resulted in an overlap of retail locations that can be consolidated. The combined company's financial results beat Wall Street estimates for the January-March quarter and it raised its full year forecast for operating income Tuesday. Office Depot (ODP) shares jumped 17 percent in morning trading. The office supply retailer had 1,900 stores in the U.S. at the end of the first quarter, so the plans call for closing about 21 percent of them. Office Depot and OfficeMax Inc. completed their $1.2 billion deal last November. Office Depot said it hasn't quantified the number of jobs that will be affected by the store closures but that it will look to place its best talent impacted by the store closings into new roles, wherever possible. Chairman and CEO Roland Smith said in a statement that one of the company's goals this year was to improve how its stores are positioned in North America to meet customer demand better and ensure that it's well positioned in the markets it serves. "The overlapping retail footprint resulting from the merger provides us with a unique opportunity to consolidate and optimize our store portfolio, while maintaining the retail presence necessary to serve our customer," Smith said. Office Depot said Tuesday that it expects to close 150 U.S. stores this year, mostly in the fourth quarter. It closed 14 stores in the first quarter, a company spokeswoman said. All of the store closures are anticipated to occur by the end of 2016. The store closings are expected to result in at least $75 million in annual savings by 2016's end and add to earnings starting next year. Office Depot, which is based in Boca Raton, Florida, said that it's still trying to determine expected working capital savings and costs related to the store closings. The company also reported its first-quarter financial results Tuesday, which includ
- [By Dan Caplinger]
OfficeMax has struggled along with many big-box office-products retailers as online competition and a generally weak economic recovery have held back their ability to grow. But the company's recent proposal to merge with rival Office Depot (NYSE: ODP ) has breathed new life into the sector. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with OfficeMax over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its quarterly report.
Hot Retail Companies To Watch For 2014: Tranzbyte Corp (ERBB)
The Tranzbyte Corporation, incorporated on November 12, 1998, is a driving force behind Altitude Organic Corporation, One Bode, The YO! Debit Card, and ProximaRF. Altitude Organic Corporation is a medical marijuana dispensary brand. It has developed retailing, branding, and commercial cultivating strategies in conjunction with its licensed medical marijuana retail dispensaries operating under the Altitude Organic Medicine brand name.
Tranzbyte houses the technology division, which is engaged in the sale of its optical media enhancement products to customers in the United States and Asia. Products in the Tranzbyte division include FLASHAlbum and FlixStix technologies that enable distributors of optical media (compact discs, digital video discs, etc.) to consolidate the features of each medium onto a single content-protected universal serial bus (USB) flash drive. One Bode has created an assortment of products focusing on plant-based nutrients and enzymes. Applied radio frequency identification (RFID) and its operating subsidiaries (www.proximarf.com), have a portfolio of RFID reader, sensor tag and data logging products.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Peter Graham]
Small cap holding companies Sibling Group Holdings Inc (OTCMKTS: SIBE), Tranzbyte Corp (OTCMKTS: ERBB) and Readen Holding Corp (OTCMKTS: RHCO) are in the business of holding or acquiring other companies. They have also been getting some attention lately in various investment newsletters and not necessarily because of acquisitions or other news but rather because of a few recent paid promotions. With that in mind, here is a quick look and a reality check about all three:
Hot Retail Companies To Watch For 2014: Mattress Firm Holding Corp (MFRM)
Mattress Firm Holding Corp. (Mattress Firm), incorporated on January 5, 2007, is a specialty retailer of mattresses and related products and accessories in the United States. The Company conducts its operations through its indirect, wholly owned subsidiary, Mattress Holding Corp. and its subsidiaries. As of August 2, 2011, the Company and its franchisees operated 620 and 107 stores, respectively, primarily under the Mattress Firm name, in 60 markets across 25 states. The Company focuses on the national brands, but also offers its customers its Hampton and Rhodes private label mattresses. The Company has introduced its YuMe brand. On October 15, 2010, the Company acquired Peak Management, LLC. On December 1, 2010, the Company acquired Maggie's Enterprises, Inc. In May 2012, Mattress Firm announced the completion of its acquisition of regional bedding company, Mattress Giant Holding Corp. Effective September 9, 2013, Mattress Firm Holding Corp, a unit of JW Childs Associates LP, acquired Olejo Inc, a provider of ecommerce retail services.
The Company�� stores carry national mattress brands, with a range of styles, sizes, price points and features. The Company provides its customers with their choice of traditional mattresses, including Sealy and Simmons, as well as specialty mattresses, such as Tempur-Pedic. In addition to its mattress selection, the Company offers a range of bedding-related products and accessories.
Conventional mattresses, such as those of Sealy (including Sealy Posturepedic and Stearns and Foster) and Simmons (including Simmons Beautyrest), utilize steel-coil innersprings. During the fiscal year ended February 1, 2011, the conventional mattresses represented approximately 75% of bedding industry sales in the United States and approximately 60% of the Company�� total sales. In addition to these national brands, the Company also offers its Hampton and Rhodes private label mattresses.
