Wall Street wasn't able to make it five days in a row of gains on Friday, instead giving way to a modest pullback for most major market indexes. The presidential election inched closer to a final resolution, as vote counts continued to come in throughout the day. Once again, the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) and S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC), but for the most part, investors seemed more than content to take their gains from earlier in the week and head out for the weekend.

Today's stock market


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Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

There were several pockets of strength in the market, including the marijuana stock universe. Another noteworthy place where there were sizable gains was cloud computing, where companies like Cloudflare (NYSE:NET), Appian (NASDAQ:APPN), and Palantir Technologies (NYSE:PLTR) had upbeat showings.

Graphical clouds linked by blue lines on a grid.

Image source: Getty Images.

Flaring higher into the cloud

Cloudflare finished the day up 11% after having been up nearly 25% at times earlier in the session. Investors were pleased at the third-quarter results that the cloud networking technology and cybersecurity specialist gave them late Thursday.

Cloudflare's numbers were impressive. Revenue jumped 54% from year-ago levels, and the company managed to narrow its net losses considerably during the period. Cloudflare also saw positive operating cash flow, reversing a sizable outflow in the third quarter of 2019.

New customers played a key role in this success. The company boasted landing its first-ever customer with more than $10 million in anticipated annual revenue. It now has more than 100,000 paying customers, and it brought in about 100 large enterprise customers in its efforts to concentrate on high-value clients. With the need for internet services higher than ever, Cloudflare anticipated good times ahead.

Happy at Appian

Appian shares did even better, rising more than 20% on the day. The low-code automation platform provider continued its move toward a full subscription-based model, and investors were pleased with the progress it has made.

At first glance, Appian's top-line growth seemed somewhat lackluster, rising just 17% year over year in the third quarter. But cloud subscription revenue jumped 40% from year-ago levels, contributing to a rise of 34% in overall recurring revenue. More encouragingly, Appian came close to breaking even on an adjusted basis, with a loss of just $34,000.

The company detailed many elements of its success, including several new product launches and favorable guidance for the remainder of the year. Appian's simple solutions to common tech problems are attractive to those embracing the cloud right now, and that should bolster growth in the future.

Can Palantir match the pace?

Palantir Technologies also participated in the rally, rising 16% Friday to add to gains earlier in the week. Palantir won't release results until next Thursday, but investors appear to be getting a jump on the newly public stock.

There's been plenty of speculation about Palantir's role with the U.S. government and how election results could affect its business. Some even question whether Palantir deserves to be considered a tech stock, despite its emphasis on data analytics.

It's been a tumultuous week, but stock market investors have generally seen big gains. Cloud stocks have a lot of potential to rise even further as the end of 2020 approaches.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.