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Why GameStop, Novavax, and Epizyme Jumped Today

Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool

Friday was an exceptional day for the stock market, as major indexes regained all of the ground they lost in Thursday's volatile session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average quickly jumped from the open and proceeded to finish higher by more than 700 points. The December employment report from the Department of Labor showed strong job growth, and despite an uptick in the unemployment rate, market participants were glad to see an increase in the number of people seeking work. Some stocks saw larger gains on good news, and GameStop (NYSE: GME), Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX), and Epizyme (NASDAQ: EPZM) were among the top performers. Here's why they did so well.

Could GameStop get bought out?

Shares of GameStop finished higher by nearly 18% following a report that the video game retailer was getting attention from private equity investors for a potential buyout. According to The Wall Street Journal, investment companies including Sycamore Partners and Apollo Global Management might be considering a deal. The news is good for long-struggling shareholders, who've had to deal with changing business models from video game makers that have tried to cut out intermediaries like GameStop and sell games direct to consumers. It'll be interesting to see whether a bid emerges and what it looks like.

Rising stock charts superimposed over digital map of the world

Image source: Getty Images.

Novavax gets good news on its flu vaccine

Shares of Novavax climbed 5% after the biotechnology company released the latest results from a phase 2 clinical trial of its NanoFlu influenza vaccine. The study showed several positive findings, including what the company called "vigorous immune responses to the four strains included in the vaccine." Compared to the current leading flu vaccine for older adults, NanoFlu saw significant increases in antibody responses against several types of viruses. Novavax now intends to meet with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the first half of the year to pursue an accelerated approval pathway for NanoFlu, and shareholders are optimistic that the treatment could gain acceptance quickly.

Epizyme sees promise for its lymphoma treatment

Finally, Epizyme saw its stock jump almost 33% in the wake of good news for its cancer treatment tazemetostat. The clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company said that a recent meeting with the FDA identified a possible path toward accelerated approval of tazemetostat in patients with follicular lymphoma, and it also expects to submit an FDA application for the treatment in fighting epitheliod sarcoma in the second quarter. Combined with potential expanded indications for tazemetostat, Epizyme is more confident about its financial situation, and investors are pleased to see what has been a long journey start to pay off for the biopharma company.

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Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of GameStop and has the following options: short January 2019 $16 calls on GameStop. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.