Why Yelp, USG, and Akamai Technologies 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.

The stock market posted impressive gains Thursday, with most major market averages up 1% or more on the day. Yet, even though many ascribed gains to a relatively unimportant jobless claims number, the more likely catalyst for the day came from earnings. That was certainly a big factor in the huge jumps in Yelp (NYSE: YELP  ) , USG (NYSE: USG  ) , and Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ: AKAM  ) today.

Yelp soared 19%, and set a new all-time record high despite reporting a slightly worse loss than investors had expected. Yet ,the local-review website company managed to post strong revenue growth of 72%, boosting the number of local business accounts for the quarter by 69%. Monthly traffic posted gains of 39%, with mobile visitors making up almost 45% of Yelp's total unique visitor count. What really pushed shares higher was Yelp's future guidance for sales that were well in excess of expectations for the first quarter and the full 2014 year.

USG jumped 13%. The building-products manufacturer took full advantage of rising demand in the homebuilding industry, with sales jumping more than 12%, and adjusted earnings coming in at almost double what investors had expected to see. With Berkshire Hathaway holding more than 30% of the company, it stands to gain the most from today's jump, even though the price gains could make Warren Buffett less willing to pay up to take full control of the company.

Akamai vaulted more than 20% higher after the content-delivery network provider reported good results and even better guidance. Revenue climbed by 15%, helping send adjusted earnings up 10%. But the really good news came from its positive forward guidance, which included the impact of a new contract with Apple that appears to have more favorable terms than many had feared. Given that some had believed that Apple would build its own in-house content-delivery network to make Akamai's services unnecessary, the news justifiably surprised worried shareholders.

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