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. California streaming
Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX ) found the perfect way to silence critics.
The leading video service saw its stock soar 42% yesterday after posting blowout quarterly results.
Analysts were braced for a loss, and Netflix came through with a healthy profit. Cynics figured that Netflix was having a hard time keeping its customers happy, yet Netflix closed out the quarter with 3.85 million net additions worldwide for its popular streaming service.
Netflix also issued robust guidance, forecasting another unexpected quarterly profit for the current quarter. It should be Netflix's first quarter to top $1 billion in revenue.
However, the real reason Netflix tops this list is that Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Tony Wible -- a consistent bear on Netflix for nearly six years -- decided last week to upgrade Netflix with a buy rating.
The only challenge now is that Netflix shares just blew past the $129 price target he issued that seemed so lofty at the time.
2. The robot will see you now
iRobot (NASDAQ: IRBT ) cleans up floors with its Roomba dirt-sucking automatons. It also makes battlefields less messy with its PackBot military robots that keep live troops out of harm's way.
Now iRobot is ready to visit the hospital.
Shares of the robotics leader moved higher on Thursday after the company reported that the FDA had cleared a telepresence robot that it and partner InTouch Health have been developing for hospital use.
Telemedicine has come a long way over the years, and the RP-VITA navigates through hospitals independently to check on patients and perform other routine tasks. Don't worry, it doesn't come with a scalpel or a prescription pad.
At a time when iRobot shareholders are concerned about military spending drying up and consumers growing jaded when it comes to vacuum-cleaning robots, it's always nice to have something else in the works.
3. Zombies are everywhere
Netflix is doing a surprisingly great job of retaining its subscribers, and that will get easier through 2013 as it beefs up its original programming.
Netflix isn't the only one counting on exclusive content to draw an audience.
The lighthearted yet action-packed movie grossed more than $75 million in its original theatrical run in 2009, and it's easy to see the appeal of zombies as subject matter given the runaway success of The Walking Dead these days.
Cynics will argue that no one can shell out the kind of money for original streaming programming that Netflix can, and developing a crummy series may wind up being worse than not producing one at all. However, you have to admire Amazon's thinking here.
Its heart is in the right place, but don't forget to aim for the brain when warding off a horde of zombies.
4. Good to the last drop
Shares of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ: GMCR ) hit their highest levels since May after KeyBanc analyst Akshay Jagdale issued a rosy outlook for the company this week, pointing out that a shortage of single-serve coffee products will benefit the company behind the Keurig brewing system in the near term.
Jagdale bumped his price target from $45 to $55 last month, and that's not changing with this week's report.
Green Mountain has been on a tear since bottoming out in the teens this past summer. The stock has soared 156% since its July low, and that's not sitting well with billionaire hedge fund manager David Einhorn.
Yes, Einhorn was right to pan Green Mountain in 2011 when the stock was closing in on triple digits ahead of last year's K-Cup patent expirations. However, Einhorn may have gotten too greedy here. In a note to his hedge fund investors this week, Einhorn concedes that sticking to his short position of Green Mountain Coffee late last year hurt his performance.
5. Big G gets bigger
Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) didn't disappoint in its later quarter.
Shares of the world's largest search engine and online advertising company posted strong growth. Back out Google's Motorola business for a snapshot of organic growth at the dot-com darling, and Google revenue soared 22% to $12.91 billion.
Yes, cost-per-click went down. This is mostly the handiwork of booming mobile usage that isn't as easy to monetize. However, that particular metric improved sequentially. Besides, Google was able to make it up in volume through a 24% increase in leads that it generated for its sponsors.
Now armed with a whopping $48.1 billion in cash and marketable securities, Google can pretty much buy its way out of any potential rut.
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