The stock market was generally quiet on Thursday, with most major indexes finishing slightly lower on the day. Yet beneath that apparent calm, there was considerably more volatility within certain sectors of the market. Among the winners on the day were Ctrip.com International (NASDAQ:CTRP), Brady (NYSE:BRC), and Gold Fields (NYSE:GFI), each of which posted substantial gains.
Ctrip.com jumped 16% after the Chinese travel portal released its third-quarter financials. Revenue jumped by nearly half, with substantial gains in hotel reservations, airline ticketing, and packaged tours. Net income soared due to a one-time accounting move related to the company's Tujia.com site, but even after adjusting for that extraordinary item, earnings were better than many had expected.
Thanks, in large part, to the company's partnership with Baidu and industry peer Qunar Cayman Islands, Ctrip.com has an unprecedented opportunity to capture a greater share of the Chinese travel market going forward. Whether that's enough to overcome macroeconomic headwinds in the emerging-market economy remains to be seen, but investors are more confident in Ctrip's prospects now that it's showing evidence of using its leadership position to command better financial performance.
Brady also rose 16% following the release of its fiscal first-quarter results. Despite weak sales that fell 9% from the year-ago quarter, the identification-solutions specialist managed to boost its adjusted earnings per share slightly, defying the consensus forecast for about a 20% decline.
CEO Michael Nauman noted that both its ID solutions and workplace safety segments saw revenue declines for the quarter, but Brady has worked hard to improve efficiency internally, and that has paid off in lower costs that have helped enhance bottom-line performance. Despite seeing ongoing challenges in the marketplace, Brady is optimistic that it can overcome temporary adverse trends in its industry and produce better long-term performance.
Finally, gold-mining company Gold Fields climbed 18% as the company announced favorable performance figures for its South Deep mine project. The miner reported a 26% drop in cash outflows from the mine during the third quarter, along with a 42% rise in production at the mine. Even with the poor performance in the gold market in recent years, the South Deep mine could break even as early as the end of next year.
Costs have also fallen in the past few months, helping the mine stay economically viable, even as the gold market has struggled. Given that South Deep is by far the largest asset that Gold Fields owns in terms of overall reserves, good news on the operational front there means a big potential boost to Gold Fields' total financial performance in the years to come. The gold-mining industry more broadly shows few signs of an imminent turnaround, but Gold Fields appears to be defying the odds, and outperforming its peers.