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. Rays of hope
SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY ) moved higher after it made a deal to broaden its operations. The solar panel installer will be paying $200 million -- and as much as $150 million more in potential earn-outs -- for solar module start-up Silevo.
The market liked the move, padding SolarCity's market cap by nearly $900 million when the news was announced on Tuesday. You don't often see a buyer tack on nearly triple the value of an acquisition, but SolarCity knows what it's doing. Chairman Elon Musk explains that SolarCity's ambitious growth targets make securing solar modules a priority. Silevo's emphasis on efficiency should pay off when scaled by SolarCity's future plans.
2. Come on, baby -- dial my Fire
Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN ) introduced its first smartphone on Wednesday. It didn't live up to the 3-D holographic hype, but it's hard to deny that its face-following display is impressive. It also isn't hitting the market priced to sell, going with the same $199 subsidized price with a two-year contract as the entry-level iPhone. And it's also limited to a single carrier when it hits the market next month.
Limitations aside, this is a winner. The Dynamic Perspective sensor creates rich visuals which are presently unmatched by the competition. Amazon is also offering unlimited cloud storage of photos, something that should be eventually embraced by the competition. The Firefly technology is also another potential game changer, providing deeper interaction with media and other functions.
For a limited time, Amazon's offering a free year of Amazon Prime -- or 12 additional months for existing members -- so it does effectively bring the price closer to a more realistic $100 subsidized with a two-year contract.
Baidu announced on Tuesday that Chinese software analytics specialist AV-Comparatives has dubbed Baidu Antivirus the country's most popular antivirus program. Earlier in the week, dot-com researcher Enfodesk reported that Baidu Map was the country's top mapping application during this year's first quarter. Map apps dominate mobile downloads in China's traffic-congested major cities.
Accolades in security software and map apps are sweet badges for China, especially since Baidu has been investing in other growth areas including online video, travel, and app marketplaces. Baidu investors will be in a world of hurt if it begins to relinquish the lucrative paid-search crown, but at least it's taking steps to diversify just in case.
4. Flying off the Handler
Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX ) continues to be a force in programming. The leading premium video service announced a deal with talk show and comedy icon Chelsea Handler. It will start slowly with a stand-up special in October, followed next year by four docu-comedy specials with Handler tackling everything from politics to NASCAR.
All of this content will be exclusive to Netflix, but the real gem in the deal will come in 2016 when Handler hosts Netflix's first proprietary talk show. She has already established a decent-sized following through E!'s Chelsea Lately, and now she'll give Netflix subscribers something timely to check out every week.
5. A new social discovery
Shares of MeetMe (NASDAQ: MEET ) soared 23% on Wednesday after Wunderlich Securities initiated coverage with a bullish buy rating. It slapped a $4.50 price target on the social discovery specialist -- more than double the current share price.
Wunderlich is encouraged by MeetMe's prospects to grow its mobile user base and beef up its monetization efforts. In a case of welcome timing, MeetMe's chief executive officer and chief financial officer presented at the Oppenheimer Bi-Annual NY Internet Investor Day on Wednesday, too, giving the company a platform to amplify its appeal.
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