This Week's 5 Smartest Stock Moves

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Editor's note: A previous version of this article incorrectly reported Neil Eckert's share of Ebix stock.

If you're feeling good about the market, you're not alone. Take my hand as we go over some of this week's more uplifting headlines.

1. New blood for the exchanges
It was one of the busiest weeks in some time on the debutante front, as several companies managed to go public.

Jive Software (NAS: JIVE) priced its deal earlier this week at $12 a share, ahead of the original $8 to $10 price tag being bandied about. The provider of social networking software for corporate networks still popped higher in its debut, and continues to trade nicely above its original price.

Zynga (NAS: ZNGA) priced at the high end of its $8.50 to $10 per-share range. The social gaming giant behind FarmVille, Mafia Wars 2, and Alec Baldwin fave Words With Friends begins trading today.

How well these new issues hold up will go a long way toward determining how quickly other meaty names in the pipeline go public. So far, so good.

2. You be the judge
Radio giant Howard Stern will be joining the celebrity judges on NBC's America's Got Talent.

It's a smart move for Comcast's (NAS: CMCSA) network, since the historically outspoken Stern isn't going to be very forgiving when a contestant isn't up to snuff. Every show needs a crass icon who will tell it like it is -- and that's Stern.

However, the real winner here will be Sirius XM Radio (NAS: SIRI) . The media giant has had him stashed away on satellite radio for the past six years, and has him contractually committed for another four more. The problem with these deals is that celebrities reach smaller audiences than they do on nationally syndicated terrestrial radio. There are younger radio listeners who probably have no idea who Stern is, having missed all of the hubbub during his terrestrial glory days.

A popular primetime television show should change that, and make Stern more marketable for Sirius XM. You know, now would be a good time for Sirius XM to settle its legal tussle with Stern over bonus payments.

3. Home cooking
There are many ways to interpret insider selling. It could be an executive is looking to diversify his position. It could be a director needs to raise money to pay her taxes. Meaty options about to vest? However, there's really only one way to read into insider buying -- and it's good.

Neil Eckert -- an Ebix (NAS: EBIX) director and subcommittee chairman -- made a $495,000 open-market investment in the provider of e-commerce software solutions for the insurance industry. This move boosted Eckert's holdings by a meaty 28%. 

4. 103 million reasons to like PayPal's chances
eBay's (NAS: EBAY) PayPal will throw its hat into the crowded daily deals ring early next year, but don't go rolling your eyes.

PayPal may be late to the game, but it's not as if it will take long for the payment platform to get up to speed. PayPal has 103 million active accounts, so we're talking about an established market of folks who not only trust PayPal but have already committed to making financial transactions online and on the go through PayPal's mobile app.

Between eBay's ties to local merchants and PayPal's growing acceptance with national retailers and establishments, it also won't take the company long to go through its Rolodex until it has timely deals that it can offer.

It may be true that some of the niche leaders have struggled with profitability in this growing realm, but that is primarily the result of heavy expansion costs. PayPal already has the framework and perfect captive audience in place. This should be a winning move for eBay.

5. And the rich get richer
Expanding into a new yet somewhat related market, salesforce.com (NYS: CRM) is entering the human capital management niche by acquiring privately held Rypple.

Rypple provides cloud-based social-performance management tools, and its client base includes Facebook, Spotify, and Gilt Groupe. Terms of the deal aren't being disclosed, but this is the kind of acquisition that will help both companies, as Salesforce makes Rypple -- which it will rebrand as Successforce -- more widely available to its existing customer base.

If you want to see if these companies continue to do the smart thing, track them through My Watchlist.

At the time this article was published The Motley Fool owns shares of Ebix.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of salesforce.com, Ebix, and eBay; writing puts in eBay; and shorting salesforce.com. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, except for Ebix. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.

Copyright © 1995 - 2011 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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