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. Pop goes the world
In its first quarter as a public company, SodaStream (Nasdaq: SODA  ) proved as bubbly as its home-carbonated sodas.

Revenue growth accelerated to 52%, fueled by stateside sales more than tripling. Earnings matched the top line's 52% spurt.

An encouraging nugget in the report is that SodaStream sold 449,000 of its systems during the quarter, considerably more than the 285,000 it moved during last year's third quarter. The larger the established base of owners, the more refillable CO2 carbonators and soda syrup it will sell in future periods. It's a razor-and-blades model that has served Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq: GMCR  ) ridiculously well as it grows its base of Keurig owners.

After initially popping on the news, SodaStream shares fell sharply. The stock promises to be volatile as Mr. Market goes back and forth between the viral nature of the product and the potentially faddish nature of home-brewed pop.

Fundamentally though, the report was a winner.

2. Satellite at a light
The holidays came early for Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI  ) , as the company was raining down gifts for its subscribers and shareholders:

  • Sirius XM announced that it had finally hit the elusive yet impressive mark of 20 million subscribers.
  • Dr. Laura Schlessinger -- the polarizing yet magnetic talk show host -- will be coming exclusively to Sirius and XM next month.
  • Sirius inked a five-year extension with the NFL to continue broadcasting all of the league's gridiron contests after this season.

Sure, crickets are still chirping when it comes to news on the negotiations with Howard Stern. His last show is now just two weeks away. In the meantime, enjoy the gifts.

3. Speedy wireless is finally here
Verizon
(NYSE: VZ  ) is lacing up its wireless network for a heady sprint. The company's wireless arm is finally introducing its fast 4G network in 38 metropolitan markets on Sunday.

There won't be any smartphones or mobile hotspots on it until next year. This weekend's debut will consist solely of a pair of USB modems. However, Verizon Wireless -- the partnership between Verizon and Vodafone (NYSE: VOD  ) -- is taking this seriously enough to price it aggressively. Charging customers $50 a month for 5 gigs of data is actually less than other companies are charging for slower 3G mobile broadband.

Verizon Wireless is right to start slowly. It has one of the better reputations among wireless carriers, and it's important for the kinks to be worked out before handset makers storm the market next year with their Verizon 4G phones.

4. Stream a little stream
Netflix
(Nasdaq: NFLX  ) continues to broaden its digital library.

The flick flicker signed a digital distribution deal with FilmDistrict, giving subscribers digital access to the company's flicks during the "pay TV window" when premium movie channels typically get their first crack at retail releases.

It doesn't matter that the first two films to be included in the deal -- Drive and Lockout -- aren't even out in theaters yet. The point here is that Netflix continues to actively seek out incremental content for its couch potatoes who can't be bothered with waiting for DVDs to arrive in the mail.

This is the first digital deal announced since Netflix revealed a hike for all of its monthly plans with a streaming component. These deals will have to continue if Netflix is going to justify higher rates next year.

5. A new way for gamers to score points
Microsoft
(Nasdaq: MSFT  ) is rolling out Xbox Live Rewards, a loyalty program for Xbox 360 gamers who rely on Microsoft's online hub for multiplayer games and media downloads.

Microsoft will be giving out points for tasks such as renewing Xbox Live subscriptions, making marketplace purchases, taking surveys, and even activating Netflix streams. These points are currency in the Xbox Live marketplace.

As magnetic as Xbox Live is to hardcore gamers, a loyalty program probably isn't necessary. However, appealing to the gaming element of racking up points should be a sticky offering in keeping gamers close, divulging personal information, and spending money now to save money later.

Clever, Microsoft. Very clever.

Which moves do you think are the smartest? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

Microsoft and Vodafone are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Netflix is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool owns shares of Microsoft, on which Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is an optimist at every turn. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, except for Netflix. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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