Thursday largely looked like a carbon copy of yesterday's stock market action on Wall Street. Stocks started off on the downside in response to negative analyst comments about the prospects for key companies in the technology industry, but later in the day, more bullish investors gained the upper hand. By the end of the day, major market benchmarks were all up modestly, once again showing the resiliency of the financial markets despite ongoing uncertainty on major issues like interest rates and macroeconomic growth. Some stocks managed to post much larger gains than the overall market, and Joy Global (NYSE: JOY), Clean Energy Fuels (NASDAQ: CLNE), and J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) were among the big gainers on the day.
Joy Global soared 22% after investors celebrated the mining equipment specialist's fiscal second-quarter financial report. The company surprised those following the stock by posting a modest profit, and it saw bookings rise from the previous quarter for the first time in a year. Nevertheless, Joy Global has a long way to go before it will recover fully, especially given that total revenue was down by more than a quarter from the year-ago period. It's true that commodity prices in several key areas have posted encouraging rebounds, and some believe that might help increase demand for mining equipment in the near future. Regardless, neither the top-line pressure nor guidance that pointed toward the bottom ends of previously provided ranges for sales and adjusted earnings managed to dull the positive mood for the mining equipment manufacturer's stock.
Clean Energy Fuels rose 8% in the wake of news that the California city of Santa Monica entered into a contract with the natural gas provider. The multiyear liquefied natural gas contract will go toward providing fuel for Santa Monica's fleet of mass transit busses, and it carries an estimated value of about $3 million per year over a five-year period. Clean Energy Fuels is highlighting its Redeem brand of what it calls renewable natural gas, which it claims is "considered the cleanest transportation fuel available" and comes from methane generated by decomposition of organic waste. In addition, the city will replace more than 100 of their bus engines with a new near-zero-emission natural-gas powered engine, further cementing its commitment to natural gas. With wins like this, Clean Energy Fuels could finally set the stage for longer-term share-price gains.
Finally, J.C. Penney was up 7%. The retailer didn't add any news to yesterday's announcement that it would . But Thursday was generally a good day for the harder-hit retail niche overall, with rival Sears Holdings also posting a 7% gain. Now that J.C. Penney plans to start selling appliances, it will have to deal more closely with Sears and other companies that have long histories of selling durable goods. How the discount retailer can establish itself in the space remains to be seen, but J.C. Penney has a lot of additional work to do if it wants to regain more than a tiny portion of the ground its stock has lost over the past several years.
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