The Latest Wells Fargo Criminal Activity Uncovered

Shah GilaniShah Gilani

The dirt at Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) knows no depths. Last week, yet another example of systemic fraud was unearthed.

From 2017 through early 2018, employees at the Systemically Important Financial Institution (SIFI) fraudulently altered social security numbers, addresses, and dates of birth on thousands of corporate customer documents.

Here’s what the bank was dodging, who should be fired (and jailed), and where to put your money when major institutions fail you…

Why This Time Is Different

The last couple of front-page news stories about fraud at Wells Fargo focused on managers encouraging employees to open 3.5 million fake checking and credit accounts and employees improperly charging mortgage and auto loan customers hidden and egregious fees.

This time, however, it’s a little different.

This time, Wells Fargo employees altered and added fake social security numbers, addresses, and dates of birth on possibly tens of thousands of small corporate customers’ account information files in the bank’s “wholesale” unit.

As part of 2015 anti-money laundering controls imposed on Wells Fargo by regulators for the bank’s compliance failures, Wells had to update and complete customer profiles in the bank’s wholesale unit, which covers more than 100,000 small firm accounts with assets of between $5 million and $20 million.

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With the June 30, 2018, deadline approaching to meet consent orders related to the bank’s compliance problems, and no way to get all the information it hasn’t rounded up since 2015 in on time, it looks like employees took it upon themselves (or were told) to fill in verification requirements in customer account documentation files.

This time, the criminal activity wasn’t about ripping off customers; it was about cheating regulators.

And when it comes to regulators, a Wells Fargo spokesman said the bank doesn’t comment on regulatory matters. He said in a statement: “This matter involves documents used for internal purposes. No customers were negatively impacted, no data left the company, and no products or services were sold as a result.”

In other words, “So, what’s the big deal?”

How much the bank’s going to have to pay for this is anybody’s guess.

But because regulatory infractions don’t create front-page news like ripping off millions of customers does, the fines won’t be close to the $1 billion dollars Wells just paid for its mortgage and auto loan criminal activity.

Join the conversation. Click here to jump to comments…

Shah GilaniShah Gilani

About the Author

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Shah Gilani is the Event Trading Specialist for Money Map Press. In Zenith Trading Circle Shah reveals the worst companies in the markets – right from his coveted Bankruptcy Almanac – and how readers can trade them over and over again for huge gains.Shah is also the proud founding editor of The Money Zone, where after eight years of development and 11 years of backtesting he has found the edge over stocks, giving his members the opportunity to rake in potential double, triple, or even quadruple-digit profits weekly with just a few quick steps. He also writes our most talked-about publication, Wall Street Insights & Indictments, where he reveals how Wall Street’s high-stakes game is really played.

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Hot Clean Energy Stocks To Buy Right Now

Ive been right about Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) thus far.

There seem to be only two schools on Tesla. You either love the carmaker, or you hate it with a passion. I fall into the latter category, not because I’m anti clean energy, or opposed to new entries to the auto industry, but because of the grandiose and inefficient management history the company has had under Elon Musk. Ive written often about the competition and general cutthroat nature of the auto industry that Tesla faces. Ive been waiting for some time to see signs of Teslas inability to ramp up car production in a way that justifies its wild stock valuation. And boy howdy have I taken some flak in the comments section.

This week has given me some vindication on my feelings about Tesla. The stock is down on rough news of production complications, and a fading faith in Elon Musks rhetoric, something I said would happen. The valuation is not justified, and cannot be justified when youre selling such a small amount of cars and not turning any profit. I get it that this stock performance is about future potential earnings, but the company is not putting together concrete evidence that it is working toward those types of numbers.

Hot Clean Energy Stocks To Buy Right Now: Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF (VEA)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Logan Wallace]

    Sanctuary Wealth Management L.L.C. lifted its stake in shares of Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF (NYSEARCA:VEA) by 0.2% during the first quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities & Exchange Commission. The fund owned 673,046 shares of the company’s stock after acquiring an additional 1,571 shares during the period. Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF accounts for approximately 25.1% of Sanctuary Wealth Management L.L.C.’s portfolio, making the stock its 2nd biggest holding. Sanctuary Wealth Management L.L.C.’s holdings in Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF were worth $29,782,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Hot Clean Energy Stocks To Buy Right Now: Beazer Homes USA, Inc.(BZH)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Stephan Byrd]

    Beazer Homes USA (NYSE:BZH) – Wedbush raised their FY2018 earnings per share (EPS) estimates for shares of Beazer Homes USA in a research note issued to investors on Thursday, May 3rd. Wedbush analyst J. Mccanless now forecasts that the construction company will post earnings per share of $2.07 for the year, up from their previous estimate of $1.75. Wedbush currently has a “Outperform” rating and a $22.00 target price on the stock. Wedbush also issued estimates for Beazer Homes USA’s Q4 2018 earnings at $1.00 EPS and Q2 2019 earnings at $0.32 EPS.

  • [By Tyler Crowe]

    Unfortunately, investors in Beazer Homes (NYSE:BZH)haven’t been reaping the benefits of this booming market, as its stock is actually down over this time frame. What exactly has kept Beazer from enjoying the fruits of a robust housing market? Let’s look at the company’s most recent earnings report.

  • [By Shane Hupp]

    Beazer Homes USA (NYSE:BZH) was down 6% during mid-day trading on Tuesday . The stock traded as low as $14.27 and last traded at $14.38. Approximately 672,285 shares were traded during trading, an increase of 12% from the average daily volume of 601,101 shares. The stock had previously closed at $15.29.

