Week's Winners and Losers: Apple Ticks, Multiplexes Click
Apple (AAPL) -- Loser
The world's most valuable consumer electronics company got off to a bad start this week when several of its online services suffered an outage Tuesday morning. Many users were unable to access iTunes, App Store and even the recently updated Apple Music platform. Service was restored roughly four hours later.
However, a bigger outage came later in the day when Apple posted quarterly results, refusing to offer up metrics on Apple Watch sales. One can't argue that there's a competitive advantage to staying silent. It had no problem talking about the number of iPhones and iPads it sold when those products hit the market. The silence will only fuel concerns that Apple Watch popularity has been waning since the initial excitement at launch.
Movie Theaters -- Winner
Multiplex operators are having a blowout summer season and Wall Street is paying attention. Benchmark initiated coverage of Cinemark (CNK) with a bullish buy rating this week. MKM Partners followed suit with an upbeat nod for AMC Entertainment (AMC).
It's easy to see what's going on here. Three of the leading exhibitors -- including AMC -- report next week. Wall Street pros want to get in with bullish notes ahead of reports that should be pretty solid. Analysts have seen this flick before. They know it ends well.
LifeLock (LOCK) -- Loser
Shares of LifeLock lost nearly half of their value in a single day when the Federal Trade Commission accused it of continuing to make false claims in its advertising and failing to protect sensitive consumer information. LifeLock is a leading monitor of credit breaches and it was doing pretty well until this point by posting 40 consecutive quarters of sequential growth in subscribers.
That streak could end if consumers begin considering the allegations. If folks are not getting what they think they're getting and if their personal information isn't being secured in the way that's been promised, the brand could be deep-fried in irony before long.
SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS) -- Winner
The struggling theme park operator has had a bad month, having to suspend an employee who was infiltrating PETA, posing as an activist to be disruptive to the animal protection group's causes. However, this week SeaWorld got the upper hand in a peer-reviewed study that shows that killer whales in captivity don't have shorter life expectancies than those in the wild.
The Journal of Mammalogy by the Oxford University Press claims that the average life of a killer whale is 41.6 years, in line with the average life of 29 and 42.3 years for Southern and Northern whales in the wild, respectively. The study also shows a dramatic difference in survival rates of young calves through the age of 2 (97 percent at SeaWorld, 80 percent in the wild).
Life expectancies of captive orcas was a big knock on SeaWorld raised in the Blackfish documentary that has resulted in declining attendance at the marine life parks. SeaWorld is fighting back against the negative publicity, and after back-to-back years of 4 percent attendance declines, it needs to start winning again.
Twitter (TWTR) -- Loser
You're limited to just 140 characters on Twitter, but the company itself may want to set limits on some of its own characters. One of the social media giant's departments decided to throw a party on Tuesday. There's nothing wrong with that, except it chose a frat theme.
We're talking kegs of beer, red Solo cups lined up for beer pong and a "Twitter Frat House" banner hanging from the wall. The problem, of course, is that Twitter has come under fire for the way it treats female employees. Staging a "frat house" party instead of going with a Greek or sorority mixer theme seems awfully misogynistic at the worst possible time for Twitter.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of LifeLock and SeaWorld Entertainment. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, LifeLock and Twitter. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Twitter. 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.