The stock market stayed turbulent on Thursday, but the pattern was the reverse of what investors have had to deal with recently. Today, major benchmarks started the session on the downside, but positive comments about the likely pace of future interest rate increases from the Federal Reserve reassured investors that the curtain isn't yet falling on the bull market. Some individual companies also had good news that sent their shares sharply higher, and Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARNA), Smart & Final Stores (NYSE:SFS), and Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) were among the best performers on the day. Here's why they did so well.

Arena makes a sale

Shares of Arena Pharmaceuticals soared 22% after the pharmaceutical company chose to make a strategic move with one of its key treatment prospects. Arena decided to enter into a licensing agreement with United Therapeutics (NASDAQ:UTHR) under which United will license pulmonary arterial hypertension candidate treatment ralinepag from Arena in exchange for an $800 million up-front cash payment. Arena will also have the right to receive $400 million in future milestone payments as well as tiered royalties in the low double-digit percentages, while United will have exclusive worldwide rights to the drug. With ralinepag in phase 3 trials, the move is a bet by United on the drug's future success, and Arena locks in a nice payday regardless of what happens in clinical trials while still retaining a stake if ralinepag turns into a big hit.

Woman in white lab coat holding clipboard in front of shelves of prescription drug bottles and containers.

Image source: Getty Images.

Smart & Final overcomes obstacles

Smart & Final Stores stock jumped 35% in the wake of the company's release of its third-quarter financial results. The discount retailer reported a small rise in comparable-store sales that helped push overall revenue higher by nearly 3%, and adjusted net income increased more than 30% from year-earlier levels. CEO David Hirz noted that the growth occurred "despite greater pressure from deflation in product prices," and Smart & Final is working harder than ever to build out its digital commerce capabilities to keep up with competitors. With the company having made substantial progress in paying down debt, investors are hopeful that Smart & Final can keep building positive momentum.

Tilray heads higher

Finally, shares of Tilray finished up 5%. The cannabis company got comments from stock analysts at Cowen that investors took as being positive, focusing on statements saying that Tilray's efforts to build recognizable brands and use consumer data effectively should pay off in the long run. Cowen merely maintained its outperform rating on the stock and actually cut its price target by $22 per share to $150, but the analyst company is still optimistic that the cannabis player's global scope makes Tilray a smart long-term play in the marijuana industry even if near-term results aren't quite as good as shareholders have hoped.

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.