Investors looking for some relief from the stock market's poor performance to begin 2016 finally got what they were looking for Wednesday. Stocks climbed for a third straight day, and the Dow Jones Industrials finished with a gain of more than 250 points. A combination of solid economic data and Federal Reserve meeting minutes that suggested a more cautious approach to raising interest rates helped lift the market, and a push in oil prices above the $30 per barrel level also helped some hard-hit sectors. Among the best performers on the day were Priceline Group (NASDAQ:BKNG), Kinder Morgan (NYSE:KMI), and Ferrari (NYSE:RACE).
Priceline Group climbed 11% after the online travel giant posted its fourth-quarter results Wednesday morning. The company successfully overcame strong headwinds from the strength of the U.S. dollar to produce a 13% rise in gross travel bookings during the quarter, and earnings came in more than $0.80 per share better than the consensus forecast had predicted. Moreover, Priceline's forecast for the first quarter wasn't nearly as downbeat as the company usually tends to be with its guidance, and investors took that as a sign that even stronger results could come in 2016. Now that the dollar's gains have slowed, Priceline could easily see stronger growth in dollar terms both this year and in future years.
Kinder Morgan rose 10%, reflecting a huge vote of confidence that the energy company got from the latest round of quarterly disclosures of holdings in institutional portfolios. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway reported that it took a 25.5 million share stake in Kinder Morgan as of Dec. 31, putting the value of the position currently at $400 million. Moreover, some hedge fund investors joined Berkshire in taking positions in the hard-hit pipeline company. Berkshire has made controversial plays in the energy space before, and not all of them have panned out well. However, Buffett's reputation still carries enough weight in the investing community for stocks his company invests in to benefit from his implicit seal of approval, and Kinder Morgan stock saw the positive effects today.
Finally, Ferrari climbed almost 10% on Wednesday. Billionaire investor George Soros reported in quarterly disclosures that his investment company had taken a stake worth more than $30 million in the Italian luxury carmaker. The position isn't terribly significant, amounting to less than half a percent of the overall company, but it's enough to put Soros among the 10 biggest shareholders in Ferrari. More importantly, investors saw the disclosure as a sign that the successful billionaire sees potential in Ferrari's beaten-down shares, which have struggled since its October IPO. Global macroeconomic trends still have the potential to hold back Ferrari's growth, but the idea that Soros sees potential in the automaker could drive other long-term investors to take a closer look at the stock.