Monday, March 31, 2014

Top Building Product Companies To Watch For 2014

It has been one month since the BPC cartel breakup announcement on July 29-30 rocked the world's potash suppliers. There have been many articles, varied takes and analysis done on specific stocks and the entire industry, from the macro implications and ramifications on down. Recently, news broke on an Indian government program being enacted to subsidize grains for farmers and the poor. That will likely have an affect on potash, but the news could be favorable or unfavorable. Investors won't know until the subsidy plan is implemented and has some ripples on the limping Indian economy. Other news on India's demands on the Uralkali company regarding lower potash prices also came to light on August 16th.

I have been following the various media, as well as reading all of the SA and related takes on the updates on this still uncertain tale as it unwinds and plays out. We are not near the finish line. In fact we are still inside the dark tunnel, figuratively. At least there is no discernible sound of a locomotive emerging from the pitch black (as of yet).

Top Building Product Companies To Watch For 2014: Discovery Communications Inc(DISCA)

Discovery Communications, Inc. operates as a non fiction media and entertainment company worldwide. The company provides original and purchased programming across various distribution platforms. Its content covers science, exploration, survival, natural history, sustainability of the environment, technology, docu-series, anthropology, paleontology, history, space, archaeology, health and wellness, engineering, adventure, lifestyles, forensics, civilization, and current events. The company owns and operates nine national television networks in the United States, including Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science Channel, Investigation Discovery, Military Channel, Planet Green, Discovery Fit & Health, and Velocity. Discovery Communications also has interests in Oprah Winfrey Network, a pay-television network and Web site; The Hub that features original programming, game shows, and live-action series and specials; and 3net, a three-dimensional network. In addition, it o ffers network branded Web sites, and mobile and video-on-demand services; and distributes various national and pan-regional television networks. Further, the company develops and sells curriculum-based products and services to public and private K-12 schools, such as access to an online VOD service that includes curriculum-based tools, professional development services, and student assessment and publication of hardcopy curriculum-based content; and postproduction audio services to motion picture studios, independent producers, broadcast networks, cable channels, advertising agencies, and interactive producers. As of December 31, 2011, it operated approximately 150 distribution feeds in 40 languages. The company is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Sean Williams]

    To begin with, partnerships are a key component to Hasbro's ongoing success. In 2009, Hasbro entered into a deal with media company Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA  ) to create a channel known as the Hub, which would feature programming based on Hasbro's owned toy lines. Since 2010, when the channel made its debut, sales of My Little Pony have taken off. In the wake of its renewed success, the franchise released a new movie in June, which will go onto DVD later this summer.�

Top Building Product Companies To Watch For 2014: URS Corporation(URS)

URS Corporation provides engineering, construction, and technical services to the power, infrastructure, federal, and industrial and commercial market sectors in the United States and internationally. Its services for power sector include planning, designing, engineering, constructing, retrofitting, and maintaining a range of power-generating facilities; and the systems that transmit and distribute electricity, as well as the development and installation of clean air technologies that reduce emissions at fossil fuel power plants. The company?s services for infrastructure sector comprise program management, planning, architect, engineering, general contracting, construction, and construction management for surface, air, and rail transportation networks; ports and harbors; and water supply, and treatment and conveyance systems. Its services for federal sector consist of program management; planning, design, and engineering; systems engineering and technical assistance to con struction and construction management; operations and maintenance; and decommissioning and closure primarily for the United States federal government and national governments of other countries. URS Corporation?s services for industrial and commercial sector include front-end studies, engineering and process design, procurement, construction and construction management, facility management, and operations and maintenance, as well as due diligence, permitting, compliance, environmental management, pollution control, health and safety, waste management, and hazardous waste remediation. The company was formerly known as Broadview Research Corporation and changed its name to URS Corporation in 1976. URS Corporation was founded in 1904 and is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Fidelty’s John Mirshekari�took a look at URS�(URS) today �at the Value Investing Congress.�His takeaway: The stock could double in two years.

    Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

    His analysis started with URS’s use of its free cash. During the past, it hasn’t been pretty. They spent 6.3 billion on eight acquisitions, they’ve bought companies at valuations higher than own stock and return-on-equity has dropped from high teens to just 6%.

    The problem hasn’t been its business: Its return on tangible capital is 17%. Instead, the problem is that its management hasn’t maximized value through capital allocation. URS has lowest valuation: 9x 2013 cash earnings in its industry.