Hot Clean Energy Stocks To Buy Right Now: STAAR Surgical Company(STAA)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin] Gainers
    Euro Tech Holdings Company Limited (NASDAQ: CLWT) surged 73.3 percent to $3.90.
    Integrated Media Technology Limited (NASDAQ: IMTE) shares gained 51 percent to $33.1365. The nano-cap low-float stock skyrocketed over 1,300 percent on Wednesday on no company specific news which would support the surge. The move higher is consistent with what was seen in other low-float stocks over the past few months.
    Monaker Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: MKGI) shares jumped 34 percent to $3.00.
    Sharing Economy International Inc. (NASDAQ: SEII) shares rose 28.2 percent to $4.51 after gaining 9.32 percent on Wednesday.
    STAAR Surgical Company (NASDAQ: STAA) shares jumped 27.8 percent to $21.40 after reporting upbeat Q1 results.
    Boxlight Corporation (NASDAQ: BOXL) rose 20.5 percent to $8.920 after climbing 107.87 percent on Wednesday.
    Xspand Products Lab Inc (NASDAQ: XSPL) gained 19.5 percent to $ 5.97. Xspand Products priced its IPO at $5 per share.
    YRC Worldwide Inc. (NASDAQ: YRCW) rose 18.9 percent to $10.035 following upbeat quarterly earnings.
    ENDRA Life Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: NDRA) gained 18.3 percent to $3.0177. ENDRA Life Sciences is expected to report Q1 results on May 15.
    MYR Group Inc. (NASDAQ: MYRG) rose 18.1 percent to $35.85 after the company posted strong Q1 earnings.
    Rudolph Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: RTEC) shares jumped 16 percent to $30.75 following upbeat quarterly earnings.
    TTM Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTMI) gained 13.7 percent to $16.53 after reporting Q1 results.
    Insight Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ: NSIT) shares surged 12 percent to $40.06 following better-than-expected Q1 earnings.
    TreeHouse Foods, Inc. (NYSE: THS) rose 11.8 percent to $40.93 following Q1 results.
    Engility Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: EGL) surged 11.2 percent to $27.36. Engility reported upbeat quarterly earnings.
    Synalloy Corporation (NASDAQ: SYNL) rose 10.7 percent to $19.10 following Q1 results.
    Logitech International S.A. (NASDAQ: LOGI)
  • [By Lisa Levin]

    STAAR Surgical Company (NASDAQ: STAA) shares shot up 26 percent to $21.03 after reporting upbeat Q1 results.

    Shares of Integrated Media Technology Limited (NASDAQ: IMTE) got a boost, shooting up 56 percent to $34.2425. The nano-cap low-float stock skyrocketed over 1,300 percent on Wednesday on no company specific news which would support the surge. The move higher is consistent with what was seen in other low-float stocks over the past few months.

  • [By Lisa Levin] Gainers
    Euro Tech Holdings Company Limited (NASDAQ: CLWT) shares jumped 155.56 percent to close at $5.75 on Thursday.
    Inspire Medical Systems, Inc. (NYSE: INSP) shares gained 56.12 percent to close at $24.98. Inspire Medical went public Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. The company issued 6.75 million shares priced at $16 each.
    Presbia PLC (NASDAQ: LENS) shares rose 53.02 percent to close at $3.55.
    Integrated Media Technology Limited (NASDAQ: IMTE) shares rose 46.29 percent to close at $32.11. The nano-cap low-float stock skyrocketed over 1,300 percent on Wednesday on no company specific news which would support the surge. The move higher is consistent with what was seen in other low-float stocks over the past few months.
    Technical Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: TCCO) climbed 27.78 percent to close at $5.75.
    STAAR Surgical Company (NASDAQ: STAA) shares gained 26.27 percent to close at $21.15 after reporting upbeat Q1 results.
    Sharing Economy International Inc. (NASDAQ: SEII) shares jumped 22.16 percent to close at $4.30 on Thursday after gaining 9.32 percent on Wednesday.
    China Advanced Construction Materials Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CADC) rose 20.45 percent to close at $2.65 on Thursday.
    YRC Worldwide Inc. (NASDAQ: YRCW) surged 18.36 percent to close at $9.99 following upbeat quarterly earnings.
    MYR Group Inc. (NASDAQ: MYRG) jumped 17.68 percent to close at $35.74 after the company posted strong Q1 earnings.
    Xspand Products Lab Inc (NASDAQ: XSPL) jumped 17.4 percent to close at $5.87. Xspand Products priced its IPO at $5 per share.
    Coherus BioSciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: CHRS) shares rose 17.32 percent to close at $14.90. Coherus BioSciences reported resubmission of BLA for CHS-1701.
    Rudolph Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: RTEC) shares gained 17.17 percent to close at $31.05 following upbeat quarterly earnings.
    The Meet Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: MEET) gained 16.02 percent to close at $2.68 following Q1 earnings.
    Ca

Hot Clean Energy Stocks To Buy Right Now: Carrizo Oil & Gas, Inc.(CRZO)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Benzinga News Desk]

    Carl Icahn fired off a letter to the board of AmTrust Financial Services (NASDAQ: AFSI) Thursday, blasting the firm for pursuing an “opportunistic going-private transaction” that would squeeze out minority shareholders: Link

    ECONOMIC DATA
    Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Robert Kaplan will speak at 9:15 a.m. ET.
    Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard is set to speak at 9:15 a.m. ET.
    The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week will be released at 1:00 p.m. ET.
    ANALYST RATINGS
    Evercore upgraded Marriott (NASDAQ: MAR) from In-Line to Outperform
    Piper Jaffray upgraded Mellanox Technologies (NASDAQ: MLNX) from Neutral to Overweight
    Jefferies downgraded Carrizo Oil (NASDAQ: CRZO) from Buy to Hold
    Imperial downgraded Planet Fitness (NYSE: PLNT) from Outperform to In-Line

    This is a tool used by the Benzinga News Desk each trading day — it's a look at everything happening in the market, in five minutes. To get the full version of this note every morning, click here.

  • [By Joseph Griffin]

    Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in CRZO. Sterling Investment Advisors Ltd. purchased a new stake in shares of Carrizo Oil & Gas in the 4th quarter worth about $128,000. CIBC Asset Management Inc purchased a new stake in shares of Carrizo Oil & Gas in the 4th quarter worth about $212,000. Quantitative Systematic Strategies LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Carrizo Oil & Gas in the 4th quarter worth about $235,000. Cypress Capital Management LLC WY purchased a new stake in shares of Carrizo Oil & Gas in the 4th quarter worth about $296,000. Finally, Bowling Portfolio Management LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Carrizo Oil & Gas in the 4th quarter worth about $306,000.

    ILLEGAL ACTIVITY NOTICE: “Carrizo Oil & Gas, Inc. (CRZO) Receives $27.00 Consensus Target Price from Brokerages” was originally reported by Ticker Report and is the property of of Ticker Report. If you are viewing this news story on another site, it was illegally copied and republished in violation of international copyright law. The legal version of this news story can be viewed at www.tickerreport.com/banking-finance/3380380/carrizo-oil-gas-inc-crzo-receives-27-00-consensus-target-price-from-brokerages.html.

    Carrizo Oil & Gas Company Profile

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Since independent oil and gas producer Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc. (NASDAQ: CRZO) reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2017 results Tuesday morning, shares have taken a beating. Just looking at earnings per share (EPS) and revenues, the punishment seems to be worse than the crime.

