The stock market finished the week on a solid note on Friday, with advances for major benchmarks sending the S&P 500 toward record levels. Market participants focused much of their attention on Washington, where Republican lawmakers expect to spend most of the weekend in conference trying to hammer out details of a compromise tax reform package. Some investors are nervous about whether the Senate and House will be able to reach consensus on key tax issues, but generally favorable conditions in the economy helped to bolster confidence on Wall Street. Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI), Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA 1.64%), and Sage Therapeutics (SAGE 2.20%) 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.
CB&I hopes for more business
Shares of Chicago Bridge & Iron rose 5% on hopes that the engineering and construction specialist will see more business activity in the near future. The company announced early Thursday that it had won a $95 million engineering, procurement, and construction contract from the Saudi Aramco Shell Refinery in Saudi Arabia, extending a long relationship between CB&I and the energy giant. Yet what the engineering company has hoped to see is more forward motion on U.S. government infrastructure initiatives. With the possibility of tax reform getting finished by the end of 2017, investors seemed more confident today that the government could turn to a long-anticipated infrastructure plan next, and that would potentially help CB&I's prospects in 2018 and beyond.
Teva looks at layoffs
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries stock climbed 7% after reports surfaced that the pharmaceutical company might consider a massive layoff of employees. A story from Bloomberg said that Teva might consider cutting 5,000 to 10,000 jobs in an effort to reduce expenses and dig itself out from under an extensive debt load. Teva refused to confirm the move, but new CEO Kare Schultz definitely has an opportunity to take aggressive actions to spur a turnaround. With the stock at levels it hasn't seen since the turn of the millennium, even a reduction of 15% of Teva's entire employee count isn't out of the realm of possibility.
Sage keeps climbing
Finally, shares of Sage Therapeutics picked up another 7%. Friday's move added to the biotech company's huge 70% gains the previous day, when Sage announced that phase 2 trials of its SAGE-217 treatment for severe major depressive disorder had produced encouraging results. Improvement in patient experience on an often-used scale for measuring depression was statistically significant, and the drug's safety profile also looked solid. With Sage having plenty of cash available after having recently done a stock offering, continued optimism could send the company even higher if things go well.