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. Netflix bows before the cynics
"I'm not sure you'd want to short this quarter," he said during an investor conference last month.
What? Did investors think that Barry McCarthy would lie, sullying his reputation as he explores new leadership opportunities elsewhere?
Blowing past analyst expectations, topping the high end of its range to close out the quarter with 20 million subscribers, and cranking out robust near-term guidance really should've surprised only the bears that weren't paying attention.
However, Netflix also saved one last arrow in its quiver for its more vocal critics. CNBC's Herb Greenberg highlighted short-sellers questioning Netflix's "priced for perfection" valuation before the report, largely pointing to the quality of the entertainment provider's earnings.
"Why is free cash flow declining?" one short-seller asked.
Well, we know why cash flow has been challenged. Netflix has been spending a lot of money lately, paying studios up front for years of licensed streaming rights. The costs are expensed on the income statement as incurred over the length of the contract, but the cash itself is shelled out right away. The move creates cash flow volatility around the timing of these deals. It explains why free cash flow clocked in at a multiyear low during last year's third quarter, before bouncing back in the fourth quarter to its highest level since 2008.
Well, if the quarter's strong cash flow doesn't silence the critics, Netflix's new policy will. The company plans to match the physical payouts on future deals as they are expensed. Netflix will have to pay the studios a bit more, but the cash flow stability will leave bears with one less knock on the company.
2. Cairo big flicks
The new screen in Cairo may not move the needle. IMAX's empire already included 470 theaters in 45 different countries as of the third quarter of 2010, with dozens more in development. However, another pushpin in the world map distances IMAX from any potential competitors. More theaters also make it cheaper for studios to digitally remaster their flicks for IMAX on a per screen basis.
3. Way to go, IPOs
It was a good week to go public. Shares of ratings tracker Nielsen Holdings
Investor excitement for freshly minted shares bodes well for the IPO pipeline as well as for the valuation of existing companies. Demand Media's market cap is nearly $2 billion. It's growing quickly on the top line, but this is a company that has yet to turn an annual operating profit. One can only imagine how the market will react when presumably profitable Web 2.0 darlings Facebook and Groupon decide to make the plunge.
4. TiVo books a Charter
Once again, TiVo is showing the industry how it's done. You play nice with the cable providers and programming creators to make sure that the content is there for set-top box buyers.
This is the point that TiVo CEO Tom Rogers was trying to hammer home in a conversation I had with him back in September. It's a strategy that was quickly vindicated when some broadcasters began blocking access to Google TV boxes.
5. Ink about it
I guess Howard Stern really may be the king of all media.
Sirius XM Radio's
Now that Sirius XM has Stern locked up for the next five years, it's safe to say that what's good for Stern is good for Sirius. The comic book may or may not become a hit among collectors, but the brand-widening move should help deliver at least some incremental subscribers to the growing satellite radio service.
IMAX is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Netflix is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. 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 Netflix. 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.