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Zynga Inc (ZNGA), Facebook Inc (FB): This Week’s 5 Smartest Stock Moves

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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. CONN’S, Inc. (NASDAQ:CONN) job

The market typically frowns on a company that comes up short on the bottom line. It also doesn’t help when the market’s in a selling mood, and that’s exactly what happened on Wednesday after CONN’S, Inc. (NASDAQ:CONN) reported results for its holiday quarter.

However, despite coming up short on the bottom line, CONN’S, Inc. (NASDAQ:CONN)’s stock rose 8% on the day. What happened?

Well, the consumer electronics chain posted encouraging sales growth. Yes, that often suggests that margins were disappointing, but the retailer made up for that with robust guidance. CONN’S, Inc. (NASDAQ:CONN)’s sees a profit of $2.40 a share to $2.50 a share in the new fiscal year, blowing past the $2.09 a share that Wall Street was penciling in for the chain.

Encouraged by the upbeat outlook, Canaccord Genuity analyst Laura Champine raised her price target on the shares from $41 to $53.

2. Doubling down on Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA)
Shares of Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) moved higher after its first real-money gambling games rolled out.


ZyngaPlusPoker and ZyngaPlusCasino were launched through Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA)’s overseas partner Bwin, letting players in the U.K. bet real money on online poker, blackjack, slots, and roulette.

It remains to be seen how lucrative the venture will be. Do folks really want to pull the virtual lever on a FarmVille-themed slot machine? However, it does make Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) less dependent on its social and casual games, where bookings have been slipping lately.

There was good news on Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA)’s app front, too. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier in the week that What’s the Phrase — a new Wheel of Fortune knockoff that Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA)released a month ago — had cracked the Top 10 list among free iOS apps. The bad news is that as of last night the game had slipped from eight down to 14 on the list. The good news is that the premium $0.99 version of the game is now the fourth most popular pay-app download for iOS devices.

3. The prodigal founder returns

Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY) shares soared 16% yesterday — hitting a 52-week high along the way — on news that Samsung will open stores within roughly 1,400 Best Buy locations.

Samsung will get to showcase its highly anticipated Galaxy S4 handset as well as other smartphones, tablets, and laptops. This won’t just be up to 460 square feet of display space. Samsung will staff the mini-store, and it will have its own register to close sales on the spot.

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