Thursday was another topsy-turvy day for the stock market, with the Dow climbing as much as 360 points while other major benchmarks struggled to avoid losing ground. There's a lot of uncertainty right now about the direction of stocks. Some experts are pointing to the possibility of an interest rate-led recession in the next couple of years even as positive impacts from tax reform and solid current economic conditions have lifted earnings. At the individual level, though, it was easier to assess which companies had good news. Bloomin' Brands (BLMN -2.25%), Whiting Petroleum (WLL), and Hertz Global Holdings (HTZG.Q) 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.
Soaring out of the Outback
Shares of Bloomin' Brands climbed 8% after the company behind the Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, and Bonefish Grill restaurant chains announced its fourth-quarter financial results. Comparable-restaurant sales gains of 4.7% at U.S. Outback locations and strong performance internationally helped lift Bloomin' Brands' overall revenue, and the company also issued a favorable earnings outlook for 2018. Some of the gains might also have come from comments that activist shareholder Barington Capital Group made, suggesting that the company spin off its smaller chains to leave Outback as an independent entity. In any event, Bloomin' Brands' results signal a potential recovery for the restaurant industry after a long downturn.
Whiting hits a gusher
Whiting Petroleum stock soared 25% in the wake of the company's fourth-quarter financial report. The oil and gas exploration and production company said that average production rose 12% compared to the third quarter of 2017, which was toward the top of its expected range. Whiting also said that it had added substantial hedges on its 2018 production, locking in prices on about 70% of output and therefore being less vulnerable to the price weakness that crude has seen recently. With substantial capital investments planned for 2018, investors could see Whiting's production levels rise even further, helping it climb back toward profitability if conditions in the industry keep getting more favorable.
Hertz drives higher
Finally, shares of Hertz Global Holdings finished up 16%. The rental car giant gained ground after rival Avis Budget Group (CAR -1.62%) reported solid results in its report for the fourth quarter, which featured significant gains in revenue and earnings due to stronger pricing conditions in the Americas and greater demand for rental cars. Avis Budget's news was enough to suggest to Hertz shareholders that its results would be good as well, and investors seem comfortable with the idea that the two industry giants can both prosper from a growing overall pie of sales and profits in the rental car space.