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Why Progressive, Western Digital, and Omnicom Group Jumped Today

Steve Symington, The Motley Fool

Stocks climbed Tuesday as investors shifted their focus to a handful of mostly encouraging quarterly reports. Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 made modest gains.

But several individual stocks stood out from the rest. Western Digital (NASDAQ: WDC) jumped on a vote of confidence from Wall Street, and earnings news sent both Progressive (NYSE: PGR) and Omnicom Group (NYSE: OMC) higher.

Progressive keeps moving forward

Shares of Progressive climbed 6.9% after the insurance giant announced stronger-than-expected first-quarter results.

Progressive's quarterly net premiums written grew 16% year over year to $9.24 billion, and premiums earned rose 188% to $8.46 billion. Progressive achieved a combined ratio of 88.8% -- which means it earned $11.20 for every $100 in premiums it wrote -- staying relatively steady compared to 88.4% in the year-ago period. On the bottom line, net income attributable to the company soared 50% to $1.08 billion, and climbed 49% on a per-share basis to $1.83.

Analysts, on average, were only modeling earnings of $1.35 per share on net premiums written of $9.19 billion.

Man in suit drawing a chart with his finger indicating gains

Image source: Getty Images.

Is Western Digital poised to pop?

Western Digital jumped 4.7% after Deutsche Bank analyst Sidney Ho upgraded the data-storage technology company to buy from hold -- the stock's second upgrade this week -- and increased the firm's price target to $60 per share from $45.

To justify his relative optimism, Ho pointed to "favorable data points in both [hard drives] and [NAND memory] that will support a solid [...] recovery" for Western Digital's earnings in the second half of this year.

In the meantime, Ho believes Western Digital management will report "improved visibility" when the company releases fiscal third-quarter 2019 results later this month.

Omnicom markets a solid quarter

Finally, shares of Omnicom rose 5.7% after the marketing and corporate communications specialist announced better-than-expected first-quarter earnings. 

Revenue fell 4.4% to $3.47 billion, as 2.5% organic revenue growth was offset by a combination of foreign currency exchange and strategic business dispositions over the past year. That translated into a slight decline in net income to $263.2 million, but -- thanks to stock repurchases -- a 2.6% increase in earnings per share to $1.17. Most analysts were expecting earnings of only $1.09 per share on slightly higher revenue of $3.49 billion. 

Chairman and CEO John Wren showed no concern for the company's top-line shortfall relative to Wall Street's expectations, noting it grew in every geography except Latin America.

"We are pleased with our financial performance in the first quarter, which continue to reflect the benefits of our strategy," Wren added. "While it is early in the year, we are where we expected to be for the full-year 2019."

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Steve Symington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool is short shares of Western Digital. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.