The stock market gave up ground on Monday, losing steam after setting the stage for an extraordinarily strong January. Rising interest rates finally seemed to spook Wall Street, with the 10-year Treasury bond seeing its yield move above the 2.7% mark. Some fear that rising bond yields could lure income investors out of stocks, pointing to the influx of investors that came when rates fell so far that dividend stocks offered a more attractive combination of income and growth. Despite the negative sentiment, several stocks posted strong advances during the session. Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS), Matson (NYSE: MATX), and Ballard Power Systems (NASDAQ: BLDP) 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.
Sands enjoys earnings, stays out of controversy
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Shares of Las Vegas Sands picked up 5%, gaining momentum from a positive earnings report late last week. After dealing with a multiyear struggle in Macau, Sands finally saw a pickup in performance there, with its mass-market audience helping to give the casino giant a solid quarter at its four main resorts in the former Portuguese colony. It's also likely that some investors chose to shift their holdings away from Sands' primary rival in the wake of allegations against that rival company's CEO. With solid fundamentals underpinning its stock, Sands is in a good position to see further gains if Macau keeps growing.
Matson gets positive reviews
Matson stock jumped 21% after the shipping company received positive comments from analysts. One upgrade from Seaport Global Securities sent the stock from neutral to buy and named a price target of $40 per share, which is just 6% or 7% above where shares currently trade after the jump. Seaport believes that Matson's competitive picture with respect to its focus on Hawaii is now looking more favorable now that a potential rival has chosen not to enter the market. Meanwhile, analysts at Stifel kept their buy rating on the stock and sent their target to $38. Matson should now be able to keep its lucrative position in serving the mainland-to-Hawaii shipping market without further deterioration in profit potential.
Ballard powers up
Finally, shares of Ballard Power Systems launched higher by 34%. The fuel-cell specialist bounced back from weakness late last week as it answered allegations from short-selling specialist Spruce Point Capital Management. Spruce Point had said that Ballard's announced partnerships with companies in China aren't likely to be as successful as bullish investors think, but Ballard responded with facts about the size and potential for its Chinese joint venture operations. Time will tell how successful the venture is, and in the meantime, investors can expect further turbulence from Ballard shares as this gets sorted out.
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