The stock market moved lower on Friday, although major indexes finished well above their worst levels of the session. Investors initially reacted negatively to news that the U.S. employment picture in February was much weaker than many had expected, but they seemed to regain at least a little confidence as the day progressed in light of other countervailing factors supporting an extension of the 10-year-old bull market. Some individual stocks benefited from favorable earnings reports. Big Lots (BIG 3.63%), Upland Software (UPLD 1.40%), and Vail Resorts (MTN 0.28%) were among the top performers. Here's why they did so well.
Big Lots celebrates the holidays
Shares of Big Lots jumped almost 14% after the discount retailer announced its fiscal fourth-quarter results. The company said that revenue fell 3% from the year-ago period, but those numbers were skewed by the fact that there was one less week in this year's quarter. Comparable-store sales picked up 3.1%, surpassing Big Lots' own guidance, and adjusted earnings of $2.68 per share exceeded what the retailer posted a year ago and its earlier projections for the period. Some investors weren't entirely satisfied with guidance for full-year adjusted earnings that implied a 7% to 12% drop from fiscal 2018 figures, but overall, the news was far better than some had feared.
Upland heads up
Upland Software saw its stock gain 18% following good results in its fourth-quarter report. The provider of cloud-based enterprise management software said that revenue soared 62%, while Upland's adjusted earnings per share climbed by more than half compared to the year-earlier period. Upland's forecast for the current quarter suggested that it expects to sustain that 60%-plus growth rate into 2019. Even though full-year growth will slow considerably this year, investors still see Upland as having a lot of potential upside, especially with demand for cloud-related services remaining strong.
Let it snow for Vail
Finally, shares of Vail Resorts finished higher by 7%. The ski resort operator reported its fiscal second-quarter results, which included sales gains of 16% and a 20% rise in adjusted earnings compared to year-earlier figures. Vail saw strength in both its mountain and lodging segments, as lift ticket revenue climbed and visits to the company's managed condominium complexes benefited from good winter conditions throughout much of its resort network. The resort operator did cut its earnings guidance for the full year as expected, but Vail investors still seemed pleased with the progress that the company has made and its prospects for trying to sustain momentum for next year's 2019-2020 season as well.