Wednesday was all about earnings season for stock investors, with dozens of prominent companies weighing in with their performance over the past three months. Just one high-profile report from the largest stock in the market helped pull the market-cap weighted S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite downward, even as the price-weighted Dow defied naysayers by gaining ground. Yet looking more broadly, the relatively small moves in the major market benchmarks hid a great deal of variation among different companies' results. Some of the best performers on the day included Juniper Networks (NYSE:JNPR), Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ:AKAM), and Strayer Education (NASDAQ:STRA).

Image source: Juniper Networks.

Juniper heads into the cloud

Juniper Networks gained 10% after releasing its third-quarter financial report late Tuesday. The networking company said that it topped its guidance range in producing 3% revenue growth, and adjusted net income also posted solid gains. In addition to its strong past performance, Juniper said that it expected to keep its positive momentum into the fourth quarter, with expectations for revenue of $1.32 billion to $1.38 billion and adjusted earnings of $0.59 to $0.65 per share. Overall, Juniper is working hard to make the use of data centers as efficient as possible, and it believes that it is one of just a handful of companies in the industry that have the technological expertise and resources to come up with viable long-term solutions. As long as cloud computing grows, so too will Juniper find ways to tap into that exciting market.

Akamai connects with better results

Akamai Technologies jumped 15% in the wake of its own third-quarter earnings report. The content delivery network specialist posted a 6% rise in revenue, with its strongest performance coming from its cloud security solutions business. The broader performance and security solution group also posted sales gains of almost 20%, offsetting downward pressure from the media delivery solutions business. The international market was kinder to Akamai than its U.S. business, and the web division overtook the media division in terms of overall revenue. With the new emphasis across the tech world on cybersecurity protection and having the strongest possible defenses against cyberattacks, Akamai has positioned itself well at exactly the right time.

Strayer Education passes the test

Finally, Strayer Education rose 15%. The for-profit educator announced that its revenue inched upward by 3% in its most recent quarter, and although net income sagged by more than 20%, Strayer still managed to boost its key enrollment figures. New student enrollments climbed by an impressive 13%, helping to lift overall total enrollment by 6% to climb above the 45,500 mark. A big jump in marketing expenses was largely to blame for the fall in net income, but Strayer hopes that the efforts will keep paying off by keeping more students coming through its doors. Strayer's results show that despite the pressure in the for-profit education industry, it's still possible to impress investors with solid operational efforts.

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