The market pundits call this a stock picker's market, and it's never been as evident as during this hectic earnings season.

After all, Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) delivered anemic growth in its recent quarter, just days after Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) raced through analyst targets. Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) brewed a miserable quarter, just five minutes after Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ:GMCR) percolated with monstrous growth.

In other words, investors can't just pick sectors. They have to suss out the trends within sectors.

Google is gaining market share at Yahoo!'s expense. Green Mountain's K-Cup revolution of home-brewed java is eating into sales at your local Starbucks. So investors can't simply select search engines or coffees as worthwhile investments; they have to dig deeper.

And just as the term "stock picker's market" suggests that certain stocks far outperform their peers, don't be surprised if you find yourself going long -- and short -- within the same industry.

Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.

  • Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) is in the news. Shortly after announcing better-than-expected fourth-quarter results, the DVD rental giant revealed that it is toying with the idea of shipping out rentals during the weekend. The company has historically mailed out movies from Monday to Friday, but cranking out the turnover on Saturday sounds like a good bet -- especially if the cash-strapped post office scales back on its delivery schedule.
  • Tight credit markets and depressed share prices aren't conducive to sector consolidation, but don't tell Pfizer (NYSE:PFE). The drug titan is buying Wyeth (NYSE:WYE) in a $68 billion cash and stock deal.

Until next week, I remain,
Rick Munarriz

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Pfizer is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. Starbucks and Pfizer are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Starbucks and Netflix are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. The Fool owns shares of Starbucks and Pfizer. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look back. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, save for Netflix. He 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.