The stock market got off to a horrible start to the week on Monday, with major benchmarks falling sharply. The Dow's roughly 340-point decline was actually quite a bit better than the nearly 500-point drop that it suffered at one point during the session, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite did even worse due to bad news hitting one of its most important components. More broadly, investors seemed nervous about what the Federal Reserve and new chair Jay Powell will say later this week about the economy and the future direction of interest rates. Yet a few individual stocks still managed to score decent gains. Canadian Solar (NASDAQ:CSIQ), Geron (NASDAQ:GERN), and NovaGold Resources (NYSEMKT:NG) were among the best performers on the day. Here's why they did so well.

Canadian Solar shines

Shares of Canadian Solar gained 7% after the Ontario-based company with solar module production facilities in China reported its fourth-quarter financial results. The company said that shipments were down slightly on a sequential basis to 1.83 gigawatts, but the figure was above Canadian Solar's previous guidance. Revenue, gross margin, and net income all climbed from third-quarter levels, and solar module shipments for the full 2017 year hit a record level of almost 6.83 gigawatts. CEO Shawn Qu called 2017 "an exceptional and milestone year for the [photovoltaic] industry" and predicted good returns going forward. With solar having seen problems in recent years, investors are hopeful that Canadian Solar might finally be on the upswing.

Rooftop solar panels at an agricultural facility, surrounded by yellow-flowering fields on a hazy sunny day.

Image source: Canadian Solar.

Geron sees better times ahead

Geron stock soared 29% after the company announced its latest results and a pipeline update late Friday after the market had closed. The company's 2017 financial performance was fairly lackluster, with losses of almost $28 million being par for the course for a company focusing on the development of new treatments. Yet investors reacted positively to favorable comments about lead cancer therapy imetelstat, with its primary collaborator on a study of the treatment in myelofibrosis patients having good initial results. Regardless of whether Geron keeps its partner or goes it alone in developing imetelstat, the early indications are favorable for the company's future.

NovaGold looks golden

Finally, shares of NovaGold Resources jumped nearly 8%. The gold miner benefited a bit from a modest rise in gold prices today, but the gains in the stock were out of line with the size of the gold move. Instead, it's likely that NovaGold was continuing to respond to signs of potentially rising inflation in the economy. Many gold investors buy the yellow metal due to fears about the value of fiat currencies, and the decline in the U.S. dollar has been a response to rising concerns about wage pressures and other early indicators of potential inflation in the near future. NovaGold needs to press forward aggressively with its development plans in order to make significant precious metals production a long-term reality for the mining company.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.