“Sell in May and go away”

“Confession season”

“Outlook and profit update”

Investors can be excused for becoming a little worried each time the calendar rolls around to May 1. Not only do years of research imply that it’s one of the worst performing months for the ASX, but investors also have to be on their toes for unexpected company announcements.

Confession season

May is the time that ASX companies typically release announcements titled ‘operational update’ or ‘profit outlook’ as group accountants start pulling together numbers for the end of the financial year.

This may not be backed by facts, but it feels like any market-sensitive announcements at this time of the year typically results in the share price heading south!

This year’s causalities include the once-reliable Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT), Sirtex Medical Limited (ASX: SRX) and probably Mesoblast limited (ASX: MSB).

Bucking the trend

It’s not all doom and gloom however, there were some very notable exceptions in May and investors would be wise to keep an eye on these big names:

Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX: ALL) shares surged 31% higher over May, after the poker machine manufacturer upgraded its earnings forecasts for the 2016 financial year.

Australian Agricultural Company Ltd (ASX: AAC) shares jumped 31% when the group released a better-than-expected financial report for the financial year ended 31 March 2016.

Shares in XERO FPO NZX (ASX: XRO) recorded an 18% rise, as revenue jumped 67% to NZ$207.1 million and cash outflow reduced in the 2016 financial year.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp Ltd (ASX: FPH) shares rose in value almost every day in the month to rise above $10 for the first time as the group reported a solid financial year that resulted in revenue growth of 21%, Net Profit After Tax (NPAT) growth of 27%, and improved gross margins!

At the end of the day though, we might have missed the boat with these companies for now. Fast growing companies are all the rage so identifying opportunities for profit and dividend growth going forward looks to be a good strategy.

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Motley Fool contributor Andrew Mudie has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can find Andrew on Twitter @andrewmudie

The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Xero. 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.