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.
1. Heart-to-heart at Medtronic
You're stealing hearts, Medtronic
If you have the means, now is a great time to be a buyer. Stock prices are low on public companies. A chilly IPO market will keep promising companies from raising capital by going public.
As long as the deals make sense -- and clearly it makes sense for Medtronic to broaden its product offerings in the fragmented medical device industry -- buyouts are worth applauding.
2. Earning the exclamation point
They're doing more than just moving the deck chairs on the S.S. Yahoo!. New CEO Carol Bartz announced a radical shakeup at the company last night, installing fresh faces among key executives at Yahoo!
Yahoo! isn't a broken company. It's just moldy. It needs fresh eyes, brains, and ideas. I can't vouch for any of the new visionaries and thinkers at the company. I do know that playing it safe in the past only invited stagnancy into the VIP room.
Yahoo! will never be Google
3. Orange you glad
Tropicana is ditching the orange juice packaging it introduced just a few weeks ago, and coming back with its original carton graphics.
Was this a clever marketing ploy to trick penny-pinching orange lovers into thinking they were trading down to a generic brand? Did PepsiCo know the move would create an uproar, having the old packaging ready for rediscovered appreciation? Will the cartons being phased out over the next few weeks become collectibles?
4. Iron supplements
With so many media and entertainment companies stumbling last year, it's hard to scoff at Marvel's results for all of 2008. Revenue soared 39% higher. Earnings climbed by 54%. DC Comics parent Time Warner
2008 will be a hard act to follow for Marvel in 2009, but the company clearly is leaving 2008 with far more confidence in its comic book character-milking ability than when it started.
5. Keep the change
Well, Microsoft rightly backed off this week. It will let the affected ex-employees keep the extra compensation.
It's the right thing to do, from a public relations standpoint. Even if Microsoft is legally entitled to recover the funds -- and that's iffy since the recipients supposedly didn't know they were being overpaid -- it's just wrong to be seen as both the Grim Reaper and a collections agency.
The company is called Microsoft, not Microhard.
PepsiCo is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Marvel Entertainment 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. 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.