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Michael Michaud is the founder of Invest2Success.com (http://www.invest2success.com/) and the Invest2Success Blog (http://invest2success.blogspot.com/). He has been investing and trading in the financial markets since 1989. He founded Invest2Success.com to empower individual institutional... More
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  • This Weeks Free Stock Pick

    Alaska Airlines

    This Weeks Free Stock Pick - Investing in Airlines Earnings Growth

    2014 has been a stellar year for the airline industry to say the least. Consolidation has reduced competition, an improving economy is allowing people to fly more, while the oil plunge is slashing the costs for jet fuel.

    This confluence of factors has led to amazing performances for the industry. Many stocks have seen gains in excess of 50% YTD, while several names are approaching or are at multi-year, if not all-time, highs.

    One stock that definitely fits in with this trend, though it has still been overlooked by many, is undoubtedly Alaska Airlines Group (NYSE:ALK). This company has seen its shares surge by 50 percent so far in 2014, and if you look at some of the trends underpinning this company, there is plenty of reason to believe that more strength is ahead for this airline.

    ALK in Focus

    For those of you that are unfamiliar with Alaska Airlines, it is important to note that the company is actually based in Seattle, Washington, though it does have a huge operation in Alaska. In fact, ALK makes up about 60% of total passengers carried at Anchorage's main airport (Ted Stevens), while it also has a big presence at Seattle-Tacoma (51%) as well.

    While the company is facing stiff competition from Delta (NYSE:DAL) in Seattle, the company still has plenty of opportunities for expansion by striking into new markets, while also defending its hub in Washington State. In particular, ALK has hit back at Delta at their Salt Lake City hub, so don't think that Alaska isn't stealing share from its larger counterpart too.

    Beyond that, there is always the possibility of a merger for Alaska, which could also help the company to stretch into even more markets. Both Hawaiian Airlines (NASDAQ:HA) and JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) would arguably make sense for an ALK merger, and it would strengthen their position against the so-called 'legacy carriers' as well.

    Yet even if a merger doesn't happen, ALK appears well-positioned for growth in the near term thanks to expansion from its Northwest U.S. hub, and low oil prices which should boost profits. Analysts seem to agree (and do not appear too fazed by Delta's move into Seattle), as earnings estimates have been soaring as of late for ALK stock.

    ALK Earnings Estimates

    For the current quarter consensus estimate, earnings have moved from $0.68/share 60 days ago to an impressive $0.83/share today, while we have seen a similar trend for next quarter's numbers too. The full year figures are really the impressive part, as we have seen strong earnings estimate revision activity in these time frames.

    Current year consensus estimates have moved from $3.84/share 60 days ago to $4.06/share today, while for next year figures, we have seen a move from $4.11/share to $4.77/share now. Clearly, analysts are ratcheting up their expectations for ALK and believe that they have strong growth prospects that extend well into the future.

    And if you are worried about ALK meeting these lofty expectations, consider that ALK has beaten estimates in all of the last four quarters, with an average beat of 5.1%. ALK is actually riding a streak of five straight beats overall, so don't worry too much about the company meeting these increased expectations.

    Stock Chart Alaska Airlines

    Bottom Line

    Thanks to these factors, investors shouldn't be too surprised to note that ALK has earned itself a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and that we expect this company's solid run to continue into 2015.

    It is also worth pointing out that the airline industry overall is very well-ranked too, and that there are few bad choices in this space anyway. In fact, the transportation-airline segment currently has a Zacks Industry Rank in the top 10% overall.

    So if you are looking for an impressive airline stock in today's market that still has room to run, consider Alaska Airlines Group. The company has great expansion opportunities, and with a huge market for air travel, this seems like a probably winner for growth investors in this corner of the market.

    Click Here for a Free Trial of Zacks Investment Research

    Profit Rocket

    Invest2Success "Profit Rockets" Stock Picks
    Free Trial - Receive daily low-risk high-reward SP500 NYSE Nasdaq buy-long and short-sell stock picks that are experiencing strong increasing and decreasing earnings, that include buy sell entry, stop-loss, take profit area price targets, and trade management information to your email inbox.

    Van Tharp Institute
    Van Tharp Institute

    Van Tharp Institute
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    Dedicated to cutting edge, high quality professional educational investing trading programs for traders and investors providing a road map for financial freedom. The finest investing trading education in the financial universe. Dr Van Tharp is one of the orginal Market Wizards, and referred to as the Traders Coach.

    Track n Trade Trading Software

    Track n Trade CandleStick Auto-Recognition Plug-in
    Quickly identify candlestick patterns without thinking. With Track 'n Trade, you have the ability to click, and select your favorite candle patterns, and have Track 'n Trade find, identify, and even auto-trade each signal through our famed Autopilot Trading System.