    Part of the problem: Management incentives are based on net income. This year, however, relative total shareholder return was added., something Mirshekari calls�”a step in the right direction.” In May, URS filed an amended proxy which says it will look to change incentives from net income to return on equity and earnings per share. More importantly, it said acquisitions would end.

    If all goes right, URS could double in two years,�Mirshekari says, comparing it to AECOM Technology (ACM).

    Looks a lot like AECOMM, which did something similar and rallied.

Top Cheap Companies For 2014: Ormat Technologies Inc.(ORA)

Ormat Technologies, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the geothermal and recovered energy power business in the United States and internationally. The company operates in two segments, Electricity and Product. The Electricity segment develops, builds, owns, and operates geothermal and recovered energy-based power plants; and sells the electricity. The Product segment designs, manufactures, and sells power units for geothermal and recovered energy-based electricity generation; fossil fuel powered turbo-generators; and heavy duty direct-current generators. It also provides services relating to the engineering, procurement, construction, operation, and maintenance of geothermal and recovered energy power plants. This segment serves contractors and geothermal power plant owners and operators; and interstate natural gas pipeline owners and operators, gas processing plant owners and operators, cement plant owners and operators, and companies in other energy-intens ive industrial processes. The company was founded in 1965 and is based in Reno, Nevada. Ormat Technologies, Inc. is a subsidiary of Ormat Industries Ltd.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Amy Thomson]

    AT&T has examined takeover candidates including Vodafone�� assets, U.K. mobile carrier EE -- a venture of Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE) and Orange SA (ORA) -- and parts of Spain�� Telefonica SA (TEF), people familiar with the company�� plans said in June. AT&T is attracted to Europe because of its relatively recent introduction of faster, fourth-generation networks, which have been available for years in the U.S.

  • [By John Udovich]

    Yesterday, small cap geothermal stock U.S. Geothermal Inc (NYSEMKT: HTM) produced a geyser of a return when it surged 26.79%, meaning its worth taking a closer look at the stock verses the performance of other geothermal stocks like small cap Ormat Technologies, Inc (NYSE: ORA) and mid cap Calpine Corporation (NYSE: CPN).�First of all, I should mention there are some other geothermal stocks out there like Alterra Power Corp (CVE: AXY) and Ram Power Corp (TSE: RPG) who have their primary listing on Canadian exchanges with secondary ones on the OTC���meaning they may not be a good deal for American investors or easy to invest in. Second, U.S. Geothermal Inc itself is a good geothermal proxy as its�focused on developing, owning, and operating clean, sustainable electric power from geothermal energy resources and its�operating geothermal power projects at Neal Hot Springs, Oregon; San Emidio, Nevada; and Raft River, Idaho plus El Ceibillo, an advanced stage, geothermal prospect located within a 24,710 acre energy rights concession area near Guatemala City, the largest city in Central America.

Top Building Product Companies To Watch For 2014: First Connecticut Bancorp Inc (FBNK)

First Connecticut Bancorp, Inc. (FCB) is a stock holding company. FCB has been formed in connection with the conversion of First Connecticut Bancorp, Inc. a mutual holding company (MHC), from the mutual to the stock form of organization. As of December 31, 2009, MHC owned all of the outstanding stock of Farmington Bank, a savings bank. The MHC will cease to exist as a result of the conversion, and FCB will own all of the common stock of Farmington Bank. As of December 31, 2009, FCB was not engaged in any business. Farmington Bank is a full-service, community bank with 15 full-service branch offices and four limited service offices, including its main office, located throughout Hartford County, Connecticut.

Farmington Bank provides a diverse range of commercial and consumer services to businesses, individuals and governments across Central Connecticut. Farmington Bank provides a range of banking services to businesses, individuals and governments in Central Connecticut. It also offers a range of residential mortgage loan services. Farmington Bank�� subsidiaries include Farmington Savings Loan Servicing, Inc., Village Investments, Inc., Village Corp., Limited, 28 Main Street Corp., Village Management Corp. and Village Square Holdings Inc.

Farmington Savings Loan Servicing, Inc. operates as Farmington Bank�� passive investment company (PIC). Village Investments, Inc. offers brokerage and investment advisory services through a contract with Infinex Financial Services, a registered broker-dealer. Village Corp., Limited was established to hold certain commercial real estate acquired through foreclosures, deeds in lieu of foreclosure, or other similar means. Village Square Holdings, Inc. holds certain commercial real estate of Farmington Bank, formerly used as Farmington Bank�� operations center prior to its relocation to One Farm Glen Boulevard, Farmington, Connecticut. As of December 31, 2009, 28 Main Street Corp and Village Management Corp were inactive.

