Friday was another day of marking time for the stock market, as major benchmarks all finished the last session of the week close to the unchanged mark. Volatility fell to nearly unprecedented levels as the ongoing tug-of-war continued between bullish investors who are optimistic about the future for the U.S. economy and skeptics who believe that a correction is long overdue. Yet even though traders didn't see any clear direction for the overall market, good news from several individual companies sent their stocks soaring. In particular, Synchronoss Technologies (NASDAQ: SNCR), AK Steel Holding (NYSE: AKS), and Portola Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: PTLA) 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.
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Synchronoss finds a white knight
Shares of Synchronoss Technologies soared 33% after the hard-hit IT services provider received an indication of interest from a private equity company. Siris Capital Group made an offer to purchase Synchronoss for $18 per share in cash, which would represent a total of about $835 million. Siris already owns about 13% of the mobile technology company, and it's likely that the stock decline that Synchronoss has endured recently made the current bargain price too good to resist. Synchronoss does have some potential risks, including a rough leadership transition following the departure of its CEO and CFO and delays in releasing recent financial reports. However, Synchronoss itself is optimistic about its potential to bounce back, and those who have taken advantage of the recent swoon have gotten a big reward today.
AK Steel gets an upgrade
AK Steel stock gained 6% in the wake of positive comments from industry analysts and speculation about a recovery for the industry. Analysts at Deutsche Bank upgraded their view on AK Steel and one of its peers in the industry from hold to buy, saying that they believe the stock is worth closer to $10 per share. On one hand, Deutsche Bank believes that the steel industry will continue to see strength from the automotive industry, which should help AK Steel because of its focus on automotive steel supply. At the same time, though, financial moves to reduce leverage and restructure debt have made AK Steel look more attractive as well. With the potential for recent trade-related complaints to lead to more favorable industry conditions, AK Steel has a lot going for it, and investors seemed to agree with Deutsche Bank's positive assessment.
Portola scores a big win
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Finally, shares of Portola Pharmaceuticals rocketed higher by 47%. The biopharmaceutical company said that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved its Bevyxxa treatment for venous thromboembolism in adult patients. Investors had been excited about Bevyxxa because the FDA had granted it the coveted fast-track designation as well as giving it priority review. With favorable data from a phase 3 study of more than 7,500 patients, approval seemed likely, but the reality was still sweet for the company. "Today's approval is the ultimate milestone for Portola," said CEO Bill Lis, and the biopharma company hopes to launch Bevyxxa commercially between August and November. Going forward, Portola believes that approval could be worth as much as $3 billion by 2020, and shareholders can hardly wait to see what's next for the drugmaker.
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