Why Nokia, Expedia, and Activision Blizzard 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.

After Monday's plunge in the stock market, investors were prepared for the worst to begin the week. But with the markets bouncing back during the past couple of days, major-market indexes managed to get back into the black for the week. Huge gains from Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) , Expedia (NASDAQ: EXPE  ) , and Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI  ) helped create a positive mood for investors, even despite some troubling economic data on the jobs front this morning.

Nokia (NOK) jumped 9% after the company agreed to resolve its patent disputes against Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC. The companies didn't release the exact terms of the agreement, but HTC will pay royalties to Nokia in exchange for giving each other access to their respective patented technology. In addition, the agreement holds open the possibility of future collaboration, which could help Nokia as it seeks to figure out its future course after selling its phone business to Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) . Even after the Microsoft sale, though, Nokia will retain its patents, making the possibility of partnering with HTC even more attractive.

Expedia (EXPE) climbed 14% after the travel portal announced its latest quarterly earnings figures. Sales rose 18% and boosted earnings per share by almost half, and Expedia also posted solid figures on gross bookings and hotel-room sales volume. Even with Expedia's share-price advance today, rival Priceline.com (NASDAQ: PCLN  ) maintains a huge lead in terms of total returns, but today's news gives Expedia investors some hope that the company can tap into the same trends that have brought so much success to Priceline shareholders.

Activision Blizzard also soared 14%, hitting levels it hasn't seen in more than a quarter-century, as the video-game manufacturer continued its huge rebound on strength in its holiday quarter. The release of two brand-new video game consoles from Microsoft and Sony helped Activision's sales of its latest Call of Duty: Ghosts game, contributing to adjusted revenue and earnings that far exceeded the company's prior outlook in November. But even more importantly, Activision expects to see updates in 2014 to some of its strongest series, including World of Warcraft, as well as a potential new hit in Destiny later this year. Even though the video game industry will have to slow down from its explosive growth linked to the new PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Activision Blizzard is still in a good position to benefit from the opportunities in the space.

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