Investor Group Urges Approval of BofA Mortgage Settlement and 2 Other Hot Stocks to Watch

Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC): Closing price $15.22

On Monday, attorney Kathy Patrick, who represents an investor group, urged a judge to okay Bank of America Corp’s proposed $8.5 billion settlement regarding mortgage-backed securities that went awry during the financial crisis, pointing out the fact that not one investor testified against the arrangement in a proceeding that went on nine-weeks. Patrick was summing up the case in New York state court in Manhattan. Bank of America agreed to the resolution in June of 2011 to settle claims concerning shoddy mortgage-backed securities issued by Countrywide Financial Corp., which the bank purchased in 2008.

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Newcastle Investment Corp. (NYSE:NCT): Current price $5.44

Newcastle Investment announced Tuesday that it will acquire a 52-property portfolio of senior housing properties from certain subsidiaries of Holiday Acquisition Holdings LLC at a price of around $1.01 billion. The buyer expects to invest roughly $300 million of equity to purchase the Holiday Portfolio and to fund the remainder with non-recourse mortgage debt. The Holiday Portfolio includes 52 independent living  properties with 5,885 units located throughout 24 states, and is 100 percent private pay with an average occupancy rate of 91 percent as of September 30. At the same time it closes the Holiday acquisition, Newcastle intends to enter into two triple net master leases with affiliates of Holiday with first-year rent equal to 6.5 percent of the purchase price.

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Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ:MU): Current price$19.65

A Goldman Sachs index compiled of companies having weaker balance sheets has rallied by 42 percent in 2013, almost doubling the gain of a measure of more creditworthy firms. The bank employs a formula that was originally created to predict bankruptcies to put together the baskets. This gauge of 52 firms that have weak balance sheets includes stocks like Micron, which has more than tripled its total debt since 2011 to ten times annual free cash flow. Thus far in 2013, the shares have surged by 204 percent, and are very close to the top of their 52-week range Tuesday.

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