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Why Thor Industries, IXYS Corporation, and Kite Pharma Jumped Today

Activity on the stock market was muted today as investors focused on the damage left by Hurricane Harvey. The major benchmarks showed mixed results, but stayed close to where they started the day. Some market participants focused on several high-profile announcements regarding acquisitions that played into broad gains in a couple of sectors. Thor Industries, Inc. (NYSE: THO), IXYS Corporation (NASDAQ: IXYS), and Kite Pharma, Inc. (NASDAQ: KITE) were among the best performers of the day. Below, we'll look more closely at these stocks to tell you why they did so well.

Recreational vehicle stocks surge

Shares of Thor Industries gained 5% in the wake of Hurricane Harvey's assault on the U.S. Gulf Coast. The maker of recreational vehicles (RVs) will see increased demand, as residents in Houston and other parts of Texas and Louisiana will require makeshift housing following the devastating floods that hit the area. The majority of Thor's business comes from towable RVs, which will be sorely needed as residents seek temporary shelter, as the Category 4 storm may force more than 30,000 people from their homes. 

There were broad gains across the RV sector. Prior to the storm, the RV industry was already expecting its highest demand ever in 2017, with shipments up 9.6% compared to 2016. 

Image source: Getty Images.

IXYS and Littelfuse join forces

IXYS stock skyrocketed 40.4% higher following the announcement that the semiconductor company will be acquired by Littelfuse, Inc. (NASDAQ: LFUS) in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $750 million. The combined company will have a market cap of $4.6 billion and generate revenue of $1.5 billion. The companies see a number of compelling strategic and financial benefits from the merger, and IXYS will form the foundation of its semiconductor segment. They expect annualized cost savings of over $30 million and other synergies resulting from the combination.

In a prepared statement, IXYS President and CEO Uzi Sasson said, "The combination of IXYS and Littelfuse creates a stronger player in the power semiconductor industry, with the ability to leverage our collective resources and portfolio to create increased value for our customers. We believe that being a part of a world-class organization like Littelfuse will provide a bright future for IXYS and the talented people at our respective companies." 

Flying like a kite

Finally, shares of Kite Pharma soared 28% higher today. The biotech is going be acquired by Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) in a deal valued at $11.9 billion. Gilead is seeking access to one of the most promising areas of cancer treatment. The targeted immunotherapy, known as CAR T, enlists the body's own immune system to help combat the cancer cells. These therapies have collectively produced some remarkable results, leading to a great deal of optimism for the future of cancer research. Gilead announced Monday that it would pay $180 per share for Kite, a 29% premium compared to its closing price on Friday.

In a prepared announcement, Kite Pharma Chairman and CEO Arie Belldegrun said, "We are excited that Gilead, one of the most innovative companies in the industry, recognized this value and shares our passion for developing cutting-edge and potentially curative therapies for patients." Kite's axicabtagene ciloleucel (axi-cel) treatment is awaiting regulatory approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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Danny Vena owns shares of Gilead Sciences. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Gilead Sciences. The Motley Fool recommends Littelfuse and Thor Industries. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.