After closing lower in three of the previous four trading sessions, U.S. stocks were able to end the week on a positive note, thanks in part to rebounding oil prices and emerging markets stocks. The oil bounce helped lift the S&P 500 to a gain of 0.28% on the day while the Dow Jones Industrial rose 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite added just 0.05%.
Demand for safe-haven assets ebbed a bit Friday, but the gains for U.S. stocks could have been better if not for weakness from biotechnology and retail stocks. By the time the closing bell rang, this week went down as the worst week for U.S. stocks since February.
But it was far from a gloomy day for Amira Nature Foods Ltd (NYSE:ANFI), Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ:JACK) and Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. (NASDAQ:ULTA), which earned best stocks of the day status.
Amira Nature Foods Ltd (ANFI)
Amira Nature Foods surged 32.7% on volume of about 1.65 million shares, which compares with average daily volume of about 412,500 shares, after the maker of rice said it expects to release interim financial results this month and full-year results in July.
ANFI’s results have previously come under scrutiny by investors, which caused ANFI to change accounting firms late last year.
With Friday’s surge, shares of ANFI are up more than 18% year-to-date.
Jack in the Box Inc. (JACK)
Shares of fast-food chain Jack in the Box climbed 5.6% following some bullish analyst commentary. Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to “overweight” from “equal-weight” with an $89 price target. The bank thinks JACK could offer upside of up to 40%.
Morgan Stanley said it upgraded JACK now because the stock is inexpensive relative to some competitors, as well as corporate actions and the potential for a recovery in same-store sales. The bank also highlighted JACK’s Qdoba business.
“Valuing the Qdoba business (~15% of current profits) separately combined with a recovered burger business yields a sum of parts of ~$86-$93/share. We’d note that the two businesses — Jack in the Box and Qdoba — have growing differences in capital intensity, franchise mix and risk profiles,” according to part of a Morgan Stanley note on JACK posted by Barron’s.
Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. (ULTA)
Ulta Salon rose 3.3% on news the company will be the latest to join the S&P 500.
ULTA is replacing Tenet Healthcare Corp (NYSE:THC) in the benchmark U.S. equity index. News of ULTA’s entry into the S&P 500 was released Thursday after the close of U.S. markets.
ULTA will become a part of the widely followed S&P 500 following the close of U.S. markets on April 15. Shares of ULTA are up 8.4% year-to-date.
At the time of this writing, Todd Shriber did not own any of the aforementioned securities.
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