Len! ding Activities

Farmington Bank�� primary lending activities consists of the origination of one-to-four family residential real estate loans that are primarily secured by properties located in Hartford County and surrounding counties in Connecticut. During the year ended December 31, 2009, the Bank originated $75.8 million of fixed-rate one-to-four family residential loans. The Bank also offers adjustable-rate mortgage loans for one-to-four family properties, with an interest rate that adjusts annually based on the one-year Constant Maturity Treasury Bill Index, after a one, three, four, five, seven or nine-year initial fixed-rate period. Its adjustable rate mortgage loans generally provide for maximum rate adjustments of 200 basis points per adjustment, with a lifetime maximum adjustment up to 6%, regardless of the initial rate. Its adjustable rate mortgage loans amortize over terms of up to 30 years. During 2009, it originated $49.2 million adjustable rate one-to-four family residential loans and purchased $33 million adjustable rate mortgages.

Farmington Bank originates commercial real estate loans and loans on owner-occupied properties used for a variety of business purposes, including office buildings, industrial and warehouse facilities and retail facilities. As of December 31, 2009, the Bank�� owner-occupied commercial mortgage loans constituted the largest portion of its commercial real estate portfolio. During 2009, commercial mortgage loans totaled $265.5 million and owner-occupied commercial real estate loans totaled $133.3 million of its commercial real estate portfolio.

Farmington Bank offers construction loans, including commercial construction loans and real estate subdivision development loans, to developers, licensed contractors and builders for the construction and development of commercial real estate projects and residential properties. During 2009, the Bank�� loans outstanding, including commercial and residential, totaled $68.7 million! . The Ban! k also originates construction loans to individuals and contractors for the construction and acquisition of personal residences.

Farmington Bank�� commercial business loan portfolio comprises both middle market companies and small businesses located primarily in Connecticut. Farmington Bank�� Resort (Timeshare) Loans include receivables loans, pre-sale loans, inventory loans, acquisition and development loans, and homeowner association loans. During 2009, its timeshare loans totaled $82.8 million. Farmington Bank also offers home equity loans and home equity lines of credit, both of which are secured by owner-occupied one-to-four family residences. At December 31, 2009, home equity loans and equity lines of credit totaled $66.7 million.

Farmington Bank also offers various types of consumer loans, including installment, demand, revolving credit and collateral loans, principally to customers residing in its primary market area with acceptable credit ratings. Its installment and collateral consumer loans generally consist of loans on new and used automobiles, loans collateralized by deposit accounts and unsecured personal loans.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By CRWE]

    First Connecticut Bancorp, Inc. (Nasdaq:FBNK) reported that its Board of Directors has voted to pay a cash dividend in the amount of $0.03 per share on June 14, 2012 to all shareholders of record as of June 4, 2012.

Top Building Product Companies To Watch For 2014: Siemens AG (SI)

Siemens AG (Siemens), incorporated on August 28, 1996, is a globally operating technology company with core activities in the fields of energy, healthcare, industry and infrastructure. Siemens business activities focus on four sectors, Energy, Healthcare, Industry and Infrastructure & Cities. These sectors form four of Siemens reportable segments. In addition to the four sectors, Siemens has two additional reportable segments: Equity Investments and Siemens Financial Services (SFS). The Energy sector comprises four divisions: Power Generation, Wind Power, Power Transmission and Energy Service. The Healthcare Sector includes four divisions: Imaging & Therapy Systems, Clinical Products, Diagnostics and Customer Solutions; and one sector-led Business Unit, Audiology Solutions. The Industry sector consists of three divisions: Industry Automation, Drive Technologies and Customer Services; and one sector-led Business Unit, Metals Technologies. The Infrastructure & Cities sector consists of five divisions: Rail Systems, Mobility and Logistics, Low and Medium Voltage, Smart Grid, and Building Technologies. In July 2013 Siemens sold its stake in the Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) joint venture to Nokia and OSRAM Licht AG was spun off from Siemens.


