Why Rayonier, Shanda Games, and YPF 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 proved unable to gain back any ground from last week's big plunge, as investors remain nervous about a potential correction in advance of the Federal Reserve's last meeting under outgoing Chairman Ben Bernanke. Despite further declines for the major market indexes, Rayonier (NYSE: RYN  ) , Shanda Games (NASDAQ: GAME  ) , and YPF (NYSE: YPF  ) all posted big jumps today.

Rayonier climbed almost 10% after it said this morning that it would break into two separate companies. One of the resulting companies will concentrate on Rayonier's performance-fibers business, while the other will continue its forest-resources and real-estate operations. Rayonier is just following in the footsteps of many other companies in trying to separate out specialty-chemical operations from other, higher-value businesses -- timberlands in Rayonier's case. The company also reported solid fourth-quarter earnings, with a 26% jump in revenue producing adjusted earnings per share that were $0.13 higher than investors expected.

Shanda Games jumped 15% after getting a $1.9 billion offer to go private from a group led by controlling shareholder Shanda Interactive. The deal would pay U.S. shareholders $6.90 per American depositary share, or about 22% above where the stock started the day. Many analysts have pointed to an ongoing trend toward taking Chinese companies private, given a lack of confidence among U.S. investors that has led to low valuations. Chinese online gaming remains a competitive industry, but even with emerging-market concerns weighing on stocks, the growth potential for Shanda remains strong.

YPF rose almost 12% as the Argentine energy giant regained a portion of its 25% plunge last week. The company is near the epicenter of emerging-market concerns, with Argentina's currency falling sharply. Moreover, YPF has been wrapped in controversy ever since the Argentine government expropriated Spanish energy company Repsol's interest in the venture. Even though the two parties reached a tentative deal, YPF will remain a tough sell for investors who are nervous about Argentina's less than friendly attitude toward private property rights.

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