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Why United Continental Holdings, Zumiez, and TRW Automotive Soared Today

The stock market once again proved its amazing resiliency Thursday, recovering from losses of more than 1%, as investors gradually decided that a potential crisis in Europe was unlikely to become a big enough deal to slow down accelerating U.S. economic growth. Moreover, positive news from United Continental Holdings (NYSE: UAL  ) , Zumiez (NASDAQ: ZUMZ  ) , and TRW Automotive (NYSE: TRW.DL  ) helped to set an optimistic tone for the market.

United Continental jumped 13% after releasing preliminary guidance for its second-quarter results yesterday afternoon. The airline said that passenger revenue per available seat mile climbed by 3.5% during the quarter, about half a percentage point higher than the top end of its previous guidance range. United Continental reported strong results domestically, which were consistent with what other airlines have said recently; but United also said that its Pacific segment performed better than expected. United Continental was having trouble keeping up with its airline peers recently due to some lingering issues related to the merger of its United and Continental divisions; as a result, shareholders saw the news as a positive sign of progress at the airline.

Zumiez rose 6% after the retailer said that its same-store sales rose 3.1% during the month of June, resulting in total net sales gains of more than 11% from year-ago levels. Moreover, Zumiez boosted its guidance for its second-quarter revenue and earnings, raising its anticipated sales range by 3% to 5%, and increasing its range on earnings per share by between $0.05 and $0.07. Given the headwinds that many retailers have continued to face during the spring months, the positive results suggest that Zumiez remains popular among its activewear apparel customers, and modest but consistent growth in comparables could keep Zumiez stock rising in the future.

TRW Automotive gained 8% after the maker of auto parts said that it had received a takeover bid. Although TRW didn't identify the potential acquirer, reports suggest that one of TRW's German auto-parts peers, ZF Friedrichshafen, was likely to be the unidentified bidder, and ZF confirmed that it had been in talks about a possible bid. At this point, TRW has hired a financial advisor to consider the offer, but it expects to continue its current business strategy while it evaluates whether to accept it. Given how far TRW shares have already climbed, it's uncertain how much more of a buyout premium shareholders might get if an official bid is made.

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Dan Caplinger

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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