Financial Markets Wednesday: Three Stocks with Big Gains

Financial markets seesawed today, finishing on a high note after Fed chief Ben Bernanke announced that interest rates will stay low until at least late 2014.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.9% for the day to close at 1,326. The Nasdaq composite was up even more, at 1.1%, after falling in morning trading.

A number of stocks outpaced the gains made in the financial markets. Here were three that stood out:

  • Illumina (Nasdaq: ILMN): The research tool maker jumped 46% on Wednesday on news that Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche is planning a hostile takeover. Roche’s rumored offer is $5.7 billion, or $44.50 a share. Shares of Illumina are currently trading at $55 after today’s big move – a sign that investors believe the company is worth more than Roche is offering, and that a higher offer is perhaps in the offing. Illumina’s 52-week high was $79 a share.


  • US Airways Group (NYSE: LCC): Shares of one of the biggest airline companies in the U.S. surged 17% after reporting better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings. At 13 cents a share, the airline’s profits were more than six times the 2 cents that most analysts had projected. Though profits were down from 17 cents a share during the fourth quarter in 2010, the company posted record revenues. At $7.52 a share after today’s big move, U.S. Air is trading at its highest level since mid-July.  


  • NuVasive, Inc. (Nasadaq: NUVA): NuVasive creates medical devices for spine treatments, and today its stock showed a little backbone. The boost came from a Cannacord Genuity analyst calling NuVasive the “best asset in its class,” sending shares up 19% on Wednesday. After one analyst referred to this medical device company as the “best asset in its class,” the stock surged 19% today. The analyst upgrade may not have a long-term impact on NuVasive, especially since the company is in the midst of an ongoing legal battle with rival Medtronic (NYSE: MDT). But for one day at least, NuVasive was a market star. 
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