Stocks moved higher on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) both up a little more than a quarter percentage point.
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Investors who weren't preoccupied with watching bitcoin soar above $16,000 were busy bidding up shares of biotech and industrial stocks today. The SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (NYSEMKT: XBI) climbed an impressive 2.9% and the Industrial Select SPDR ETF (NYSEMKT: XLI) added 0.9%.
As for individual companies' stocks, lululemon athletica (NASDAQ: LULU) reported strong sales growth, and Sage Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SAGE) made a huge gain on positive drug trial results.
Lululemon grows sales, predicts strong holiday buying
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Shares of yoga wear vendor Lululemon jumped 6.4% after the company reported accelerating sales in its fiscal third quarter and raised its outlook for the year. Revenue grew 14% to $619 million and adjusted earnings per share increased 19% to $0.56. Wall Street analysts were expecting revenue growth of 12% and EPS to rise 11%.
Comparable sales rose 8%, or 7% on a constant currency basis. Most of the growth was attributed to booming online sales, which grew 26% over last year, although comparable sales in the company's physical stores grew a respectable 2%.
For the full fiscal year, Lululemon raised its guidance for comps from low-single digits to mid-single digits and its adjusted EPS guidance to $2.45 to $2.48, above the $2.41 analyst consensus.
"The strength of our Q3 earnings supports our unique position as the global brand defining an active, mindful lifestyle," said CEO Laurent Potdevin in the press release. "As we start the holiday season, I'm energized by our momentum and we are increasing guidance to reflect this performance."
Lululemon is showing impressive results in revitalizing its brand after some missteps a few years ago and a slow start to 2017. An upbeat view on holiday sales along with good execution had investors cheering today.
Sage Therapeutics soars on depression drug trial results
It's just not normal for a stock to skyrocket 70% in a single day, but then again, it's not normal to hit two grand slams in a single inning, which is essentially what Sage Therapeutics has done. The clinical-stage biotech reported positive trial results for a depression drug for patients suffering from major depressive disorder less than one month after reporting similarly strong results in a trial of a different drug for severe postpartum depression.
Today's announcement concerned results from a phase 2 trial of SAGE-217 in 89 adults with moderate-to-severe major depressive disorder. The patients showed statistically significant improvement the morning after the first dose and for the four weeks following. At day 15, 64% of patients receiving the drug achieved remission, compared with 23% of the placebo group. There were no serious or severe adverse reactions.
On Nov. 9, Sage reported results from two phase 3 trials of its drug brexanolone in women with severe postpartum depression. The trials showed significant improvements from 60 hours after taking the drug to 30 days later.
"There has been little innovation in the discovery and development of treatments for depression in the last two decades," said CEO Jeff Jonas, M.D., in today's press release. "Coupled with our recent positive Phase 3 data read-out evaluating brexanolone for the treatment of postpartum depression, the findings in this study suggest our pipeline of proprietary GABA modulators may impact novel and fundamental brain mechanisms, offering potential development opportunities in a variety of indications."
The promise of Sage's new approach to depression drugs having such rapid effectiveness had investors bidding up shares today.
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