Tuesday was another sluggish day on Wall Street, and major market benchmarks finished the day with modest gains, showing little movement from where they closed the previous day's session. Various crosscurrents continue to work their way through the market, and a drop in bond-market yields has some investors concerned that expectations for future economic growth might be slowing just as the new earnings season is slated to begin over the next couple of weeks.
Still, some companies had strong advances, and Southwestern Energy (SWN), Paratek Pharmaceuticals (PRTK -0.95%), and AmTrust Financial Services (AFSI) 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.
Southwestern gasses up
Shares of Southwestern Energy gained 9% on a good day for the natural gas market. Natural gas futures climbed more than $0.15 to $3.28 per million British thermal units, continuing a month-long bounce from a February plunge that sent prices as low as $2.75. Southwestern investors have had to deal with the indignity of having the energy company evicted from the S&P 500 index, and the switch that was announced late last month became effective prior to the market open today. However, with artificial stock-price movements from index-sensitive investors now a thing of the past, Southwestern can concentrate on making the most of its opportunities in the energy sector. If natural gas can keep climbing, then it should bode well for Southwestern and its gas-rich asset mix.
Paratek gets favorable results
Paratek Pharmaceuticals stock soared 23% after announcing favorable trial results for one of its key experimental drugs. The biotech said late Monday that its phase 3 clinical study of antibiotic omadacycline compared favorably to existing treatments, meeting the primary endpoint of showing statistical non-inferiority compared to moxifloxacin. In addition, omadacycline also achieved several secondary endpoints. As Chief Medical Officer Evan Loh said, "We now have experience with omadacycline in more than 1,500 patients in our clinical program, and we are very pleased with the safety, tolerability, and efficacy profile that we have seen to date." Investors are optimistic that relatively strong safety levels and good overall study results could lead to approval of the drug in time, helping to alleviate the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant disease.
AmTrust gets current
Finally, shares of AmTrust Financial Services jumped 20%. The company completed the restatement of its financial statements from the past few years, filing its annual report and regaining compliance with the Nasdaq listing requirements. The insurance specialist had said previously that investors shouldn't rely on its past financial statements from 2014 onwards, due to errors in accounting treatment for bonus payments and certain revenue items. Yet when the actual restatements were made, they didn't amount to nearly as big a hit as some had feared. Moreover, just having the uncertainty of a potential delisting resolved was music to investors' ears, and that helped the stock regain some of the ground it has lost in recent months.