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. Ford toughens up
Ford (NYSE: F  ) is making a lot of money these days, and it knows just what to do with some of it.

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 (Nasdaq: JMBA  ) have risen every day this week after the Jamba Juice parent acquired Talbott Teas.

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
IMAX (NYSE: IMAX  ) keeps growing. Shares of the provider of supersized screen projection systems that deliver enhanced visual and aural experiences closed 5% higher yesterday after posting better-than-expected quarterly results.

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 (Nasdaq: ZIP  ) realizes that its traditional fleet-based service isn't for everybody. Zipcar is diving into the peer-to-peer car-sharing realm as a lead investor in a financing round for California-based start-up Wheelz.

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
Garmin
(Nasdaq: GRMN  ) can come home again.

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.

Keep it coming
If you want to make some smart stock moves yourself, find out Motley Fool's top stock for 2012. It's a free report, but only for a limited time so check it out now.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford Motor and Zipcar. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of IMAX, Zipcar, and Ford Motor. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a synthetic long position in Ford Motor. 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. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, except for Jamba, Zipcar, and Ford. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.


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  • Report this Comment On February 24, 2012, at 10:05 AM, koberhol wrote:

    Great comments on Ford. Unlike GM... Seems Ford has commitment and a conscious to it's employees!

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