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. Come with me if you want to lift
Score another one for the robots in this battle of man against machine.
Consumer and military robotics specialist iRobot
Analysts figured that iRobot's fourth-quarter profit would fall from $0.20 a share to $0.14 a share, but the robolicious company earned $0.26 a share instead. If you've been following the machines and Wall Street over the past year, you'll know that iRobot has beaten analyst profit targets by at least 86% in each of its past four quarters.
Let's go over the brutal play-by-play for the pros.
Source: Yahoo! Finance.
Guidance for 2011 is in line with estimates -- $0.90 to $1.00 per share in earnings on $450 million to $465 million in revenue -- but we've seen iRobot low-balling its potential before.
Silly analysts. They'll believe anything the robots tell them.
2. It's a bull-rito
Chipotle Mexican Grill
The "food with integrity" burrito roller posted another blowout quarter last night. Revenue climbed nearly 25% higher, fueled by a 12.6% spike in comps. Are margins under pressure in this environment of escalating food costs? Not really. Earnings per share soared 49% to $1.47 a share.
Analysts would have settled for a profit of $1.29 a share. It was a good week for eateries, since Buffalo Wild Wings
I'm not surprised. I laid out the three reasons why Chipotle would blow the market away this week:
- Food cost concerns are overblown. Check. Once again we're seeing the scalable nature of this model where earnings grow faster than revenue.
- Estimates are moving targets. Check. With last night's win, Chipotle has topped analyst guesstimates for nine straight quarters.
- The economy is bouncing back. Check.
3. Biofueling the IPO market
This is the kind of opening-day performance I like to see. The stock gained enough to reward initial public investors and excite the market without making the company feel as if it left money on the table.
Gevo develops biorefinery systems to provide renewable energy solutions to the fuel and chemical industries. It's fitting that it should have a green debut.
4. More bling for Bing
The latest data from Web traffic watcher Experian Hitwise shows that Microsoft served 27.44% of the country's search market in January, up from its 25.77% slice a month earlier.
This isn't just Bing.com. The data combines traffic to Bing with Yahoo!
It's not a surprise to see Yahoo!'s share shrink. The real surprise here is that Microsoft is actually more than making up the difference at Bing.com.
5. China's feature presentation
The maker of supersized screens and amped-up projection systems inked yet another deal to expand its presence in China. The four-screen deal entails opening one location this summer, with the other three to follow by early 2014.
IMAX continues to grow its empire. This is truly a scalable model given the fixed remastering costs and the migration toward digital projection systems. Stateside exhibitors may have had a ho-hum 2010 outside of IMAX screenings, but this is already a global growth story that can quickly recover from this past weekend's disappointing debut of Sanctum.
Chipotle, IMAX, and iRobot are Motley Fool Rule Breakers picks. Yahoo! is a Motley Fool Global Gains recommendation. Buffalo Wild Wings and Chipotle are Motley Fool Hidden Gems selections. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft, which is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. The Fool owns shares of Chipotle and Microsoft. 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. 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.