Wall Street’s recent rebound continued in Thursday’s session, with stocks posting further gains. The gain allowed the S&P 500 to breach its first close above 4,400 since mid-February.
Auto insurance stocks participated in advance, after Allstate (ALL) revealed the benefit it received from higher rates. Progressive (PGR), Root (ROOT) and Lemonade (LMND) also saw notable advances.
Pager (NYSE:PD) also posted remarkable gains, boosting its value by more than a fifth on strong earnings news. Steel dynamics (NASDAQ: STLD) also advanced, with bullish indications sending the stock to a fresh 52-week high.
On the other side of the ledger, Bioceres Crop Solutions (BIOX) posted a double-digit percentage decline following an acquisition. Meanwhile, a weak quarterly update took SecureWorks (SCWX) to a fresh 52-week low.
Focus on the sector
Signs that industry players are benefiting from rate increases have sparked general buying in the auto insurance sector, with the gains particularly felt by fintech start-ups.
The rally was led by Allstate (ALL), which disclosed that its recent rate increases would result in a $1.2 billion annualized impact on gross written premiums. ALL rose 3.5% on the news, while rival Progressive (PGR) received a boost of around 3%.
Among fintechs, however, the recovery has been much more pronounced. Root (ROOT) climbed 12% on the session. At the same time, Lemonade (LMND) jumped almost 15%.
A strong earnings report prompted buying PagerDuty (PD). The stock gained 21%, moving away from a 52-week low set earlier this week.
PD posted a narrower fourth-quarter loss than analysts had expected. Revenue also beat expectations, rising 32% to $78.5 million.
The cloud computing company also released strong guidance for the first quarter. The company forecast total revenue for the quarter of $81.5 million to $83.5 million, versus analyst consensus of $82.6 million.
PD rallied $5.60 on the day to close at $32.45. The stock rebounded from a 52-week low of $24.02 set on Monday, hitting its highest level since early March.
The announcement of an all-stock acquisition has put pressure on Bioceres Crop Solutions (BIOX). Concerns over dilution to current shareholders caused the agricultural productivity technology provider’s shares to drop 10%.
BIOX has announced that it has agreed to purchase Marrone Bio Innovations (MBII) in a deal valued at approximately $236 million. Under the terms of the transaction, MBI common stock will be exchanged for BIOX stock at a ratio of 0.088.
Weighed down by the news, BIOX fell $1.52 to close the session at $13.35. Meanwhile, MBII jumped nearly 50% to close at $1.05.
Notable new peak
Steel Dynamics (STLD) rose 8% after providing an upbeat first-quarter forecast. The rally took the title to a new 52-week high.
The steel producer expects first-quarter earnings of between $5.85 and $5.89 per share. Analysts were looking for a figure of $5.74 per share.
STLD ended Thursday’s trading at $81.06, up $6.05 on the day. Shares also set a new 52-week intraday high at $81.23.
The stock has been climbing since late January, when shares were trading below $53. STLD had climbed nearly 55% since that point.
New notable low
A mixed earnings report and disappointing forecast sparked the sale of SecureWorks (SCWX), which fell nearly 12% to a 52-week low.
The cybersecurity company posted a profit for its latest quarter, surprising analysts, who had expected the company to post a loss. However, the company’s revenue fell short of expectations, dropping nearly 9% from a year ago.
Looking ahead, SCWX forecast current-year revenue of $475 million to $490 million, well below the nearly $533 million forecast by analysts.
SCWX lost $1.53 on the session to close at $11.31. Earlier in the day, the stock hit a 52-week intraday low of $10.54.
The slide added to the weakness seen over the past two weeks, with the stock down about 21% in the past month. SCWX, which previously hit a 52-week high of $26.89, has fallen around 53% in the past six months.
For more on the day’s biggest winners and losers, head over to Seeking Alpha’s On The Move section.