Wednesday was another down day for the stock market, with major benchmarks falling in the neighborhood of half a percent during the trading session. Key meetings between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and high-level Russian officials highlighted the ongoing tensions between the U.S. and Russia, and market participants were somewhat nervous about the possibility that the Trump administration might urge policies that would weaken the U.S. dollar and ignite new trade concerns.
Nevertheless, some stocks managed to buck the downward trend, and BlackBerry (BB), DryShips (DRYS), and Northern Dynasty Minerals (NAK 4.14%) 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.
BlackBerry wins the arbitration lottery
Shares of BlackBerry jumped 16% after an unexpected win gave the company an $815 million payday. The company was the beneficiary of a favorable arbitration result that required chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM 3.36%) to return patent royalty payments that BlackBerry had paid. The arbitration panel found that the mobile device pioneer had overpaid royalties between 2010 and 2015. The decision is binding, although the final figure won't be locked in until late May. Going forward, investors are curious how BlackBerry will use this unexpected capital, but many hope that the company will make strategic moves that could help bolster its flagging business and get it moving on the right track once again.
DryShips makes a deal
DryShips stock soared more than 25% in the wake of a couple of key announcements. First, the company said that it had entered into a time charter agreement for one of its Newcastlemax dry bulk vessels, which is due to be delivered by the end of this month. The terms of the charter will include a one-year commitment with a grain shipper, and DryShips anticipates total gross backlogs of $7.1 million as a result of the contract. CEO George Economou remains optimistic about the state of the industry, noting that "we continue to execute our strategy to restore the company's earnings capacity, taking advantage of the positive developments in the dry bulk market." The stock still has a long way to go to recover all of its past declines, but shareholders seem more upbeat about DryShips' future prospects.
Northern Dynasty gets a key approval
Finally, shares of Northern Dynasty Minerals climbed 31%. The small mining company said that the state of Alaska approved a land-use permit allowing the company's Pebble Project to take another step forward toward eventual development. Northern Dynasty subsidiary Pebble Partnership was the technical recipient of the permit, and partnership CEO Tom Collier said that the news "confirmed that Pebble is a well-managed exploration project." Northern Dynasty has come under fire recently for its optimism regarding Pebble, which detractors argue hadn't amounted to anything when it was under different ownership. The land-use permit is just one phase of the permitting process, with Northern Dynasty now moving on to regulatory actions concerning the Clean Water Act and National Environmental Policy Act. Investors are anxious to see the project move forward, but it could still be a while before Pebble gets the green light.