  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc. (NASDAQ: CRZO) was maintained as Buy but the price target was cut to $44 from $45 at Stifel.

    CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) was reiterated as Buy with a $79 price target (versus a $52.42 close) at Argus. The firm was very positive about its individual prospects but was still very concerned about a possible re-merger with Viacom.

Hot Clean Energy Stocks To Buy Right Now: Kilroy Realty Corporation(KRC)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Stephan Byrd]

    Kilroy Realty Corporation (KRC), a publicly traded real estate investment trust and member of the S&P MidCap 400 Index, is one of the West Coast's premier landlords. The company has over 70 years of experience developing, acquiring and managing office and mixed-use real estate assets. The company provides physical work environments that foster creativity and productivity and serves a broad roster of dynamic, innovation-driven tenants, including technology, entertainment, digital media and health care companies.

Hot Clean Energy Stocks To Buy Right Now: Maui Land & Pineapple Company, Inc.(MLP)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By ]

    A flurry of mergers in the master-limited partnership (MLP) segment for pipeline companies rocked the energy sector on Thursday, drawing a sanguine response from Wall Street analysts that generally supported the new, more simplified structures.

Douglas Dynamics (PLOW) and Astec Industries (ASTE) HeadHead Review

Douglas Dynamics (NYSE: PLOW) and Astec Industries (NASDAQ:ASTE) are both small-cap auto/tires/trucks companies, but which is the superior business? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their earnings, dividends, risk, institutional ownership, valuation, profitability and analyst recommendations.

Earnings & Valuation

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This table compares Douglas Dynamics and Astec Industries’ gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Douglas Dynamics $474.93 million 2.19 $55.32 million $1.36 33.90
Astec Industries $1.18 billion 1.14 $37.79 million $1.58 37.08

Douglas Dynamics has higher earnings, but lower revenue than Astec Industries. Douglas Dynamics is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Astec Industries, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent ratings and price targets for Douglas Dynamics and Astec Industries, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Douglas Dynamics 0 1 1 0 2.50
Astec Industries 0 1 4 0 2.80

Douglas Dynamics presently has a consensus price target of $47.00, suggesting a potential upside of 1.95%. Astec Industries has a consensus price target of $66.33, suggesting a potential upside of 13.24%. Given Astec Industries’ stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Astec Industries is more favorable than Douglas Dynamics.

Risk and Volatility

Douglas Dynamics has a beta of 1.2, suggesting that its share price is 20% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Astec Industries has a beta of 1.15, suggesting that its share price is 15% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Dividends

Douglas Dynamics pays an annual dividend of $1.06 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.3%. Astec Industries pays an annual dividend of $0.40 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.7%. Douglas Dynamics pays out 77.9% of its earnings in the form of a dividend, suggesting it may not have sufficient earnings to cover its dividend payment in the future. Astec Industries pays out 25.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Douglas Dynamics has raised its dividend for 5 consecutive years. Douglas Dynamics is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Profitability

This table compares Douglas Dynamics and Astec Industries’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Douglas Dynamics 11.66% 14.06% 4.99%
Astec Industries 3.60% 6.09% 4.70%

Institutional and Insider Ownership

89.6% of Douglas Dynamics shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 89.1% of Astec Industries shares are owned by institutional investors. 3.1% of Douglas Dynamics shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 1.7% of Astec Industries shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Summary

Douglas Dynamics beats Astec Industries on 10 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Douglas Dynamics

Douglas Dynamics, Inc. operates as a manufacturer and up-fitter of commercial work truck attachments and equipment primarily in North America. It operates in two segments, Work Truck Attachments and Work Truck Solutions. The Work Truck Attachments segment manufactures and sells snow and ice control attachments, including snowplows, and sand and salt spreaders for light and heavy duty trucks, as well as various related parts and accessories. It also provides customized turnkey solutions to governmental agencies, such as departments of transportation and municipalities. This segment offers snow and ice management attachments under the BLIZZARD, FISHER, HENDERSON, SNOWEX, and WESTERN brands; turf care equipment under the TURFEX brand; and industrial maintenance equipment under the SWEEPEX brand. It sells its products to professional snowplowers who are contracted to remove snow and ice from commercial, municipal, and residential areas. The Work Truck Solutions segment provides truck and vehicle up-fits where it attaches component pieces of equipment, truck bodies, racking, and storage solutions to a vehicle chassis for use by end users for work related purposes; and manufactures storage solutions for trucks and vans, and cable pulling equipment for trucks. This segment offers up-fit and storage solutions under the DEJANA brand and its related sub-brands. The company was founded in 2004 and is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

About Astec Industries

Astec Industries, Inc. designs, engineers, manufactures, and markets equipment and components for the road building, aggregate processing, geothermal, water, oil and gas, and wood processing industries in the United States and internationally. The company operates through Infrastructure Group, Aggregate and Mining Group, and Energy Group segments. The Infrastructure Group segment provides hot-mix asphalt plants, wood pellet plants, asphalt pavers, material transfer vehicles, soil stabilizing reclaiming machinery, milling machines, paver screeds, and related ancillary equipment. It serves asphalt producers, highway and heavy equipment contractors, wood pellet processors, and governmental agencies. The Aggregate and Mining Group segment offers jaw and cone crushers, horizontal and vertical shaft impactors, material handling products, roll rock crushers, stationary rockbreaker systems, vibrating feeders and screens, conveyors, inclined products, vertical and horizontal screens, and sand classifying and washing equipment. This segment serves distributors, open mine operators, quarry operators, port and inland terminal operators, highway and heavy equipment contractors, and governmental agencies. The Energy Group segment offers drilling rigs; diesel pump trailers for fracking and cleaning oil and gas wells; concrete plants; commercial and industrial burners; combustion control systems; heating equipment; roofing material and rubber plants; chemical, oil sands, and energy related processing products; heat transfer processing equipment; and thermal fluid storage tanks, waste heat recovery equipment, blower trucks, whole-tree pulpwood and biomass chippers, and horizontal grinders. It serves oil, gas, and water well drilling industry contractors; processors of oil, gas, and biomass for energy production; ready mix concrete producers; and contractors in the construction and demolition recycling markets. The company was founded in 1972 and is based in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Publix halts political donations amid anti-NRA…

MELBOURNE, Fla. David Hogg, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where a mass shooting took place in February, has called on Publix Super Markets to give $1 million to the schools’ victim fund.

