The stock market was mixed on Thursday, with strength for the Dow Jones Industrial Average standing in contrast to weakness among the key technology stocks in the Nasdaq Composite. For the most part, those impacts canceled each other out for the broader market, with the S&P 500 showing only minimal changes from yesterday's levels. The volatility shows that investors generally have some uncertainty about the future direction of the market, but some stocks managed to post substantial gains. Camping World Holdings (NYSE:CWH), Axovant Sciences (NASDAQ:AXON), and Sonic (NASDAQ:SONC) were among the best performers on the day. Here's why they did so well.

Camping World explains its strategy

Shares of Camping World Holdings climbed nearly 9% after CEO Marcus Lemonis spoke on CNBC to talk about the RV retailer's recent strategic moves. Camping World has tried to be clear that although it has captured a broad swath of the recreational vehicle market, it's hoping to broaden its reach to encompass a wider range of outdoor activities. That wider addressable audience of outdoor enthusiasts goes well beyond the RV community, and so Camping World's acquisition of outdoors retailer Gander Mountain was meant to broaden its reach into hunting, fishing, and other outdoor pursuits. Yet Lemonis admitted that some misinterpreted the move as an attempt to shift toward traditional big-box retail, which wasn't his intent. With strength in RVs continuing, Camping World isn't going to give up its leadership role in that key niche.

Camping World store front with empty pavement in front of the store under a partly cloudy sky.

Image source: Camping World.

Axovant finds a partner

Axovant Sciences stock jumped 5.5% on follow-through buying in the wake of Wednesday's news that the biopharmaceutical company had entered into a licensing agreement for a key candidate treatment for Parkinson's disease. Axovant had said Wednesday morning that it had licensed worldwide rights to Oxford BioMedica's OXB-102 investigational gene therapy for an initial $30 million cash payment. The deal also contemplates milestone payments of as much as $812 million if the treatment, which will now be called AXO-Lenti-PD, reaches certain goals, as well as potential royalties if the drug is approved for eventual sale. The ending gains actually paled in comparison to the 45% rise that the stock had posted earlier in the day, but after Wednesday's 160% leap for Axovant shares, it wasn't surprising to see some suddenly successful shareholders cash out on some of their profits.

Sonic posts some delicious results

Finally, shares of Sonic surged 16%. The fast-food drive-in chain released preliminary sales results for its fiscal third quarter that included "solid, sequential improvement" in same-restaurant sales, including about a 2.5% rise in the month of May. At the same time, Sonic also said that it had authorized a stock buyback program, allowing for up to $500 million in purchases between now and August 2021. The news came as welcome relief to those who'd suffered through Sonic's weak fiscal second-quarter results back in March, but optimistic investors now hope that the drive-in specialist has turned the corner and will keep seeing good customer traffic numbers for the rest of the year.

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