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Seek, Qantas, McMillan: Thursday’s movers on the ASX 200

The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has edged marginally higher in mid-afternoon trading on Thursday, pushed forward by strong performances by companies including Seek (ASX: SEK), Qantas (ASX: QAN) and McMillan Shakespeare (ASX: MMS).

Seek, an Australian online job ads company, increased its annual profit guidance for its Aussie business – which accounts for over 50% of its earnings –suggesting that higher than anticipated earnings will be recognised overall. The company said that they are seeing improving trends with “flat to gentle increases in ad volumes on a month-on-month basis.” The company’s shares are up 5.7%.

Meanwhile, shares in Qantas are sitting 1.7% up at $1.20 after having hit a high of $1.24 in earlier trading, after suggestions were made that Australia could scrap foreign ownership restrictions, which would allow Qantas to secure capital from overseas and allow it to increase its competitiveness. Investors should still steer clear of the airline however, with analysts still expecting the company to post a net loss for the year as it battles high fuel costs and volatile consumer confidence.

McMillan Shakespeare has been the best performer for the day, with shares soaring 9.1% to $13.18. As had been expected, the company announced that trading conditions had normalised following the repeal of proposed changes by the Coalition government.

The banks also edged slightly higher, aiding the index forward. Whilst ANZ (ASX: ANZ) shares recognised a modest 0.1% gain, Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA), Westpac (ASX: WBC) and NAB (ASX: NAB) all climbed between 0.6% and 0.7%.

Whilst some companies recognised substantial gains, others experienced significant setbacks. NRW Holdings (ASX: NWH), for instance, plummeted 6.8% whilst Boart Longyear (ASX: BLY) and Ausdrill (ASX: ASL) fell 6.4% and 5.3%, respectively.

Foolish takeaway

With the index still trading above 5300 points, it is still difficult to find stocks trading at bargain prices, however, there are certainly still attractive opportunities available!

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.

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