Why Alcatel-Lucent, Expedia, and PriceSmart Soared on a Dour Day for the Dow

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

The Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) closed the month on a down note, falling 73 points as most analysts again pointed to investors' uncertainty about future action from the Federal Reserve. Yet the Dow picked up more than 400 points for the month, and despite today's broad-market losses, Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU  ) , Expedia (NASDAQ: EXPE  ) , and PriceSmart (NASDAQ: PSMT  ) all saw their shares gain by double-digit percentages. Let's take a closer look to find out what sent those stocks soaring today.

Alcatel-Lucent exploded 16% higher after reporting a narrower loss than investors expected. Revenue climbed by 7% as Alcatel's turnaround strategy started to take advantage of improving conditions in the telecom- and networking-equipment industry and in Europe more broadly. Improving gross margins reflected success in containing costs and holding off rivals in the fiercely competitive space, and optimism from CEO Michel Combes seems to point to a possibly profitable future.

Expedia gained 18% as it also beat investors' expectations in its third-quarter earnings report. Gains of 17% in revenue helped allow the online travel specialist to earnings per share that were 6% higher than investors were estimating, and Expedia also provided a positive view of the future. Expedia has long labored in the shadow of industry giant Priceline.com (NASDAQ: PCLN  ) , which has done a better long-term job than Expedia of capitalizing on the potential of the online travel space. Still, Expedia's results prove that there's room for more than one player in online travel.

PriceSmart shares picked up 12% today after the company closed its fiscal year with solid revenue and earnings gains. The international warehouse club retailer saw sales climb 14% during its fiscal fourth quarter from year-ago levels, having opened two new warehouses during the 2013 fiscal year to bring its total up to 31. That doesn't include the new opening of its sixth warehouse store in Costa Rica, which once again shows the dramatic growth opportunities that PriceSmart has to expand within Central and South America.


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