It has been a disappointing day for the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO). The index is lower by 0.5% to 5,429 points due to heavy declines in the materials and energy sectors.

But going against the grain and storming higher have been four shares in particular. Each has put on a strong gain today and here’s why:

ALS Ltd (ASX: ALQ) shares have bounced back from yesterday’s heavy decline with a 3.5% jump to $6.27. Today’s gain appears to relate to a research note out of Macquarie which revealed its analysts had placed an outperform rating on the testing and analytical laboratory services provider. The release of disappointing first-half results yesterday sent its shares lower, but its plans to divest its loss-making Oil and Gas businesses appear to have pleased some investors.

Collins Foods Ltd (ASX: CKF) shares are up over 5% to $5.90 after the KFC franchisee released its half-year results. During the first half net profit after tax rose 7.8% to $15 million. Whilst this was a solid result, I think investors have been buying its shares today due to its international expansion plans. Management provided more details on its recent purchase of 11 German KFC restaurants. The company paid €12.7 million to acquire them, which has been estimated to be around 10x earnings.

JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX: JBH) shares are up 3% to $27.66, despite there being no news out of the retailer. On Monday JB Hi-Fi announced that its acquisition of The Good Guys completed. I believe this puts the company in a great position ahead of the all-important Christmas shopping period. At around 16x forecast full year earnings and providing a fully franked 3.9% dividend, JB Hi-Fi looks reasonable value to me now.

Zelda Therapeutics Ltd (ASX: ZLD) shares have rocketed higher by 43% to 3.3 cents after the medicinal cannabis company revealed extremely positive results from its proof of concept study into the anti-cancer effects of its THC-rich medical cannabis formulation. Although it is still early days this is definitely a huge step forward for the company and I’m not too surprised to see its shares rally.

Whether next year will be a big year for "pot stocks" I don't know. But I do know that the smart money is on these three hot stocks being big winners in 2017.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro 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.