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Why Chiquita Brands, McClatchy, and Intercept Pharmaceuticals Jumped Today

By Dan Caplinger - Mar 10, 2014 at 8:00PM

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The market originally had the Monday blues, but broad-market indexes regained almost all of their losses by the end of the day. Find out more about why these three stocks soared.

On Monday, investors originally went into a near-panic following the release of troubling economic data from China indicating an unexpected plunge in exports. Yet over the course of the day, the market clawed back all but a small fraction of its losses, with the S&P 500 closing down just 0.05% on the day. The best performing stocks in the market included Chiquita Brands International (NYSE: CQB), McClatchy ( MNI ), and Intercept Pharmaceuticals ( ICPT -8.28% ), which climbed for a variety of different reasons today.

Chiquita Brands jumped 11% after the banana giant agreed to merge with Irish produce giant Fyffes to create what will become the largest banana producer in the world. If approved, the merger of near-equals will leave current Chiquita shareholders owning just under 51% of the combined ChiquitaFyffes, and the companies expect to save $40 million per year from the combination. The deal will be bad news for privately held Dole Food, which would lose its No. 1 status in the banana market if the merger goes through, but given that Fyffes shares soared 42% on the London Stock Exchange, it's clear that shareholders of both companies are pleased with the deal. The transaction also effectively transfers Charlotte-based Chiquita's domicile to Ireland, with attendant benefits that have led many other U.S. companies to go across the Atlantic.

McClatchy rose 14% on reports that it and other companies that co-own the Cars.com website are looking to sell the e-commerce site, hoping to get $3 billion for the business. Gannett ( GCI ) and several other newspaper companies own Cars.com through a joint venture, and Gannett rose 2% today. But McClatchy has a much smaller market capitalization than Gannett, and so a prospective deal -- and the money that would come from it -- would make a much bigger difference to its shareholders.

Intercept gained 8%. Despite a lack of specific news affecting the promising biotech, investors continue to watch closely for signs of the potential of Intercept's obeticholic-acid therapy for primary biliary cirrhosis and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. With analysts suggesting annual sales of $3 billion are possible even if a successful drug only gets used in a limited subset of NASH cases, Intercept has plenty of potential. But nervous investors have also pointed to the huge rise in biotech stocks more generally as being a troubling sign of what could prove to be a short-lived trip to the stock market stratosphere if things don't go perfectly for Intercept.

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Stocks Mentioned

Gannett Co., Inc. Stock Quote
Gannett Co., Inc.
GCI
Intercept Pharmaceuticals Stock Quote
Intercept Pharmaceuticals
ICPT
$15.63 (-8.28%) $-1.41
The McClatchy Company Stock Quote
The McClatchy Company
MNI

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