While Publix is not doing that at this point, the grocery store chain did decide Friday afternoon to suspend all political donations in the wake of a protest.

The Associated Press reported that survivors of the Parkland school shooting lay down in die ins at two Publix supermarket stores Friday afternoon to protest the chains support for Florida Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam,a GOP candidate for governor who is a National Rifle Association supporter.

Hogg, the face of the current gun control movement, called for the 12-minute “die in” at all Publix stores to hone the message further.

More: Publix supermarket censors high school graduate’s ‘Summa Cum Laude’ cake

More: Parkland’s David Hogg: Can we discuss this as Americans?

Hogg is targeting the Lakeland-headquartered Publix for its support of Putnam, an unabashed supporter of the NRA.

The suspension of donations announced Friday applies only to money from the company, which has given $413,000 to Putnam over about three years, the AP reported.

Seventeen people were killed at Marjory Stoneman when a former student opened fire on students and teachers. The shooting has sparked a fierce debate about guns, mental health and school security.

Publix, one of Florida’s most beloved companies and its largest private employer, operates 20 stores in Brevard County.

I call on @Publix to donate double the money they gave to Putman to the Stoneman Douglas Victims fund, $1,000,000. And never support an A rated NRA politician again.

— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) May 24, 2018

In a posting on Twitter, Hogg wrote: I call on @Publix to donate double the money they gave to Putman [sic] to the Stoneman Douglas Victims fund, $1,000,000. And never support an A rated NRA politician again.

While Hogg has support in some quarters including a group behind a Memorial Day weekend boycott effort of Publix many passionate Publix supporters also have been vocal also, asking people to leave the grocer out of the debate.

“I like Publix,” said Diane Lanoie ofPalm Bay. “This really pisses me off. Do you know how much Publix does for the community? The homeless? I’ll probably shop there more now.”

For it’s part Publix says it doesn’t donate to the NRA.

“We regret that some of our political contributions have led to an unintentional customer divide instead of our desire to support a growing economy in Florida,” the grocer said in a statement earlier this week. “Publix cares about our associates, customers and the communities we serve. It is important to understand that the vast majority of our giving is focused on organizations whose mission supports youth, education and the plight of the hungry and homeless within our area of operation.”

Follow Wayne T. Price on Twitter: @Fla2dayBiz

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Demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket Demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at a supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that is will suspect political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenCORRECTS FROM SUSPECT TO SUSPEND-David Hogg, center, CORRECTS FROM SUSPECT TO SUSPEND-David Hogg, center, a student at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, holds the hand of fellow student Caspen Becher, lower left, as he and others demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at a supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that is will suspend political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenDemonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket Demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at a supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that it will suspend political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenCORRECTS FROM SUSPECT TO SUSPEND- Marjorie Stoneman CORRECTS FROM SUSPECT TO SUSPEND- Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School students David Hogg, center rear, and Caspen Becher, hug after a demonstration at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at a supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that is will suspend political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenPatricia Oliver, holds a picture of her son, Joaquin Patricia Oliver, holds a picture of her son, Joaquin Oliver, one of the 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year at a Florida high school, as she hugs Caspen Becher, left, outside a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas high school where 17 people were killed, did a “die-in” protest at the supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that will suspend political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenCounter protesters supporting the National Rifle Association Counter protesters supporting the National Rifle Association chant against demonstrators staging a “die in,” on the floor at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at a supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the NRA. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that it will suspend political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenDemonstrators lay on the floor during a protest against Demonstrators lay on the floor during a protest against gun violence, at the Publix store on East Colonial Drive near downtown Orlando, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. The Orlando demonstration was one of numerous across the state after anti-gun activist David Hogg called for a coordinated demonstration to take place at Publix stores at 4pm, Friday. Hogg is a student at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where a gunman killed 17 students and faculty on Feb. 14. (Joe Burbank /Orlando Sentinel via AP)  Joe Burbank, APFullscreenDavid Hogg, a student at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas David Hogg, a student at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas speaks outside a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year plan a “die in” protest at a supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in ” Publix announced that is will suspect political donations. (AP Photo/Terry Spencer)  Terry Spencer, APFullscreenDemonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket Demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at a supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that it will suspend political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenDemonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket Demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at a supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that it will suspend political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenDemonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket Demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at the supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that is will suspend political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenMarjorie Stoneman Douglas High School student David Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School student David Hogg speaks as demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at a supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that it will suspend political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenA vehicle with "MSDSTRONG" on the back windshield in A vehicle with “MSDSTRONG” on the back windshield in reference to the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas high school shooting, is parked outside a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at a supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that it will suspend political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenA demonstrator wearing a "#MSDStrong" shirt holds a A demonstrator wearing a “#MSDStrong” shirt holds a flower at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at a supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that it will suspend political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenDemonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket Demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at the supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that is will suspend political donations. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)  Mike Stocker, APFullscreenDemonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket Demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at the supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that is will suspend political donations. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)  Mike Stocker, APFullscreenLike this topic? You may also like these photo galleries:ReplayDemonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket1 of 16CORRECTS FROM SUSPECT TO SUSPEND-David Hogg, center,2 of 16Demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket3 of 16CORRECTS FROM SUSPECT TO SUSPEND- Marjorie Stoneman4 of 16Patricia Oliver, holds a picture of her son, Joaquin5 of 16Counter protesters supporting the National Rifle Association6 of 16Demonstrators lay on the floor during a protest against7 of 16David Hogg, a student at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas8 of 16Demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket9 of 16Demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket10 of 16Demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket11 of 16Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School student David12 of 16A vehicle with "MSDSTRONG" on the back windshield in13 of 16A demonstrator wearing a "#MSDStrong" shirt holds a14 of 16Demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket15 of 16Demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket16 of 16AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext Slide

Hot Safest Stocks To Watch Right Now

Gold doesn't trade in a vacuum.   Markets are connected. What happens in one often affects others.   So if you want to understand what's happening with gold, you need to know what's going on in the markets that affect gold.   And while lots of traders focus only on the short term, it's important to have a big-picture view, too. The big picture shows you the long-term trends at work… and when they change. It can help you find low-risk opportunities to open new positions. And it can help you determine where to set your stops.   Today, we'll look at the big picture for two markets that affect gold… along with gold itself.   Let's get started…   The first market we'll look at is U.S. government bonds… specifically, the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasurys. The U.S. government is considered the world's safest borrower. (It can print money to pay lenders back, after all.) The rate it pays to borrow money for 10 years serves as the world's benchmark interest rate.

