This Week's 5 Smartest Stock Moves

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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. Chinese wedding season is here
You didn't think that Apple (NAS: AAPL) would cling to its cash and marketable securities of $97.6 billion -- and growing -- forever. Did you?

The world's most valuable tech company is finally moving aggressively to return money to its shareholders through a quarterly dividend of $2.65 a share. A $10 billion repurchase will take place in fiscal 2013. All told, Apple's earmarking $45 billion over the next three years returned to shareowners.


That may seem like a lot, but in reality Apple will probably have even more than $97.6 billion on its books by the time it's done.

The rich get richer, my friends.

2. Green soda
SodaStream's (NAS: SODA) thinking green long after St. Patrick's Day has come and gone.

The Israeli company behind the leading home-based soda-making system is teaming up with an agroforestry resource center to launch Replant the Planet. SodaStream will plant 10 trees in Brazil for every purchase of its limited edition Rethink Your Soda line of still-water carbonation systems.

SodaStream may not seem like an eco play, but what do you think happens when you replace bottled and canned pop with home-fizzed beverages? The counter on SodaStream's website shows that nearly 1.7 billion bottles and cans have been saved because of the system.

Obviously every owner of a SodaStream isn't concerned about the environment. Some flock to the platform because it's cheaper and more convenient than brand soda. Parents turn to SodaStream because its non-diet flavors are far healthier than store-bought pop.

As long as SodaStream keeps appealing to several different groups with different hooks, the company's healthy growth will continue.

3. Netflix stages a Hostel takeover
Series by series, Netflix (NAS: NFLX) is becoming a hub of original programming.

The video service provider announced that it will offer Hemlock Grove -- a 13-episode horror series by Hostel mastermind Eli Roth -- to its streaming accounts early next year.

It's too early to tell if the Netflix-exclusive show will be a hit, but it comes on the heels of this year's Lilyhammer and this summer's House of Cards. It also has the highly anticipated fourth season of Arrested Development as a digital revival slated for next year.

After a sharp dip in subscribers during last year's third quarter, Netflix began to grow its streaming accounts again during the fourth quarter. As Netflix follows HBO and Showtime in stocking up on original programming, you can expect not only accounts to grow but possibly granting Netflix the flexibility to eventually raise its prices to the level of what Showtime and HBO are charging.

4. Buying leads the smart way
Amazon.com (NAS: AMZN) wanted to promote its AmazonLocal daily deals platform, so it decided to offer a million $10 Amazon.com gift cards for $5 apiece. They sold out in a mere 17 hours.

It's a brilliant strategy. Amazon now has a million leads, and it probably won't lose money on the promotion as shoppers likely buy far more than the $10 on the gift card codes.

Yes, Amazon is a significant investor in LivingSocial, the second largest player in this booming niche. However, it's also important to be out for itself in promoting its homegrown effort.

5. Room with a Vue
Shares of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NAS: GMCR) popped 10% higher on Thursday after announcing that Starbucks will support the Keurig parent's new high-end Vue machine later this year.

Starbucks brews will be available as Vue packs for the high-end single-serve coffeemaker in the fall.

Green Mountain took a hit earlier this month when Starbucks revealed that it will be putting out a single-serve espresso maker that also makes traditional coffee.

This is a win-win deal. Green Mountain gets to offer the marquee brand in premium java for its Keurig Vue machines. Starbucks also has something to fall back on in case its espresso system fails to catch on.

Cool beans.

Keep it coming
If you want to make some smart stock moves yourself, find out Motley Fool's top stock for 2012. It's a free report, but only for a limited time so check it out now.

At the time this article was published 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 Netflix and Green Mountain. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.The Motley Fool owns shares of Starbucks, Apple, and Amazon.com.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of SodaStream International, Starbucks, Apple, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Amazon.com, and Netflix.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a lurking gator position in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended writing covered calls on Starbucks. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.
 

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