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. Turning mobile into a moveable feast
Facebook (Nasdaq: FB ) has spent the past few months under attack.
The social-networking website operator has come under fire for its inability to monetize mobile usage, but that may be changing. Facebook shares soared on Wednesday after the company posted encouraging quarterly results and an even more encouraging perspective on mobile.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg suggests that his site can eventually generate more money from its mobile users -- per time spent engaging with Facebook -- than traditional desktop users. That's important, as mobile users are online more often.
Facebook didn't even begin to work ads into its mobile app platform until March, yet mobile already accounts for 14% of the company's ad revenue.
2. Silver lining to the silver screen
Movie theaters have struggled to draw crowds over the past two years, but you wouldn't know it by looking at yesterday's quarterly results out of IMAX (NYSE: IMAX ) .
The provider of premium theatrical experiences saw revenue climb 20% to $80.7 million in the third quarter. Adjusted earnings soared 86% to $0.26 a share. Analysts were sitting in the wrong theater, screening forecasts for a profit of $0.21 per share on meager 13% top-line growth.
Gross box-office receipts for movies showing in IMAX clocked in at $173.2 million, well ahead of the $149.5 million scored a year earlier. It's not as if individual theaters are bucking the trend. Hollywood has a problem, and the average IMAX screen generated less in revenue than it did a year ago. The key here is global expansion of the IMAX franchise. There are now 689 screens worldwide, with another 285 in its order backlog.
Finding a way to deliver analyst-defying growth in an out-of-favor industry is impressive. One can only imagine how well IMAX will do once folks start heading out to the movies again.
3. Scratching the Surface
This is the week that Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) has been waiting for. The debut of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 should help renew interest in the software giant's operating-system stronghold.
Today is also the retail debut of Microsoft's Surface tablet.
Reviews have been mixed, and that's not a good thing. Early adopters are already hesitant to pick up a Surface when the more powerful -- and no doubt more expensive -- Surface model, which runs Windows 8 Pro, will hit the market in a few months. Many potential buyers will be on the fence, as the Surface is lacking in apps, and iPad-priced tablets have a history of getting marked down quickly after launch.
However, there's one thing Microsoft is doing right with the Surface. It is only making it available through its website and its handful of namesake stores. This will limit its initial reach, but it also means that Microsoft won't be dogged by reports of tablets collecting dust at third-party retailers.
It can control the supply. It can create the illusion of demand.
4. Yelp believes the Qype
Yelp (NYSE: YELP ) wants to try something European this time.
The restaurant-reviewing website operator is shelling out roughly $50 million for Qype. Europe's leading site for foodies isn't all that large, attracting 15 million unique monthly visitors to its hub with 2 million user-generated reviews. By contrast, Yelp draws a monthly average of 78 million unique visitors, and its site has collected 30 million reviews on eateries and local venue.
However, Yelp was spending time and money opening hubs for major metropolitan cities throughout Europe. Why compete with a leader in a region when it can be bought out at a reasonable price?
The deal makes a lot of sense, and buying into Europe at a time when the region is still in economic turmoil is opportunistically shrewd.
5. Don't bury Baidu just yet
Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU ) in particular and China's search market in general are holding up better than you probably think.
Chinese Web tracker Analysys International is out with some encouraging news. Its latest study shows that China's search market grew its revenue at a 51% clip during the third quarter.
As for market share, Baidu still commands a whopping 78.6% of the country's searches. It's some welcome news, with Baidu set to report its latest quarterly results early next week.
Keep it coming
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