Wall Street had a generally favorable day on Wednesday, with only the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) casting a shadow on what were otherwise solid gains for most market benchmarks. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) came within a few points of the 4,000 mark before falling back, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) had the best gains of the day.


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Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

Helping to pace gains for the broader market on Wednesday was a favorable reception for the day's biggest initial public offering: Coursera (NYSE:COUR). Meanwhile, Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU) did reasonably well during the regular trading session and then added to its gains following the release of its quarterly financial report after the closing bell.

Coursera schools the market

Coursera's initial offering to investors priced overnight at $33 per share, but the stock opened $6 above that level and finished the day 36% higher at $45 per share.

White mosaic tiles spelling IPO against a background of yellow mosaic tiles.

Image source: Getty Images.

IPO investors have been anticipating Coursera as potentially one of the most important market debuts of 2021. The educational technology company provides access to online courses and even degree programs from top colleges and universities. That's been an especially hot area during the COVID-19 pandemic, when efforts to contain the coronavirus led many educational institutions to shift in part or entirely to remote learning.

In response, Coursera's sales jumped by almost 60% in 2020 on a 65% rise in registered users. However, the company is still far from profitable, and its losses widened last year as it continued to ramp up its services.

Investors appear optimistic that online learning institutions will continue to prosper even once the pandemic is brought under control. In an increasingly competitive arena, Coursera will have to demonstrate its ability to distinguish itself from other providers and keep moving forward toward faster growth.

Micron looks chippy

Semiconductor specialist  Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU) had a good day on Wednesday. After rising 2% in the regular session, the chipmaker's shares rose another 2% in early after-hours trading following the release of its fiscal 2021 second-quarter financial report.

Micron's results reflected extremely favorable conditions in the semiconductor industry. For the period, which ended March 4, revenue of $6.2 billion was up 30% year over year, with a 44% rise in revenue from the company's DRAM chip segment. Gains in mobile, embedded chips, and Micron's compute and networking segment were able to lead the company higher, offsetting a slight drop in storage-related sales. Net income more than doubled year over year.

Investors were generally pleased with Micron's outlook for its near-term future as well. The company is guiding for revenue of $7.1 billion in its fiscal third quarter, with earnings per share expected to come in around $1.62. Both figures are well above analysts' current consensus estimates.

Strong demand for technology of all kinds has been a boon for the semiconductor industry. Micron has seen plenty of cyclical swings over the years, and it knows that a downturn will come eventually. For now, though, the chipmaker is happy to make hay while the sun shines on it.

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