Why Transocean, Novavax, and Steelcase Jumped Today

The stock market was mixed on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbing to record heights even as the Nasdaq Composite gave back some of its recent gains. Investors largely continued to play a waiting game, as little in the way of new economic data or readings on the geopolitical environment impeded generally bullish sentiment. Whenever stocks reach lofty heights, pauses are inevitable, but some were nevertheless able to climb higher. Transocean (NYSE: RIG), Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX), and Steelcase (NYSE: SCS) were among the best performers on the day. Here's why they did so well.

Transocean gets a contract

Shares of Transocean rose 7% after the offshore oil services specialist reported a new contract for its soon-to-be-delivered semisubmersible Transocean Norge vessel. The company won a six-well contract with Norwegian energy giant Equinor, which it expects to last for 300 days beginning in July 2019. The fact that Transocean was able to secure a contract even before the shipyard building the Transocean Norge had delivered the rig shows just how much stronger the energy markets are than they were just a couple years ago, when low crude prices made it uneconomical for offshore drillers to make major expenditures for many offshore projects. Transocean is excited about the future, and investors appear to be, too.

Novavax has analysts optimistic

Novavax picked up 8% in the wake of favorable comments from Wall Street analysts about the stock. Analysts at JPMorgan raised their rating on the biotech company from underperform to outperform, citing their belief that clinical trial results for its ResVax vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus are more likely to be positive than negative. The trial, which is testing pregnant patients to see whether the vaccine can result in infants having immunity to the disease after birth, could be a huge mover for the share price, with poor results being potentially disastrous but strength pointing to further gains for the stock. After a tough start to the year, Novavax is picking up some momentum.

Steelcase reports solid results

Finally, shares of Steelcase soared 18%. The maker of office furniture announced second-quarter sales gains of 13%, with strong growth in order volume driven in part by double-digit percentage gains in organic sales in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Earnings were higher by more than 30% compared to the year-ago quarter, and the company's guidance for the remainder of the year was encouraging. A strong economy is putting corporate customers in position to be able to afford new furniture, and Steelcase hopes to cash in on that trend while it can.

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Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.