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This Week's 5 Smartest Stock Moves

By Rick Munarriz - Apr 19, 2013 at 4:30PM

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These companies did the right thing this week.

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. IMAX's big picture keeps getting bigger
IMAX
(IMAX 3.68%) is crossing the border again.

The company behind the projection systems that deliver larger-than-life cinema experiences signed a deal to install five more screens in Mexico for multiplex operator Cinepolis. The move will expand IMAX's presence through Cinepolis in Mexico to a dozen locations.

It's not the only way that IMAX grew its reach. Paramount Pictures expanded its partnership with IMAX, making sure that some of the studio's biggest releases -- including Michael Bay's Transformers 4 and Christopher Nolan's Interstellar -- will screen in the premium-priced format.

Bay and Nolan are also committing to using IMAX cameras to film key action sequences to give filmgoers another reason to pay up for the IMAX screenings when the movies come out next year.

2. Starbucks is a soda jerk
We're not exactly at the point where you can order a fizzy latte, but Starbucks (SBUX 2.77%) is arming some of its Seattle stores with carbonators as it tests sparkling beverages.

Starbucks is offering handcrafted spiced root beer, lemon ale, and ginger ale sodas at the stores. The test locations are also offering to carbonate iced tea and Refresher energy drinks.

It's a smart move, giving Starbucks more beverage options that appeal to children and adults that don't fancy tea or coffee. Starbucks is also doing the right thing by sidestepping the obvious cola and diet cola offerings by rolling out the line with beverage flavors that aren't easy to find elsewhere.

3. Netflix creeps you out
Netflix
(NFLX 1.90%) is taking another crack at original programming this week. Flying high off of the critically acclaimed success of February's House of Cards, the Eli Roth-helmed Hemlock Grove is available today exclusively through Netflix's streaming service.

Whether or not the series is a hit, Netflix itself is a hit with at least one analyst.

BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield initiated coverage of the reborn dot-com darling with a bullish rating and a $250 price target this week. It's hard to bet against the company given the stickiness of its flagship streaming platform. The average subscriber is spending nearly an hour and a half a day on Netflix -- according to Greenfield -- making the $7.99 a month plan one of the best value propositions in the entertainment market.

4. Rolling like a burrito
Chipotle Mexican Grill
(CMG 4.05%) is back to beating Wall Street's profit targets.

The 1,458-unit fast casual chain saw net income spike 22% to $76.6 million, or $2.45 a share. There was an tax credit padding results by $0.10 a share, but even then Chipotle blew out the $2.14 a share that analysts were forecasting.

Coming out on top is a welcome surprise. Chipotle was a consistent market beater for years, but it had actually missed Wall Street income expectations in each of the two previous quarters.

Chipotle isn't perfect. Comps rose a pedestrian 1% during the quarter, and guidance calls for flat to slow comps growth for all of 2013 barring any menu price increases.

However, it's still refreshing to see Chipotle getting back to besting the prognosticators on the bottom line.

5. Satellite radio hitchhikes on the information superhighway
Sirius XM Radio (SIRI 2.10%) officially rolled out its MySXM offering this week.

MySXM is the satellite radio provider's crack at Web-based personalized radio. Listeners can choose up to 100 different variations of dozens of Sirius XM stations.

This was a service that Sirius XM was originally hoping to make public by the end of last year, but better late than never.

This is a smart move because it increases the value of its online product. Receiver-based subscribers only have to pay $3.50 a month more for Internet access, so making that add-on offering more compelling should help boost average revenue per user.

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Stocks Mentioned

Netflix, Inc. Stock Quote
Netflix, Inc.
NFLX
$191.40 (1.90%) $3.57
Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. Stock Quote
Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.
CMG
$1,340.91 (4.05%) $52.14
Sirius XM Holdings Inc. Stock Quote
Sirius XM Holdings Inc.
SIRI
$6.33 (2.10%) $0.13
Starbucks Corporation Stock Quote
Starbucks Corporation
SBUX
$74.49 (2.77%) $2.01
IMAX Corporation Stock Quote
IMAX Corporation
IMAX
$16.07 (3.68%) $0.57

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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