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. AT&T rolls out sharing the right way
Following Verizon Wireless' lead, AT&T (NYSE: T ) is rolling out shared data pricing.
Customers will be able to share a bucket of data across several devices. Yes, they will have to pay between $10 and $45 a month for every device on the plan -- you didn't think that AT&T would be doing this if there wasn't some serious money to be made here -- but it is doing this the right way by allowing new and current customers to go with the existing individual or family plans as well.
AT&T is a telco giant that burned customers by leading the way in scrapping unlimited data plans for new customers two years ago, but it's stepping into this potentially lucrative niche with its AT&T Mobile Share plan without alienating accounts that have done the math and are perfectly happy with their existing plans.
2. Travelzoo rattles the cage
Shares of Travelzoo (Nasdaq: TZOO ) opened nicely yesterday -- before closing lower -- after posting blowout bottom-line results.
The travel deals publisher with 22.1 million willing recipients of its online bargains through North America and Europe saw its quarterly profit soar 48% to $0.45 a share. Analysts were only banking on net income of $0.41 a share.
Sure, revenue growth of 5% is troublesome. The company needs to jump-start its growth, particularly closer to home, where year-over-year top-line growth has slowed to 4% for back-to-back quarters. There's a reason the early gains yesterday didn't stick. However, seeing Travelzoo check in with its healthiest operating margins since 2007 validates the scalable nature of the model.
3. IMAX keeps getting bigger
It's been a good year at the box office for exhibitors after a lackluster 2011, but that isn't the only reason to get excited about IMAX (NYSE: IMAX ) .
The provider of enhanced cinematic experiences announced two revenue-sharing deals that will expand its reach of popcorn-munching audiences worldwide.
A deal with multiplex giant AMC will add as many as 10 new screens to a joint revenue-sharing arrangement that already accounted for the commitment of 138 theater conversions over the years. Another deal will result in seven more screens going into Malaysia.
The cherry on top -- or the butter on the popcorn -- for IMAX is that The Dark Knight Rises begins what should be a spectacular theatrical run today. Director Chris Nolan filmed an hour of the movie with special IMAX cameras for the IMAX-specific screenings, giving moviegoers another reason to fork over a few bucks for the premium IMAX version.
4. Sirius upgrade
Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI ) has one fewer bearish analyst to worry about.
Barclays Capital analyst James Ratcliffe -- who in the past has suggested shorting the satellite radio provider as an arbitrage play -- is feeling more upbeat about the media giant's prospects.
Ratcliffe is upgrading Sirius XM Radio, taking it from an "underweight" to an "equal weight" rating. He's also boosting his price target on the stock from $2 to $2.25. Ratcliffe sees improving prospects for the company and feels that aggressive share buybacks will help support the stock after control issues are resolved.
Yes, Ratcliffe also abandoned coverage of Sirius XM when the stock was trading for roughly a dime three years ago. He returned fashionably late earlier this year when the stock was already trading for more than $2. However, it's better to be late than to never arrive at all.
5. An Oscar for Mayer
Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) has gone through five CEOs in as many years, but it may finally have one that will stick around for a while.
The company surprised the market by tapping Marissa Mayer as its new leader. One of the earliest executives at larger rival Google, Mayer has been one of the more visible Big G employees outside of its co-founders.
Mayer faces a daunting challenge at Yahoo!, especially given the uninspiring top-line growth performance at the company in recent years. However, her experience at Yahoo!'s faster-growing and more successful rival will help.
The market's likely to give her some time to get it right, making it highly unlikely that the company will be on its sixth CEO in as many years a year from now.
Keep it coming
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