The Industry Sector offers a broad spectrum of products, solutions and services that help customers use resources and energy. The Sector�� integrated technologies and holistic solutions primarily address industrial customers, particularly those in the process and manufacturing industries. The portfolio spans industry automation, industrial software, drive products and services, system integration, and solutions for industrial plant businesses. The Industry Sector consists of three Divisions: Industry Automation, Drive Technologies and Customer Services. The Sector also includes a sector-led Business Unit, Metals Technologies. In addition to its Sector-level financial results, Industry also breaks out financial results for the Indust! ry Automation Division and the Drive Technologies Division. The Industry Automation Division offers a range of standard products and system solutions for automation technologies used in the manufacturing and process industries. The Division�� offerings include automation systems and software, motor controls, machine-to- machine communication products, sensors, product and production lifecycle management products, and software for simulating and testing mechatronic systems. The Drive Technologies Division offers products and comprehensive systems across the entire drive train. These offerings are customized to the respective application and include numerical control systems, inverters, converters, motors (geared and gearless), drives and couplings. In addition, Drive Technologies supplies integrated automation systems for machine tools and production machines. The Division also offers integrated lifecycle solutions and services for industries such as shipbuilding, cement, mining, and pulp and paper. The Customer Services Division offers a comprehensive portfolio of services and supports industrial customers.


The Energy Sector offers a spectrum of products, solutions and services for generating and transmitting power, and for extracting, converting and transporting oil and gas. The Fossil Power Generation Division offers products and solutions for fossil-based power generation. The Division concentrates on products and solutions for gas and steam turbines, turbo generators, heat recovery steam generators including control systems, with an emphasis on combined-cycle power plants. It also develops solutions for instrumentation and control systems for all types of power plants and for use in power generation. The Wind Power Division manufactures wind turbines for onshore and offshore applications, including both geared turbines and direct drive machines. The product portfolio is based on four product platforms, two for each of the onshore and offshore applications. The Oil ! & Gas Div! ision has a comprehensive portfolio of rotating machinery (gas turbines, steam turbines, compressors with associated equipment) and electrical, instrumentation and telecommunication (EIT) solutions. The Power Transmission Division provides customers with turnkey power transmission solutions as well as discrete products, systems and related engineering and services. It covers high-voltage transmission solutions, power and distribution transformers, high-voltage switching and non-switching products and systems, and alternating and direct current transmission systems. The Energy Service Division offers comprehensive services for products, solutions and technologies, covering performance enhancements, maintenance services, customer trainings and consulting services for the Divisions Fossil Power Generation, Wind Power and Oil & Gas. The Wind Power Division is active in both the onshore and the offshore market segments globally. Power Transmission Division is expanding infrastructure in emerging countries, equipment replacement and modernization in mature economies, and integration of renewable energies.


The Healthcare Sector offers customers a comprehensive portfolio of medical solutions across the treatment chain-ranging from medical imaging to in-vitro diagnostics to interventional systems and clinical information technology systems-all from a single source. In addition, the Sector provides technical maintenance, professional and consulting services, and, together with Financial Services (SFS), financing to assist customers in purchasing the Sector�� products. The Healthcare Sector includes four Divisions: Imaging & Therapy Systems, Clinical Products, Diagnostics and Customer Solutions. The Sector also includes one sector-led Business Unit, Audiology Solutions. In addition to its Sector-level financial results, Healthcare also separately breaks out financial results for the Diagnostics Division.

The Imaging & Therapy Systems Division provides large-scale! medical ! devices for diagnostic imaging and for image-guided therapies. Imaging equipment includes computed tomographs, magnetic resonance imaging equipment, angiography systems for diagnostics, and positron emission tomography. The Clinical Products Division mainly comprises the business with ultrasound and X-ray equipment including mammography. The Diagnostics Division offers products and services in the area of in-vitro diagnostics. The Division�� product portfolio represents a comprehensive range of diagnostic testing systems and consumables, including offerings for clinical chemistry and immunodiagnostics, molecular diagnostics, hematology, hemostasis, microbiology, point-of-care testing and clinical laboratory automation solutions. The Customer Solutions Division provides healthcare information technology (HIT) systems. It is responsible for the Sector�� service business and customer relationship management on a global level.

Equity Investments

The Equity Investments comprises equity stakes held by Siemens that are accounted for by the equity method, at cost or as current available-for-sale financial assets and for strategic reasons are not allocated to a Sector, SFS, Centrally managed portfolio activities, Siemens Real Estate (SRE), Corporate items or Corporate Treasury. Its main investments within Equity Investments are its stake of 50% in BSH Bosch and Siemens Hausgerate GmbH (BSH), its stake of 17% in OSRAM Licht AG (OSRAM) as well as its 49% stake in Enterprise Networks Holdings B.V. (EN).

