Tuesday gave stock market investors a bounce from yesterday's sluggish beginning to the week, as market participants reacted favorably to generally positive news on the earnings front. A 0.3% rise in the U.S. Consumer Price Index indicated that deflationary pressures appear to be lessening, and that could open the door to a more normal trajectory for the broader economy in the face of likely increases in interest rates by the end of the year. Major market benchmarks rose as much as three-quarters of a percent, and some stocks posted much larger gains thanks to good news for their individual companies. Among the best performers on the day were Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG), MakeMyTrip Limited (NASDAQ:MMYT), and UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH).
Harley-Davidson motors down the road
Harley-Davidson climbed 9% despite reporting what some investors saw as mixed results in its third-quarter financial report. The motorcycle icon said that its earnings fell by nearly a fifth on a roughly 4% drop in sales compared to the year-earlier period, and even large reductions in share counts weren't enough to keep earnings per share from falling year over year as well. However, the results were better than most investors had expected, and CEO Matt Levatich noted that the company has had to "effectively navigate a fiercely competitive environment and an ongoing weak U.S. industry." Harley has high hopes for its 2017 motorcycle lines, with a new engine-pack that could generate consumer excitement. Nevertheless, with expected unit shipments remaining roughly flat this year compared to 2015, Harley-Davidson will have to work toward stoking greater demand for 2017 in order to keep investors satisfied.
MakeMyTrip makes a big buy
MakeMyTrip Limited soared 44% after announcing that it would combine its travel business in India with that of competing company ibibo Group under the MakeMyTrip name. According to the companies, the move will create "a one-stop shop for all Indian travelers and serves as a critical partner for travel industry suppliers." MakeMyTrip Group CEO Deep Kalra said that the move should "create an even more scalable business with the expertise to transform the booking experience" for its customers. The current owners of ibibo Group will end up with a 40% stake in MakeMyTrip, and investors are hopeful that the resulting competitive advantages will dramatically enhance the joint company's power in the industry.
UnitedHealth looks healthier
Finally, UnitedHealth Group gained 7%. The health-insurance giant reported its third-quarter earnings results this morning, which included a 12% gain in sales that helped produce earnings that were $0.09 per share better than most investors had expected. Although UnitedHealth's Optum business continued to grow, the company saw even faster growth in the UnitedHealthcare insurance segment, with solid performance from the employer and individual, Medicare and retirement, community and state, and global divisions of the insurance business. Overall, investors applauded UnitedHealth's more balanced approach, and if it can keep doing so, UnitedHealth shares could see further gains in the future.
Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends UnitedHealth Group. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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.