If you're feeling down this week, take my hand as we go over some of the more uplifting headlines of the past five days. Yes, it wasn't all layoffs, missed earnings, and guidance knockdowns this week.
1. Just for jalopies
The Car Allowance Rebate System is here. Forget the clever "CARS" acronym. Everyone is calling this the "Cash for Clunkers" campaign, with the government offering $3,500 to $4,500 for gas-guzzling trade-ins.
This is welcome news for the moribund auto industry. Generally, if the car you're buying offers at least 4 more miles to the gallon than the ride that you're handing over -- or just 1 mile more per gallon if you're swapping out a truck -- you are eligible for the rebate (see this article for more specifics on the program). However, if you're looking to pimp your ride through this program, you might already be out of luck. Although it's not yet formally suspended as of this writing, White House officials and Congress are assessing whether the program has already plowed through the allotted $1 billion budget.
2. Soon we can all play the Garden
I'm not always a fan of spinoffs, but sometimes they make perfect sense. Cablevision
Don't scoff at the sorry hardcourt record by the Knicks in recent years. This deal is bigger than that. Cablevision's steady cable business was always an odd fit for live sporting events. Its acquisition of Newsday last summer also made that ownership role a conflict of interest. What good is a metropolitan paper if it can't routinely bash the local sports teams?
This is one deal that should be worth more as two separate entities, as investors can now pick their favorite. At the very least, disgruntled season-ticket holders can always say that they're shorting the Knicks to hedge their bets.
3. When buffaloes fly
The next time you're leaving Buffalo Wild Wings
The company came through with a 32% surge in revenue for its latest quarter, and earnings flew 24% higher. Expansion is clearly driving the top-line levitation, even though comps were still up by a respectable 2.8%-3.7% during the past three months. Despite the flurry of new openings, the chain is refreshingly free cash flow-positive.
This is a great time to be a growing eatery. While weaker chains sputter and everyone else is just plain chicken, B-Dubs is busy saucing up more wings. The company expects to grow revenue by 25% this year, with earnings clocking in 20% to 25% higher.
Yes, cynics. There are growth stocks in the casual-dining industry, even in a recession.
4. Friendly flowers
Facebook is a great place to catch up virtually with friends and family, new and old. It's also a popular platform to pass on birthday wishes, along with support during times of strife and pats on the back when the going is good. If someone were going to launch a store within Facebook itself, a florist would be a logical choice. Well, say hello to 1-800-Flowers
The online florist with the toll-free moniker claimed to be the first "in launching a retail store inside Facebook" on Wednesday. Other merchants have a presence on Facebook, but this is supposedly the first time that transactions can be placed without leaving the site.
1-800-Flowers can use the good news bouquet. It has been posting losses and taking charges in recent quarters. Analysts see a quick return to profitability, but this is the kind of catalyst that makes perfect sense. Freeloaders thinking they can get away with sending their moms a virtual freebie through Facebook come Mother's Day will soon realize the error in their ways. 1-800-Flowers will be there for both the "Mother's Day" and "I'm Sorry" arrangements.
5. Drawn to greatness
If there's one thing that DreamWorks Animation
Even if you back out a one-time $0.10-per-share gain, resulting from its amended video-game deal with Activision Blizzard
DreamWorks Animation has now clocked in ahead of analysts in 14 of the past 15 quarters. Don't get mad, Wall Street. Get Madagascar.
Activision Blizzard and DreamWorks Animation SKG are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Buffalo Wild Wings is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection. The Fool owns shares of Buffalo Wild Wings. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services 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 owns shares of DreamWorks Animation and 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.