Last Week's 5 Smartest Stock Moves

These five companies got it right.

Jul 28, 2014 at 11:53AM

If you're feeling good about the market, you're not alone. Take my hand as we go over some of last week's more uplifting headlines.

1. Earnings with integrity
Running an eatery has been a pretty hard gig for most chains these days, but thankfully Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) has been a cut above the rest. The country's favorite burrito roller posted blowout quarterly results last week. 

Revenue climbed 29% to top $1 billion, fueled by an amazing 17.3% spike in comps. Earnings per share climbed 24% to $3.50, blowing past the $3.09 that Wall Street was forecasting. Chipotle was a consistent world-beater in its prime, but this is actually the first time in a year that the fast-growing chain has landed ahead of analysts on the bottom line. 

2. You should see the surgical robotic arm's golf swing
Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG) was an analyst darling last week. Stifel Nicolaus and Raymond James upgraded the company behind the da Vinci surgical robotics system after it posted better-than-expected quarterly results. 

Intuitive Surgical's numbers may not seem inspiring at first glance. Revenue took a double-digit percentage hit, with earnings sliding even more. However, global procedures performed did increase 9% from a year earlier and 8% sequentially. Profitability of $3 per share trounced the $2.83 per share that analysts were forecasting. Positive buzz for the new da Vinci Xi platform is the cherry on top for Wall Street pros to begin warming up to Inuitive Surgical again.

3. Born on the Baidu
Expectations were high for Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) heading into Thursday night's earnings report, especially after the stock soared past $200 for the first time after a timely Morgan Stanley upgrade. Well, China's leading search engine was more than up to the task.

Revenue soared a better-than-expected 59% to $1.93 billion, but the real surprise came on the bottom line, where adjusted earnings soared 38%. Analysts were only holding out for a single-digit percentage advance, banking on Baidu's forays into lower-margin online specialties to weigh on its profitability. Baidu managed to grow just fine, and its top-line outlook for the new quarter is also comfortably ahead of where the pros are perched.  

4. American beauty
The airline industry is flying high again, and American Airlines Group (NASDAQ:AAL) is sharing the wealth with a $1 billion stock buyback and a new quarterly dividend. American Airlines' commitment to cut checks every three months for $0.10 a share is a pretty big deal. It hasn't paid out a dividend since 1980. However, last year's merger with US Airways has started to pay off sooner than anyone expected. 

The industry is growing as passengers pay more while fuel prices hold steady, improving the prospects for most of the leading -- and formerly bleeding -- air carriers. On Thursday American Airlines reported a net profit excluding net special charges of $1.5 billion for its latest quarter -- a record for any quarter in its history. 

Investors have been burned by the volatile industry before, but ignoring the robust fundamentals and game-changing consolidation could be just as dangerous for investors dismissing the opportunity.

5. Google wants to be the king of all media
As if a $35 streaming-video device weren't enough of a good deal, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is sweetening its Chromecast's value proposition by rewarding owners with three free months of Google's All Access Music.

This is a smart move by Google. It has sold millions of Chromecast devices, but its Spotify-like on-demand music service has been a hard sell at $10 a month. This free trial can potentially introduce All Access to millions of new users. 

Risk-free for 30 days: The Motley Fool's flagship service
Tom and David Gardner founded The Motley Fool over 20 years ago with the goal of helping the world invest...better. Their flagship service, Stock Advisor, has helped thousands of investors take control of their financial lives and beat the market. Click here to sign up today.

Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Baidu, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Google (C shares), and Intuitive Surgical. The Motley Fool owns shares of Baidu, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Google (C shares), and Intuitive Surgical. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers