Friday was an up-and-down day for the stock market, with major benchmark indexes gaining ground during the morning before sinking to modest losses in the afternoon, and finally recovering to end the trading session virtually flat. Many market participants were focused on word from the White House signalling a new batch of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods, and investors didn't seem enthusiastic about the idea that the president was launching another salvo in the trade conflict at the same time as negotiators are trying to reach an agreement to defuse it.
However, though the broad markets didn't wind up moving much, well-received news for some specific companies helped to send their stock prices higher. L Brands (NYSE: LB), Owens-Illinois (NYSE: OI), and Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ: AMD) were among the best performers on the day. Below, we'll look more closely at these stocks to tell you why they did so well.
L Brands pulls the plug on Henri Bendel
L Brands climbed 5% after the company behind the Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works concepts announced that it would close specialty retail chain Henri Bendel. The seller of women's handbags and accessories has been in business for nearly 125 years, but L Brands made the call to close all 23 of its locations after the coming holiday season is complete. The move was based largely on the company's desire to focus on its higher-performing brands, and although CEO Leslie Wexner emphasized that the decision was "not easy because of the impact to our L Brands family" but "right for the future growth of our company." Given the challenges that L Brands has faced lately, it's a good sign that the retailer is taking serious steps in its quest for a better strategic direction.
Image source: L Brands.
Owens-Illinois comes under fire (and shareholders like it)
Owens-Illinois gained almost 10% after the publication of a letter that hedge fund and major shareholder Atlantic Investment Management sent to its board. Atlantic, which has a nearly 6% stake in the glass container manufacturer, pressed Owens-Illinois to sell off its European division. The hedge fund believes that such a sale would bring in between $3.2 billion and $3.8 billion, which could help it stave off a hostile takeover bid from an outside party. Investors reacted positively to the suggestion, and Owens-Illinois acknowledged receipt of Atlantic's letter while promising a thorough review of its contents.
AMD keeps riding high
Finally, Advanced Micro Devices picked up 7%. The chipmaker added to its recent string of positive news items by getting favorable comments from analysts at Argus, who boosted their price target on AMD to $40 per share -- well above the $32.75 where it closed this week -- and maintained their buy rating on the stock. Argus believes that AMD is making inroads in the market for server chips, with its Epyc line of products gaining competitive traction against key competitors. There's no doubt that AMD's stock price already reflects plenty of optimism about its future, given its gains in the past year, but many of those following the company see more upside for the chipmaker.
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