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. Youku to Tudou: "I do!"
I may not be a fan of China's profitless video-sharing sites, but I ultimately have to like Youku's (NAS: YOKU) deal for smaller rival Tudou. The market seems to feel the same way. Youku -- China's leading video-streaming website operator -- announced that it would be paying a 159% premium for Tudou, yet even Youku's stock soared on the news.
The thing is that Tudou was overpriced, but Youku was way overpriced. Tudou was also starting to gain market share on Youku.
The deal is accretive, though not on an earnings basis. Silly. Neither company is anywhere close to posting an actual profit! It's accretive on a revenue and market share basis.
More important, though, it opens the door for more consolidation among China's more reasonably priced Internet companies.
2. Pop goes the world
SodaStream's (NAS: SODA) going high-tech.
The Israeli company behind the leading home-based soda-making system announced that it will add a new appliance to its lineup in time for this year's holiday shopping season.
Revolution will be the company's first electric water-fizzing system. Instead of needing manual pushes of a pump to trigger the release of CO2 into still water to make it sparkling, the new machine will do it all with the press of one of four buttons that determine the level of carbonation.
The machine will cost roughly twice as much as the cheapest model presently on the market, but it will give SodaStream something new to market in addition to several new flavors that will hit stores this summer.
3. It's a dirty job, but someone has to stream it
Piece by piece, Amazon.com (NAS: AMZN) is assembling a strong digital catalog.
The leading e-tailer is adding roughly 3,000 more titles to the streaming service that it makes available to Amazon Prime subscribers at no additional cost. There will now be more than 17,000 titles on the service.
The new batch of content consists of episodes from popular Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet, and Science cable channel shows. We're talking about Cake Boss, Mythbusters, Dirty Jobs, and a lot more.
Since Amazon is tightlipped about Amazon Prime membership counts, there's no way to know if this is actually beefing up subscriptions to the $79-a-year service. However, every new content deal makes it that much more feasible for the country's top dog in online retail to roll out this unlimited streaming catalog as a stand-alone service at a price well below what Reed Hastings is charging.
4. Insurance for a rainy day
Ebix (NAS: EBIX) is holding up just fine. The provider of cloud-based solutions for the insurance industry delivered better-than-expected quarterly results on Tuesday.
Revenue climbed 26% to $44.1 million, and profitability of $0.44 a share was more than the $0.42 a share it posted a year ago and the $0.41 a share that analysts had been targeting.
Ebix has now been able to grow its revenue and earnings per share on an annual basis for 12 years in a row. If that's not enough, Ebix also boosted its quarterly dividend by $0.01 to $0.05 a share.
5. Vudu magic
Wal-Mart (NYS: WMT) is usually chasing everyone else when it comes to digital initiatives, but this time it's leading the way.
The world's largest retailer announced that it would begin serving up digital copies of movies put out by the five major studios behind the UltraViolet movement through its Vudu.com video website.
Shoppers have to prove ownership by lugging in the eligible DVDs and Blu-ray discs to Wal-Mart photo centers to be validated. They also have to pay $2 for each title, but it opens up a lifetime of streaming on Wal-Mart's dime.
Sure, the verification process is clunky, but it's a sweet move for Wal-Mart given dirt cheap storage and bandwidth costs these days. The real kicker for Wal-Mart is that more people will sign up for Vudu and make the connections that will ultimately motivate them to purchase individual digital titles through Vudu.
A lot of people aren't pleased with the business move, but $2 is a small price to pay for future preservation and true portability.
At the time this article was published Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, except for Ebix. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.
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