After mounting an epic intraday reversal on Wednesday, stocks followed through on that rally Thursday as the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average each flirted with gains of more than 1% on the day.
The gains for U.S. stocks were surprising given traditional drivers of bearish performance. Chinese stocks plunged 6.4% during Thursday’s Asian session — their worst showing in a month — and oil prices declined Thursday, making today one of just a few this year when equities have rallied without the help of crude.
Several stocks showed they are not beholden to macro trends or oil prices. At least for one day. J C Penney Company Inc (NYSE:JCP), Salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM) and United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX) were among Wall Street’s best performers.
J C Penney Company Inc (JCP)
Shares of retailer JCP stock soared 8.6% on heavy volume ahead of its fourth-quarter earnings report, due out before Friday’s open. Analysts expect Texas-based JCP to post a fourth-quarter profit of 23 cents a share on revenues of $3.99 billion.
The gain came on a fairly consistent ramp throughout the day, and was possibly the result of a short squeeze, as almost 35% of JCPenney’s float was sold short as of the most recent data.
Also out Thursday were reports that JCPenney will start selling some items for … well, a penny.
Salesforce.com, inc. (CRM)
Business software maker Salesforce.com saw its shares climb 11% on nearly double its daily average after the company reported a fourth-quarter profit of $129.66 million, or 19 cents a share, up from $92.78 million, or 14 cents per share, a year earlier. That number also matched Wall Street expectations.
For the current quarter, the company expects to earn 23 cents to 24 cents a share on sales of $1.885 billion to $1.895 billion. The company is forecasting full-year EPS of 99 cents to $1.01 on revenue of $8.08 billion to $8.12 billion — a hike in its guidance that certainly helped the bulls’ case.
United Technologies Corporation (UTX)
United Technologies was one of the best-performing members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, surging 4.7% after a legal adviser for rival Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE:HON) said a marriage between the companies is feasible.
It has already been reported that Honeywell and United Technologies held merger talks, but United Technologies said regulator issues would prevent such a deal from taking place. Honeywell insists overlap between the companies and asset sales could fix that problem.
As of this writing, Todd Shriber did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.