Chips, soda, release dates, and interest rates -- all had more than a bit part to play in the market's theatrical production this past week.

Coke isn't it
It's hard to feel sorry for Coke (NYSE:KO). The pop star leads Pepsi (NYSE:PEP) in the cola wars by a wide margin, but its stagnant ways have more than a few investors worried that the company is going flat. The company came clean, discarding its once-ambitious earnings growth targets of 11% to 12% a year because of case volume sales that have been growing slower than carbonated molasses.

Coke CEO Neville Isdell is now divulging the company's worst-kept secret: Things aren't so hot at Coke. Isdell is expecting that the company's sluggish 3% to 4% growth in unit sales will translate into earnings growth in only the high single-digits. Coke still isn't cheap, trading at more than 20 times earnings. However, for those who were so high on the stock five years ago when it was fetching considerably more and trading closer to 50 times earnings, I have just one question to ask -- what were you thinking, man?

When the chips are down, you get back up
So it seems that Intel's (NASDAQ:INTC) clever "Intel Inside" campaign was really just an invitation to a shake-up. Yes, the world's leading computer chip maker is mixing up the boardroom with Chairman Andy Grove stepping down. CEO Craig Barrett will be relinquishing his title to fill Grove's shoes, and President and Chief Operating Officer Paul Otellini will replace Barrett at the helm.

While swapping titles may seem as inconsequential as a baseball infield shifting, it follows the company's move a day earlier to double its dividend and devote billions of dollars to an aggressive share buyback. Intel has come under scrutiny for its execution and inventory woes. While these moves may not amount to much, the fact that Intel recognizes that it needs to tweak itself to emit a spark is a refreshing sign.

The Halo 2 effect
If you have ever wanted to pretend to be Bill Gates or Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer and knock off the villainous antitrust lawyers and destroy the dreaded Federal Trade Commission mothership, then has Halo 2 got a game for you. What? The Xbox shooter has nothing to do with Microsoft's legal tangles? Oh well. Folks lined up anyway to scoop up a copy of the sequel to the popular Halo title when it hit store shelves on Wednesday. A record $125 million worth of the game was sold on the first day alone. That's welcome news for Microsoft on many different levels. The company's Xbox system is still lagging Sony's (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation 2 platform by a wide margin and proprietary titles like this may help the console find the wider audience that Microsoft covets.

Sure, Xbox loses money on every system that it sells. The plan is to more than make that back through software sales and Web-enabled game play. So if that wasn't Halo 2 that I was playing earlier -- as Paul Allen this time -- then what was it exactly?

Interest rates are rising while the sky is falling!
While it's normal to hear the word "hike" in the middle of the football season, it brings on new meaning when it's the Federal Open Market Committee calling an audible at the line. For the fourth time this year, the Fed has inched up the federal funds rate. There is no reason to be alarmed by this. The hikes have been small and the federal funds rate at 2% is still pretty darn low when you consider that it was hovering close to 7% just four years ago. This is not the end of cheap financing. This is not the end of the real estate boom. As in football, it's just the Fed sacking the quarter (of a point) back.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story.