Wednesday was another up-and-down session on Wall Street, with major stock indexes initially seeing substantial losses but gradually clawing their way back higher. Initially, investors reacted negatively to news of an escalation in conflict between India and Pakistan, but more favorable economic readings in the U.S. seemed to soothe market participants' nerves. Some positive news on the earnings front also helped lift sentiment, and most key benchmarks finished close to unchanged. GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH), MercadoLibre (MELI 7.52%), and IMAX (IMAX 0.41%) were among the top performers. Here's why they did so well.
GW gets higher
Shares of GW Pharmaceuticals jumped 14% after the pharmaceutical company reported its fourth-quarter financial results. GW celebrated the launch of its epilepsy treatment Epidiolex, which is the first treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that is derived from cannabis plants, during the quarter. Sales of the drug amounted to just $4.7 million, but the company saw 4,500 new patient enrollment forms and more than 500 physicians issuing prescriptions for Epidiolex. Moreover, with additional indications in the pipeline as well as a promising slate of other drug candidates, investors are excited about the prospects for the marijuana drug stock.
MercadoLibre moves higher
MercadoLibre's stock price soared 21% following the Latin American e-commerce giant's latest report on its financial performance. Despite substantial headwinds from foreign currency fluctuations, sales for MercadoLibre climbed 20% as measured in U.S. dollars, with 62% revenue growth measured in currency-neutral terms. Performance from the company's marketplace business was mixed, but strong gains in the MercadoPago payment service helped drive overall growth. Moreover, the e-commerce specialist sees further gains likely in 2019, especially if efforts to monetize its marketplace more effectively prove successful. After a long period of stagnation in last year, MercadoLibre investors hope that this will mark a new phase of growth for the company.
IMAX shows a pretty picture
Finally, shares of IMAX picked up 9%. The big-screen theater operator said that revenue fell 13% during the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to the previous year's period, with adjusted net income declining by 25%. Yet given the meager lineup of films out of Hollywood this year, the results weren't a surprise to investors, and CEO Richard Gelfond noted that 2019 looks a lot more promising in terms of blockbuster movies expected for release. With ongoing expansion in the number of theater systems in its worldwide network, IMAX expects to capitalize on continued demand for high-quality entertainment content across the globe.