Wednesday marks the end of the first half of 2021, and investors are looking forward to what the rest of the year will bring. The Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC -1.66%) pulled back slightly from its record levels, falling about 0.1% as of 11:30 a.m. EDT today.

The investing community has focused its attention on many popular trends lately, and two key areas weighed in with important news on Wednesday. Meme stock Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) gave investors the latest reading on its attempts to reinvigorate the turnaround at the home goods retailer, while Advanced Micro Devices (AMD -1.52%) got some good news on a key strategic move it's been trying to finalize for months.

Bed Bath goes Beyond

Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond were up sharply on Wednesday morning, climbing 13%. The move came despite some mixed news from the home goods retailer's latest quarterly report.

Its fiscal first-quarter numbers showed considerable gains. Comparable-store sales soared 86% from year-ago levels, as core sales grew at a 73% rate year over year. Gross margin jumped more than 8 percentage points on an adjusted basis, and the company even managed to eke out a tiny profit for the quarter after accounting for extraordinary items. Of course, the comparison was with the year-ago quarter, during which the pandemic closed most retail locations, and so it was expected to be favorable. Yet comps across the total enterprise were up 3% from where they were two years ago, pointing to a favorable longer-term trend.

Bed Bath & Beyond also boosted its guidance for the remainder of the year. The retailer now expects sales to be about $200 million higher than its previous forecast, with new guidance coming in between $8.2 billion and $8.4 billion. It hopes to produce adjusted earnings of between $1.40 and $1.55 per share for the year.

CEO Mark Tritton is pleased that Bed Bath & Beyond is getting so much attention, which is a possible benefit of having achieved meme-stock status. Nevertheless, the business will have to generate more positive momentum in order to keep the stock price moving upward during the second half of 2021.

Person examining semiconductor chips through magnifying glass.

Examining semiconductors at a factory. Image source: Getty Images.

AMD gets the go-ahead

Elsewhere, Advanced Micro Devices saw its stock rise more than 4%. The semiconductor giant got key approvals in its efforts to complete its acquisition of Xilinx (XLNX).

AMD made its proposal to Xilinx late last year, but as with most major mergers, the semiconductor companies had to wait for regulatory approval. After typical delays, the logjam finally burst this week, as regulators in the U.K. and the European Union have apparently signed off on the deal.

The move gives AMD a couple of key advantages. With rival NVIDIA (NVDA -1.78%) having chosen to make a similar move to acquire Arm Holdings, the resulting growth from buying Xilinx will help AMD keep pace. Meanwhile, Xilinx's expertise in field-programmable gate arrays could give Advanced Micro Devices a technological advantage as well.

Chip stocks have done reasonably well, and AMD now hopes to see its share price return to record heights. Integrating Xilinx into the fold could well prove to be the catalyst that helps Advanced Micro Devices climb to the next level with its cutting-edge business.