Thursday was a tough day on Wall Street, as market participants had to come to grips with the idea that the U.S. and China might not be particularly close to resolving their trade issues. Major stock indexes were down between 1% and 2%, and many key sectors saw even larger declines as the impact of trade tensions on the broader global economy became more apparent. Yet some companies managed to avoid the carnage by giving their investors good news. L Brands (NYSE: LB), Universal (NYSE: UVV), and Maxar Technologies (NYSE: MAXR) were among the top performers. Here's why they did so well.
Bath & Body Works lifts L Brands
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Shares of L Brands climbed 13% after the parent company of retail brands Victoria's Secret and Pink released its first-quarter financial report. At first glance, news from the company looked lackluster at best, with revenue that was roughly flat from year-ago levels and earnings that declined. Yet despite weakness at Victoria's Secret that sent segment comparable sales down 5%, the success of L Brands' Bath & Body Works business made up for poor performance elsewhere, as comps for the personal care products retailer soared 13%. Moreover, investors had expected only breakeven bottom-line results from L Brands, and a boost to the bottom end of the retailer's earnings guidance suggested that the company is doing well in its efforts to keep moving forward.
Universal gives a glowing report
Universal saw its stock climb 14% following the release of the leaf tobacco grower's fourth-quarter financial results. High sales volumes helped lift the company's revenue by more than 10% compared to the year-earlier period, and although a less favorable product mix and lower sales prices likely contributed to a decrease in adjusted net income, Universal did well to overcome headwinds like poor weather in North America, as well as devastating cyclones in Africa. CEO George Freeman pointed to expanded services that the company is offering customers as investments in adjacent industries start to bear fruit. Investors are excited about Universal's prospects for further growth as it builds momentum from previous quarters.
To the moon, Maxar
Finally, shares of Maxar Technologies soared nearly 28%. The space technology company was chosen as a contractor for the prestigious Lunar Gateway mission, which intends to send astronauts to the moon by 2024. The $375 million contract involves building and performing a spaceflight demonstration of the power and propulsion element of the spacecraft for the mission, with Blue Origin and Draper joining Maxar's team. CEO Dan Jablonsky noted that the contract "enables NASA to leverage Maxar's commercial capabilities to cost-effectively expedite plans for sustainable exploration of the Moon," and it could pay off in other areas of Maxar's business as well in the long run.
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