Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



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. Netflix cracks the whip  
Netflix  (NASDAQ: NFLX  )  started a neat practice last year, publishing the monthly average speeds that leading Internet providers achieve in delivering the Netflix streaming experience to subscribers during peak viewing times.

ISP-shaming is an interesting strategy, but we're seeing how it pays off. Monday's March update shows that Comcast is moving up the list since its decision to connect directly to Netflix. The average speed for Comcast's Xfinity customers improved by 65% since January.

It's true that Netflix has to pay Comcast for the improvement. However, Netflix's growing popularity is probably making it pretty hard for the laggards in its monthly Netflix ISP Speed Index to retain their broadband subscribers.

2. We will, we will guac you
Chipotle Mexican Grill  (NYSE: CMG  )  continues to get more popular. The fast-growing burrito-roller posted a jaw-dropping 13.4% surge in comps for the first quarter. So many casual-dining, fast-food, and even fast-casual operators have been bellyaching about weak traffic trends during the first few months of the year, but along comes the market darling to blow up the industry's scapegoats. 

Critics will argue that earnings fell short of expectations despite the pop in revenue. That's true, and it's unfortunately not new. Chipotle merely met Wall Street's profit estimates last time out and fell short the quarter before. Margins are being squeezed here. However, it's hard to quibble about the near-term profitability when the concept's popularity continues to hit new levels. Chipotle sees positive comps in the high single digits for all of 2014. 

3. J&J is dy-no-mite
One of better earnings reports this week came from Johnson & Johnson  (NYSE: JNJ  ) . The company behind Band-Aids, the namesake baby shampoo, and various health-care products posted better-than-expected financial results. 

Sales rose just 3% to $18.1 billion, but that was ahead of Wall Street's target. Adjusted earnings rose to $1.54 per share from $1.22 a share a year earlier, clocking in ahead of the $1.48 per share that the pros had forecast.

Johnson & Johnson's good report didn't end there: It boosted its profit projection for all of 2014. 

4. Take a hike
The banking giants kicked off this quarter's earnings season last Friday with mixed results. We're generally seeing better results this week, and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS  ) capped off the action by posting market-thumping profitability this morning.

Revenue also clocked in higher across all three of Morgan Stanley's three banking categories. However, Morgan Stanley makes the cut in this week's list because it also announced that it would be doubling its quarterly dividend. Bumping up its distributions to $0.10 per share may not seem like much. The 1.3% yield won't send income investors racing for the stock. It's still encouraging to see Morgan Stanley sharing more of the wealth with its stockholders after a strong quarter.

5. Pop life 
SodaStream (NASDAQ: SODA  )  moved higher on Wednesday after a report in an Israeli financial newspaper claimed that a beverage giant may be buying as much as a 16% stake in the company that turns tap water into soda. 

Rumor-mill chatter rarely makes the cut in this weekly column, but the stock did move 8% on the day because it makes too much sense. Coke, the world's largest soft-drink company, took a 10% stake in a java heavy just because it will have a home soda maker hit the market in its next fiscal year. The market validation is there, and SodaStream is still the undisputed leader that just happens to be trading for half of last year's peak. 

3 Exciting Trends to Profit From
The one sure way to get wealthy is to invest in a groundbreaking company that goes on to dominate a multibillion-dollar industry. Our analysts have found multibagger stocks time and again. And now they think they've done it again with three stock picks that they believe could generate the same type of phenomenal returns. They've revealed these picks in a new free report that you can download instantly by clicking here now.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2919214, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 8/31/2015 3:52:49 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Rick Munarriz

Rick has been writing for Motley Fool since 1995 where he's a Consumer and Tech Stocks Specialist. Yes, that's a long time. He's been an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and a portfolio lead analyst for Motley Fool Supernova since each newsletter service's inception. He earned his BBA and MBA from the University of Miami, and he now lives a block from his alma mater.

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 16,549.24 -93.77 -0.56%
S&P 500 1,975.19 -13.68 -0.69%
NASD 4,778.57 -49.75 -1.03%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

8/31/2015 3:36 PM
CMG $711.55 Down -9.65 -1.34%
Chipotle Mexican G… CAPS Rating: ***
JNJ $93.98 Down -1.19 -1.25%
Johnson & Johnson CAPS Rating: ****
MS $34.52 Up +0.47 +1.38%
Morgan Stanley CAPS Rating: ***
NFLX $114.90 Down -2.73 -2.32%
Netflix CAPS Rating: ***
SODA $15.13 Up +0.22 +1.48%
SodaStream CAPS Rating: **