The stock market finished Friday close to where it started, but not without some drama along the way. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped to a nearly 200-point gain early in the session as investors celebrated extremely strong numbers from the January U.S. employment report. Yet by the end of the day, much of those gains had evaporated, and several major indexes finished lower. Even so, some stocks still fared well, and Aphria (NASDAQ:APHA), Deckers Outdoor (NYSE:DECK), and Yum China Holdings (NYSE:YUMC) were among the top performers. Here's why they did so well.
Aphria heads to Europe
Shares of Aphria jumped 10% after the Canadian cannabis company announced that it had completed the first transfer of marijuana plant cuttings to its European partner. Aphria had announced last September that it would collaborate with Denmark's Schroll Medical to help it boost its production capacity, and the transplantation marks an essential step in the process toward Aphria building up its market share in the fast-growing European market. Even with some investors remaining skeptical about a hostile buyout bid, Aphria is trying to demonstrate its ability to succeed on its own without an acquirer.
Deckers knocks investors' socks off
Deckers Outdoor saw its stock climb more than 10% following its release of fiscal third-quarter financial results. The maker of the popular UGG boot line said that sales climbed 8%, lifted largely by the success of its Hoka One One product line. Interestingly, Deckers has had great success in doing the opposite of many apparel and footwear companies, with outsized growth in wholesale sales to third-party retailers while seeing minimal gains in direct-to-consumer sales of its own. Shareholders now believe that Deckers has restored the value of its fashion brands, and that's an essential element of sustained success for the company.
Yum China looks tasty
Finally, shares of Yum China Holdings finished higher by 8%. The operator of KFC and Pizza Hut restaurant locations in the Chinese market reported increases in both overall revenue and same-store sales during the fourth quarter of 2018, powered forward by strength in the KFC concept. Weakness at Pizza Hut continued to weigh on Yum China, but CEO Joey Wat did note that even Pizza Hut saw an increase in customer counts at its existing locations. With dramatic expansion going on, Yum China is doing everything it can to maximize its opportunities while staying in control of its operational performance.