Friday was a rocky day for the stock market. Investors initially didn't react strongly to surprising results from the U.K. election, in which the ruling Conservative Party lost its majority in Parliament and had to settle for forming a coalition government. But later in the day, a major sell-off in technology stocks sent the Nasdaq Composite tumbling more than 2%, and that pulled the S&P 500 down as well, even though the Dow Jones Industrials managed an 89-point gain. Even with tech weighing on the market, some individual stocks escaped the carnage. DuPont Fabros Technology (NYSE:DFT), Encana (NYSE:ECA), and Ascena Retail Group (NASDAQ:ASNA) 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.
DuPont Fabros gets a buyer
Shares of DuPont Fabros Technology climbed 10% after the data center development specialist received an acquisition bid from fellow data-center REIT Digital Realty Trust (NYSE:DLR). The all-stock deal will give DuPont Fabros shareholders 0.545 shares of Digital Realty for every share of DuPont Fabros they own, putting the total value of the transaction in enterprise-value terms at roughly $7.6 billion. The two companies believe that the deal will make it easier for the combined entity to serve top U.S. metropolitan areas and build more attractive product offerings to meet demand from enterprise customers adopting cloud-computing infrastructures. The move diversifies DuPont Fabros' customer base, and it should also speed up growth and product economies of scale. Given the pace of innovation in the space, combining forces makes sense for Dupont Fabros and Digital Realty going forward.
Encana makes a sale
Encana shares picked up 5% on a good day for energy stocks overall. The recent slide in crude oil prices came to a halt, with the energy market sustaining the $45-per-barrel level, and some of the money moving out of the tech sector seemed to end up in oil and natural gas stocks. In addition, for Encana in particular, news that the production company would sell its natural gas assets in the Piceance Basin region of northwestern Colorado inspired investors, who saw the move as consistent with Encana's overall strategic vision. The sale to Denver's Caerus Oil and Gas LLC will bring in $735 million in cash and allow Encana to focus on the assets it considers more essential to its core operations. Encana's efforts haven't yet resulted in huge share-price advances, but they set the stage for the company to recover when conditions in the energy markets improve.
Ascena gets dressed up
Finally, Ascena Retail Group stock soared 21%. The gains came despite poor performance in its fiscal third-quarter financial report, which included a $1.32 billion goodwill and intangible asset impairment charge and a drop in comparable sales of 8% companywide. Lane Bryant and Maurices were the two store concepts that saw the biggest declines, suffering double-digit drops in comps. But investors were pleased to see a greater sense of intensity from CEO David Jaffe and the company in general in acknowledging the need for aggressive action. If moves to close more than 650 stores are successful, then a leaner Ascena could succeed where it has thus far been unable to overcome tough retail conditions.