Week's Winners, Losers: Priceline Flies, Drink-Makers Dive

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There were plenty of winners and losers this week, with analysts warming up to a leading online travel portal operator after another blowout report and companies behind beverage maker platforms posting financials that proved hard to swallow.

Makers of Beverage Makers -- Losers

SodaStream (SODA) and Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR) posted disappointing quarterly results this week. SodaStream posted another problematic report with double-digit year-over-year declines in all four of its regional territories. Folks just aren't interested in its once-trendy machine that turns tap water into carbonated beverages.

Single-serve coffee leader Keurig Green Mountain saw its stock take a 30 percent hit Thursday after posting results that were a lot weaker than its signature brews. Things just haven't been the same for the K-Cup champ since it rolled out a new platform that uses copy protection to assure that only Keurig-packaged coffee is being brewed.

Netflix (NFLX) -- Winner

The leading premium video service turned heads after announcing that it will offer unlimited maternity and paternity leave, and it will be a paid leave with full benefits for the first year. It's a big move, even in a tech field where the benefits can be plentiful to attract top candidates.

This is a brilliant move by Netflix. Sure, there were some people bellyaching about the decision, arguing that it's not fair to employees who won't be having kids. However, by and large, it seems as if most people now either adore Netflix even more or want to work for the company. That's going to help with attraction and retention for both subscribers and potential workers.

Checkers Drive-In -- Loser

This week's social media loser was Checkers Drive-In, the chain of small-box burger joints under the Checkers and Rally's banners. A video went viral this week showing an employee at a franchisee-operator outpost in Baltimore deliberately dropping a burger bun on the floor, rubbing it around the floor and placing it on a sandwich.

Checkers claims that the burger was never served to a customer, but that's something that we'll just have to take on faith. The chain fired the employee, but the image will linger in the minds of potential customers.

Priceline (PCLN) -- Winner

At least two Wall Street pros see better times ahead for Priceline. Cantor Fitzgerald boosted its price target on the shares to $1,480 from $1,360. Even better, Benchmark jacked up its price target to $1,500 from $1,350. Yes, there are still some dot-com darlings out there that haven't gotten the itch to split their shares.

Priceline moved higher after yet another strong quarterly report. It managed to post better-than-expected growth even with the negative impact of the strong dollar on overseas bookings.

Media Companies -- Losers

You know things are bad when even ESPN is feeling the pinch of cord cutters. Most of the leading cable channel and network operators took a hit after Disney (DIS) warned that ratings are down at ABC and tempered growth expectations for its cable properties.

It was really a matter of time. Streaming services are gaining in popularity at a time when cable service providers are shedding subscribers. However, it was assumed that live sports was one bastion that was untouchable given the immediacy of the news. Well, even ESPN is feeling the sting, as cord cutters continue to free themselves of costly cable bundles.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Keurig Green Mountain, Netflix, SodaStream and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends Keurig Green Mountain, Netflix, Priceline Group and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Netflix, Priceline Group, SodaStream and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. Looking for a winner for your portfolio? Check out The Motley Fool's one great stock to buy for 2015 and beyond.
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