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 becomes net flex
Studios that were shaking their heads at Netflix
Miramax is the latest studio to make life easier for Netflix's growing base of couch potatoes. Critically acclaimed flicks including Shakespeare in Love and The English Patient will begin joining the tens of thousands of flicks and television shows that Netflix makes available for as little as $7.99 a month.
Terms aren't being publicly disclosed, but PaidContent.org hears that the deal is in the $100 million range. That's not exactly chump change for the investors that recently acquired Miramax for $660 million.
Studios have begrudgingly come to accept that Netflix is their best source for monetizing digital distribution. Can you think of anyone other than Netflix that could justify a nine-figure digital licensing deal?
2. Pop goes the world
Revenue climbed 50% to $64 million during the first three months of the year, with starter kit sales nearly doubling to 592,000 units. Consumables -- where SodaStream makes its meatiest margins in the form of refillable carbonators and flavored soft drink syrup -- climbed 34%.
It was easy to dismiss SodaStream as a novelty when it dramatically expanded its stateside presence last summer. When it moved 712,000 soda makers during the fourth quarter, it wasn't a surprise given the prominent placement in some of the country's largest retailers of home goods. However, now that Christmas has come and gone, word-of-mouth is doing the trick.
SodaStream is raising its guidance. It now sees revenue growing 30% and profitability popping 60% this year. A 2010 fad wouldn't be doing that.
3. Settling for more
A pesky class action lawsuit is finally behind Sirius XM Radio
Sirius XM has settled a case arguing that a series of new fees that the satellite radio giant ushered in through 2009 violated its self-imposed three-year freeze on primary rates. It isn't great to see Sirius XM shell out credits and court costs, but you have to high-five the media company if it's able to get deactivated subscribers to come back on board for the service credit given the company's minimal variable costs.
Sirius XM also agreed that it wouldn't raise rates until next year. This may come off as a letdown for those banking on a juicy rate hike when the three-year freeze ends this summer, but it now all but telegraphs an increase come January.
4. Is there a doctor in the sedan?
The medical equipment maker is joining forces with Ford to develop ways to deliver driver health updates. Monitoring chronic diseases and medical illnesses including diabetes, asthma, and allergies? Even The Jetsons didn't think of that!
Ford's been schooling the competition lately with its Sync and MyFord Touch dashboard engagement features. It makes sense that Ford would lead the way in making sure that its drivers are holding up OK on the road.
5. Game on in China
Don't let the dirt cheap valuations of China's online gaming companies kid you into thinking that it's a broken niche.
Market leader NetEase.com
NetEase trades for just 14 times this year's projected profitability and only 12 times next year's target. If you think that's low, keep in mind that NetEase's four smaller rivals fetch even lower multiples.
The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford, Activision Blizzard, and Medtronic. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended SodaStream, Netflix, NetEase.com, Ford, and Activision Blizzard. Motley Fool newsletter services have also recommended buying puts on Netflix and creating a synthetic long position on Activision Blizzard. 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. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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 and Ford. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.