Here’s why these 3 stocks are soaring higher today

On another down day for the major Australian equity indices including the All Ordinaries Index (Index: ^AORD) (ASX: XAO) which dropped exactly half a percent, there are a few bright spots offered by outperforming companies. Today’s star trio includes farmers, financial technology developers and retail giants.

Westfield Corp (ASX: WFD) operates the eponymous international shopping centres and has climbed 3.6% today to $9.86. The strengthening US dollar is a double-edged sword for the business as its attraction as a yield play to US dollar domiciled investors decreases, but its US dollar earnings become more valuable to Australian investors.

Consequently the stock’s price has been somewhat volatile lately, but the underlying business remains strong with a decent outlook underpinned by a strengthening US economy. Frank Lowy’s baby remains one for the top of conservative investors’ watchlists.

GBST Holdings Limited’s (ASX: GBT) recent success has earned it a forthcoming promotion into the S&P / ASX 300 Index (Index: ^AXKO) (ASX: XKO), and the stock has jumped 3.1% to $5.31 today. The company released no specific news to the market, although investors are likely betting on the company’s future success in winning more financial services clients in core overseas markets like the United Kingdom.

The company has been recruiting in part to ramp up its sales effort and just moderate success in selling its GBST Composer system into large and lucrative foreign markets should lend the stock more support.

Webster Limited (ASX: WBA) is a fast-evolving agricultural business with plans to expand via acquisition and organic development. The company’s core business is currently walnut farming and retailing, although it recently announced plans to acquire ASX-listed agricultural operator Tandou Limited (ASX: TAN) and privately owned Bengerang Limited.

The two deals value Bengerang at $124 million and Tandou at $114 million. Notably current directors of Webster have substantial ownership interests in both acquisition targets so the deals will be subject to shareholder approvals under ASX listing rules and the Corporations Act.

Webster and its cosy acquisition strategy might not be for many investors and I’d be gobsmacked if it ever found its way into the portfolio of The Motley Fool’s market-thumping investment service named Motley Fool PRO…

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Motley Fool contributor Tom Richardson owns shares in GBST and Westfield. You can provide feedback on Twitter @tommyr345

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