Wall Street This Week: SunPower Rose Early, Car Sales on a Roll

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Solar panelsCompanies can make brilliant moves, but there are also times when things don't work out quite as planned. From a solar power company enlightening some shareholders prematurely to Warren Buffett tweeting ahead of his annual powwow in Omaha, here's a rundown of the week's best and worst performances in the business world.

Automakers -- Winners

Car sales continue to rev up. Ford (F) and General Motors (GM) posted double-digit percentage gains in auto sales for the month of April.

An improving economy and new cars that provide improved fuel efficiency and Bluetooth-enabled enhancements are leading drivers to trade in their old cars.

The auto industry doesn't mind that at all. After years of recessionary slumber, consumers are now comfortable enough to make big-ticket purchases. Ford's 18 percent spike in sales last month and GM's impressive 11 percent pop are leading the way for an industry that may actually approach 16 million cars produced this year.

SunPower (SPWR) -- Loser

Solar energy has started to show signs of life again, but sometimes the sun rises too early.

Materials from SunPower's earnings presentation leaked early on Thursday afternoon, tipping investors off on a blowout quarter with minutes left to go in the trading day.

SunPower was supposed to report after the market close.

Yes, the report was solid. SunPower's adjusted earnings of $0.22 a share on $575 million in revenue were well ahead of the profit of $0.10 a share on $510 million in revenue that Wall Street was targeting. However, the leaked financials gave some investors an unfair advantage.

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A) (BRK-B) -- Winner

"Warren is in the house," read the first tweet from @WarrenBuffett on Thursday. Yes, the great Warren Buffett is now on Twitter.

Arguably the best investor of our time, Buffett picked a great moment to join the popular social media platform. His Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting kicks off this weekend. Word of Buffett's potentially chatty ways is spreading quickly. By Thursday night, Buffett's account had more than 215,000 followers.

Pitney Bowes (PBI) -- Loser

Shares of Pitney Bowes tumbled 16 percent on Tuesday after the company slashed its once generous quarterly dividend.

Metered mail isn't what it used to be, and investors spoiled by 30 years of annual payout hikes had to know that the good times couldn't last forever. Pitney Bowes has seen revenue decline for several years. It's not just the US Postal Service suffering from less mail going around.

In this age of email and overnight deliveries, it was naive to believe that a metered mail company could sustain its distributions.

Trulia (TRLA) -- Winner

Rising home prices and steady mortgage rates are breathing new life into the once-moribund housing market, and Trulia has benefited in a big way. The company behind the popular real estate website saw its quarterly revenue soar 97 percent this week, well ahead of what Wall Street was expecting.

No one should be surprised at Trulia's strength here. Consumers are flocking to well-trafficked websites and apps that provide detailed area information, and real estate professionals are paying up for premium access to reach out to potential home buyers.

The house always wins.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Ford. The Motley Fool recommends Berkshire Hathaway, Ford, and General Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and Ford. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.

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RouteUS66Busload

Impressive.

May 29 2013 at 11:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply