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Why Seadrill, Freeport-McMoRan, and GameStop Jumped Today

By Dan Caplinger – Nov 23, 2016 at 6:03PM

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These stocks rose on another record day for the markets. Find out why.

The stock market kept hitting new record levels on Wednesday as investors went into the Thanksgiving holiday on an optimistic note. New all-time highs for the Dow, S&P 500, and Russell 2000 showed the breadth of the rally, and the Dow added to gains that amount to almost 1,200 points since the beginning of the week of the presidential election. Some stocks posted even bigger gains than the overall market, and Seadrill (SDRL), Freeport-McMoRan (FCX 1.93%), and GameStop (GME 0.18%) were among the best performers on the day. Below, we'll look more closely at these stocks to tell you why they did so well.

Image source: Seadrill.

Seadrill salvages a tough quarter

Seadrill climbed almost 10% after announcing third-quarter results Tuesday afternoon. The offshore drilling specialist reported revenue declines of 25% and a GAAP net loss of $656 million, due largely to a massive impairment charge related to its Seadrill Partners unit. However, adjusted underlying net income of $135 million produced adjusted earnings of $0.28 per share, and CEO Per Wullf reported that even though offshore drilling is still weak overall, improvements in bidding activity are starting to become encouraging. Although a quick turnaround isn't likely and 2017 will probably still be tough, Seadrill thinks that its longer-term prospects are looking better, and that's a far cry from the much gloomier expectations that many investors have had about the industry for quite a while now.

Freeport gets its debt under control

Freeport-McMoRan gained 7% in the wake of its having completed a secondary stock offering designed to help it pay down debt and improve its balance sheet. The copper miner and energy producer said that the offering, which had been announced in late July, had helped Freeport raise $1.5 billion in gross proceeds, selling 116.5 million shares at an average price of just under $13 per share. The equity raise was just part of Freeport's overall strategy, which also included $6.6 billion in asset sales, but the company was pleased that it was able to preserve its high-quality assets and continue to generate ample free cash flow while avoiding too much dilution for existing investors. With the overhang of the shelf offering now gone, Freeport could benefit even more strongly from any further gains in commodity markets in the future.

GameStop overcomes weak conditions

Finally, GameStop rose 8%. The video game retail specialist had warned earlier that it would have a tough quarter, and the third-quarter results that it released late yesterday confirmed those fears. GameStop saw revenue fall 3% on a 6.5% drop in same-store sales. However, declines in net income and earnings per share were limited to single-digit percentage drops, and even expectations for fourth-quarters comps declines of 7% to 12% weren't enough to spook investors who had been prepared for even worse from GameStop. The video game retailer still has a lot to prove and a long way to go before it can feel confident in its future direction, but for now, the success that GameStop has had is motivating the company to continue with its strategy of returning capital to shareholders and demonstrating the value of its stock going forward.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold and has the following options: short January 2017 $28 puts on GameStop. 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.

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