The stock market soared on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbing nearly 400 points and other major benchmarks following suit with solid gains. The big news that investors took positively was the decision by the U.S. and China to hold a new round of trade talks. Those watching the trade conflict believe that the move signals a potential lessening of tensions that could even result in a long-term solution for the two trading partners. Some stocks benefited from the prospects of better relations with China, but others rose due to good news of their own. Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC), Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (NYSE:TEVA), and Century Aluminum (NASDAQ:CENX) were among the best performers on the day. Here's why they did so well.

Symantec gets some attention from Wall Street

Shares of Symantec rose almost 5% after reports showed that a well-known activist investor took a substantial stake in the cybersecurity company. The hedge fund Starboard Value said that it had acquired a 5.8% position in the maker of the Norton antivirus program and other cybersecurity products, and it chose to keep relatively quiet about its intentions, limiting its remarks in the report to broad statements indicating its view of Symantec shares as a good value and hoping to help the company produce more shareholder value. Starboard also wants to put its representatives on the Symantec board of directors, and bullish shareholders hope that their presence could help solve some accounting and financial issues that have arisen recently, as well as potentially getting Symantec's business to recover from poor performance.

Company ad for Symantec Ghost solution suite, including a small simulation of how the program works.

Image source: Symantec.

Teva gets a big approval

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries stock climbed 7% in the wake of the drugmaker receiving good news from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Teva's generic version of Mylan's (NASDAQ:MYL) EpiPen will now be available as an alternative to the original and the Mylan-produced generic epinephrine injection system. The FDA's move will be highly beneficial for patients, who've had to deal with severe shortages of the EpiPen system in recent months. Moreover, most hope that Teva's product will help reduce prices, especially after Mylan was criticized for extremely high pricing practices on the product. Teva and Mylan have faced off before with different results, but today's news is a nice win for the Israeli drugmaker.

Century could get some trade help

Finally, shares of Century Aluminum picked up 9%. The U.S. aluminum maker's gains are directly related to the news on Chinese trade, as despite U.S. moves to put tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, the fact that China's aluminum industry is producing so much of the lightweight metal has depressed global prices and made the business less profitable overall. The stock had fallen along with industry peers as second-quarter earnings results came in that indicated that the tariff-rich environment had had a substantial negative impact. Now, investors hope that China and the U.S. can agree to terms that could lead to fewer tariffs, and that could bolster Century's fortunes going forward.

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