Hot Safest Stocks To Watch Right Now: First BanCorp.(FBP)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Logan Wallace]

    Press coverage about First BanCorp (NYSE:FBP) has trended somewhat positive this week, according to Accern. The research firm ranks the sentiment of media coverage by monitoring more than twenty million blog and news sources in real time. Accern ranks coverage of public companies on a scale of negative one to one, with scores closest to one being the most favorable. First BanCorp earned a daily sentiment score of 0.17 on Accern’s scale. Accern also assigned news headlines about the bank an impact score of 47.5369094230747 out of 100, meaning that recent media coverage is somewhat unlikely to have an effect on the stock’s share price in the near term.

Hot Safest Stocks To Watch Right Now: Humana Inc.(HUM)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Chris Lange]

    The stock posting the largest daily percentage gain in the S&P 500 ahead of the close Monday was Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) which rose over 4% to $280.36. The stocks 52-week range is $206.68 to $293.35. Volume was 3.2 million compared to the daily average volume of 1.1 million.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Late Thursday, reports began to trickle in that retail behemoth Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) was in preliminary negotiations to acquire health insurer Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM). Humana’s market cap of around $37 billion makes this a very big deal, even if the talks result in some sort of partnership between the two firms.

Hot Safest Stocks To Watch Right Now: National CineMedia, Inc.(NCMI)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By WWW.GURUFOCUS.COM]

    For the details of Standard General L.P.’s stock buys and sells, go to www.gurufocus.com/StockBuy.php?GuruName=Standard+General+L.P.

    These are the top 5 holdings of Standard General L.P.National CineMedia Inc (NCMI) – 14,387,113 shares, 83.65% of the total portfolio. Shares added by 8.59%Turning Point Brands Inc (TPB) – 455,319 shares, 9.92% of the total portfolio. Shares added by 49.13%CafePress Inc (PRSS) – 2,500,000 shares, 3.77% of the total portfolio. Emmis Communications Corp (EMMS) – 515,231 shares, 2.66% of the total portfolio. Added: Turnin

  • [By Stephan Byrd]

    National CineMedia (NASDAQ:NCMI) – Barrington Research lifted their FY2018 earnings per share estimates for National CineMedia in a report released on Monday, May 7th. Barrington Research analyst J. Goss now expects that the business services provider will post earnings of $0.41 per share for the year, up from their previous estimate of $0.34. Barrington Research currently has a “Hold” rating on the stock. Barrington Research also issued estimates for National CineMedia’s Q2 2019 earnings at $0.06 EPS, Q3 2019 earnings at $0.14 EPS and FY2020 earnings at $0.44 EPS.

  • [By Lisa Levin] Gainers
    athenahealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHN) shares climbed 23.2 percent to $155.19 after Elliott Management confirmed a $160 per share cash offer for athenahealth.
    Evolus, Inc. (NASDAQ: EOLS) gained 21.3 percent to $8.83. Evolus named David Moatazedi as new CEO.
    VivoPower International PLC (NASDAQ: VVPR) climbed 18.2 percent to $3.12 after falling 39.86 percent on Friday.
    Gramercy Property Trust (NYSE: GPT) rose 15.6 percent to $27.53 after the company agreed to be acquired by Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE: BX) for $27.50 per share.
    EP Energy Corporation (NYSE: EPE) rose 13 percent to $2.26.
    Energy XXI Gulf Coast, Inc. (NASDAQ: EGC) gained 11.9 percent to $7.35.
    National CineMedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: NCMI) surged 11.8 percent to $6.24 after the company posted upbeat quarterly profit.
    Sanchez Energy Corporation (NYSE: SN) shares gained 11.3 percent to $3.56.
    CVR Refining, LP (NYSE: CVRR) shares rose 8.8 percent to $18.875.
    Monaker Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: MKGI) rose 8.7 percent to $2.9683.
    Kosmos Energy Ltd. (NYSE: KOS) shares rose 7.4 percent to $7.40.
    Ceragon Networks Ltd. (NASDAQ: CRNT) rose 7 percent to $2.88 after climbing 1.89 percent on Friday.
    Cloudera, Inc. (NYSE: CLDR) surged 6 percent to $15.93. Craig-Hallum initiated coverage on Cloudera with a Buy rating.
    Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ: ILMN) rose 5.1 percent to $257.35. Barclays upgraded Illumina from Equal-Weight to Overweight.

    Check out these big penny stock gainers and losers

  • [By Anders Bylund]

    Shares of National CineMedia (NASDAQ:NCMI) came back to life on Monday, trading 15.6% higher as of 3:30 p.m. EDT. The struggling stock took a rare leap upward thanks to a stronger-than-expected first-quarter report.

  • [By WWW.GURUFOCUS.COM]

    For the details of Standard General L.P.’s stock buys and sells, go to www.gurufocus.com/StockBuy.php?GuruName=Standard+General+L.P.

    These are the top 5 holdings of Standard General L.P.National CineMedia Inc (NCMI) – 12,576,000 shares, 60.53% of the total portfolio. New PositionTime Inc (TIME) – 3,181,424 shares, 29.62% of the total portfolio. Turning Point Brands Inc (TPB) – 305,319 shares, 3.58% of the total portfolio. Shares added by 189.90%CafePress Inc (PRSS) – 2,500,000 shares, 3.12% of the total portfolio. New PositionB. Riley Financial Inc (RILY) – 167,736 shares, 1.97% of the total portfoli

