Week's Winners and Losers: Microsoft Ventures to Oz

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Microsoft Store Opening
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There were plenty of winners and losers this week, with a "cheap chic" discounter quickly selling out of a hot fashion collection and a fast-food giant falling short, again.

Target (TGT) -- Winner

The cheap-chic retailer was the place to be on Sunday morning when it began stocking a new line of Lilly Pulitzer items. The 250 items were supposed to last for weeks, but the line sold out online within hours -- and some store shelves were picked dry within minutes.

Yes, Target did get some bad press in the aftermath of the frenzy. The discounter's website was slammed, resulting in a temporary outage. Many initial shoppers simply loaded up their carts, turning to resale marketplaces to flip the items at a profit. There are a lot of things that Target could have done better, but it became the hot and trendy place to shop on the strength of another savvy fashionista collaboration.

Target was already starting to bounce back after the humiliating credit card hack that crushed business during the 2013 holiday shopping season and the recent retreat out of Canada. The quick run on Lilly Pulitzer should make this another healthy quarter.

HSBC (HSBC) -- Loser

The global banking giant was giving some visitors to its website in Hong Kong a little more interest than they were expecting. A link on its site was referring visitors to a pornography site.

How did this happen? It's an honest mistake. HSBC's site had a link to the Young Entrepreneur Awards that was scrapped in 2011. A porn site took over the abandoned website address -- a young enterprising move, one might say -- and anyone clicking on the link was being transported to the hardcore site. HSBC apologized for the blunder on Monday after nixing the naughty hyperlink from its site.

Nasdaq -- Winner

The Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) closed at a new all-time high on Thursday. This is the first time that it has happened in 15 years. Yes, this finally takes us to the dot-com bubble peak for the popular market gauge.

This doesn't mean that it's time to worry. Nasdaq companies are far more profitable now than they were in 2000. We can always argue that it doesn't account for inflation on one end or dividends on the other, but it's still a welcome mark to finally break through.

McDonald's (MCD) -- Loser

The world's largest burger chain disappointed the market again. McDonald's posted another problematic financial report with comparable-restaurant sales in the U.S. falling for the sixth consecutive quarter. It was also the fifth straight quarter that Mickey D's fell short of Wall Street's profit forecast.

The public has soured on McDonald's. The brand is tarnished. New CEO Steve Easterbrook obviously has his hands full. It will introduce a turnaround strategy on May 4, but realizing that there's a problem isn't the same thing as solving the problem.

Microsoft (MSFT) -- Winner

The world's largest software company announced that it will open its first stand-alone Microsoft Store location outside North America. The first international location will be in Sydney, Australia, showcasing Windows PCs, Xbox consoles, Lumia smartphones and Surface tablets.

Microsoft seemed to be merely ripping a page out of Apple's (AAPL) playbook when it decided to open namesake stores and kiosks, but after opening 110 locations through the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico -- and a handful of store-in-a-store outlets in China -- Microsoft is back to hoping that its wide array of consumer electronics is enough to support a dedicated store at the other end of the planet.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and McDonald's. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. Looking for a winner for your portfolio? Check out The Motley Fool's one great stock to buy for 2015 and beyond.​
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