The major U.S. equity indices mounted a late-day rally Wednesday on stabilizing oil prices after stocks opened the session lower on a dip in crude prices — underscoring the sentiment that stocks are tightly correlated to oil right now.
West Texas Intermediate futures closed up 1%, helping the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average notch fractional gains — the former was down by as much as 1.6% on the day. A late rally in tech stocks lifted the Nasdaq Composite to a gain of nearly 1%.
Of course, a few stocks didn’t need to wait until the end of the day to get going. Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK), First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) and Etsy Inc (NASDAQ:ETSY) all shot higher right out of the gate, and finished the day with considerable gains.
Chesapeake Energy Corporation (CHK)
Shares of Chesapeake Energy, one of the largest U.S. natural gas producers, climbed nearly 23% on heavy volume after the Oklahoma-based company said it plans to cut capital spending this year by up to $1.8 billion — nearly 60% less than what it spent last year — and that it could sell up to $1 billion worth of assets.
Since the end of last year, Chesapeake has sold more than $700 million in assets as part of its efforts to raise cash. The company lost $15 billion last year, including a fourth-quarter loss of $2.2 billion.
CHK shares had been halved since Jan. 1 heading into today’s trading day. Even with Wednesday’s gains, Chesapeake is off 40%.
First Solar, Inc. (FSLR)
Shares of First Solar, the largest U.S. maker of solar equipment, surged 12.4% on volume that was nearly triple the daily average after a lot of positive news in its fourth-quarter earnings report.
Earnings of $1.60 per share on $942 million in revenue beat expectations for 78 cents per share and $929.01 million, respectively.
Guidance pleased Wall Street, too. FSLR raised its 2016 shipment guidance to an increase of 17% to 18% from a previous range of 16% to 18%. Moreover, First Solar said it expects to earn $4 to $4.50 per share this year on revenue of $3.8 billion to $4 billion, with the top end of both ranges coming in above respective analyst expectations for $4.12 per share and $2.83 billion.
Etsy Inc (ETSY)
Etsy soared 6.9% on volume that was six times the daily average. The online marketplace for unique and small items said its fourth-quarter sales climbed to $87.9 million, beating the Wall Street estimate of $86.7 million. Wall Street ignored Etsy’s bottom-line disappointment, with the company logging a 4-cent loss versus estimates for a penny deficit.
Etsy said it expects sales will increase this year toward the higher end of a range of 20% to 25%. Bloomberg also reported that ETSY is looking for a three-year compound annual growth rate for revenue of 20% to 25% with a gross margin percent in the mid-60s.
As of this writing, Todd Shriber did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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