Thursday was a quiet day on Wall Street, with the stock market initially posting a sizable gain but then falling back to close the day close to the unchanged mark. Crosscurrents continued to hit the market, especially with disagreement about whether the global economy is continuing to slow or rebounding from its worst levels. The dollar also strengthened in advance of Friday's monthly jobs report, which investors will look at as a sign of whether domestic economic growth will stay strong. Yet even though major market benchmarks didn't make big moves, several individual stocks were much more volatile. Among the best performers on the day were Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA), Habit Restaurants (NASDAQ:HABT), and Gartner (NYSE:IT).
Zynga rose 11% after the online video game company announced favorable results in its first-quarter financial report. Zynga said that overall bookings climbed 8%, and growth in the mobile segment was almost four times as quick. The company now boasts 16 million daily active users, and growth in its slot-game offerings and the Words With Friends game was especially robust. Zynga is also working to test and launch new games, such as Dawn of Titans and a new FarmVille game. Zynga's overarching strategy to move away from its past reliance on desktop games to become increasingly involved in the mobile arena has seemed to work well over the past quarter, but the stock has a long way to go before it can come close to recovering from its long-term losses.
Habit Restaurants climbed 7% in the wake of its own first-quarter earnings results released Wednesday afternoon. Revenue jumped by more than a fifth from the year-ago quarter, and company-operated comparable-restaurant sales were up 2% as the company posted better than 10% growth in net income. As CEO Russ Bendel noted, Habit did a good job of focusing its efforts on its external messaging strategy, which highlights the company's everyday value, quality, and service. Through greater use of social media and email channels to reach out to customers, Habit hopes that it can connect with its clientele better and get both new and existing customers into its restaurants more often.
Finally, Gartner finished up 9%. The information technology research and analysis specialist said in its first-quarter report that revenue rose 18%, boosting its earnings upward by half. The company reported sizable gains in most of its segments, with the events segment seeing sales more than double. Research-related revenue was up 16%, and consulting sales climbed 11%. Gartner believes that 2016 will provide it with double-digit percentage growth rates in revenue, earnings, and free cash flow, and that should inspire investors to take a closer look at a company that largely flies beneath the radar for much of the time.