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Why Boston Beer, Baidu, and First Solar Jumped Today

By Dan Caplinger - Jul 28, 2017 at 4:30PM

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Despite a mixed day for major indexes, these stocks posted solid gains. Find out why.

The stock market finished the week with a mixed performance on Friday, with major benchmarks moving in different directions but staying generally close to where they started the day. Nevertheless, investors shouldn't make the mistake of thinking the action on Wall Street was quiet. Earnings reports came fast and furious, and many big names made dramatic moves in response to their most recent results. Some of the companies that found themselves on the winning side of the ledger included Boston Beer (SAM 2.23%), Baidu (BIDU 1.58%), and First Solar (FSLR 5.04%), which 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.

Boston Beer brews up a strong quarter

Shares of Boston Beer bubbled upward by 13.5% after the craft beer specialist announced its second-quarter financial results. The maker of Sam Adams said that revenue was up just over 1%, but stock buybacks helped to propel earnings per share by 14%, topping what investors had expected to see. Boston Beer also lifted the bottom end of its previous range for full-year earnings, using the strength of sales of alcohol-enhanced sparkling water and tea to overcome weakness in the more traditional beer and hard cider segments. Some investors remain uncertain about whether Boston Beer can keep walking the line between keeping its craft-beer roots and taking advantage of its larger scale to boost profits compared to smaller craft brewers, but the company remains optimistic about its ability to keep growing.

Sam Adams summer ale.

Image source: Boston Beer.

Baidu rediscovers faster growth

Baidu stock jumped 9.5% in the wake of the release of the company's second-quarter financial report. The Chinese online search giant said that revenue climbed 14% from year-ago levels, with mobile revenue continuing to make up an ever-increasing portion of Baidu's overall sales. Adjusted net income nearly doubled compared to the second quarter of 2016, and the company has successfully found ways to overcome the challenge of regulator-imposed limitations on display listings last year. Looking forward, Baidu got even more optimistic about its future performance, predicting sales gains of 27% to 30%. With the company also looking at areas like artificial intelligence for future long-term growth, Baidu's prospects look solid even in a competitive environment.

First Solar shines

Finally, shares of First Solar gained 9%. The solar specialist's revenue actually slumped substantially, falling by nearly two-fifths from year-ago levels. However, First Solar managed to post a $52 million profit, defying calls for just over breakeven performance on the bottom line. Strong solar module demand and better pricing conditions led First Solar to boost its guidance for the full 2017 year, including a roughly 5% rise in revenue projections and an upgrade from a previous earnings range that neatly surrounded the breakeven point to a new range of between $1.55 and $2.20 per share. If the solar market in general keeps acting as favorably as it has recently, then First Solar has put itself in a good position to take full advantage going forward.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Baidu and Boston Beer. The Motley Fool recommends First Solar. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Baidu, Inc. Stock Quote
Baidu, Inc.
BIDU
$137.74 (1.58%) $2.14
The Boston Beer Company, Inc. Stock Quote
The Boston Beer Company, Inc.
SAM
$382.67 (2.23%) $8.35
First Solar, Inc. Stock Quote
First Solar, Inc.
FSLR
$114.51 (5.04%) $5.50

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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