    Candle Charting Intensive Training

    Steve Nisons Candlestick Charting Intensive Training and Software
    for Profitably Trading Stocks Forex Futures Commodities

    Use the CandleScanner trading software to automatically scan for profitable trading setups on any timeframe. Stock forex and futures candlestick trading courses to throughly understand how to profit from candlestick chart patterns. Free newsletter and live trading webinars. Steve Nison is the authority on trading and profiting using candlesticks.

    Live Trading Seminars

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    Click Here For The Complete 2015 Schedule

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    Trading Softwares available to improve your investment returns.

    Disclosure: The author has no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a long position in ALK over the next 72 hours.

    Dec 15 7:54 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Biogen's Hot Streak Of Beating Earnings Estimates

    Biogen

    Biogen's Hot Streak of Beating Earnings Estimates

    Why Biogen Idec (NASDAQ:BIIB) is Poised to Beat Earnings Estimates by Zacks Investment Research

    Looking for a stock that might be in a good position to beat earnings at its next report? Consider Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB), a firm in the biotechnology industry, which could be a great candidate for another beat.

    This company has seen a nice streak of beating earnings estimates, especially when looking at the previous two reports. In fact, in these reports, BIIB has beaten estimates by at least 15% in both cases, suggesting it has a nice short-term history of crushing expectations.

    "Profit Rockets" Stock Picks Free Trial

    We issued a buy long recommendation on Biogen to all of our "Profit Rockets" subscribers back at the end of August 2013. This position is currently earning a 60% return, and we expect Biogen to continue higher. Click the link above for more information and a free trial of our "Profit Rockets" Stock Pick Service.

    08/28/13 - Buy Biogen Idec - BIIB

    Buy Entry: 203.54 to 210.99

    Stop-Loss: 194.65

    Take Profit Areas: 233.76 to 237.47, 241.27 to 245.56, 264.58 to 268.98, 309.48 to 314.76

    Biogen Earnings in Focus

    Two quarters ago, BIIB expected to earn $2.80 per share, while it actually produced earnings of $3.49 per share, a beat of 24.6%. Meanwhile, for the most recent quarter, the company looked to deliver earnings of $3.22 per share, when it actually saw earnings of $3.79 per share instead, representing a 17.7% positive surprise.

    Thanks in part to this history, recent estimates have been moving higher for Biogen Idec. In fact, the Earnings ESP for BIIB is positive, which is a great sign of a coming beat.

    After all, the Zacks Earnings ESP compares the most accurate estimate to the broad consensus, looking to find stocks that have seen big revisions as of late, suggesting that analysts have recently become more bullish on the company's earnings prospects. This is the case for BIIB, as the firm currently has a Zacks Earnings ESP of 1.34%, so another beat could be around the corner.

    This is particularly true when you consider that BIIB has a great Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) which can be a harbinger of outperformance and a signal for a strong earnings profile. And when you add this solid Zacks Rank to a positive Earnings ESP, a positive earnings surprise happens nearly 70% of the time, so it seems pretty likely that BIIB could see another beat at its next report, especially if recent trends are any guide.

    Click here for a Free Trial of Zacks Investment Research

    Candle Charting Intensive Training

    Steve Nisons Candlestick Charting Intensive Training and Software
    for Profitably Trading Stocks Forex Futures Commodities

    Use the CandleScanner trading software to automatically scan for profitable trading setups on any timeframe. Stock forex and futures candlestick trading courses to throughly understand how to profit from candlestick chart patterns. Free newsletter and live trading webinars. Steve Nison is the authority on trading and profiting using candlesticks.

    Track n Trade Trading Software

    Track n Trade CandleStick Auto-Recognition Plug-in
    Quickly identify candlestick patterns without thinking. With Track 'n Trade, you have the ability to click, and select your favorite candle patterns, and have Track 'n Trade find, identify, and even auto-trade each signal through our famed Autopilot Trading System.

    Van Tharp Institute
    Van Tharp Institute

    Van Tharp Institute
    Investing Trading Home Study Programs & Live Seminars Workshops

    Dedicated to cutting edge, high quality professional educational investing trading programs for traders and investors providing a road map for financial freedom. The finest investing trading education in the financial universe. Dr Van Tharp is one of the orginal Market Wizards, and referred to as the Traders Coach.

    Seeking Alpha

    Live Trading Seminars

    Stock Option Forex Futures Training Seminars Webinars Workshops
    Click Here For The Complete 2015 Schedule

    Professional investors traders teaching successful low-risk high-reward
    trade strategies. Power profit secrets for stocks, options, forex, futures
    investing trading success. Or avail of Home Study Courses and or
    Trading Softwares available to improve your investment returns.

    Disclosure: The author is long BIIB.

    Dec 03 9:04 AM | Link | Comment!
  • Billionaire Investing Strategies

    Follow Billionaire Investing Strategies with These Stocks and ETFs by Zacks Investment Research

    Everybody dreams of becoming rich and famous like Warren Buffett, Carl Icahn, Daniel Loeb, David Tepper or David Einhorn. After all, these ambitious and iconic investors have proven how profitable putting one's money in the right place can be.

    Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has enjoyed an average growth rate of about 20% annually and has an excellent record in beating the broader markets since its incorporation in 1965. Furthermore, Berkshire Hathaway has added more than 115% over the last five years.

    Icahn Too

    There is a widely used term in the investing world "'Icahn Lift". Investopedia explains this term as the surge in stock price following Carl Icahn's buying a position in the shares of a company. Notably, Icahn's Icahn Enterprises, L.P. grew more than 162% in the last five years, far better than the S&P 500's gain of 87% during same time frame.

    Given this trend, investors might be looking for ways to apply Buffett or Icahn-like strategies to their portfolio. Investing in Berkshire or Icahn Enterprises is always an option, there are several other ways to imitate these billionaires' investing styles.

    Normally, Buffett takes interest in companies trading below their intrinsic values, as per his vision while Icahn's investment philosophy, barring exceptions, is to buy what everyone ignores. This means stocks with lower P/E or lesser book value than that of current valuation attract Icahn.

    We have analyzed their buying and holding positions at the end of Q3 and highlight the names of the stocks and related ETFs for investors who want to follow these investing stock market veterans.

    Following Buffett

    Among many other new positions and additions, Buffett has purchased medical services stock Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX), per Barrons.com. He has also raised his stake in credit card stocks Mastercard (NYSE:MA) and Visa (NYSE:V), International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM), DIRECTV (NASDAQ:DTV) and Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT).

    The industry ESRX hails from currently resides in the top 38% part of the Zacks Industry Rank while financial transaction services industry that MA and V are from presently enjoys the top 16% rank. Notably, ESRX has as much as 9.45% exposure in iShares U.S. Healthcare Providers ETF (NYSEARCA:IHF).

    This Zacks ETF Rank #2 (Buy) fund has surged over 21% in the year-to-date frame (as of November 17, 2014). MA has about 3.75% and V has 5.41% weight in iShares U.S. Financial Services ETF (NYSEARCA:IYG). This Zacks ETF Rank #1 (Strong Buy) fund has added about 7.7% in the year-to-date frame.

    IBM has about a 4.5% exposure in Strong Buy rated ETF iShares U.S. Technology ETF (NYSEARCA:IYW). WMT has about a 10.2% focus in Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold) fund Market Vectors Retail ETF (NYSEARCA:RTH). Year to date, RTH is up 10.7%. DTV too has about 5.1% exposure in PowerShares Dynamic Media Portfolio (NYSEARCA:PBS). Though down 6% in the year-to-date frame, this ETF has added about 4.8% gain over the last one month.

    Following Icahn

    Icahn showed interest in eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) in Q3 while he reduced his stake in Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), noted Barrons.com. The Internet e-commerce industry in which eBay operates also has an impressive Zacks Industry Rank falling in the top 37% place.

    eBay has considerable exposure (7.82% and 6.08% respectively) in PowerShares Nasdaq Internet Portfolio (NASDAQ:PNQI) and First Trust Dow Jones Internet Index (NYSEARCA:FDN). Both PNQI and FDN has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold). The funds have added about 10% and 12% in the last six months, respectively.

    Following David Tepper

    XP Semiconductors (NASDAQ:NXPI), Lorillard (NYSE:LO) and Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR) are some of David Tepper's choices. These stocks have substantial exposure in iShares PHLX SOX Semiconductor Sector Index Fund (NASDAQ:SOXX), Market Vectors Wide Moat Research ETF (NYSEARCA:MOAT) and SPDR Homebuilders ETF (NYSEARCA:XHB). Among the trio, SOXX and XHB has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold).

    SOXX has gained about 21.3% and MOAT has added about 10.5% so far this year. Though XHB has lost about 3% in the year-to-date frame, the fund retuned about 7% in the last one month.

    MOAT appears to be a smart pick if these investment gurus are to be followed. In fact, the famous Buffett most investing strategy is also to target 'wide moat' businesses.

    Other ETF Bets

    Apart from the above-mentioned stocks and ETFs, this batch of top-notch hedge fund managers also has an affinity for Alibaba - a Chinese e-commerce company and a new entrant to the U.S. bourses. Barrons.com noted that David Tepper, George Soros and Daniel Loeb all are enamored with the company.

    Common investors willing to join the bandwagon, can move into the stock or pour their money into Renaissance IPO ETF (NYSEARCA:IPO) which has about 11% stake in Alibaba. KraneShares CSI China Internet Fund (NASDAQ:KWEB) is another ETF having around 11% exposure to that company.

    This is not the end though, as yet another easy way to follow billionaires' ideas is by investing in Direxion iBillionaire Index ETF (NYSEARCA:IBLN). The fund tracks the iBillionaire Index to provide exposure to 30 large-cap U.S. equities having the highest allocation in the investment portfolio of billionaires. The ETF hit the market in August and has returned about 9% in the last one month.

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    Dec 02 7:28 PM | Link | Comment!
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