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. Amazon makes its own luck
LivingSocial became a legitimate competitor to Groupon's runaway success Wednesday, as the social coupon site sold 1.3 million Amazon.com
The world's largest e-tailer doesn't seem like the kind of company that would need to sell $20 gift certificates for $10, but that's the kind of brand-discounting sacrifice that Amazon.com is willing to make to put LivingSocial on the map. It forked over $175 million for a stake in LivingSocial last month.
Cynics began working the math of selling $26 million of Amazon items for $13 million, but it apparently isn't Amazon's tab to pay. Brandweek claims that LivingSocial itself subsidized the discount as a gift card reseller. If that's true, Amazon's storefront is about to heat up nicely in the coming days. Even if it's not, Amazon's still a winner as the value of its $175 million stake likely appreciated substantially with so many shoppers hopping on as registered LivingSocial customers.
2. A picture is worth a thousand verbs
However, I'm going to pin my accolades on Disney's decision to use guest photos in its new nightly castle show. High-def projectors will be bringing Florida's Magic Kingdom castle to life in a show that includes hundreds of vetted snapshots taken from Disney photographers earlier in the day.
This is brilliant for two money-making reasons. The first gem is that it will encourage folks to take snapshots from Disney's fleet of pro shutterbugs throughout the park. More photos should translate into more guest pictures sold. The second gem is that it will keep guests at the park longer. Families thinking of heading out early to catch dinner at a cheaper off-site restaurant may now stick around to see if their smiling mugs made the cut at the end of the night.
3. No root beer to wash down those fish sticks
Normally I'm not a fan of restaurateur divestitures. An operator doesn't necessarily lose focus running a multibrand operation. However, given the success of KFC -- and to a lesser extent, Taco Bell -- in China, it's easy to see why Yum! wants to emphasize its bigger brands. A&W and Long John Silver's were probably never going to have a lot of appeal in the booming Chinese market.
4. Dangdang goes bang bang
The media loves hot IPOs that pop as debutantes, but it's rarely played up as pricing inefficiencies from lead underwriters.
It's a story that rarely comes to light from affected companies leaving a lot of money on the table, so it was actually refreshing to see E-Commerce China Dangdang
Morgan Stanley took the parent company of Chinese online bookseller Dangdang.com public at $16 last month. The stock opened at $24.50, closing at $29.91 on the day. Why didn't it price closer to the $24.50 price that the market was willing to pay? Pricing the offering in the teens cost both Dangdang and Li personally tens of millions of dollars apiece.
Li's critique may have been harsh. He may have lost style points by lamenting not going with a rival investment banker. It's still a problem that deserves to be heard. If underwriters are more interested in their prized clients profiting from the deals at the expense of the companies going public, prospective debutantes may want to rethink their IPO strategies.
5. Proud as a Comcastic peacock
The FCC is approving Comcast's
It's a good move by Comcast. Owning content is one way to get over recent declines in video customers. If the cord cutting continues -- a grim scenario for cable providers that is certainly possible -- it will still remain a force in programming that consumers still crave.
Walt Disney is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Amazon.com and Walt Disney are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. The Fool owns shares of Yum! Brands. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.
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.