Why Nuance Communications, Electronic Arts, and Crocs Jumped Today

By Dan Caplinger Markets Fool.com

Wednesday was a mixed day for the stock market, with the Dow Jones Industrials losing ground while other major benchmarks inched slightly higher. Earnings took the spotlight among investors today, and three major Dow components reported lackluster results that helped pull the venerable average downward even as the broader stock market fared better. Some investors pointed to the Trump administration's decision to fire FBI director James Comey as a potential catalyst, but few seemed willing to draw conclusions about whether the move will make it more difficult for the president to achieve his domestic policy goals.

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Still, some stocks climbed higher on good news, and Nuance Communications (NASDAQ: NUAN), Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA), and Crocs (NASDAQ: CROX) were among the best performers on the day. Below, we'll look more closely at these stocks to tell you why they did so well.

Nuance makes a deal

Shares of Nuance rose nearly 8% after the company reported its fiscal second-quarter earnings Tuesday night and announcing a new strategic partnership with Lexmark Wednesday morning. In its report, Nuance saw revenue climb 5%, and the voice-recognition specialist saw bookings climb at a more-than-30% pace on strength in the enterprise segment. Upward adjustments to full-year fiscal 2017 guidance were also welcome. The Lexmark announcement also helped bolster confidence in the stock, as Nuance gave Lexmark rights to sell and distribute various Nuance products in exchange for the right to provide service and support to qualifying customers. For Nuance, the agreement bolsters its document-imaging business, and it sets the stage for other partnerships that could boost growth in the future.

Image source: Nuance Communications.

Electronic Arts posts another win

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Electronic Arts stock jumped 13% in the wake of the company'sfiscal fourth-quarter earnings announcement Tuesday afternoon. The video game giant reported preliminary net revenue of $1.53 billion, of which more than three-fifths came from digital sources. Although net income for the quarter was down from the year-ago period, EA maintained its top position as the No. 1 publisher of games for the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One consoles during its full 2017 fiscal year. With key wins in its Battlefield, Star Wars, and FIFA franchises, Electronic Arts believes that it's only beginning to see the full growth potential of its digital content. With net revenue expected to exceed $5 billion in fiscal 2018, EA is in position to set another high score in the year to come.

Crocs runs ahead

Finally, shares of Crocs surged 17%. The maker of footwear said that revenue fell 4%, but net income climbed by more than 12%, which was better than most investors had expected. Despite reducing its sales guidance for the full year to expect a slight decline, shareholders appeared to like Crocs' strategic plan to boost the value of the company's brand and its financial condition. In particular, Crocs said that it would transfer some of its stores in China and the Middle East to its distribution partners, and that's consistent with the company's desire to cut its store count and work with stronger distributors to help boost overall growth. Crocs has a long way to go to mount a full comeback, but its initial efforts look solid for now.

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Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Crocs, Electronic Arts, and Nuance Communications. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.