Why these 4 shares smashed the market today

Welcome to Friday, Foolish readers. The S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) traded virtually flat today, losing 0.09% to 4,971 points. A number of commodity stocks enjoyed big leaps, while quarterly reports also caused rises at other stocks.

Here’s what you need to know:

Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) skyrocketed 14% to $1.73 after yesterday’s quarterly report revealed the company could become the world’s lowest cost iron ore miner. With cash costs (before overheads) of US$15 per tonne and further reductions yet to come, the news was certainly welcome for investors who have been fearfully watching the company’s mountain of debt.

Fortescue remains heavily exposed to the price of iron ore and market supply/demand, and investors would be wise to form an opinion on where these things are headed before making a purchase.

Freelancer Ltd (ASX: FLN) jumped 8.6% to $1.79 as the company announced record cash receipts for the past three months. More importantly, the company also generated positive operating cashflow over the past 12 months, which is a huge plus for shareholders as it shows the company is sustainably making more than it spends in its day-to-day operations.

However, Freelancer is currently valued at a big market capitalisation, despite making just $1.4 million in cash from operations in the past 12 months. Shares have risen 198% in that time.

Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG) rose 5% to $4.07 today, along with a number of other energy producers, after the value of Brent crude oil rose above US$35 per barrel overnight. On the downside, Origin also posted a production update which revealed just how tough things have become in the gas market. While gas production was 63% higher compared to the prior comparable quarter last year, revenue actually fell 12%.

Origin shares are down 62% for the year.

Nanosonics Ltd. (ASX: NAN) shares gained 8% to $1.88 after it reported record sales in the past three months, up 41% compared to the quarter immediately prior. First half earnings were also a record, as the company expands its business in North America. Despite the strong performance, Nanosonics remains cash flow negative, burning through just under $4m of cash in the past six months.

On the plus side, Nanosonics is well funded with some $42m cash in the bank. Shares have risen 40% in the past 12 months.

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Motley Fool contributor Sean O'Neill has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. 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.

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