If you're up to your earlobes in negative news this week, take my hand as we go over some of the more uplifting headlines of the past few days. There was more in the news than just layoffs, missed earnings, and guidance knockdowns this week.
1. An IPO with a view
Grand Canyon Education
These chilly market waters have kept debutantes from diving in for more than three months. You have to go back to early August to find the last domestic company to go public. Grand Canyon's belly flop makes it unlikely that another company will jump right in, but it's a welcome wink from Mr. Market to let us know that market liquidity is alive and well.
2. Home for the holidays, literally
Step aside, Ebenezer Scrooge. Freddie Mac
It's not just the holiday cheer, because it's not as if the economy will magically improve in 2009. However, it does buy families choking on their mortgages -- and, quite frankly, Freddie and Fannie -- some time to come up with a workable solution.
3. You go, HP
When you have good news to share, why wait a week when you can just blurt it out? Hewlett-Packard
Sure, this is the equivalent of shouting "Surprise!" prematurely at a surprise party, but the gloomy market needed a little pick-me-up. Tech still has a pulse, my friends. Now if only HP could use one of its multi-purpose printers to scan CEO Mark Hurd and fax him out to all of the other struggling companies in Silicon Valley.
4. You go, you
It's also a good time to be a tech-savvy consumer. This week alone, companies announced initiatives that give consumers the ability to order pizza deliveries from their DVRs, stream movies at no additional cost through their video game consoles, and save some serious coin on computer virus protection software.
This wouldn't be good news if it was just the consumers making out like bandits. The companies making life a little easier for us also have plenty to gain, chiefly in the form of customer retention.
5. Open wide (screen)
Family entertainment giant Disney
It's a win-win deal. Disney will be able to pad its box-office receipts, as a result of the incremental distribution and the higher IMAX ticket prices. IMAX will also be sitting pretty, as more exhibitors flock to the company to enhance their traditional movie houses with digital IMAX projection systems.
6. Save the date, or steal it
Tired of software companies bumping release dates? Take-Two Interactive
However, the Feb. 17 release will be a big step for both Take-Two and for digital delivery. The episodic follow-up to this year's Grand Theft Auto 4 -- the fastest-selling game of all time -- will not be available in stores. It will be distributed exclusively to Xbox owners through the Xbox Live online marketplace.
Let's see if the game will be just the ticket to turn the company's fortunes around. Here's a title suggestion for the next episode if Take-Two shares bounce back: The Found and the Blessed.