Why these 4 shares are smashing the market today

After a positive start to the day, the S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) is now firmly in negative territory as investors look to lock in profits following several days of strong gains.

Four stocks that have bucked today’s trend, however, include:

Atlas Iron Limited (ASX: AGO)

Shares in the junior iron ore miner surged more than 40% at one point today following the 18.5% rally in the iron ore price overnight. Before investors get too excited, however, the shares are still only trading at around 2.9 cents a piece – down a whopping 99.2% from their all time high. The company remains one of the higher cost iron ore producers and will require a significant and sustained rally in the iron ore price to prove a sound investment in the long term. If prices begin to decline, investors should expect to see a sharp reversal of today’s price action.

Vita Group Limited (ASX: VTG)

Vita Group’s shares have continued their post earnings rally today, climbing another 5%. The shares have now gained nearly 20% since the release of its first half results and are up by more than 72% over the past 12 months. The company operates 100 Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) branded retails stores, 21 Telstra business centres and a number of other telecommunications brands. Vita Group delivered underlying earnings growth of 46% in the first half and investors are clearly expecting that strong earnings momentum to continue into the second half.

Primary Health Care Limited (ASX: PRY)

Shares of Primary Health Care continue to rebound with another gain of nearly 5% today. The shares have now surged more than 76% since hitting a 52-week low of $2.06 back in early December 2015. It is difficult to point out just one reason behind the massive rebound but it appears investors may believe the worst is finally behind the company after proposed government budget cuts impacted on referrals for pathology and diagnostic imaging services. Investors are now looking to the second half where management is expecting a materially stronger performance. Investors should note however, that Primary Health Care remains one of the most shorted stocks on the ASX, with nearly 14% of its issued stock now short sold.

South32 Ltd (ASX: S32)

South32 is one of the few major commodity stocks in positive territory today with the share price gaining more than 4.5% at the time of writing. Today’s gains come on the back of a broker upgrade with UBS raising the stock to a buy from neutral. Interestingly, South32 shares have now gained nearly 74% since hitting a low of 87 cents in mid-January of this year.

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Motley Fool contributor Christopher Georges 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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