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. Angie's buying a stairway to heaven
Who says that IPOs are dead?
Angie's List (NAS: ANGI) went public yesterday. Underwriters priced the offering at $13, but the stock popped 40% to open at $18. Angie's List is a vetted provider of customer reviews. Unlike other sites that are easily gamed, Angie's List users pay to subscribe to the site, making local service providers unlikely to pay up for the sake of posting a single bogus review or knocking rivals.
Buying into Angie's List itself may not be as smart as relying on the service for referrals. The company is growing at a decent clip, but the $900 million market cap at yesterday's open is a bit steep for a profitless dot-com these days. However, I do applaud that a successful IPO was pulled off this week.
2. Sony and chair
Sony's (NYS: SNE) had a rough year -- a rough couple of years, actually -- but that's not getting in the way of its dreams of becoming a television star.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Sony is approaching several cable networks to gauge their interest in a new premium television service. The Internet-based platform would likely eat into cable and satellite television if successful, so it's understandable if the channels shake their heads at the proposition.
Given the way that Sony's rep with consumers has been dragged through the hacker-laden mud this year, it's also understandable if couch potatoes would also be shaking their heads at the notion of paying Sony for broadband television.
However, Sony has a clever Trojan horse here. There are already tens of millions of homes that have a PS3, a Web-tethered Sony Blu-ray player, or a Sony Smart TV. In other words, Sony already has a significant audience that it can market the service to that already has the hardware and connectivity in place. Sony also is a big content creator for television shows and movies, so it's not starting at zero in accumulating content. Finally, if Sony will undercut your cable provider and allow you to pay for the package of channels that you actually watch, don't you think that you would find it in your heart to forgive it for its springtime hacking fiasco?
3. Amazon calling
It was a good week for tablets, as Amazon.com (NAS: AMZN) rolled out the Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble (NYS: BKS) struck with its Nook Tablet. The gadgets are limited in what they can do, but at half the price -- and in Amazon's case less than half the price -- of the market leader, they're going to make this an interesting holiday season indeed.
However, the real treat this week is that Amazon may not be done yet. Citi analyst Mark Mahaney's supply chain channel checks reveal that Amazon may be ready to roll out its own smartphone in time for next year's holiday season.
The move would make perfect sense. Amazon's already warming up to the market-leading Android platform with the Kindle Fire. It also has the Silk browser and the cloud-hosting services. It's now a leading player in digital delivery of all media. It even has an incentive here in getting its shopping apps front and center in the smartphone experience.
These early reads don't always pan out, but Amazon would be on to something if it does jump into the smartphone space.
It's not generating a whole lot of buzz, largely because everyone's playing it out to be just another cloud-based digital music locker platform, and just another online company trying to sell songs.
However, with 200 million activated Android devices out there, Google Music is hard to ignore. As a musician, I think Google deserves an encore-worthy round of applause for its Google Music Artist Hub, which makes it easy for unsigned artists to get their songs directly on the Android Market music store, unlike the third-party services that musicians need to pay for in order to get on iTunes.
Yes, Google may be singing the same verses as those that came before it, but it has a killer hook -- viral appeal through indie artists -- that can't be underestimated.
5. Chinese gamers are still into it
Fears that the bulk of the 800,000 World of Warcraft gamers that Activision Blizzard (NAS: ATVI) lost in its latest quarter stemmed from China dinged shares of NetEase.com (NAS: NTES) last week. It is, after all, Blizzard's licensed partner in the world's most populous nation.
This week's report was far more comforting. NetEase posted a 40% gain in revenue and a 41% pop in earnings, making it a point to credit World of Warcraft for both its healthy year-over-year and sequential growth. Even without the Activision Blizzard drama, NetEase still blew through Wall Street's revenue and profit targets.
Well played, NetEase.
If you want to see if these companies continue to do the smart thing, track them through My Watchlist.
- AddSonyto My Watchlist.
- AddNetEase.comto My Watchlist.
- AddGoogleto My Watchlist.
- AddAngie's Listto My Watchlist.
- AddAmazon.comto My Watchlist.
At the time this article was published The Motley Fool owns shares of Activision Blizzard and Google. The Fool owns shares of and has written calls on Activision Blizzard.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Google, Activision Blizzard, NetEase.com, and Amazon.com.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a synthetic long position in Activision Blizzard. 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 contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.