The stock market eased lower on Friday, but major benchmarks managed to come back considerably from their worst levels of the day. At its lows, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 200 points following news that the U.S. would indeed move forward with tariffs against China. Yet even though China announced plans to retaliate in kind, market participants seemed willing to give trade policy the benefit of the doubt given the current strength of the U.S. economy. Some stocks saw nice gains in response to the news, as well as to company-specific events. Schnitzer Steel Industries (NASDAQ:SCHN), Braskem (NYSE:BAK), and Pivotal Software (NYSE:PVTL) were among the best performers on the day. Here's why they did so well.

Schnitzer sees better times ahead

Shares of Schnitzer Steel Industries jumped 8.5% after the company announced preliminary fiscal third-quarter results late Thursday. The recycled metal specialist said that it believes that it earned between $1.22 and $1.28 per share on an adjusted basis, more than doubling what Schnitzer made during the same period last year. Despite falling sales volumes of nonferrous metals, a big jump in ferrous sales volumes along with better pricing conditions across the business should help boost results for the auto and metals recycling business as well as the steel and scrap division. With tariffs also potentially helping the Oregon-based company, Schnitzer is well-situated for the current environment.

Junkyard with old cars and grabber-crane to pick them up.

Image source: Schnitzer Steel Industries.

Braskem can expect a bid

Braskem stock soared nearly 23% as the Brazilian petrochemical company found itself at the center of takeover speculation. Dutch rival LyondellBasell confirmed that it's in talks with one of Braskem's major shareholders about a possible acquisition bid, which some speculate could include both cash and stock as part of the deal. Conditions in the Brazilian economy have been difficult lately, with rising diesel prices leading to unrest among Brazilian truckers and threatening attempts to allow free-market fluctuations in the domestic energy markets. The parties warned that the negotiation process is still in its early stages, but many investors have waited a long time for consolidation in the international petrochemical markets to begin.

Pivotal keeps climbing

Finally, shares of Pivotal Software rose 8%. The move added to the cloud-based software development platform provider's huge surge on Wednesday following its first quarterly results as a publicly traded stock, which included unexpectedly strong gains in subscription revenue and narrower losses than most investors had expected. Not only has Pivotal picked up brand-new customers, but its existing clients have also expanded their use of Pivotal's services, and that's contributing dramatically to overall sales growth. The company sees robust growth continuing for the foreseeable future, and that has helped the stock build further positive momentum toward the end of the week.

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.