Why Hawaiian Holdings, Cerner, and Faro Technologies Jumped Today

The stock market dropped on Tuesday, as investors generally reacted poorly to new signs of trade tensions between the U.S. and the European Union. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off by triple digits, while other major indexes fell around 0.6%. Some market participants worry that first-quarter earnings season is shaping up to be shockingly weak after 2018's tax cuts juiced most companies' bottom lines. Yet even amid the gloom, some stocks celebrated good news. Hawaiian Holdings (NASDAQ: HA), Cerner (NASDAQ: CERN), and Faro Technologies (NASDAQ: FARO) were among the top performers. Here's why they did so well.

Hawaiian flies higher

Shares of Hawaiian Holdings gained 6.5% after the parent company of Hawaiian Airlines reported key business metrics for the month of March. Passenger counts were down from March 2018's numbers, and load factor sagged slightly. Yet Hawaiian said that it was able to cut its estimates for its operating costs for the first quarter because its freighter operations to Hawaii's neighbor islands have been more efficient than expected. The airline now sees operating revenue per available seat mile falling just 3% to 5% during the quarter, with costs rising just 0.5% to 2.5% from year-earlier levels. With Hawaiian facing new competition from other airlines, the news was good for shareholders to hear.

Cerner gets activist interest

Cerner's shares jumped more than 10% after the healthcare information specialist made a deal with an activist hedge fund that's taken an interest in the company. Cerner said that it had agreed with Starboard Value to allow four of Starboard's chosen representatives join the board of directors, and it said it would devote an additional $1.2 billion toward buying back its stock. The news is somewhat interesting, given that Starboard reportedly has just a 1.2% stake in the healthcare information systems company. Yet investors seem to believe that despite the modest position in Cerner, Starboard's presence will help benefit all of the company's shareholders going forward.

Faro gets a new CEO

Finally, shares of Faro Technologies soared 19%. The Florida-based provider of measurement and imaging solutions for 3D manufacturing, construction, and other applications said that it had named Michael Burger as CEO. Burger will replace Simon Raab, who had previously announced his plans to retire in mid-June. Burger has worked in the laser and semiconductor testing fields, and the chair of Faro's board described him as "a dynamic leader with significant experience in areas important to Faro's future." Investors hope that Burger will be able to get the company back on track after what's been a tough couple of quarters for Faro's stock.

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Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Cerner and Hawaiian Holdings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.