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. Amazon rocks the stockings again
Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) once again owned the holiday shopping season.

The leading online retailer revealed on Thursday that it sold a record 26.5 million items on its peak shopping day this season. Perhaps just as important, Amazon also announced that -- for the eighth consecutive year -- it topped the annual customer satisfaction survey put out by marketing research firm ForeSee.

Yes, the big keep getting bigger in cyberspace.

I can nitpick the report's omissions. Amazon still isn't telling us the number of Kindle products that it's selling. It also points out that it sold a record number of Kindles on Cyber Monday, conveniently leaving out the fact that Amazon itself was practically giving away the original Kindle Fire tablet for $129 that day.

However, why quibble? Despite the embarrassing AWS outage on Christmas Eve, Amazon is still the one to beat in e-tail.

2. Facebook gets some new friend requests
Analysts keep warming up to Facebook (NASDAQ: FB  ) .

Needham & Co.'s Laura Martin is raising her price target -- from $25 to $33 -- on the leading social networking website operator.

It's hard to have a bullish rating with a price target that is slightly below where it's currently trading, but Martin isn't merely reacting to the stock's buoyant share price. She's also jacking up her top- and bottom-line projections. She now sees a profit of $0.65 a share on $6.5 billion in revenue for 2013, ahead of her earlier estimate that called for net income of $0.59 a share on $6.27 billion.

3. Baidu hears you
Shares of Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU  ) rallied back into the triple digits -- before slipping back -- after rolling out a voice-assistant app for Android mobile phones. Yes, Big G has a Siri-like app of its own, but this is China that we're talking about here.

Baidu investors have seen the market shed nearly a third of its value since a rival search engine began gaining popularity in China. Anything that Baidu can do to make its platform stickier -- and the convenience of voice-based controls would certainly fit the bill -- is important now so it can regain momentum and once again set itself apart from the competition.

4. Indexing gets a friend request
Alcatel-Lucent
(NYSE: ALU  ) continues to win raves after raising $2.1 billion in debt earlier this month.

Craig-Hallum analyst Christian Schwab bumped his price target higher on the telecom equipment maker on Thursday. His new goal of $2.50 is sharply higher than his earlier target of $1.50.

Alcatel-Lucent did itself a major favor by lining up $2.1 billion in financing that it will use to pay off maturing debt.

Buying time is important. Schwab points out how the company's plan calls for revenue to climb modestly in the coming years, but the real improvement will come in heartier margins. Layoffs and exiting unprofitable markets may be interpreted as a retreat, but Alcatel-Lucent is buying itself the time to get its turnaround right.

5. China is cheap
The next time you're wondering about how cheap Chinese stocks have become, think back to this week's acquisition of Shanghai-based BCD Semiconductor Manufacturing (UNKNOWN: BCDS.DL  ) by Texas-based Diodes (NASDAQ: DIOD  ) .

Even though in the $151 million deal Diodes will be paying twice as much for BCD as it was worth, shares of Diodes still closed higher on the news. One analyst -- Benchmark Company's Gary Mobley -- actually raised his price target on Diodes from $20 to $25 on the news.

Yes, China is so cheap that a company can shell out a better-than-100% buyout premium and still be considered a winner.

What are you waiting for, investors?

One more smart move
Regardless of your short-term view on the Chinese economy, there may be opportunity in Baidu (aka the "Chinese Google"). Our brand-new premium report breaks down the dominant Chinese search provider's strengths and weaknesses. Just click here to access it now.


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