The stock market remained volatile on Tuesday, albeit in roughly the opposite direction it went on Monday. The Dow rocketed almost 370 points higher early in the session, moving up on hopes that trade tensions between the U.S. and China might find resolution in the near future. Yet the market gave up all of its gains by the middle of the day, and even a late comeback couldn't stop modest declines for some major indexes. However, some stocks got a more positive reception from investors, including a couple in the cannabis sector. Aphria (APHA), Ascena Retail Group (ASNA), and New Age Beverages (NBEV) were among the best performers on the day. Here's why they did so well.
Aphria looks for a partner
Aphria saw its stock climb 9.5% as investors weighed the possibility that the cannabis producer might find a strategic partner. Many of those in the industry had thought that Aphria might prove to be the target of tobacco giant Altria Group, which announced last week that it had made a major investment in marijuana rival Cronos Group instead. For would-be buyers, Aphria's significant production facilities, existing relationships in both the medical and recreational cannabis markets, and plans to expand could be enough to make it a worthwhile partner. That said, allegations suggesting that recent Aphria acquisitions might have carried artificially inflated price tags hurt the stock, and shareholders will have to come to a comfort level about their faith in management over the long run.
Ascena's on the ascent
Shares of Ascena Retail Group rose 7% after the retailer reported its fiscal first-quarter financial results. The parent company of store concepts including Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant, and Justice said that comparable sales were higher by 3%, with especially strong performance from its kids and premium fashion lines. Weakness at value-fashion chains Maurices and Dress Barn held Ascena back, but the company's bottom line was at the upper end of what it had expected to see. Shareholders are getting more optimistic that Ascena's grand transformation will eventually pay off, and that could lead to further growth.
Some fizz for New Age Beverages
Finally, New Age Beverages saw its stock finish higher by 8%. Amid rising interest among mainstream companies in businesses related to the marijuana industry, New Age Beverages has positioned itself to take advantage of demand for cannabis-infused beverages. The company's announcement last week that it would buy international health-supplement beverage producer Morinda Holdings for $85 million opened up vast new potential markets for New Age, thanks to Morinda's presence in dozens of countries across the globe. Yet it's still up to New Age to prove it can execute on its growth prospects -- or find a beverage-industry partner willing to help it do so.