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. Sirius comfort food
Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI ) has repurchased $1.6 billion of its stock since December of last year. And it's going to buy more.
The satellite radio speedster announced on Thursday morning that its board has authorized another $2 billion in buybacks after the initial $2 billion plan is completed in the coming months. Sirius XM will even be repurchasing $500 million shares at a discount from its majority investor, giving it more bang for its leveraged buck.
The only thing keeping Sirius XM's stock in the low single digits is the gargantuan number of shares outstanding. It may take some time before it begins making a serious dent in the billions of shares that are out there, but the media darling is clearly making a big bet on itself with $4 billion in buyback authorizations in the span of just 10 months.
The family entertainment giant is amending its bylaws so that all transactions starting Wednesday of next week will happen solely in uncertificated book entry form. In short, it's dumping the stock certificates. It might make a replica available, but naturally that won't be as popular as the genuine article.
This would seem to be a dumb move at first glance. Disney has a lot of fans all over the world, and many of them buy a share or are gifted a single share. Disney is typically the top seller for companies that sell single-stock shares with framed certificates. Why would Disney want to upset some of its biggest fans?
Well, it's not easy to support investors. There are corporate mailings, annual reports, and even the annual dividend check. It costs money to maintain a lot of these small investors, and making it less compelling to buy a single share of its stock will improve its finances.
3. When in Chrome
A couple of new Chromebook laptops were introduced this week, but let's turn our attention to the HP Chromebook 11.
The latest laptop fueled by Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG ) Chrome operating system packs some pretty impressive specs relative to its $279 price tag. In its laundry list of goodies it also includes a 60-day free trial for Google Play Music All Access.
This is the Spotify-like streaming platform that Google introduced earlier this year, charging $9.99 a month for access. A lot of people aren't used to paying for Google -- or for streaming music, for that matter -- so Big G seems to be an afterthought in a world where Pandora and iTunes Radio are now available as free, ad-supported services.
However, you have to like how Google is using these dirt-cheap netbooks as a way to hook music buffs by giving them two free months of access. There is little to lose and so much to gain at this point.
4. The HP weigh
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) hosted its annual analyst powwow, and CEO Meg Whitman offered a grim yet encouraging assessment of the PC giant's shortcomings and why it's in a good place after years of acquisitions. HP's outlook for the upcoming fiscal year was slightly ahead of analyst expectations.
The news got better later in the week when IDC published its report on PC shipments during the third quarter. Bucking the negative trend where global shipments slipped for the sixth quarter in a row, HP sold more desktops and laptops than it did a year earlier. The uptick was even stronger closer to home.
5. Stunning good looks
Taser (NASDAQ: TASR ) is beefing up its arsenal with an acquisition, but it's not a smaller maker of non-lethal weaponry.
Taser is acquiring Familiar, a company that's best known for its video- and photo-sharing app for smartphones and tablets. Ever since Taser began adding cameras to its stun guns to allow cops to chronicle the justified usage of its stun guns, the company has become more than a one-shock pony.
It's a cheap deal, and it should expand Taser's video-based offerings.
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