This Week's Winners and Losers: Hot Candy, Cool Retailers
Tesla Motors (TSLA) -- Winner
The Model S isn't cheap, but Tesla is selling enough of them to impress investors. Shares of the maker of plug-in electric vehicles raced to a new high after announcing that it delivered 6,892 cars in its latest quarter. Things will get even better in 2014 as Tesla expects to sell and deliver 35,000 vehicles.
Tesla will need to ramp up its production -- currently, roughly 600 cars a week -- to closer to 1,000 Model S and new Model X cars by the end of the year.
It isn't easy running a consumer electronics store these days. Shares of Conn's plunged 43 percent on Thursday after warning that its holiday quarter results will fall well short of its earlier expectations.
If that seems like a significant drop for a mere miss, let's dive a little deeper. Conn's also warned that it's suffering from higher loan delinquencies than usual. Conn's provides in-house consumer credit on its appliances, furniture, mattresses, and consumer electronics, so revealing that 8.8 percent of its loan portfolio hasn't made a payment in more than 60 days is problematic.
Conn's, which has stores in the Southwest, blames cold weather for disrupting payments, but things are never as simple as that. Conn's was holding up better than its peers that had imploded earlier this year on reports that the holidays weren't so jolly this time around. Now we know that Conn's is merely mortal, and that way too many of its customers last year aren't current on their payments.
Candy Crush Saga-- Winner
The company behind "Candy Crush Saga" filed to go public this week. Dublin-based King Digital Entertainment is hoping to offer shares in its IPO, and it's putting up some impressive financials along the way.
King's gross bookings have exploded from $181.6 million in 2012 to nearly $2 billion last year. "Candy Crush Saga" is playing a big part in that success. Of the 1.2 billion times a day that a King game was fired up in December, 1.085 billion are for that particularly addictive app. "Candy Crush Saga" attracts 93 million daily active users.
It may be problematic to have a company go public that's a one-trick pony in mobile, but it's doing everything it can to promote the rest of its games to current players.
The world's largest retailer is having a problem drawing shoppers. Walmart saw comparable-store sales fall 0.4 percent in this country during the seasonally significant holiday quarter.
Walmart blames the weakness on reductions in government benefits, tighter credit, and higher taxes, but other stores are still finding ways to grow sales at the store level.
RBC Capital boosted its price target on LifeLock after the ID theft monitoring service posted another strong quarter.
Revenue climbed 30 percent at LifeLock with adjusted earnings more than doubling as the platform continues to attract consumers looking for early alerts when their identities have been compromised. LifeLock has now managed to grow its subscriber count and revenue sequentially for 35 consecutive quarters.
RBC Capital's price goal for the shares is going from a now obsolete $18 to a more bullish $25.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of LifeLock. The Motley Fool recommends LifeLock and Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Tesla Motors. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.