Wall Street felt more confident on Thursday, and the stock market recovered from early losses to rise modestly. A late-day jump came following comments from Trump administration officials that seemed to indicate that a potential resolution to trade disputes with China might be more likely than previously believed, and earnings season continued to deliver some positive results. Among individual stocks, Square (SQ -3.84%), Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings (KNX -1.92%), and Signature Bank (SBNY) were some of the top performers. Here's why they did so well.

Square comes out with a new card

Check out the latest Square earnings call transcript.

Shares of Square climbed more than 4% after the electronic payments specialist came out with a new debit card product for small businesses. The free card will give merchants faster access to their cash by allowing them to immediately spend money that's been processed through Square's payment processing systems. That skips the step of transferring credit balances to a separate bank account, and it also encourages merchants to keep more money with Square, potentially boosting income. More importantly, the move is likely to make more merchants consider Square, offering a competitive advantage over rival networks as it aims to offer more financial products to small businesses.

Word Square next to a concentric-square logo.

Image source: Square.

Knight-Swift drives higher

Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings saw its stock rise 9% in the wake of positive comments about its fourth-quarter financial performance. The transportation company said that its adjusted earnings for the quarter would likely be 24% to 28% higher than it had previously expected, and it boosted its outlook for the first quarter of 2019 modestly as well. Knight-Swift cited lower fuel costs, higher figures for revenue per loaded mile, and improved safety results for the gains, and investors hope that the full results that the company will announce later this month will have even more good news to help the stock recover from poor performance recently.

Signature Bank signs off on a strong 2018

Check out the latest Signature Bank earnings call transcript.

Finally, Signature Bank's shares rose 8%. The New York-area financial institution reported strong results for the fourth quarter of 2018, including a 40% jump in net income. Signature enjoyed good growth rates in both deposits and loans, and credit quality remained solid. With its focus on serving privately held corporate clients, Signature believes that it's been able to weather the storm in banking more effectively than its peers, and it sees further gains for 2019. Given how short-lived the stock's advance was after solid results three months ago, shareholders have to hope that Signature's stock will hang onto its gains longer this time around.