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. Krispy Kreme krushes it
There's apparently still some serious money to be made in whipping up fried morsels of sweetness.

Krispy Kreme (NYSE: KKD  ) posted better than expected quarterly results on Monday.

Revenue climbed 9% to $107.1 million, propelled by a sweet 6.8% uptick in same store sales. It's not a fluke. Comps at Krispy Kreme have been positive for 16 consecutive quarters. Adjusted earnings soared 76% to $0.12 a share.

Silly analysts. They were only looking for net income of $0.08 a share on $104.6 million in revenue.

Business is also heating up overseas, and that's where Krispy Kreme expects most of its stores to open next year.

I guess you can say that making doughnuts makes the dough go nuts.

2. Wal-Mart's taxing decision
This is a week that finds Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) making news for all of the wrong reasons.

There's been a consumer backlash against the leading discounter's decision to move its Black Friday sales earlier into Thursday night, getting in the way of families of shoppers and particularly employees celebrating Thanksgiving. Even before that story gained steam, activist groups were organizing Black Friday protests.

One can rightfully argue that no one is forced to work at Wal-Mart, but the knocks have hurt the reputation of the world's largest retailer.

However, Wal-Mart is doing right by its shareholders this week in moving its dividend up a few days from early January to late December.

The tax rate on dividends is set to move sharply higher next year if the fiscal cliff remains unchecked. The top rate for payouts this year is 15%, but that balloons up to as much as 39.6% for top earners. With a whopping $1.34 billion being shelled out by Wal-Mart, it's the one time that there should be no controversy in moving a holiday event earlier.

3. Cloud hopping
When it comes to being priced for perfection, salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM  ) may very well fit the bill. The poster child of cloud computing has historically commanded a lofty valuation. Well, what if its results are better than perfect?

salesforce shares moved higher on Wednesday after posting better than expected quarterly results. Revenue soaring 35% to $788 million and adjusted earnings of $0.33 a share bested the $0.32 a share profit on $776.5 million in revenue that analysts were modeling.

It gets better.

Deferred revenue is growing even faster than its reported revenue, and that's a good indicator that the next few quarters will be even better. Naturally, salesforce is also nudging its guidance higher, in essence raising the bar on perfection.

Again.

4. Green shoots
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters
(Nasdaq: GMCR  ) will get a new helmsman, and it's a surprisingly brilliant hire. The company behind the Keurig coffee brewer is bringing in Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) executive Brian Kelley as its new CEO.

Kelley was supposed to head up Coca-Cola's North American refreshment business -- and all 68,000 of the division's employees -- in January, but still stepped up for Green Mountain's challenge.

It's a smart decision as Green Mountain tries to expand its retail presence. Current CEO Larry Blanford will hand over the reins next month. Blanford has taken the company a long way in his five-year tenure, but the past year has been one riddled with poorly modeled forecasts and a faltering share price.

Green Mountain can use a fresh perspective at the top, and it has come up with a smart brew.

5. Dot-com growth isn't dead in China
After seeing way too many of China's biggest Internet companies scare investors with outlooks calling for a sequential drip in revenue this quarter, Qihoo 360 (NYSE: QIHU  ) broke the mold.

The company behind China's top Internet browser and suite of online security solutions posted blowout quarterly results, but the guidance is even more encouraging. The $93 million to $94 million that Qihoo 360 is projecting for the current quarter is well ahead of both the $90.2 million that analysts are forecasting and the $84 million that it rang up during the third quarter.

Yes, there's still growth to be had in China. Investors just need to know where to look.

With Green Mountain as cheap as it's ever been, many investors are wondering whether this is the end of the former market darling, or the perfect entry point for an enormous rebound. You can find our recommendation for how to play the company in our new premium research report. In it you'll find everything you need to know about Green Mountain, including whether it's a buy at today's prices. Click here for instant access.


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  • Report this Comment On November 23, 2012, at 9:04 PM, aleax wrote:

    "The top rate for payouts this year is 15%, but that balloons up to as much as 39.6% for top earners" -- actually well over 40% once you count the 3.8% ACA surtax on "unearned income". It's getting late in the year, but I'm still hoping we'll see special dividends and moved-up dividends from all dividend-paying stocks I know...!

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