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. Tea ball
Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX ) is birthing new concepts lately.
The java giant opened its first stand-alone juice bar three months ago. This week it announced plans to open its first Tazo tea shop. The first location will open in Seattle's University Village shopping mall, home to one of the oldest and busiest Starbucks stores.
The Tazo-branded store will sell tea lattes as well as hot and iced tea beverages. Customers will also be able to whip up customized blends at a blending station.
It will naturally take years before Evolution Fresh juice bars or Tazo tea stores move the needle at a company as large as Starbucks, but it's always good to see seemingly mature retail concepts explore new ways to regain the sizzle that growth-stock investors crave.
2. Subscribe and save a social networking juggernaut
Facebook (Nasdaq: FB ) appears to be making headlines for all the wrong reasons since going public last month, but it's been on a good run lately.
The company finally broke back above $30 late last week, and this week it acquired Face.com -- an Israeli company with face-recognition technology that will make photo-sharing on the site easier and ideally more viral.
However, the most important move by the world's largest social networking website operator is that Facebook is now allowing developers to begin charging subscriptions for their apps. In addition to the existing piecemeal digital purchases, developers can now slap on monthly subscriptions. As usual, Facebook will be there to collect its 30% share of the action.
Obviously most Facebook users will resist paying monthly fees for simple social games, but the free markets will now help developers decide on the best model. Along the way, the revenue will be incremental to Facebook.
3. Take two tablets and call me in a few months
Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) wants a piece of the tablet market, even if it has to break from tradition and make the hardware itself.
The software giant's unveiling of Surface was generally received well by critics. Cynics who argued that Flash and native support for Microsoft Office may not be enough to set Surface apart from the iPad are underestimating Microsoft's ability to spend billions to gain market share -- a move that should translate into aggressive pricing.
Microsoft diving into consumer hardware has its hits (Xbox) and misses (Zune), but it's the right approach to battle a company that's carving up the market with ridiculous margins to boot. Some naysayers wonder if Microsoft will get the developer support that it needs to turn Surface into a hit, but the company already has some of the hottest app makers on board. Why? Well, the movers and shakers are on board because -- once again -- Microsoft isn't afraid to write big checks to get noticed.
4. Brave new world
Disney's (NYSE: DIS ) Brave opens today. The Pixar flick is the computer animation powerhouse's first foray into the princess-propelled fairy tale that its parent company Disney has excelled at in the past.
The initial critic reviews haven't been as glowing as those for Pixar's Toy Story trilogy, but the early reports are that it's more than enough to get filmgoers to forget last year's poorly reviewed Cars 2 -- a rare critical miss by Pixar that still managed to perform well at the box office.
5. The electric slide
Tesla Motors (Nasdaq: TSLA ) made the cut for this list last week as Lazard Capital initiated coverage of the electric car maker with a buy rating and an ambitious $42 price target ahead of today's debut of Model S deliveries.
Well, this week it was Goldman Sachs raising its price target on the shares from $36 to $50.
Tesla's Model S has the potential to make electric cars popular after a slow start to the ballyhooed niche.
Keep it coming
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