Major benchmarks moved higher on Thursday, buoyed by high hopes out of Europe. Officials agreed to a tentative Brexit deal that should allow the U.K. and the European Union to disentangle themselves from their past relationship without some of the worst-case scenarios that investors had feared playing out. Earnings reports also kept many market participants happy. Cronos Group (NASDAQ:CRON), Limelight Networks (NASDAQ:LLNW), and Alcoa (NYSE:AA) were among the top performers. Here's why they did so well.

Cronos gets a bump

Shares of Cronos Group jumped 5.5% after investor interest in the marijuana stock reached a peak late Wednesday following the end of the normal trading day. At certain points during the after-hours session, Cronos traded up as much as 40%, and volume soared above normal levels. Some speculated that institutional investors might be engaging in a rebalancing of their portfolios in a way that necessitated buying more shares of the cannabis company. Given how far Cronos and its peers have fallen lately, shareholders welcomed even what turned out to be a small bounce and hope that it'll be a sign that the marijuana sector is close to hitting bottom.

Marijuana plant, with rows of cannabis in a greenhouse behind.

Image source: Getty Images.

In the Limelight

Limelight Networks saw its stock soar 20% following the release of its third-quarter financial results. The cloud services provider's numbers were far from perfect, with revenue rising just 4% from year-ago levels and adjusted earnings per share seeing a roughly 80% drop year over year. Yet Limelight did recover from weaker conditions in the second quarter of 2019, and the company sees that upward momentum lasting throughout the remainder of the year. CEO Bob Lento celebrated record traffic figures for Limelight during the quarter. If Limelight's investments in infrastructure are successful, they could spur even further growth in the months and years to come.

Alcoa looks to raise cash

Finally, shares of Alcoa gained 6%. The aluminum giant released its third-quarter report, which included a 24% drop in revenue and another significant net loss. However, investors were happy to hear that Alcoa is looking at various strategic moves, including plans to sell off some of its noncore assets. Alcoa hopes to raise between $500 million and $1 billion in proceeds from the sales, and that will not only raise immediate cash but also reduce annual expenses by $50 million to $100 million. The aluminum company's review of its operations could take five years to complete, but investors are hopeful that the result will be stronger financial performance and better growth prospects.