Axiall (NYSE: AXLL) is relatively small in the world of integrated-chemical companies. Worth only $3.1 billion at its current stock price, Axiall is 6% of the size of peer Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW), but I believe the company is an undiscovered diamond.
Previously known as Georgia Gulf, the merger with PPG's chemicals business earlier this year created the new entity Axiall. However, despite almost doubling in size, Axiall more »
Francesca's (NASDAQ: FRAN). Personally, I believe that Francesca's is a great company with a strong business model.
In fashion, staying new and fresh is key, additionally, operating costs must be kept low, indeed, many companies are haemorrhaging cash just keeping staff in stores even on minimum wage but not Francesca's, the company's key business more »
Always on the lookout for the best deals in the market, I like to start with the month's biggest decliners to see if the market has overreacted in any way, selling off a company that does not deserve it.
There are always some interesting opportunities but last month presented some very interesting contrarian plays.
What's on offer?
First up, down 5.3% during the past month is Visa more »
HollyFrontier's (NYSE: HFC) second quarter results were not pretty The company reported a 47% decline in year-on-year net income as the average cost of products rose from $94 to $97, which pushed down the refiners gross margin from $24.5 per barrel to $21 per barrel; net operating margins fell to $14.9 from $19.9 per barrel.
However, despite these tragic results, HollyFrontier is working in other ways more »
With high dividend payouts and seemingly insatiable demand, pipeline stocks seem to be the new market darlings. The oil boom in the US has created a need for infrastructure. Previously unloved, pipeline companies are starting to reap the benefits as bottlenecks build up in the rail network driving crude prices higher - the demand for new pipelines to ease capacity has never been higher.
Having said that investors have to be more »
The best way to play the US oil revolution was through the refiners. However, recent movements in the market have sent the price of WTI crude rapidly higher, crushing the Brent-WTI differential and hitting refiner's profitability across the country.
Fortunately, there is another way to play the oil rush and that is through pipelines and more importantly rail road stocks.
The runt of the litter
Unfortunately, one company that more »
It seems that one industry that has become highly defensive in recent times is the pet industry. It would appear that no matter how hard the economic situation has become, pets still get care and attention from their owners.
In addition, pets require almost constant medical attention as this guidance from the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals in the UK shows:
'When puppies and kittens are born they more »
Goldman Sachs recently issued a note to clients, identifying what it believed are the 40 most undervalued stocks on the market at present.
Three of the most appealing stocks on this list are in the generally undervalued oil & gas drilling and exploration sector.
Oil & gas drilling and exploration is a sector that will always be in constant demand. Indeed, the sector is extremely strong currently, as of October 2012, there more »
It is unusual to see a tobacco company that is struggling to keep up with demand. Indeed, one of the biggest threats facing the tobacco industry right now is falling sales. However, demand for Universal Corp's (NYSE: UVV) tobacco is actually greater than the company has the ability to be able to supply.
Universal is a tobacco leaf producer, the company, through its subsidies grows and sells more »
Take a chart of the S&P 500's performance over the first half of this year and compare it to the performance of the oil behemoths, Chevron (NYSE: CVX) and Exxon (NYSE: XOM) and you notice that these two companies have seriously underperformed. As I write, the S&P is up 18% year-to-date, while Exxon and Chevron are only up 3.2% and 12.6% respectively, even including annualized more »
Short squeezes can be very profitable, with prices moving 10-20% in one day the risk/reward ratio is tempting. However, picking stocks that are ripe for a short squeeze is hard and risky. Indeed, Foolish investors should never invest just to benefit from a squeeze.
Having said that, personally, I believe that even if a company has 50% of its stock out on loan for shorting, if the company has more »
Rising CAPEX, write-downs and falling profits are all factors that are now affecting gold miners, pushing stock prices and valuations to lows not seen since, well in some cases, ever!
However, despite these well publicized factors, one of the bigger issues affecting the company's is the creeping price of gold production, which has been rising much faster than inflation and the price of gold over the past three years more »
Debt can be toxic and helpful. There is nothing wrong with using leverage to improve returns, as long as this leverage is sustainable. Foolish investors should avoid investing in companies with lots of debt as they can be very dangerous. However, if a company's debt is sustainable, and it has only borrowed heavily to increase returns then investors can rest easy.
So, here I am going to dissect the more »
Can be a terrible problem fro some companies and can drag down even the best businesses. So, is debt manageable or major concern at these three companies which would otherwise appear to be good opportunities for investment if it were not for their large piles of debt?
Victim of the housing bubble
The key to making money on the stock market is not a hugely complicated trading strategy requiring terabytes of computing power. It is simply searching for companies that are able to generate sustainable long term value though cash generation and simple business models. This requires several things, the most important of which is an operation that will run itself. The 'key man' risk is an important thing to consider here more »
Unless you have been living in a cave for the past half year, you will have heard that mortgage REITs, and REITs in general are not doing terribly well in the current market. As the Federal Reserve hints that it could soon begin tapering its asset purchases, the value of assets held by mREITs is in for a decline, wiping out months of asset value gains.
Having said that …
However more »
As the taper is set to start in September, there is bound to be some volatility in the markets, so in this two part series I have put together a taper-proof portfolio.
The aim of this portfolio is not to try and avoid the volatility stemming from the taper but to fully acknowledge it, looking to invest in companies that are good investments for the long term and will not more »
I tryto invest with a contrarian view, so I like to go against the market. To that end one of my favorite ways to find opportunities for investment is by looking through the most shorted stocks in the S&P 500, to see if I can spot anything others can't.
So, with that in mind, here are the three most shorted companies in the S&P 500 right now more »
With the Federal Reserve set to start tapering asset purchases in September, it is time to start looking for stocks that offer some protection from the impending market volatility.
Unlike many market commentators, who recommend buying large companies with strong dividends and a long history of maintaining payouts, I do not believe this is the way to go. Indeed, the last time the Fed announced that it was considering tapering more »
An investor who bought one of the many discount brokerage stocks earlier this year would have seen handsome gains. Indeed, so far, Charles Schwab (NYSE: SCHW) and E*TRADE (NASDAQ: ETFC) are up 55% and 53%, respectively, beating the wider market by 35%. However, I believe that now it could be time to book some gains.
You see, after these recent rallies, these brokerages are looking rather overbought and there more »
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