Week's Winners and Losers: Netflix and Auto Recalls Expand

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There were plenty of winners and losers this week, with the world's leading premium video platform growing its reach into three European countries and a Japanese maker of air bags expanding a recall after tragic events.

Best Buy (BBY) -- Winner

It's going to be a competitive holiday shopping season and Best Buy has thrown down the first gauntlet. The consumer electronics retailer announced Thursday that it will offer free shipping on all orders placed starting Sunday through early next year. Best Buy's online shipping strategy has been to offer complimentary delivery only on orders of $35 or more, but now everything's eligible.

It's not the only initiative that Best Buy is launching this weekend. The superstore chain will offer free Geek Squad setup on many of its more popular tech gifts, and it's even offering up a gift card for an hour of in-home tech setup. Its mobile app also offers the ability to have a live chat with a Best Buy employee.

Takata Air Bags -- Loser

It was a bad week for automakers. There were a couple of recalls as everything from a defective window switch at Toyota (TM) and a flawed ignition switch at Mazda led car giants to scramble in reclaiming their older vehicles to fix the problems.

However, the most problematic of the recalls has to be Takata's air bags. Exploding air bags are supposedly at the root of incidents that have killed at least eight people -- and injured at least 98 -- according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Netflix (NFLX) -- Winner

The leading premium video service earned a few new passport stamps this week. Netflix rolled out its online platform in Spain on Tuesday, Portugal on Wednesday and Italy on Thursday.

International expansion is a big part of the Netflix growth story. It has added more international subscribers than domestic members for six consecutive quarters, and its forecast for the current quarter calls for a record quarter in terms of international net additions.

Apollo Education Group (APOL) -- Loser

Online educators keep getting schooled. University of Phoenix parent Apollo Education Group saw its stock take another dive after posting a horrendous quarterly report. Apollo fell short of Wall Street expectations, and it's hosing down its guidance.

Enrollment continues to decline at University of Phoenix. Apollo has come under fire in the past for its marketing practices, and the effectiveness of the genre itself has been called into question.

Sirius XM Radio (SIRI) -- Winner

Things are going well for the lone provider of satellite radio. Sirius XM posted strong quarterly results this week. There are now 29 million total subscribers, and the strong performance finds the media giant boosting its full-year guidance for subscribers, revenue and other metrics.

Sirius XM has been able to grow its reach over the years. Three out of every four cars rolling into showrooms these days have either a Sirius or XM receiver.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. Check out The Motley Fool's one great stock to buy for 2015 and beyond.
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