Why Pharmacyclics, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, and Cray Jumped 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.

After a disappointing start to 2014, the stock market finally gave bullish investors some respite, posting solid gains that made back much of the ground that the major-market benchmarks have given up in the new year. The lowest trade-deficit figures in more than four years helped raise spirits about the prospects for the U.S. economy, lifting the Dow by triple-digits. But Pharmacyclics (NASDAQ: PCYC  ) , Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: VRX  ) , and Cray (NASDAQ: CRAY  ) all posted much more impressive gains, rising by double-digit percentages for the day.

Pharmacyclics gained almost 20% on news that its Imbruvica treatment for certain types of leukemia and lymphoma got a recommendation from its independent data-monitoring committee to end its late-stage study early. With signs that the drug convincingly demonstrated superiority over GlaxoSmithKline's Arzerra treatment, Imbruvica could become a blockbuster for Pharmacyclics and marketing partner Johnson & Johnson, as long as the companies can position themselves to make the most of the opportunity.

Valeant climbed 11% after CEO Michael Pearson expressed enthusiasm about the Canadian pharmaceutical company's long-range prospects. Pearson said he expects Valeant's market capitalization to climb into the top five drug companies by the end of 2016. That target gives Valeant three years to roughly quadruple its market cap based on its current valuation and those of its peers. With a forecast for 40% higher adjusted earnings and revenue in 2014 from last year, based largely on the recent acquisition of eye specialist Bausch & Lomb, Valeant appears to be setting the stage to find that long-term success.

Cray gained 15%. Last night, the computer specialist confirmed its revenue guidance for 2013 and 2014, citing strength in its supercomputing segment, as well as its data analytics business. As the power of data analysis makes itself felt across the industry, Cray and other renowned businesses are reinventing themselves to take full advantage. That could give investors in Cray and other stocks a new lease on their investing lives.

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