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. Making your great-great-great-grandmother proud
Ancestry.com (NAS: ACOM) keeps growing its user base. The leading genealogy website operator revealed that it now has more than 2 million active subscribers.

This is a pretty big deal, coming just as the company's second quarter was ending. Ancestry.com was just shy of 1.9 million active family tree investigators three months earlier, so the sequential boost is a welcome sight.


Ancestry.com had a few volatile weeks during the quarter. NBC decided that it wouldn't renew Who Do You Think You Are?, the Ancestry.com-partnered show that would dive into the lineage of a celebrity every week. There were also reports of Ancestry.com putting itself up for sale, leading cynics to wonder whether its growth was peaking.

Well, we'll know more about how things play out on the top and bottom lines in a few weeks when the company reports its latest financials, but at least we now know that things look good on the membership front.

2. An endless summer of streaming
Remember all of those irate Netflix (NAS: NFLX) users that were ready to bolt after last summer's poorly received subscription rate changes? Well, while many fled in droves, those who decided to stick around are as captivated by the video service as ever.

CEO Reed Hastings revealed on Tuesday that Netflix served up more than a billion hours of monthly streams last month. It's the first time that the company has hit that gleaming milestone.

Just as Ancestry.com's record subscriber total bodes well for that company's quarter, this welcome piece of news is a good indicator that retention rates are holding up nicely.

3. A gaming bull in a China shop
Activision Blizzard (NAS: ATVI) has had its challenges in recent years, but a perpetual winner in its war chest has been its Call of Duty franchise.

Soon we'll see how the world's most populous nation feels about the military combat game when Activision Blizzard rolls out Call of Duty Online in China.

The game has been in development for two years, and Tencent -- the gaming giant that also watches over the popular QQ.com instant-messaging platform -- has an exclusive multiyear license to put the game in action in China.

Unlike players of the console version, China's online players won't have to shell out roughly $60 for the game. It will be distributed under the "free-to-play" model that most Chinese online gaming companies have gravitated to, where the game is free to play, but virtual goods can be purchased to enhance the experience.

Whether it's a big hit or not, it will at least be incremental for Activision Blizzard.

4. GM stands for "General Marketing"
General Motors may not be ready to kiss Facebook (NAS: FB) goodbye after all.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that executives from both camps have been discussing the possibility of GM's return as an advertiser on the leading social-networking website.

GM's public beef was about the effectiveness of the site's display advertising, and Facebook has plenty to gain if it does manage to get the leading automaker back on its marketing platform. It would mean that the site has validated the value of spending money to promote a company on Facebook, rather than relying solely on the free branding pages that are available.

5. Sirius XM bucks back
Sirius XM Radio
(NAS: SIRI) broke through the $2 ceiling this week. The satellite radio giant had been trading below $2 since late May.

There wasn't any material news on the company, but strong auto sales reported for the month of June should translate into a healthy uptick in new subscribers down the line.

Keep it coming
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At the time this article was published The Motley Fool owns shares of Netflix, Facebook, and Ancestry.com. The Fool owns shares of and has written calls on Activision Blizzard.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Netflix, Activision Blizzard, Ancestry.com, and General Motors Company.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a synthetic long position in Activision Blizzard. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. 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.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. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.

Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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