Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
The stock market opened November on a positive note, with most major large-cap benchmarks seeing gains of as much as half a percent. Among the biggest gainers pulling stocks upward today were First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR), Linn Energy (NASDAQOTH:LINEQ), and DryShips (NASDAQ:DRYS), all of which saw their share rise between 10% and 20%. Let's take a closer look to find out what sent those stocks soaring.
First Solar gained 18% as the solar giant enjoyed strong revenue and net income in its most recent quarterly report. Net income more than doubled on a more than 50% gain in sales, and First Solar raised its earnings guidance for the year. As Fool solar expert Travis Hoium noted in his earnings report, First Solar benefited from successful cost-cutting measures and major sales of large solar projects during the quarter. Although lower prices could reduce the value of its backlog, First Solar has nevertheless improved its margins to make the most of its opportunities.
Linn Energy climbed 11% as it and its LinnCo (UNKNOWN:LNCO.DL) subsidiary announced that the SEC chose to provide no further comments on the amended filings that Linn provided in connection with their plan to acquire Berry Petroleum. The SEC has been conducting a private-party investigation of Linn and LinnCo, with it having asked the two companies to save any documentation about its accounting and hedging strategies as well as the pending Berry acquisition. Investors are clearly assuming the lack of action from the SEC indicates that the investigation is over, although the SEC hasn't said anything to confirm or deny that assumption.
DryShips also saw shares rise 11%. Optimism about the broader shipping industry came from a double-digit percentage surge in oil tanker day rates, at least temporarily reversing what has been a terrible pricing environment in the industry this year. Despite its name and dry-bulk focus, DryShips' fleet includes both dry-bulk carriers and tanker vessels, giving it exposure to both sides of the shipping industry. Share prices for DryShips and many of its peers have already climbed substantially in recent months as investors look for a bottom in the long-struggling shipping market, but ship operators will need more than a single day's worth of positive results to make up for years of challenging conditions.