As Smith International and Hughes Tool Co. began the closing-arguments phase of their bitter, 13-year patent infringement suit on Wednesday, Wall Street seemed to reverse its outlook on the likely outcome.
Smith International Inc. rebounded in heavy trading from its recent losses to post the day's single largest percentage price gain on the New York Stock Exchange. Common shares of its competitor and legal foe, Hughes Tool Co., slipped to a new 12-month low.
Newport Beach-based Smith closed at $5 a share, up $1.13 for the day, an overall improvement in price of 29%. Houston-based Hughes Tool hit a new low of $10.63 a share, before moving up slightly to close at $10.75, down 75 cents from Tuesday's close.
Smith's recovery came just one day after Standard & Poor's Corp. announced that it had placed Smith on its "CreditWatch" list in anticipation of a possible reduction of the company's BBB-bond rating.