Specialty mattresses, such as those manufactured by Tempur-Pedic and select comfort, utilize materials other than steel-coil innersprings to provide comfort and support. In fiscal 2010, the specialty mattresses represented approximately 30% of the Company�� total sales. The Company is expanding its assortments in the categories, including viscoelastic foam mattresses and yume sleep system. Viscoelastic foam, also referred to as memory foam or polyurethane foam, features a temperature sensitive foam core that reduces pressure points and tossing and turning by contouring to one's body. The Company has introduced a sleep system made of foam produced from coconut oil, utilizing a technology that uses ambient air to heat and cool the mattress surface.
Furniture and Accessories
During fiscal 2010, the Company was in the process of introducing new headboards and footboards, which complement its current bedding products. All of the Company�� stores carry an assortment of bedding-related accessories, including bed frames, mattress pads and pillows. In fiscal 2010, bedding-related products and accessories represented approximately 7% of the Company�� total sales from Company-operated stores.
The Company competes with Mattress Giant, American Mattress, Haverty's, Rooms-To-Go, Macy's, Sears, JC Penney, Walmart, Costco and Original Mattress.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Rebecca McClay]
In consumer stocks news, Mattress Firm Holding Corp. (Nasdaq: MFRM) shares are down 15% as the company reported Q2 adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.43 versus consensus estimate of $0.51. Net sales were $302.5 million, compared to the $323 million the Street expected. Year-ago adjusted EPS was $0.42, on net sales of $262 million.
- [By Maria Armental var popups = dojo.query(".socialByline .popC"); popups.forEach]
Mattress Firm Holding Corp.(MFRM) said its fiscal first-quarter earnings fell 36% on higher costs that masked the bedding specialty retailer’s sales growth. The company raised its revenue forecast for the year.
Hot Retail Companies To Watch For 2014: Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc.(SPB)
Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a consumer products company worldwide. It offers consumer batteries, including alkaline and zinc carbon batteries, rechargeable batteries and chargers, and hearing aid batteries and other specialty batteries; pet supplies, such as aquatic equipment and supplies, dog and cat treats, small animal foods, clean up and training aids, health and grooming products, and beddings; and home and garden control products comprising household insect controls, insect repellents, and herbicides. The company also provides electric shaving and grooming devices; small appliances, including small kitchen appliances and home product appliances; electric personal care and styling devices; and portable lighting. Its sells its products through various trade channels, including retailers, wholesalers and distributors, hearing aid professionals, industrial distributors, and original equipment manufacturers primarily under t he Rayovac, Remington, Varta, George Foreman, Black & Decker, Toastmaster, Farberware, Tetra, Marineland, Nature?s Miracle, Dingo, 8-in-1, Littermaid, Spectracide, Cutter, Repel, Hot Shot, Black Flag, and TAT brands. The company was headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. As of January 7, 2011, Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc. operates as a subsidiary of Harbinger Group Inc.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Marc Bastow]
Consumer products manufacturer Spectrum Brands (SPB) raised its quarterly dividend 20% to 30 cents per share, payable on Mar. 18 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 19.
SPB Dividend Yield: 1.58%
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Shares of Energizer have jumped 15% to $112.37 at 10:24 a.m. today, while Spectrum Brands (SPB) has risen 1.4% to $76.88 and Kimberly Clark (KMB) has gained 1% to $112.14.
Hot Retail Companies To Watch For 2014: O'Reilly Automotive Inc.(ORLY)
O?Reilly Automotive, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the retail of automotive aftermarket parts, tools, supplies, equipment, and accessories in the United States. The company?s stores provide new and remanufactured automotive hard parts, including alternators, starters, fuel pumps, water pumps, brake system components, batteries, belts, hoses, chassis parts, and engine parts; maintenance items comprising oil, antifreeze, fluids, filters, wiper blades, lighting, engine additives, and appearance products; and accessories, such as floor mats, seat covers, and truck accessories. Its stores also offer auto body paint and related materials, automotive tools, and professional service provider service equipment. The company?s stores sell its brand name and private label products for domestic and imported automobiles, vans, and trucks to do-it-yourself customers and professional service providers. As of March 31, 2011, it operated 3,613 stores. The company was foun ded in 1957 and is headquartered in Springfield, Missouri.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Lawrence Meyers]
O��eilly Automotive (ORLY) is also a $15 billion company with 4,000 stores in the US alone. It holds $1.4 billion in debt and $366 million in cash, and generates strongly increasing levels of free cash flow — from $350 million in FY10 to $800 million in FY11, up to $950 million in FY12. It has a projected long-term growth rate of 17.3%, and trades at a FY13 P/E of 18.5. The stock is a bit pricey, but the fantastic cash flow trend, and 3% interest on debt makes it a compelling consideration.
