What Happened in the Stock Market Today

By Markets Fool.com

Image source: Getty Images.

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Stocks logged significant gains on Thursday as major indexes climbed throughout the day to end near session highs. Investors pushed both the Dow Jones Industrial Average(DJINDICES: ^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) indexes up by 1 percentage point by the closing bell.

Today's stock market

Index

Percentage Change

Point Change

Dow

0.99%

178

S&P 500

1.01%

21

Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

A few individual stocks enjoyed much bigger gains on Thursday, includingFitbit (NYSE: FIT) and AeriePharmaceuticals(NASDAQ: AERI).

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Fitbit's new product lineup

Fitness tracking device specialist Fitbit jumped 9% to cross $16 per share for the first time since early May as investors gained optimism that its latest round of products will find solid demand this year. The Charge 2 and Flex 2 have been available online for about a week and the devices are just now finding their way onto shelves at major retailers around the world, where they might spark a wave of customer upgrades while expanding the company's user base.

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Wall Street analyst Betty Chen, who attended Fitbit's investor conference this week, reiterated a buy rating on the stock on Thursday while noting that the new products are garnering positive reviews and are "attractively priced relative to the marketplace." The devices run between $100 and $150 each, which makes them quite competitive against feature-packed offerings like the new Apple Watch Series 2that starts at $269.Fitbit's Charge 2 and Flex 2, combined with the already popular Alta and Blaze, put it in a good position to defend its large market share lead in the wearables industry.

That's just part of the battle for Fitbit, though, which also has to fight off value-based competitors at the low end of the market. Serious profits won't start to accrue unless the company can consistently lead the wearables industry on product quality and pricing, and we'll see over the coming months whether its latest devices mark a real step in that direction.

Aerie Pharmaceuticals posts solid trial results

Aerie Pharmaceuticals, a biotech that focuses on glaucoma and other eye diseases, surged 45% higher after announcing positive clinical results for one of its key drugs. Roclatan, a glaucoma therapy that's in phase 3 testing, met the baseline targets set by the study by showing a high degree of efficacy against comparable treatments. In addition, the main adverse effect was limited to mild eye redness, which was present in about half of the study's 700 patients.

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"We are very pleased by these results," CEO Vicente Anido said in a press release. "The topline efficacy demonstrated in this trial clearly reconfirms the potential for Roclatan to become the most efficacious IOP-lowering [intraocular pressure-lowering] therapy to enter the market, if approved," he added.

The treatment might find serious traction in the $2 billion glaucoma market given that it appears to be effective for a wider range of patients than competing treatments and even Aerie's own Rhopressa drug.

The next milestone for Roclatan will be the results of a second efficacy study, which are due out in early 2017. If all goes to plan, that trial will then clear the way for an official filing with the Food and Drug Administration by late 2017.

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Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Fitbit. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.