Friday was a blowout session for the stock market, with the Nasdaq Composite hitting a record high and the Dow Jones Industrials gaining over 400 points. Investors were happy with the February employment report from the Labor Department, which reported a greater number of jobs created than most had expected. A decided lack of wage inflation also calmed fears that the Federal Reserve might have to act more aggressively to tamp down economic growth in light of stimulative tax cuts. Several companies had good news to add to the market's enthusiasm, and II-VI (NASDAQ:IIVI), Coherus Biosciences (NASDAQ:CHRS), and El Pollo Loco Holdings (NASDAQ:LOCO) were among the best performers on the day. Here's why they did so well.
II-VI shoots higher
Shares of II-VI gained 8% after the laser manufacturer received positive comments from Wall Street analysts. Stock followers at Morgan Stanley said that the optical industry is seeing strong fundamental promise, with potential applications in areas like 3D sensors, telecommunications, data communication, and industrial manufacturing. The analyst company gave II-VI an overweight rating and a price target of $46 per share, saying that it has competitive advantages over peers in the industry thanks to a better customer base and different internal operating processes. With so much potential in the laser industry, II-VI hopes to take full advantage of the opportunities in front of it.
Coherus sees good times ahead
Coherus Biosciences stock soared 31% after the company reported fourth-quarter financial results. The biotech had no revenue and reported a $49 million loss, but the biosimilar specialist gave favorable guidance for several key treatments in its pipeline, including products designed to mimic the performance of cancer-fighting drug Neulasta, macular degeneration treatments Lucentis and Eylea, and arthritis drugs Humira and Enbrel. In particular, the resubmission of the CHS-1701 biosimilar for Neulasta could be a big win if the FDA changes its mind and approves the drug after rejecting it in 2017.
Investors go loco over this restaurant chain
Finally, shares of El Pollo Loco Holdings rose 8%. The Mexican food restaurant chain said that revenue rose 3% on a 1.4% rise in comparable-restaurant sales led by franchise locations. Despite dealing with what it called "the current challenging environment" for the restaurant industry, CEO Steve Sather said that El Pollo Loco will invest in new marketing to differentiate itself from peers. Even though the company predicts flat comparable sales throughout 2018, projections for earnings growth of as much as 15% were a nice surprise for investors following the company. Investors hope that this marks a true turnaround for the beaten-down restaurant stock.