Thursday was a choppy day on Wall Street, with most major market benchmarks staying mixed throughout most of the session despite big gains for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Investors are trying to figure out what impact a favorable outcome in trade negotiations between the U.S. and China would have on the global economy, and they're also waiting to see what first-quarter earnings results will show about the strength of companies more than a year after tax reform. Positive news from several corners of the market helped lift sentiment. Triumph Group (NYSE:TGI), Ballard Power Systems (NASDAQ:BLDP), and At Home Group (NYSE:HOME) were among the top performers. Here's why they did so well.
Triumph gets a win
Shares of Triumph Group climbed 11% after the defense contractor won a contract from aerospace giant Boeing to supply hydraulic system components for the U.S. Navy's MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueling program. The contract will include various systems used for flight controls, landing gear, and rapid-deceleration systems as part of the broader mission, and Triumph already has experience working with Boeing on other aircraft that are part of the aircraft manufacturer's defense line. As unmanned aircraft become a bigger part of the armed forces' overall resources, systems like Triumph's will play an increasingly important role in ensuring the security of the nation.
Ballard heads to Europe
Ballard Power Systems saw its stock rise 7% following the fuel-cell specialist's decision to establish a base of operations to serve the marine powertrain market in Europe. Ballard said that it would establish what it calls a Marine Center of Excellence dedicated to marine applications for fuel cells in northern Denmark, with the center intending to design and manufacture heavy-duty fuel-cell modules to allow shipping to reach zero-emissions goals. Given the importance of renewable energy technology in Europe, it's a smart move for Ballard to build up its presence on the continent, and with annual production capacity expected to exceed 15 megawatts by the end of this year, Ballard will be in position to serve customers well there.
At Home looks to put itself up for sale
Finally, shares of At Home Group gained more than 7%. The retailer of home furnishings has apparently brought on investment banking professionals of B of A Merrill Lynch to help it pursue strategic options, including trying to find a potential buyer for the business. It was just last week when At Home released discouraging financial guidance in its fourth-quarter report, calling for weak earnings on tepid sales growth. Now, though, it looks like At Home might believe that the share-price decline might attract a buyer, possibly providing an elegant exit for shareholders looking to squeeze something out of a stock that's lost half its value since last July.