  • [By Lisa Levin] Gainers
    Twin Disc, Incorporated (NASDAQ: TWIN) shares surged 24.34 percent to close at $28.86 following Q3 earnings.
    Bioblast Pharma Ltd. (NASDAQ: ORPN) rose 21.89 percent to close at $2.45.
    Evolus, Inc. (NASDAQ: EOLS) gained 20.19 percent to close at $8.75. Evolus named David Moatazedi as new CEO.
    VivoPower International PLC (NASDAQ: VVPR) rose 18.56 percent to close at $3.13 on Monday after falling 39.86 percent on Friday.
    CEL-SCI Corporation (NYSE: CVM) gained 17.09 percent to close at $2.74.
    athenahealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATHN) shares jumped 16.39 percent to close at $146.75 on Monday after Elliott Management confirmed a $160 per share cash offer for athenahealth.
    Gramercy Property Trust (NYSE: GPT) rose 15.45 percent to close at $27.50 after the company agreed to be acquired by Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE: BX) for $27.50 per share.
    National CineMedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: NCMI) surged 15.23 percent to close at $6.43 after the company posted upbeat quarterly profit.
    Turtle Beach Corporation (NASDAQ: HEAR) rose 14.53 percent to close at $7.33
    CohBar, Inc. (NASDAQ: CWBR) gained 14.36 percent to close at $6.29.
    Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTPH) gained 12.69 percent to close at $3.64.
    Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) gained 12.27 percent to close at $10.89 following Q1 results.
    CVR Refining, LP (NYSE: CVRR) shares climbed 9.8 percent to close at $19.05.
    Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ: ILMN) rose 4.93 percent to close at $256.89. Barclays upgraded Illumina from Equal-Weight to Overweight.
    Cloudera, Inc. (NYSE: CLDR) surged 3.92 percent to close at $15.63. Craig-Hallum initiated coverage on Cloudera with a Buy rating.

     

Hot Safest Stocks To Watch Right Now: Investment Technology Group, Inc.(ITG)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Joseph Griffin]

    Investment Technology Group (NYSE:ITG) announced a quarterly dividend on Thursday, May 17th, RTT News reports. Investors of record on Wednesday, May 30th will be given a dividend of 0.07 per share by the financial services provider on Friday, June 15th. This represents a $0.28 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.23%.

Hot Safest Stocks To Watch Right Now: KLA-Tencor Corporation(KLAC)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Max Byerly]

    Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on KLA-Tencor (KLAC)

    For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

  • [By ]

    Attention misguided investors: not every tech company has the same troubles as social media beast Facebook (FB) . And for those opportunistic investors our there, such a dislocation in markets right now between broader tech business models and Facebook’s could spell many lucrative buying opportunities. Research out of Goldman Sachs (GS) shows that 25 tech stocks in particular that have seen large correlations with Facebook’s equity returns since March 15 and have under-performed the S&P 500 . The list of laggards is a whose who of former high-flying tech names: Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) , KLA-Tenor (KLAC) , Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) , Alphabet (GOOGL) , Western Digital (WDC) , Electronic Arts (EA) , and Nvidia (NVDA) . 

    Not too sure where Mr. Market’s head is at, but it’s unlikely Facebook’s troubles will hurt sales of video-games for Electronic Arts this coming holiday season. Nvidia is still holding the pole position in the booming market for AI and autonomous driving chips, and doesn’t put suspect quizzes on a website.

  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    Shares of KLA-Tencor Corp. (NASDAQ: KLAC) were down 3.5% at $109.33, in a 52-week range of $87.93 to $123.96. It also has a consensus price target of $132.31.

Hot Safest Stocks To Watch Right Now: Century Casinos, Inc.(CNTY)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Max Byerly]

    Century Casinos (NASDAQ: CNTY) is one of 31 public companies in the “Hotels & motels” industry, but how does it compare to its competitors? We will compare Century Casinos to similar companies based on the strength of its analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, valuation, earnings, risk, profitability and dividends.

  • [By Joseph Griffin]

    ValuEngine upgraded shares of Century Casinos (NASDAQ:CNTY) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report issued on Thursday.

    Several other research firms have also recently issued reports on CNTY. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Century Casinos from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 30th. TheStreet cut shares of Century Casinos from a b rating to a c+ rating in a research note on Friday, April 6th. Finally, BidaskClub cut shares of Century Casinos from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Tuesday, February 6th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has assigned a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $11.00.

Leverage Alert Ringing While Cash Drains From Stock Broker Accounts

Few things evoke fear in markets like a margin call. Now there are signs that many U.S. stock investors are ill-prepared to deal with one.

The issue is net cash in equity brokerage accounts, seen by some as a proxy for how well-cushioned traders are from forced liquidations if stocks start to plummet. It’s calculated by subtracting the amount of debt used to buy securities from money in an account that’s available to buy more.

And right now, it’s perilously low.

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The deficit just reached $317 billion, the widest ever, according to New York Stock Exchange data compiled by Sundial Capital Research Inc. The previous record was set in January, right before the S&P 500 Index suffered its first 10 percent correction in two years.

Cash “seems to provide less of a cushion for any decline in the value of stock,” Jason Goepfert, president of Sundial Capital Research Inc., wrote in a note to clients. “That is clearly concerning.”

There are few topics in the market subject as much demagoguery as margin debt, and a standard critique over the the period of the bull market has been that it’s at untenable levels — $652 billion, by the NYSE’s last count. What’s usually lost in the discussion is that such debt basically always rises with the value of equities — the two are virtually synonymous since one collateralizes by the other.

What’s bad is when the expansion of margin comes untethered from the slope of equities, signaling people are taking out loans even faster than stocks are appreciating. That happened in the final year of the last two bull markets, when margin loan growth outpaced share gains by twofold in 2007 and almost four times in 2000.

Nothing like that is happening now. At the same time, a similarly dire picture is evident when cash credits in brokerage accounts are taken into consideration. Available for investors to withdraw at any time, for any purpose, they include proceeds from short sales and extra buying power held in margin accounts. Last month, they fell 3.3 percent to $335 billion, the lowest level in four years.

Think of the money as assets on a balance sheet and stock loans as liabilities. As traders withdrew cash while at the same time raising debt, their financial health, or in Sundial’s term “net wealth,” deteriorates.

“Debt alone doesn’t tell the whole story,” Goepfert said. “The new record in negative net worth is most concerning, just not as concerning as it would be if the growth in debt was more extreme. The latest drop in net worth is due more to a drain of cash out of accounts as opposed to an increase in debt. Maybe that’s just as worrisome.”

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Innodata (INOD) Getting Somewhat Favorable Press Coverage, Accern Reports

Media coverage about Innodata (NASDAQ:INOD) has trended somewhat positive this week, according to Accern Sentiment Analysis. The research firm scores the sentiment of press coverage by analyzing more than twenty million blog and news sources in real time. Accern ranks coverage of companies on a scale of negative one to positive one, with scores closest to one being the most favorable. Innodata earned a media sentiment score of 0.10 on Accern’s scale. Accern also gave news articles about the technology company an impact score of 47.3485759085159 out of 100, indicating that recent press coverage is somewhat unlikely to have an effect on the company’s share price in the near future.

