The stock market continued its string of mild moves on Monday, with major benchmarks closing mixed and little changed from where they ended last week. The trading session featured another rotation out of technology stocks, as sectors like utilities that are typically seen as defensive by conservative investors moved into favor. Yet even though the overall market didn't see dramatic gains, several high-profile individual stocks made much more explosive moves. In particular, Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD), Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: VRX), and Hertz Global holdings (NYSE: HTZ) 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.
Rite Aid gets hope for its merger
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Shares of Rite Aid soared more than 30% on comments that suggested that its long-awaited merger with Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ: WBA) might happen after all. For weeks, shareholders have gotten more pessimistic about the prospects for the combination to go forward, with many speculating that the Federal Trade Commission will deny the merger request. Yet reports today suggested that there's actually a reasonable chance that Rite Aid and Walgreens will be allowed to move forward. Meanwhile, investors have tried to psych themselves up that being independent might not be such a bad outcome for Rite Aid after all. Even with today's jump above the $4-per-share mark, Rite Aid stock is still fetching quite a bit less than the $6.50 to $7 per share that Walgreens will pay Rite Aid shareholders under the modified agreement.
Valeant builds momentum
Valeant Pharmaceuticals stock jumped 8% after investors reacted positively to speculation about the drug company's future direction. The biggest issue for Valeant has been its extensive debt load, which has been difficult to manage. Now that Valeant stock has climbed from its worst levels, more analysts who follow the stock believe that it could structure an arrangement under which some bondholders will receive equity stakes in the company. The net impact of that move would be to dilute existing shareholders, but that's still a big improvement compared to shareholders receiving nothing in a forced bankruptcy or insolvency context. Investors appear to be recognizing that possibility today, and the stock climbed to its best levels of 2017 as Valeant builds enthusiasm among those who follow drug stocks.
Hertz makes a deal with Apple
Finally, shares of Hertz Global Holdings finished the day higher by more than 13%. The rental car giant is reportedly going to work with tech giant Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) toward developing self-driving automobiles, as Apple is leasing a small number of Lexus RX450h sport utility vehicles from Hertz. Both Apple and Hertz are looking to stake their claim in the autonomous vehicle market, where other tech companies have striven to earn a first-mover advantage over their rivals. For Hertz, the move was necessarily in order to keep up with its competitors, and the eventual result could potentially be fleets of Hertz-owned vehicles making themselves available on an on-demand basis for those needing transportation. That vision might not be as far away as many think, especially if Apple can use its deal with Hertz to push things forward more quickly.
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