Stocks closed higher on Friday, and the most surprising thing about the day's gains is that they came despite near-confirmation of one of the biggest fears that market participants face. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen spoke before an audience at Harvard and said she believed further increases in the Federal Funds rate would be, in her words, "appropriate" in all likelihood in the near future. The threat of rate hikes has been the cause of several past market downturns, but investors simply shrugged off the news Friday as a sign that the economy is performing strongly enough to withstand headwinds from rising rates.
Gains in major-market benchmarks were limited to between a quarter-percent and a half-percent, but several individual stocks did better. Among the top performers were Deckers Outdoor (NYSE:DECK), FEI Company (NASDAQ:FEIC), and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR).
Deckers Outdoor jumped 8% after reporting its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday afternoon. The maker of Uggs boots enjoyed solid results that included net income that was nearly double what investors had predicted, and double-digit percentage top-line growth. Uggs in particular did well, as well as the company's Teva and Hoka One One brands. In particular, given the warm winter weather and the tough environment for retailers generally, the fact that Deckers was able to produce the results it did was quite encouraging. Although guidance for the coming fiscal year was somewhat disappointing, investors apparently believe Deckers has the capacity to outperform its initial estimates if things go well for the footwear company.
FEI climbed 14% in the wake of a takeover bid. Thermo Fisher Scientific offered to buy the maker of high-performance electron microscopes for $4.2 billion, with the all-cash bid paying FEI shareholders $107.50 per share. FEI's products allow for analysis at extremely small scales, helping customers in the life sciences and materials science markets boost their overall productivity and take steps forward in innovating new products and processes. FEI CEO Don Kania noted that "this transaction bolsters our already strong position in the marketplace and allows us to play an increasing role in enabling our customers to accelerate breakthrough discoveries, increase productivity, and provide solutions to global challenges." Shareholders in FEI won't get to participate in any future gains, but FEI's future looks bright underneath Thermo Fisher's corporate umbrella.
Finally, Twitter finished up 6%. The social media company said Jana Messerschmidt and Nathan Hubbard will leave the company as part of Twitter's latest reorganization efforts. The move only increases the number of upper-level executives who have departed the microblogging company's ranks in 2016, including four who left early in the year. With Twitter having seen user growth slow to a standstill, the company is trying to shake things up in order to find new paths for potential expansion. Yet the consequence has been a loss of experienced personnel, and it remains to be seen whether Twitter can gain more from the fresh perspective that new executives will bring than it will lose from having seasoned executives at the helm.