5 Winners and Losers of the Week in Business

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Office Depot storeIt's been a hectic week in the world of business, from a company prematurely announcing a big merger agreement to analysts raising their price targets on a dot-com rock star. Here's a rundown of this week's biggest wins and losses.

Office Depot (ODP) -- Loser

Don't send out engagement announcements until you've checked things out with your soul mate.

Office Depot prematurely disclosed the details of its merger with OfficeMax (OMX) this week, revealing terms of the deal in its Wednesday morning earnings release.

The deal wasn't apparently supposed to be revealed at that time, so Office Depot quickly pulled the press release.

Was OfficeMax getting cold feet? Were there more terms to hammer out? The PR blunder was rectified a little more than two hours later when OfficeMax and Office Depot issued a joint press release detailing the combination.

It's probably safe to say which company's corporate communications department will dominate after the merger.

Google (GOOG) -- Winner

Not one -- but two -- analysts raised their price targets on Google to a whopping $1,000 a share. The optimism has been contagious lately. Google hit new all-time highs earlier this week as it broke through $800, and some Wall Street pros think that the world's largest online company is going to head even higher.

Bernstein Research analyst Carlos Kirjner and CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets analyst James Lee boosted their price targets on the hot stock to $1,000. Hitting four digits would be an impressive achievement. There are only two other major U.S. companies trading north of $1,000 at the moment.

But ultimately, $1,000 is just a number. It wouldn't even mean that Google is expensive, as the dot-com darling at that price would only be fetching 19 times next year's projected profitability. It's just a matter of time before Google gets there, even though it wouldn't surprise anyone if the stock had some corrections along the way.

Burger King (BKW) -- Loser

The home of the Whopper had a whopper of a surprise this week when the Burger King Twitter account was hacked. Among other things, the hacker wrote that Burger King had been sold to McDonald's (MCD), and replaced its avatar and background image to those McDonald's and its new Fish McBites.

Burger King regained control of its Twitter feed fairly quickly, but then the same thing happened to Jeep.

Whether the hackers have malicious intent or are just tweaking big brands for kicks, major corporations need to be more careful with their password security when it comes to social media sites.

Trex (TREX) and Lumber Liquidators (LL) -- Winners

Let's hear it for home improvement! Trex and Lumber Liquidators posted better than expected quarterly results this week.

Trex is the leading player in wood-alternative decking. Homeowners looking to expand their living space with weatherproof decks often look to Trex's weather-resistant decks and railings to get the project done.

Lumber Liquidators is the leading specialty retailer in hardwood flooring. Stylish hardwood planks are gaining in popularity compared to cheaper carpeting, and Lumber Liquidators is expanding an empire that already consists of 288 stores. The retailer sees itself opening as many as 600 stores.

Comcast (CMCSK) -- Loser

Comcast posted another sequential decline in video customers during last week's quarterly report. But the reason the country's largest cable provider makes the cut this week is because of one of its subsidiaries: NBC, which it co-owns with General Electric (GE). The NBC.com website was found to be infected with a virus that security experts say is used in cyber banking fraud.

NBC claims that the problem has been remedied as of Thursday night, but this is another reason why online security is so important. If customers can't trust that they can safely go to NBC.com to check on schedules and view exclusive online content, that could easily cut into already low viewership levels.

I guess "30 Rock" went off the air at the right time. Liz Lemon wouldn't have liked this at all.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Aristotle Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Burger King Worldwide, Google, Lumber Liquidators, McDonald's, and Trex. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Lumber Liquidators, McDonald's, and Trex. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.


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