Things never get dull for the country's lone satellite-radio provider. Shares of Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI ) moved nicely higher this week, gaining 3.2% to hit $3.50. It was a positive week for the markets in general, but Sirius XM's pop was double the Dow's 1.6% climb.
There was more going on beyond the share-price gyrations, though, even as Sirius XM hit another five-year high. Google (NASDAQ: GOOG ) introduced a new music streaming service, and an analyst downgraded Pandora (NYSE: P ) ahead of its upcoming quarterly report on Thursday.
Let's take a closer look.
It's becoming old hat for Sirius XM to nab fresh five-year highs. This is the third consecutive week the Wall Street darling has reached a new peak.
This week's new pinnacle came on Wednesday, when Sirius XM hit $3.59 before investors took profits. It will be a challenge to stretch that streak to four weeks, since the shares would have to gain nearly 3% to get there.
A big factor will be how the market interprets the challenge behind Google All Access.
Big G brings the amps
It was just a matter of time before a tech titan made a play in rolling out a streaming music service. Google and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) have been rumored to be negotiating licensing deals with the major labels for several months.
The real surprise is that it was Google, and not iTunes parent Apple, to make it official. After all, Apple is the country's largest seller of music. Why shouldn't it be cashing in on the hot streaming trend?
With its handpicked playlists, Google All Access is a little bit Pandora and a little bit Sirius XM's MySXM, but it's mostly taking on Spotify. Even the $9.99 monthly price apes Spotify's premium plan.
However, in a move to get early adopters on board quickly, Google is grandfathering in anyone who signs up before June 30 at a reduced $7.99-a-month rate.
Google hopes its market-dominant Android mobile operating system and its video-sharing site YouTube, where music videos go viral, will help give it advantages over the competition. This market is going to get crowded soon, but it's too early to begin talking about the inevitable shakeout.
Sirius XM is in a cozy place here, since its streaming service is mostly consumed as a $3.50-a-month add-on to existing receiver-based subscriptions.
Between new 52-week highs and Google's All Access launch, there were probably plenty of reasons for analysts to get nervous when it comes to Pandora.
MKM Partners initiated coverage of Pandora with a bearish "sell" rating, and Maxim downgraded the shares from "buy" to "hold." Both analysts have valuation concerns here, but maybe they wanted to steer clear of Pandora ahead of Thursday's quarterly report.
Analysts see Pandora posting a loss -- what may be its last quarterly deficit -- on a healthy 53% surge in revenue. Naturally, the stock will move sharply one way or the other on Friday. It reports after the market close on Thursday.
A Sirius future
It was an interesting week for Sirius XM. The new week isn't likely to be dull.
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