Financial Services

Financial Services provides a variety of financial services and products to other Siemens units and their customers and to third parties. SFS has three strategic pillars: supporting Siemens units with finance solutions for their customers, managing financial risks of Siemens and offering third-party finance services and products. SFS��business can be divided into capital business and fee business. The Commercial Finance Business Unit offers! a compre! hensive range of solutions for equipment financing, leasing, rental and related financing for equipment supplied by Siemens or third-party providers. The Venture Capital Business Segment�� main task, together with Siemens��Sectors, is to identify and finance young companies worldwide. The Treasury Business Unit operates the global Corporate Treasury of the Siemens Group, with SFS employee�� thereby managing liquidity, cash and financial risks (interest, foreign exchange, commodities) on behalf of Corporate Treasury. The Financing & Investment Management Business Unit manages fee-based receivables and offers investment management services. The Insurance Business Unit acts primarily as an insurance broker for Siemens and external customers.

Infrastructure & Cities

The Infrastructure & Cities Sector offers a range of technologies for the sustainability of metropolitan centers and urban infrastructures worldwide, such as integrated mobility solutions, building and security systems, power distribution equipment, smart grid applications and low and medium-voltage products. The Sector consists of five Divisions: Rail Systems; Mobility and Logistics; Low and Medium Voltage; Smart Grid; and Building Technologies. The Rail Systems Division comprises Siemens��rail vehicle business, encompassing the entire spectrum of rolling stock-including high-speed trains, commuter trains, passenger coaches, metros, people movers, light rail vehicles, locomotives, bogies, traction systems and rail-related services. The Mobility and Logistics Division primarily provides products, solutions (including IT solutions) and services for rail transportation operating systems, such as central control systems, interlockings and automated controls. The Division also provides offerings for road traffic, including traffic detection, information and guidance systems.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Dan Carroll]

    Other industrial stocks are also hitting the red: Siemens (NYSE: SI  ) , Europe's largest engineering firm, has seen its stock dip more than 4% this year. That wasn't helped after CEO Peter Loescher offered a pessimistic sentiment �of his company's full-year profit a week ago, particularly as Siemens' margins trail other leading industrial conglomerates. With many leading economies still struggling for growth, it'll be tough for Siemens to outperform investor expectations -- particularly as Europe's crisis shows no signs of abating.


    Siemens provides technology products and services in a wide range of industries worldwide. A recent sell of the remaining investment in the Nokia Siemens Network is scheduled and it seems as if the markets are content with this move. The stock has struggled in recent years, and it is part of a value range extending to the beginning of the year. In the past four quarters, investors in the company have been on the fence as earnings and revenue figures have been mixed. Relative to its peers and sector, Siemens has been a poor year-to-date performer. WAIT AND SEE what Siemens does in coming quarters.

  • [By Tyler Crowe]

    Of the major wind turbine producers in the world, only General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) and Siemens (NYSE: SI  ) are publicly traded on the U.S. exchanges. Fortunately, they also are the two largest manufacturers in terms of U.S. market share. Combined, the two companies possess just over 58% of the U.S. wind turbine market. The two companies are also No. 1 and No. 3 in terms of global market share, with Danish company Vestas squeezing between the two in the global market.�

Top Building Product Companies To Watch For 2014: The Advisory Board Company(ABCO)

The Advisory Board Company, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the provision of best practices research and analysis, business intelligence and software tools, and management and advisory services primarily in the United States. The company offers various programs and services, including best practices research services that focus on identifying best-demonstrated management practices, critiquing widely-followed but ineffective practices, and analyzing emerging trends in the health care and education industries; business intelligence and software tools, which allow members to pair their own operational data with the best practices insights; and management and advisory services programs for assisting member institutions to adopt and implement best practices to enhance performance. As of June 30, 2011, it provided 51 distinct membership programs to hospitals, health systems, colleges, universities, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, health care insurers, medical de vice and supply companies, and other educational institutions. The company was founded in 1979 and is headquartered in Washington, District of Columbia.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Advisory Board (Nasdaq: ABCO  ) is expected to report Q4 earnings on May 9. Here's what Wall Street wants to see:

    The 10-second takeaway
    Comparing the upcoming quarter to the prior-year quarter, average analyst estimates predict Advisory Board's revenues will grow 17.4% and EPS will grow 21.7%.

