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This Week's 5 Smartest Stock Moves

By Rick Munarriz - Feb 14, 2014 at 5:15PM

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These five companies got it right 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. Happy Valentine's Day, streaming fans 
The second season of House of Cards kicks off on Netflix (NFLX 1.38%) today, and it's brilliant timing on behalf of the world's leading video-streaming service. On a night when couples will be gouged for overpriced romantic dinners, Netflix will be waiting at the end of the evening with its tantalizing value proposition. It also doesn't hurt that it's rolling out during the Winter Olympics, giving its growing subscriber base one less reason to temporarily suspend the service as they take in the games.

True to its binge-viewing mantra, all 13 episodes of the new award-winning show became available earlier today.

In a clever marketing ploy, Netflix teamed up with the folks behind the popular Cards Against Humanity card game to offer up a 25-card themed expansion pack. It's available for free at HouseOfCardsAgainstHumanity.com.  

2. Carl finds a new orchard
Carl Icahn is letting Apple (AAPL 0.62%) mind its own business. The billionaire activist investor is withdrawing the non-binding proposal that he was presenting to get Apple to return more money to its shareholders through dividends and buybacks.

Icahn didn't really have much of a choice. Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that the tech giant has snapped up $14 billion worth of stock over the past two weeks, and proxy advisory service Institutional Shareholder Services sided with Apple on Sunday in considering Icahn's now-abandoned proposal. 

It's the right thing to do. Apple has been slow in putting its massive greenbacks to work, but it's hard to dismiss the company that made that money in the first place.

3. Savor the flavor
Bethenny Frankel's Skinnygirl product line will be getting a SodaStream (SODA) twist. Skinnygirl has become the latest beverage brand to strike a deal with SodaStream to get its flavors as syrups for the carbonated beverage making system.

It's a smart move for SodaStream at a time when its flavor sales have been languishing. SodaStream's flavor sales declined in the U.S. during the third quarter. The Skinnygirl syrups won't be hitting the market until the second half of this year, but it's ultimately another incremental step for SodaStream to beef up its offerings before Keurig Cold hits the market at some point in the next year or two.

4. That's Comcastic
The "buyout of the week" has to be Comcast's (CMCSA 0.77%) decision to snap up Time Warner Cable in a $45.2 billion deal. The all-stock transaction isn't very popular with consumers, who fear their cable bills will continue to rise in another round of consolidation. However, there's a scenario where it doesn't turn out that way.

After all, cable and satellite television companies aren't as greedy as we make them out to be. They're just passing on the increasing fees charged by networks and broadcasters for carriage rights. A combined Comcast and Time Warner Cable would have more bargaining power to keep costs low. It may or may not pass along those savings to its customers, but this may not be the typical consolidation in which the end user loses out.

5. Tesla keeps heating up 
Tesla Motors (TSLA 4.75%) hit yet another all-time high this week, and it kicked off the trading week with a CNBC segment showing that used Tesla cars are selling for more on average than they are new. Leaning on data from ISeeCars.com, CNBC reported that the average selling price for a Model S sedan in the used market was $99,734, well above the average transaction price of $93,000.

It's certainly unusual to see that happen. Usually a car loses a chunk of its value the moment it gets driven off the lot. However, the scarcity of the Model S -- new orders are still taking as long as three months to fill -- certainly helps with affluent drivers who aren't used to having to wait for something they want.

In the end, it's a great event for Tesla marketers, with buyers potentially eyeing a car purchase as an investment. It can only help.   

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Stocks Mentioned

Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
AAPL
$141.39 (0.62%) $0.87
Netflix, Inc. Stock Quote
Netflix, Inc.
NFLX
$190.43 (1.38%) $2.60
SodaStream International Ltd. Stock Quote
SodaStream International Ltd.
SODA
Comcast Corporation Stock Quote
Comcast Corporation
CMCSA
$44.03 (0.77%) $0.34
Tesla, Inc. Stock Quote
Tesla, Inc.
TSLA
$690.06 (4.75%) $31.26

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