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This Week's 5 Smartest Stock Moves

Rick Munarriz
September 13, 2013

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. Gimme Five 
It's been a hard summer for bargain sellers as discount department stores, and deeper discounting closeouts specialists, have been posting soft sales. A popular theory is that, as the economy's improving, penny pinchers are trading up -- but not every chain selling stuff on the cheap is struggling.

Shares of Five Below (NASDAQ: FIVE) soared 17% on Tuesday after posting blowout quarterly results. The chain that sells trendy stylish goods for $5 or less saw its sales climb 35%. Brisk expansion carried that growth, but same-store sales still clocked in with an impressive 6.6% gain. Adjusted earnings of $0.11 a share were more than the $0.09 a share that Wall Street was expecting.

2. All your iPhones are belong to us (NASDAQ: AMZN) is spicing up its trade-in program -- with a twist. Everyone seems to be offering programs that will turn old electronics into cash or credit, but Amazon's raising the stakes by allowing sellers to lock in trade-in prices now, and have until next month -- Oct. 15, to be exact -- to turn in their smartphones, tablets, and iPods.

This is a neat perk, especially since trade-in prices tend to drop as the next generation hits the market. 

Amazon was already offering highly competitive prices on trade-ins. This is just the icing on the cake to stand out in what has become a very-crowded market.

3. Netflix thinks inside the box
(NASDAQ: NFLX) shares hit an all-time high this week, and a reason for that was a deal announced with Virgin Media in the U.K. that gives many subscribers access to Netflix streams directly from their cable set-top box.

Netflix has been trying to get stateside cable and satellite television providers to do this for more than a year, but their instinct has been to shun Netflix. They see Netflix as a gateway drug to cord cutting, but that's the wrong approach. Working with Netflix, by working on bundling deals, will make cable services stickier. It will also keep Netflix close, because now that Netflix has more than 37 million streaming customers worldwide, you don't want CEO Reed Hastings on the other side of your battle.

Well done, Virgin Media -- and Netflix, of course.

4. Pandora express 
(NYSE: P) users don't need to search for months to find what they're looking for, but the media giant did in smoking out its new CEO. Digital advertising vet Brian McAndrews was named the leading streaming service's new helmsman. 

It's a great call. McAndrews is best known for taking aQuantive from being a small boutique online marketer into a juggernaut that was eventually acquired in a $6 billion deal. Some may have been hoping for a glitzy programming guru from the ranks of terrestrial or even satellite radio, but Pandora's problem isn't content.