May has been a tough month for the stock market, and Thursday showed the ongoing tug of war between those who believe the U.S. economy can continue to lead the world and those who fear that weaker conditions abroad could put an end to the 10-year-old recovery from the financial crisis. Major benchmarks initially moved higher on optimism from investors over the domestic business environment, but that favorable attitude faded somewhat by the end of the session. Nevertheless, some stocks made significant gains, including several that posted good financial results for their recently ended quarters. Designer Brands (DBI -3.78%), Titan Machinery (TITN -2.92%), and Dollar General (DG 0.70%) were among the top performers. Here's why they did so well.

Designer Brands runs higher

Shares of Designer Brands climbed 6% following the footwear specialist's release of fiscal first-quarter financial results. Revenue for the company formerly known as DSW Shoe Warehouse soared 23% on a 3% rise in comparable sales, and adjusted net income jumped 10%. Moreover, Designer Brands boosted its outlook for the full fiscal year, including a $0.07 increase in earnings per share expectations to a new range of $1.87 to $1.97 per share. CEO Roger Rawlins painted an optimistic tone for the company, saying that "we expect to build upon our progress throughout the year and remain excited about our business and increased ability to generate long term value." Investors hope that the report is the first step of a turnaround that could reverse the stock's drop of more than 40% since last September.

Outside of DSW Shoe Warehouse location with driveway in front.

Image source: Designer Brands.

Titan builds a strong quarter

Titan Machinery saw its stock jump 16.5% after the construction and agricultural equipment specialist released its fiscal first-quarter financial results. Titan said that revenue climbed 14% from year-ago levels, leading to a modest adjusted profit that reversed year-earlier losses. Sales performance was especially strong internationally, due in part to sales from acquired businesses. Moreover, Titan sees better times ahead for the construction segment, and it increased its expected sales growth by 5 percentage points to a new range of 5% to 10% for construction-related revenue. Investors know that results for Titan have been mixed in recent quarters, but they're optimistic that good times lie ahead.

Dollar General deals with tariffs

Finally, shares of Dollar General gained 7%. The dollar store retail chain said that revenue during the fiscal first quarter was higher by 8% from year-ago levels, with same-store sales increasing 3.8%. Earnings per share rose at a 9% clip over the same period, and Dollar Tree pointed to favorable traffic trends and greater consumer spending per visit as factors contributing to its recent success. The company is still working to make internal improvements, with efforts including inventory management and markup strategies starting to pay off. The dollar store industry remains intensely competitive, but Dollar General has done well thus far and is positioned to sustain its leadership role into the foreseeable future.