There were plenty of companies that had it going on this week. In this weekly column, I take a closer look at five companies that got it right. Let's dive right in.
1. A precious gem of a deal
GT Advanced Technologies (NASDAQOTH:GTATQ) soared on Tuesday after announcing a deal to supply Apple with sapphire material that will be produced at the consumer tech giant's new Arizona facility. Sapphire is used in the new iPhone's fingerprint sensor, as well as the camera lens protective glass.
The terms of the deal aren't necessarily in GT's favor. There are no volume guarantees beyond a minimum level of capacity, and GT is subject to exclusivity during the multiyear deal. But it does provide GT with a potentially lucrative partnership that will make it a viable partner with others in the future.
2. Penney lame
For the first time in nearly two years, J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) has posted positive monthly comps. The struggling department-store operator saw same-store sales climb 0.9% in October. This breaks a streak of 21 consecutive months of negative year-over-year comps.
It's not perfect. The 0.9% uptick didn't keep pace with inflation. J.C. Penney conceded that traffic at its stores remains lower than a year earlier. The retailer also pads its comps with online sales -- which, in JCP.com's case, soared 38% in October on the strength of home furnishings. But it's still welcome to see any negative trend reversed, especially for a chain that seemed to be on borrowed time. The bounce comes at an ideal time with the holiday shopping season about to begin.
Now let's see what opening a few hours early on Thanksgiving Thursday will do for November's performance.
3. Full Kors meal
Michael Kors (NYSE:CPRI) continues to prove that there's a cozy living to be had selling high-priced handbags and accessories so long as you're the brand that shoppers want.
Shares of the fast-growing luxury-goods maker hit fresh highs after another blowout quarter. Net sales rose 39%, fueled primarily by a nearly 23% spike in comps. That's not a typo. J.C. Penney investors are celebrating a 0.9% increase last month, but the average established Kors store just rang up 23% more in sales than it did in its latest quarter. Earnings grew even faster.
Investors can't just buy retailing niches they think are doing well. They need to make sure they're buying the stocks of the chains where shoppers are spending their money.
4. Click here to chat
It's been a challenging run for LivePerson (NASDAQ:LPSN) since its stock peaked in the high teens two summers ago, but the live-chat enabler is bouncing back. The stock soared 23% on Thursday after posting encouraging results.
LivePerson delivered an adjusted profit that was nearly double what Wall Street was expecting, powered by a 14% uptick in revenue. LivePerson may have hosed down its outlook earlier this year after losing a major customer, but it's not having a lot of trouble striking enough new deals to make up for that defection. LivePerson signed a whopping 163 deals during the quarter, adding dozens of new customers in the process.
LivePerson's guidance wasn't exactly encouraging, but the healthy growth in new and renewed accounts suggests the company behind the popular platform that helps websites provide live tech support is turning things around.
5. Let's get Sirius
Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) completed the purchase of Agero's connected vehicle business, helping the satellite radio provider continue to expand on its premium in-car offerings. We've known about the $530 million deal since August, but the quick culmination of the deal suggests that Sirius XM won't have a problem making other sizable acquisitions. Regulators were weighing the decision to let Sirius and XM merge for more than a year and a half, so it's good to see that it's not on a tight leash.
Sirius XM has billions in net operating losses that it can use to offset future taxable gains, so don't be surprised if it goes on the prowl for other acquisitions where it can make the most of its tax-advantaged operations.