On Thursday, investors paid close attention to whether the stock market would rise to new record highs, as the final big push of earnings season included positive reports from some major companies. Yet in the end, broader concerns about the sustainability of the economic recovery, both in the U.S. and across the globe, held major-market benchmarks back. Still, Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN ) , CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL ) , and Chelsea Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CHTP ) climbed nicely, although some reasons they rose weren't necessarily the best news that shareholders could hope to hear.
Groupon gained 6%, but the move was largely a bounce after the daily deals and online-retail company's shares plunged more than 20% yesterday. Good results from retailers' April sales data might have had a positive impact on Groupon's e-commerce sites, and with many Internet stocks hit hard in recent weeks, a pause throughout the sector led to some upward moves for many sector favorites. Nevertheless, Groupon still faces the big challenge of going beyond its landmark daily deals service to build a lasting presence in the online retail world. With so many big competitors, Groupon will have an uphill battle to execute its turnaround strategy successfully.
CenturyLink also rose about 6% as the telecom company announced its first-quarter results. Revenue was flat, and adjusted earnings fell 13% from the year-ago period, showing the ongoing challenges that CenturyLink faces in keeping its customers from defecting to competitors. Yet even as CenturyLink saw 120,000 phone-line customers disappear, it added 66,000 broadband Internet users and 24,000 television viewers during the quarter. CenturyLink also cited rising demand from its enterprise customers. With most telecom and cable companies seeking to maximize their exposure to small business and enterprise customers who need and can afford premium service offerings, CenturyLink needs to keep striving to get maximum market share on that front.
Chelsea Therapeutics soared 32% as the small biotech got a buyout bid from a Danish pharmaceutical company. Lundbeck priced its offer at a 29% premium to yesterday's closing price, but Chelsea Therapeutics shares actually climbed above the cash component of the buyout because of contingent value rights that it would receive after the deal closes. The contingent value rights are tied to the performance of Chelsea's Parkinson's disease treatment Northera, which treats low blood pressure and recently gained FDA approval. Given the demand for approved drugs, Lundbeck might well have gotten Chelsea Therapeutics at a bargain price here.
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