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This Week's 5 Smartest Stock Moves

By Rick Munarriz – Updated Apr 5, 2017 at 7:52PM

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

If you're feeling down, 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. Not taking much of a gamble
Chinese online gambling enabler GigaMedia (NASDAQ:GIGM) is expanding its empire, teaming up with seasoned sports betting vet Victor Chandler International Group to launch its own sports betting offering.

Everest Bets is a logical extension of GigaMedia's existing Everest Poker, a hub for online poker and other virtual casino games. This is a competitive market in Asia and Europe, but the company is taking a prudent approach by diving in with an experienced partner.

2. Putting the "Oh, baby" in IPO
Is the IPO market dead or just in need of titillation? FriendFinder Networks filed to go public last week, trying to crack an ice-cold market for publicly traded debutantes.

FriendFinder runs, self-billed as "the world's largest adult social network & sex personals." FriendFinder has more than 25 million members, with nearly a million of those members paying an average of $19.06 a month for premium access.

It's easy to question the company's timing. An IPO in merrier times could be a slam dunk. It's also raising just enough to cover its more than $400 million in debt. However, this IPO gets a friendly wink because the publicity behind the bold move to test the chilly IPO waters will likely draw even more attention -- and subscribers -- to its online dating (and mating) websites.

3. FedEx not so super?
Guess who is an ex-Super Bowl sponsor. FedEx (NYSE:FDX), that's who. The speedy delivery specialist announced this week that it will not be buying an ad in February's Super Bowl contest.

Breaking a streak of 12 consecutive Super Bowl appearances isn't a sign of desperation. The company certainly could afford one of the spots that are fetching as much as $3 million this season. However, at a time when the company is curbing salaries and benefits, the last thing it needs is an extravagant campaign repeating last year's fleet of gargantuan carrier pigeons. Besides, just the publicity of announcing that it won't be paying for a commercial is giving the company plenty of free advertising.

4. Prepaying the tolls
Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) CEO Mel Karmazin is trying to convince Wall Street that the company can tackle its debt load of more than $3 billion, now that its model is aiming to generate positive free cash flow from 2009 onward.

It took a positive step this week, swapping equity for a small chunk of the Sirius convertible that is due in two months. The burden that was as large as $300 million several months ago is now down to $193.6 million.

Sirius XM has a long way to go. Moody's (NYSE:MCO) downgrading of the satellite radio provider's debt this week isn't going to help. However, it is taking steps in the right direction, no matter how far away the finish line may be.

5. Influence is in the eye of the tastemaker
BusinessWeek put out its list of the world's 10 most influential companies. The list includes some obvious picks like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT).

However, just to prove how time can turn losers into winners, just consider where those three companies were a few years ago:

  • Apple was a niche computer maker with a sliver of market share before the iPod's "halo effect" made Apple a mainstream sensation across all of its product lines.
  • Google has been the search engine leader for a few years, but when the company went public four years ago it was sorely out of favor. The company was looking to prices its IPO as high as $135 a share, but had to settle for $85 a pop.
  • Wal-Mart is the world's leading retailer, but grassroots movements always seem to be mounting against the company's expansion efforts. Isn't it funny how recessionary times find everyone more accepting of Sam Walton's chain now that low prices matter more than ever?

The moral of the story? Good things come to those who wait, as long as their aim is true. After a horrendous 2008, let's hope that the painful loss-riddled wait will be worth it.

GigaMedia is a Motley Fool Global Gains pick. Wal-Mart Stores and Moody's are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Google and GigaMedia are Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendations. Moody's, FedEx, and Apple are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is an optimist at every turn. He's the inspiration for The Killers' "Mr. Brightside" song. He does 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

GigaMedia Stock Quote
$1.25 (0.81%) $0.01
Walmart Inc. Stock Quote
Walmart Inc.
$153.27 (0.13%) $0.20
Sirius XM Holdings Inc. Stock Quote
Sirius XM Holdings Inc.
$6.44 (-0.77%) $0.05
Alphabet (A shares) Stock Quote
Alphabet (A shares)
$96.15 (-1.34%) $-1.31
Apple Stock Quote
$145.29 (-1.91%) $-2.82
FedEx Stock Quote
$174.89 (-1.02%) $-1.81
Moody's Stock Quote
$297.92 (-1.02%) $-3.08

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

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