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This Week's 5 Smartest Stock Moves

By Rick Munarriz – Feb 28, 2014 at 5:17PM

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These five companies got it right.

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. Mickey Mouse clubs 
(DIS -3.22%) kicked off the week by increasing its ticket prices. It now costs $99 for a one-day ticket to the Magic Kingdom.

The media naturally jumped on the $4 increase as insensitive, but it's not as if $95 was such a crazy bargain before. More importantly, Disney seems to keep boosting its attendance to record levels despite the regular upticks. 

Disney's move still makes the cut because of its timing. The family entertainment giant has engaged in annual rate increases in early June, but this time it rolled it out four months earlier. With the economy improving, it should help boost revenue for the current quarter. 

2. Shake and bake
Middleby (MIDD -1.95%) keeps heating things up.

The seller of commercial ovens and other food service essentials moved higher after posting another blowout quarter in which revenue and earnings climbed 30% and 32%, respectively.

A big part of Middleby's strategy is to grow through acquisitions. It can snap up related companies in this fragmented market, milking the synergies and cashing in by selling the acquired products through its superior distribution. Organic revenue rose just 9%, but the company still came through with yet another bottom-line beat. Middleby has beaten Wall Street profit estimates every single quarter over the past year.

3. Charged up
Shares of Tesla Motors (TSLA 0.03%) hit yet another all-time high after the company announced plans for its battery facility. Tesla's Gigafactory will give the electric-car maker a place to build enough lithium-ion batteries to satisfy its demand for years.

That's important because Tesla is ramping up production, and batteries have been a sticking point. Tesla's Gigafactory will help keep costs in line, and that will become more critical when Tesla's more reasonably priced plug-in sedan hits the market in a couple of years.

Tesla's stock isn't cheap, but bears waiting for Elon Musk to mess up will have to keep waiting.

4. Frontier lands 
All three of the high-yielding telecoms that specialize in underserved rural markets reported this week. Frontier Communications (FTR) stepped up first, and it did not disappoint

Revenue dipped marginally to $1.18 billion, but that was expected. Frontier's trying to replace landline customers cutting the cord with more lucrative broadband accounts. The real surprise came in its adjusted profit of $0.07 a share, which bested the $0.06 per share it posted a year earlier. Wall Street expected flat bottom-line growth. The beat is important, and not just because it's the first time in fiscal 2013 that it happened. Frontier's chunky 8.6% yield demands that profitability stop degrading the way it has in the past. For one quarter at least, Frontier proved resilient.

5. Don't be silly, zulily 
One of this week's biggest winners is a fast-growing online retailer that sells fashionable clothes for children and their moms. Shares of zulily (NASDAQ: ZU) are trading 79% higher through Thursday's close after the company posted stunning results in its first quarter as a public company.

Net sales more than doubled, and zulily's net income of $0.10 per share humbled the pros, who were forecasting a profit of just $0.04 a share. It's a tremendous showing for a company that went public at $22 just three months ago. IPOs -- they grow up so fast.

Rick Munarriz owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Middleby, Tesla Motors, and Walt Disney. 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.

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Stocks Mentioned

Walt Disney Stock Quote
Walt Disney
$95.69 (-3.22%) $-3.18
Frontier Communications Stock Quote
Frontier Communications
Tesla Stock Quote
$182.92 (0.03%) $0.06
Middleby Stock Quote
$140.28 (-1.95%) $-2.79

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