This Week's 5 Smartest Stock Moves


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. We've got a Situation here
Abercrombie & Fitch
(NYS: ANF) is no stranger to controversy, but this time it's hoping to milk the ensuing publicity. The specialty retailer has gone public in offering an undisclosed yet apparently substantial payment to The Jersey Shore cast members to stop wearing its brand on the show.

"We understand that the show is for entertainment purposes, but believe this association is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand, and may be distressing to many of our fans," A&F's statement reads.

Brilliant, isn't it? It's free publicity as long as the man known as "The Situation" and his arguably trashy reality television cronies don't take the retailer up on its offer. It's even better publicity if they do.

A few months ago, Jersey Shore denizen Pauly D appeared in a Miracle Whip commercial, where he basically dissed the sandwich spread, proving that the show's marketing appeal rests primarily on producing anti-spokespeople.

2. Putting the app in cappuccino
Baristas are offering more than fancy brews these days. Starbucks (NAS: SBUX) is teaming up with Shazam Entertainment to offer customers free cards that can be redeemed for Shazam Encore. The iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch app -- which sells for $5.99 -- is a premium version of Shazam's popular ad-supported program that identifies songs that are playing.

Starbucks has been offering iTunes "pick of the week" tracks for some time, and is now upgrading to more valuable freebies.

It's a win-win. Starbucks may see an uptick in foot traffic. App developers get some promotional exposure. Clearly, most apps won't appeal to everyone, but I guess the same can be said of the free iTunes music tracks that have been offered in the past.

3. Reed Hastings is kidding around
(NAS: NFLX) introduced a "Just for Kids" tab to its website, opening up a colorful and easily navigable section of the site loaded with kid-friendly movies and television shows that can be instantly streamed.

It's a great move by Netflix, just two weeks before existing subscribers will see their bills increase if they want to continue to receive DVDs and streams.

Netflix has been working hard to beef up its digital vault. Obviously, there's more money to be made by Netflix through serving up video for $7.99 a month than to stock and cover round-trip postage for optical discs. However, the really brilliant part of this move is that it's simply repackaging content that it has already licensed in a way that will appeal to kids.

Still set on canceling Netflix next month? Think of the children!

4. Things that make you go whirr
Shares of Jamba (NAS: JMBA) climbed 8% Wednesday after posting better-than-expected financial results. The company behind the Jamba Juice fruit smoothie chain posted a quarterly profit of $0.05 a share, comfortably ahead of the $0.03-a-share showing that the market was slurping down.

This is a bigger deal than you think, since Jamba had actually missed Wall Street's bottom-line estimates in each of the six previous quarters.


It appears that the company's turnaround may be on track. Comparable-store sales have now been positive at franchised locations for four consecutive quarters. It's encouraging to see Jamba bounce back even after McDonald's (NYS: MCD) introduced its McCafe smoothies last summer. Instead of crushing the market, Mickey D's may actually be educating the market, and encouraging new smoothie fans to seek out the more varied offerings at the local Jamba Juice.

5. Improving home improvement
Things were looking bleak as home improvement giant Home Depot (NYS: HD) laced up its orange apron ahead of Tuesday's earnings report. Rival Lowe's (NYS: LOW) had posted uninspiring quarterly results the day before. There were grim reports last month out of the leading hardwood flooring retailer and the top dog in wood-alternative patio decking.

Despite the nearly universal malaise, Home Depot did manage to post better-than-expected results, as improving same-store sales and reasonable bottom-line growth prove that home improvement projects aren't entirely dead.

At the time thisarticle was published The Motley Fool owns shares of Starbucks. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Lowe's, Netflix, Home Depot, McDonald's, and Starbucks; buying puts on Netflix; and writing covered calls on Lowe's. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is an optimist at every turn. He ownsshares of Netflix and Jamba. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. `

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