Analyst speculates on possible Pentair targets

Trian Fund Management announced last week it had acquired a 7.2 percent stake in Pentair PLC, which is based in the U.K. but is run out of Golden Valley. Trian, an activist fund, stated in its filing that Pentair could create shareholder value by pursuing more acquisitions.

Wedbush Securities analyst David Rose believes Trian will push Pentair to consolidate the industrial pump market and, in a research note published Tuesday, offered up three possible targets: Flowserve Corp., Xylem Inc. and SPX Corp.

"In our view, the SPX's flow business is a better fit given the exposure to food & beverage, which has been cited as a focus area for Pentair," Rose wrote.

Patrick Kennedy

A look at Ameriprise and Principal

Moody's Investors Service analysts recently published a comparison of the asset management businesses of Minneapolis-based Ameriprise Financial and Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal Financial Group.

The asset management businesses of both firms have been growing, which will increase overall profitability. However, "Ameriprise's asset management pre-tax operating margins are modestly higher," the report said.

At the end of 2014, Ameriprise had $506 billion in assets under management [AUM], compared to $314 billion for Principal. But in the past two years, AUM has been growing at a faster rate at Principal than at Ameriprise.

The asset management units have different operating strategies. Ameriprise, which consolidated its Columbia and Threadneedle businesses early this year, uses "a centralized global asset management business." Principal "operates a multi-boutique model."

The report also highlights the history of each unit with Ameriprise growing through fewer but larger acquisitions: Threadneedle Asset Management in 2003, J.W. Seligman in 2008 and Columbia Management in 2010.

Patrick Kennedy

Low-cost propane means cheaper barbecue

Commodity trader Alex Breitinger wrote on his firm's that "low-cost propane should help encourage grillers to fire up the backyard barbecue." Propane prices were near a 13-year low toward the end of June due to an oversupply.

Breitinger also noted that meat prices are dropping in the middle of the peak grilling season. "August cattle fell to a six-week low at $1.48 per pound, while August hogs fell to new contract lows, trading for a mere 72 cents per pound. Prices are dropping as cattle and hog herds expand, boosting supply after years of shortages."

Patrick Kennedy