5 Winners and Losers of the Week in Business
Companies can make brilliant moves, but there are also times when things don't work out quite as planned. From an ill-conceived entry into the crowded tablet market to the leading online retailer jacking up its minimum order size for free shipping, here's a rundown of the week's best and worst moves in the business world.
Zynga (ZNGA) -- Winner
Zynga has a long way to go to regain its former status as a market darling, but the casual and social gaming giant is doing its best to claw its way back.
Zynga turned heads by posting a narrower loss than analysts were forecasting on Thursday night. Zynga also announced that it was hiring a former marketing manager from Electronic Arts (EA) to help beef up the presence of its mobile games.
Bookings have fallen sharply at Zynga, but investors may rediscover the once hot stock with London-based King -- the company behind the wildly popular Candy Crush Saga -- getting ready to go public.
Tablet Tuesday -- Loser
It was supposed to be a great day for tablets. Tuesday treated gadget buffs to Nokia (NOK) announcing its first tablet, Microsoft (MSFT) starting to sell its Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets, and Apple (AAPL) unveiling its latest line of iPads.
%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%The morning kicked off with Nokia introducing a Lumia-branded tablet. The problem is that it runs Windows RT, the operating system that's so unpopular that Microsoft took a $900 million inventory charge earlier this year to write off the weak-selling Surface RT. Then came Microsoft tablets arriving at retailers, including the Surface 2 that happens to run, yes, on Windows RT.
Apple's event went far better, but the stock sold off after the presentation. One concern is that the new iPad mini is getting an increase in price. Apple has never boosted the price of next-gen iPads, but now it's doing so with the smaller iPad mini. That may not go over so well in a market where competing tablets have only gotten cheaper over time.
IMAX (IMAX) -- Winner
They say that the multiplex is dying, but that doesn't hold up when it comes to IMAX. The provider of super-sized theatrical experiences saw its shares soar 5 percent on Thursday after posting better than expected quarterly results.
Yes, revenue fell. There were fewer installations this time around, but the backlog has increased to 356 screens. Box office revenue declined as this year's crop of summer releases wasn't as lucrative as last summer, but those IMAX receipts are still positive through the first nine months of the year.
And the IMAX network will continue to grow. It signed up contracts for 99 new theaters.
Bank of America (BAC) -- Loser
We may be years removed from the subprime lending crisis that rocked the global financial markets, but the "too big to fail" banks are finally paying the price. Countrywide Financial -- now a Bank of America subsidiary -- became the first bank to be held liable by a court for misleading the government as part of the crisis that was only made worse when Countrywide reportedly defrauded Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac when it handed over bad home loans.
Later in the week, it was reported that Bank of America would be letting thousands go from its mortgage unit. The two events aren't related. The housing market is merely slowing down. However, it just wasn't a good week for Bank of America.
Amazon.com (AMZN) -- Winner
Things are going well at Amazon, and not just because it posted stronger than expected sales growth on Thursday afternoon. Earlier in the week, the leading online retailer announced that it was increasing the order size that qualifies for its FREE Super Saver Shipping option from $25 to $35 of Amazon-warehoused merchandise.
This is a smart move on Amazon's part, especially as it pushes more of its customers to sign up for Amazon Prime, a service that offers unlimited free two-day shipping and other digital perks for just $79 a year.
You also have to love Amazon's timing, pushing this through just weeks before the start of the critical 2013 holiday shopping season.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com, Apple, Bank of America, and Imax. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, Apple, Bank of America, Imax, and Microsoft. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.