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. This one's for you, Dave
After 42 years, Wendy's (NYS: WEN) is remaking its flagship sandwich. The country's third largest burger chain introduced Dave's Hot 'N Juicy this week, hoping to eat back some of the market share that it's been losing in recent years.
I've been down on Wendy's lately. I argued that it sold the wrong chain when it unloaded Arby's at a fire sale price three months ago. I shook my head when the stock hit fresh 52-week highs a few weeks later.
A new "gourmet" burger isn't going to make folks forget about Five Guys or any of the fast-growing regional upstarts that have been flipping quality eats lately. However, you can't fault Wendy's for trying. The new burger features a larger patty, upgraded fixings, and is served on a buttered toasted bun.
2. G's in your wallet
Google's (NAS: GOOG) near-field communications financial platform -- allowing Android smartphone owners the ability to use their phones in lieu of credits cards at hundreds of thousands of PayPass-enabled merchant terminals -- was officially launched this week.
Google Wallet has its critics. For now, it's limited to just one smartphone -- the Nexus S -- and a single issuing bank. Give it time. At least that's one more phone and credit card on the NFC bandwagon than the iPhone, putting the heat on Apple (NAS: AAPL) if the iPhone 5 rolls out next month sans NFC functionality. Besides, Google also revealed that it's working with other heavies to make Google Wallet more ubiquitous.
The move also validates Google's decision to stick with Google Checkout, even as it failed to gain traction against PayPal. There is a future in high-tech payments, and Google is making sure that it's one of the leaders on that front.
3. The circle of life comes full circle
The hottest film at the local multiplex this past weekend was Disney's (NYS: DIS) The Lion King, rereleased in 3-D. The 1994 classic topped $30 million in ticket sales, easily trouncing the competition even though it was showing on roughly a third fewer screens than the newer movies.
The Lion King's success may come as a slap to the face of Disney's current crop of non-Pixar animators. The movie earned more in its opening weekend than Mars Needs Moms grossed during its entire theatrical run earlier this year. This isn't too shabby for a movie that most people own and will be rereleased on DVD -- as well as Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3-D -- early next month.
4. Get hip
Shares of MAKO Surgical (NAS: MAKO) hit an all-time high after the surgical robotics specialist introduced a new high-tech operation.
MAKOplasty Total Hip Arthroplasty is a total hip-replacement procedure using MAKO's popular RIO line of robotic arm systems for orthopedic solutions.
It's a big step for RIO, which in the past was used primarily for partial knee surgery procedures.
MAKO has yet to turn its heady growth in system sales and recurring use revenue into actual profitability. Analysts don't see MAKO posting positive earnings for a couple more years. However, making its systems more useful will make it an easier sell to hospitals even in these funding-sensitive times.
5. Streaming along
It's been a good week for fans of streaming music.
Wedbush Securities initiated coverage of Pandora (NYS: P) with an outperform rating on Monday. Analyst Michael Pachter set a price target of $14. This may sour IPO buyers who bought their freshly minted shares at $16 a few months ago, but it's a call that suggests plenty of upside for the music discovery pioneer that began the trading week trading barely in the double digits. Yesterday, it was Facebook's turn to integrate many of the popular music sites within its network, making it easier to let hipsters know that they were listening to that obscure indie band before it became a moderately obscure indie band.
Today, we can turn to terrestrial radio giant Clear Channel (OTC: CCMO), hosting a two-day star-studded festival in Las Vegas this weekend to promote its freshly revamped iHeartRadio application.
The original free app allowed radio buffs to stream any of roughly 800 Clear Channel radio stations at any time. The new version also adds millions of tracks in a Pandora-like platform for those who want to be their own DJs.
In other words, you don't have to play Moves Like Jagger for the zillionth time like your local Top 40 station is doing this week -- unless you want to.
If you want to see if these companies continue to do the smart thing, track them through My Watchlist.
- AddWendy'sto My Watchlist.
- AddPandora Mediato My Watchlist.
- AddMAKO Surgicalto My Watchlist.
- AddGoogleto My Watchlist.
- AddWalt Disneyto My Watchlist.
- AddCC Media Holdingsto My Watchlist.
At the time this article was published The Motley Fool owns shares of Google and Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Google, MAKO Surgical, Apple, and Walt Disney.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.Longtime Fool contributorRick Munarrizcalls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, except for Disney. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.