  • [By Jeremy Bowman]

    What: Shares of The Advisory Board Company (NASDAQ: ABCO  ) were up as much as 12% today, after the consulting firm beat top and bottom-line estimates in its quarterly report.

Top Building Product Companies To Watch For 2014: Crestwood Equity Partners LP (CEQP)

Crestwood Equity Partners LP, incorporated on March 7, 2001, is a master limited partnership. The Company owns the general partner interest (including the distribution rights) and an approximate 4% limited partner interest of Crestwood Midstream.

In addition, the Company's operations include a natural gas storage business in Texas and a natural gas liquid (NGL) and crude oil supply and logistics business that serves customers in the United States and Canada. On October 7, 2013, Crestwood Midstream Partners LP merged into Inergy Midstream, L.P.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Dan Caplinger]

    On Tuesday, Inergy (NYSE: CEQP  ) will release its latest quarterly results. The key to making smart investment decisions on stocks reporting earnings is to anticipate how they'll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise. That way, you'll be less likely to make an uninformed knee-jerk reaction to news that turns out to be exactly the wrong move.

  • [By Aimee Duffy]

    With Kinder Morgan's acquisition of Copano Energy officially in the bag, all eyes are on the newest big deal in the midstream world: the merger of Crestwood Midstream Partners (NYSE: CMLP  ) and Inergy (NYSE: CEQP  ) . In this video, contributor Aimee Duffy takes a look at this $7 billion deal, and explains what the ownership structure looks like at the new, yet-to-be-named entity.

Top Building Product Companies To Watch For 2014: LHC Group Inc (LHCG)

LHC Group, Inc. (LHC Group), incorporated on January 1, 2005, provides post-acute health care services to patients through its home nursing agencies, hospices and long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHs). As of December 31, 2012, through the Company's wholly- and majority-owned subsidiaries, equity joint ventures and controlled affiliates, the Company operated in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington. The Company operates in two segments: home-based services and facility-based services. As of December 31, 2012, the Company owned and operated 274 home-based service locations, with 232 home nursing agency locations, 32 hospices, three specialty agencies and four private duty agencies. In February 2014, LHC Group Inc acquired two home health providers.

As of December 31, 2012, the Company also managed the operations of three home nursing agencies in which the Company does not have an ownership interest. The Company's facility-based services included six long-term acute care hospitals with nine locations, a pharmacy, and a family health center. The Company provides home-based post-acute health care services through its home nursing agencies and hospices. The Company's home nursing locations offer a wide range of services, including skilled nursing, medically-oriented social services and physical, occupational and speech therapy. The nurses, home health aides and therapists in the Company's home nursing agencies work closely with patients and their families to design and implement individualized treatments in accordance with a physician-prescribed plan of care.

The Company's hospices provide end-of-life care to patients with terminal illnesses through interdisciplinary teams of physicians, nurses, home health aides, counselors and volunteers. Of the 274 home-based services locations, 140 are wholly-owned by the Company, 124 ar! e majority-owned or controlled by the Company through joint ventures, seven are operated through license lease arrangements, and the Company manages the operations of three home nursing agencies in which the Company has no ownership interest.

The Company's LTACH locations provide services primarily to patients with complex medical conditions who have transitioned out of a hospital intensive care unit but whose conditions remain too severe for treatment in a non-acute setting. As of December 31, 2012, the Company's LTACHs had 220 licensed beds. Of the Company's 11 facility-based services locations, six are wholly-owned by the Company and five are majority-owned or controlled by the Company through joint ventures.

Home-Based Services

The Company�� registered and licensed practical nurses provide a range of medically necessary services to homebound patients who are suffering from acute or chronic illness, recovering from injury or surgery, or who otherwise require care, teaching or monitoring. These services include wound care and dressing changes; cardiac rehabilitation; infusion therapy; pain management; pharmaceutical administration; skilled observation and assessment, and patient education. It has also designed guidelines to treat chronic diseases and conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, Alzheimer�� disease, low vision, spinal stenosis, Parkinson�� disease, osteoporosis, complex wound care and chronic pain. Its home health aides provide assistance with daily living activities, such as light housekeeping, simple meal preparation, medication management, bathing and walking. Through its medical social workers, it counsels patients and their families with regard to financial, personal and social concerns that arise from a patient�� health-related problems.

