Stocks finished the week on the plus side, as the Dow hit a new high, and the broader market held its own against more bearish investors who are arguing more forcefully that the long bull market has to come to an end at some point. Several stocks helped to build some excitement for market participants, and Clean Energy Fuels (NASDAQ: CLNE ) , Universal Display (NASDAQ: OLED ) , and Nuverra Environmental Solutions (NYSE: NES ) were among the best-performing stocks in the market Friday.
Clean Energy Fuels jumped 12% as the natural-gas fueling station network operator reported much better conditions in its business than investors had expected. A 24% jump in gallons delivered helped reverse sluggishness in earlier quarters, and even though gains in dollar-value revenue were limited, adjusted sales soared 43% once you take out one-time items from the previous year. The expiration of crucial tax credits had a big impact on Clean Energy Fuels' income statement, reversing a year-ago profit, and raising questions about whether the company can get back to break-even levels quickly. For now, though, investors seem satisfied with Clean Energy Fuels' strategy to emphasize rising volume and station expansion.
Universal Display climbed 15% after the maker of organic light-emitting diode technology saw its quarterly sales soar by more than 150%, helping to produce not just a profitable quarter, but a profit that tripled what investors had expected to see. Favorable guidance also gave investors a boost in optimism, suggesting that it would finish the year near the upper end of its sales estimates. More importantly, Universal Display dispelled some competitive concerns that shareholders had, and even though the future is still uncertain as to when the company will start benefiting more from ramped-up production of OLED televisions, Universal Display has shown its ability to live to fight another day.
Nuverra Environmental Solutions gained 10% after investors saw the energy-wastewater treatment specialist's quarterly report. Nuverra's revenue fell 2.4%, although almost 20% of that figure was attributable to the company's Thermo Fluids unit, which the company is in the process of selling to VeroLube. Despite a drop of about one-third in adjusted EBITDA, investors appeared to accept Nuverra's explanation of the poor winter weather conditions and problems with a major customer's drilling operations that weighed temporarily on earnings. With CEO Mark Johnsrud citing increasing amounts of capital spending for exploration and production activity now that the winter months have ended, Nuverra has a greater opportunity to capitalize on the need for water and wastewater treatment services, and that could bolster growth as long as the energy boom lasts.
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