Wednesday was a mixed day on Wall Street, with most major benchmarks easing lower as market participants continued to seek clarity on the trade front. Until negotiations with key partners like Canada and China come to a conclusion, some investors remain nervous about the possible ramifications of a failure to get deals completed. Yet in the absence of any outright negative news, trade-related or otherwise, the market has resisted substantial declines, rebounding from temporary setbacks. Positive sentiment around some key individual stocks has helped to buoy enthusiasm generally. Cronos Group (NASDAQ: CRON), MannKind (NASDAQ: MNKD), and Vera Bradley (NASDAQ: VRA) were among the best performers on the day. Here's why they did so well.
Cronos makes a deal of its own
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Shares of Cronos Group picked up almost 12% after the Canadian marijuana company outlined what it called a "landmark partnership" to produce cannabinol-containing compounds. Cronos will work with microorganism-design specialist Ginkgo Bioworks to produce cultured cannabinoids in a manner that Cronos CEO Mike Gorenstein says will create "reliable, consistent, and scalable production of a full spectrum" of products beyond the most common tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol compounds. Some have been skeptical of the hype surrounding marijuana stocks, but today's move shows that speculation is still running rampant in the space.
MannKind keeps climbing
MannKind stock gained another 6%, adding to its nearly 90% jump on Tuesday. MannKind's gains yesterday stemmed from a new partnership with United Therapeutics, under which the two companies will work together to develop a version of MannKind's treprostinil to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension. The deal pays MannKind valuable up-front cash, as well as giving it the potential for additional milestone and royalty payments in the future. Skeptics still point out that MannKind faces the challenge of proving the commercial viability of its Afrezza inhalable insulin product, but the cash that MannKind will get under the agreement with United Therapeutics will at least give it more time to make further progress.
Vera gets some growth
Finally, shares of Vera Bradley finished up 15%. The purse and backpack specialist reported just a 1% rise in revenue, but net income more than doubled on an adjusted basis. CEO Robert Wallstrom noted that Vera Bradley was able to sell more products at full price and had fewer sales of inventory at clearance markdowns, helping to boost earnings. At the same time, the company also enjoyed freight and shipping efficiencies, as well as successfully managing overhead expenses. With solid expectations for the remainder of the year, investors are excited about where Vera Bradley appears to be headed.
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