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. Face to Facebook
The eye candy on Facebook (NASDAQ: FB ) is about to get bigger.
Inspired by the success of Flipboard and its own Instagram, Facebook is making photographs and videos larger on its freshly redesigned news feed. This is the way that most people consume the site through desktop or mobile so it's an important move.
The new design will make it easier for users to customize their news feeds, but let's talk about this from a business perspective. What do you think it means that Facebook is cleaning up the clutter and making graphics larger? Clearly Facebook is paving the way to serve up bigger ads that will be easier to notice, and that will pay off through marketers willing to spend more to reach people through Facebook.
2. Boxing Pandora
Pandora's (NYSE: P ) doing better than the cynical market was expecting.
The leading music discovery service came through with encouraging results and guidance last night. Revenue climbed 54% to $125.1 million, and for a change it was the more promising subscription-based revenue that outpaced ad revenue. Pandora's adjusted net deficit of $0.04 a share may not seem all that exciting, but this marks the fourth straight quarter in which the fast-growing dot-com has beaten Wall Street's profit targets.
It's not just the past that seems promising. Pandora's revenue guidance for the current quarter and all of 2013 is ahead of where the pros are currently perched.
Pandora also revealed that the number of active listeners rose to a record 67.7 million during the month of February. There were some model concerns after listenership slipped from 67.1 million to 65.6 million between December and January.
3. Yo quiero Taco Bell
If the drive-thru line at Taco Bell is a little longer, blame it on the Cool Ranch.
Yum! Brands' (NYSE: YUM ) popular chain of dirt-cheap Mexican food introduced Doritos Cool Ranch-flavored taco shells this week. The Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos rollout follows last year's success with the Doritos Nacho Cheese-flavored shells.
Last year's incarnation was a wild success. Taco Bell wound up selling 100 million Doritos Locos Tacos in the first 10 weeks, boosting the chain's comps along the way. It has gone on to sell more than 350 million in less than a year.
The novelty may not be as potent for the new Cool Ranch addition, but it's a smart call for a company to build on last year's sleeper hit of the fast food scene.
Why were investors treated to the welcome reversal? Well, while revenue did coming a little light during the seasonally soft holiday quarter, Jamba did surprise analysts by posting a profit for all of 2012. It's the first time that the 809-unit smoothie chain turned an annual profit since going public in 2005.
However, the good news in the conference call that may have been glossed over by the first wave of traders is that Jamba's push to remodel some of its stores has resulted in juice sales tripling at the three test stores. Despite the Jamba Juice moniker, Jamba's business consists largely of its icy fruit smoothies. However, the push to showcase its pressed juices appears to be paying off.
Jamba also encouraged investors by not only sticking to its healthy outlook for 2013, but also pointing out that comps were trending positive for the current quarter. This is a pretty big deal, since Jamba was bumping up against a 12.7% spike in comps during last year's freshman quarter.
5. Green Mountain would only be Mounain without the T
Shares of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ: GMCR ) popped 5% yesterday -- barreling through $50 for the first time since May of last year -- after striking a deal to offer Lipton teas for its Keurig single-cup brewing systems.
Lipton teas will be available as traditional hot brews and Green Mountain's "Brew Over Ice" collection of iced beverages. The services will be available as K-Cup and Vue packs through Canada and the United States starting this summer.
Green Mountain's dominance of the single-cup brewing market has attracted beverage giants to work with the company. Sure, the K-Cup patents may have run out late last year, but companies are finding that it's better to work with Green Mountain -- and having access to its protected Vue platform -- than to fire away with third-party product.
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