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Why these 4 ASX shares have started the week with gains

It has been a very disappointing start to the week for the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO). With almost every sector in the red, in afternoon trade the benchmark index is down 0.6% to 5,718 points.

Four shares which have defied the market and climbed higher today are listed below. Here’s why they have started the week with gains:

The ALS Ltd (ASX: ALQ) share price has climbed 5% to $6.94. The testing services company’s shares have been on a tear since it announced its full-year results. The result was so strong it led investment bank Citi to upgrade its shares from a sell rating to a buy with a $6.90 price target. After the strong rally, I think ALS shares are fully valued now.

The SMS Management & Technology Limited (ASX: SMX) share price has jumped up 4% to $1.76 after fellow IT services company ASG Group made a non-binding expression of interest valuing it at $1.80 in cash per share. Rival DWS Ltd (ASX: DWS) had hoped to acquire the company for the equivalent of $1.61 per share. I believe there is a reasonable chance DWS will come back with a better offer.

The Ten Network Holdings Limited (ASX: TEN) share price has bounced back from last week’s heavy decline with a 13% gain to 19.2 cents. The media company’s shares have been on a rollercoaster ride this year, ultimately falling a whopping 80%. The most recent decline is attributable to Lazard Asset Management Pacific Co selling down its substantial stake.

The Vita Group Limited (ASX: VTG) share price has surged 7% to $1.09 despite there being no news out of the retailer. Despite today’s gain Vita’s shares are still down a remarkable 65% year-to-date. Concerns over its future profitability following a decision by Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) to cut its remuneration by 30% over the next two and half years has weighed heavily on its shares. As cheap as it looks, there are still a lot of unknowns. This makes it one to avoid in my opinion.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Telstra Limited. 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.