The stock market was largely flat on Friday, finishing a momentous week and moving into the final days of 2017. Major benchmarks were little changed, and a big decline in the price of bitcoin and the ongoing assessment of the just-passed tax reform package captured many investors' attention. Yet some companies enjoyed favorable tailwinds that sent their share prices moving substantially higher. XPO Logistics (NYSE: XPO), Westport Fuel Systems (NASDAQ: WPRT), and Party City Holdco (NYSE: PRTY) 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.
Is XPO getting bought out?
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Shares of XPO Logistics jumped 14% during the afternoon hours after reports surfaced that home improvement retailer Home Depot (NYSE: HD) might consider buying the freight company. The reports suggest that Home Depot has discussed the idea internally, potentially seeing it as a defensive play to keep e-commerce rivals from seeking to take greater control of the shipment and logistics infrastructure industry. XPO gets a substantial amount of its business from e-commerce, and at this time of the year, investors tend to pay attention to the role that shipments play in retail. A Home Depot purchase could signal a big shift in the home-improvement giant's plans, with a potentially greater emphasis on delivery versus in-store pickup and other options for shoppers.
Westport powers up
Westport Fuel Systems stock climbed nearly 14% after the maker of natural gas-powered engines announced two milestones. First, Westport obtained a $20 million loan from Export Development Canada to support its launch of its second-generation high-pressure direct-injection program. Westport also said that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with China's Weichai Power, under which Westport will finalize development, marketing, and commercialization of HPDI technology in China. The company's natural-gas emphasis hasn't produced the profits that investors had expected for Westport, but bullish shareholders are hopeful that the latest news could be the start of a turnaround.
Party City celebrates
Finally, shares of Party City Holdco finished 14% higher. The party-goods retailer said that it would spend $242 million to buy back 19.8 million shares of stock from major shareholder Advent-Party City Acquisition Limited Partnership. The partnership had held between 15% and 20% of Party City's outstanding shares, and shareholders were happy with CEO Jim Harrison's comments that the move "removes a share overhang associated with Advent's long-term shareholder interest in the business" while also being accretive to earnings on a per-share basis. Now that Advent is out, investors hope that Party City will be able to keep up positive momentum in 2018 and beyond.
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Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has the following options: short January 2018 $170 calls on Home Depot and long January 2020 $110 calls on Home Depot. The Motley Fool recommends Home Depot and XPO Logistics. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.