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. Mr. Green with the Kindle stick in the library
Why is Amazon trying so hard? Well, it knows that the Kindle is the clear leader in its niche. Delays and a lack of buzz for rival e-book readers finds Amazon sitting pretty this holiday season.
However, 2010 may very well be the year of the tablet computer. Devices that bridge the gap between smartphones and laptops will likely come with some form of e-book functionality.
The Kindle may still be hot next holiday season, but this is the one time that Amazon knows it's the only e-book worth giving. Free overnight shipping is just one more way for Amazon to grow its installed base as quickly as possible before the attack of the tablets.
2. Disney's mouse clicks
There's a little dot-com pizzazz in Disney's
Sandberg's online pedigree will serve Disney well. The family-entertainment giant isn't necessarily a cyberspace slouch. It operates popular sites and Web-based social games. The allure of Sandberg is that Facebook has grown dramatically since her arrival in the springtime of 2008. She was an executive at Google
Now armed with 350 million members and growing, Facebook has become the sticky social destination of choice. Disney is trying to appeal to jaded teens that appear to have outgrown its properties, so some incremental dot-com savvy can only be a good thing.
3. Red Hat is hatred flipped around
Linux lovers aren't going away, despite the generally favorable reviews for Microsoft's
Linux vendor Red Hat
The story gets even better, since subscription revenue, now commanding nearly 85% of all revenue, grew at an even healthier 21% clip. The bottom-line performance wasn't as kind, but the real story here is the growing popularity of Red Hat.
4. And that's a take
Don't let bellyaching studios whine about moribund DVD sales. The local multiplexes are still hopping. This week, North American ticket sales topped the $10 billion mark for the year. That's the first time movie theaters have passed that milestone in real dollars.
Naturally, this past weekend's debut of the visually bar-raising Avatar helped seal the deal, although this weekend's theatrical launch of Sherlock Holmes probably would have gotten exhibitors there anyway.
Maybe consumers are tiring of flicks on discs, since even the home-theater revolution hasn't slowed down the demand for a night at the movies.
5. Searching for an "interim" catalyst
I like this move by E*Trade. The discounter is clearly in play as an acquisition target. Naming an interim CEO buys a potential suitor time to make a move on the company, which is growing on the retail brokerage side.
Some observers may think that turning to an insider is lame, but it's a lot better than the market's reaction if E*Trade hadn't been able to line up Layton's successor by year's end.
Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Amazon.com and Walt Disney are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Walt Disney and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call on Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is an optimist at every turn. He owns no shares in any of the stocks in this story and is part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.