Innodata stock traded down $0.04 during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $1.15. 5,600 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 25,625. Innodata has a 12-month low of $0.88 and a 12-month high of $1.90. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.14, a current ratio of 1.59 and a quick ratio of 1.59.

Get Innodata alerts:

Innodata (NASDAQ:INOD) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, May 8th. The technology company reported ($0.01) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter. Innodata had a negative return on equity of 6.59% and a negative net margin of 5.97%.

About Innodata

Innodata Inc, a digital services and solutions company, provides technology solutions and services worldwide. The company operates through three segments: Digital Data Solutions (DDS), Innodata Advanced Data Solutions (IADS), and Media Intelligence Solutions (MIS). The DDS segment produces and distributes e-books; develops new digital information products; and provides operational support services for existing digital information products and systems, including content aggregation, extraction, encoding, indexing and abstracting, fabrication, and distribution.

First Bancshares Running Its Playbook And Significant Earnings Growth Should Follow

Although very active since my last update on the company in September of 2017, the shares of First Bancshares (FBMS) have been a relatively average performer over that span of time, with a return close to that of regional banks in general and in the middle of a comp group including ServisFirst (SFBS), Renasant (RNST), MidSouth (MSL), and National Commerce (NCOM). While the company has executed on two M&A deals entirely consistent with the growth plan I expected here, operating performance has been a little lumpy.

I continue to believe that First Bancshares offers an above-average level of earnings growth potential, return potential, and risk. Integrating its acquisitions should drive meaningful operating leverage in 2019 and beyond, and loan growth should likewise drive good earnings momentum. With plenty of acquisition opportunities left in its core operating footprint (and/or target footprint), I expect additional M&A in the years to come.

Executing On The Plan

When I wrote about First Bancshares in September, I said that, Im expecting the bank to acquire another $300 million to $500 million in assets over the next 18 months. Between the announced acquisition of Southwest Banc Shares ($398 million in assets) in October and the subsequent December announcement of the acquisition of Sunshine Financial ($194 million), First Bancshares has pretty much done exactly that.

Both of these transactions are being done at reasonable multiples and offer more geographic coverage in areas of interest to First Bancshares adding over $350 million in deposits along Alabamas Gulf Coast and close to $150 million in deposits in Tallahassee, Florida. Both businesses have familiar loan and deposit profiles, and the anticipated cost savings from the deals look reasonable and achievable.

Deals like these make too much sense to me not to do. There is always risk when it comes to acquiring a bank the loan book may not be what you think it is and you may see greater deposit attrition than you expect but the opportunity to expand the core deposit base at a reasonable price and drive back-office synergies (running more revenue through an existing infrastructure) generally makes these deals attractively accretive for the acquirer.

One of the limiting factors to serial M&A is having the capital on hand to pay for the transactions, and here too First Bancshares is acting more or less in line with my prior expectations. I had said that, Capital is a little low, though, so future M&A may require a return to the equity market to raise funds. In conjunction with the Southwest Banc deal, First Bancshares announced a 2 million share offering and earlier this month issued $66 million in subordinated debt. Equity is not a cheap form of capital for banks, and FBMSs new debt is going to cost a little more than 6% on average, but the double-digit internal return prospects from the deals should leave the company comfortably ahead for having done these deals.

Some Operating Turbulence

Although First Bancsharess execution of its M&A plan has been what I expected, the companys operating performance has been a little choppier and a little underwhelming relative to my expectations.

The companys pre-provision operating profits have been a little wobbly relative to my expectations, growing 69% in the third quarter, 85% in the fourth quarter and 38% in the first quarter, but missing expectations in two of those three periods (Q317 and Q118). Expenses have been fine, but revenue has been a little soft, and particularly at the net interest income line.

In both Q3 and Q1 net interest margin was a little softer than expected, though there was some loan yield improvement in the first quarter. Like many banks, First Bancshares is starting to see its deposit beta head higher, with the beta moving from 12% in Q317 to 19% in the first quarter a level that is still pretty good overall, but still represents rising deposit costs. Purchase accretion will help the reported spreads, but First Bancshares remains vulnerable to higher funding costs.

Loan growth has also been okay-but-not-great. Management expects loan growth to improve as 2018 continues on (a familiar theme in the banking sector at all market cap tiers), and I would note that the nearly 3% qoq organic growth in lending annualizes out to a pretty nice figure. First Bancshares has plenty of deposits to cover lending growth (a loan/deposit ratio around 76%) and the companys CRE lending portfolio is still comfortably below the 300% threshold (at around 217%).

I am a little concerned, though, about the construction loan portfolio at over 80% of capital, theres a little less room here and the 14% portfolio allocation is fairly high compared to your average bank. C&D lending is a complicated thing to evaluate. A lot of banks have done well lending in this category, but when the economy/real estate markets turn south, C&D lending loss rates are typically much higher than other kinds of loans. At this point Id call this a yellow flag, and Id like to see growth in other categories outpace this one in the coming quarters.

The Opportunity

I fully expect First Bancshares to do more M&A, and the company may well announce another deal before year-end. I could see the company looking to build a bigger presence in Mississippi (perhaps in the Jackson MSA) and Louisiana, as well as Floridas panhandle/Gulf Coast. While I do believe M&A is a good use of capital at this point for First Bancshares, I also want to see that the company is sticking to its knitting Id like to see better performance with spreads and pre-provision profits.

I still expect strong double-digit earnings growth from First Bancshares over the next decade, with high teens growth over the next five years. Using three different approaches (discounted earnings, ROTE-driven P/TBV, and P/E), I believe the shares can still generate a double-digit annualized return for shareholders.

The Bottom Line

First Bancshares is by no means a suitable idea for all investors. Management is executing on an aggressive growth plan and the companys regional concentration is likewise a risk. While the Gulf Coast of Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida is an increasingly popular retirement destination, and various companies/industries are back-filling the economy in areas like Jackson, there are still risks related to weather, specific industries (like energy), and just simple regional variability. Likewise, growth-by-acquisition strategies carry their own risks its easy to point to the successes, but not as many people remember the failures. In any case, while I dont think First Bancshares is the right stock for everyone, I believe its still worth consideration from investors who want a more aggressive growth story in small-cap banking.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

SeekingAlpha

Rival to Botox Roars Back With 123% Rally Despite FDA Delay

Evolus Inc. is reaching new highs, shrugging off a delay of potential approval of its Botox-rivaling wrinkle treatment.

