The Federal Reserve’s most recent Beige Book indicated that the U.S. economy maintained a solid growth trajectory for the late August through early October period. That was enough to push stocks higher Wednesday. The S&P 500 Index gained 0.22%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished higher by 0.23% and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.05%.
Among the best stocks of the day were GNC Holdings Inc (NYSE:GNC), Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL) and Michael Kors Holdings Ltd (NYSE:KORS), which were fueled by earnings news and takeover speculation.
Here were the highlights of the day:
GNC Holdings Inc (GNC)
Shares of GNC Holdings, the retailer of nutritional supplements, surged 10.7% on nearly six times the average daily volume on rumors the company could be a takeover target.
Chinese companies are reportedly interested in acquiring Pennsylvania-based GNC, which has a market value of $1.44 billion, but could fetch up to $4 billion in a takeover scenario.
GNC’s potential suitors include Fosun Group and investment firm ZZ Capital International and other Chinese healthcare companies, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
GNC has not commented on the speculation, but it would do well to consider the offer. The company is off some 65% since peaking in late 2013 amid flat revenues and declining income.
Halliburton Company (HAL)
HAL stock jumped 4.2% on nearly double the average turnover after the world’s second-largest provider of oilfield services reported a surprise third-quarter profit.
Texas-based HAL eked out a third-quarter profit of a penny a share, but that is better than the 6 cents a share it lost a year earlier and better than the loss of 6 cents analysts were forecasting for the third quarter.
HAL said revenue slid more than 31% to $3.83 billion, below Wall Street’s estimate of $3.9 billion.
Also helping Halliburton’s case: Oil prices closed Wednesday’s trading at their highest levels in 15 months.
Halliburton rival Schlumberger Limited (NYSE:SLB) reports earnings later this week.
Michael Kors Holdings Ltd (KORS)
Michael Kors, maker of the eponymous high-end hand bags and other luxury leather goods, climbed 5.4% on more than double the usual volume as takeover chatter swirled around the stock.
At least one source pointed to elevated options activity in KORS that the company could be in play for a takeover while another said Michael Kors is mulling a $10 billion takeover offer.
Michael Kors, much like GNC, is well off its peak after just a few years of being a publicly traded company. Shares rocketed out of their late 2011 IPO at $20 per share to nearly $100 as of early 2014, but they’ve been halved since then.
As of this writing, Todd Shriber did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.