Why these 4 ASX shares are rocketing higher today

For the second day in a row the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has made a sharp drop. In afternoon trade the index is lower by 0.8% to 5,342 points, with all sectors except for energy and materials deep in the red.

Amongst the sea of red there have been four shares in particular which have put on strong gains today. Here’s why:

Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG) shares are up by almost 6% to $5.43 today on the back of a rise in oil prices overnight. Oil prices lifted following news that tropical storms and Hurricane Hermine caused a slowdown in oil tanker movement and offshore drilling in the US. This forced the U.S. oil industry to dip into its supply at an unexpectedly high rate. In other news the company announced the retirement of CEO Grant King, to be replaced by Frank Calabria on October 19. Mr Calabria is currently in charge of the company’s Energy Markets business.

QMS Media Ltd (ASX: QMS) shares have jumped 3.5% to $1.20 despite no news coming out of the outdoor media company. Much of today’s gain can be put down to two large trades early this morning accounting for over 18 million shares or around 5%. Clearly someone was impressed with its recent full year results. It’s not hard to see why either considering the company just reported revenue growth of 88% to $111.8 million. On the bottom line statutory NPAT came in at $13.3 million, compared to a $4.3 million loss last year.

Sigma Pharmaceutical Limited (ASX: SIP) have continued their good run and climbed a further 10% to $1.41. Yesterday the pharmaceutical wholesaler’s shares rocketed 12% higher following the release of interim results which revealed a 17% increase in first half earnings before interest and tax. Despite the strong result and share price performance a research note out of Citi today declared Sigma a sell with a $1.29 price target.

Whitehaven Coal Ltd (ASX: WHC) shares are higher by 5% to $2.18 thanks largely to a surge in coal prices. According to the Australian Financial Review China has been limiting its coal mines to producing during just 276 days per year. These lower levels of production have played a key role in causing prices to rise by around 47% in the last month. This is great news for Whitehaven Coal, but it is of course unclear just how long prices will stay at these elevated levels. For this reason I would personally avoid an investment in the company and focus on other areas of the market.

Instead of an investment in Whitehaven Coal these three fantastic shares could be better options in my opinion.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro 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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