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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. An iPhone 5 in every pot
Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iPhone 5 hits stateside stores today.
The market was disappointed when it didn't get the 4G LTE-propelled iPhone 5 last year, but consumers eventually embraced the iPhone 4S in record levels. Android owners scoffed at how their phones had 4G, NFC chips, or Flash support, but deep down inside, there was always a twinge of envy when an iPhone 4S owner would fire up Siri to liven up a party.
Apple still has a lot of ground to make up here. Nearly two-thirds of the smartphones sold this past quarter were Android devices. The iPhone 5 -- especially the non-subsidized iPhone 5 in other countries -- won't put Apple on top but, given the insane amount of profit that the tech giant makes on every device sold, it's not as if it needs to be the smartphone of the masses.
Wednesday's iOS 6 update for fans of Apple's earlier devices also went off without a hitch, save for a few complaints about Apple's occasionally buggy new mapping feature.
Well done, Apple.
2. Laying out the Welcome mat
After a month-long lull without IPOs, a whopping seven companies were slated to go public between yesterday and today.
Thursday morning's newbie was Trulia (NYSE: TRLA ) , the fast-growing real estate website operator.
Investors haven't had a problem spitting out marquee dot-com debutantes earlier this year, but it seems as if absence really does make the heart grow fonder. Trulia was originally set to price between $14 and $16, but even the eventual $17 price tag wasn't enough.
Shares of Trulia popped 30% at the open, and the stock just kept on going. The Internet company isn't profitable, but it knows how to make up for that through sheer growth. Trulia's revenue nearly doubled last year, and has clocked in 78% higher through the first half of this year.
Trulia's welcome bodes well for other IPOs in the pipeline.
3. Groupon takes a swipe at transactions
Groupon (Nasdaq: GRPN ) has done few things right since going public late last year, and the battered stock proves it. However, the daily deals leader may have a winner with Groupon Payments.
Shares of Groupon moved 14% higher after announcing its new initiative on Wednesday. Groupon is launching a mobile payments service that underscores the fees charged by the major credit card companies, and merchants can process the transactions through their iOS devices.
Cynics may wonder why Groupon would get into the credit-card processing game, especially as a low-cost leader. It'll work. Groupon's Rolodex is thick with local merchants, and those that go with this cost-saving move will probably be more receptive to engage with Groupon on future daily deals, and other business services that Groupon may roll out over time.
Sure, this won't correct the problematic sequential weakness that Groupon is showing in its flagship daily deals business, but it's a smart move in the right direction.
It's the right call. Wal-Mart will keep selling other brands of e-readers and tablets, but why support a product made by an online rival that poses a competitive threat to Wal-Mart's market share?
Wal-Mart may thrive as the price leader in the brick-and-mortar world, but it's harder to stand out online, where lean companies can drive some pretty hard bargains. Why sell Kindles -- which will naturally send folks to turn to Wal-Mart's rival for digital books, movies, music, and games -- and validate the business killer?
5. Netflix plays up small screens
Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX ) may be losing market cap and streaming content, but it's not losing sight of its customers.
On Tuesday the company introduced an upgraded application for Apple's iPhone and iPod touch users. The new interface makes it easier to find video titles and resume watching previously initiated streams. The future will be far more competitive for Netflix than the past but, by continuing to raise the bar on technology and its user interface, it will make it that much harder for rivals to catch up on content alone.
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