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. Teachers love shiny Apples
Apple (NAS: AAPL) lived up to the hype of yesterday's digital textbook announcement.

The tech giant managed to get heavyweight book publishers -- Pearson, McGraw-Hill, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt -- on board for iPad high school textbooks priced at $14.99 or less.

Apple is also putting out free tools that simplify the interactive textbook authoring features as it beefs up its iTunes U online course offering to include grade school content.

I can't be the only one not buying the argument that an iPad is more durable than a textbook, but the antiquated textbook system was ripe for an Apple revolution.

2. eBay dons the orange apron
It was a good week for eBay (NAS: EBAY) , as the dot-com giant posted better-than-expected results and revealed that Home Depot will begin accepting eBay's own PayPal as a point-of-sale payment option later this year.

I wasn't as impressed as the rest of the market by the quarter. Sure, revenue climbed 35% to $3.4 billion, but back out the recent acquisition of e-commerce leader GSI, which wasn't around a year ago, and eBay's top line grew by a more modest 21%. Adjusted earnings only climbed 15% to $0.60 a share during the period. Analysts were still expecting less, so it's clearly a beat.

I'm not sure what kind of traction PayPal will get at the home improvement leader, but just the visibility of the brand as a real-world transaction sealer at Home Depot will be a real-world boost for eBay.

3. The answer is 64
(NAS: EGHT) was one of Thursday's biggest winners after the business communications company posted better-than-expected quarterly results.

Revenue climbed a brisk 31% and 8x8's profit of $0.04 a share landed just ahead of the $0.03 a share that Wall Street was projecting. It may not seem like much of a surprise, but this is also a company that had missed analyst profit targets in two of the three previous quarters. 8x8 hasn't earned as much as $0.04 a share in a single quarter over the past decade, so clearly the small company is doing more than a few things right.

4. Baidu wants to be a globetrotter
Baidu (NAS: BIDU) is building a new office in Shenzhen, dedicating the new center in southern China to the search giant's overseas pursuits.

Baidu has already made its international intentions known. It launched a Japanese search engine a few years ago. Products in Arabic and Thai were introduced four months ago.

Baidu may never come close to matching its hometown success outside of China. Most countries already have established players that will be difficult to unseat. It also won't be easy for users to rely on a Chinese search engine given the heavy-handed censoring of search results that's required to do business in the world's most populous nation. In other words, Baidu's brand may actually be more of a liability than an asset in some territories.

However, Baidu certainly has the resources to give it a shot. Investors should applaud the attempt at diversification given China's restrictive ways.

The office itself won't open for three years, but the efforts will continue to intensify.

5. Every swoosh counts
(NYS: NKE) is taking a bold step in mobile health with yesterday's introduction of Nike+ FuelBand.

The $150 wristband records daily physical activity, translating it into a metric called Nike Fuel.

There may already be cheaper products that do similar things, but the Nike brand and smartphone app integration make it the next logical step for Nike in fitness gadgetry.

You also have to love Nike's timing here, rolling this out a couple of weeks into January, when folks are already starting to feel a bit wobbly about New Year's resolutions to exercise more.

If you want to make some smart stock moves yourself, find out Motley Fool's top stock for 2012. It's a free report, but only for a limited time, so check it out now.

At the time thisarticle was published The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Nike, eBay, Baidu, and Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended writing puts in eBay, creating a bull call spread position in Apple, and creating a diagonal call position in Nike. 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.

Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.