The Company provides skilled nursing, ventilator and tracheotomy services, extended care specialties, medication administration and management, and patient and family assistance an! d educati! on. It also provides management services to third-party home nursing agencies, often as an interim solution until proper state and regulatory approvals for an acquisition can be obtained. The Company�� physical, occupational and speech therapists provide therapy services to patients in their home. Its therapists coordinate multi-disciplinary treatment plans with physicians, nurses and social workers to restore basic mobility skills, such as getting out of bed and walking safely with crutches or a walker. Its therapists assist patients and their families with improving and maintaining a patient�� ability to perform functional activities of daily living, such as the ability to dress, cook, clean and manage other activities safely in the home environment. Its speech and language therapists provide corrective and rehabilitative treatment to patients who suffer from physical or cognitive deficits or disorders that create difficulty with verbal communication or swallowing.

All of the Company�� home nursing agencies offer 24-hour personal emergency response and support services through Philips Lifeline (Lifeline) for qualified patients who require close medical monitoring but who want to maintain an independent lifestyle. These services consist principally of a communicator that connects to the telephone line in the subscriber�� home and a personal help button that is worn or carried by the individual subscriber which, when activated, initiates a telephone call from the subscriber�� communicator to Lifeline�� central monitoring facilities. Lifeline�� trained personnel identify the nature and extent of the subscriber�� particular need and notify the subscriber�� family members, neighbors and/or emergency personnel, as needed.

The Company�� Medicare-certified hospice operations provide a range of hospice services designed to meet the individual physical, spiritual and psychosocial needs of terminally ill patients and their families. Its hospice services are primaril! y provide! d in a patient�� home but can also be provided in a nursing home, assisted living facility or hospital. Key services provided include pain and symptom management accompanied by palliative medication, emotional and spiritual support, spiritual counseling and family bereavement counseling, inpatient and respite care, homemaker services, dietary counseling and social worker visits for up to 13 months after a patient�� death.

Facility-Based Services

The Company�� LTACHs treat patients with severe medical conditions who require a care and frequent monitoring by physicians and other clinical personnel. Patients who receive its services in an LTACH are too medically unstable to be treated in a non-acute setting. It also treats patients diagnosed with musculoskeletal impairments that restrict their ability to perform normal activities of daily living. As part of its facility-based services, the Company operates an institutional pharmacy, which focuses on providing a full array of services to its long-term acute care hospitals. All coding, medical records, case management, utilization review and medical staff credentialing are provided at the hospital level. Centralized functions that are provided by the home office include payroll, accounting, financial reporting, billing, collections, regulatory and legal compliance, risk management, pharmacy, information technology and general clinical oversight accomplished by periodic on-site surveys.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Sean Williams]

    What: Shares of home health providers Amedisys (NASDAQ: AMED  ) , Gentiva Health Services (NASDAQ: GTIV  ) , and�LHC Group (NASDAQ: LHCG  ) �swooned as much as 28%, 20%, and 15%, respectively, following a public proposal by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, late yesterday that in-home health care reimbursements be cut by 1.5% in 2014.

Top Building Product Companies To Watch For 2014: Powershares High Yield Equity Dividend (PEY)

PowerShares High Yield Equity Dividend Achievers Portfolio is based on the Mergent Dividend Achievers 50 Index. The Mergent Dividend Achievers 50 Index seeks to deliver current income and capital appreciation. It comprises the fifty highest yielding companies with at least 10 years of consecutive dividend increases.

The Index�� high dividend yield approach provides exposure to deep value companies while the long-term dividend growth requirement attempts to minimize exposure to distressed value companies. The yield weighted portfolio is rebalanced quarterly and reconstituted annually.

Advisors' Opinion:
  • [By Chuck Saletta]

    If that savings target seems too high, your options include either working longer (to keep the length of your retirement shorter) or investing more aggressively. For instance, the PowerShares High Yield Dividend Achievers (NYSEMKT: PEY  ) invests in higher-yielding companies with decent histories of raising their payouts. That ETF currently yields more than the Vanguard bond fund, and the companies in the PowerShares ETF have the potential to raise their payouts as they grow.

  • [By Chuck Saletta]

    PowerShares High Yield Dividend Achievers (NYSEMKT: PEY  )

    50 higher yielding members of the dividend achievers index�

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