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This Week's 5 Smartest Stock Moves

By Rick Munarriz - Updated Apr 5, 2017 at 7:59PM

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There's always time to look at the bright side of life.

If you're feeling down this week, take my hand as we go over some of the more uplifting headlines of the week. Yes, it wasn't all layoffs, missed earnings, and guidance knockdowns this week.

1. Mackey is not wacky
Organic grocer Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFMI) is suing the Federal Trade Commission, for relentlessly trying to derail the company's purchase with Wild Oats even after it had been injected into the Whole Foods bloodstream.

Legal scuffles will rarely make it into the "good news" column, but I have to make an exception in this case. There is nothing wrong with regulatory oversight -- it's an important check against chaos. However, when a regulatory body becomes that bully who flicks your earlobes every morning, there comes a time when you have to hit back. Heck, I'm even suggesting that Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) explore ways to recover damages from the FCC for taking so long to get that deal approved.

The FCC and FTC have important functions in this country. They just need to make educated decisions quicker or roll with the consequences.

2. Paper or drastic?
Supermarket chains are typically portrayed as recession resistant. It makes sense. Consumers still have to eat, and grocers stand to benefit if penny-pinching patrons are eating out less. However, even under that favorable tailwind, you still have to applaud Kroger (NYSE:KR) delivering a 7.8% bump in comps in its latest quarter.

The end result is a grocery store chain that clocked in ahead of Wall Street's expectations, even in a jaded industry where you're expected to hold up well. Yes, the comps figure includes buoyant fuel sales. Yes, the company's outlook wasn't up to snuff. But until Kroger actually drops the ball, I'm not calling for a cleanup in aisle four.

3. Laying it on the Leno line
General Electric's (NYSE:GE) majority-owned NBC had a problem. It had promised Conan O'Brien the 11:30pm Tonight show slot for next year, but current host Jay Leno wasn't ready to hang it up a la Carson. What would happen? Would Leno bolt to a rival network? Would the friction divide NBC?

In what has to be the perfect solution, Leno will get a new show, airing five nights a week at 10pm. Not only does it keep both popular hosts happy, but it will also save NBC a ton of money now that it only has to acquire content to fill two of its three primetime hour slots on weeknights.

4. Baidu bounces
Sometimes even bad news can leave a favorable aftertaste. Baidu.com (NASDAQ:BIDU) slashed its revenue target for the current quarter by nearly 15% on Thursday, yet the stock still rose 6%. The stock is also inching higher today.

Why the surprising optimism? Well, perhaps it's the admission that China's leading search engine is making progress in ridding its site of unlicensed sponsors. There is also China Central Television -- the same broadcaster that exposed Baidu's iffy search practices -- pointing out that even Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is displaying ads for unlicensed medical products in China. That's huge, because if everyone has their hands in the same cookie jar, Baidu is unlikely to lose traffic over credibility concerns to its smaller rivals.

5. No Grimace required
The golden arches are still glittering. McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) continues to draw crowds. The company posted healthy comps for the month of November, up 7.7% globally and a still respectable 4.5% domestically.

Casual dining may be in a funk, but the burger chains that are providing whole meals for the price of a double latte or fruit smoothie are holding up well in these cost-conscious times. Now if only I could drink a Big Mac through a straw to make it truly portable.

Blech! Sorry for that gruesome image.

Stock news, financial commentary, and your daily dose of Foolishness: Get plugged in to The Motley Fool on Twitter!

Google and Baidu.com are Motley Fool Rule Breakers picks. Whole Foods Market is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is an optimist at every turn. He's the inspiration for The Killers' "Mr. Brightside" song. Hdoes not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Baidu, Inc. Stock Quote
Baidu, Inc.
BIDU
$137.74 (1.58%) $2.14
McDonald's Corporation Stock Quote
McDonald's Corporation
MCD
$261.36 (0.50%) $1.30
Sirius XM Holdings Inc. Stock Quote
Sirius XM Holdings Inc.
SIRI
$6.74 (0.45%) $0.03
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
GOOGL
$119.70 (2.63%) $3.07
The Kroger Co. Stock Quote
The Kroger Co.
KR
$46.79 (-0.17%) $0.08
General Electric Company Stock Quote
General Electric Company
GE
$77.14 (2.95%) $2.21
Whole Foods Market, Inc. Stock Quote
Whole Foods Market, Inc.
WFM

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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