There are a lot of big events coming in the next couple of weeks, and stock market investors are struggling to keep all the uncertainty from weighing on their investment strategies. Washington is the epicenter of much of the intrigue, with negotiations for economic stimulus ongoing and the presidential election just 14 days away. Market participants were a bit more optimistic Tuesday morning than they were on Monday. Shortly before 11:30 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was up 128 points to 28,323. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) gained 16 points to 3,443, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) picked up 37 points to 11,516.
Plant-based protein products have been popular among consumers over the past couple of years, and the recent initial public offering of Laird Superfood (NYSEMKT:LSF) added another player to the growing universe of companies in the space. Meanwhile, Regions Financial (NYSE:RF) was the latest financial institution to release its earnings results for the third quarter, and investors liked what they saw.
Surf's up for Laird Superfood
Shares of Laird Superfood climbed 5% Tuesday morning. The company co-founded by surfing athlete Laird Hamilton continued to ride positive momentum from favorable analyst comments earlier in the week.
On Monday, several analysts started coverage of Laird Superfood with buy ratings, including Roth Capital Partners, Canaccord Genuity, and Craig-Hallum Capital Group. The comments had a lot in common, with analysts agreeing that revenue growth in the plant-based foods segment should help propel the stock higher. Moreover, some noted the appeal of Laird's leadership team and brand positioning.
Price targets for the stock ranged from $57 to $70 per share, giving Laird Superfood some more upside from current levels. Given that the company just came public less than a month ago at an offering price of $22 per share, early investors have been pleased with the company's progress.
Investors hope that Laird will be able to duplicate the performance of Beyond Meat while also outcompeting its larger rival. That remains to be seen, but the stock price shows how enthusiastic shareholders are about the company.
A win for Regions
Elsewhere, shares of Regions Financial were higher by 7%. The Alabama-based regional bank saw solid gains despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Regions saw revenue rise 10% from year-ago levels, with cost controls and smart management of credit and interest rate risk helping to boost bottom-line performance as well. Net income jumped 30% year over year, sending earnings per share higher by 33% and bouncing back from a tough period three months ago.
Regions pointed to a host of factors helping the bank. Hedging programs helped reduce the negative impact of falling interest rates on net interest income. Regions also pointed to strength in fee-based income, including strong mortgage production volumes and activity in the capital markets. Customers also paid more in service charges and fees on credit and debit cards and ATMs.
The economy has knocked bank stocks for a loop, but Regions has held up better than some of its larger peers in the industry. Investors are hopeful that the worst might be over for the banking sector, and if it is, then Regions appears to be in a strong position to take advantage of improving conditions when they come.