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Why Cronos Group, Versum Materials, and Opus Bank Jumped Today

Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool

The stock market started the week on a negative note on Monday, as major indexes were all down around 1%. Nervousness about the latest earnings from the semiconductor and construction equipment sectors weighed on investor sentiment, and broader-based concern about the state of the global economy contributed to the dour mood. Yet some companies reported good news that sent their shares higher. Cronos Group (NASDAQ: CRON), Versum Materials (NYSE: VSM), and Opus Bank (NASDAQ: OPB) were among the top performers. Here's why they did so well.

Cronos keeps riding the weed wave

Shares of Cronos Group rose 15%, adding to the marijuana producer's impressive run to start 2019. Many companies in the cannabis industry have seen their share prices move higher, but Cronos in particular has gotten lot of attention lately because of tobacco giant Altria Group's $1.8 billion investment in exchange for a 45% stake of the marijuana company. By giving Cronos access to Altria's vast distribution network as well as potential strategic partnerships with beer and wine makers, the Altria investment has been a game-changer, and shareholders think that Cronos can take full advantage.

White words Cronos Group with a green O on a black background.

Image source: Cronos Group.

Versum makes a deal

Versum Materials saw its stock jump 16% after the specialty materials company agreed to a merger bid from Entegris (NASDAQ: ENTG). Under the terms of what the two companies call a "merger of equals," Versum investors will receive 1.12 shares of Entegris for every Versum share they own. That will give former Versum shareholders about a 47.5% collective stake in the post-merger Entegris. Versum CEO Guillermo Novo pointed to the deal's success in "creating an end-to-end materials solutions provider across the entire semiconductor manufacturing process." Given the pace of technological innovation, it's no surprise that companies in the industry are working as hard as they can to become more efficient and take advantage of demand.

Investors bank on Opus

Finally, shares of Opus Bank finished with a 5% gain. The southern California-based bank said that it lost money in the fourth quarter of 2018, but much of the loss stemmed from restructuring charges aimed at making Opus more competitive after having gone through some tough times earlier in the year. Higher net interest income and wider margin came as good news, and Opus has plans for further cost reductions to try to improve its profitability. Interim CEO Paul Greig acknowledged that the Opus has further to go, but the bank has made a lot of progress and is showing positive momentum moving into 2019.

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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.