Stocks paused Wednesday, with the S&P 500 closing near the unchanged level as investors waited to see what might happen next both geopolitically in Ukraine as well as domestically in the weather-torn U.S. economy. Even with stocks fighting to a draw today, Renren (NYSE:RENN), AeroVironment (NASDAQ:AVAV), and Smith & Wesson Holding (NASDAQ:SWHC) managed to give their shareholders good news today, with their shares rising sharply in response.
Renren soared almost 23%, adding to its nearly 10% jump Tuesday. Although the Chinese social-media company didn't make any major announcements today, sentiment in China's Internet industry has been extremely strong lately, with solid earnings results from search giant Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) last week helping to drive gains for a number of players in the space. With Baidu having bought Renren's Nuomi group-buying site in January, investors want to know how Renren will move forward from here, especially given that the growth at Nuomi was one of the sole bright spots for the company during the third quarter.
AeroVironment climbed 21% after the drone-maker announced its most recent quarterly results. Revenue jumped by almost half, with solid performance both for its unmanned aircraft division and its electric-charging business. As companies start to look at the commercial potential of drones, AeroVironment could see a huge expansion of the drone business beyond its current military focus. Meanwhile, as demand for electric vehicles begins to climb, the company's charging systems could become a much more integral part of its overall business, maximizing AeroVironment's overall growth opportunities.
Smith & Wesson gained 16% as the gunmaker's quarterly report included a 7% jump in sales, which helped boost adjusted net income by nearly 35% and well exceeded the more tepid expectations that investors had for the company. Moreover, Smith & Wesson gave positive guidance for its current quarter, raising its full-year fiscal 2014 projections for revenue and profits. Even though rival Sturm, Ruger (NYSE:RGR) didn't fare as well last week, disappointing investors and sending its shares down in response, Smith & Wesson shows that the gun industry isn't down for the count just yet.
Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends AeroVironment and Baidu and owns shares of Baidu. 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.