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. Take a picture -- it'll last longer
Shutterfly (Nasdaq: SFLY ) isn't above taking advantage of a competitor while it's down.
The fast-growing photofinishing website is paying $23.8 million to acquire Kodak's Rolodex. Bankruptcy-mired Kodak will transfer Kodak Gallery accounts and uploaded snapshots to Shutterfly. It remains to be seen how many of Kodak Gallery's 75 million users will ultimately be transferred, but Shutterfly's going to be acquiring a lot of new accounts for pocket change apiece.
Shutterfly shouldn't have a problem reaching out to Kodak Gallery members, offering to take their salvaged digital snapshots and turn them into keepsake photo books or any of its other popular snapshot-centric merchandise.
2. Evolution with friends
Zynga (Nasdaq: ZNGA ) wants to be the home team.
After a couple of years of benefiting from being a star pupil on Facebook and having a hot smartphone app, Zynga is turning its namesake website into a gaming hub.
This is big on a few different levels.
For starters, if Zynga gets casual gamers to lean on its website when they're craving a quick gaming fix, it will make it easier for the company to promote its other offerings.
Zynga will naturally continue to be a staple on Facebook. Why not? Zynga accounted for 12% of Facebook's revenue last year. Having its own site will mean more control over virtual currency and other add-ons that Zynga can now market directly.
Perhaps the coolest thing about this move is that Zynga will let select developers publish some of their diversions on its platform. Zynga is the new Facebook! The stock jumped 10% on the news yesterday, so clearly the market gets how good this can ultimately be.
3. ZAGG -- you're it
When nearly a third of your outstanding shares are sold short, all it takes is a mildly positive earnings report to trigger a short squeeze.
ZAGG (Nasdaq: ZAGG ) posted better-than-expected results on Wednesday. Net sales soared 131% to $67.5 million, and its adjusted profit clocked in at $0.27 a share. Analysts were betting on net income of $0.20 a share on $64 million in net sales.
The pros can't say they weren't warned. ZAGG had actually bumped its sales guidance higher three times since last summer.
A little more than half of ZAGG's sales come from the invisibleSHIELD line of protective film covers for tablet and smartphone screens. The balance comes from other gadgetry accessories. Bears feel that this is a cutthroat market, but ZAGG continues to deliver impressive margins as it grows its retail presence.
The future seems bright. ZAGG sees adjusted EBITDA growing 21% to 32% higher this year, and net sales climbing another 40%.
4. Take two tablets and call me in the morning
It's official. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) will unveil its new iPad next week.
One doesn't have to go out on a limb to call it a winner sight unseen. This is Apple. You know it's going to be a big seller.
Apple makes the cut on the list this week for chatter about what some analysts are reporting will happen with the iPad 2.
DigiTimes -- the Asian publication that usually has a good read on what Apple's suppliers are up to -- is reporting that Apple will begin selling an 8-gigabyte version of the iPad 2 at a lower price point.
This is brilliant. For starters, the cheapest iPad 2 on the market has double the storage capacity of the rumored entry-level replacement. If Apple were to offer the new iPad 2 at $399 or even $299 it's not as if iPad buyers earlier this month can claim that the world's most valuable tech company cut prices on their model.
Limiting the storage capacity will also prevent the cheaper iPad 2 from eating into the new iPad's sales. Matching the storage capacity of the smaller and cheaper $199 Kindle and Nook tablets will be targeting those entry-level gadgets instead.
5. Even things up
The lodging industry is flexing some new muscles.
Holiday Inn parent InterContinental (NYSE: IHG ) introduced the Even brand of hotels. When the new inns begin opening next year, guests seeking a more active travel experience will be treated to rooms that feature exercise mats, weight benches, and enough room and natural light to take in some yoga.
Have you seen those tiny gyms with rundown fitness equipment? The Even gyms will be much larger and located prominently behind the front desk. Naturally, the restaurant menus will also cater to healthier dining habits.
In a sea of cookie-cutter lodging, InterContinental will stand out by targeting a niche audience.
Keep it coming
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