Today was a flat day for the S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) index, which was down 0.2% to 5340 points at the time of writing.

A number of shares significantly outperformed however, and here’s why:

Bluescope Steel Limited (ASX: BSL) rose 7% to $6.24 today after the company upgraded its earnings guidance by 29% compared to its most recent forecast in February. Better margins, better domestic sales, higher than expected steel and iron ore prices as well as cost saving projects being delivered faster than anticipated all contributed to the result. It’s important to note that at least some of the benefit (such as higher prices) is due to factors outside of the control of the company, but Bluescope has undergone quite a turnaround in the past 12 months or so.

Bluescope Steel shares are up 88% in the past 12 months.

Slater & Gordon Limited (ASX: SGH) gained 9% to $0.50 on no news as short-term trading continues to dominate the stock. There is a considerable amount of interest and uncertainty associated with the company’s valuation – despite the recent agreement of new banking covenants –  and the long term outlook is bleak in my opinion. The company is also still run by mostly the same management team responsible for the disastrous Quindell acquisition.

Slater & Gordon shares are down 92% in the past 12 months.

Blackmores Limited (ASX: BKL) lifted 4% to $164.48 on no news as shareholders buy back from May’s lows in the mid $150’s that were hit last week after further speculation about China’s regulatory approach to imports. Some in the market are looking at Blackmores and similar as a decade-long winner, with booming demand in China and the potential for Blackmores to increase its market share, which is currently quite small. However, investors should be aware that the company is also up against world-class competition from the likes of Swisse and Amway, among others. At least one asset manager sees an opportunity, with Hyperion Asset Management recently increasing its stake in Blackmores from 5% to 6%.

Blackmores shares are up 122% in the past 12 months.

Aconex Ltd (ASX: ACX) gained 6% to $6.50, also on no news, as investors pile into the cloud provider of construction software. With a recent acquisition, positive cash flow from operations and a decent cash balance, Aconex appears well positioned to continue growing – or to raise capital, if necessary. However, investors need to be cautious of a considerable amount of expectations already built into the business. It earned revenue of just $82.8 million in the 9 months to 31 March 2016. A number of brokers are bullish on the business, but as ever, investors should do their own research.

Shares in Aconex are up 134% in the past 12 months.

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Motley Fool contributor Sean O'Neill has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.