The trade trade and the ad mad colored in the week that was.

No, NYSE will not be its ticker symbol
The New York Stock Exchange is going public. In some ways, it just did. On the announcement that the NYSE will merge with publicly traded Archipelago Holdings (NYSE:AX) in a deal expected to close in the next six to 10 months, folks are already buying into the combined company through shares of Archipelago. The deal, which combines the old-school exchange with the up-and-coming new-school kid behind the popular ArcaEx electronic trading platform, will give Archipelago shareholders a 30% stake in the new company.

The market was receptive to the move -- shares of Archipelago pushed higher on Thursday. That was good news to subscribers of our Rule Breakers newsletter service, since Archipelago was recommended in the February issue, when the stock was at $20.42. On Thursday's pop, the stock finished the day at $29.96.

Based on last year's results, the companies combined for a profitable showing on nearly $2 billion in revenue. The synergies are tantalizing as the 212-year-old exchange comes of age thanks to Archipelago. So maybe it's time for a new slogan, like NYSE -- the stock market for the next 212 years.

If it's pig Latin for the word "be," can you ebay more arefulcay?
It's been a rough year for eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY). Investors have been concerned about slowing domestic growth. That, coupled with the company's historic partial retreat on its last wave of price hikes earlier this year, has more than a few folks feeling that the company is vulnerable. But vulnerable to whom? That is a fair question, since there is no competitor even close to matching eBay's marketplace, where bidders and sellers gather en masse.

However, with the stock off by 43% so far in 2005, it was easy to get excited in anticipation of the company's first-quarter report on Wednesday. Would eBay win back the pundits? Was the company's growth back on track? Would CEO Meg Whitman come out dressed as a giant Pez dispenser and spit out rectangular sugar candy? Try none of the above. Margins continued to contract with the company posting a 28% spurt in earnings, while revenue -- fueled mostly by overseas expansion and its PayPal service -- rose by 36%.

Though the results were a cut above the company's original guidance, eBay laid out new profit targets. It is now looking for earnings between $0.71 and $0.73 a share this year. Wall Street was perched on the $0.77 mark. While that prices eBay at a rather stiff 46 times forward earnings, it's a relative bargain compared with the hefty premiums that most investors have had to pay for a piece of the world's leading online auctioneer. Just keep an eye on domestic growth, since that will truly be the ticket to the company's turnaround.

Paid search keeps the online tab running
In a one-two punch of dot-com power, Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) each reported a huge surge in earnings on the strength of paid search. Yes, those simple sponsored ads that you see springing up on search engine result pages -- and just about everywhere else online -- have helped more than a few Internet companies monetize their page views.

Sponsors' and surfers' acceptance of the lucrative, perfectly targeted advertising medium meant a doubling in earnings for Yahoo! in its March quarter. Google, meanwhile, saw its bottom line appreciate more than fivefold.

Look all around the popular search portals, and you will see companies like InfoSpace (NASDAQ:INSP) and the soon-to-be-acquired AskJeeves (NASDAQ:ASKJ) producing stellar results because of paid search.

The paid-search niche may be just what investors have been searching for.

The headlines behind this week's stories:

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz doesn't think that Archipelago has an AX to grind. Sorry, lame ticker-symbol joke. You did get why NYSE won't be the ticker of NYSE Group, right? Four letters? Not the NASDAQ? Yes, another lame Rick joke. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Foo l has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.