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. That's a good little Google
I went out on a limb earlier this week. Analysts were expecting Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) to earn $9.64 a share -- up from $8.08 a share a year earlier -- but I was holding out for more.

I figured the world's leading search engine was capable of earning $10 a share. It wasn't just wishful thinking. There were three factors that I saw working in Big G's favor heading into last night's quarterly report:

  • Estimates are inching higher.
  • Larry Page has plenty to prove.
  • Google misses once, but never twice.

That last point is important. The company has now missed Wall Street's quarterly profit targets seven times since going public eight years ago. Each of the first six times found Big G beating analyst estimates by at least 3%, averaging 9% more in profitability than what the pros were projecting.

Google posted $10.08 per share in adjusted earnings last night. I'd say "I told you so," but really it was logic speaking.

2. SodaStream throws in the kitchen sink
SodaStream (Nasdaq: SODA  ) has been offering consumers an easy way to create fresh sparkling water and carbonated sodas at home, but now it's taking things to the next level.

The Israeli-based speedster is introducing AquaBar -- a plumbed-in drinking water solution -- at a design show in Italy later this month.

There are plenty of water filtration systems on the market that serve up pure hot, cold, and ambient drinking water. AquaBar does all of that, but it also offers carbonated water. Seltzer for mixed drinks, sparkling water for fans of fizzy H2O, and carbonated water ready for the soda syrup of your choice will make AquaBar a hot home-show addition when it eventually hits the market.

There's no actual release date. Pricing for the over-the-counter plumbed-in dispenser has also not been made public. However, SodaStream will certainly be selling a fair number of soda flavors and sparkling water essences -- and a whole lot of patented carbonators -- when it does hit the market.

3. Sirius reaches higher
Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI  ) is giving subscribers on its Sirius platform a bonus. Between now and May 6, users will get free access to the slightly more expensive Sirius Plus plan, throwing in Oprah Radio, the IZOD IndyCar Series channel, and play-by-play action of NBA and NHL games.

Anyone hooked on the additional content can simply upgrade to the Sirius Plus package for as little as $2.09 a month more than they are paying now, and that includes access to Sirius Plus streams on PCs and smartphones.

Cable channels have sneak peeks of their premium movie channels from time to time, so clearly it works. The timing is also perfect, as the basketball and hockey playoffs are starting this month. The NBA playoffs won't conclude until late June this season, so the chances of hooking a few sports fans along with the Oprah buffs are pretty good.

4. Feeding time at Travelzoo
Shares of Travelzoo (Nasdaq: TZOO  ) soared 28% higher on Wednesday after reports surfaced that the travel deals publisher was putting itself up for sale.

Travelzoo has certainly been out of favor lately. The stock was trading at a mere 14 times this year's projected profitability and just 12 times next year's target before Wednesday's pop. The company's revenue and profitability have been growing at headier clips than its forward bottom-line multiples.

The timing isn't great. The suggestion that Travelzoo may be trying to cash out could hint at near-term weakness on the horizon. However, the report's sources also indicate that Travelzoo has been approached by potential buyers recently, leading it to seek out a financial advisor for a fair opinion.

5. Patents, baby
Intellectual property is juicy real estate.

AOL (NYSE: AOL  ) is selling more than 800 patents for $1.056 billion. That's not too shabby for a company that commanded an enterprise value of less than $1.5 billion before the deal.

Whether AOL uses the after-tax proceeds to invest in growth opportunities or return some of that money to shareholders through dividends or share buybacks, stodgy AOL is reminding investors that it's worth far more than what the market was thinking.

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 Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Travelzoo, SodaStream International, and Google. 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, except for Travelzoo. 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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