Why Barracuda Networks, Molycorp, and Sprint Soared Today

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.

Stocks closed ever so slightly lower Friday, as the Dow technically broke its six-day winning streak despite losing just a single point on the day. Bond yields closed above the 3% level for the first time in two years, but many stocks kept climbing, with Barracuda Networks (NYSE: CUDA  ) , Molycorp (NYSE: MCP  ) , and Sprint (NYSE: S  ) among the biggest winners.

Barracuda Networks jumped almost 20%, boosting its gains for the week to 38%. The stock continued to climb following the company's announcement Monday that it had made its enterprise-grade NG Firewall available for use in connection with Amazon.com's (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) Amazon Web Services cloud-computing platform. With the product now included on the Amazon Web Services marketplace, investors hope that customers will use NG Firewall to protect their cloud-based infrastructure. Given the recent high-profile breaches of confidential data, the value of cloud-security products like Barracuda's could continue to rise, helping boost confidence in the company's future prospects.

Molycorp soared 15%. Despite facing substantial challenges in its operations, the rare-earth metals producer made its way onto a Barclays list of small-cap stocks that could benefit from a seasonal play known as the January effect. Bulls hope that the company will overcome weak rare-earth prices and make expansion plans pay off. Given the more than 85% plunge shares have suffered since early 2012, today's move upward is just a drop in the bucket toward a full-scale recovery for Molycorp stock.

Sprint rose more than 8% on hopes that the No. 3 wireless carrier will join forces with T-Mobile US (NYSE: TMUS  ) . Reports of discussions among various high-profile players, including SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, have led many to believe that Sprint would be better off integrated with T-Mobile, arguably better able to compete with its two larger rivals in the U.S. market. Given T-Mobile's aggressive pricing strategies that have forced larger carriers to make price-cutting moves of their own, though, a Sprint/T-Mobile merger might not be good news for customers.

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