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. Searching for growth in China
Investors frustrated over the growing number of Chinese heartbreakers may want to warm up to Baidu
China's leading search engine delivered another blowout quarter.
Revenue soared 78% to $528.4 million, as the average advertiser spent 53% more on generating leads through Baidu than a year ago. If that isn't validation for online advertising in the world's most populous nation, you will never be satisfied.
Earnings grew even faster, soaring 95% to $252.6 million -- or $0.72 a share. Wall Street was targeting a profit of only $0.66 a share on $502.3 million in revenue. Baidu's top-line guidance for the current quarter was even better, blowing past analyst revenue estimates with its forecast of boosting its top line by as much as 80% for the period.
Baidu isn't cheap, but it's clearly worth it. Its strong report sent shares to yet another all-time high this week.
2. Hail Mary
There is no shortage of winners in the end of the NFL lockout. After months of bickering, owners and players have comes to terms in time to play a complete season -- and it's not just the two parties that had a lot riding on a resolution to the impasse.
Think of the sports bars, fantasy football websites, and sporting goods stores that will now be able to cash in as the gridiron action kicks off in the coming weeks.
However, the biggest winner -- hands down -- has to be DirecTV
3. Wal-Mart's new religion
The world's largest retailer is finally integrating Vudu into Walmart.com when an online shopper is checking out DVDs or Blu-rays. Vudu offers digital rentals and purchases that can be immediately streamed through PCs or one of the hundreds of Web-tethered home theater appliances.
The move was inevitable. We knew this would happen when Wal-Mart purchased the fledgling streaming service early last year. One still has to applaud Wal-Mart's timing for the integration. It's beefing up its online content just as couch potatoes are bellyaching over the niche leader's plans to begin charging its DVD renters for streaming.
4. Ronald McDonald isn't clowning around
Happy Meals will never be entirely healthy, but at least McDonald's
Obviously, it would have been more lucrative for Mickey D's to simply shrink its portions while keeping its prices intact, but now critics can only point to the parents -- as they should have all along -- for the expanding waistlines of their children.
The move will likely put an end to calls for the world's largest restaurant operator to nix Ronald McDonald and Happy Meal toy premiums. It's a good call, given the low caloric value of both the creepy clown and cheap playthings. At least now when environmentalists complain of landfills filling up with plastic packets of rotting uneaten apple slices, advocacy groups can blame the first wave of advocacy groups and leave McDonald's out of it.
5. Can you RadioShack me now? Good!
RadioShack was largely seen as a loser when the iPhone became available through Verizon this year. It will be shedding T-Mobile to make room for Verizon, but at least RadioShack is now a one-stop shop of the largest wireless carriers.