Hot Retail Companies To Watch For 2014: Lojas Renner SA (LREN3)Lojas Renner SA is a Brazil- based company primarily involved in the operation of department stores. The Company divides its business into two segments. The Retail segment is engaged in sale of women's, men's and children's apparels, underwear and shoes, as well as sportswear and other department stores' articles in the domestic market. The Company also sells household articles, bedding and bath items, furniture and decoration articles. The Financial products segment is involved in the intermediation of financial services, including brokerage of personal loans, sales financing, brokerage of insurance and bonds, and credit card processing, among others. The Company operates through a numerous subsidiaries, including Dromegon Participacoes Ltda, Renner Administradora de Cartoes de Credito Ltda, Renner Empreendimentos Ltda and Maxmix Comercial Ltda. Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Ney Hayashi]
Anhanguera Educacional Participacoes SA (AEDU3) tumbled after Brazil�� antitrust regulator signaled it may limit the education company�� merger with competitor Kroton Educacional SA. (KROT3) Lojas Renner SA (LREN3) led retailers higher after a report showed Brazil�� industrial production expanded faster than expected in October, easing concern that growth is faltering.
Hot Retail Companies To Watch For 2014: Vitacost.com Inc (VITC)
Vitacost.com, Inc. (Vitacost), incorporated in May 20, 1994, is an online retailer of health and wellness products, including dietary supplements such as vitamins, minerals, herbs and other botanicals, amino acids and metabolites, as well as cosmetics, natural personal care products, pet products, sports nutrition and health foods. The Company sells these products directly to consumers primarily through its Website, www.vitacost.com. It offers its customers the selection of healthy living products. It offers its customers a selection of approximately 40,000 Stock Keeping Units (SKUs), from over 2,000 third-party brands, such as New Chapter, Nature�� Way, Twinlab, Source Naturals, Jarrow Formulas, Jason, Desert Essence, Atkins, Bob�� Red Mill, BSN, Optimum Nutrition, USP Labs and MuscleTech in addition to its own brands: Vitacost, Cosmeceutical Sciences Institute (CSI), Best of All, and Smart Basics. As of December 31, 2012, the Company had approximately 2.1 million customers.
The Company offers products in a range of potency levels and dosage forms, such as tablets, capsules, vegi-capsules, softgels, gelcaps, liquids and powders. It offers products that encompass four main categories: Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs and Supplements; Sports Nutrition; Beauty; and Natural and Organic Food.
Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs and Supplements (VMHS)
VMHS products are taken to maintain or improve health and address specific health conditions. In its dietary supplements category, the Company offers its offer its Vitacost branded products as well as third-party brands such as Nature�� Way, Twinlab, Jarrow, Carlson and Rainbow Light. Vitamin and mineral products include multi-vitamins, lettered vitamins, such as Vitamin A, C, D, E and B-complex, along with minerals such as calcium, magnesium, chromium and zinc.
Herbal products include whole herbs, standardized extracts, herb combination formulas and teas. Supplements include essential fatty acids, probiotics, anti-o! xidants, phytonutrients and condition-specific formulas.
Sports nutrition products are used in conjunction with cardiovascular conditioning, weight training and sports activities. Major categories in sports nutrition include protein and weight gain powders, meal replacements, nutrition bars, sport drinks and pre and post-workout supplements. The Company offers bodybuilding and sports products from third parties, such as Optimum Nutrition, CytoSport and BSN as well as our Vitacost branded sports nutrition products.
Natural care products consist of a variety of natural products for skin, body, hair and oral health. The Company offers hundreds of natural personal-care products from companies, such as JASON, and Kiss My Face, as well as its CSI-branded products. These products appeal to allergen-conscious and environmentally-conscious consumers seeking products that are made without harsh chemicals and additives.
Natural and Organic Food
Natural and organic food products consist of organic and specialty products such as organic peanut butter, gluten free foods and low mercury tuna and salmon. The Company offers third-party brands, such as Kashi, Eden Foods and Amy�� Organic, as well as its Best of All natural food products.
Under its Vitacost brand, the Company offers over 900 products including multivitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, anti-oxidants and others. Under its CSI brand, it markets and sells health and beauty products such as facial cleanser, facial and body moisturizing creams and lotions, and other beauty and skincare products. Under its Best of All brand, it markets and sells organic food products such as banana chips, trail mix, almonds, cashews and more. Under its Smart Basics brand, it markets and sells organic fruit juices and extracts and related dietary supplements. Under its Walker Diet brand, it markets and sells low carb powders used to assist in weight loss and ! managemen! t.Advisors' Opinion:
- [By Seth Jayson]
Margins matter. The more Vitacost.com (Nasdaq: VITC ) keeps of each buck it earns in revenue, the more money it has to invest in growth, fund new strategic plans, or (gasp!) distribute to shareholders. Healthy margins often separate pretenders from the best stocks in the market. That's why we check up on margins at least once a quarter in this series. I'm looking for the absolute numbers, so I can compare them to current and potential competitors, and any trend that may tell me how strong Vitacost.com's competitive position could be.