Wednesday marked the beginning of a new month for the stock market, and investors responded extremely favorably to what many saw as a successful address by President Trump to Congress last night. In addition, signs from the Federal Reserve indicate that the economy appears to be on solid footing, and that should spur interest rate increases that will help some sectors of the market.
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Major market benchmarks jumped between 1% and 2% on the day, and many stocks posted even better gains. Among the best performers on the day were Lowe's (NYSE: LOW), Clean Energy Fuels (NASDAQ: CLNE), and Cemex (NYSE: CX). Below, we'll look more closely at these stocks to tell you why they did so well.
Lowe's stands up to competition
Lowe's shares jumped 10% after the home-improvement retailer reported its fourth-quarter results Wednesday morning. Lowe's said that sales soared by 19%, helping to lift profits by nearly half compared to year-ago levels. Comparable sales were up 5.1%, and CEO Robert Niblock attributed the gains to Lowe's omnichannel sales platform, project expertise, and attention to the customer experience. Moreover, Lowe's sees macroeconomic impacts remaining favorable into 2017, and that should allow the home-improvement retailer to keep expanding in lucrative directions. The company expects 5% sales growth in 2017 with a 3.5% rise in comparable sales, and earnings of $4.64 per share would be better than the consensus forecast among Lowe's investors.
Lowe's employees help communities in need. Image source: Lowe's.
Clean Energy makes a sale
Clean Energy Fuels stock climbed 17% in the wake of a new agreement with oil and gas giant BP (NYSE: BP). The two companies said Wednesday morning that BP would acquire the upstream portion of Clean Energy's renewable natural gas business. In addition, BP agreed to sign a long-term supply contract with Clean Energy in order to guarantee that the natural-gas transportation infrastructure specialist would be able to keep supplying its downstream stations with the renewable natural gas they need to meet growing demand. Under the deal's terms, BP will pay $155 million for Clean Energy's biomethane production facilities as well as shares of two new facilities and existing third-party supply contracts. Clean Energy CEO Andrew Littlefair said that the deal "will help take [our Redeem fueling business] to the next level," and investors concur that the agreement is exciting going forward.
Cemex gets a warmer welcome
Finally, shares of Cemex gained 8%. The Mexican cement company said that it settled a tender offer to purchase about $475 million in outstanding senior secured notes, which was oversubscribed by about 2.6 to 1 and will let Cemex pay down some relatively high-rate debt. Yet what's more likely the reason for the gain today was the fact that anti-Mexican rhetoric was largely absent from the President's address to Congress Tuesday night, and investors were pleased that the business likely won't be singled out for its cross-border ties. Indeed, with Cemex having extensive infrastructure interests on both sides of the border, the cement giant could well benefit from a broader push to improve infrastructure in the U.S. in the years to come.
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