If you're feeling good about the market, you're not alone. Take my hand as we go over some of this week's more uplifting headlines.
1. As the rally bell tolls
The housing industry may finally be hitting the floorboards. Toll Brothers
- This is the first time in four years that net signed contracts have clocked in ahead of the past year.
- The order cancellation rate was the lowest in three years.
- This is usually a seasonally sleepy quarter, as Toll's prime selling season is the fiscal second quarter. Well, this is only the fourth time since 1986 that the third quarter showed sequential improvement in net contracts.
Developers still have a long way to go in resuming their profitable past. However, Toll's turnaround is encouraging. As the class of the industry, the luxury homebuilder is a bellwether that the market has been eyeing closely.
Turning the corner is relative, of course, but it's refreshing to see the industry move out of its dead-end cul-de-sac.
2. Cisco's strong song
Record companies aren't as dumb as you think. Warner Music Group
This is a great move. CD sales are falling, and high-margin digital sales aren't enough to offset the carnage. Labels need new ways to cash in on their artists, and generating sticky sites that can be easily monetized with ads or premium subscriptions is a no-brainer.
Well played, Warner.
3. We're in Sirius debt
Sirius XM Radio
Remember when Sirius XM was so desperate that it was paying as much as 15% in interest and handing over 40% of the company? That was just six months ago. Now it can use cheaper financing to pay down its higher-rate debt.
4. LOL, Yahoo!
It's not all subtraction at Yahoo!
This isn't going to be the birth of a Bing-esque search engine. Yahoo! already runs a celebrity paparazzi site at omg.yahoo.com. The new domain is likely to make for an easier-to-remember URL.
Why do the search heavies do this? Why do they put so much muscle behind sites when they don't initially own the corresponding dot-coms? Mr. Softy did it with Soapbox. Yahoo! has done it with subdomains such as OMG and Mash.
It usually translates into overpaying for a domain, but Yahoo! is getting off easy here. Paying $80,000 for a hot three-letter combination's dot-com domain is a steal. But let's hope the online heavies become more thorough planners in the future. If you're going to launch a site, make sure you own the appropriate type-in domains before going public.
5. Rings around the Target
Amazon has been doing the dirty work at Target.com for years. It has been manning the virtual checkout process, warehousing the merchandise, and shipping items out as ordered. Amazon has done a great job, but it's time for Target to spread its wings and try to fly.
It may not be easy, but Target has no choice but to wean itself off Amazon's seasoned services. Target's relationship with Amazon was essentially fattening up one of its bigger rivals in e-commerce. The prolonged break-up process should give Target plenty of time to make sure that its own platform is solid beyond 2011.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is an optimist at every turn. He's the inspiration for The Killers' "Mr. Brightside" song. Rick owns no shares in any of the stocks in this story 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.