A Fool Looks Back

Stocks can stink sometimes
In a week that was loaded with a Fed rate cut and hundreds of telltale earnings reports, I couldn't help noticing that the IPO market tends to go more smoothly if you're a rapidly growing Chinese company.

CNinsure (Nasdaq: CISG  ) went public on Wednesday and soared 56% higher on the first trade. On Thursday, Giant Interactive (NYSE: GA  ) , the company behind ZT -- one of China's fastest-growing online multiplayer games -- priced its IPO at $15.50 and opened 18% higher.

You're not necessarily finding insurance brokers and gaming companies going public domestically. The key here is that these stocks offer growth, since they sit on the coattails of a booming Chinese market.

In brief
It was a busy week, so let's dip briefly into a few of the intriguing financial headlines.

  • What's more bloated: Chipotle (NYSE: CMG  ) (NYSE: CMG-B  ) , or the analysts who can't keep up? Before you argue that I left out the stock's valuation as a third bloated choice, go join the skeptics at the end of the line. Chipotle's earnings surged 75% higher in its third quarter. The burrito baron has obliterated Wall Street expectations in each of its first eight quarters as a public company. The company's already proved that it can manage to stuff a tasty tortilla -- now it's showing investors that it's equally adept at managing expectations.

  • Rumors that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  )  will enter the cell-phone market continue to heat up. This time it's The Wall Street Journal citing sources that expect an announcement within the next week or so. I'm not sure I see the allure in a Gphone, unless we're talking about heavily subsidized Web usage. Can "Ringtone Ads by Google" be too far away?

  • The Federal Reserve chose to lower rates on Halloween. What's up with that? Did Ben Bernanke think his house would get egged if he didn't deliver a treat to distressed borrowers?

  • Crocs (Nasdaq: CROX  ) , finally proving mortal, disappointed investors with puffy inventory levels and subdued near-term guidance. When its shares fell by 36% on Thursday, it put more holes in portfolios than some of its own shoes have. I still believe in the company, though. The market is underestimating its push into new product categories, and the laid-back outlook isn't as bleak as the price drop would make it seem. To be fair, I was also bullish a week earlier, and I was wrong to be upbeat about the stock at much higher levels.

Until next week, I remain,
Rick Munarriz


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