Another day, and more drama from Cyprus is filling the headlines. This time, however, the news is good -- Cyprus appears close to gaining the funding needed to secure an international bailout. There’s still a lot of skepticism surrounding the deal, as well. If Cyprus doesn’t secure the money, it could signal its exit from the eurozone. Even though Cyprus is but a blip on the screen in terms of GDP, it could cause an exodus from the EU if it leaves, and weaken the stability of the euro as a whole.
All told, investors are optimistic that a bailout will be reached, and sent the broad-based S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) higher by 11.09 points (0.72%), to finish at 1,556.89.
Leading the charge higher within the S&P 500 was footwear and accessories maker Nike (NYSE: NKE ) , which gained 11.1% after reporting better-than-expected third-quarter results. Nike is still facing the odd dilemma of weakness in China, where revenue fell 9%; however, it saw its North American revenue, which accounts for 40% of its business, advance by 18%. The company’s EPS of $0.73 stomped the $0.67 estimate that analysts had been forecasting. Furthermore, Nike is projecting revenue growth of mid-to-high single digits in the year ahead, which is also ahead of expectations. My Foolish colleagues Alex Planes, Travis Hoium, and I came to the unanimous conclusion that Nike was a top stock recently, and I see no reason why it can’t head higher.
Following very closely behind Nike was memory chip maker Micron Technology (NASDAQ: MU ) , which advanced 10.7% after it reported its second-quarter results. Although the figures themselves were a bit mixed -- with revenue coming well ahead of forecasts, and its loss of $0.28 per share $0.08 worse than anyone had expected -- it was Micron’s assertion that its manufacturing costs are falling, and that margins are rising, that has investors excited about its prospects. In fact, Credit Suisse dramatically boosted its price target on Micron to $14 from $8, while keeping its “outperform” rating on the company. Given Micron’s highly cyclical nature, I’d say that its upside from here on out is modest, at best, but it’s nonetheless a good day to be a Micron shareholder.
Finally, shares of global snack company Mondelez International (NASDAQ: MDLZ ) rallied 4.1% after rumors swirled about a potential merger between it and soft drink behemoth PepsiCo. (NYSE: PEP ) . The rumors began when it was noted that billionaire hedge fund investor Nelson Peltz had built a position in both companies. PepsiCo. has soured on the rumors, however, and noted that it doesn’t need, nor is it looking for, a big acquisition at the moment to drive growth. As a standalone company, Mondelez offers consistent single-digit growth and a healthy dividend, so investors are unlikely to go wrong either way.
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