The stock market finished the week well on Friday, with broad benchmarks posting modest rises even as the Dow fought to stay in positive territory. Earnings dominated the news today, with the favorable impacts of tax reform continuing to lift many stocks across various industries. Yet some are still nervous about the prospects for a government shutdown that could begin at midnight tonight, and those concerns helped send Treasury yields to three-year highs and the U.S. dollar near three-year lows. Still, some individual companies' shares saw strong advances, and Square (NYSE:SQ), Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN), and Fossil Group (NASDAQ:FOSL) 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.
It's hip to be Square
Shares of Square gained close to 6% after analysts made favorable comparisons between the payments specialist and some of the largest technology companies in the industry. Analysts at Nomura Instinet repeated its buy recommendation on Square and gave a $64 price target on the stock, arguing that the company is evolving beyond its current focus on small-business payments toward adding payroll and human resources services. That could help Square shift toward bigger enterprises and open up much greater market opportunities. The stock has already been on fire, but investors clearly believe that Square has the potential to transform into a much faster grower in 2018 and beyond.
Groupon keeps dealing
Groupon stock climbed 9% as it picked up momentum from an upgrade at Goldman Sachs earlier in the week. On Wednesday, Goldman upgraded Groupon from sell to neutral, boosting its price target by 15% to $5.40 per share and arguing that cost-containment measures combined with growing gross profits make the daily deals specialist a fair value at current levels. If the company's Groupon+ initiative can gain traction, then a revival of its formerly successful business model could help justify the sizable bounce the stock has already experienced.
Is Fossil looking for buyers?
Finally, shares of Fossil Group picked up 10%. Some market participants believe that the ailing watchmaker's upward move today stemmed from renewed hopes that it might attract a buyout bid from an acquiring company interested in the upscale watch and accessories business. Fossil looks cheap after a huge decline in 2017, and expectations are low for the just-ended holiday season. Still, with the challenge of navigating the fast-changing wearable technology business while maintaining its reputation in the fashion world, Fossil has a tough line to walk toward a full recovery.