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. It's a Barnes burner
I wasn't the only one laughing at Barnes & Noble
The Nook is available as a $259 pre-order -- matching the entry-level Amazon.com
One of the coolest features is the ability to serve up in-store discounts and promotions the moment a Nook owner steps into one of Barnes & Noble's stores. In other words, it will encourage Nook buyers to make more trips to the local store. Other bibliophiles in the store will catch on, creating a viral growth spurt.
2. The sun will come out tomorrow, Chipotle
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Chipotle isn't up for sainthood. One of the factors it considered in picking out the locations for the sun-powered makeover is the availability of local utility rebates. This is, after all, a business. However, the move should help add some eco-friendly polish to a brand that prides itself on a premium quick-service experience.
3. An Apple a quarter keeps the bears away
Can we even call this an earnings surprise anymore? Apple
Shouldn't the analysts huddle up, recognize their financial modeling shortcomings, and aim higher? The incompetence has to be a hoot to watch for shareholders.
It was still a breathtaking quarter for Apple. Revenue and earnings rose 25% and 44%, respectively. In a recession? Are you kidding me? Naturally, the iPhone is a major part of Apple's success story, but did you know that MacBook unit shipments were up 35% over the past year?
Oh, and then Apple comes back the next day to introduce a refreshed line of computing products. Wake up, analysts.
4. Hasta la Vista, baby
The early reviews for Microsoft's new operating system have been favorable. One of the few knocks is that it's a cumbersome upgrade process for Windows XP users, but it's a breeze for the maligned Vista crowd that was looking forward to a new platform the most.
This should also trigger a hardware upgrade cycle, as consumers and companies trade up to more powerful computers with Windows 7 pre-installed.
Wouldn't it be great to see the doughy John Hodgman turn up the heat as the character that bears the brunt of Apple's punishment in those ads?
"I'm a PC, Justin," Hodgman would say in tough guy gear. "And what's it to you?"
5. eBay finally has "it"
I've taken my swings at eBay
The company behind PayPal, Skype, and eBay.com delivered slightly better than expected results on Wednesday night. The stock still took a hit yesterday, given its ho-hum holiday outlook.
I'm going to defend the report. For starters, this is the first quarter of sequential improvement in its marketplace segment in over a year. The midpoint of its holiday outlook also implies sequential improvement for the company as a whole in the fourth quarter. Yes, it's the holidays, but eBay didn't improve sequentially during the 2008 holiday season.
The stock had run up quite a bit in recent months, so it just may be letting out a natural exhale. I don't know if eBay.com itself has turned around, but it does appear to have bottomed out.
You have to start somewhere.
The Fool owns shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill, which is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick and a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. Apple, Amazon.com, and eBay are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Motley Fool Options has recommended a bull call spread on eBay. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services, free for 30 days
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is an optimist at every turn. 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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