Thursday was a rocky day on Wall Street, although by the end of the session, things looked a lot better than they had early in the morning. Major benchmarks were down as much as 1% when technology stocks both in the U.S. and abroad took a substantial hit, and market participants theorized that the bull market that had taken key players in the industry to new heights was overdue for a downward correction. Yet that negative mood moderated by the end of the trading session, and the Dow and S&P 500 finished with only modest losses.
Positive news from some key individual stocks also helped stoke optimism across the market, and Epizyme (EPZM), Tribune Media (NYSE: TRCO), and Revlon (REV) 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.
Epizyme makes it two days in a row
Shares of Epizyme climbed more than 17%, following up on their 10% rise on Wednesday. Yesterday's gains were spurred by positive clinical trial data from its tazemetostat treatment for lymphoma, and today, investors looked at potential second-order impacts from favorable trial results. In particular, several reports suggested that major players in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology space have a lot of spare cash that they could use for mergers and acquisitions, and if they decide that tazemetostat has enough potential, it might spur them to make a buyout bid for Epizyme. Moreover, stock analysts at Oppenheimer repeated their outperform rating on the stock, keeping their share price target of $26, or close to double what Epizyme stock fetches currently.
Tribune gets some help
Tribune Media stock gained 5% after an appeals court ruling improved the chances of a major deal going through. The media company is in the process of consummating a deal to sell itself to Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBGI 4.21%) for $3.9 billion, but the buyout was contingent on the move from the Federal Communications Commission to change rules governing television station ownership to allow greater concentrations of stations owned by a single entity. With Tribune having 42 stations and Sinclair having 173, the purchase would have violated old rules limiting ownership to markets totaling 39% of U.S. households. The appeals court chose not to grant an emergency order to block the FCC decision, which would have stopped the Sinclair-Tribune purchase. Tribune shareholders will receive $43.50 per share in cash if the deal goes through, and today's jump eliminated about half of the discount in Tribune stock from that buyout price.
Revlon looks prettier
Finally, shares of Revlon rose almost 5%. The cosmetics giant has been getting positive attention from major shareholder Ron Perelman, who reported massive acquisitions of the stock over the past week. Perelman-related entities spent $1.9 million last Thursday, $3.9 million last Friday, and just over $1 million on Monday to purchase a total of almost 350,000 shares of Revlon, boosting the total owned by those entities to more than 42.4 million shares. The stock has been performing poorly because of sluggish results in its fiscal first quarter, which included a drop of 6% in organic sales figures and declining gross margin. Yet the billionaire sees the decline as a buying opportunity, with the latest purchases adding to money that Perelman already spent in May to acquire shares. With Revlon in the midst of a turnaround, a lot is riding on the cosmetic company's ability to gain traction in a tough environment for retail.