The Street’s also unanimous in its love, with all analysts giving the shares a buy rating.

Why so much optimism when a Food and Drug Administration regulatory decision on the company’s key product, DWP-450, was pushed back from a hoped-for summer verdict to spring 2019? Some of the enthusiasm may stem from the company’s new Chief Executive Officer, David Moatazedi. He came to the company from their foremost competitor in the aesthetic market, Botox-maker Allergan Plc.

The Street may also be thinking that a spring 2019 approval may be a conservative estimate from management. JMP analyst Donald Ellis said in a note after Evolus’ update that a two-month review and an earlier launch by the end of this October was still possible.

With trading as high as $23.55 intraday, Evolus may soon double from its $12 per share initial public offering in February. The stock is up 123 percent in the week since the delay was announced. Analysts may need to reconsider their price targets as the average of the four analysts tracked by Bloomberg is roughly $22.

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Publix halts political donations amid anti-NRA…

MELBOURNE, Fla. David Hogg, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where a mass shooting took place in February, has called on Publix Super Markets to give $1 million to the schools’ victim fund.

While Publix is not doing that at this point, the grocery store chain did decide Friday afternoon to suspend all political donations in the wake of a protest.

The Associated Press reported that survivors of the Parkland school shooting lay down in die ins at two Publix supermarket stores Friday afternoon to protest the chains support for Florida Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam,a GOP candidate for governor who is a National Rifle Association supporter.

Hogg, the face of the current gun control movement, called for the 12-minute “die in” at all Publix stores to hone the message further.

More: Publix supermarket censors high school graduate’s ‘Summa Cum Laude’ cake

More: Parkland’s David Hogg: Can we discuss this as Americans?

Hogg is targeting the Lakeland-headquartered Publix for its support of Putnam, an unabashed supporter of the NRA.

The suspension of donations announced Friday applies only to money from the company, which has given $413,000 to Putnam over about three years, the AP reported.

Seventeen people were killed at Marjory Stoneman when a former student opened fire on students and teachers. The shooting has sparked a fierce debate about guns, mental health and school security.

Publix, one of Florida’s most beloved companies and its largest private employer, operates 20 stores in Brevard County.

I call on @Publix to donate double the money they gave to Putman to the Stoneman Douglas Victims fund, $1,000,000. And never support an A rated NRA politician again.

— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) May 24, 2018

In a posting on Twitter, Hogg wrote: I call on @Publix to donate double the money they gave to Putman [sic] to the Stoneman Douglas Victims fund, $1,000,000. And never support an A rated NRA politician again.

While Hogg has support in some quarters including a group behind a Memorial Day weekend boycott effort of Publix many passionate Publix supporters also have been vocal also, asking people to leave the grocer out of the debate.

“I like Publix,” said Diane Lanoie ofPalm Bay. “This really pisses me off. Do you know how much Publix does for the community? The homeless? I’ll probably shop there more now.”

For it’s part Publix says it doesn’t donate to the NRA.

“We regret that some of our political contributions have led to an unintentional customer divide instead of our desire to support a growing economy in Florida,” the grocer said in a statement earlier this week. “Publix cares about our associates, customers and the communities we serve. It is important to understand that the vast majority of our giving is focused on organizations whose mission supports youth, education and the plight of the hungry and homeless within our area of operation.”

Follow Wayne T. Price on Twitter: @Fla2dayBiz

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Demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket Demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at a supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that is will suspect political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenCORRECTS FROM SUSPECT TO SUSPEND-David Hogg, center, CORRECTS FROM SUSPECT TO SUSPEND-David Hogg, center, a student at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, holds the hand of fellow student Caspen Becher, lower left, as he and others demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at a supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that is will suspend political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenDemonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket Demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at a supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that it will suspend political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenCORRECTS FROM SUSPECT TO SUSPEND- Marjorie Stoneman CORRECTS FROM SUSPECT TO SUSPEND- Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School students David Hogg, center rear, and Caspen Becher, hug after a demonstration at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at a supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that is will suspend political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenPatricia Oliver, holds a picture of her son, Joaquin Patricia Oliver, holds a picture of her son, Joaquin Oliver, one of the 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year at a Florida high school, as she hugs Caspen Becher, left, outside a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas high school where 17 people were killed, did a “die-in” protest at the supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that will suspend political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenCounter protesters supporting the National Rifle Association Counter protesters supporting the National Rifle Association chant against demonstrators staging a “die in,” on the floor at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at a supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the NRA. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that it will suspend political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenDemonstrators lay on the floor during a protest against Demonstrators lay on the floor during a protest against gun violence, at the Publix store on East Colonial Drive near downtown Orlando, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. The Orlando demonstration was one of numerous across the state after anti-gun activist David Hogg called for a coordinated demonstration to take place at Publix stores at 4pm, Friday. Hogg is a student at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where a gunman killed 17 students and faculty on Feb. 14. (Joe Burbank /Orlando Sentinel via AP)  Joe Burbank, APFullscreenDavid Hogg, a student at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas David Hogg, a student at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas speaks outside a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year plan a “die in” protest at a supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in ” Publix announced that is will suspect political donations. (AP Photo/Terry Spencer)  Terry Spencer, APFullscreenDemonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket Demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at a supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that it will suspend political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenDemonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket Demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at a supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that it will suspend political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenDemonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket Demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at the supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that is will suspend political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenMarjorie Stoneman Douglas High School student David Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School student David Hogg speaks as demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at a supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that it will suspend political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenA vehicle with "MSDSTRONG" on the back windshield in A vehicle with “MSDSTRONG” on the back windshield in reference to the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas high school shooting, is parked outside a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at a supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that it will suspend political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenA demonstrator wearing a "#MSDStrong" shirt holds a A demonstrator wearing a “#MSDStrong” shirt holds a flower at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at a supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that it will suspend political donations. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)  Wilfredo Lee, APFullscreenDemonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket Demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at the supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that is will suspend political donations. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)  Mike Stocker, APFullscreenDemonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket Demonstrators lie on the floor at a Publix Supermarket in Coral Springs, Fla., Friday, May 25, 2018. Students from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot and killed earlier this year did a “die in” protest at the supermarket chain that backs a gubernatorial candidate allied with the National Rifle Association. Shortly before the the “die-in” Publix announced that is will suspend political donations. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)  Mike Stocker, APFullscreenLike this topic? 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