The stock market has seen a lot of volatility recently, with a huge drop over the past month giving way to a multi-day bounce. Major market indexes largely took a pause on Wednesday morning, as investors tried to navigate all the crosscurrents that have hit the investing community so far in 2022. As of 11 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -0.47%) was up 2 points to 35,408. The S&P 500 (^GSPC -0.27%) was up 17 points to 4,564, and the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC 0.14%) had managed to score an 8-point gain to 14,354.
The relative calm in the market benchmarks hid some big moves among individual stocks. In particular, a couple of companies that don't generally get a lot of investor attention made substantial advances Wednesday morning. Below, we'll look more closely at why Brinker International (EAT 1.74%) and Allegheny Technologies (ATI -2.23%) were among the best-performing stocks in the market.
A tasty stock
Shares of Brinker International moved higher by nearly 13% Wednesday morning. The company behind the popular Chili's fast-casual restaurant chain reported strong fiscal second-quarter financial results that showed shareholders what they wanted to see.
Brinker's gains were healthy. Total revenue rose to $904.5 million, up 21% from the year-earlier period. Sales at Chili's were up a relatively modest 16%, but the Maggiano's restaurant concept posted a much faster 78% growth rate year over year. Even better, adjusted earnings of $0.71 per share were more than double year-ago levels and topped what most of those following the restaurant stock had expected.
Overall, Brinker has largely recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic. In comparison to pre-pandemic figures from two years ago, comparable restaurant sales systemwide were up 3.5%, led by a 5% rise at Chili's. Maggiano's has struggled more, but its two-year comps decline of 5.6% still signals a remarkable bounce from the worst of times.
To be clear, Brinker does still face some major challenges. Labor shortages and rising wages are headwinds that are weighing on profit growth. Nevertheless, it's good to see the restaurant business doing better, and investors are hopeful that favorable trends will persist this year.
Meanwhile, shares of Allegheny Technologies were higher by 17%. The small-cap maker of advanced materials had impressive results in its fourth-quarter financial report, and investors hope the stock will get a lot more attention going forward.
Allegheny's numbers were solid. Revenue of $765.4 million was up 16% year over year. Adjusted net income more than quintupled from year-ago levels, and adjusted earnings of $0.25 per share were well ahead of the consensus forecast among investors.
Allegheny saw strength in the commercial aerospace industry, with notable demand for jet engines and related components. The company's strategic decision to stop making standard stainless products hurt its performance in the automotive market, but energy and defense industry activity more than made up for that shortfall.
Looking ahead, Allegheny expects the recovery in commercial aerospace to continue, and that should help it move forward with its business transformation efforts. That was good news for shareholders, and it was just the latest example of the enthusiasm with which many stock investors and analysts expect that things in the airline industry could return to normal before too much longer.