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Why Cigna, Weight Watchers International, and AAR Jumped Today

Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool

Thursday was an up-and-down day on Wall Street, as investors weren't quite sure how to react to multiple issues facing the financial markets. On one hand, market participants feel confident that they'll get accommodative monetary policy in the form of lower short-term interest rates. Yet ongoing nervousness about the coming earnings season and geopolitical issues like trade continue to weigh on sentiment. Those broad worries didn't hold back some individual companies that had positive news to report. Cigna (NYSE: CI), Weight Watchers International (NASDAQ: WW), and AAR (NYSE: AIR) were among the top performers. Here's why they did so well.

Cigna gets a load off its shoulders

Shares of Cigna climbed 9% after the health insurance company got good news from Washington. The healthcare giant had been in the crosshairs of a proposal from the White House that would have eliminated rebate payments from drug manufacturers to pharmacy benefit managers and other intermediaries. Although the intent of the proposal was to cut overall costs to patients, it could have cut off a lucrative source of revenue for Cigna. However, the Trump administration withdrew the proposal, and that has investors thinking more favorably about Cigna's potential for rising profit in the months to come.

Cigna logo of a person-graphic as the trunk of a tree with green leaves.

Image source: Cigna.

Weight Watchers lightens up

Weight Watchers International's stock climbed over 8% in the wake of positive comments from Wall Street analysts. J.P. Morgan raised its rating on the weight-loss and wellness specialist from underweight to neutral and boosted its price target by $5 to $22 per share. The analyst company believes that Weight Watchers has finally seen its subscriber count trends look more stable, and even though earnings are likely to fall dramatically in 2019, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel. Even with the increase to the price target, though, it's important to note that today's gains put the stock above the new projection from J.P. Morgan.

AAR looks to the sky

Finally, shares of AAR finished higher by nearly 9%. The aircraft maintenance specialist reported its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results late Wednesday, and they showed solid gains of 19% in revenue and 33% in adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations. AAR said that its share of revenue from the government and defense segment was sharply higher compared to year-ago levels, coming at the expense of commercial customer sales. As long as demand for both new and aftermarket parts remains strong, AAR should remain in position to benefit from favorable trends across the aerospace and defense industries.

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Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.