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. This pill packs a punch
The Irish drugmaker is now projecting an operating profit for all of 2010, fueled by the success of its Tysabri drug in treating multiple sclerosis patients. Elan is battling side effect concerns with the blockbuster, but posting its first operating profit in nine years would be truly remarkable.
2. Table for won
Upscale restaurants and high-tech don't usually go hand in hand, but OpenTable
The company that foodies associate with online reservations at the snazziest local eateries -- and the restaurants themselves associate with its high-end reservation book that seamlessly blends call-in with Web-based dining requests -- came through with another monster quarter.
Revenue climbed 32%, as a 20% uptick in participating restaurants was enhanced by a 47% spike in reservations-based revenue. It's great to see reservations growing faster than the fancy eateries on its system. It validates the platform!
Adjusted earnings clocked in at $0.14 a share, twice what analysts were expecting. OpenTable has now trounced Wall Street's profit targets in each of its first three quarters as a public company. And it hasn't even been close (with an earnings surprise of 40% or better each time).
If OpenTable is showing this kind of strength while the economy is still iffy, just imagine how hopping it will be when folks actually have to make reservations to get a table at many of the participating establishments.
3. Swatting at GameFly
Several IPOs hit the market this week, including yesterday's debut of online marketer QuinStreet
However, the real buzz in the diehard gaming world is that GameFly filed to go public.
The leading renter of video games by mail is in pretty good shape as it gears up for its market debut. Operating profits more than doubled through the first six months of fiscal 2010, with revenue taking a 21% step up.
GameFly is still early in its growth cycle, with 334,000 subscribers. Cynics argue that it's hard to make money renting costly games that age quickly, but the company has turned a profit on a small user base since fiscal 2008.
4. Not so blue Baidu
The top-line acceleration is poised to continue, with Baidu targeting revenue growth of 48% to 52% for the current quarter.
Why were Baidu's results so strong, especially after dot-com giant Sohu.com delivered a mere 2% advance in online advertising during the same three months? The key here is that Baidu is the undisputed search engine champ in China. Advertisers chase that crown, bidding up keyword-based ads that generate perfectly targeted leads. Sohu specializes in graphical brand-enshrining ads that are popular in China, but aren't as valuable per impression.
As long as Baidu is on top in China -- and with roughly two-thirds of the search market, it's hard to see that changing -- it will continue to be raking in some serious dough. Regardless of country, visitors hit up search engines because they want to go somewhere else and that's a paid search gold mine.
5. Check your Goofy at the door
Disney's win is surprising, especially since just one of its five segments posted a top-line gain. However, three of those five subsidiaries came through with double-digit percentage gains in operating profits.
The media superstar paved the way for rival Viacom's
If media stocks weren't on your radar before because of fears of lackluster advertising growth or longer-term concerns about the steady flow of cable programming revenue, it's time to tune in.
Walt Disney is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation and a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Baidu, Elan, and OpenTable are Motley Fool Rule Breakers selections. 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, except for Disney. 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.