Market leaders have a funny way of leading us out of a recession. Many of the top dogs in their respective industries came through with better-than-expected quarterly results this week. 

  • Video game giant Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI) bucked the negative trends at its smaller rivals.
  • Upscale eatery reservations specialist OpenTable (Nasdaq: OPEN) served up a tasty dish, as results spiked on a 47% surge in restaurant reservation revenue.
  • (Nasdaq: BIDU) hit a new all-time high, after China's leading search engine once again chomped down market share.
  • The top name in family entertainment -- Disney (NYSE: DIS) -- posted a healthy year-over-year bottom-line gain. Analysts were braced for a dip in profitability. 

Cynics will argue that I'm jumping the gun. We still have a long way to go before the economy has turned the corner. This week's mid-Atlantic snowstorms will set us back. The jobless ranks are still high. Greece is the word. 

However, there's a reason why we call these companies market leaders and not laggards. They lead -- by definition. They're proving exactly that right now. 

Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.

  • E*TRADE (Nasdaq: ETFC) became the latest discount broker to slash commissions and eliminate certain account fees. This is great news for investors, though industry margins may take it on the chin.
  • Activision Blizzard's report may have been well-received, but rival Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS) hit a fresh 52-week low after its disappointing report. Leaders lead. Bleeders bleed.
  • During his radio show, Howard Stern added fuel to the rumor mill fire by declaring that he would welcome a shot at being one of the American Idol judges. It's just one more reason why Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI) needs to speed up contract negotiations before Stern -- a master of negotiating in public -- drives his asking price higher. His current five-year deal expires in December.

Until next week, I remain,
Rick Munarriz

Walt Disney is a Motley Fool Inside Value choice. Baidu and OpenTable are Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendations. Activision Blizzard, Walt Disney, and Electronic Arts are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. The Fool owns shares of Activision Blizzard, on which Motley Fool Options has recommended a synthetic long position. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services, free for 30 days

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look back. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, except for Disney. He 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.