Thursday was another solid day for the stock market, and major benchmarks eased higher by small fractions of a percentage point. Continued optimism stemmed from a second day of favorable comments by Fed Chair Janet Yellen to Congress, and President Trump's visit with French President Emmanuel Macron also seemed to buoy investors' spirits. Individual stock news continued to play a vital role in driving interest as summer volume levels remained on the low side. Hertz Global Holdings (NYSE:HTZ), Navigator Holdings (NYSE:NVGS), and Alder Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ALDR) 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.
Hertz could see better times ahead
Shares of Hertz Global Holdings jumped 16% on favorable comments from stock analysts. Analysts at MKM Partners said that their pricing checks on the industry over the past month suggest that pricing trends have turned positive for the car rental business, reversing weaker trends from earlier in the year. Comments from the airline industry that travel demand in the U.S. is staying strong also bolstered shares of Hertz, because rental car demand and air travel volume are typically positively correlated. Many investors have been negative on Hertz because of adverse trends in the used-car resale market, which the rental car company relies on when it comes time to sell off aging vehicles in its fleet. If business conditions in the core rental area improve, it could spell a longer-term turnaround for Hertz and its peers.
Navigator makes a deal
Navigator Holdings stock soared 36% after the London-based operator of a liquefied gas carrier fleet announced a key partnership with Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE:EPD). Under the deal, the two companies will work together to develop a marine export terminal on the Houston Ship Channel for exporting ethylene. Enterprise is currently working on a storage and pipeline system for ethylene, because supplies have risen dramatically as a result of U.S. shale play development. Navigator executive David Butters believes that "a strategically located ethylene export terminal is the key to unlocking growing petrochemical production capacity in the U.S.," and investors hope that the proposed 50-50 joint venture will move beyond the letter-of-intent stage and lead to greater utilization of the resources that producers have developed in key shale areas.
Alder finds buyers for its stock
Finally, shares of Alder Biopharmaceuticals climbed 18%. The biopharmaceutical stock had plunged 17% on Wednesday following Alder's announcement that it would sell 12.5 million shares of stock in a secondary offering. Investors speculated that a lower price would be necessary to absorb that much supply, and sure enough, when the details of the pricing came out after the market closed Wednesday evening, Alder said it had boosted the offering to 15 million shares and put a price of $10 per share on the deal, which seemed to confirm the market's concerns. Yet the smooth offering apparently gave investors confidence today, leading to a jump that essentially left Alder stock almost where it was before the offering was initially announced. The winners are those who bought stock in the offering and got a quick paper profit on their shares.