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. Apple targets are a moveable feast
The fundamentals behind Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) have never been stronger. Just ask the analysts.

Not one, but two analysts issued notes publicly discussing Apple's potential to hit $1,000 sooner than later.

On Monday it was Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White picking up coverage of the tech giant at his new firm with a head-turning $1,001 price target. Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster followed on Tuesday, raising his 12-month price target from $718 to $910. Munster also wrote that he can see Apple hitting $1,000 during the 2014 calendar year.

2. The pros at Conn's
If you were worried about what it meant when the leading consumer electronics retailer shocked investors by announcing negative comps, store closures, and layoffs, all you had to do was wait a couple of trading days for Conn's (Nasdaq: CONN  ) to report.

Shares soared after Conn's posted blowout quarterly results.

Adjusted earnings of $0.34 per share blew past the analysts' target of $0.29 a share and the prior year's breakeven results. Comparable-store sales soared 12.1%, proving that the best way to overcome the dot-com speedsters is to stock up on bulk furniture, appliances, and mattresses that aren't easy sells in cyberspace.

Before Tuesday's report, Conn's was looking at $1.05 to $1.15 per share for the entire fiscal year. Despite beating holiday quarterly results by a nickel a share, Conn's is bumping its guidance up to a range of $1.20 to $1.30 per share.

3. Amazon thinks inside the box
Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) is finally making its digital video service available through PlayStation 3 systems.

Sure, PS3 is the least popular of the three big gaming consoles at the moment. Working deals with Xbox and Wii may have been better. However, we're still talking about an installed base in the tens of millions for a company that has struggled to get its video streams off the ground.

Amazon offers a growing catalog of titles -- now at 17,000 and counting -- to its Amazon Prime loyalty shopping club members at no additional cost. Since most couch potatoes prefer to stream video through their living rooms, Amazon has to do more to make it easier to stream its videos outside of PCs and Kindle Fires.

The PS3 is a major coup.

4. Auto sales are revving up
March was a strong month at the auto showroom. Car sales soared 13%, showing that there is definitely pent-up demand for new rides as the economy shows signs of life.

Investors didn't necessarily see it that way. General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) saw its stock take a nearly 5% hit on Tuesday after posting a 12% surge in sales. Analysts were holding out for a more substantial 21% pop. However, a meaty morsel in the report is that 40% of the automaker's March sales came from fuel-efficient vehicles that generate at least 30 miles per gallon. Just 16% of GM's sales were at that mark three years ago.

Expect this to continue. The combination of an improving economy and buoyant gasoline prices is creating the mother of all "cash for clunkers" scenarios -- without having to cut any government rebate checks this time around.

5. Supersize the screen
IMAX
(NYSE: IMAX  ) keeps growing.

The provider of enhanced theatrical experiences has signed a joint revenue-sharing agreement with Empire Theatres to install up to three more IMAX screens in Canada. Empire already has four IMAX theaters in operation, and the first of the screens through the new deal opens in Toronto next month.

IMAX has proven to be a lucrative ally to both exhibitors and movie studios looking to milk some premium revenue off their movies. They don't have to be first-run movies, either. A big component of the Titanic rerelease that begins today -- digitally remastered in 3-D -- is its presence on IMAX.

When the ship sinks -- the rendered Titanic, not IMAX -- you'll feel it.

Keep it coming
If you want to make some smart stock moves yourself, find out The 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 Apple and Amazon.com. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of General Motors, Amazon.com, Apple, and IMAX. Motley Fool newsletter services have also recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. 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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