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. Ford toughens up
The U.S. automaker is tackling its woefully underfunded pensions by adding $3.8 billion into the plans.
It's not enough. Ford began the year $9.4 billion short of its stateside obligations and in a $15.4 billion hole with its pension plans globally. However, a step in the right direction -- even if Ford has a long way to go unless its pension plan investments stage a miraculous recovery -- is a step worth applauding.
2. Strip teas
Shares of Jamba
Talbott markets a line of roughly two dozen premium tea varieties.
Caramel Sundae Escape? Luscious Lemon Meringue? Are these tea flavors, a dessert menu, or porn star names?
Talbott gained momentum when Oprah Winfrey selected it as one of her "Favorite Things" in 2010. The move opened doors at some high-end retailers and on QVC. The two founders appeared on ABC's Shark Tank show just this past weekend, but now they're on Jamba's hook.
Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but the move should help breathe new life into Jamba's specialty beverages outside of its signature smoothies. This is also a smart seasonal move. Jamba suffers from seasonal swings, as patrons prefer cool fruit smoothies during the warm summer months. Premium warm teas should help prop up same-store sales during the seasonally sleepy winter months.
3. The big picture
Revenue may have slipped 4% to $66.7 million, but that was well ahead of the $63.4 million that the pros were targeting. IMAX's adjusted profit of $0.14 a share was in line with analyst estimates, but that in of itself was a sweet achievement since IMAX had missed Wall Street's estimates in the year's three other quarters.
Armed with a 33% boost in the size of its commercial theater network through 2011, the 2012 slate of releases looks promising. There will be at least 17 theatrical movies out on IMAX this year, and that includes the first James Bond film -- November's release of Skyfall -- to go for an IMAX makeover.
IMAX is also looking to add 95 to 100 new screens worldwide this year. Yes, 2011 was generally a bad year for exhibitors, but IMAX is poised for solid growth in 2012.
4. Car-sharing gets personal
Auto-sharing giant Zipcar
Wheelz was launched at Stanford last year, allowing students to seamlessly rent out their cars when they're not using them. The service is in the process of expanding to other California universities.
It remains to be seen how big a market there is for folks willing to rent out their cars and chancing a rental of someone else's vehicle. Zipcar's flagship model is doing just fine with 673,000 members. However, it certainly doesn't hurt to hedge one's bets by having some skin on both sides of the auto-sharing niche.
5. Finding your way back home
The GPS giant stunned the market with a blowout quarter this week. Revenue rose -- yes, rose -- 9% and Garmin's adjusted net income of $0.96 a share blew analysts away. They were only expecting a profit of $0.64 a share, which just goes to show that they're so lost that they can use a Garmin GPS.
Garmin has been growing outside of its flagship automotive GPS gadgetry lately, and this time it all came together.