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. SodaStream plays orange like clockwork
The number of ways to flavor up your SodaStream (NASDAQ:SODA) keep growing. The leader of in-home carbonation is teaming up with Sunny Delight to make various SunnyD flavors available as syrups for SodaStream's namesake beverage-makers. The flavors will be available during the second half of this year.
SodaStream bounced back after seeing flavor sales growth decelerate to just 7% during the third quarter of last year. All of SodaStream's three product categories -- starter kits, flavors, and CO2 canisters -- posted double-digit growth the following quarter.
The market for SunnyD's youthful beverages may or may not embrace the citrus-flavored drink in carbonated form, but at the end of the day, it's incremental either way.
2. Apple in your dashboard
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) promised that it would be entering several new product categories this year, and it's taking a baby step in that direction by rolling out CarPlay this week.
The new car tech allows drivers carrying iPhones to use Siri to make calls, check voice mails, pull up directions, or stream audio. Many vehicle makers already offer similar technologies, but Apple's appeal finds several auto giants embracing the platform. CarPlay was introduced this week for Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and Ferrari drivers, and more than a dozen other carmakers have committed to the platform.
Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) has a long way to go to reclaim its IPO price of $10, but it's showing signs of bottoming out here after a brutal 2013 that saw gross bookings fall sharply.
CEO Don Mattrick offered up some encouraging nuggets during a Morgan Stanley appearance, promising new mobile updates for its FarmVille, Words With Friends, and Zynga Poker franchises. Mattrick also revealed that Zynga would be kicking off pilot programs worldwide for its real-money poker apps later this year.
4. CoStar finds a new flat
It may seem like a lot of money, but CoStar Group (NASDAQ:CSGP) will be paying $585 million to acquire Apartments.com from the consortium of newspaper companies that used to own the apartment rentals website for renters, property managers, and owners. Apartments.com rang up just $86 million in revenue, but it did so on a healthy adjusted EBITDA margin of roughly 33%.
Things will get even better under CoStar Groups, as it sees synergies that will result in another $20 million in annualized cost savings in a couple of years.
It's a smart move. Apartments.com's collection of sites attracts 114 million visits a month, and these are mostly folks ready to enter into lucrative rental agreements. It's not a cheap deal, but it's worth it.
5. Don't pull the plug
There aren't too many stocks that have been better than 40-baggers since bottoming out last year, but that's exactly what Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG) has done. The fuel-cell specialist rallied yet again this week after announcing a deal that would beef up its presence at Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT).
Plug Power already has 535 hydrogen fuel cell charging stations deployed across some of Wal-Mart's distribution centers, allowing the world's largest retailer to save energy costs on powering its heavy equipment. The new deal will triple the number of distribution centers embracing Plug Power's charging stations.