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Why these 4 ASX shares are soaring today

Despite giving up some early gains, the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX:XJO) is still in positive territory today, trading 0.4% higher at 5,208 points.

Four stocks strongly outperforming the market today include:

Slater & Gordon Limited (ASX: SGH)

Shares of Slater & Gordon are trading 8% higher today following media reports that the embattled law firm may be close to finalising an agreement with its bankers which could keep its doors open for a while longer yet. The company has only 10 days left to reach an agreement with its bankers or it could find itself in a situation where it would have to repay its mountain of debt by the end of March 2017. In any case, Slater & Gordon remains a high-risk proposition and any acceptable deal is unlikely to be in the best interests of shareholders. The shares have lost 96% of their value over the last 12 months.

Mcgrath Ltd (ASX: MEA)

Shares of the real estate agent are rebounding today following a savage sell down on Monday. The shares have gained 10.7% today to trade at $1.09 – down 48% from their December IPO listing price of $2.10. Opinion is divided amongst analysts as to whether or not there is value at the current share price, but the founder of the company, John McGrath, certainly believes there is. He purchased 550,000 shares worth around $500,000 on Monday and other investors are following his lead today. The shares appear cheap on face value but further weakness in the residential property market could certainly put a further dampener on its share price.

BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP)

Following today’s 3.5% gain, shares of BHP have gained more than 43% over the past three months. The company today released its operational report for the 9 months to 31 March 2016. BHP highlighted the point that it remains on track to meets its FY16 production targets for coal, copper and petroleum although adverse weather conditions will see iron ore production fall short by 10Mt. The company also stated that cost-cutting measures were being successfully implemented and that it is on track to deliver an average unit cost improvement of 14% across its major assets compared to the 2015 financial year. Profitability will be ultimately determined by commodity prices but the recent improvements in oil and iron ore prices will certainly be welcome relief for shareholders.

Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG)

Fortescue shares soared more than 7% higher today following another sharp rise in the iron ore price overnight. The price of the commodity gained another 4.1% to trade at USD$62.85 per tonne – its highest level since March 9 and well above Fortescue’s latest cash production cost of USD$14.79 per tonne. The recent surge in the iron ore price has created a nice buffer for the company and investors are feeling far more comfortable about its ability to pay down its USD$5.9 billion net debt level. Where the iron ore price goes to from here is unknown, but Fortescue is likely to remain a volatile stock. The shares have gained 88% over the past 12 months.

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Motley Fool contributor Christopher Georges 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.

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