Why Zynga Inc., Isis Pharmaceuticals, and Vipshop Holdings Ltd. Are Today's 3 Best Stocks

Fears over the Ukraine-Russia standoff subsided on a day when the S&P 500 soared to a record close and VipShop Holdings pulled in a 32% gain

Mar 4, 2014 at 5:15PM

The S&P 500's (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) had a whale of a year so far in 2014 after a sluggish start to the year, and it put on quite a show today after Monday's shellacking. The S&P notched a new record high at the market close today, gaining 1.3% on a day when most stocks across the market surged into the green in a big way.

Monday's bane of fears over a Russia-Ukraine conflict wore off today, helping restore confidence to a market shaken by the outbreak of the standoff in Eastern Europe. The announcement of a scheduled end to Russian military exercises on the Ukraine border today helped, especially as no major economic reports left the Ukraine showdown as the sole market-shaking news of the day. However, with Western and Russian leadership still at odds over events in Crimea, expect more to come from the drama in the coming weeks as Kiev's new leadership tries to sort out the situation.

Stocks from the energy sector to the defense industry have paid close attention to the situation, but out of all the day's best stocks today, the three best gainers came from industries such as video games and biotech, as Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA), Isis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ISIS), and VipShop Holdings (NYSE:VIPS).

Let's start off with Zynga, as shares of the social gaming firm climbed 8% today. That's continuing the astronomical start Zynga's posted to kick off 2014, as the stock's jumped more than 32% year to date with only two months in the books. Today's jump excited investors after Zynga announced it will push a handful of its biggest titles to smartphones and tablets in the very near future, chasing after the lucrative mobile market in the hopes of reigniting growth.

Zynga's taking its popular Words With Friends and Zynga Poker to mobile soon, and the company's also planning to launch a new edition of its FarmVille 2 simulator. It's part of CEO Don Mattrick's goal of becoming the dominant free-to-play game developer in Western markets, but it'll be a challenge capturing the top spot in a crowded and competitive mobile gaming market. For today, however, investors have rallied behind the potential in a stock that's suffered since its IPO despite this year's gains.

Elsewhere on the markets, Isis Pharmaceuticals rallied back from its recent slip by gaining 8.7% today. The stock took a beating after disappointing investors in its most recent earnings report, posting revenue that gained 113% year over year yet still wasn't enough to keep the company from losing more than $24 million in net earnings for the quarter, a huge jump year over year. Part of the trouble came from Isis's recent climb, as the stock's jumped more than 200% over the past year. Isis plans to kick off phase 3 trials for two of its antisense drugs in the near future, but don't expect this company's unprofitable streak to end anytime soon. Today's pullback shows that investors still are behind this developmental biotech, however -- and with plenty of cash on hand, Isis still has plenty of time to unlock the promise of its drug pipeline.

Neither Isis nor Zynga matched up with today's big gainer, however. Vipshop Holdings jumped a whopping 32.6% today. The China-based online retailer crushed its fourth quarter earnings, posting adjusted earnings per share of 49 cents, a figure that not only smashed analyst expectations of 41 cents per share but also grew tremendously over the 16 cents per share quarterly earnings that Vipshop posted a year ago. The company's first quarter revenue projections also came in much higher than analysts had projected, and investors were quick to capitalize. It's all optimism right now around Vipshop, but with the stock up more than 400% over the past year and valuations jumping, the company will have to hit all the right marks to match the market's rosy expectations.

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Dan Carroll has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Isis Pharmaceuticals. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

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KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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