U.S. Markets close in 4 hrs 19 mins

Why Universal Display, Windstream Holdings, and American Woodmark Jumped Today

Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool

Tuesday was a bad day on Wall Street, as major benchmarks all finished deep in the red to begin the holiday-shortened week. The Dow had been down more than 500 points during the session as investors focused on turmoil in the European financial markets, where an increase in bond yields in Italy brought back memories of the Greek financial crisis in the early 2010s. Yet even though broad-based market averages fell sharply, some stocks managed to post solid gains. Universal Display (NASDAQ: OLED), Windstream Holdings (NASDAQ: WIN), and American Woodmark (NASDAQ: AMWD) were among the best performers on the day. Here's why they did so well.

Universal Display gets an iDevice bounce

Shares of Universal Display rose 4% as the maker of organic LED screens got a nice boost on speculation about greater demand for its products from an industry leader. Reports from sources following the mobile device industry suggest that new iPhone models will all have OLED displays. It's not necessarily a given that the news would benefit Universal Display, as some past reports have suggested that the iPhone's manufacturer might choose to build out its own production capacity. For now, though, investors figure that Universal Display is a reliable existing source for OLEDs, and that should translate into greater demand, especially if competitors to the iPhone also follow the same lead in display technology.

Laboratory for production of organic display components.

Image source: Universal Display.

Windstream rises after reverse split

Windstream Holdings stock was higher by 7% following the completion of a planned reverse split. With the telecom company's share price approaching the $1 mark, Windstream completed a 1-for-5 reverse split on Friday. Theoretically, the move shouldn't have had any impact on the company at all, and some actually see reverse splits as a sign of desperation to prevent share prices from falling low enough to drop below critical levels needed to comply with listing requirements for major stock exchanges. In rare cases, companies bounce back after reverse splits, and that seems to be the hope among investors today. Yet Windstream's challenges will require substantial effort in order to turn things around and get the company moving forward.

American Woodmark makes investors feel at home

Finally, shares of American Woodmark jumped 15%. The manufacturer and distributor of kitchen, bath, and home organization products reported fiscal fourth-quarter financial results that included a jump in sales of over half due largely to a major acquisition in December. Yet even without the acquisition, organic sales were slightly higher than year-ago levels, and adjusted earnings soared by more than 45%. Given that shares had plunged 40% early this year amid worries about the future of the stock market rally and the broader U.S. economy, today's bounce seemed to suggest new optimism about the health of the housing market overall.

More From The Motley Fool

Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Universal Display. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.