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. Ford's theater
You might have thought Ford
The automaker posted a 43% year-over-year surge in new auto sales for February. Sure, February 2009 was a recession-trough nightmare. However, February's sales were also 22% ahead of Ford's impressive showing a month earlier.
Last summer's "Cash for Clunkers" program was apparently the lift that keeps on lifting. Did an analyst really downgrade shares of Sirius XM Radio
2. There's a slap for that
Is this a good move for Apple? My fellow Fool Tim Beyers doesn't think so. He fears that Apple will come off as a bully. That is certainly possible, but I tend to be on the other side of the fence.
What does Apple stand to gain if it's able to suppress its smartphone-manufacturing rivals? Plenty. Just the very notion that HTC is being sued may make some new smartphone buyers avoid its wireless phones. No one wants to sign a two-year contract for a phone that may be phased out.
Apple certainly has to be careful, though. It's no longer the underdog. It has become the next Microsoft
But what is Apple supposed to do? It's blessed with patents, and this is a smart way to widen the gap as consumers grow weary of the competition.
3. Don't forget that Picnik basket, Boo-Boo
Google already has Picasa in its arsenal, so this move will allow it to either keep both offerings as they are -- and reach digital shutterbugs two different ways -- or create a best-of-breed amalgamation.
The world's leading search engine has now made at least four acquisitions over the past three months, as Picnik joins reMail, Aardvark, and AppJet inside Google's embrace. This is the smart way to grow: snapping up small puzzle pieces in manageable chunks so the company doesn't awaken antitrust regulators.
4. Grand gift auto
Shares of Take-Two Interactive
Take-Two can probably pat its own back. With a week to go in December, Take-Two hosed down its guidance for its fiscal quarter ending in January. An asset sale prompted Take-Two to project $90 million to $140 million in quarterly revenue, with a deficit between $0.45 and $0.55 a share.
Take-Two has typically been good about warning or raising its guidance, but it kept its yap shut as it ultimately delivered a non-GAAP loss of only $0.31 a share on a whopping $163.2 million in revenue.
No one saw this coming, thanks to Take-Two. Things will only get better in the current quarter, now that it has shipped more than 3 million copies of BioShock 2 since last month's release.
5. Ethan hawks
If you're still hungry for signs that the economy has turned the corner, Ethan Allen Interiors
If folks are ordering up $4,500 sectionals and $7,700 Peshawar rugs, the economy can't be all that bad.
Would you like a Ford F-150 to go with that Trillium ottoman?
Google and Take-Two Interactive are Motley Fool Rule Breakers choices. Apple and Ford Motor are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft, which is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. 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 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.