Major benchmarks rose on Thursday as investors look to the U.S. and Europe to resolve trade tensions that have held the market back in recent days. Still, the threat of a trade war with China remains as the Trump administration readies $34 billion in new tariffs on Chinese products set to take effect on Friday morning.
Good tidings for Qorvo's second half
Shares of Qorvo jumped 5.7% -- making it the best-performing stock in the S&P 500 -- after KeyBanc analyst John Vinh upgraded the radio-frequency semiconductor specialist from sector weight to overweight. Vinh also raised his per-share price target on the stock to $95 -- a healthy premium from Qorvo's closing price on Tuesday at $81.82.
To justify his relative bullishness, Vinh argued that a combination of a "healthy handset demand environment for China and Apple," as well as market share gains in China and additional Qorvo products in the new iPhone leave the company poised to outperform in the second half of 2018. Vinh also noted Qorvo should benefit from lower interest expenses given its recent debt payments.
Seadrill is back from the brink
Seadrill stock popped 13.5%, rebounding after the deepwater drilling contractor's recent emergence from bankruptcy on Monday. For perspective, following a steep 40%-plus decline after coming out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Seadrill stock initially appeared to soar on Tuesday -- but in reality declined another 25% -- as many financial websites miscalculated changes in its number of shares outstanding and the percentage of equity now owned by common shareholders.
As Fool.com contributor Jason Hall pointed out on Tuesday, however, a cursory look at Seadrill's $1.9 billion market cap and the most recent carrying value of its assets actually made it look like one of the least expensive offshore drillers, especially with what should turn out to be a much more attractive balance sheet. And though that refreshed financial profile did come at the expense of previous investors through its bankruptcy proceedings, it's hard to blame some for taking a step back toward Seadrill today.
Fiat Chrysler investors feel optimistic
Finally, shares of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles climbed 6% following a Financial Times report (subscription required) that European Union officials are considering whether to hold talks with countries including the U.S., South Korea, and Japan to avoid an auto-centric trade war with the United States.
The EU hopes that the world's major auto-manufacturing countries can find an amiable solution on tariffs for certain automotive-sector products, in particular as it pertains to appeasing President Trump's concerns that other countries are taking advantage of the U.S. on auto exports. Trump has threatened to bring levies of 20% on European Union automakers' products, to which the EU has responded by saying it would impose $300 billion in tariffs on exported U.S. products.
Let it suffice to say that the former scenario certainly wouldn't be ideal for European automakers like Fiat Chrysler. So with shares down more than 17% since mid-April, it's no surprise to see the stock up on the hope that U.S. levies won't come to fruition.
Steve Symington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends AAPL. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on AAPL and short January 2020 $155 calls on AAPL. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.