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.
If you heard that Jane Austen and the now royal Kate Middleton are related -- eleventh cousins, six times removed, to be exact -- you can thank Ancestry.com
The leading subscription-based genealogy website issued the press release on Tuesday, just as Middleton and her regal hubby were set to embark on their first official tour of North America as newlyweds.
Ancestry.com loves to toss out these surprising family tree findings at the most opportune times. We live in viral times, and a juicy link tying together unlikely celebrities or politicians can catch fire quickly through Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. Ancestry.com is there to milk the publicity, ideally attracting new subscribers along the way.
2. Seeding growth
Herbicides may be good for your lawn, but they're even better for Monsanto's
The agricultural chemicals giant posted better-than-expected quarterly results, fueled by widening profit margins for its Roundup line of weed killers. Monsanto's flagship seed business also came through with a 21% top-line sprout.
Even revealing a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of Roundup incentives didn't rain on Monsanto's parade.
3. The home team is the away team
During the same week that found Marriott International
HomeAway doesn't own second homes that have been eroding in value in recent years. It doesn't try to lock prospective travelers into costly timeshares and destination clubs that plummet in resale value or lock its members into costly contracts. HomeAway simply runs several websites where property owners offer up their digs for touristy getaways.
There were 560,000 property listings across HomeAway's sites as of the end of March. Profitability has been elusive, but HomeAway's revenue did climb 40% last year.
The IPO priced at $27 a share for Wednesday's debut but closed just above $40 on its first day of trading. I guess you can call that a housewarming gift.
4. Russia's big picture
The provider of enhanced theatrical experiences inked a pair of expansion deals in Russia. They are small arrangements with small exhibitors, totaling four new screens going up between now and next year, but the presence is incremental.
These two Russian exhibitors are also new to IMAX, a move that once again validates IMAX's premium platform.
IMAX now has contracts in place to have 45 theaters screening its super-sized format open in Russia by 2014. Russia has become IMAX's third-largest market outside of the United States and China. One can only imagine IMAX's potential in Europe once that region is over its economic slumber.
5. A $100 tablet for kids
Today's debut of Hewlett-Packard's
I like LeapFrog's
The specs aren't going to impress you, but this sturdy gadget is made for kids between the ages of 4 and 9 who can't tell a gigabyte from a gigahertz. This doesn't mean that the LeapPad is shabby. It features a stylus-powered touchscreen, a camera to shoot video and snapshots, and 2 gigs of storage. There's also an entire ecosystem of games, interactive books, and animated videos to play with. There's no Wi-Fi surfing. The tablet needs to be connected to a PC to download goodies. However, there is an accelerometer for tablet-tilting movements.
LeapPad Explorer isn't going to be an adequate tablet for many kids, but it's perfect for parents who find themselves nervously handing over their iPads to their bored children.
Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of IMAX, as well as creating a synthetic long position in Monsanto. 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. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.